Of Serpents and Doves…

T’is the season for those that, some would consider, “condemnation” Christians, to come out of the woodwork. You know…the ones that put the ‘E’ in C(Christmas) M(Mother’s Day) E(Easter) Christians.

No judgment.  Honestly. I totally get it.  You want to make Momma and Grandma happy, and they will take your attendance to a church service, however they can get it. As a mom, I completely appreciate the desire to see your children attend church in the hopes of receiving more conviction than condemnation.  

Please understand…this is actually dedicated to the ones that make others feel like hot garbage, if they don’t, AT LEAST, go to church on certain holidays.  There is NOTHING saying if you don’t attend a church service regularly, that you will die and go to a burning Hell. The trouble is, the average Joe, that knows anything about the bible knows that…which is why the guilt trip rarely works.

Again, no judgment. Honestly.

So many people avoid church because they don’t want to be ‘preached’ to.  I know that you want to be a witness and share the love of God. And, I KNOW you don’t feel called to a ‘door knocking’ ministry. There has to be a way to share the Gospel with those around you, without beating them over the head with the bible.  Think about the people where you work, or the other parents in the PTA, or the neighbors on your block that you see when you are taking out the trash. Your heart is to give them the good news in a way that actually makes it seem like good news!

The struggle is not that people don’t necessarily know that they need God or a relationship with Him.  It’s more a point that they see Christians that seem unapproachable and their lifestyle unattainable. It’s like someone telling you what you already know: you’re pretty much screwed up and there’s not much you can do about it. It’s depressing knowing that there are people who  aren’t quite as screwed up as you. It’s even MORE depressing when it seems like they are holding their near perfection over YOUR head.  Nobody wants that. And, even when that’s not how we mean for it to look, that’s how it ends up appearing. Our reputations have preceded us.

It is into this kind of scenario that Jesus sent His disciples for, shall we say, “missionary” training. He sent them in as “sheep” to a den of wolves, instructing them to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. It was like giving them a ‘bad news, worse news,’ scenario.  You’re gonna look like sheep – lost, confused, air-headed, even flighty, but you have to be clever, crafty and even attractive, while maintaining an innocent, childlike trust in God and His plan for you…in the face of wolves.

Are you getting it, yet?

It’s as simple as it is complicated. We are not to lord our salvation over people. We are not to glorify our lifestyle by condemning that of another’s.  We have to be an honest representation of Salt and Light and Love.

Salt is tricky business.  In proper measure, it enhances the flavor and preserves what’s good in a thing. Too much can burn, like acid. Too little is perfectly useless.

Light, illumination, creates the same complication.  Too much, too fast can be painful and blinding. But, if presented like the dawn, it’s a gentle joyous revelation of what’s really around you, so that you may govern yourself accordingly, thus garnering an appropriate response.

Love SEEMS to be the easiest…on paper.  It’s in the practical demonstration of it, that people tend to get hurt the most. Part of the problem is that everyone has their own definition of love, based on their life experiences, that doesn’t always look like the biblical definition of it. Love, when properly displayed, can look mean, sometimes hateful. Sometimes, love makes you look stupid or naive.  Like serpents and doves.

It is in combining the forces of salt and light and love, that people become thirsty for what Christ has provided; aware of what the cost is of a life without Him as well of the benefits of a life with Him; and they become open to what true love will do in the life of an ordinary, human existence.

Then, and only then, will we see CME Christians become anchored members of the Family of God, devoted to a part of the Body of Christ and DISCIPLES. I mean, that was the original assignment, right?

Jesus did not say that hanging out with a bunch of people, just for the sake of pleasing our parents, would get us into heaven.  And, that is all a good guilt trip gets us. Reluctant attendees to a Sunrise Service and the subsequent brunch. We were never called to make congregants. We are called to make disciples…people who have active relationships with God, through Jesus Christ, that are supported by other branches who are also connected to the Vine.

So, at the close of this Good Friday, as we focus on the sacrifice of Jesus that made a way for us to be adopted into the Family of God, let us not get so wrapped up in who makes it to church this weekend.  Let’s start building relationships with the people in our communities that make them thirsty for a relationship with God, enlightened to the benefits of that relationship and fills them with the Love we’ve been given, so that they can freely ‘pay it forward.’

That’s what this weekend is all about, anyway.


While I Was Away…

Did you miss me?  I missed you!  I know, I know…it has been well over a month since my last post. This has been a most fruitful month, if I do say so myself.

I had pretty much gotten to the end of myself in this past year.  I have been settled into a fantastic career. Far beyond a paycheck, it has been the most rewarding year of my employment since I stopped being a home-maker in 2006.  I am fraught with purpose and destiny.  I am in love with all of my co-workers and all of the volunteers/interns that I have encountered at PASS network for life.

I have you all to thank for a most productive blog life.  I have seen so much love and support…it is almost too much to fathom.  There are lots of things in the works as a result of the conversations we have been having from a Kaleidoscope perspective.  I can’t wait to share with you about what is coming next.  But that may have to wait just another month or so.

A lot of things have happened as a result of my near-death experience in July.  For one, I have a greater gratitude for life. I recognize that time is short and I need to live a life of joy AND happiness; not just to fulfill my purpose, but to surround myself with those who mean me the MOST good, not just those who don’t want to hurt me.  Because of that, I have divorced the love of my youth, only to have the love of my life find me, pursue me and hold me close.  I am a phenomenally blessed human being. Things move pretty quickly when you get out of your own way (I’m just saying).

All of this brought me to a holiday season of very mixed emotions.  I had never been so happy! God is restoring the years that the locust has eaten, and He’s doing it in a QUICK WORK.  I have love in my life like I have never known. When God presents us with an opportunity to love and be loved, we should grab hold with both hands and treat it like the gift that it is!

This season has been a little intimidating as well.  My purpose and destiny are taking shape.  I see my sons walking into their purpose and destiny as well. To God belongs all the glory! I feel that this may be the last Christmas and New Year we have lived under the same roof together. Our living situation is about to change again, and this time, it will look very different. We have emerged from what may be our last year as “all we’ve got.”  We have had to depend on one another through some of the hardest times imaginable. That has forged a mighty bond between us that cannot be severed. But I raised my sons to leave me, as is only right to do, for they were never really mine to claim. I struggle with wondering if I did everything I knew how to do, to prepare them. I am trusting the God who made us all to make up the difference.

I have also never been so keenly aware of the fragility of life and that time should not be wasted. I found out about the passing of a very dear YOUNG woman…Barbara Ann Peeples has left this life and it has hurt my heart tremendously.  I have had other dear friends with loved ones who let go of this life in recent weeks and I have commiserated with many whose hearts feel lonely and low during these festive seasons.  I have watched people suffer around me in ways that only few of us can honestly relate. Top that off with my own personal confrontation with “Old Man Winter,” where I spun out, due to snow, on an overpass and ONLY blew out both of my front tires.  Scary stuff, but I made it out, yet again, alive.

I want to take a moment to just thank God.  It is difficult to understand, from the outset, what God is doing.  But I love to see Him work.  I am always surprised at how things work out in my favor, from such contradictory circumstances.  I have seen the Lord take the foolish things of this world (like my life) and confound the wise too many times to doubt the mightiness of His hand.

And so, my dear friends, I say welcome to a new year!  Welcome to the land of GREATER, where God is showing His magnificence and splendor in ALL of His people. I expect to see it God go BIG this year!


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