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Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

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Is a Christian blogger featured on a “Christian” website fulfilling his or her calling more accurately?

Is the job of a pastor more spiritual than that of a plumber?

Is a Christian teacher more ‘christian’ if he or she teach in a christian school?

Is the Christian musician who plays in church more spirit-led than the one who plays at the concert hall? the pub?

What makes a job a ‘christian’ one?

Spurgeon said:

To a man who lives unto God nothing is secular, everything is sacred.

He puts on his workday garment and it is a vestment to him.

He sits down to his meal and it is a sacrament.

He goes forth to his labor, and therein exercises the office of the priesthood. His breath is incense and his life a sacrifice.

He sleeps on the bosom of God, and lives and moves in the divine presence.

To draw a hard and fast line and say, “This is sacred and this is secular,” is, to my mind, diametrically opposed to the teaching of Christ and the spirit of the gospel…

Peter saw a sheet let down from heaven in which were all manner of beasts and four-footed creatures, which he was bidden to kill and eat, and when he refused because they were unclean, he was rebuked by a voice from heaven, saying, “What God hath cleansed that call not thou common” [Acts 10:15; 11:9].

The Lord hath cleansed your houses, he has cleansed your bed chambers, your tables…  He has made the common pots and pans of your kitchens to be as the bowls before the altar –

if you know what you are and live according to your high calling.

You housemaids, you cooks, you nurses, you ploughmen, you housewives, you traders, you sailors, your labor is holy if you serve the Lord Christ in it, by living unto Him as you ought to live.

The sacred has absorbed the secular.”

 

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Most of the time I like to think of myself as a progressive thinker (although my kids would probably not agree), but when it comes to one area I tend to be rather old fashioned, even archaic.

For those who are older like me, the song in the video below takes us back to watching the original movie, Footloose,  w a y  back in the 198o’s (for those not so old only back as far as a Shrek movie). It is the chorus that has been playing in my head lately.

The area that shows my age concerns young men.

As a mom of two daughters, one who is twenty and the other fifteen, I have started to observe young men from the point of view of ‘would I want my daughter to date him?’ It is not that either one (especially the fifteen year old) is looking to settle down, but more that I am always thinking ahead to the next step, trying to plan and prepare.

As I have observed young men, I have to say that I am starting to get really discouraged by what I see.

Now I know that I am a mom of daughters, and I am protective of them, and want only the best for them, and really there can never be a young man who is good enough for my daughters (imagine how much more so for their father). I also know that I am observing young men through the aging eyes of a thirty-nine (with three years experience) year old woman, and I do not fully understand the generation that I am observing. Fair enough! Yet, I feel so very discouraged in this!

Let me tell you what I have been observing:

Schooling and Jobs
There seems to be a lack of future goals. Post secondary schooling seems more to be just another phase rather than a vehicle to pursuing and attaining a future career. And many, upon graduation from university/college do not even pursue work in their area of study.

Mom and Dad Dependency
I have heard of far too many mid-twenty-something guys who are still living with, and off of, mom and day (and yes, I mean off of, as in no ‘rent’ is being charged to their working son OR ma and pop are still handing over cash to sonny boy who can’t find work). Certainly the financial circumstances of today require more young adults to still live at home, but parents who are allowing their adult children to completely live off of them are harming the next generation not helping them.

Undefinable Christianity
This one is just about Christian guys. I am all about Christian living within our world, and not segregating ourselves to only churchy activities, but seriously, there just has to be a difference in how we live our lives, if we say that we are ‘Christ-like’. Maybe this is where my ‘old fashioned’ side is most visible, but I really do believe that when a Christian guy is partying he should be able to remember what he did afterward, and that what he does with a girl(s) should be God-honoring.

I do believe that there are good men out there, and have even met some of them, but they really seem to be in the minority, and as a mom of a son as well, I really hope that we are raising him to be part of that vital minority. I hope too that our our daughters will hold out for a hero.

“In a desperate attempt to stay young forever
we have achieved eternal childishness,
rather than eternal youth.”

― Daniel Prokop, Leaving Neverland: Why Little Boys Shouldn’t Run Big Corporations

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Why do I believe in an invisible God? Why do I believe that I am a sinner in need of a Savior? Why do I have faith in a man who was executed, who rose from the dead, and then was carried back up into the heavens?

Why do I call myself Christian?

I often wonder if those are the unvoiced questions of people around me who do not share the same beliefs. I often wonder if I have answered them myself, fully and completely. I wonder how many times I have left the scars on the hearts of others for how I have injured the name of the One I follow.

As I traverse this road of life, I do believe that to make such claims means I need to be confident of my beliefs, of my worldview.

From my earliest memories, I have been certain of the presence of an invisible God in my life, and the world. Call it predestination, or Karma or the gift of a awareness of the spiritual around me, as you wish. I think it is something similar, but different, I would call it discernment. Simply put, I believe that one of the peculiarities (or gifts) that my God created me with is a strong intuition of the unseen … I have not had the inner battles that many have had in coming to believe in Creator God, such as author, C. S. Lewis who said, “in the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”

It is easy to know that I am a sinner and, as a mom, it is easy to know that we are born with the capacity to sin regularly, and fully. One only needs to spend one day with a toddler to know that we are programmed to not obey the word ‘no’. As an adult, I still struggle to obey the word ‘no’. I struggle to not treat others poorly, I struggle to tell the truth, I struggle to be genuine, to be reliable to be real. I sin and I need a Savior to redeem my sinful nature.

Why do I have faith in a man who was executed, who rose from the dead, and then was carried back up into the heavens? That is harder to answer, for how does one who holds faith so dearly, explain it to those who might not? It truly is a profound mystery. In the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, “to one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”

So, why do I call myself a Christian?

I know that I am a flawed, unpredictable, unreliable, selfish, individual, and I cannot imagine following any other than One who is all that I am not, and who loves me to death, despite my state of undeserving. It is the grace that is available to me that is the rudder of this life, and there is no better navigator that I can find.

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I was saddened the other day to read the post of a fellow blogger, of her exposure to a Christian gentleman (I use the word gentleman VERY loosely).

This man, a customer at a restaurant, pleaded for ‘deals’ on numerous menu items. Then proceeded to ‘preach’ whenever he could get any of the restaurant employees attention. He he condemned many people groups for their beliefs and lifestyles. Then his daughter paid the bill (no mention of a tip either).

I was boiling! He makes me embarrassed to be called a Christian. To me, he defames the name of Christ!

This man lives in a bubble without the understanding that but by the grace of God … Instead, he lives in belief that he is where he is because of his ‘right’ behaviors. In his eagerness to tell others how not to live, he is forgetting that choosing the path of Christ is full of far more affirmations than denials.

This man makes representing my Savior to others so difficult, because he undermines my main hope-filled desire; that it is in following in the Creator-ordained steps of my Savior, people would see less of me and more of Him.

The Jesus I worship does not condemn the non-believer of anything except for unbelief.

This makes me think of the story from John (chapter 4), known as the woman at the well. Jesus comes to the well, and asks for a drink of water from not just a woman, but a Samaritan woman (a social faux pas, as he was a Jew), and not just a Samaritan woman but a woman who has had five husbands, and many more men in her life (enough said). Jesus does not condemn her bloodline nor her lifestyle, He simply offers her a quenching for her thirst that simple water could never do.

“This is way too much for just me
there are others,
brother, sister, lovers, haters,
the good and the bad
sinners and saints
who should hear what you told me
who should see what you showed me
who should taste what you gave me
who should feel how you forgave me
for to be known is to be loved
and to be loved is to be known
and they all need this too
we all do
need it for our own”

Because of the way Jesus loved her, she accepted the living water that He offered, and it is said that “many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony” (John 4:39). And who would not come to believe if they first were loved as Jesus loves? And it is He, the Christ, who makes me unashamed to be called Christian.

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I am not an expert in grammar, and that is no surprise to anyone who has ever read even one of my posts!

One thing I do know (not as a grammar expert, but as a Christian) is that worship is a verb, it is a ‘doing’ word. I’m not just making reference to my head knowledge of the word worship, but the knowledge that comes from living with a mind and body and heart and emotions that ‘do’, without conscious thought, when worshiping.

I love to go to concerts of Christian worship musicians, because they provide hours of opportunity to not just entertain the concert goers but also to participate in the worship they are leading. There is nothing that drives my inner worshipper more crazy than when church worship becomes entertainment, and I have to sit still while someone else is worshipping solo …

When I enter into a place of worship (my back garden, my kitchen, the beach, my bedroom, on my favorite trail, and even in a church sanctuary) I am often unnerved by how my inner self responds to what is around me. My senses drink in what I see, what I smell, what I taste, what I feel, and I am led into a spontaneous act of worship. I have no control on this happening, it is my insides wanting to burst out.

I feel a little about worship, like Olympic runner Eric Liddell said of running “when I worship (run) I feel His pleasure.” There is a connection to my Creator that is so deep, so innate in a way, that I have little to do with how I respond to the opportunity to worship.

And that opportunity is constant, and often surfaces without warning. As I have grown I have heard of people talking about preparing for worship, which is a good idea. It is not always easy to settle into worship when you’ve just arrived at church having had the equivalent of battle royale with your toddler to get their shoes on, or had a disagreement with your spouse (which of course NEVER happens in our house ;). But I find that most times when worship begins, the magnetic-like force within me pulls me into God’s presence, whether I am prepared or not. This happens not just in a church sanctuary, but some times when I am weeding, or taking a walk, or standing on a beach, or holding one of my loved ones.

J.I. Packer said, “we need to discover all over again that worship is natural to the Christian, as it was to the godly Israelites who wrote the psalms, and that the habit of celebrating the greatness and graciousness of God yields an endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal.”One cannot read the Psalms and not see and feel the joy that is being expressed.

Worship is an act of celebration, and whether we are participating in a room with hundreds of other worshippers or laying in our bed when we awaken and take a deep breath, it is a party worth celebrating!

“Worship leader George Beverly Shea kidded Billy Graham that the latter would be unemployed in Heaven — while Shea would still have a job leading worship.”

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We have children for many reasons. For some, it is just what you do. For some, it is an inner desire. For some it is to create a new being out of your love with another person. For some it is to bring joy to our lives. And for some … it just happened.

Once we do have our own children, whatever reasons we had for having them need to disappear, as their desires and wants need to forever trump our own, for the rest of their lives.

The following video shows a clip of a famous (at least Youtube famous) story about two young and impulsive men who purchased a lion cub from Harrods of London many years ago. It tells of how they cared for him, and  that the life they gave the cub was,  obvious in the video, a joy filled experience. Their decision to raise a lion cub was quite an enormous responsibility, one that they (like us in our quest to have a child), perhaps, had not understood fully when they made that decision.

Now tell me animals do not form bonds, and do not express emotion! What a beautiful reunion of the lion who was chosen raised and saved by the two men who chose to raise, and then let go of the cub, for his own good. Really it was in their letting go of their lion that gave Christian life as he was intended to have it.

Often, as parents, we have a plan for the lives of our children, from even before they are conceived. We hope for their future, we try to protect them from harm, we lead them in directions that we deem best for them. I do believe that the intentions of most of us as parents are pure and good. But, we can be living vicariously through our kids. Or, maybe our kids are hindered to progress in their own lives, because we neglect to let them go.

It is in that letting go that avails us to beautiful reunions, when they chose to return and share with us, as parents, the joys and sorrows of their independent lives. The story of Christian the lion, and, more importantly, the men who purchased him, tells of the joy of giving freedom to those we love.

It is a challenge to let go of our children. It is a challenge to not see them as our possessions … something we hold, and keep to ourselves. It is not a natural thing to let our children go off and live their lives independent of ourselves. But it is in granting that freedom that we allow them to have the greatest success, the greatest freedom to be who they were created to be.

In a second, and last visit of John and Ace to Christian, in Kenya, they reflected on how far ‘their’ lion had come, “he was no longer dependent on any of us, and that was the most wonderful success … John and Ace are convinced that they did the right thing, giving him back his freedom.”

“Point your kids in the right direction—
when they’re old they won’t be lost.”

Proverbs 22:6

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