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Posts Tagged ‘real’

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Last Sunday I featured a guest post here called, Struggling To Love Her, about the difficulty to sometimes love the church (small ‘c’ church … as in the local church). I was amazed at the responses I got, in terms of readers, but also in terms of personal comments, messages, emails). It is obviously a hot topic!

My inspiration, or guest was Amber Haines, who writes at www.therunamuck.com and www.incourage.me.

Toward the end of her post she said,

Once in a while you find yourself in the arms of your broken church, and she looks exactly like THE church, and THE church looks like Jesus. It’s worth pressing on, going to commune with the homesick ones, going to find a hand to hold, a bag to carry, wine to taste.”

And it is here where I want to start … where is the struggle to love her?

I have heard it said that more than the style of worship, more than the way that scripture is delivered, more than whether the pastor wears gowns, or jean or a tie, more than the programs that a church offers, more than whether the coffee served is free trade …

the one thing that will decide whether a church will survive in the coming years is …

drum-roll-please

… is it real?

Are those welcoming people into the church service, welcoming from their hearts … or playing a part?

Is the pastor preaching from how God has moved in his life?

Are the people in the pews, in the chairs, prepared to take you home for lunch?

Are people using their God-given gifts to spread the good news of Christ’s love for them, to meet the needs of people in their community (not just those in their church community)?

Are people praying for each other, more than just Sunday during church?

According to Thom Schultz, in the book (Why Nobody Wants Church Anymore) he co-authored with his wife, Joani, the four top reasons why the majority avoids church are :

1. they feel judged … aka not perfect
2. they don’t want to be lectured … reminded they are not perfect
3. church people are a bunch of hypocrites … people who act like they are perfect
4. they feel God is irrelevant to their life, but they’d like to know there is a God and he cares about them … they know they are not perfect, and want to feel loved in spite of their imperfections

That all pretty much boils down to … they want what is

real

People, both Christ-followers, and Christ-deniers, want life to be real, want relationships that are real, want people to accept them for who they really are … want church to be real.

We are not living in the garden of Eden … perfect is left behind.

We humans, and our human lives, and our human churches are :

messy
dirty
wrecked
flaw-filled
sin-filled

And it is in being who we really are
(flawed, pimpled, grayed and scarred)

and being able to look at, and Sunday sit-with

others,
(who are just as wrecked as ourselves)

and feel, and be accepted … just as we are.

But, that is not all!

If we are being really real, we do not just love others as they are,

we love others enough to not leave them where they are …

in the mud, mire and dirt of life
in the dark, blindness and deafness of the present
in the middle of their mess, their heartache, their

sin.

We can be really real enough to stay with them, to support them, to do what is practical, and to do what is immaterial, spiritual. To do more than just keep their head afloat, but to also teach them to swim in stormy waters, when no lifeboat is in sight.

To point them to the lifeguard who is always on duty, and to remind them that we are His flotation device.

Come on church,

let’s get

real.

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MercifulDays is a blog that I love to read, because writer Justine (who describes herself as …)

Australian. In America. Sister. Friend. Daughter. Wife. Mother. Writer. Teacher. Pastor. Artist. Traveler. Coffee-lover. GF DF SF Foodie. Inept but happy homemaker” simply writes to the beat of my heart.

She is not perfect, and she admits it! She struggles to do what she believes is right and good, and sometimes she hits the target, and sometimes … the target moves 😉

She is REAL …

The following is a blog post from earlier in November. When I read it I smiled, I sighed and my eyes leaked understanding. I also read hearing, from the recesses of my memories, a little Christmas ditty.

Read, and enjoy as your heart beats to Justine’s drum :

Each little ballerina was beyond ready to dance for their beloveds but traffic was terrible that night and everyone was late for an event no one should be late for. Ballet Recitals are important.  They are so important to a child’s heart.

Eventually the room was all too full of parents and grannies and the show began.  Group by group the music played and each little one faced their loved ones like sunflowers to the sun.

She was the tallest girl.  Obviously the oldest of all the dancers.  A little pigeon-toed and a little awkward.  Not a little girl anymore.  She stood with anxious eyes waiting for her music to start.

Suddenly the main door swung open and a tall bearded man appeared from the night’s rainy darkness.  As if he was the cue, the music began.  He stopped there on “stage” left.  It was too late for him to get to the audience seating.

Her transformation was instantaneous.  Her face became an incredible light of joy.  Her eyes sparkled.  Her smile beamed.  Her daddy had arrived.  Just in time.

That sweet young woman danced just for him.  Just for her daddy.  And his smile beamed back.

It was so desperately beautiful.  Tears streamed down my cheeks and I held back sobs in that room of strangers as I watched someone else’s kid dance.

I know that feeling.  When everything else fades away and nothing matters more than One.  When I realize He is there with me.  Watching me with His love.  Watching my every move because I delight Him.  And I can’t help but turn to Him.  Like nothing else matters.  Because nothing does.

This is how I feel about God.  And this is how I want to feel about God every minute.

Dancing just for Him.  Breathing just for Him.  Living just for Him.

There is simply no one else who transforms me like He does.  I need to remember to dance just for Him.

His great love is new every morning. Lord, how faithful you are! I say to myself, “The LORD is everything I will ever need. So I will put my hope in him.”   (Lamentations 3:23-24 NIrV)

“Blessed are the pure in heart
for they shall see God.”
Matthew 5:8

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Last week I was telling one of my daughters about a blogger I follow.

Although this blogger is young enough to be my daughter, she lives in a vastly different culture, and our theologies might be equally different, we share space and time, joys and struggles, as well as a love to communicate the written word. This lovely lady, whose posts I have shared a time or two (PrivyPlace), has just become a full time (paid) blogger. It is her dream come true, and I am so excited for her.

My daughter asked, “Mom, are you jealous of her?”

My daughter has heard me many times say, “when Oprah asks to publish my book …” and so she is very aware of that area of dreamland I sometimes escape to.

So, am I jealous of her?
No.

Happy for her, I am! But not jealous.

It has been about two and a half years since I dared to share my words, publicly, here where I aim to declare each day that it truly is a wonder filled life. I started, selfishly … because I needed to remind myself of the blessings of wonder in this life I live. This venue gives me the accountability I need to live intentionally thankful for all that I have … blessings and curses.

Without revealing too much of my inner soul, this space has enhanced my days, strengthened my relationships, and keeps me walking with my God.

What I never expected was that anyone (other than my mother) would read my words on the screen. Yet, the stats indicate that there is more than mom reading.

Almost every day that I have written (or posted the words of another) I receive input from someone …

a comment
a FaceBook comment
an email
a message

Almost every word that is shared with me communicates …

“that is what I needed today”

“thanks for being … real”

real …

for many years I felt that my ‘real’ words were not what anyone wanted to hear, to read.

But, that is what you get here …

the real me

messy, imperfect, flawed, sinful,
sometimes a guilt-laden daughter
sometimes a wiggin’ out mamma
sometimes a resentful wife

always
always a redeemed child of God.

My hope is that my posts might be, for those who read, what Proverbs 25:11 tells us :

“A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray.”

And my friend who is now a full time (paid) blogger … I knew her when she just did it for herself, and that makes me love her new opportunity even more. A profession born out of passion!

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