Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Every Believer's Calling

"The chimes of time ring out the news, 'Another day is through.'
Someone slipped and fell. Was that someone you?
You may have longed for added strength, your courage to renew.
But do not be dis-hearted, for I bring hope to you.
It is no secret, what God can do.
What He's done for others, He'll do for you.
With arms wide open, He'll pardon you.
It is no secret, what God can do."

It's not a secret that I've changed. It's apparent. It's... tangible... I suppose. I spend some time last night reading and re-reading my blog(s). The subjects matter, the language, the words used, or not used. I spent time remembering when I would worry about the audience and the reaction to what might be "too churchy or preachy." But, I can't help it... I've been changed, and it's no secret. It's not "unspoken," because - believe me - it's getting spoken about. And it ways I never thought it would. I've received criticism from places I never thought I would. Seriously. And I've received support from people I never expected to support me. That's not meant to be incendiary, it's just fact. People in church I thought would turn me away, have been nothing but supportive. People that I thought would be supportive have been critical, or dismissive. Friends that are not Christian, but believe in individual liberty, have been supportive (wonderfully so). And those friends that require so much support and "liberty" in their lives have been judgmental because I'm being vocal about "Christianity." The response is myriad. But let me just take a minute to say that my heart, and what I've purposed in my heart, isn't myriad. It isn't varied. It isn't even unclear. My heart changed. There are too many things that came together that God used… Mamaw’s death, dreams and seeing the hand of God, daily, move in my life, surgery and the fact that I was just healed. I mean, there's no other way around it. My life was literally upended with a series of miracles that I never expected God to do...

I can't help but talk about it. I can't help but live it. I can't help but re-evaluate some of the selfishness, sin, and direction my life was taking. Was I awful? No. Was I even "bad?" No. But I wasn't saved. I wasn't being the best version of me. I wasn't being faithful to God, or to any of the callings and directives that my life required. And as that becomes more apparent, it's also more apparent to me that God has me in a way I've not seen in my nearly 4 decades on Earth. I've seen it in others' lives. I've seen real miracles before. I've seen deliverance and joy and... peace... before. But I've seen it in others. It's new to be experiencing it.

Why this blog? Why this confession and review (again) of what God has done? Well... because we are all called to testify. We're all called to witness. We'd never hear the end of the lotto, if you won. We'd never hear the end of it if one of you actually won that furniture room-makeover you keep "sharing" on Facebook. Or if someone actually got that free iPad in the contest they tweeted 8 times a day??? We'd hear all about it. Over, and over, and over. I mean... look at how many times you have taken a picture of your food, put a filter on it, and acted like you were the Queen of Sheba at a Banquet!!! Girl, you are at Waffle House, okay? And I am guilty, too. I do it, and I love it, and I join right in... But how much more should I do that for real things God is working on in my life?

Matthew 28:16-20 "The eleven disciples went to the hill in Galilee where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him, even though some of them doubted. Jesus drew near and said to them, 'I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.'"

Now, this is an entire sermon unto itself. Notice that the disciples were "where Jesus had told them to go." #Snap When they saw him, they worshipped him. #Snap. But my point here is that he commissioned them to go and bear witness to the things they knew. That's all I'm doing. I can't talk about things I don't know. I know tech, I know social media. I know tons about partying. I know lots about fashion. I even know about laughter. And, now, I have to talk about God.

Acts 1:6-8 "When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?” Jesus said to them, “The times and occasions are set by my Father's own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

You will be filled with power. You will be witnesses. (You will be witnesses) to all the ends of the Earth.

One of my friends used to use a "tagline" or a quote in her blogs and posts years ago. It said, "Bloom where you're planted." That's good stuff. It's great advice, regardless of your faith, regardless of your spiritual status. Regardless of your money, your social clout, your stature in the community bloom where you are planted. Be a good steward over where you are. We all talk about the "ends of the Earth." But how about where you are? Start there. Be a good witness and live a good life where you are. I know people that God has touched and I know people that God needs to touch. I know what that feels like. I know about not using God and good things to heal yourself and fulfill your spiritual needs. I know about people that are addicted to drugs and leading a hopeless life. But I also know that "It is no secret..."

What is your life saying? What are you living today that expresses any relationship with Christ? I don't mean your hair, your clothes, or your mouth. Being white, conservative, and affluent does not make you a Christian. Do you care about others? I mean, really care? Are you concerned with their lives? Not just their souls, getting your numbers up in a revival, and making sure they are cookie cutter “christianists,” but their lives and their day to day walk with the Lord? Are you hiding behind your standards and not using your mouth to befriend and witness to people? I'll be more direct: Do you really believe in Christianity? Not just being “Apostolic” or “Baptist” or even, “Spiritual” for those that hate a label… but, really? Do you believe in Jesus? If you do, you'll live it. Not out of fear, or under the law, or even "standards." But love will make what seems humiliating into a humbling and loving experience. Love will take you from fearing "others" to bearing witness to God's Grace and power. Love will make you swallow a lot of pride and be kind in the face of cruelty, love will make you react with dignity and grace towards those that treat you poorly.

Don't assume who God loves or will use. Don't be the judge for God. Your job is to show Christ and His Love to people. You are to be the living witness of Christ on Earth. Loving God involves not just having a personal relationship with Jesus but also sharing Him with others. The world around you needs the power of Christ, it is no secret.



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