building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Living with Intention”

New Movement

Being a certified health nut, I listen to many speakers and read many articles concerning health. However, I have to discern what to keep and what to throw out based on the Truth that I know. For the last several years, I have been living a more holistic lifestyle – more is not always better. I read the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker that really opened my eyes to my consumer mentality. I went into cleaned up mode and purged my unused stuff, cleaning out the closets, also changing how I shop for items that I use. I think differently now about “stuff.” My eyes were also opened about sustainability.

When I read about sustainability, it really hit me as a follower of Jesus. I had never really thought about how we were the stewards of the earth in this day and time. It changed how I thought in regards to chemical use on my plants at home and on my plate; how I drink water – no water bottles if possible; using shopping bags instead of plastic bags, which seem to float through the air around every shopping center. Not to mention, the garbage dump in the ocean that is larger than Texas; clean water and food deserts that no governmental agency seems to fix. Poverty is everywhere, but if we bought responsibly maybe things could change for those communities.

Climate change is a hot topic right now. Is the earth getting hotter because of man or is it a part of God’s plan? However, we’re doing things now that are unsustainable – our natural resources are finite and eventually they will run out unless we switch to a new mindset. The governments of this world aren’t going to solve the problems. There are many “grass-root” efforts that are taking on the challenge to better this world. As followers of Jesus, we need to be involved. I am not a tree hugger, but we need our Amazonian rain forests – they are the lungs of this planet. We need to be instrumental in doing good – even for our planet.

There’s a lot of “new age” thought that I have to sort through to get to the truth, but one thing that stood out to me this week is this thought of a “trance” we are living in that we think we don’t have enough; it’s a scarcity mentality. Lynne Twist (Pachamama Alliance) mentioned in an interview that we used to be citizens, now we are consumers. We are supposed to keep money moving; however, we have been seduced into this trance of wanting more. We don’t know when we have had enough and it’s killing us and this earth. We need to wake up to the big lie that is keeping us from being responsible citizens of this world.

This trance that Lynne Twist mentioned is really a tool of the enemy. This really got me to thinking. Christians should be at the front of every movement to bring about change. Whether it is resources that need to be sustainable protected; using money to give a helping hand up (not a hand out); consuming products that are produced in a living wage environment as well as resourced ecologically and giving back to a community from where it came (this will end poverty in those places).

Whatever the cause, we should be moving the cause forward; holding a different conversation than the one being held today. We are not to find fault that leads to argument. We need to shift the conversation to the things that are working and make a model to replicate it elsewhere. We need this conversation today because it’s not going to get any better without us.

One day Jesus is going to return. According to Scripture, there will be a thousand-year reign on this earth – this earth, the way it is now or the way it will be if we don’t stop the destruction. We will not get a new heaven and a new earth until after the thousand years. I don’t know if we will have the ability to receive water from a rock or if we will have food that will once again be nutritious because the soil has been replenished by our responsible habits of organically grown produce and rotating crops.

We can see in the Book of Acts how the people helped each other – anyone who had need was helped by the ones who were able to meet the needs. In health circles, communities are seen as a good thing. Community is one of the ingredients for a healthy body. God created us for community. We are not meant to do these things alone. We need each other and we need a healthy earth to live on at least for another thousand years or so. We need to think differently about these things. We need to pay attention to what we use and throw away. We need to wake up from the enemy’s trance. These things should concern us and motivate us to be different. Are you out of the trance yet? Let’s wake up to the destruction and steward our resources well. It’s on us to make a better place for those coming behind us. Time to join the movement!

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them
reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
God created human beings;
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
He created them male and female.
God blessed them:
“Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”
Genesis 1:26-28 (MSG)


Building Community

A couple of weeks ago, Andy Stanley blew up the “twitter sphere” with some comments he made in one of his messages. I heard the message that Sunday and knew there might be some offense taken from his message. The next Sunday, he apologized profusely for his “offensive” comments. He listened to his message and understood why the internet blew up – he heard what he said and how it came across. He said he heard his voice speaking the words, but the words were wrong; not conveying the message he wanted to deliver.

I won’t go into the message, but it had to do with the smallness of some churches. Growing up in small churches, I understood what he was saying because it was a “been there, done that” kind of recollection for me. I got the message in the context that he was trying to convey. And I knew his heart of the matter and he doesn’t speak unkindly about small churches. Small churches and large churches each have their problems in reaching the people – young and old – with the message of the Gospel.

Last Sunday, I sat in a small church in my hometown and thought about Andy’s message. But what I thought about was the context of the community in that small church. At the end of the gathering time, the preacher opened the front of the church to those who wanted to come pray or to come forward with a decision. There were many who gathered at the altar to pray. What struck me was the fact that it wasn’t individuals coming to pray, but couples or friends gathering to pray together. They were praying for one another. It showed me that we are not meant to walk this path alone. We are supposed to be in community with one another – helping each other walk this walk.

The church where I belong is a large church. If it wasn’t for the small group that I attend, I wouldn’t feel a part of this large church. I would just be a face in the crowd. I joined this church about four years ago and have developed friendships with those in my small group. But at times, I still feel disconnected even in the small group. I can put as much effort into the relationships as I desire. It takes intention- whether in a large church or a small church. We have to make the effort to connect. Relationships are the key to become a community.

Yesterday afternoon, I spent some time talking with my neighbor that lives across the street. She is a sister in Christ, and we have been praying for another neighbor as this neighbor goes through a very difficult time. She updated me on some good news, and we rejoiced together in one of our prayers being answered. As I walked away from the conversation, I realized this is what community in Christ is all about. We have an obligation to reach out to those around us. My neighbor has formed a relationship with the mutual neighbor and is able to speak about Jesus to this neighbor. I don’t have the relationship that she has and haven’t had the opportunity to encourage the mutual neighbor. Until the door of opportunity opens, I will continue to pray for the fruitfulness of the connection already formed.

I am excited to be a part of a greater plan. We all have to make the effort to form relationships we can foster and encourage one another as we walk along this journey. We are to be in prayer over one another and offer those who have difficulties the Good News of hope and salvation. God is at work in the community. We all have the opportunities to be a part of what God is doing around us.

The church isn’t about a building but a people. We are the people of God who gather together in a building or house to support one another. It’s not about a denomination. We are one body with one Head – Jesus Christ. The gathering size doesn’t matter – whether large or small. Community matters and reaching out to others is our mission. Prayer is the fuel for the power source of the Holy Spirit to deliver the Good News to all who are ready to hear. When we work together, we can do mighty things for the Kingdom.

Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful]. There is one body [of believers] and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when called [to salvation]— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all who is [sovereign] over all and [working] through all and [living] in all. Ephesians 4:3-6 (AMP)

Taking My Pulse

This year, I wanted to live with intention. We can do nothing of significance by accident. We have to intentionally make better food choices if we intend to get healthy. We have to intentionally spend time with others in order to become better friends. We have to intentionally read the Bible if we ever expect to grow in our relationship with Jesus. There are things we have to do in order to make sure we are going to live a significant life. I don’t want to waste what I have been given, and I don’t think you do either.

For the last few months, I have been asking God where I am falling short of living more purposeful in serving Him fully. Right now, I can feel Him taking my pulse. He has his finger on the vein that leads to my heart. He is pointing out where I have a trust issue. He is not condemning me for my lack of trust or my lack of faith. I asked Him to show me where I am having issues, and He is merely responding to my question. What I do next is up to me. I can either ignore it or I can respond as He wants me to respond. He has given me an idea of what I should do. I am in the middle of a wrestling match waiting on the outcome. Will my selfish nature win or my supernaturally given nature win?

I am reminded about a wrestling match between God and Jacob found in Genesis 32. The encounter with God changed Jacob. He was face to face with the human form of God. Jacob was holding on to receive a blessing. And only when the day broke did the blessing occur. God touched Jacob, which resulted in a limp. And God changed Jacob’s name to Israel because of Jacob’s new nature. Jacob means “He cheats” in Hebrew while Israel is said to mean “He struggles with God.” Jacob was a deceiver before the encounter and afterwards, moved into the promise that God had given his forefathers. Jacob became the nation of God’s people.

I said I surrendered to God, but have I really? This is where the pulse is beating right into my heart. If I am not totally surrendered in this one area, I may miss out on the blessing He has waiting to give me. But I have to be sure I am not surrendering for the wrong reason. It’s not about the blessing; it’s about the giver. If I can’t be surrendered to the giver of life, then I have real trust issues that need to be solved before I can go any further down this narrow road toward the Promised Land. I have to believe God is who He says He is. I have to believe He is enough for me. Jesus is my answer. Lord, let my heart beat for you alone!

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7-10

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