Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"I'll Be Back"

Somehow I think Arnold sounds much cooler than me when he says that phrase...

But alas, "I'll be back" either tonight or tomorrow to post a little something that I've been reading about and that has been on my heart, but I just wanted to ask ya'll to pray for some friends of mine who are leaving the country tomorrow! They will be gone until this weekend, so maybe if you happen to think of them between now and then just pray for...
*safe travel there and back
*a HAPPY few days for their children and family who are staying home
*that they will have a blast
*and that God just blows their socks off!! :)

Thanks so much!! Back in a bit...
(sorry for any typos...no time to check!)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sponge Coffee and Camp Preachers

(This post was a lot more coherent in my head before I started…so you have been fair-warned of any boredness or confusion that may occur. :) )
Thursday afternoon I decided to make some coffee. (Please see parenthesis at end of entry for a quite serious confessional of sorts.) We hadn’t cleaned out the filter from the last time we used it, so I went to dump it out and ended up spilling its contents all over the handle sponge that was in the sink. (…which, I must add, was surrounded by dirty dishes even though the dish washer, sitting just 2 feet to the right, was completely empty and more than ready to accept a new day’s load. DON’T get me started.)
I decided to go ahead and finish getting the coffee ready (priorities people) and then I would clean up the sponge mess. I have to tell you that this isn’t just a regular square sponge with a scrubby side and a squishy side. (Sorry for the wildly technical terms.) This is one of those that the sponge material is really thin and attached to a handle that you can put soap in that comes out the bottom into the sponge. Plenty of little tiny spots for little tiny ground up coffee beans to get stuck. Dern.

I don’t know if it was the holy ghost moment I was about to have praising the Lord for CARAMEL TRUFFLE COFFEE, that I was thinking about a Beth Moore video I had watched recently, or the fact that I almost had to ask for forgiveness for the dirty word that was nearing my brain due to the misfortune of my kitchen appliance...but suddenly I had an uber-spiritual thought about our coffee-spotted dish scrubber.

“I should be more like this sponge.” (Give me a minute, I’ll get there.)
At that moment, there was no way I was getting those coffee grounds out of their new green squishy home. No matter what I did, they weren’t budging…they sort of moved around inside the sponge as I ran water over it, and most just got lodged farther inside. Then came the slightly creepy, but real to me, thought I had about wanting to change my physical make-up to that of the Sponge-Bob breed.
What if the Jesus in me was like the coffee grounds in this sponge. (And no I’m not saying that the Savior of the world came from a bean grown in Guatemala--although it does have a heavenly scent…ha, ha.—sorry.)
What if I allowed Him to be so stuck on and in me that no matter what came my way, no matter what spell the enemy tried to brain-wash over me, no matter what others thought of me, no matter how I felt, no matter what my worries, doubts, or fears were…my reaction, my answer, my hope, my home was simply JESUS. What if I actually let the Savior of the world inhabit my being the way that was intended?

Last summer at camp, one of our Bible study days was spent leading the campers through an extremely scaled-down model of the temple in the OT. We talked about the way they used to sacrifice animals, bring their offerings to the Lord, how one priest would enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, and how the people would bring their prayer request to the priest that they might be brought before the Lord. (I must say this all came about because we have discovered that the current generation growing up in the world has never been more spiritually hungry, but unfortunately they (self included) are equally biblically illiterate. We had one student summer before last ask us how they got the ark from Noah to fit in the Holy of Holies…he was referring to the ark of the covenant…yeah, wow.)
One night at evening worship, our speaker brought up something related to the temple Bible study that I will never forget. He asked the students to think about those that lived in the days where God’s presence dwelt in the Holy of Holies and the questions they will one day have for those of us privileged enough to have His very presence dwell in our hearts. “What was that like to have the creator of the universe live inside of you?”

Can you imagine the wonder with which they will ask that question? Most of them never having been able to get past the first few temple levels just to have the chance to think about speaking to God…and now we don’t have to move an inch. Don’t have to roll out of bed. Don’t have to shut off the car. Don’t have to wait until the trash is out. Don’t have to finish washing the dishes. And we certainly don’t have to keep quiet until Sunday. Oh, how I take the presence of the Lord for granted! He chose to live in ME!

(By the way, I have no idea how to tie this back into the coffee sponge from which I started so I’ll just not try.) I have recently been reminded of the deep poverty of my spirit and its desperate need to be daily restored by the only someone fully able to perform such a task. As a growing Christian I think it’s one of those things you subconsciously know--“I need help”. But when you actually start investigating through a scriptural lens the degree to which you need it, there are sure to be some sore toes, and consequently, sore knees. What I am finding is that I don’t know the half of what my God is capable of…and mostly because I don’t give Him the chance to show me.

I am all the time trying to do what Jesus would do because it’s what Jesus would do, inevitably missing the point of the heart of love behind it. A few weeks ago the pastor of a church I attend frequently was doing a sermon on the church as a whole and characteristics of biblical ministry. One of his points was this, “When Jesus is reduced to just an example, that is a false gospel…because He is so much more than that.” For example, when we feed the hungry (or insert any other outreach ministry opportunity) just because once fed, they will listen to the gospel, we betray the teaching of Christ and His character. Yes, by all means we want to share the gospel whenever given the opportunity, but not at the expense of portraying Christ heart in the pure and genuine form that we are privileged to experience daily at the throne of grace.

Annnnnnnnnd I’m out of things to say. :)
(PS. I think I have a major addiction…I LOVE COFFEE. This is a serious situation. Let’s just say, if coffee was alcohol, I can’t remember the last time I was sober. Yeah. It’s THAT bad. Prayers appreciated.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Honorary Backstreet Boy

It is necessary that you watch the head banging at the end :)