Tag Archives: Christ

The Audience Responds

Did I mention that I’m back from the Dominican Republic? Ha! Well, I am.

I do need to blog about that. I realize this. I will work on it eventually. It will be a lengthy, process and I do not have enough energy to devote to that particular activity at this time. In short, the trip was amazing! We moved in wonderful unity. God is great!

Forging ahead…

I don’t know if you are avid comment readers, but I received a few rousing comments on my post ‘Captive Audience.’ I do not know if the people who commented on that post will read any of my future posts–or even the comment I left them after their comments. Whether they do or don’t return to my blog again, I still want to respond. Plus, for any future readers, this may apply as well.

In the blog ‘Captive Audience,’ I talked about testifying to the truth. Some people find that offensive, binding, and annoyingly religious. I tell you honestly that it is not. I am not in a religion about God. I am in a relationship with Jesus. I realize that phrase may be considered over-used to some, but it’s true. I’m not in a hollow, repetitive activity that involves worshiping an unknown Being known as “The Man upstairs.” No, I’m in a dynamic, epic, deeply transforming relationship with a real, very much alive, redeeming man. His name is Jesus.

My relationship with God is not a set of strict rules and wrath. It’s a grace-filled, love-driven, tender, powerfully refining relationship. It’s not a freeloading, do-whatever-I-want-and-still-go-to-heaven sort of thing. God does instruct very specific things in the Bible. And I obey them. I follow Christ and obey God because I want to. Not because someone is forcing me into a relationless religion.

When I go to the Murfreesboro Writers’ Group, I testify to the truth in my life. That truth is Jesus. That truth is that I’m single and want to get married. That truth is that I am a song writer and am learning to play the piano.

When other people speak and read their work, they are also testifying to the truth in their lives. Their brother died. They are writing a novel. They are working on a short story. Everyone who ever says any opinion is just testifying to what they believe as truth.

I’m not a narrow-minded religious zealot. I am, however, a person who reads the Bible, conforms my mind to what it teaches and grows in my relationship with Jesus. I don’t see Christianity as a list of things that I cannot do. I am free in Christ. I walk in liberty and victory. I like it that I love Jesus.

I know that not every person in the world is going to agree with me, what I believe, or how I live my life. I also know that the name of Jesus offends people. I expect that. The Bible even says it will happen so I’m totally ok with it.

I don’t want to be irrelevant to this world. I don’t want my faith in God to cause people to instantly shut themselves off to me. But I will not compromise what I believe just to appease someone else.

I will write that DR blog sometime. I will. I will.

Captive Audience

Tonight I went to my second Murfreesboro Writers’ Group meeting. The first time I went, I read a song I recently wrote while on a plane ride. It was called “Fragmented Patches.” Maybe I’ll post it later. I don’t know. Do you want to read it?

I joined the writers’ group for a few reasons. I want to meet new people. I work at home so I have a limited workplace sphere of influence. Through this group, I can influence people. I haven’t been writing very much and I wanted motivation to start again. I have nothing else to do on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. I used to have Life Group that night, but ours now meets on the second and fourth Sundays of the month.

This writers’ group is a HUGE witnessing opportunity. Huge. Huge. As you’re surely aware, writing is a deeply personal activity. Writers write what they feel. And, if they claim to have no feelings, they make up characters who have the feelings the writer is denying.

What you may or may not know about writers is that they generally value each other’s work highly. For example, this particular writers’ group is for constructive criticism only. There is no tearing down of work, thought or concepts. There are many compliments. Several people are impressed by other people. A lot of the attendees in this group are writing novels and short stories. I am mostly focusing on poetry. When I read a poem, some of the writers have no concept of how to construct a poem. They are in awe of the entire poetry genre. To them, it’s a terribly interesting thing that they like but don’t know how to do.

As I was casually seated in my oversized Barnes and Noble chair, I quickly realized how crucial this opportunity is for me. I can write about whatever I want and they have to sit there and listen to me. The same goes for them. I have to sit there and listen to whatever they say too.

I am a Christian. My life is Christ. Naturally, I write about Jesus/God/the Holy Spirit/worship. Some of these folks “aren’t religious.” Those are their words, not mine. But they are intrigued by the things I’ve written and shared. They find what I say interesting and eloquent.

That’s good, because I prayed they would. I asked God to soften their hearts and make them receptive to the Truth that I’ll deliver. I also asked Him to protect me from any harmful subject matter that the other writers detail.

My first week, I read the part of a flirty, vampire girl. That’s so not my life. But this lady was writing a play and she needed people to read the lines. That was the part I was given.

I’ve heard stories of other-worldly mutant dogs; vampires; back-from-the-dead brothers; a pre-meditated, adultery-headed man; sword-chasing, sci-fi fantasy characters and a seriously demented mortician. Oh the imagination writers have!

And to that spattering of ideas and fantasies, it’s my task to bring Jesus.

I must be intentional with the stuff I present. I have a captive audience. Literally. In two ways. One, they are captive and must pay attention to what I say. Two, they are captives, bound in the lies of the enemy. With the truth that I share through my poems/songs/potential novels, I will hope they see freedom. And, in turn, desire to grasp that freedom.

So, if you’re reading this and you believe in Jesus, please pray for me. I have a unique and powerful opportunity. I’m very excited. I like being spurred to write again, too. It’s such a catharsis for me. I get a little giddy thinking about the possibilities of the words that will come out.

Idolness

I’m watching the Tennessee Titans play the New York Jets at LP Field in Nashville.

The Titans are 10-0 right now and are currently losing to the Jets. Maybe they’ll be 10-1 after this is over. Maybe they’ll be 11-0. It’d be nice to stay undefeated but I really don’t care that much if they lose or win. I just cheer for the Titans cuz I live in Nashville.

A few minutes ago, the Jets scored to make the score 20-3 in favor of the Jets. After catching the football, the touchdown-acquiring receiver ran out of the back of the end zone. Fans quickly started slapping his pads and patting him on the back in praise for what he’d done.

While watching that scene, something struck me. Fans clamor to touch famous people. Famous athletes. Famous actors. Famous musicians. Famous folks. We’ve all seen mobs of fanish individuals hound and surround the prey of their feverish attention and devotion. All of this energy and focus goes into just touching someone famous. Or talking to someone famous. Or trying to develop a relationship with someone famous.

I’m a people watcher so I notice this sort of thing a lot. And, since I live in Nashville, I’ve got ample opportunities to see the fans interact with the famous. It’s mesmerizing to watch a fan pour out all of their love for the famous in mere seconds. Because that’s all they have. Fifteen seconds to tell a football player he’s awesome before he runs away to the sidelines. Thirty seconds to declare unending devotion to a drummer in an autograph line before the security guard ushers in the next fan.

After a momentous (and I say momentous because it contains the word moment, implying a short amount of time) encounter with someone famous, a fan can be on a high for hours, days, weeks, months and even years. A moment becomes a lifelong memory. A moment that the famous person will probably not even remember will be forever inscribed on the mind of the fan.

Does all of this seem weird to you? Does it appear extreme? It should. That’s what I’m going for. I hope you felt awkward when reading about the fan/famous relationship.

I know this has been said before, but it’s weird and wrong and backwards to watch thousands of people scream praises to athletes/musicians/actors and accept that as normal. Human hero worship is not normal. It’s abnormal. it’s not the way it’s supposed to be.

We were created to worship God. The only (once) human we should worship is Jesus. It should feel and appear and look normal to worship God. Yet, to most, it doesn’t. Most people feel awkward worshiping God publicly. Most won’t scream praises as loud as they can to their Creator.

Even I feel that. I feel compelled to scream as loud as I can at a football game to try and spur on my team to victory. Yet, in church, when my pastor instructs me to show God my praise and thanksgiving for what He’s done in my life, something holds me back. Something constrains my total volume of gratitude toward God.

Maybe it’s the age-old unwritten rule that I’m supposed to be quietly reserved, respectful and reverent in church that stops me. *shrug* Probably.

Let’s put it in perspective. Jesus Christ enduring the crucifying cross as payment for my sin is way more praise-worthy than a Titan scoring a touchdown. WAY MORE. The touchdown doesn’t eternally matter. Jesus’ sacrifice does.

Back in the day (as in when Jesus was alive) people really did clamor just to touch the hem of His garment. They knew they’d be healed if they touched Him. I wonder if most of the world has forgotten that time in history. I know things would be different if people started remembering how powerful God’s healing is.

As my last blog said, there’s a huge Bible illiteracy epidemic. If more people read the Bible and worked to understand it, they’d remember how heralded Jesus was. If Christians weren’t so irrelevant and actually lived their lives in relevant reverence of God, then people would see that only God should be worshiped. Biblical Christians know that God has healing power and they walk in that healing power. They administer His healing power. They testify to His healing power. That’s life changing. That’s eternal.

The football game is now over.  The undefeated Titans just lost. Now thousands of fans are upset with them. Now they are held in less reverence.

God never loses. He never makes mistakes. His will and timing are perfect. The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are the undefeated Team. Hold Them in reverence. Worship Them. Do everything you can to encounter Them.

Don’t set your sights and desires on the idols of this world. They will only disappoint you.

Things I’ve Learned

I shouldn’t sulk when denying my flesh
I should take joy in suffering for Christ
Submission under God’s mighty hand is victory, not defeat
God’s plans are infinitely better than anything I could ever come up with
God is my provider; however, I need to approach Him and ask of Him expectantly
Waiting is an active process; my part is expectation and following God’s directions

I’ve Become What I Aspire Not To Be

I’ve become what I aspire not to be: a lax blogger.

I love surfing around and reading peoples’ blogs.  It’s exciting to me to read about all the goings on in the lives of my friends.

Somewhere along the line, I got off track with updating my own blog.

I’ll be frank with you…I think it’s cheesy and cliche to not blog for a really long time and then come back and write a blog about how bad of a blogger you are.  And yet, here I am doing that very thing.

It’s amusing to me that people admit things like that.  People who read the blog are already aware that the person has not blogged in a long time.  So why talk about it?  Although, I also find it gratifying to read someone’s web apology for a lack of blogging.  *shrug*

Moving on.  What have I learned lately?  Well, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that humility is a personal responsibility.  “What’s that mean, Lindsay?”  It means that humility is something that always needs to be tended.  It always needs to be cultivated.  It always needs to be pursued.  It always needs to be monitored.  It always needs attention.

To me, responsibility means all those things I listed above.  Humility can’t be apathetic because apathetic humility leads to pride.  A lack of care for humility leads to an excess growth of pride.

For all of my life as a commited follower of Christ, I’ve struggled with humility.  I would either be totally lacking in confidence, thinking of myself as totally unworthy of anything.  Or, I’d be completely overconfident and haughty.  Instead of finding balance in the middle, I’d teeter and fall from one side to the other.

After I moved to TN, I started attending New Song Christian Fellowship.  My pastor teaches that “humility is confidence properly placed in Christ.”  So, with humility there can be confidence, but it needs to be placed in Christ.  Not in the flesh.

That makes it so simple.  It’s not about shoving down confidence.  It’s not about bolstering confidence.  It’s about placing it in the right place.  When I fully realize that God is the One who will never fail and He is the only thing worthy of total faith and devotion, that brings me low.  Not low in a bad way.  But just lower in comparison to His awesome glory and splendor.  It elevates Him above me and puts me in my place.  A place of humble submission to His direction and plan.  It also takes the pressure off me to portray a flawless facade.

Back to personal responsibility.  My perspective of that has changed.  I used to be focused on keeping up appearances or scrambling to make myself not feel worthless.  Now I realize it’s my responsibility to stay humbly submitted under God’s hand. 

That pretty much sums it up.  I’ve learned other things, but that concept is resounding the loudest in my head.  Hopefully it will create a ping in your head, too.

In Transmission

It’s nearly August and I am still unemployed. As of August 13, it will be exactly three months.

I am in transition. From working in Nashville to working in Murfreesboro. From what I thought was everything I wanted to what I know is everything I’ll need.

I’ve invested many hours in petitioning God and asking Him what I should do. Questions like: Where should I apply? What should I say in the cover letter? Where are You leading me?

Honestly, I haven’t received a clear word from Him on where to apply. He hasn’t said, “Lindsay, I want you to apply for the Claim Processor 1 position at State Farm.” He hasn’t said, “Direct your attention to the Daily News Journal and look for jobs there.”

During the entirety of this time He hasn’t called me to go on to the next job. Rather, He has asked me to stay. He reminded me of things He said months ago and is still saying now. Things that I ignored. Things I took too lightly. Things I thought were clever ideas and crafty suggestions. He asked me to linger in His presence, spend time and grow in intimacy with Him.

In the words of my pastor, “With every encounter comes a commission.” Whenever I spend time with God, I should come away with a conviction for the next task He’s called me to.

I’ve been thinking that God would give me directions on job stuff. I’m unemployed. Shouldn’t He be getting me out of this? Shouldn’t He be providing for me? Shouldn’t He do this? Shouldn’t He do that?

No.

Romans 9:20-22 (NIV) says: 20But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ “[a] 21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Who am I to tell God what He should and should not say to me at certain times in my life? Who am I to direct Him to where He should lead me? Who am I to demand that He only speak to me about a pressing circumstance?

It is not my place to talk to God like that. By His character, God will provide for me. He is my provider. He just may not necessarily provide for me in the way that I expect Him to.

I cannot worry about my status of unemployment. It is not as if God is not aware that I am jobless. He knows this. He knew about it thousands of years ago. And just the same, He knows the exact moment when I will receive the next job. He’s not biting His fingernails and pacing around Heaven saying, “OMS (Oh My Self)! I am so worried about Lindsay. I don’t know what her next move should be. I’m not sure what she should do tomorrow. Oh. I’m so nervous about this.”

God is the potter. I am the clay. I am being molded, refined and perfected for my next venture. I can’t wonder why He made me into a pot of unemployment.

I researched what the word “command” means, and part of its biblical definition means, “transmitting a message.”

Although I haven’t received anything in my GodMail inbox regarding a job interview, I have received a few messages from Him regarding the ways I’ve disobeyed things He told me to do.

He told me to start taking prayer walks on the local college campus in December. I didn’t start those until May/June. He told me to write my mom a very important letter sometime in January. I didn’t do that until May. God called me to Murfreesboro in the winter of 2006. I didn’t get a local Murfreesboro number until a few days ago.

As you can read, God gave me concise directions. And I ignored them. I thought they were just ideas and suggestions. To that, God replied, “They are commands, not suggestions.”

Lots of people complain that God doesn’t speak to them. They don’t hear Him because they aren’t listening.

After months of disobedience, I realize that I am not only in transition. But I am in transmission. God is transmitting messages to me. God is commanding me. And as I receive each message and follow each command I know that they will eventually lead to a job.

I think God has asked me to stay here because I needed to comply with His previously ignored commands before I can move to the next thing.

I started taking prayer walks. I wrote my mom the letter. I have a new cell phone and a local number. I am looking for jobs in Murfreesboro instead of Nashville.

Just yesterday I asked God to tell me His next command. During the launching stage of New Song Murfreesboro (the church in my town) I missed a few sermons because of the transition. God told me to listen to all of the sermons since April. He originally told me this in April, but I didn’t do it then. However, He reminded me of this command so I began the process of listening to the old messages today.

After an honest assessment of myself, I think I’ve complied to all of God’s commands for me that I had previously ignored. While I hope that He commands me to apply for a specific job soon, I will still obey whatever command He tells me, whether it involves a job or not.

In Dependence Day

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

As the 4th of July draws near and thousands of Americans venture out to buy fireworks to shoot into the sky, independence is on my mind.

However, it’s not the kind of independence that the July holiday celebrates. Instead, I’ve been meditating on our days of dependence in Christ.

Recently, I’ve come to notice that many Christians are ashamed to be totally dependent on Christ. It’s interesting how ridiculously hard it is for people to come to the end of themselves. To get to that point of the utter famine of self-reliant resources. When they can no longer pretend they are ok in their own strength.

Why is it so hard for Christians to get to rock bottom?

I think it’s because people are born independent of God. Until the point of conversion to Christianity, a person has spent their entire life learning how to live for themselves.

When Jesus comes along He offers salvation through Himself, counsel through the Holy Spirit and a dependable, capable, loving Father.

Unfortunately, many Christians don’t make it past the point of believing in God. They stumble at even really trusting God. And if they don’t trust God, then can’t don’t depend on Him for everything.

I was just reading in 2 Kings today about the Israelites. They knew God and worshiped God. However, they also worshiped idols and served other gods at the same time. They were the poster children (of God) for a lack of dependence. Instead of proceeding swiftly to their Promised Land, they paused and tarried for 40 years in the wilderness in defiant independence.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend 40 years of my life wandering. Nah, I’d rather get this dependence in Christ thing down now and be productive and fruitful.

In an attempt to tersify the point I’m making, too many Christians still live independent of God even though they are in a relationship with Him. It’s kind of like they turn to God and say, “I love You, kinda.”

Let me assure that it’s not a shame to be dependent on Christ. In truth, it is totally ok and biblical to rest and depend in Christ. I challenge you to the title of this blog: be dependent in Christ every day.

If Christians get to the point of depending on God, many do not make it past a few moments of dependence. And maybe minutes, hours or a few days of dependence. Sadly, however, after they make it through their current struggle/trouble/problem, they stop totally depending on God and go back to a life of self-dependence. Then, after the next problem causes their life to go into a downward spiral, they return back to God for more moments of dependence. It’s a cycle. And a non-biblical cycle, by the way.

“Wait,” you say to yourself, wondering. “You mean depending on God for a little while and then trying to do things on my own when I feel better isn’t ok?” Correct, thinking reader. Correct.

Jesus said in John 15:5, “apart from me you can do nothing.” It doesn’t say, “Sometimes when you’re feeling extra super strong, you can do things.” It doesn’t say, “After you’ve depended on Me and rested with Me awhile you will have enough knowledge to be a success on your own.” No. It says we can do nothing apart from Him. So that means that we have to do all things with Him and in dependence on Him. And it also shows me that we can be desperate for God every day.

I think of it like this: It’s either nothingness without dependence in Christ or it’s fullness and abundance with dependence in Christ. I don’t want to have nothingness any day so I am desperate for God everyday. I am in dependence of God every day and I challenge you to do the same thing.

Make every day an in dependence day.

Everything Is Tedious

Last week I did a lot of repetitive, seemingly never-ending things.  It tested my positivity patience.  I was working on a few projects that required a lot of editing and restructuring.  With all of the redos and undos it would’ve been very easy for me to become cranky.   However, I kept my attitude at a relatively reasonable level.

If you’re at all familiar with the Bible, you’ve heard of the book of Ecclesiastes.  Solomon, the author of that interesting book, revealed that everything is meaningless.  He had all the riches and wisdom in the world, but it was all meaningless…

…without Christ.

With Christ/God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit, everything is meaningful.  However, without the one True and Holy God, every single thing you’ll ever do, buy, partake in is totally meaningless.  Infinite riches and happiness mean zilch without Christ.

I struggle with doing things that I think are pointless.  For example, I used to work at a grocery store.  Part of my job was “conditioning” the product.  Basically, that means walking around the whole store and making sure the products look good on the shelves.  I made sure that everything was facing the right direction and that all of the rows of stuff were pulled up to the front so that they could be easily reached.  I’d spend hours walking around and pulling the product to the front and straightening it out.  Then…moments after I’d made everything neat and presentable, someone would walk up and take off a bottle of shampoo.  So, my big effort to condition was ruined.  It felt meaningless. 

I did not like seeing all of my effort go to waste.

While I was driving home one evening and pondering all the editing I’d done that day, I thought to myself, “Everything is tedious.”  Not just conditioning in a grocery store.  But everything.  Driving is tedious.  It’s the same thing all the time.  Typing is tedious.  Eating is tedious.  Going to school is tedious.  Sleeping is tedious.  Working is tedious.  Everything is tedious.

It amused me that tedious and meaningless kind of have the same ring to them.  And, since I’m a Bible-believing gal, the similar phrases of everything is meaningless and everything is tedious made me laugh a little.

As encouragement, just remember that no matter how high profile you are or what job you do, everything is tedious.