Tag Archives: Christian

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Crappyness

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got an epidemic!

Satan–the enemy of our souls–has silenced too many Christians.

I have been a silent one.
I have been convinced that what I have to say does not matter.
I’ve been duped that I have nothing to contribute.

During my season of silencing, I thought I was being reflective and pensive. It was just part of life. I had the liberty to process. It led to a lot of crappyness in the Kingdom.

Satan’s life is throwing me death.
Satan’s liberty is to torment me.
Satan’s fruit is the pursuit of crappyness.

The lie is I have nothing to say. The truth is that I have more to share than ever before. The lie is that my life is inconsequential and not worth mentioning. The truth is I’ve got the Truth in me and He needs to be shared.

My aim is to advance the Great Commission. When I am too silent, I miss the mark. And missing the mark is the definition of sin. If the Holy Spirit has put something in me and I don’t share it, then I’m grieving Him.

What are you doing with your life? Sitting around watching television, trying to solve the world’s problems from your couch?

What liberties are you living for? The liberty to do whatever you want, whenever you want?

Are you in the pursuit of crappyness?

Assess where you are and ask the Lord what you can improve in your life. Ask Him to show you where you’ve been silent. You may be surprised by what you hear.

Counting the Cost of Discipleship

In September of 2009, I started an Immersion Discipleship Training (IDT) program. Now, a year later, I have much to reflect on.

This week, I started my second year of my IDT student internship at New Song Christian Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s safe to say that I’ve been effectively discipled in this last year. I am more proficient in the Word and Spirit. I walk in more power and authority. I also have a lot less free time on my hands.

Biblical discipleship is not that common of a thing. Few churches and Christian communities invest the time in the upcoming generations.

The current trend is quite opposite of what I’m experiencing at New Song. Most leaders today hoard their positions, grasping them with a greedy death grip. New Song’s leaders don’t do that.

Discipleship is expensive! But not necessarily in the monetary sense. Sure books and materials for Bible classes cost money. Yes, the cost of food to feed students is consequential. But the greatest cost of biblical discipleship is time.

Time, talent and treasure. God asks us to sow all of those things into His Kingdom. These triad T’s are being sown into me.

Time
Want to show somebody you love them and care about their future? Invest time in them. Give them the thing that cannot be repaid. Give them the ticking seconds on your life’s clock.

The staff at New Song Christian Fellowship believes in pouring into the next generation and they do it very well.

Talent
Each person is created by God with a unique set of gifts. These gifts are not meant to be exploited for personal gain. Rather, they are designed to be shared. We are created to bless and complement each other. We are meant to work together. We’re weak in some areas so others can be strong and help us with them. Too, we are strong in particular practices so we can practically provide for others. Daily I am strengthened in my weak areas because the staff at New Song share their talents with me and help me refine the talents God gave me.

Treasure
I admit it. Money is important. But money doesn’t make the world go ’round. The earth spins because Jesus holds all of the universe together. We can’t serve two masters, God and money. We have to instead master our money and use it for God’s Kingdom. Numerous people have sown financially into me. I live in a host home rent-free. I’ve received anonymous financial gifts. I’ve gotten gift cards to buy food. My high school mascot was a Pirate. As a Pirate, I really love treasure. ūüėÄ

My hope for every person reading this is that you have an opportunity to be discipled. Know Christ better. Grow in your knowledge of the Word. Know that the Bible is not this obscure, impossible to understand book. Realize Christ is alive. Life a life of dynamic power and movement.

If you’re not plugged into a dynamic community of believers, don’t despair. There’s hope for you.

The Lord has impressed it upon the hearts of the New Song leadership to create a resource called Disciple’s Handbook. This way anybody who wants to can be effectively discipled. The Great Commission is carried out through this resource. We’re currently in the process of writing the pilot edition of Disciple’s Handbook. It’s not perfect. There may be a typo or thirty. But we know that it’s God-inspired and Holy Spirit directed. The end result of Disciple’s Handbook will be three editions with 12 lessons. Right now we’re up to lesson seven in edition one. We’re working on writing lesson 11 right now. However, the rest of the book and editions haven’t even been written yet! That’s how fresh this is.

Go to New Song’s website to download the lessons for Disciple’s Handbook. Post a comment and let me know what you think of it!

Pastor Dale Evrist, Senior Pastor of New Song Nashville does a daily Old Testament podcast on iTunes. If you want to grow in understanding the Old Testament and how it applies to you today, listen to his free podcast. It’s full of great truth and life lessons. Download iTunes if you don’t already have it. Here’s a link to his Walking Through the Word Podcast on iTunes.

Consider yourself resourced!¬†I am going to warn you, though. Laying down your life in obedience to Christ is costly. But it’s absolutely worth the investment!

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.

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

Walk On Top Of The Walls, Not Through Them

Today my roommate Shay and I attended an event called “Crossing The Boro.” Basically, a few of the churches in town joined together to walk across our city in a display of unity and prayer for the schools that the children in our churches attend.

(That was a long sentence.) Anyway…

Although our church was not/currently is not officially affiliated with this event/ministry, Shay and I thought it would be a good expression of support and unity to join with those churches in this walk. Anyone who wanted to come was invited, so we accepted the invitation.

The church that I attend is very purposeful and progressive in its pursuit of citywide church unity. Our lead pastor is very vocal about God’s heart for unity so, not suprisingly, the satellite congregation that I attend values unity as well.

Sadly, many churches would rather drink dirty toilet water than partner with another church/other churches. Denominational ego, pride, attendance stats and territory become an issue.

So, when Shay told me about this event happening in town, I was ecstatic! I heart unity!

At the end of the walk, there was a rally in a local elementary school. The leaders of “Crossing The Boro” told the elementary students present to get together by school and pray for their teachers, faculty and classmates.

Since Shay and I are no longer in elementary school and don’t have children, we silently prayed in our seats.

As I was praying, I asked God to break down the walls between churches and schools. After I said that, I received a vision from Him.¬† Take note that I’m telling this story with just me in it, but when I say “I,” it also includes everyone in my church.¬† It was just easier to write this in first person. Here it is:

Standing before me was a very large wall that I could not get through. It was impenetrable. I was trying to kick through the wall and find a way to break it down. Instead, God picked me up and lifted me to the top of the wall. Upon arriving there, I realized that the wall was wide enough for me to walk on safely and comfortably. I began to walk on top of the wall. As I walked, I saw all of the divided segments of the city down below. Each had it’s own compartmentalized space, surrounded by walls. In some of the compartments, there were churches. Their influence only reached to the edge of their walls. In segments without churches, no one was able to get to them and show them Christ because of the walls. As I continued my wall trekking, I saw other churches being lifted up from their segmented areas below and beginning to walk the walls. I continued walking and I eventually encountered the other churches. We introduced ourselves and stopped together to pray for citywide church unity. After we finished praying, we walked together further along the wall. Eventually, we met more churches, stopped together to pray for unity and then kept walking together. This process was repeated until all of the churches had met and prayed. By this time, we came to a central, larger portion of the wall where we could all congregate together. We prayed prayers of thanksgiving, unity and praise to God one last time in our large group. When the final prayer was finished and we opened our eyes, we were surrounded by one fortified wall around the city instead of dividing walls inside the city.

That is an awesome vision, yeah? I think so! I love how God showed me a totally different perspective than what I asked Him for. He said, “Well, Lindsay, that’s a noble thing to pray for, but I have a better idea. C’mon, let’s go for a ride.”

Not only was it a prophetic picture, but it was also a keen reminder for me to be flexible and willing to do things God’s way. I could stand and try to kick down a wall by myself for years and have no success. But partnering with others in corporate community in humble submission to God’s command will bring exponential movement.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 lieu of Coke, I drank sweet tea

You’d think that after sitting around and thinking for three weeks that I’d have wonderful things to say.

You’d think my words would be eloquent and divinely inspired.

You’d think they would be full of revelation and profound truth.

You’d think…

I’d say that, yeah, I have learned a lot in this time. Yeah, I do have great things to say. Sure, if I sat here long enough and proofread every word three times this blog would flow seamlessly. Certainly I’ve received words of comfort from God. But I don’t know if I’d term them revelationary. (Yeah. That’s a new word.)

My roommate suggested that I fast something until I get a job. I decided to fast pop/soda/coke/cola/soda pop. Truth is, I’d often find myself plotting ways to go out and buy pop. I’d plan my day around my cola intake. I’d say that’s a case of the flesh overtaking my self control. Time out for a mini-lesson. Your flesh is your sinful, lustful, selfish side. Your spirit (that is, if you’re a Christian) is the God-seeking, submissive, righteous, holy side.

Since last week, I’ve not had any pop. It hasn’t been that hard to abstain from drinking it.

However, I noticed that I started drinking sweet tea and eating more candy bars instead. Rather than totally overcoming the urge for sugar, I just transferred the method of sugar intake. Not exactly a successful fasting exercise.

Good news is that I realized this was happening and I’ve taken steps to properly align myself, God, the flesh and my desires.

Some of you may find it weird that I have to starve my flesh into submission. I don’t find it strange. I find it necessary. Contrary to the way America works, our flesh and self-fleshness (‘nother new word combo) are not in charge. The flesh shouldn’t rule all of our desires. We shouldn’t go about our lives driven by our latest lust.

If I’m not careful, I find myself scheming for the next thing that I want. Take now, for example. I want an iPod Touch. My flesh is convinced that I have every good reason to have one. Examine the truth and you’ll find that I already have an iPod Nano. The Nano works fine. I’m unemployed and frankly cannot and should not afford another iPod right now. The main reasons I want an iPod Touch are so I can have wireless connectivity and email wherever I am. I want to beef up my cool factor. I want to have another toy to play with.

I don’t need a new iPod. I just want one. For totally stupid reasons.

If I were still employed, I would’ve purchased that iPod around the time I got laid off. I thought I had enough money to do pretty much whatever I wanted. I was planning a trip to New Mexico. I had a newly-deposited stimulus check from the government sitting in my bank account, waiting to be used. I was loving work. I was rolling in self competency.

And then all of that dreaminess and money freedom ended on a Tuesday morning when my boss came in and said my position had been eliminated.

I went from iPod dreams to an, “I’m unemployed,” reality.

Three weeks later, here I am with my third (perhaps fourth blog) about the fact that I’m unemployed. I still haven’t lost hope. I’m still expecting God to do great things.

Here’s what’s different:

1. I’m no longer controlled by my flesh (and ultimately Satan; since he drives all pursuits of the flesh).

2. I’m stewarding the money God has allowed me to temporarily use as my own to pay my bills, sow the seeds of His kingdom and give back to Him mainly in increments of 10%.

3 I’m a prisoner of hope. All I can do is hope. I cannot be negative because I find no moral, spiritual, physical, mental or sensical reason to be negative.

4. I enjoy my life everyday because I’m desperate for God, His provision, His work, His might, His comfort and His promises. I’ve learned the lesson that I need to be desperate for God all of the time. On the good days, the bad days, the sad days, the glad days. All days must be desperate days. Apart from God, I can do nothing. I was aware of that verse and concept but I just didn’t quite get it until I found myself in desperation.

I used to be ashamed of desperation. I have always been the put-together, proud person. I would only tell my life story experiences after they were wrapped up, taken care of and had a happy ending.

And now I am desperate…and I am celebrating it! I need God–more than I need a happy ending, more than I need a great job, more than I need a husband, more than I need food on the table.

In my current mental movie, I see the Nashville skyline on the left and God standing on the right. I hear Him say, “Do you choose to be alone with everything–your dream job, a good paycheck and friendly coworkers? Or do you choose Me alone, your everything? What do you want? Commuter? Or community? Do you want to be alone in your car on the way to work most of your life? Or do you want to work in the community where you live and build relationships with the neighbors around you?”

As I gaze upon the city skyline, I sigh. I see falsely glamorous, busy activity and aimless pursuits in circular, repetitive motion. When I fix my eyes upon Him, my Creator, I see true peace. I see a flowing river next to a stable, rooted, healthy tree.

Without vision, the people perish. Thankfully, you’ve just witnessed me receiving something revelationary.

I choose He alone, my everything.

Guided Aimlessness

I lost my job today.

It was totally unexpected.¬† And it wasn’t my fault.¬† They told me that it was because of business reasons.¬† The company’s not doing so hot and the economy isn’t either.¬† Therefore, here I am sitting at home without the thought of having to go to work tomorrow.

I’m not upset about losing my job.¬† I know that God will (and has and will continue to) take care of me.¬† He’s my provider and provision.¬†

I know that I’ll “land on my feet.”¬† I know I’m capable and qualified.¬† I know that there’s something better out there waiting for me.¬†

The thing that I don’t know right now is what exactly I’m supposed to do.¬† I don’t know if I should stay in the web/publishing business.¬† I don’t know if I should work in Nashville or here in Murf.¬†

I’ve already applied for several jobs online.¬† Yet I have to fight that feeling that I haven’t done enough to find a new place to work.¬† Nagging thoughts of uselessness and laziness hit my brain every few minutes.¬†

I’ve worked at several different places.¬† I’ve been a Certified Nursing Assistant, Flagger Girl, Copy Editor, Editor, Photographer, Writer, Resident Assistant, Front Desk Worker,¬†Cashier and Stocker.

I absolultely loved my last job.¬† I thought it would be the thing I¬†would do¬†for a good portion of my life.¬† And now I’m not so sure about that.

I totally trust that God¬†is directing¬†my path, but right now I’m lacking on revelation on where to go next.¬† I need to delve into the Bible and stay in constant prayer about this.

I’m elated to report that I’ve received tons of support from my friends and family.¬† I’m so thrilled to know that they are lifting me up in prayer and that they’ll also seek direction from God on how I should proceed.

As I was considering things today, I realized that I’d been prideful again.¬† I thought I was better than people because I had a first shift job, was on salary, had a 401K and got a lot of free stuff.¬† I elevated myself above others because of the job I had.¬†

I know that it’s not right to do that, but there’s a fine line between being excited about the things I’ve accomplished and judging other people.¬† I often err on the side of judging and taking too much credit for myself and not giving it to God.¬† I’ve repented for that but I need to make significant change in that area.

Parts of me wonder if this job loss is a result of my pride.

Well, fortunately,¬†now I’ve got lots of time to really seek God.¬†

Curse the crisis

I believe that America has talked itself into a financial crisis.

If you watch or read any amount of news right now, it’s littered with opinions that we’re in a recession or we’re going into one.

I do not agree with those headlines.

I believe we’ve cursed ourselves into crisis. We keep talking about how bad the economy is and how bad things will get. We are speaking curses over our lives.

As a follower of Jesus, I’ve learned that God inhabits the praises of His people. I’ve also learned that we can prophesy things into our lives. We can speak in faith and expect God to work.

Satan is the thief of joy so he loves it when people speak negative things. Satan covets cursing.

People (except for a few) are not living by Kingdom principles. What are Kingdom principles? Well, living by Kingdom principles means living biblically. It means trusting God to be our provision. It means giving God 10% of the firstfruits our income. It means encouraging and uplifting each other. It means believing and living in faith and not failing and falling in fear.

I don’t walk around every day fearing that I’ll lose my job and end up homeless on the street. I do walk in confidence knowing that God is my provision, my shield, my refuge, my comfort, my strength.

Take a look around you. Most of what you’ll see is fear. God is not a God of fear. That means that an opposing force is at work. Satan flourishes in fear and prospers in panic.

I don’t believe we’re in a recession. We are, however, in an excession. A world in excess sin, idolatry, independence and negativity.

God loves to bless His people with prosperity…when they are obedient. Immediate obedience brings immediate rewards. As I walk in faith and obedience to Christ, I’m not afraid of all of these terrible things that the news proclaims. The world’s headlines are not my heartaches.

Care Actor Trait

I confess that many of my blogs grow from a clever idea for a title. Take this one for example. I was thinking about character traits one day. My mind moved on to the verses in the Bible that talk about being not only hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word. It moved on further to reminding that I need to (and we need to) act in kindness and compassion to one another. Those actions need to define our lives.

All of this is taken from James 1:21-24.

21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (Emphasis mine.)

I’ll break it down.

Care: Several verses in the Bible talk about Jesus being overcome with compassion. The Messiah of the world cared a lot about those around Him. Think about it. He had to. He endured the worst suffering of all humanity. To me, that means He cares more than this mortal, limited mind understands. And because Jesus cares, I care. Why? Because the Bible instructs me to be Christ-like.

Care.

Actor: This word puts the movement into this whole concept. The verses above basically mean that we can’t just listen to the Word. We can’t just soak in biblical instruction because we’ll forget what we learned if we don’t act on it. We can’t just go to church and sit there half interested, cuz if we do we’ll live half lives. We can’t go through the motions in life, because if we do, life will be motionless. We need to be doers and be active. We must take what we hear and put it into practice.

Care Actor.

Trait: A distinguishing quality. Distinguished is an important word here. Biblically, we’re told not to conform to the patterns of this world. It’s easy to just do what the majority does and to follow the path that most have trudged to get where they got. Conformity is not distinguished. Not in the least. Conformity is actually boring, messy, disappointing and uninteresting. But distinguishment…that’s sophisticated. That’s endearing. That’s special. That’s unique. That is a term of identity. In this case, an identity in Christ. Nothin’ more distinguished than that.

Care Actor Trait.