Archives For Jesus

Sent.

July 8, 2014 — 1 Comment

I’m about to knock your socks off.

(I know this because my socks were literally knocked off when I heard our pastor say this on Sunday)

Get ready.

Being a follower of Jesus does NOT equal going to church.

Yes a pastor said this.

(cue the amen!)

Go pick up your socks and consider what being a follower of Christ really does mean. Here’s what our pastor said & I agree.

Being a follower of Jesus means you & I are SENT!

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 12.38.24 AM

Before we get to the juicy ‘sent’ part, I want to talk about church. For some odd ball reason last week the Lord gave me this message that took about 10 minutes to write. I knew it was from the Lord because, well, usually a blog post takes me anywhere from three hours to three years, give or take.

It struck a chord with people. Spiritual abuse, often in a church setting, is not something that a good Christian girl wants to talk about. You know, it might hurt people. It might ruffle some feathers. It might have backlash. Or the worst, I might come across as a bitter, cynical, church-hater. I mean, it would seem a post like 5 Really Good Reasons To Leave a Church begging people to ‘run like hell’ (I re-read the post and I literally didn’t know I’d written those words!) from church would only draw people to Jesus, right?

But in actuality, all I did was beg people to see that it is okay to use common sense, and not sit under the leadership of someone who is using the name of Jesus in such a perverse way as to inflict emotional & spiritual pain, by manipulatively drawing people to themselves rather than letting God be God in their lives.

So I’m good with it. Even if there’s backlash from the very ones who inspired the post. God may just be using that simple post to set people free from bondage they are finding in places that should provide respite from pain & bondage. word.

Back to being sent.

Follower of Jesus = Being Sent as He was sent.

Love the Message version of John 3:17 (which happens to be our key verse while teaching in Swaziland, Africa very soon) “God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” 

As I learned this weekend, the words sent/send appear almost 300 times in the New Testament! I think God is trying to get His point across.

His Point? Go where I am going!

Where is Jesus going?

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is found with the people. Friend of Sinners. Oh sure, he respects the Sabbath, but not to the point of shunning people in desperate need of comfort, help & healing.

He’s found with the people. Like, real people, people. The rich. The poor. The adulterer. The beggar. The possessed. The hurting. The sick. The deformed. The thief. The fornicator. The fisherman. The unpredictable, clingy children. The drunkard. The liar. Even the tax collector!

If we call ourselves Christians, we are to be following Christ TO the people.

Are you with the people? Mike & I have had to ask ourselves that hard question… hard because being with people, opening our door & our lives is often uncomfortable & challenging. Hospitality is not my gift. 🙂

For the Christian whose spiritual life has been centered around the Sunday-morning-Gospel, its way easier to invite somebody to church than it is to invite them into our everyday lives! It’s easier to clock-in your Sunday morning duties (show up, sing, sit, shake hands, stay awake, etc.) and go home. But easier isn’t life-giving is it? We ALL know that feeling of ‘Dear God, there HAS TO BE MORE than this!!!’, right? Coming out of church feeling drained & beaten up, rather than healed up & revived… this ought not be so!

The kind of Gospel Jesus preached & lived is one that is people-centered, not church-centered.

When we start living this people-centered Gospel we can NO longer blame our lack of zeal, lack of faith, lack of God’s presence on the church or the pastor. The people-centered Gospel beckons us to seek God for how we can live our everyday lives to spread His love & bring Him glory.

This is not a works-Gospel either. It is simply a new way to see the people in your every day life, in your town, in your world as relatable. When our posture (not from The Church of the High & Mighty down the street) is that of building relationships, the ‘works’ of helping & being there for them come naturally. Its a very holy word called FRIENDSHIP!

We overcomplicate it. As I see it, essentially Christ’s message is to show love wherever, however, and to WHOMever He sends us! Hugh Halters, a pastoral renegade of sorts, says we can really only reach people we’re connected to.

For too long, the Pharisaical church has put up walls, both figurative and literal walls. Don’t touch. Be quiet. Keep your distance. Look clean. Pay your dues. And by all means, don’t ask questions.

But what did Jesus exemplify?

His life (& death) screamed, “I AM ONE OF YOU!”

He refused to put up walls. He welcomed people, welcomed touch, welcomed interruptions, and was more than comfortable around people who were far from God.

I don’t know about you, but this is a whole new paradigm shift in the way I view the Gospel. Even more than that, it just makes me in awe of God, and makes Him seem more approachable and accepting of me (beyond the sin that He & I both know are there).

Keep going to church, people. Don’t get your spiritual panties in a wad. But perhaps ask the Lord this week to open your eyes to opportunities that are all around you to share His love & live a sent life.

Shine On!

Danielle

ps. Eleven of us are being sent (nice segway, huh?) to Swaziland, Africa in 10ish days. We covet your prayers. Pray that we go with the posture of visiting a good friend’s house: that we not take over, but honor their home, culture & ways of life. Pray that we speak from God’s heart, not our own good intentions. Pray for the children’s hearts & lives – may we really see them and serve them as Jesus would.

Pss. Thanks Pastor Carl for not needing fame, not needing numbers, not needing a pat on the back. For that reason, here’s a pat on the back. Keep loving Jesus. It’s contagious, dude.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 10.26.18 AMFollow Me.

Jesus said those words multiple times. To fishermen. To tax collectors. To average men. Even to a rich young ruler.

And He’s still saying them today. To me. To you.

Follow Me.

Who is a follower of Jesus? Simply, it’s one walks with Jesus, listens to His leading, and does what He asks… no matter the personal costs. It makes no difference who you were or what you were doing when He said those words: He wants you close to Him. All of you. Your talents. Your mess. Your time. Your crazy. Your heart.

Whoever sold the lie that we’ve gotta have our junk together before Jesus will want us has deceived many, many people. It’s simply not true. I think He wants us to throw off the facades of Christianity and be real. Don’t you?

What does it mean to follow Jesus? It means a lot of things, but ultimately for my journey it has meant yielding when I don’t understand. I often say, “I trust You, Jesus.” What I’m thinking when I say this is, “I have no CLUE what is going on right now, but I know You’ve got this, You’ve got me. I’m clinging to that for my dear life, Jesus.”

Jesus is not a slave driver – He’s not asking us to be miserable. He’s just asking us to surrender, because He really does know what’s best for us. And He knows our greatest joy is found in His presence & kingdom. Think about that, He wants us to experience JOY, to be free from the weights of this temporal life, to live with purpose, looking ahead to the eternal glory set before us!

I heard a great message on Sunday that set me free in this area of following Jesus. The pastor said,

“I want to follow Him. I want to be His disciple.

What does that look like FOR ME?!?!”

FOR ME?!?!

There is a journey that God has called me to walk daily. And it may not look like your journey.  Sure, there will be some fundamental things that are the same. However, this statement brought it down to me & Jesus. It’s like I got permission from God Himself to be ME, to walk with Him on this unique path, to be free to follow Him with joy – even if it doesn’t look remotely the way we’ve come to think being a ‘good Christian girl’ should look like. word.

For me, Following Him encompasses these 4 areas: (of course there’s more, but 4 is enough to share for now}

1. Getting over the fact that I’m not June Cleaver. Heck, I’m not sure I’m even Peg Bundy. My house & my kids can be unruly… and I’m totally okay with it most days. My worth as a human being & mother is no longer defined by how (un)clean my house is or how well behaved my kids are in public. My oldest, diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, has taught me so much about acceptance & a deep love that goes beyond the outer shell of socially acceptable behavior.

2. Not losing hope whenever life throws a curve ball… or ten. Thus, finding purpose in the peaks & the valleys.

3. Celebrating & being grateful for the small ways He pours His love on me & those I love.

4. Cultivating my God-given desire to see children, (the forgotten, the lonely, the hurting) experience the tangible love of God’s kingdom – if they are across the street or if they are 10,000 miles from me. God is in the business of changing lives and He puts no borders on those dreams. He’s instructed me, ‘Follow me to Africa; bring awareness to their need for love & hope with the gifts I’ve given you. Inspire others to see both the need & the joy that comes from giving. Be the advocate I’ve called you to be. I’ll instruct you along the way. You were made for this.’ 

I enjoy life so much more when I’m not caught up in what our culture, organized religion, or my demons say I should be. So I encourage you to let all those things go – you don’t have to measure up to anyone else’s complicated standards. Live moment by moment with Him, ask Him to guide you, to show you how to be His disciple, to give you boldness to be uniquely you.

What does following Jesus look like for you?

Be free to follow Him down YOUR path. The world needs what you have. Jesus will show you how to get there.

Shine On!

Danielle

 

 

Row, Row, Row Your Boat…

October 25, 2010 — 2 Comments

Sometimes we all need reminders. Here’s yours & mine today. Keep rowing when life’s waves are crashing all around you…

We lived in Colorado for six glorious months last year. It was an adventure in so many ways and thank God they were mostly positive adventures.

Shortly before we moved, Grandpa & Grandma came for a visit. We went on several adventures with them, one being Whitewater Rafting down the Colorado River. They bought T-shirts for our boys, who also braved the rapids. The back of the shirts say

Row, Row, Row Your Boat...

Row, Row, Row your boat

Gently down a raging,

bone-crushing

Life threatening

Class V stream,

Merrily, merrily, merrily

Life is but a dream!

An adventurous twist on the old nursery rhyme. My boys have sang it many, many times since our visit from Grandpa & Grandma.

The Bible is full of adventure. Did you know the disciples took their own turn at a Class FIVE stream? Yep… I think they were way cooler than we give them credit for.

John 6:17-19“…And it was already dark and Jesus had not yet come to them. Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were afraid.”

Seriously, they rowed about three or four miles in the dark, raging, bone crushing sea storm waiting for Jesus. I read that this may have taken them nine hours! They kept rowing, and rowing, and rowing, until their Savior appeared.

If I’d been in the boat, I’d have been like, “Okay. I’ve had enough. You guys are ridiculously diluted if you think Jesus is gonna show up now! Seriously, He’s probably snoring under a fig tree somewhere waiting for us to get rid of our stupidity. Lets use the brains God gave us & get this boat to shore before we all DIE!” just before passing out.

If they had listened to me, we all would’ve missed the miracleS.  But FINALLY in the darkest, stormiest hour they saw Jesus walking on the sea. Jesus showed up when the storm was at its worst and when they realized it was Him, their Savior, they willingly received Him into the boat.

When Jesus got into the boat, “immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.” Jesus walking on water gets a lot of hyped attention in Christian circles. It’s like no one notices that He also TRANSPORTED them & their boat to EXACTLY where they needed to be. Jesus was the original Spock! Beam me up, Scotty!

I’ve got a few of my own storms going on right now. How about you?

I encourage you no matter how dark it is, how hard the storm is blowing… KEEP ROWING!!!! Row, Row, Row your boat gently down the raging, bone-crushing life-threatening class FIVE stream! Jesus is there with you, even though you don’t see Him. He knows the perfect time to intervene. Have you noticed it’s usually at the last possible moment – when circumstances look the worst & impossible?

So keep rowing when you’re tired & think you can’t row anymore!

Keep rowing when you’re hungry – the Bread of Life will satisfy you!

Keep rowing when family & friends have started swimming for the shore!

Keep rowing – your Savior is on His way & your miracles are in the making.

Shine On Sisters!

B-Team Prayer T-2 Days!!!

September 15, 2010 — 2 Comments

Everything our team and supporters have done this summer – blood, sweat & tears – is for this.

In two days we depart for Swaziland.

Yeah, we’ve done a lot of work to prepare for the trip, but the reality is that in & of itself none of that work matters without us going & sharing Jesus with the children of Swaziland.

This is not a missions trip for us to ‘see Africa’ & get closer to God, though I’m sure we will. This is not to pat ourselves on the back so we can say, “Look what we did for God!”

This is not a vacation. It will be hard & will be a challenge, for most of us, one of the greatest challenges of our lives.

It is not even to deliver supplies & provisions for the Beveni kids, though we are blessed to take them so much that will bless their earthly lives.

So why are we going then?

We go as ambassadors of Christ. We go to bring the message of hope to a dying nation. The hope we bring is that Jesus loves them & wants to spend eternity with them, that He has NOT left them orphans!

If you haven’t read Erica’s blogpost that I added earlier today, read it now. Prepare to have your heart broken. And let that brokenness cause you to PRAY. PRAY. PRAY. for the children of Swaziland, that includes our Beveni kids.

Reality Check.. by Erica Zeiler

Honestly, it’s easy for me to get caught up in the tangible business of this mission. Today, I’ve had a dose of reality that came through one of my team members blogs. Thank you, Erica.

Once again thank you for praying for us. Today please pray more fervently for this request than any other.

Salvation is the mission.

Danielle & The B-Team

He’d probably own the domain name IAM.com and have the coolest blog ever.

He’d speak your language whether it’s Ebonics or Greek, fo shizzle!

He’d be able to pull you out of that numb stupor you find yourself in. He’d know what you need to hear & write inspirational stories everyday that you just know are written for you. You’d be glued to his RSS Feed, just waiting for the next post to appear.

He’d be funny, engaging, insightful, and His words would bring about change in our world.

He’d fight for the poor. He’d scream on behalf of the needy. He’d beg you to take action.

His words would seem to jump off the screen. And sometimes, maybe more often than you’d expect, His words would offend you. Yep, you’d be offended by Jesus… {GASP!}

Offended just enough to keep reading. You’d hang on His every word, even when it makes you uncomfortable in your ergonomically correct office chair.

Yeah, JC would no doubt have tons of subscribers, yet not all would be supportive. There would be websites dedicated to removing IAM.com from the web. I guarantee His comment sections would be abuzz with discussion & controversy.

He’d have more Twitter followers & Retweets than Ashton Kutcher  – and He’d follow your tweets too, of course because He’s interested in everything you have to say.

He’d have even more fans on FaceBook than that quirky Christian guy Donald Miller, writer extraordinaire. Trust me, if you don’t know Donald Miller, you should. He’d tell you so himself. Donald Miller on FaceBook

I want you to be just uncomfortable enough to take action.

I wanna blog like Jesus.

Jesus in Disguise

April 12, 2010 — 8 Comments

Who do you surround yourself with?

Matthew 25:40 says, ‘And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Jesus surrounded Himself with ‘the least of these’. He gave them hope, He esteemed them highly, He even HUNG OUT with them – the beggars, the drunkards, the prostitutes, the tax collectors! But he didn’t just hang out with them, He served them!

Who are the ‘least of these’ in your life? He didn’t have to find out their life history to see if they deserved his time & efforts. No, he just served them as if they were kings.

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 10.24.28 AMSo did Mother Teresa.

“The dying, the crippled, the mentally ill, the unwanted, the unloved — they are Jesus in disguise… Through the poor people I have an opportunity to be 24 hours a day with Jesus. Every AIDS victim is Jesus in a pitiful disguise; Jesus is in everyone… [AIDS sufferers are] children of God [who] have been created for greater things.”

This was startling to me. What a revelation of truth.

That filthy mess of a man dressed in ragged clothing that stands on the side of the exit ramp, holding a sign “WILL WORK FOR FOOD”. He is Jesus in disguise.

That little 10-year-old Swazi girl who has lost her entire family to AIDS, who has no one to care for her, who has little hope of living past her 30th birthday, she is Jesus in disguise.

Let’s bring this closer to home.

Your beautiful newborn baby girl, fresh from heaven, is Jesus in disguise. Serve her with joy.

Your teenage son’s friend who hangs around WAY too much & could be a much better influence on your son, is Jesus in disguise. Serve him with kindness.

That little old lady, who can barely see over the steering wheel, driving 38 miles per hour in a 55mph speed zone, is Jesus in disguise. Serve her with patience.

Serve your baby girl, that teenage boy, that little old white-haired lady with fresh eyes today. They just might be – no – they ARE Jesus in disguise. Serve them with joy, patience, and love. Jesus will thank you!

Look for Jesus today. He’s all around you!

Shine On!

Danielle