Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Leaving Sundays: Crazy Love - You may not finish this Chapter

Reading a chapter about one’s  mortality may not be the most encouraging thing to do the week of your first surgery ever.

As I've gotten older I've realized more than ever that I want to live a rich life. Not rich with money but rich with purpose, meaning, and of course love.

I don't want to be one of those people who have nothing but regrets for memories.

I don't want to be one of those people who lives her life for other people all the while stewing in bitterness and resentment because she didn't live the life she was called to live.


If you decide to live this type of life, then there are some sacrifices one has to make. The mantra I've decided to adopt this year is: "I'm Free Fallin'. Jump in Faith!

I've taken risks in starting my own business  that have left me in a less than an ideal financial situation that many would say is failure but I believe this what I'm supposed to do.

At this moment as I face no income for a few weeks and living off of savings, I know I am doing the right thing. Any other time I would have been freaked out, stressing myself out, or procrastinating but I know that I am doing the right thing at the right time. I have faith that God will provide me with all I need.

I've drawn lines in the sand saying exactly what it is that I want in a life partner and I'm not budging. It's what I want and I'm not willing to compromise because I am unwilling to have my life destroyed because I created an Ishmael marriage and family due to impatience.

I'm also unwilling to destroy someone else's  life as a Jezebel or suck the life out of him as a Delilah would because I am angry that I settled for what I did not want.

I have pledged to SAY NO to settling. If I say, "it's not what I wanted but it is better than nothing". then I need to SAY NO and SAY YES to what I want. What I want is possible.

I believe my calling is specific on the family front is specific and I'm unwilling to give in and settle for someone that I just don't love enough.

With these choices, there is risk involved. I could have egg on my face or face financial ruin.

On the other hand God could also be glorified through my story.

His glory will be displayed through my faith and not giving up.

1 Corinthians 10:31
Well, I’ll tell you why. It is because you must do everything for the glory of God, even your eating and drinking. 

Worry and Stress 

Worry - implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives.

Stress says that the things we are involved in are important to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our grip of control.

When I used to try to control everything I was filled with stress and anxiety. I was so arrogant to believe I knew it all and what was best.

I am so glad what I wanted did not happen. It would have been a disaster of epic proportions. I think what God has planned is so much better.

Lose Control 

Ultimately I have just as little control over my own life and what can happen to me. Isn't the easiest thing at this point to start living in a guarded, safe,  controlled way? To stop taking risks and to be ruled by our fears of what could happen?  - page 47

A life like that is one of my biggest fears. I life where I'm so afraid of what COULD happen and making up worst case scenarios that I never actually LIVE.

A life where I constantly settle and don't go for more because I'm afraid.

As Francis Chan says by acknowledging that we don't have all the answers and there is so much that is unknown to us, we reach out to God. We reach out for his guidance and realize that ultimately he has the Control and power. We don't. This made life a lot less anxious and stressful for me.

I used to wonder how all this stuff people had prophesied to me and that I knew that I knew was going to happen and I would try to make it happen with not so great results. Now I watch as God guides everything into place by connecting me with the right people and opportunities.

Are you ready?

As I said contemplating ones mortality during the week of ones first surgery ever may not be the most encouraging but it's necessary.

Life is short.

Are we truly living or are you just waiting to die?

Life is a gift 

I just heard about a beautiful teenager who was killed in a car accident. The young lady had her whole life in front of her and she's gone.

Francis Chan reminds us of the fragility and brevity of life. In the end all that will matter is our God. It's all about him and how our lives pointed to him through our faith and service.

Living a life of selfishness and materialism is unfulfilling and worst of all nobody will be helped or touched. Your life will not have an impact

Some of The worst funerals to attend are the ones where nobody has anything good to say about the departed or very few people get up to talk about how the deceased touched their lives. Francis Chan is a little more blunt and says people get up and lie at these types of funerals or everyone is thinking “They really weren't that great of a person”

Money, prestige, and fame will not matter in the end. It's about truly living a life of service and impact while here on earth.

Leaving Sundays: Crazy Love - Who is God?

The present American church seems quite superficial without much depth and I wonder if it's because God has become too familiar. It's turned into this God is my homeboy who is gonna hook me up with my perfect spouse and give me money, a nice home, and designer bags and shoes.

We don’t realize who this God we serve actually is.

God is Holy

He is set apart and has no comparison.

God is eternal

He is I AM. This means he always was and always will be. He is truly in the Power of Now because he has no beginning and no end.

Being eternal, God is also limitless. This is one of the downfalls of Church. Using Chan’s analogy, if God is the ocean, then They limit God to what they fit in their soda can.

God is all knowing 

One of the best things about leaving legalism was that I no longer had to pretend. I realized if God knew everything, then he even knew when I was pretending so i didn't need to do it anymore.

Because God is all knowing, he knows what I need. In the past few years, I've seen how things I wanted and I thought I needed weren't for me at all. I'm in awe of how God has protected me from my own bad judgment again and again.

Last year a woman I never met before said she had a ticket to this summit that was right near my house. I wasn't interested in the topic but it looked interesting so I decided to attend. It changed my life and brought so many amazing opportunities into my life.

Even now in this moment as I prepare for a medical procedure, I'm in awe of how the timing panned out. When I was signing up for health insurance this year something told me to go for the more expensive plan and I'm so glad I did because I did not even see this coming.

This year I declared my compelling vision of what I truly wanted and right after that things started moving. Listen, I'm watching this story unfold like everyone else so I don't know what will happen but I'm in awe of how things just flow together when you decide to let God take over.

These are just my personal testimonies of how God knows what we need and knows best.

I will never forget this sermon I heard from this pastor from China. Obedience is the key. Even though I've complained and grumbled about obedience, I see he is right.  I shudder to think what would have happened if left to doubt what I think is right in my own eyes.

Y'all don't even know! This is me as I write this!

God is All Powerful

 This is a pretty powerful scripture Psalms 115:3

Our God is in heaven.  He does what pleases him. 
 Daniel 4:35
All the people of the earth are nothing when compared to him; he does whatever he thinks best among the angels of heaven, as well as here on earth. No one can stop him or challenge him, saying, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’

To sum it up. He does what he wants

God is fair and just 

God never excuses sin. And he is always consistent with that ethic.

I think in our land of anything goes we forget that choices have consequences. If you make certain choices, then there are consequences. We seem to want to forget that.  God forgives and he also punishes sinful behavior.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Leaving Sundays: Crazy Love - STOP PRAYING

When you hear the phrase, “Stop Praying” people usually respond that people should stop praying because it doesn’t work.

Francis Chan asks us to stop praying so that we can reconcile who it is that we are praying too.  If we realize the God that we serve is beyond awesome and how great he is, then we wouldn’t have such a casual approach to our prayer life or our relationship with God.

Francis Chan asks us to stop praying in order to focus in on the majesty of our God and who he truly is.

Here's a great visual of how great our God is

Click on the awe factor link and be amazed at the universe that our God created.  THIS is who we pray to and believe in!

While we look at the vastness of God but we must also consider the intricacies of God when it comes to nature and also our lives

As Francis Chan says, the point of it all is His glory.

That IS the point of it all.  The Glory of God. I did not know that until a few years ago. I suspect many who call themselves Christians do not know that the whole point is his glory.

That's what we are called to worship and how we are called to live but In 20 years of Churchgoing  I never heard or saw that message.

The point of it all is for God to Be Glorified.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Leaving Sundays: Crazy Love

I had a realization of sorts over the last few days as I taught my course on emotional eating.

Author and Eating Psychology Expert, Geneen Roth says compulsion can happen with food, alcohol, drugs, and spiritual rigidity.

Yes, even religion can be compulsive. It can become an addiction and you become obsessed with doing everything right.

When I gave up compulsive dieting, I gave up spiritual rigidity at the same time. I stopped doing religious activities out of obligation and I no longer felt the compulsion to be so rigid about my spiritual life.  I gave myself permission to stop attending church and I allowed myself the freedom to pursue my own relationship with God.

This isn't to say I don't miss church because I do and I would love to start attending again.   I don't miss all of the time I spent there and feeling like it was all fine and good in the moment but where was the impact once service ended? Where was the fire? Church began to feel so forced, superficial, and shallow.  It didn’t feel relevant to real life.

I still haven’t returned to church and hope to do so soon.  Many people have recommended that I read Francis Chan’s book, “Crazy Love”  because he talks about a lot of my concerns that I have with the church.

Just reading the Preface and chapter, I knew I was going to like the book. I agree with Chan’s belief that as Christians there has to be some crazy and there's got to be some adventure. Otherwise what is the point?  

How will God be glorified if all we can say is that we go to church every sunday, pay bills, and have no excitement or adventure?  Even worse when go to Church every Sunday, claim Christ, and lead a miserable existence who will want to join that group?

People already don't take Christians seriously because they just seem to be known for putting others down  or claiming to be persecuted because they feel that they can't say Merry Christmas. Lame.

It also seems odd that the evangelical community is so staunchly behind trump instead of someone like John Kasich who has demonstrated his Christian values and openly talks about faith and working together….but maybe Trump is a better representation for the current Evangelical movement.

We are in an interesting time period in American history. I think we are about to push the reset button in so many ways and I believe the church will not be exempt so I am glad to be reading about what I can do to help move the needle.

Francis Chan says that he was placed at his church to lead people into lives of risk and adventure. How many churches do this? Most want everything to stay the same. They don't want any risk or adventure.  They have a hard time singing new songs or changing Bible study schedules!

Chan  also says that he believes that God wants us to live others so much that we go to extremes to help them.

I believe this too. I believe we are called to be EXTRAordinary so that means not doing what's conventional and safe. It means doing crazy.

Remember sister Leymah’s words found below. The ladies of Liberia went to extremes to bring peace to their country. I think at times you've got to get crazy or else your movement becomes boring, stale, and with no excitement. Pastor Violet Kiteley of Shiloh Church went to extremes to start her movement over in Oakland, California and it worked!

I am looking forward to the journey through this book as I become convicted and embrace my own CRAZY LOVE.
As the Great Prince Rogers Nelson once said, "LET'S GO CRAZY!"

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

On Surrendering to Being Powerful

Who you are is always a more vital teaching and more powerful transformer of the world  than what you say and even more essential even then what you do. - Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

As I sit here thinking about how this year is all about me stepping out on Next Level Faith and embracing an unknown future, I am thinking of this mission I am on.

As I sit here knowing there is more month than there is money and not sure of what will happen, I am reminding myself that on the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.

As I sit here knowing I don't have as much control over whether or not I will be able to conceive and carry a child, I am not resistant to it. What will resisting and coming up with worst case scenarios do except plunge me further into the miry pit?

Right now I have a mission to work on my business, study, build my confidence, and walk in my power. That's what I am supposed to do rather than worry about something in the future that I think will bring me salvation, I will concentrate on learning these lessons in my current season.

Go Get it Girl

I always say one of the reasons that I walked away from legalistic religion  was because it was not adding up.  People were saying one thing and their lives said something totally different.

I didn't want to be one of those frauds teaching and living a whole other life or teaching a message that didn't represent who I was.  

I can say profound truths, I can stir up people's emotions. I can be entertaining but none of it matters if who I am does not match the message.

This is why I believe I don't need any big platform until I have fruit of why my way of life and philosophies works.

It will do me no good to say Go Get it Girl and do this or that but who I am does not match up with a Go Get it Girl.

Do I have the mindset that says to Go Get it? If I do, then I will have the tangible fruit to prove it. but what people will respond to is that I can teach what I am.

I was the one who said, "I'm Going to Go Get it and let it come to me" and not only did I do it. I am it.

For instance several issues have come up this year over which I had no control and I'm sitting up here looking like: Really? Yes Really. But I've come to the point of surrendering. It's not that I'm saying "I don't care anymore. Whatever."
It's that I've come to the conclusion that it does no good to resist what is. For years I would resist what was and try to make it what I thought it should be. I just ended up angry, frustrated, and anxious. Instead of projecting and trying to make fetch happen, I just say: "Well it is what it is and I surrender that this is what the deal is at this moment and time."
I feel so much better.
I've also stopped trying to fit puzzle pieces together because I think that's how it is going to go. I've been wrong about everything thus far trying to put puzzle pieces together and so I'm saving myself the trouble of trying to figure it all out by just taking it each moment at a time.

On Surrendering to being powerful

I am teaching a course on Emotional Eating and as I was studying the material, author Geneen Roth said something funny. She said that if we were walking in our power we would alienate men. They would call us aggressive, demanding, etc.
I laughed because that did happen to me. A man I was very attracted to told me I was too aggressive. So I know that being powerful can come with consequences: Men you're attracted to may not be attracted to you because of that.
This doesn't mean you shut it down. It means you do re-evaluate where you can do better (be more considerate of others feelings) but you can still shine bright like a diamond which is where I am now.
I thought that something was wrong with me and I needed to be fixed. Now I realize that isn't what I want and who I need in my life. My powerful, demanding, go-get-it-girl attitude may not be for that gentleman but it may be right for whomever I choose to say yes to and that's okay.
I don't need to be fixed. I need to SAY YES to one who wants that in his life and SAY NO to one who doesn't. I think it's why it's easy to let fantasies about people die on the vine.

I am ready to surrender into being powerful.
I believe it's the only way I can have what I TRULY want: A big beautiful life with excitement and adventure.
I think about the words of Sister Leymah Gwobee 2 years ago and I remind myself that this is how I'm supposed to live

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Recommended Read: Listen, Love, Repeat Karen Ehman

I really enjoyed this Study from Proverbs 31 Ministries and I love this book.

I pray that my home will be a place that is overflowing with love and a haven for people who feel like they are the least of these.

I love Karen's story about how she reached out to various people who felt excluded and were outcasts.  She also opened up her home to those who were lonely or grieving.  This is what I would like my home to be like.  I want it to be a place of healing energy and a place where people see the Glory of God.

As it stands now Christians don't have the greatest reputation for reaching out to the least of these. As a matter of fact, it's become very embarrassing to see how unloving the Christian Community is but in my experience I think that's because many of the people are so miserable and unhappy.  They are mean and negative to others because of what's going on in their own lives.

This is not glorifying God.  
Nobody wants to be around these types of people

Anyhoo!  This is a great book to remind us that like Jesus we really should be out amongst the people and ministering to them.  THAT is what will win them over rather than screaming scriptures or telling them that they will go to Hell if they do not go to church!

Recommended Read: More than A Carpenter, Josh and Shawn McDowell

This my friends is a FANTASTIC BOOK!!!

I despise anti-intellectualism and I especially despise it when it comes to Christianity.  When I was growing up in legalism people told me I shouldn't read books or explore further because that is how one becomes corrupted.

This isn't true at all.  As a matter of fact, you SHOULD be able to study more and get deeper into what you proclaim to be your life's conviction.  You should know WHY you believe as you do and not just blindly follow a church.

What I have noticed is that the people who ended up leaving legalism were the ones who studied and studied themselves right on out of that group.

ANYWAY I like this book because it brings the history, it brings the facts, and it brings the theology to why Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God.

You know I once read an article about a young man who left church because he felt they weren't serious enough.  He felt that the youth group was more focused on fun and socializing rather than answering his questions about theology and why he should believe.  I have this same gripe with many churches.  It's shallow, superficial, and focused on socializing rather than bringing the facts about why we believe that Jesus was the Son of God.

Here are some highlights from the book.  This book does not ask us to check our brains at the door.

Wherever Jesus has been proclaimed, we see lives change for the good, nations change for the better, thieves become honest, alcoholics become sober, hateful individuals becoming channels of love, unjust persons embrace justice. (p30)

Historical Proof and Fact of New Testament Manuscripts

Jewish scholar Jacob klausner said “If we had ancient sources like those in the Gospels for The history of Alexander or caesar we should not cast any doubt on them whatsoever"
More than twenty thousand copies of New Testament manuscripts are in existence as of 2009. The Iliad which is second to the New Testament in manuscript authority has only 543 manuscripts in existence

One of the best chapters was about internal evidence that Jesus existed.

Several times in the New Testament people say that they were not making up stories but all of their encounters with Jesus really happened. (2 Peter 1:16) (John 19:35)

I also found it interesting how there was internal evidence that non believers saw all of these things happen as well and know it's true  (Acts 2:22) (Acts 26:24-26)
Just think about it if this  was all made up wouldn't all of the naysayers be up in arms as the believers say you know all of these things are true.

Christianity wasn't exactly the most popular religion at the time. If someone was telling lies, then they wouldn't say you know this stuff is true because they would be shamed and it would be further truth that this new Christianity stuff was all lies.

The conviction of the disciples

The disciples did not start off as the most courageous and convicted group. They did not believe after it was said that Jesus was alive. (Luke 24:10-11) Even Jesus’ own brother James did not believe in him at first but then became convicted and recognized as an apostle. What transformed Peter and Paul from deniers into martyrs?

It was their encounter with the resurrected Jesus that convicted them and that is recorded in the Bible

Personal Testimony

I grew up going to church every Sunday. Sometimes we had to go twice and on numerous occasions we had to be there all day!

However it wasn't until I was in my 20’s taking a New Testament class at Pepperdine university with Dr. Ira Jolivet that I learned what the greatest commands of Christ were. I did not have a clue before that class! I had been in church for years and years and never knew or heard that taught.

I had been indoctrinated with religion but never met Christ.

One of the reasons I wasn't sold on Christianity was because I did not see God glorified in my earlier religious life. In fact it seemed like blind religious belief was what NOT to do and in fact you should NOT blindly follow religion and traditions of men.
When my entire life changed in 2009 after accepting Jesus as savior, I Can say I understand radical transformation due to getting to know Jesus.
I've watched my life change
I have watched others around me change

I do believe that anyone who gets to know Jesus on that personal level will experience radical transformation

The author also shares his personal testimony at the end of the book and the radical change that Jesus brought to his life.

No Fluff-o

This book is definitely for those who are seeking the Kingdom of God and want facts and substance. This isn't a feel good book but one that will affirm your faith if you already believe Jesus is the son of God without insulting your intelligence or asking you to check your brains at the door.

It is NOT Fluff-o and that is a great thing!