Monday, February 18, 2013

Dear Christian Parent...

I do not yet have kids, but I'd like to share my observations-- and the temptations I imagine you might be facing...

When you hear about the extravagant birthday party a friend threw for their you feel discouraged? Is it difficult knowing you have "100 ways to save money in your grocery budget" pinned on pinterest, and you don't even have time to read the post, let alone implement anything? Does everyone else seem like they're just "doing life" a little bit better than you? Cuter, and cheaper, and more elaborate? They're kids are just better behaved? Happier?

I received a small note from my own dad on my Birthday last week. His readiness to boast {yet again} in the grace of God almost DESPITE he and my mom's parenting...was a fresh reminder to me:

"Biblical Parenting" isn't flawless. Honouring God doesn't mean everything is decorated nicely and everyone is happy and smiling with the most recent holiday-themed, decorated lunch. Parenting, like life, looks different for everyone. Yet, what we strive for, should be rooted in Biblical Principles. Your kids, if they are going to follow Christ, need to learn how to forgive, overlook, forbear, pursue humility, etc. And God gives them opportunities THROUGH your weaknesses in parenting, to allow their small, frail, perhaps beginning faith to grow and be strengthened. He will use every mistake for their good AND your good. How will they learn to forgive if they are not sinned against? How will they know they need Jesus unless they watch you lean and depend on Him- knowing you are weak and He is strong?

Think of "perfect parenting" in your mind. Now consider: Where is there room or need for Jesus? How could your children watch and experience grace? Or see a need for Christ at all? Parenting that is flawed, helps kids see our need for Jesus. It's on purpose that you are human. "Fun Pinterest Mom" everyday doesn't do what you ARE doing everyday; demonstrating how to live a life that is dependent on God. THAT is far more important than how often you do crafts, make home-made granola, or cut your kids PBJ in cute shapes.

May the grace of God keep your blinders on- so that you may rejoice with others in their gifts, and compare yourself only to Christ. You will fall woefully short. He will saturate you in grace, and encourage your weary heart: giving you wisdom as you seek Him and ask.

His grace to you this morning,

Thursday, February 7, 2013

You vs Me

It's an ugly trap.

Our culture is saturated in this comparing game. Who's better? Who is more gifted? Who's making healthier  decisions about their eating? Who works out more regularly? Who is more successful? I am 100% guilty. On facebook, in comments, in my own thoughts.

What is it we're saying?

Apparently there is some "perfect superhuman" we think we're supposed to aspire to be. Someone who works out, eats healthy, loves their spouse {but doesn't over-due telling the world that; a perfect balance is necessary}. Someone who can juggle their time and responsibilities, who home-makes everything and is frugal, who's crafty and cute, who is adored, loved, cherished, worshipped...

...wait. Worshipped? That's going a little overboard.

But. Is it?

Scripture rehearses the beauty of boasting in weakness over and over again. The Perfect Superhuman above doesn't have room for real weakness. They don't need Jesus.

What happened to us celebrating and rejoicing in our differences? Excited about one another's gifts, and yes, encouraging those....without communicating, "Your gifts are better than mine." Is this a mis-guided effort to pursue humility?

ARE we encouraging? Are we encouraging the body of Christ? Or are we puffing others up and tearing down what God has given us?

"For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function....Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them..."

If we all were on the same journey in life {which we're not} and all had the same grace given for the same gifts {which we don't} then this life would feel like a race. To be better, and do better.

But God specifically made us different. So that we CAN'T compare. We are to compare ourselves to the One Perfect Human, Jesus. And we fall woefully short in every way. It is there, in our weakness, He rescues us.

Consider this a small rant. :) More to come on it in the future, I suspect...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Unreached Passion

"I want to go where no one else wants to go."

In my very first conversation with Josh as we drove away from the airport and to a wedding where he knew the groom, and I knew the bride...he uttered the above sentence.

Little did I know then, the depth to which he meant this, nor the profound impact it would have on my own life.

As conversations have been uttered, and prayers have been prayed, it is increasingly more clear that we want to move to another country and people group. One who has not yet heard the good news of Christ, or of eternal salvation. Steps have been taken to evaluate, grow, and prepare us for what we hope will be a life-long journey. We hope you'll join us!

"But my friend hasn't yet heard the Gospel and she lives right next door...why go to another country when there are people in America who need Jesus?"

Great question.

One that I think David Platt answers very well in his message at Together For the Gospel- a conference for pastors.

In it, he emphasizes: local mission and local ministry are totally necessary. Our defenses can go up when missionaries talk about the "urgent need" somewhere thousands of miles away when our own hearts ache for neighbors, co-workers, or family members who still don't know the love of Christ. And for the sake of those dear souls here in America...we need people to stay.

But that doesn't mean that all people are to stay: we, as a church, need people to go too.
Global missions is tragically neglected.

David Platt defines unreached in this way, and I pray it is helpful as you consider journeying with us through this blog:

"Unreached means you're lost and you don't have access to the Gospel by which you can be found. There's no church, no Christian, no Bible available around you. Practically, to live among an unreached people means that you will be born, you will live, and you will die without ever hearing the Gospel that we celebrate....

And there's two billion people in six thousand people groups for whom that is a reality at this moment."

I wish I could pay you to watch this message on line. It's that good. Comments welcome.