Sunday, 18 September 2011

How Can I Not Be Moved?

It's not the first time I've seen this drama. And it's moved me before. But tonight, I cannot stop playing it on repeat. I cannot stop staring at the epic story being played out-- my own epic story with The King, right before my eyes-- and letting the lyrics wash over me.

I have been that girl. I am still that girl.
And He has wrestled darkness for me, and still does.

Tonight, something is clicking. Tonight, I am staring at the screen, tears popping to my eyes every time the music picks up and she drops the gun, every time I see the face of the Jesus figure as he shouts for her and pulls for her, and then conquers the darkness and wraps His white jacket around her and holds her...

This is our story. This is what He does for every single one of us. How do we reject Him, or perhaps even more unbelievable, how do have this with Him and then, gradually, forget? Lulled by strategically-placed distractions and seduced by misplaced desires, we are deceived. And it still surprises me.

It also surprises me how I can go a single day without losing myself completely in worship of this Jesus for all that He has done and still does. For how He loves me, fights for me, pursues me. How can we not literally MOVE! Whether that be bowing before Him in awe, or jumping up, selling every bit of "wealth" we've amassed, and running to the ends of the earth to be a witness of this kindness, grace, and hope?! Oh Lord, that you would give me eyes to see You at work moment-to-moment! And more mercy for how much I forget...

"You're all I want
You're all I need
You're everything, everything...
How can I stand here with You and not be moved by You?

Would You tell me, how could it be any better than this?"
-- Lifehouse, "Everything"

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

...Putting it Back

This quote is resonating with me tonight. "There are people who take the heart out of you..."Oh yes, there are. As much as my romantic little heart just doesn't want to accept it; just wants to love on, love on, love on and watch His love pouring through it change the world all around it. I want so desperately to believe Him when He speaks of the way of obedience being the best way, when He teaches us to live with hearts wide open, always hoping, always trusting, always persevering in looking for the good in one another, in choosing to love one another even when we don't feel it, trusting that He will not waste a drop of that effort... I believe this. I choose to live like I believe this. But sometimes, oh, sometimes after a long haul it feels like the heart is drained right out of me... I know you know the feeling.

But... I also know that... somehow, in time (that all-important quality)... "there are people who put it back." And there may not be a moment where it all lines up and all is made well again, but somehow you find that your heart is just... back. And that God, throughout that all-important quality of time, has used ways too various to describe and too numerous to count, but usually requiring much of the tangible human hands around us, to restore to us our hearts which had been so drained away...

I'm working through some difficult experiences of heart-drainage which has been following me around for too long. I just haven't known where to start in dealing with it. Even now I don't. What do you do when the same people who at times have put the heart in you, are the same ones to take it right out? What about when it's a church experience? When the hurts happen in what should be the safest place? And you don't want to say aloud what hurts lest someone feels you're pointing fingers (surely every time you point a finger, there are 3 fingers pointing back at you, right?) and you set boundaries but people are offended by them (and the last thing you want to do is hurt anyone so that more hurt comes from the hurt you've already been carrying for years now, not knowing how to deal with it and feeling it growing more and more stale the longer you let it sit there locked away but never too far away...). The perfect entanglement. Feeling stuck to do anything but just go on, discouragement heaps on discouragement until one day, life has calmed down a little.And you find yourself taking deep breaths again, and there it is, just waiting to be dealt with and set aside once and for all. But the 'dealing with it' can feel more painful than the carrying it around.

Funny how again and again, it all comes back to this. So so so tired of that. But maybe that's what will fuel me to keep on working it through. I wish I could speak plainly without anybody taking offense. Instead, I form vague thoughts in the middle of the night, not expecting anyone to read them, and if they do, not expecting anyone to understand.

And all because I read somewhere that "There are people who take the heart out of you... and there are people who put it back."  I think we have a very real enemy. And I think he will take the heart out of us using any means possible. But I believe we have a victorious Lord, who will reach in and restore our hearts, using His children to reach out to us with His hands and feet. Even if the wounds those hands and feet of His children are reaching out to soothe were put there by the hands and feet of other children of His.

Doesn't it make you want to cry out "Maranatha!" Yes, it makes me desire His coming to restore all things... But it also gives me a passion to BE a glimmer of His Kingdom here and now. To "do church well". To truly be the kind of person who can be a part of a community of hopeful people needing His grace, which create a space where His Kingdom is exemplified here and now, for a world dying to see it.

Perhaps... in the end... that's exactly why I walked through my bad experience with Church to begin with. To make me as earnest as can be about being a Church which genuinely exists to be a glimmer of His Kingdom.

"I'm convinced that one of the reasons Jesus didn't confront the might of Rome or challenge the religious powers in Jerusalem was because He knew the story we long to hear is not one of military victory or political control. It's the story of a God who restores the lost and offers hope to a cynical world. The rumors of God are true. Jesus rose from the dead, and so did the hopes of all those who are looking for revolution..." -- 'Rumors of God' by Darren Whitehead & Jon Tyson

"...Love of God overflow, permeate all my soul...
Fill me up, God, fill me up..."

--Fill Me Up by The United Pursuit Band

Friday, 9 September 2011

Rumors of God

"And this is precisely what Christianity is about. The world is a great sculptor's shop. We are the statues and there is a rumor going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life."
-- C.S. Lewis

You know what you finish a book and as you reach the last page all you want to do is turn to the beginning and start it all over again? The truths it spoke were just that thirst-quenching, the ways in which it spoke them are just that captivating. "Rumors of God" by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson was just that book for me. 

Captivated by the C.S. Lewis quote above, the two Aussie pastors in America set out to explore various "rumors" of the Christian life, what truths can be found in the rumors, and how those truths are holding up in the life of the average Christian. Where we are lacking, why are we lacking? What does this say about God? What does this say about us? It looks challengingly at the claims we make about Jesus and about what it looks like to be His followers and examines the way our lives reflect that to a world which has only heard the rumors... Painting pictures with historical stories of experiences of faith, on both an individual and a corporate level, this book has influenced the way I pray, and awakened in me a greater desire not only for His Kingdom come on earth, but a greater passion to BE His Kingdom coming TO the world He's placed us in.

My copy is now riddled with underlining and stars in the margins :) I'd love to lend it to you, if you're in my neck of the woods!! Because He is so much more than a rumor, and our lives are meant to say so much more than we are letting them...

**I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”**

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