Posts tagged Worship
Sherri Turkle’s TED talk about the disconnect through technology (“Connected but Alone”), really picked at some social norms that are poisoning us. Right after that, a friend came over to have a “face to face” conversation because “My emails tend to make things worse,” she confessed. She just wanted to “see how her words landed.”
It was no big deal, no major issue to resolve. Well — except that it was heart thing. She had noticed her heart and my heart bouncing off each other and she wanted to clarify and comfort me. Hmm, maybe it was a big deal.
Then Salem wrote a paper on the risk of relationships through technology; she challenged that we are tempted to pretend to be human while never actually experiencing true human connection. Somewhere in here God gave me the phrase, “careless words.” It triggered a scripture that has always scared me. “You will be held accountable for every careless word you utter.” Can you see that the Lord is talking a lot about this? In our on-going conversation the Lord is teaching, “What does it mean to use our words with wisdom?”
The icing on the cake was when I saw a message in writing that would never have been delivered in person. Whether text, Facebook, or tweet, if the person delivering that message had to stand there and watch the physical, emotional and spiritual impact of those words, I don’t think that person would have had the guts to say it. Bravado from a distance is a deception.
So I wonder — are we creating a Culture of Cowardice?
Our so-called freedom of expression has, perhaps, unleashed a Jekyll and Hyde personality where we say unfiltered in text, Facebook and tweets, what we would never have the gall to speak face to face. What makes us human is our gift of emotions, our ability to respond, to experience. And yet we shield ourselves from this experience by throwing verbal bombs via technology.
I love the exchange of ideas. I am, in fact, right now, communicating via technology. But as it comes to one on one relationships, human to human, heart to heart, are we taking thought of how our words hurt or heal? Does our smart phone make us emotionally stupid ? or reckless? Or worse, braver than we actually are?
Believe me, human interactions are dangerous. I accidentally hurt a friend recently. I watched her face cloud over, her body tense up and I heard her bitter, angry response. I was so shell-shocked all I could I could say was, “That was not my heart.” But the beauty of that moment was the humanity of it. It was real, ugly, and even scary. We may think it is better to hide behind our devices to avoid some of the relational fallout. But here is the God factor.
Seeing her, experiencing her caused me to look at me, to look to God. If all that happened via text, I probably wouldn’t have blinked an emotional eye. Instead, I have examined myself, gone before the Lord and I have prayed for my friend. Her hurt was a wake up call. I am desperately reminded of how frail we are despite our tough personas. I am immediately grateful that the Holy Spirit is here to comfort and to heal us both. Again and again, I am reminded how much we need to hear that we are Well Loved children of God.
Perhaps, this is our starting point in all communications, even the hard ones. Am I speaking like a Well Loved Child of God? Is the other person being treated like a Well Loved Child?
How can we possibly do this? Only by the true and present Grace of God. He is teaching us to love. “Words are powerful; take them seriously.”
34-37 “ It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.” Matthew 12 The Message
It was one of those middle of the night Jesus wake-up calls. I was having terrible dreams anyway so the tug to get up was a relief. I grabbed a blanket off the bed and sat in a chair in the dark. Chuck’s steady breathing was the only sound.
The last comment I remembered from my dream was “where is my heart?” I just sat there in a half awake stupor trying to sort real from spirit from dreaming. It was so bright outside that I thought the moon was out but as my eyes adjusted I realized the white was snow.
I walked out into the kitchen and saw my snow- covered deck. “It’s supposed to be spring,” I mumbled to myself. And as I pondered the paradox of snow in March, the lesson began. “Your heart?” The Spirit pressed on me.
“My heart is covered in snow. It’s supposed to be blooming, but it’s covered in snow.” I whispered quietly.
“But Spring is coming,” He said.
“You’re gonna have to do something about this snow first, ” I said, half joking, half begging. Then I heard a line from a song. “All My love is for you, All My Love is yours.”
I stood there barefooted, wrapped in a blanket, stunned…
This conversation has been persisting for almost a week now. And Jesus, being the “Faithful Strength” that He is, has been so patient, so tender, so encouraging.
Here are some points to ponder thus far:
Don’t rush the process. God is taking His own sweet time in bringing relief and revelation to me. So I am choosing to slow down, cut out, start fresh, whatever it takes to be able to listen when He brings insight.
Confess the hurt. God is really challenging me to not fake, dismiss, or minimize the season. My heart is really going through the ringer. He is revealing wounding, sin and potential all in one loving step. Only God can do that well. But a few true friends can ease the journey. So He has asked me to share, but to share with wisdom. “Above all else, guard your heart.” Don’t hide it, guard it.
Believe in the promises. Just because the route changes, doesn’t mean the destination has. God has not changed His promises so He has asked me to stand on Him even when everything is shifting. I can be uncomfortable, even miserable, and STILL be in Him.
All My love is yours. Hard to feel sorry for yourself and believe this at the same time. He has given medicine for every cut, and comfort for every heartache. True to His nature, He has also given humor.
Look at the photo I took just yesterday. I rolled out ready to scrape off a layer of ice and the Lord stopped me. “Oh look,” He said. “There is ice on your car. But it is melting. I wonder what is melting the ice?”
“Very funny. You are so very funny. The sun…. or is that the Son? ” I said laughing. “I got it. I got it. The Son will melt the ice on my heart.”
Thank you Jesus. Your presence is our every hope.
So yesterday I listened to a pastor unpack one of my favorite verses, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 He said when our own hearts are hard and full of self that God fights against us and that we often we feel that fight in the hardness we experience from others. Ouch, I thought. Been there, done that.
But God, more importantly, gives supernatural help and divine favor when we lay down our rights and demands and trust Him to transform the situation. We surrender our hurt and anger to God and ask Him to change both of us. Then God is free to pour out grace and help to us when we understand that we can’t do it alone, but we also know that only God truly sees the best way. His ways are perfect.
Okay, that is meaty enough. BUT here is the Holy Spirit revelation. When the pastor was talkng about how God pours out lavishly into the person who is humble before Him, the Spirit began talking about singing. He teaches us new songs about His love. He keeps singing them to us, over us, in us. He sings until we sing with Him. Then we begin to sing it to others.
In a moment He reminded me of the new worship song He is planting in my heart. I heard it “randomly”. I hit repeat, listening over and over. Then I heard it in my sleep. Then I began singing it. The other night I was singing it out loud as I was cooking dinner. My family came in and asked what I was singing? So we all listened to the song together. On the way to school the next day, the girls and I sang this new worship song together. Perfect picture of how He sings to us. All these dots connected for me in a moment, right? Here comes the kicker.
“What is your song of grace?” He asked me. Selah.
God wants our hearts to be so tender towards Him, so empty of distraction by others, that His favor blows through us, as music fills the air. And when we learn His songs of grace, we can go sing them over others. All this by way of humility.
Humble yourselves therefore under God’s mighty hand that He may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6
Here is the beautiful song… Fall Afresh, Jeremy Riddle, Loft Sessions
Time to get serious. The WGR class topic of “Appetites, Addictions, and Affections” is really challenging me about why do we want what we want? And why are we rarely satisfied with what we want?
You can watch the classes online for these revelations about desire gone awry and its rescue. But for a sobering affect, I am sharing this photo from one of my summer cleansings.
66. Actually 66 pairs of shoes. There’s a good excuse or story about each pair. Sure some of them are old. Sure some of them are “special occasion” only. Some were from Goodwill, some were gifts. But stilll…66 pairs of shoes? Really?
I made myself pull them all out on the floor and look at them. It was gross. It was excessive. It was gluttony of a different kind. I had a flashback to high school when I had only four pairs of shoes. I had a flashback to my Zimbabwe trip in 2010 when the children and adults had No pairs.
I want to share part of my personal mandate. It was a holy moment when Jesus whispered a secret in my ear of where we were going together. (Only in part you understand, He rarely gives us full detail.) And after a moment of incredulous joy I took a deep breath and said, “Wow, how are we going to that?”
“You must reorder your life,” He said.
That was in December 2011. And in the last 13 months He has continued to refocus my energies and attentions. He has brought books about simplifying, fasting, and letting go. He’s revealed moments of just how deep the affection for “more” really is in my heart. One moment was while we were on vacation. The beach condo we stayed at had a wickedly beautiful walk-in closet. Chuck and I walked in and giggled, “Yeah baby, how about this?” “This is what I need,” I said. “I hate how small our closets are at home.” I have an ongoing battle with my clothes being hung and put away, therefore clothes are often in piles on the floor.
Fast forward a couple of weeks through times with the Lord and some very pointed books about excess. I stood in front of my small but sufficient walk-in closet and I said out loud to the Lord, “How about I get rid of enough clothes to fit in my closet instead wanting a bigger closet for more clothes?” I felt Him nod in happy agreement. Hence the reason my floor was covered in shoes.
Does it sound noble that I whittled my collection down to 33 pairs? Can I actually stomach the thought of that many pairs of shoes even though some of them are only worn once or twice a year? This is just one area of balancing that I am going after.
Here is what I am doing. You are welcome to join me. I am flushing my excess throughout my whole life. We swept our bedrooms, including the girls’ rooms. If I don’t curb my “more” appetites, how will they learn they don’t “need” every toy, shirt, shoe, and stuff, stuff, stuff. They are so much happier now that there is room for “them” in their room, instead of their stuff. Then there are the books, our junk piles, my food choices. (Perhaps, just perhaps, Starbucks and Diet Coke is not a constitutional right.)
I asked a ministry that serves the homeless if they would take our clothes. “Gladly, the homeless wear coats all year long,” she said. I put two coats in the box and was thankful and humbled that I had so many to choose from.
Here is the bottom line. God is asking me, and maybe you, to slough off those “things” that require our time. What do I spend time doing? Is it really necessary? If I didn’t have that, would I live? Would I have more time? more space to think? more energy to be with Him?
Not a hermit mindset, but a free one. More is really attainable. But it probably starts with less.
You can watch the WGR class topic of “Appetites, Addictions, and Affections.” online for more revelations about true freedom.
It is the living it out first in private before He lets me share it in the public.
Therefore you can imagine my hesitation to teach on healthy relationships. No, more than just healthy, He is going after loving relationships with others, even the “others” that I can’t stand, can’t forgive, can’t believe will be different.
I can talk about a loving healthy relationship with that Lover Boy Jesus all day long. But when you get into other peeps or my family, ouch, this cuts a little too close to home. And yet. Isn’t this precisely the way of God? To so overwhelm us with His love and affection that we spill out and over on others? Proverbs says “the tongue of the wise brings healing.” And we need to hear Jesus speak healing into every relationship we have.
So this new seminar on June 9, is very simply a time plant a few seeds of Jesus in our lives. Most of us have been through some sort of counseling, even Bible studies. Yet most of us would say our relationships don’t change much. I find that to be so counter to the way of God.
When people in the Bible had an encounter with Jesus, their lives were changed. Some instantly, some over time, but all were changed because He put something in them that produced His life. Real Life. That is what we are going after.
Plan to come with a desire to pull weeds in your heart, and to let God plant His healing and wisdom instead.
Real Life. Real Relationship.
June 9, 9:30-Noon
Fuse Church, Midpark Drive
Open to All: women, men, couples, singles
Love Offering Event
Pre registered Childcare Only.