Christian, God, Jesus, spiritual

The Reoccurring Recall

Photo by Stuart Miles

Have you ever experienced purchasing a product only to have it recalled? Disappointing to say the least. Yes, you get your money back, but the recalled products are not to be used again. EVER. Why? Because they are rejects…worthless…unusable.

In John 21, Jesus once again appeared to his disciples after his resurrection. One might wonder why Jesus would return to these disciples, for they certainly didn’t have a good track record. These were the disciples who deserted Jesus when he was arrested. Peter denied Jesus three times. Thomas doubted Jesus’ return. Deserted, denied, and doubted – not a great basis for building God’s kingdom upon.

But Jesus returned to these men to do a disciple re-call. He had called them to follow him years ago and he is now re-calling them to the same mission he had originally called them to…they just didn’t understand it back then.

Jesus’ disciples needed to learn a lesson about God’s kingdom, and the greatest way to learn that lesson was to re-call them to the same mission. To give them a new start. A do-over. They needed to learn the lesson of grace and mercy…of forgiveness and restoration. This was the essence of God’s kingdom, and a re-call was the best way to experience that kingdom.

The great thing about God’s kingdom is that we, too, are recalled. We are the recipients of grace, mercy, forgiveness and restoration. We are given a fresh start to become a part of God’s mission here on earth and the life to come.

The best part is that this recall is a reoccurring recall. 

Yes, God recalls us continually. We will mess up. We will desert. We will deny. We will doubt. But God offers his forgiveness and restores us to His kingdom. We need only to open our hearts and receive it.

Aren’t you thankful for this kind of recall? 

***Kuddos to John Ketchersid for an outstanding lesson on Sunday. He always makes me think and leads me to a better understanding of God and His mission.

Christian, God, Jesus, love, personal, spiritual

Am I Doing Enough?

I rented Machine Gun Preacher last night and was left with a disquieting question. (disclaimer: this movie is rated R for violence and language) Am I doing enough for God? Now, as a life-long believer, I know that is such a terrible question to ask. The Christian walk is not about doing…it is about a relationship with Jesus. But is my relationship deep enough to where I am actively pursuing His work around me?

If God is all about His mission in this world – to bring people into relationship with Him – then how am I participating in that mission?

My answer is lamentable. Not much. Yes, I am a preacher’s wife, but what have I been doing other than going to church every Sunday, sing in the Praise Team, help out occasionally in children’s class, and support my husband? Nothing. I quit having people in my home because I live so far away from church. I don’t visit others now that I work full time. I haven’t organized anything because, well, I work and am tired.

As for bringing people into relationship with Jesus? Nope.

In the movie Machine Gun Preacher, the main character, Sam, went on a mission trip to Uganda to work on constructing buildings for the people there. When he went to Sudan and saw that mass of orphans there, he was moved to help. He saw the need in front of him and he acted upon it.

So often my eyes are clouded by all the stuff in life that keeps me busy…to the point that I forget that my life should revolve around Jesus. I want to see clearly. I want to see where God is working and join Him in His work.

Not that I have to be doing something big or great, but I want to be His hands, His mouth, His embrace wherever needed. I want others to experience Jesus when they are around me. I want them to taste and see that He is good.

Am I doing enough? Probably not. But I do have Jesus in my heart and He will work His will in me if I let Him.

Have an awesome weekend!

p.s. I lost 1 pound last night at weigh in!!! Finally! I’ve either stayed the same or gained a little the past month…grrrr.

Christian, church, God, inspiration, prayer, Sherrinda, spiritual

Asking God the Wrong Thing

Do you ever wonder if you are asking God the wrong thing? Or for the wrong things? To do the wrong things? I have to tell you that yesterday’s sermon hit home with me. The service was so moving, with the Holy Spirit whispering through the words of the songs, touching my heart like only He can. And then the sermon came.

Don’t you love it when your pastor is passionate about something? Has experienced God’s presence and is excited about it? Yeah, that’s what I love in a sermon!

Our church is facing some serious changes with our building being for sale and the thought of having to relocate is a tough one. My husband, the pastor, has been praying about these changes and asking for direction in order to help our church.

In his teaching,my husband has been focusing in John 14-17, which talks about the the Holy Spirit and staying connected to God. In that section, Jesus talks about “ask in my name” four times. My husband’s word from God was this: He’d been asking God for wisdom to deal with the changes coming to our church. He’d been wanting God to send him knowledge to help our church. Sure, that’s noble. But here’s the thing, he had been asking God to help him do something for the church, not asking God to do something.

Ask God to do something!

God is a BIG God and He wants to work in our lives. He wants to DO something in us and for us. Sure, He can empower His people, and He does that, but He wants to do something big in our lives.

And here is the really AWESOME thing that God did. We have had two young couples place membership in the past week!!!

Our small church is such a wonderful mixture of generations that support each other and love each other. But in the change that is coming, we are going to have to realize that in a way, this change is going to be like a death. It will be the death of our church as we have known it the past decade. As with any huge change in church, there will be people who leave. It’s a fact. A sad one for sure, but a fact, nonetheless. It will be a death of our church as we know it. BUT…The cool thing is that we will get to experience a new birth.

New beginnings! It’s exciting to think about, really. What is God going to do? Well, He’s already brought 2 new young couples into our church this past week and I believe that is just a foretaste of what’s to come. We will need that energy and fresh perspective to face the coming days.

God is doing something! And I’m thrilled to see what else He will do!

What is God doing in your life?

Christian, church, God, love, spiritual

The Bloom of the Cross

Yesterday was a beautiful reminder God’s love. As Christians, Easter is THE day. It’s the celebration of life – true life in Jesus.

It’s the day we are reminded that Jesus has taken our crosses…our burdens, our failures, our sin…and nailed them to the cross. It’s the day we are reminded that because of Jesus’ resurrection, we have new life, a beautiful life.

Jesus has taken the ugly cross of our sin and failure and replaced it with beauty and life. Real life. Joyful life. Life with meaning and purpose.

Yesterday our church came to the front of the sanctuary and placed carnations upon the cross of failure that we created last week. What was once a cross of thorns and ugliness became a cross of velvet beauty.

That’s what Christ does for each and every one who believes in Him. He takes our failure and sin and turns it into success and beauty. He transforms us, loving us into becoming a person for His glory. A person of beauty. A person of joy. A person who oozes God’s love.

What has the bloom of the cross done for you? Are you experiencing His transforming power or are you struggling under the weight of the thorny cross?

Christian, church, God, Jesus, love, Maundy Thursday, spiritual

My First Maundy Thursday

Our church, Plymouth Park Church of Christ, joined with the Presbyterian church down the street for a Maundy Thursday service last night. Maundy Thursday, otherwise known as Holy Thursday, is a day to remember the Last Supper that Jesus spent with his disciples. It is a time to reflect on the holiness of Jesus and his directives to us.

The message last night was a simple one. The events of the Last Supper were beautiful symbols of God’s greatest commandments: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.

When Jesus broke the bread and passed the cup during this supper, he was giving us a ritual to remember him and his holiness. We are to remember his sacrifice, his love, his holiness. We are to love Him and the One who sent Him.

When Jesus took off his outer garments, wrapped a towel around his waist, and began to wash his disciples feet, he was giving us an example to follow in expressing our love for others…the second greatest commandment.

When Jesus is Lord, he is not just the “boss” of our lives. He is Lord because he is our Savior. He didn’t just tell us how to live – he showed us how we should live.

The One who is above all became the servant of all! When we fully understand this and take it to heart, His words, His “rules”, His directives become joy to us. They become living water to our thirsty souls and bread to our hungry hearts.

At the end of the message last night, the church was asked to stand and make their way to the front of the sanctuary. When we got to the front, the pastor pour water over our hands, reminding us of Jesus’s example to serve. We then were given the sacraments of communion, reminding us of God’s love for us and His desire for us to love Him.

Have you experienced a Maundy Thursday service? How has God spoken his love over you lately? 

balance, Christian, faith, hope, inspiration, life, motivation, personal, spiritual, time management

Striving for Who, What, When, Where, Why?

Some days I feel like I am taffy, pulled in so many different directions. So many goals. So many needs around me. So many things I want to do. So what do I focus on first? What do I strive for the most?

I had one of those “step on my own toes” moments this morning in my daily quiet time. I am using Jesus Calling, Devotion for Every Day of the Year, by Sarah Young, and what I read spoke to my heart and I wanted to share a part of the text with you today:

Save your best striving for seeking my face. I am constantly communicating with you. To find Me and hear My voice, you must seek Me above all else. Anything that you desire more than Me becomes an idol. When you are determined to get your own way, you blot Me out of your consciousness. Instead of single-mindedly pursuing some goal, talk with Me about it. Let the Light of My Presence shine on this pursuit, so that you can see it from My perspective. If the goal fits into My plans for you, I will help you reach it. If it is contrary to My will for you, I will gradually change the desire of your heart. Seek Me first and foremost; then the rest of you life will fall into place, piece by piece.  I Chronicles 16:11; Matthew 6:33

Yep, a toe stepper for sure. I tend to go forth doing what I want to do, asking God to bless my efforts instead of listening for His leading and praying about which direction to take.

The answer to the “Who, What, When, Where, Why” of striving is easy. It’s our Lord God. It’s always all about Him. He is the One and Only. He is the answer…the best answer. Always and forever.

May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.

calling, Christian, writing

A Christian Writer?

Many of you may have read yesterday’s Seekerville post by Francine Rivers. If you haven’t, hop over and read it, because it was amazing! What really struck me was Francine’s explanation of the difference between a Christian who writes and a Christian writer.

Basically, a Christian who writes can write anything, whether it glorifies the Lord or not. They write for a market. A Christian writer focuses their work on Jesus Christ. He is central to their story. Christian fiction is supposed to stir up a longing for the real thing: a relationship with Jesus Christ. Of course, both want to sell books, but it is all about the focus. Not that one is better than the other, but it is a different calling.

I knew from the very beginning that I did not want to preach in my stories. I wasn’t sure I wanted to write conversion scenes. Maybe that stems from being a preacher’s wife and having a wall go up every time I am introduced to people as a “pastor’s wife”. I don’t want to throw up walls. I want to break them down. I want to be real, flaws and all.

But is it good enough to write an entertaining story that is not centered on Christ? Shouldn’t my heart’s desire be to write with Christ in mind? Maybe my focus is not where it should be.

My friend, Pepper, is an encouraging soul. As I wrestled with this line of thinking, she had some wise things to say.  She says, “People are drawn to Him because of what they see in our lives – how they see HIM in our lives. We don’t have to preach with words. His joy in your life will come out in your stories, even if you never quote a Bible verse.”  She went on to say, “Just because a story doesn’t have loads of ‘preaching’ in it, doesn’t mean it still can’t be life-changing. The acts of the characters and their transformation – the way they respond to their difficulties, should reflect Christ. Isn’t that how it is in real life? What is it that Francis of Isisi wrote? “Preach the Gospel and if necessary, use words.”

Isn’t she smart?

I suppose, though, that if the Lord living in me shines through in my writing, then in some small way it IS Christ centered. Whatever we do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord, right?

So what are your thoughts? Is there a difference between a Christian who writes and a Christian writer?