Saturday, January 14, 2012

There is None Like You, God!

Last Sunday my pastor, Pastor Rob, told us about the revival meetings that another local church was having and that they had asked other local churches to lift them up in prayer. Well, it seems that no one was taking them up on the offer, accept Pastor Rob. The revival is a 12 day event and Pastor Rob asked 120 people to gather this Friday evening to pray.

Well, it became more than prayer. There was worship and then we watched the message brought by Matt Chandler that night. When I pulled into the parking lot there weren't many cars and even though it was a little before 7, when it was supposed to begin, I wasn't sure that 120 people would show up.

The time of prayer and worship was wonderful! There was a time when we were asked to pray alone and ask God to search our hearts. This was the sweetest part of the prayer and worship time for me. I had been thinking lately about pride and I spent this time talking with God about prayer.

I think pride is interesting. There is obvious pride. Everyone knows a prideful person, someone who brags about EVERYTHING! But there is a much more subtle pride. The kind of pride that no one else seems to notice as pride, the kind you don't even realize is pride. The kind that says, "I have to do this. I have to do this well. I have to do this well enough to see positive results. I have to do this well enough to see positive results that others notice."

Now I am a teacher and I want my students to be successful. I want them to all do well academically. I want them all to pass the states test, the thing that unfortunately measures them and me. Okay, so the above statement comes into effect because it's my job and if I want to keep it I need to have positive results that others notice. But, for me, this has become a point of pride. I work really hard to make sure the kids get what they need. My day is full of instruction, small group work, and one on one. That is very important to me because I believe it helps them learn and I believe it will help them when it comes state test time. BUT I want others to notice. I want them to see all my hard work and be impressed. Since I'm being honest, I want them to be so impressed that they try to be like me. Ugh, that made me cringe to even right, but it's true.

So that is one thing that God and I have been talking about. I have been trying to still do the job I believe that being a teacher is, but giving Him the glory for it. When someone compliments me I have to check the pride and remember Who gave me the abilities to be the teacher that He made me. I also need to be checked to remember that there is always areas that I need to improve in.

Then there is the awesome things He has done in me in the last year or so. I feel like the me of before 2011 is a very different person. He has moved me outside my comfort zone so much in the last year. This blog is something WAY outside my comfort zone. Going to Haiti, wasn't even on my radar, but He took me there. Becoming a Life Group leader and having it be for seekers is still such a scary thought, but I know He is telling me to do it.

So could I like at the last year and see all my accomplishments? Yes, I could and have. Ouch, once again, pride. I DID NOT do anything. I could have tried to do those things in my own strength and they would have failed. He DID it! Yes, I had to be willing, but He did all the work.

So back to last night. After we prayed and worshipped we watched the message. Guess what? It's not about us, it's not about me. It's all about His glory! It was a straight to the heart message. It was a pull no punches, but done in such a wonderful way message that I knew it was a God message. I walked away from it speechless. (By the way exactly 120 showed up to pray!)

I got in my car, and prayed like they asked us to pray as we left. Then a phrase kept repeating over and over in my heart, my head, and out of my mouth. "There is none like You, God!" Wow, even writing it now stirs in me. I went to bed saying it instead of praying, which is what I would normally do. I woke up in the night saying it. I woke up this morning saying it. I knew I had to write it and share it with you. I guess if you want God to deal with your subtle pride, or if you don't want it but need it, He will show you that there is none like Him!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Does It Matter?

I don't claim to know what the right answers are on some issues, actually lots of issues. I have been in Christian communities since I was 9 years-old and one thing has always bothered me. Christians who try to prove what they believe is right. Not the big stuff, no the stuff that people have theological debates over. Does God still do....? You fill in the blank. That question has always kind a bothered me. 1. who am I to say what God still does. 2. He is the One Who Is, Who Was, and Always Will Be. (Opps, this morning I realized this should say Who Is, Who Was, and Who Is To Come.) Doesn't that answer it?

He is! I have no right to define that. Yes, His Word gives us descriptions, many descriptions, of who God is. It is filled with what He has done and what He will do. Why isn't that enough? Why do Christians feel the need to define Him and what He does outside of what His Word says?

Then there are the petty things: music, dress, even who should minister. If the music I listen to, my church sings, or I hear on the radio glorifies God then who has the right to say it is wrong or right? It's not about wrong or right, it's about God. Does it bring Him glory? If not, that's one thing, but I am not talking about that. I am talking about people's preference in music. Did you know that the church pew was once a huge debate in the church? People actually fought the idea of sitting down during a service. Seriously, sitting or standing that was the issue that people allowed to divide them!

Should a woman's hair be long? Can she or can she not wear jewelry? Can a guy have long hair? Have earrings? Should we only wear Sunday Best to church? Can a woman preach? Can she lead a ministry? Dunk or sprinkled? Robes for the choir? Matching outfits? No choir at all? Children in Sunday School or in the service? Oh, the list of things Christians choose to debate goes on and on. Have you ever wondered why there are so many denominations? Well the answer is simple, people. People had opinions. People had preferences. People said I'm leaving and taking my stuff with me, taking others along with them. Over what? Over false teaching about God? Jesus? Holy Spirit? Not usually!

I guess that is what I really don't get! Is the debate about theology? Is the debate about tradition? Is the debate about preference? I hope it is! I hope it isn't about God! Because no one, no not one, is qualified to debate about Him. No one is qualified to define who He is outside of what His Word says He is. No one is qualified to debate what He does outside of what His Word says He does.

I went to a couple different Christian schools. In both of those schools sports were pretty important parts for me. Because of all the different denominations, we often played games against teams from schools that were not the same as the ones I went to. I never thought it really mattered. But I remember one school that said they couldn't lose because Jesus wasn't a loser. Um, so if my team lost what did that mean about us? And yes, it was meant as a put down.  Another that refused to play our girls in basketball because we wore shorts to play in. I remember crying in the locker room, because we drove all the way to their school, which was not close, to play and then they refused to play us after we had all gotten dressed. I didn't understand it then and I don't now.

I remember once a friend was trying to make conversation on a long drive and him asking if I believed in pretrib or posttrib. My answer, which I remember to this day, was "does it matter? Does His Word say that there will be a tribulation? That's all that matters. My opinion on that doesn't."

So I guess what I would say is decide if the thing you want to debate really matters? Is it even Biblical for you to be debating it or just denominational? Are you debating who the very nature of God is? Take a second, maybe a minute, how about a week, and decide, "does it matter? Is God being glorified?"

I know there will always be debate. I find that sad. I know people will always have preferences, which is fine, but some will choose to use them to divide. I know that traditions, denominations, and theologies will always bring debate and argument from people who disagree. I know this because we are all human, imperfect ones, and as long as imperfect humans are involved then this will always be. But it makes me sad!