Monday, May 28, 2012


"If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God!"
Dwight L. Moody

Wow...Just wow.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Be Who You Are 2

It's a theme for me lately.

Quote  by Adam McHugh, Introverts in the Church.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Be Who You Are

Be who you are. I love this phrase. It's significance came out of the journey through the book of Ephesians our church did a few years ago. Ephesians is a book about the identity and purpose of the church and of us as Christ-followers. Ephesians 4:1 calls us to "live a life worthy of the calling you have received". In other words, be who you are, who you have been called to be.

I wonder if other people think about this as much as I do. I think about it quite often. This journey of discovering who I am and, more specifically, who I am in Christ, has been so defining on so many areas of my life. As a Christ-follower my first and foremost calling is corporate in nature. I am to live out of my calling as a child of God, a member of His family, first. This calling is the same for every Christ-follower. We are called to things like loving others, living sacrificially as Christ did, being obedient to God, serving God through the body of Christ, being reconcilers, agents of His divine grace, and on and on. This is who, we who are Christ-followers, are called to be. This is what defines who I am. And grasping this has shaped me significantly.

Discovering how God has uniquely wired me has then enabled me to learn how to function as He has called me to. My personality, spiritual gifts, talents, abilities, and the passions God has placed within me all serve to help me be who God created me to be. Learning about myself in these ways have helped me learn the things that help me be more effective in that calling. Like, for example, how art restores the energy my stress-filled week of ministry depleted.

I think one of the most important things God has revealed in this journey of self-discovery is that it is not ultimately about me. I discover who I am and how I am put together so that I love and serve God and others as He has called me. The ultimate goal of self-discovery is to bring glory to God in and through my life. Be who you are.

“Through faith, self-knowledge leads us to self-acceptance and a self-love that draw their life from God’s acceptance and love.” Richard Foster, Prayer, The Prayer of Examen.

“Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.” Steven Pressfield, Author

"You have searched me, LORD, and you know me." Psalm 139:1
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13-14

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lights. Camera. Action! ...Love

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does."  
James 1:22-25

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."
1 John 3:18

I continually struggle with how to love others. I try harder and harder, often to no avail. I have realized recently that there-in lies my problem: I try. I read and hear the call on God's people to love one another and I want to respond in obedience. I want to figure out what it looks like and do it. Simple. Make up my mind to love and do it. And then I walk out the door and blow it; over and over again.

God's Word leads me to see that I must be about "doing" the work of connecting to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit through the Word, through prayer, and through interaction in the community of God's people. Out of this connection with God, through Christ and His Spirit, love will flow.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
John 15:5

Then out of that connection with God, I must move into obedience. I then must do something. But only out of connecting to God's love and His power can I "do". And I believe all I can do is simply be obedient and depend on God.

Recently I talked with a group of women about how I am wired and how I use my spiritual gifts, passion and talents in ministry. In looking back over the years at my journey of discovering where God wants to use me, I realized that it never came when I was "trying". All the spiritual gifts tests and personality tests didn't lead me to that place. I do think they are valuable as tools, but they don't give direction. God does. What I see when I look back is that through my desire to be obedient to God I have served. He called our church to a particular vision and mission and I made the decision to be obedient and simply serve where He called the church. Through serving, then, God gave direction. Through serving I have discovered  my spiritual gifts, my passions and my talents. It was kind of like exercising muscles I didn't know I had. If I had not done the exercising, I would not have found the muscles!

So, I think the same may be true in other areas God is calling me. Connected to Him, dependent on Him, and obediently practicing love, compassion, mercy, kindness to others, etc., I may actually find that I am able to love, be compassionate, be merciful, be kind. In faith I make a decision to be obedient, to exercise God's call on me, and find muscles I didn't know I had.

Ironically, this has been my experience in art and creativity as well. Practice. Do. Find creative muscles I didn't know I had!