Unity-what it ain’t!

I believe in 2016 God wants to restore unity to his church and to our families. It says in Psalm 133:1-3 that it’s good and pleasant when unity is present, that it’s like refreshing dew or the anointing oil and there (where unity resides) is the commanded blessing of God.

So, if it’s all these wonderful things why do churches object? Why is it absent from our families? I believe there is a misconception about it. We tend to believe it means everyone is going to look the same, act the same and talk the same. NOT true. Unity has NOTHING to do with those things.

The definition of unity is this: the state of being united or joined as a whole. The state of forming a complete and pleasing whole. Why wouldn’t churches wasn’t this in their city for the body of Christ? Why wouldn’t husbands and wives want this for their homes? I think it’s because we have been deceived into thinking we all have to be the same. THAT’S NOT TRUE! We only need to see the whole…..the end result. The end result is that we win our cities to Christ. We as the body of Christ function how God made us as individual parts of his body function. That as individuals in our families, we accomplish the purpose of God destined in or mother’s womb.  When we begin to TRUST God and what his plans are, we are free to accomplish our part in the whole and walk in all those wonderful blessings of Psalm 133.

If a husband is an entrepreneur that he be free to do that with all his might as unto the Lord. If the wife be a housewife raising her children in the principles I’d God that it not be demeaned. If one local church fellowship ministers to the addicts but another is called to reach kids in the community or another ethnic group we celebrate these diverse callings. Maybe one family member is called into the ministry and another in the marketplace. Neither purpose is any greater than the other. How different would things look if we celebrated, even helped thrust each other to fulfill the call?  That’s the power and beauty of unity. A tattooed 20 something may be able to encourage a suit wearing banker.

Let’s quit being fearful of the different. Let’s open our hearts to what God wants. Let’s learn from each other, celebrate each other and see the awesome commanded blessing of God in our midst.

Why Jesus don’t stick

I’ve noticed it’s really easy to see people saved. Keeping them saved…..not so much. So if it’s easy, why don’t Jesus stick?
Salvation is the easy part. Jesus is so beautiful, so magnificent it’s easy for people to desire the free gift of his love. The reason it don’t stick is the church has neglected discipleship. That’s the glue that keeps people connected to Jesus.
When was the last time you were willing to walk long term with a new convert? I’m talking about helping them grow in the wisdom of the Lord. For the older men and women (mature believer not necessarily older in age)  to teach the younger.
In case you haven’t noticed we have an epidemic of drug abuse in our communities. These people, especially the younger ones, go to treatment and a lot of times find salvation. But, they come back home and the thorns of their previous life chokes out the word of God sown in their hearts. Or the ground is too rocky and hard because no one is with them to help till the ground so the seed of the word can go deep and produce a harvest. Fortunately when I was a baby Christian I had many people willing to walk that path with me. Nowadays it seems the church is obsessed with seeking the glory of God instead of fulfilling it’s role of discipleship It’s not a good service if we didn’t get goosebumps or if the music didn’t move us to an emotional response. Tell me where in the word of God does it say to seek out the glory? Where does it say that the feel goods should be our primary focus? It does say in Matthew 28:18-20 to go into all the world and make disciples teaching them to obey all he commanded. This is a messy process, it will cost you things, you’ll get your heart broken. Discipleship is very similar to parenting. All these things happen to you when you raise your kids. But those moments when your children make wise choices, when they mature and stand alone strong make you forget any hardship. It should be the same in the church. We should desire to walk with and instruct these young lives in Jesus. It won’t be glamorous all the time but it will be eternal. One young man I met recently had been so doped up on prescriptions as a child that he doesn’t really have the skills to work thru tough issues so he turned to illegal drugs to cope. He accepted Jesus recently. He forgot that life can be enjoyable when you’re sober. But, who will help him get to a place of maturie in body, soul and spirit? Then another young man I recently heard about got saved and was so joyful over it he ran to the river where they were going to baptize people. We need to be more mindful of how as believers we can pour into the lives of these spiritual babies and less about appeasing our flesh. If this becomes our primary focus I believe it will trickle down in multiple generations. How very different our communities would be if the church was the church going into all the world making disciples.
I also read a lady post yesterday that she’s been dressing as a man for the last 10 years. Recently she has received Jesus thru an ichurch she’s been participating in. Her question was, ” how do I transition back to female because I have never really had a woman show me how to be one?”. No one is forcing her to feel this way, on her own thru revelation in God’s word she is coming to the conclusion of changes that she wants to make. How many other ladies or men for that fact need someone to disciple them on their path of God transforming them into a new creation? We do have an identity crisis in our world. No one seems to know who they are. And just like Romans 8 talks about the whole earth is groaning in anticipation for the revealing of the sons and daughters of God. The whole earth is looking for the real people of God who know their identity in him and what belongs to them. Let’s get with it church. Let’s quit being so concerned with what I can get out of church especially if you’ve been saved for years. Time to get out there be fishers of men again and see them to maturity.

Churches need to be like the Courtyard Hotel

Yesterday I was speaking to a friend who is seeking marital counseling with her husband. The church we attend is quite small now and doesn’t have a counselor at the moment. So I suggested she call a couple of local churches that I knew has on staff counselors. She calls the first church and inquires and the lady on the other end of the says “we only offer counseling to those who attend this church and if you’d start attending we will be able to help you”. SERIOUSLY?? This is from the same church that I’ve heard proclaim they desire unity in our area, they desire revival that impacts a region etc etc but, they can ONLY help people who will attend their church??? They didn’t ask my friend if she attends anywhere for all they know she could be a person who doesn’t know God and is desperate for help. But, I guess Jesus would only help someone who would go to whatever synagogue he’d be at Sunday or whatever mountain he preached from on Monday RIGHT?? Now on to Courtyard Hotel. Last week we went to Indiana on a whim. We stopped at this hotel because it’s clean but they were booked. The kind desk clerk proceeded to call a couple of local hotels that were comparable and yes we scored a room. Did it bring $ to Courtyard? Nope. If the Church was more like the Courtyard we would realize no one congregation can provide everything needed for an entire community. If we were more like the Courtyard we wouldn’t be so cutthroat when it comes to people or potential $$. But, we like to stroke our own egos and serve our own dreams. I could totally understand if the lady has said I’m sorry at this time we have so many clients in counseling we do not have any openings to branch out beyond our local body. But, that’s not what was said. If it was that I could understand. Unfortunately the attitude that came across is you’re really not important enough unless you attend here, or we care about helping people but only when it directly pertains to us. If the Church would realize that we may meet in different places but one body cannot meet every need of an entire community we might network with others and be the body of Christ to the city. Network isn’t a dirty word btw. My church may have a clothes closet, yours may have meals on wheels , First church of whatever may have drug/alcohol counseling. Working together realizing it’s about bringing the Kingdom of God to a perishing people will cause a revolution………..By this will ALL men know you are my disciples by the LOVE you have for one another!!! Not by how many attend your church, how much money or prominent people you have as attenders. Not how great your building is it’s not the great…… people aren’t busting down your doors because you’ve got a rockin’ facility. If you’re a pastor or church leader reading this and I’ve struck a nerve GOOD!!! Pluck that dang nerve out. UNITY is what will bring real change to a city. Unity is what will cause the Kingdom of God to come sweep in and break the chains of oppression from a city. Where unity abounds there is the commanded blessing of God. I want to be under the blessing of God. Become like Courtyard,  branch out,  impact a city,  bring the kingdom here.  Peace Love Unity.

Victim or Victor, take your pick.

Have you ever been around someone who is the perpetual victim? Our society is riddled with that very  mentality. It’s not your fault, you don’t have to take responsibility for actions or reactions. Blame someone else. Recently I had a bit of a disagreement/misunderstanding with a dear friend. The more I thought about the situation the more emotionally charged I became. A victim will sulk in the situation right or wrong, victims will justify their offended behavior. Victors step back and say ok right or wrong why am I so violently reacting  here, what in me needs to be enLightened to truth??

If you’re stuck in a victim mentality you won’t have to go far to find an opportunity to be offended. There will always be a scenario set up for you to feel victmized. Why? Partially because you yourself create that environment. You yourself are the one who is holding up impossible standards for people to attain and they cannot do it, once again leaving you letdown. Funny thing about being stuck in the victim mentality Is you never expect the same standard for yourself.  Have bad things happened to people? Yes, unspeakable wrongs for sure. The choice is  ours whether  or not we allow those experiences to perpetually define us.  In the story of the prodigal son the older brother is victimized. He was so busy telling himself how good of a person he was, how right he was and how the younger brother was so wrong. He prided himself on the fact he did the right thing and yet grace, when extended by the Father infuriated him. Is that you? Are you upset that someone is blessed by grace and you were there all along and nobody tooted your horn?  The problem with that I think is in the unspoken of the story of the prodigal. I’m sure over and over the Father thanked God for the son that remained. I’m positive he told the eldest how blessed and grateful he was to still have him home.  The issue was the eldest couldn’t receive a thing from the Father. It was in one ear and out the other he couldn’t receive the blessing of unbroken fellowship. He simply couldn’t receive. That’s the delimna of a victim mentality. Your heart is so clouded with bitterness you cannot  see and receive  the grace and blessing God is trying to put right in front of  you.  So,  victim or victor that’s up to you instead of wasting one more day stuck in that lonely place of bitterness as a victim ask yourself what in me are you trying to bring to truth God? What in me needs refined? What in me is causing all the people I love and so desperately want their affection reciprocated to be cut off?  You may be surprised but he will show you what the dam cutting off the flow is.  I’ve been there trust me. But, if you want to truly begin to walk in maturity and blessing with God and people don’t be afraid to as Holy Spirit to  guide you into all truth. You may very well have reason according to the standard of the world to be a victim but as believers in Christ he challenges us to walk in a higher standard of Love. Don’t be afraid to become a victor it’s a much happier place to be.

Malachi, Men and My Part

I’ve been praying Malachi 4:6 lately a lot. It has come to my attention just how very important and vital the men in and around our lives are. Because the are so valuable it has to become a major focal point in prayer for the body of Christ to uphold.

Think about it, if a man decides he no longer wants to be a part of the family and walks out on a wife and kids how does that one act affect who those kids grow up to be? Are they riddled with fear of abandonment? Do the kids grow up feeling like ‘if they had just been better Daddy would still be there’? How does that impact the family as a whole physically, emotionally and financially?

What about if that man stays home yet emotionally checks out of life? I fear the same kinds of issues are still true to the others in the family. I have noticed how life and the enemy of all our souls likes to come in and focus on men in our society. It’s our job as ladies, prayer warriors etc to uphold men in prayer. We need to intentionally  intercede that God would strengthen our men, that the Lord will give them peace and rest in these trying times in our society. Pray they have wisdom to lead their homes, that when challenges come they DON”T emotionally check out but they engage with their wives, kids and families. We need to pray according to Malachi 4:6 that their hearts be turned to their children and in turn their children’s hearts will be turned to the fathers or else a curse will be on the land.  WAKE UP……THE CURSE IS HERE. That word ‘heart’ means the soul of a man (mind, will and emotions}. Our children need to see the fathers be fully engaged in everyone of those aspects. Sadly enough the only emotion men feel comfortable showing a lot of the time is anger or disappointment. It’s not a sign of weakness for your kids to see you cry or see that life really is hurtful sometimes.

As strongly opinionated and independent of a person that I am I WANT A STRONGER MAN! I know that may come as a shock but I’m not built to emotionally handle some things that life throws your way. While I can’t handle it, I can be a helpmate and uphold my husband in prayer and together as one we can thrive in life. I’m tired of watching men in the church and in our society begin to be weighted down by things and just sit idly by and watch them drown in it and check out of life. We need them to be strong,  to be healthy.  to be at peace,  to be ok with being weak at times, More importantly than anything we need men to lead. If men are doing their part which I believe is the foundation of our families and communities then their kids will grow up to be productive, healthy, vital parts of society and not a menace. If women will do their part to be that helpmate and uphold your spouse in prayer and be a soft landing place for your husband what changes can come to our homes, communities and even a nation? The curse on our society can be broken. Band together ladies, gents anyone who has an ear to hear and be mindful of the men God has put in your path. Pray for them, encourage them, FIGHT FOR THEM.

Jesus, Jerk Chicken & Jammin’

So this past weekend I attended the Bele Chere Festival in Asheville, NC. What a trip! If you don’t care for hippies don’t go it’s hippyville for sure. Hippies aren’t bad though, its good to have diversity. But, this weekend I experienced just what the title says. The festival name means ‘a good life’. Isn’t that truly what every person is in search of …..a good life?? There is music on 5 stages, crafts and art galore and people everywhere in this place. I saw stoned people, drunk people, normal people, young people, hopeless people, religious people, witchcraft people, new age people, old people, and on it could go. Basically I saw people of all sorts yet all made in the image of God.

On one corner you could get your palm read or have a tarot card reading. On another corner you could buy a beer bracelet from a witches coven or from the AME church located in Asheville. On yet another street corner there was a christian standing on a soapbox (two step ladder) reading every condemning scripture he could in KJV with his 2 ft poster of an aborted baby is propped up against the soapbox all the  while some very angry young people stood in front of him. One guy help up a sign that said “Teach your children to worship satan” and another stood directly in front of the street preacher flipping him the bird. Of course the preacher had about 4 ‘body guards’ around him and the cops close at hand.

OK here is your disclosure………if you have a religious spirit about yourself you probably won’t like the rest of my post and of course the fact that the AME church made money off selling beer bracelets all weekend has already pissed you off but it’s not going to get any gentler so I just want to warn you before you continue on.

Where was Jesus in all of this??? Well he wasn’t necessarily in the street preacher’s actions. Did Jesus go around pointing out everybody’s sins when he was here on the earth. Did he intentionally go to festivals he knew would be buck wild just to condemn the people he came in contact with? NO. I don’t think Jesus would have his little 2 ft abortion poster or 8 foot cross the next day on the corner. There was NO LOVE  NO GOOD LIFE being preached NO GOOD NEWS. There was plenty of fault finding and condemnation. The guy holding the poster about satan wasn’t being obnoxious at all just stood there. The guy flipping the bird was quite vocal …….he probably has been hurt or rejected by christians in the past. The longer he stood there with his middle finger as high up in the face of the preacher the more angry one of “body guards” got. His face was red he was all swelled up and getting more offended with every passing moment. Let’s get one thing straight. Yes it has a derogatory connotation but IT”S JUST A FINGER! There were people everywhere there this weekend who do truly NEED the real JESUS. Jesus would be loving people, he would let them see that they are loved and accepted by God thru HIM no matter who they are or what they’ve done. He would show them a good life without being stoned out of your mind everyday of your life. He would let them experience the loving touch of the Father by healing their bodies, touching their broken hearts, listening to them. He would care,  give grace,  extend mercy.

The palm readers and tarot card readers didn’t yell out at me when I walked by because I didn’t come in and give them any attention. The witches coven people weren’t hateful letting me know how much I had disappointed anyone because of my failures or shortcomings. It was sadly only the Christians on the corner picking the bible apart to backup what they thought was right. And sadly enough these christian men think they are doing something honorable for God. He doesn’t need us to do something FOR Him he needs us to correctly represent him. I saw the grace of God so evident in the people that passed by. Why do I say I saw the grace of God? How else can you explain people so blistered on drugs having not a clue what is really going on around them yet they have lived to be 30 yrs old? How can you explain the other religions and spiritualists living to be in their 40’s and 50’s? That’s the grace of God. That’s God giving them time to see and experience the real Jesus or at least that’s how I see it.

It was so easy and seemed natural for the street preachers to call out sins like drunkenness, partying, witchcraft, or homosexuality. Why is it so hard to call out our own lack of love toward people, our judgemental attitudes, are failure to extend the grace and mercy we have been given? Does Asheville need Jesus ? Yes, just like I do. The church bodies of Asheville would be better off to rent tent space and provide a place in the shade for hot attenders, maybe a drink of free water, a chair to take a load off their feet, a freebie for the kids and actually really look people in the eyes and connect with them where they are. Who know a chance to pray for someone’s needs may have been given. That would have more impact than the harm created by fault finding.

Jerk chicken on a stick. It’s pretty much amazing. Now on to Jammin’.

Jammin’ in the streets with a percussion band is fun. No doubt about it. It’s about 10pm the cops make them shut down the mics on stage and the band takes to the streets with hundreds following after them and before them. Old and young dancing in the streets for blocks. The scene made me think of King David when he was bringing the Ark of the Covenant God’s presence back to his hometown. David was dancing in the streets in his skivvies even. I was fully clothed and so was everyone else except one topless chic we saw. These people were carrying on for no real reason just to do it. David danced because the visible presence of the Lord had returned. It made me so hungry to see all the lost, hurting, hopeless, emotionally dead, religious even people come to know my King for real. When you taste of Him it’s satisfying. When you drink of HIM it quenches. When he takes away your sin which is exactly what Jesus does it’s so overwhelming. John the Baptist preceded Jesus and said when he comes it’s to take away the sin of the world not point it out. When people see and experience that they will be dancing in streets making up a new song before the Lord and it will look like chaos. I can’t wait to see that here on earth. I don’t want to wait till we get to heaven. I want people all over to experience this and I want to see worship taken to the streets each person in their own way expressing their gratitude to a faithful  King’s unbelievable love. Image

I want to see the real kingdom of God be brought to earth. I want to experience pandamonium over the incredible flood of God’s spirit extended to every person and hope birthed in the hearts of all. For joy to break out into the streets and envelope whole communities with such love and peace that the heartbroken come in and find rest.