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Identity Multitasking January 29, 2008

Posted by amybeth in Deep, Life.
1 comment so far

I was trying to do some homework for a class I’m in on prayer. We were to take one of Paul’s prayers, study it and write a one page summary of what we found…both academically and through revelation. So…I took the passage, looked at it in several versions, read some commentaries, looked up some words in the concordance…and ended up with multiple possible meanings for every phrase…aargh! If it was a ‘choose your own adventure’ storybook, it’d be volumes thick.So I bring in my father, seeming expert on studying the Scriptures and getting lots out of them and connecting them to every other Scripture under the sun. And he tells me that’s normal. That each of those possible meanings are a trail to follow to deeper truth and understanding. And they say it’s the young people who have a postmodern, relativistic viewpoint on things. Okay…I do get his point…sort of. And he did clarify that only those trails that are still within the overall scope of Scripture are okay. But it all seems rather overwhelming to me. Analyzing all the potential themes in a piece of literature, often going far beyond what the author could have possibly been thinking when they wrote it, is what always drove me nuts about English class.

I guess it’s the kind of thinking that goes from the details and builds up an overall image. But I think I’m more a big picture person. I want to grasp the overall idea first and then I’m great at sorting out how the details fit. But it seems awfully hard to get a big picture view of Scripture. There doesn’t actually seem to be one. Sure, there are lots of attempts at presenting what the overall scheme of God was and is within creation, but those attempts are all disputed. Problem is that the big pictures people claim for Scripture have all come from examining the details and trying to build a framework. It’s like being given a basket of fabric pieces, stuffing, buttons, etc. and trying to recreate the doll they came from without ever having seen it. No two groups are going to put together one that looks the same. You can’t even use the puzzle pieces without the box analogy here because the shapes of puzzle pieces give clues to how they fit together that can help one reach the correct result eventually, even without the picture.

So…is building up from the pieces the only way to go about studying Scripture? Does that mean I’m going to forever be frustrated? Is there something wrong with me or are only certain people suited to get insight from the pages of the Bible through systematic study like that?

One interesting extension of this analogy is the question of how can we even know that our pieces, our details, are the right ones if we don’t know what picture we are fitting them into. That’s a whole ‘nother topic.

Anyways, the next day I was thinking about all this stuff and realized that this big picture mentality is the cause of other frustrations in my life. For instance, I don’t do well identity multitasking. I can do lots of things at the same time. What I mean is, I have a hard time being a student, a youth pastor, a daughter, a friend of God, etc. all at once. I do much better focusing on one thing at a time. I struggle to integrate the roles I play. My dad encourages me to remember to take time to spend with God without any particular agenda, just Him and me. But I find now that I’m working with the youth, my relationship with God is centered around how to help them. Or when I’m doing my schoolwork, its hard to just relax and enjoy learning because I’m always searching for what God might be wanting me to do with the knowledge. When I find myself with time on my hands that doesn’t need to be allotted to one of the above roles, I feel lost, unsure of what I should be doing, who I am. I feel fractured, in pieces. I want a big picture for my life, a why I’m here that I can orientate all these other ‘identities’ around. I want to have an overarching purpose that enables me to prioritize the various aspects of my life.

Is that wrong? Is that weird? Is that possible?

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Interesting Quotes January 19, 2008

Posted by amybeth in Deep.
3 comments

For the past little while I’ve been getting these Henri Nouwen quotes sent to me in my inbox. A few of them have stood out and got me thinking. I thought I’d share those with you.

THE FREEDOM TO REFUSE LOVE

“Often hell is portrayed as a place of punishment and heaven as a place of reward. But this concept easily leads us to think about God as either a policeman, who tries to catch us when we make a mistake and send us to prison when our mistakes become too big, or a Santa Claus, who counts up all our good deeds and puts a reward in our stocking at the end of the year.God, however, is neither a policeman nor a Santa Claus. God does not send us to heaven or hell depending on how often we obey or disobey. God is love and only love. In God there is no hatred, desire for revenge, or pleasure in seeing us punished. God wants to forgive, heal, restore, show us endless mercy, and see us come home. But just as the father of the prodigal son let his son make his own decision God gives us the freedom to move away from God’s love even at the risk of destroying ourselves. Hell is not God’s choice. It is ours.”

I thought this was interesting. So many people that hell and a good God are incompatible concepts. Have you ever tried to help someone who had been really hurt? No matter how much you offered, were patient, and simply loved them, they chose to remain miserable. Their misery was a consequence of their choices, but you couldn’t be blamed for that. In the very presence of love, we can choose hell. Its not a punishment put on us, but a consequence we choose for ourselves. I know this may not be theologically correct…but it struck me as an interesting way to look at things.

FRUITS THAT GROW IN VULNERABILITY

“There is a great difference between successfulness and fruitfulness. Success comes from strength, control, and respectability. A successful person has the energy to create something, to keep control over its development, and to make it available in large quantities. Success brings many rewards and often fame. Fruits, however, come from weakness and vulnerability. And fruits are unique. A child is the fruit conceived in vulnerability, community is the fruit born through shared brokenness, and intimacy is the fruit that grows through touching one another’s wounds. Let’s remind one another that what brings us true joy is not successfulness but fruitfulness.”

Its so often not about the result…the result can be the same. Its about the process…how we get there, whether in our own strength and wisdom or by doing it God’s way. This quote helped me see what it is that can drive me to pursue success instead of working for fruit – its a fear of being vulnerable.

LIVING THE MOMENT TO THE FULLEST

“Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.”

I would say this is one of my greatest personal struggles. I keep looking ahead and forget to live now, to savor now.

BUILDING INNER BRIDGES

“Prayer is the bridge between our conscious and unconscious lives. Often there is a large abyss between our thoughts, words, and actions, and the many images that emerge in our daydreams and night dreams. To pray is to connect these two sides of our lives by going to the place where God dwells. Prayer is “soul work” because our souls are those sacred centers where all is one and where God is with us in the most intimate way.Thus, we must pray without ceasing so that we can become truly whole and holy.”I just thought this was a really interesting way to view prayer. I can definitely see how prayer can be portrayed this way…I can be all anxious and thinking about decisions and then when I take time to pray, the truths of God’s Word that I’ve stored in my heart come to the surface and connect with the worries of my day bringing God’s kingdom to reign in the reality of my daily life.

CREATING SPACE TO DANCE TOGETHER

“All human beings are alone. No other person will completely feel like we do, think like we do, act like we do. Each of us is unique, and our aloneness is the other side of our uniqueness. The question is whether we let our aloneness become loneliness or whether we allow it to lead us into solitude. Loneliness is painful; solitude is peaceful. Loneliness makes us cling to others in desperation; solitude allows us to respect others in their uniqueness and create community.Letting our aloneness grow into solitude and not into loneliness is a lifelong struggle. It requires conscious choices about whom to be with, what to study, how to pray, and when to ask for counsel. But wise choices will help us to find the solitude where our hearts can grow in love.When we feel lonely we keep looking for a person or persons who can take our loneliness away. Our lonely hearts cry out, “Please hold me, touch me, speak to me, pay attention to me.” But soon we discover that the person we expect to take our loneliness away cannot give us what we ask for. Often that person feels oppressed by our demands and runs away, leaving us in despair. As long as we approach another person from our loneliness, no mature human relationship can develop. Clinging to one another in loneliness is suffocating and eventually becomes destructive. For love to be possible we need the courage to create space between us and to trust that this space allows us to dance together.”

Ouch. This is another area of struggle for me. I find it hard to both acknowledge that we as humans are built for relationship and thus accept my desire for companionship without becoming cynical and self-isolating while at the same time not giving into the loneliness that would drive me to put pressure on others to meet my needs. Its a tough balance.

Motivated by Love November 18, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Christianity, Deep.
1 comment so far

Today our pastor was talking about being motivated by love. He spoke about how it was fine to pursue the spiritual gifts but only if our underlying motivation was love. He explained that we would know that we were motivated by love if we were first looking to practically meet any needs we could in others…if we gave of our time and our resources first instead of just passing on spiritual sounding encouragement without actually getting involved ourselves. And then, if we found we were truly motivated by love, it would naturally follow that any pursuit of spiritual gifts would be for the purpose of meeting the needs of others in ways beyond which we were physically capable. We wouldn’t be pursuing them out of selfish ambition or pride.The last couple of weeks I’ve been once again recognizing the need to connect with God more, to spend time in his presence. I want to grow closer to him, to hear his voice. But I find I am so easily distracted, so easily pulled away by other pursuits. I understand that if I truly needed God, if I truly acknowledge him as the most important thing in my life, then I would naturally put seeking his face first. But life just gets moving along and while things might not be stellar, they’re okay and well…meeting with God falls by the wayside.

But today our pastor’s sermon put a new spin on this struggle of mine. If I am only pursuing God to get closer to him myself, to become more spiritual myself, then no wonder I can put off my time with him whenever I feel things are going okay in my life, when there’s no crisis or need in my life that would drive me to seek him. But if I’m motivated by love, then my need to connect with God, to draw upon his resources will never cease, will never become optional because there are always needs in those around me that I am not sufficient in and of myself to meet. If I am motivated by love, therefore, I will be continually seeking the face of God, not only for myself, but for others.

Age of Consent November 18, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Christianity, Deep.
6 comments

The other day I received an email from 4mycanada, a ministry dedicated to raising awareness among youth about the issues in our land and encouraging them to take a stand for righteousness. They were letting their email network know about a debate that had occurred on a TV show called ‘The Verdict’ over the proposed legislation to raise the age of consent for sexual activity to 16 instead of where it currently stands at 14. They had actually been contacted by the show to recommend some young people who represent the side that is in favor of this change. They were thrilled to have this opportunity to have young people stand for righteousness on national TV and encouraged us all to watch the archives.So I did. It was very interesting to listen to the different parties argue their opinions. The young people were only one segment of the entire show so my comments below in no way reflect my opinion of what 4mycanada is doing or the stand that they are taking. I really admire how they are rallying a generation to stand for righteousness.

However, I get really frustrated when I watch debates where those who are supposedly standing for what’s right and good come across as totally uniformed and unable to think about the ramifications of what they are standing for in order to adequately address the concerns of those whom they are debating. All too often, I see those who are advocating what would stereotypically be the Christian position, resort to simply stating their position over and over again with slightly different wording but never actually adding any new information and then getting angry when people aren’t convinced by this vain repetition.

Those who were arguing for raising the age of consent kept saying that we needed this adjustment of the law to protect kids. They kept bringing up the various atrocities committed by predators who have exploited children. This sounds good, but was merely preaching to the choir. No one there was against protecting kids. Everyone there was appalled by the stories of injustice involving sexual predators and teenagers. But those arguing for this change were unable to answer some of the legitimate concerns that were brought up by those who were arguing against it.

For example, if we change the age of consent law to 16, then a 15 year old having sex with his/her 21 year old boyfriend or girlfriend could find that partner prosecuted and jailed if the nature of their relationship was discovered (any difference in age less than 5 years is exempt from this law). Sure, in an ideal world, 14 and 15 year olds wouldn’t be having sex in the first place, but in our day and age, this is not an implausible scenario. With the raising of the age of consent, we force all such relationships to go underground preventing the young people involved in them from reaching out for help when they need it.

I agree that a 35 year old predator should not be able to manipulate or force a 14 or 15 year old into having sex with them and then get away with it because they can somehow demonstrate that the teenager consented. However, I don’t think such predators should be able to manipulate a 16, 18, 21 or even 25 year old into supposedly consenting to have sex with them but then taking it further than that teenager or young adult desired to go. Likewise I don’t think an overbearing 19 year old should be allowed to force a timid 16 year old into having sex and get away with it just because they are close enough in age. But simply continuing to raise the age of consent isn’t going to help in any of these cases.

As those advocating against the raising of the age of consent explained, there are rules in place to prevent exploitation of people at any age. No, they don’t always work well, but its these laws that need to be strengthened. Raising the age of consent is only a bandaid solution which will in turn create other negative ramifications that no one is currently even acknowledging, let alone prepared to deal with.

Unfortunately, none of those advocating for what seems to be the position more in line with Christian morals even acknowledged the legitimacy of these people’s concerns nor proposed how the new legislation would bring about good without introducing any additional bad. They kept going back to their original statements that this change in the law was for protecting kids and became exasperated when asked to address the complexities of the issue.

I found myself actually convinced by those advocating against this change in the age of consent. I also found myself once again saddened by the display of those who are supposedly standing for righteousness. If we can’t learn to grapple with the issues and legitimately address the complex concerns of our society today, we are going to continue to lose credibility.

Sorry, 4mycanada, I wasn’t as excited about this opportunity you had to be on national TV as you were. We’ve got a long way to go before our voice is truly heard – even a long way to go before our voice should be heard.

Unnaturally Unatural September 12, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Deep, God.
4 comments

I’m a teaching assistant for a class this fall and we had the opportunity to put a brief profile up on the web. One of the questions it asked was what books and music we would take with us to a desert island. I would definitely take the Bible and some of my worship CDs, but I hesitated to put it on there for fear that it would either turn people off or label me in such a way that would make open discussion in the classroom difficult (ie. would being known as a Christian make students less likely to trust my answers in class). That bothered me somehow because the answer to a question as simple as what books and music I like should be a no brainer…answering it should come naturally. I began to think of other areas such as asking for advice about school decisions. Its really hard to include in the conversation the fact that my overall orientation towards such decisions is a belief that God is leading me. Instead, I’m usually very concious of leaving that sort of info out.

If my worldview is such that I believe God is intimately involved in my life, that he is in control, that he loves me and so forth, there are countless places in conversation where that should jus slip out. And yet, it doesn’t very often. There’s a sort of preset choke mechanism within me that is always valuing appropriateness. And thus, what should be natural feels very unatural.

And the fact that it feels unatural…is well unatural. Thus, the fact that I don’t feel comfortable simply making reference to my faith and how I see God involved in every aspect of my life is ‘unaturally unatural’.

A big consequence of this is that we actually grow to doubt what we believe rather than strengthen it. Its a psychological reality that our attitudes often align themselves with what we speak, and if we never speak of what God is up to in our lives, we will find it more and more difficult to recognize his presence and involvement ourselves.

Ancient Parallels August 22, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Deep.
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I just read a novel by Lynn Austin called “God and Kings”. Its the first in a series about King Hezekiah in the Old Testament. In her interpretation of the story, she has drawn some amazing parallels with the current state of the church and the struggles we face trying to make the message of Christ relevant to modern society. I thought I’d quote a particularly pertinent dialogue that really caught my attention when I first read it.

The setting:  Ahaz has just offered High Priest Uriah the position of chief advisor, however the first tasks Uriah has been assigned are to strip the gold of the temple for an a gift to placate Assyria and to prepare for a sacrifice to Molech. Uriah is torn because he wants to see worship restored to the temple, but these things are…well, wrong. The following dialogue comes from a council meeting of priests where he is trying to convince them that his doing these things is okay, and even good. I’ve only typed out the most relevant sections…you’ll have to read the book yourself for more.

Uriah – “We serve a dead institution…Look around you. Even the building is crumbling down on us, and we don’t have the resources to repair it. It’s time we faced the truth: the men of Jerusalem are no longer willing to support this Temple or its priesthood with their tithes. Like the king, they go elsewhere for spiritual help, to the idols and shrines and groves. Meanwhile, we barely take in enough  offerings to keep our families alive. It’s time to make some changes….Our Temple worship must change as the world changes or it will eventually die out altogether. We’re so bound to tradition that we no longer listen to the people. I’m not talking about changing Yahweh’s laws, I’m talking about examining our traditions. If the men of Judah are drawn to the religions of the nations around us, then we need to ask ourselves why. It’s time we consider changing our outmoded traditions to fit the times instead of blindly clinging to the old ways.”

Conaniah – “You want to revive the worship of Yahway by sacrificing to Molech? That’s insane! The only way to revive Temple worship is through repentance. The men of judah must give up their idolatry and turn their hearts back to God!”

Uriah – “Repentance! Where has that gotten us? The whole purpose of the Temple is to serve the spiritual needs of the people. Obviously our traditions aren’t meeting those needs or the people would come back. First we must draw them back to worship. Later we can wean them from their idolatry.”

Hmmm…food for thought ain’t it??? Are there any of God’s ways, God’s principles that have become watered down, compromised over the years as the church has struggled to remain relevant and palatable to society?

Spiritual Painting Lessons August 22, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Deep, Life.
1 comment so far

Well, I decided this summer that I couldn’t afford to go away, take a trip, experience an adventure (I had wanted to take a guided canoe trip in Algonquin park)…sighh. So I racked my brain trying to come up with fun stuff I could do around home. I decided to take a beginning acrylic painting class (by the time you add supplies to the cost of the class its not thaaaat much cheaper than going away…but I didn’t know that starting out).

The last time I actually painted a picture on canvas was in Grade 10…that was approximately 10 years ago…and I wasn’t that good at it. But I’ve always sort of wondered if I could be any good if I got lessons. I’ve tended to stick to more controllable mediums like paper and pencil or images on the computer. For some reason, painting has always frustrated me cuz its not as simple as just making marks on a page…you’ve got to understand color and build up layers of strokes. In reality…you are not depicting an image, you are implying it.

As I started pondering all that, I began to get this inkling that there was something else going on in my taking this painting class, a prophetic act God was calling me to engage in (by that I mean, I was to do/learn something in the natural in order to do/learn something in the spiritual). I’ve struggled with how un-straightforward life is sometimes…especially in the church. We talk about what God is doing, his desire for his bride, the impact the church is to have in the community and so on. And yet in reality, any project we undertake involves imperfect people and only kind of vaguely implies this bigger destiny.

Metaphorically speaking, pastors are amazing painters. They understand the limitations of their medium (people) and they have an incredible level of patience to continue building layer upon layer as they bring groups together, implement projects, counsel families and so on. They understand that any stroke that is laid upon the canvas now does not specifically represent anything in terms of the final pictures, but rather contributes to the overall effect which will create the impression of the church, the bride of God’s heart. As such, they do not get frustrated when something doesn’t turn out quite right or seems a little off-colour or crooked…they understand that as more strokes are applied, the painting will be adjusted and turn out just fine.

I don’t have this kind of understanding…yet. And so I see this painting class as God’s way of teaching me a little bit more about how to see the world, to see what he’s up to, to see the possibilities of dreams being fulfilled…to hope again. Even in my own life as I’m trying to make some decisions about graduate school, I’m trying to find the perfect fit, the thing that will define my career, the rest of my life. And yet, I’m beginning to recognize that whatever further education I take, it will only be another stroke on the canvas contributing to the overall picture. In the end, that particular stroke may not look anything like it did when first laid down. It may play a minor or a major role in the overall composition. I don’t know. But I need to relax and enjoy the process of painting, instructed by the master painter himself.

Feed Your Discontent? July 24, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Deep.
3 comments

I was in the Christian bookstore the other day and skimmed a book by Bill Hybels. I can’t remember the title (sorry), but the theme was figuring out what God has called you to do. His basic premise was that most of us have something that irritates us, some injustice that just totally drives us nuts. Some people eventually get so fed up, that they do something, anything to help bring change in that area. Other people try to alleviate the discomfort by avoiding anything that might stir up that angst. (For example, some people might find that the plight of the homeless really touches them and whenever they hear of government decisions to reduce support to shelters or other things that would negatively affect this population, they get really angry. So…they could choose to get involved and advocate for the homeless or they could turn off the news station).  There are all sorts of issues which affect each individual differently. Something that gets you all stirred up might not even be on my radar screen. Hybel’s challenge was to not avoid those things that create discomfort, but to actually feed our area of discontent, expose ourself to that issue, until it drives us to get involved and that as we get involved, we will find that we walk into our calling, the area in which we feel most fulfilled.

I skimmed another book, a biography by the creator of Veggie Tales, that offered a somewhat different perspective. After the company filed for bankruptcy due to an alleged accusation that was later dropped, God brought this man to a place of stillness before him, teaching him that all his years of driven service had been focused on trying to please God through works and not about getting to know God in relationship. The man (I forget his name) decided that from then on, he wasn’t going to create any long term plans but simply seek God for each decision. He has since started a new company for which he refused to develop the typical 5 yr business plan. He says Christians have no business trying to determine things that far in advance. Instead, he and his employees set aside time to pray together about decisions and seek God for ideas.

In some ways, these two accounts seem opposed to one another, but in other ways, they don’t. They may just be puzzle pieces from different parts of the big picture. What do you think?  How valuable is either piece of advice? Have you experienced an area of discontent, a striving to please God rather than know him, a seeking him first and not worrying about the future?  How have you found balance between doing and being?

The Joy of the Lord July 24, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Deep, God.
2 comments

I came across an article written by John Paul Jackson of Streams Ministries that really touched and challenged me. I’m going to paste a portion of the article here and then comment on it below.

“Has anyone ever come up to you and tried to encourage you with the following verse? It sounds like a psalm, but it’s actually found in Nehemiah. The joy of the Lord is your strength. You can find this verse all over the Christian world — greeting cards, refrigerator magnets, church bulletins — but what does it actually mean? More specifically, does it really mean what most of us think it does?

In different ways, many of us take this verse to be the Christian life standard: “I will be joyful. The joy of the Lord will be my strength even if it kills me!” When taken to an extreme, this belief literally will kill you because it doesn’t allow you to be real, process pain or genuine joy, grow spiritually or truly know your Father.

Some of us assume it’s a command: “I’m supposed to be joyful all the time, and if I’m not, something must be wrong with me. I have to try harder, because clearly I’m not measuring up.”

Both of these assumptions are entirely wrong. Jesus does not expect you to be joyful all the time. He’s been here; He knows what living on earth is like. He knows it’s hard, and He understands why we fail sometimes. Most of us don’t comprehend this last aspect especially — God actually understands why I did what I did? You mean, He’s not sitting up in Heaven with a judgment stick, ready to sever our relationship the minute I even think the wrong thing?

Not at all. He knows why that step in particular made you stumble. He knows what you’re going through. He knows the thoughts, breaths and nuances of your heart — and loves you. That brings us to what the verse actually means.

The joy of the Lord will be my strength. It’s not that some heightened level of my joy will be my strength; it’s that God’s joy will be my strength. His Fatherly joy. He is so proud of us. We know that God invented laughter, but most of us don’t understand how easily He is amused, how easily He loves and how easily we delight Him.

Someday, when we get to Heaven, He’s going to pop in the DVD of our lives, and we’ll get to sit there and watch it with Him. Yes, we’ll have to give an accounting of what we’ve done wrong, but we forget the other side of that! We forget how He loves us; we forget His joy over our existence.

As He plays the DVD of our lives, He’ll say, “Oh, I loved it there when you did that, son! That blessed My heart so much, daughter! Let Me show you how great that was.” He’ll pull up a dual screen. “Here’s what you were doing, and this is what happened in Heaven when you did it.”

We will get to see what went on in Heaven when we did what we thought were small, insignificant acts on earth. Why did God ever have me do that? we wonder in our day-to-day lives here on earth, only to hear the Father say one day in Heaven, “Wow! Oh! I loved that.”

We bring a huge, galactic level of joy to our Father. We delight Him in ways that are humanly impossible to understand. That is what the joy of the Lord means, and that’s why it is our strength. When we walk in the awareness of His joy, we won’t be able to keep from rejoicing ourselves. This joy is what gives us the strength to endure.”

Wow, huh!?  I read that after a very discouraging day when I felt like I was totally not measuring up, not getting it, falling into the same old patterns and mindsets and unable to escape. I was fighting the familiar thought that God must get awfully frustrated with me.  When I read about how joyful God is, I struggled – I wanted to believe it but it wasn’t jiving with my current discouraged state of being. I started trying to justify my self-critical point of view by going to Old Testament stories about God’s wrath. But then I remembered a teaching I once heard or read that talked about how God’s wrath is just a mirror image of his love. It was his fierce love for the Israelites that drove him to eradicate anything and anyone who might contaminate them, tempt them away from Him. He knew the value of being in right standing with Him and therefore he, on their behalf, fought viciously to protect them. The same is true for us. From time to time we might catch a glimpse of God’s anger or feel just a touch of his wrath, but we must remember that it is not directed at us, but at the sin and the forces of evil that would seek to draw us away from him. The directive to ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ is perhaps even truer of God and how he views us than it is of us and how we are to view those we witness to. God’s love you…God loves ME! …more than we/I can imagine. His desire for us to be free of everything that entangles us stems from a deep understanding of who we could be without all that junk holding us back, NOT from a frustration that we aren’t meeting some kind of standard. Its the difference between a coach who is totally frustrated at his teams’ performance because the city won’t supply them with the proper equipment and he longs to see each player reach their potential and win the victories he knows they could verus a coach who is angry at his teams’ performance because the players aren’t performing as good as he wants them to.

Preach it, Sister! July 10, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Deep, God, Life.
1 comment so far

Wow!  This past Sunday I was the speaker at my church.  I’ve never preached before. In fact, I don’t think I’ve shared beyond a 5 or 10 minute testimony. But there was definitely something I felt God wanted me to release and well, he opened up the opportunity. Its true that those he calls he equips, cuz amazingly, despite some nervousness over mechanical things like not bumping my lapel mic off, I was completely calm.  My cheeks didn’t even heat up like they normally do when I stand in front of people – nervous or not. I received a lot of positive feedback and my Pastor said that when he looked at faces, even those who didn’t normally respond looked as though they had really been challenged. Yay God!

Wanna know how it happened?  Well, on June 30 I went to the last session of the ‘Oh Canada!’ conference being held at TACF. What I heard there from a whole panel of national leaders about the destiny of Canada and what God is doing in our nation really excited me and I mentioned to my Pastor on Sunday that I’d like to share about it briefly. Well…as the service went on, he forgot. So, he said that I could share the next week.

No problem.  But as I was getting my thoughts together since I had the opportunity to bring a little more cohesion to all the pieces of information I’d heard, I decided to ask him how much time he wanted me to take. Well, he said he wasn’t going to preach anything…whatever was said was up to me.  Yikes!  He felt God telling him that there was a period of time over the summer where he was to have different people from the congregation bring the sermons and since I offered to share, well, I had just ended up being first! So suddenly, my visions of a 10 minute testimony type talk turned into a full-fledge sermon.

 But I think God wanted it that way because there were a few more events I participated in that week including a rally for theCall-Nashville and an 07-07-07 Celebration which provided the material for a solid challenge to awaken to what God was doing in the earth in this day.

Its very hard to sum up what I felt burning within in me – there was a reporting of what national prophetic voices were saying, a historical framework given to the moral decay in our society, a call to repentance and holiness like never before, and a challenge to examine the premises upon which we base our reality. Because I feel this was such an important word for this time and season, I’ve actually uploaded my notes here for anyone who may wish to view them. You can download them here: Oh Canada Notes