Poetry and other random thoughts from a wandering mind and a searching heart!

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It is time to break down the walls that divide us and embrace the things that unite us.

I just got back from seeing “God is not Dead 2”.  I love going to these spiritually based movies because they make me think deeply about spiritual concepts.  Today’s movie reminds me that we are at war, a war against the forces of evil that are way more real than we like to think about or talk about. I think the time is soon coming, if not already upon us when we will be called upon to defend our faith, when our faith will be challenged in ways we have yet to imagine, a time when we will be persecuted, called names, and perhaps be confined for our beliefs. 

Having faith, being a Christian becomes less popular by the day and there is a movement to wipe it out.  While we as Christians know how the story ends and that there is not a chance that God will not maintain a remnant of His people as long as the earth survives, we are already seeing people in foreign countries dying for their faith.  I believe the time is now for those of us who claim the name of Christ to unite together, for us to break down the barriers, the walls that divide us and embrace the things that unite us.  It is time to drop labels, to stop idolizing the particular brand of Christianity we adhere to or the buildings where we gather to worship.  We must be the church, God’s church.  God’s church includes all of those who have understood their need for him, have recognized their own sin and repented of it and who have committed their lives to following Jesus.  It is not confined by titles, buildings, denominations or styles.   

It is time for us to show the world Jesus.  He says that the world will know we are Christians by the way we love each other.   If we are going to be prepared to fight the forces of evil and stand firm in our faith we must figure out how to unite in love.   We must stop fighting each other, we must hold each other accountable to live in righteousness, we must be kind to each other, help each other, offer grace to those who stumble and we must walk in humility.   We must settle our disputes, we must practice reconciliation and forgiveness.  We must learn to love as Jesus loved and commanded us to love each other.

The movie also made me realize how much I hunger for deep, spiritual community, for people to talk with about truth, the challenges of walking in faith….people who will help me to be accountable and who are willing to be held accountable, for a safe place to explore the world around us and the loving response to it.  

If you have not seen the movie check it out.   And if it challenges you or causes you to think, let me know what you take away from it.

 Ephesians 6:12  New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

Our fight is not against human beings. It is against the rulers, the authorities and the powers of this dark world. It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly world.


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Iron Sharpening Iron


What if we talked to each other instead of about each other?

I was recently blessed to have a sister in Christ approach me after I, in a moment of hurt, had done something in a public way that should not have been handled that way. She came to me and asked if she could share her heart, if she could speak freely to me. I told her to speak what was on her mind. She challenged me and asked if the way I had handled this event that had disappointed and hurt me was the way I should have done it. She reminded me that scripture tells us to go to each other with our concerns, disappointments, and hurts. She acknowledged my hurt and simply asked that I consider what would glorify God, what I could do that would be building rather than divisive.
I confessed sin, the error of my actions…I acknowledge that I had acted out of hurt….and I thanked her for her willingness to be vulnerable, to come to me, to speak truth, to help me to reorient my thinking.
Her actions and her words just confirmed for me a path that I am convinced we are called to follow. I mess up. We all mess up. What if when we saw sin in each other we talked to each other instead of about each other? What if we had the courage to go and confront the issue? What if we refused to gossip, to listen to gossip? What if we refused to let rumors grow? What if we loved each other enough to help each other change our harmful ways?
It is so easy to get hurt and go to others to seek affirmation, to vent our frustrations, to paint others in a bad light. It is so much easier to gather together and try to put together our puzzle pieces about a person or a situation to try to come up with a reason or an explanation for things we do not understand.
Can we find the courage, the resolve to love each other enough to talk to each other instead of about each other? Can we be iron that sharpens iron? Can we be the people who bring about healing, hope and reconciliation? Can we march boldly into the war and take away the enemies weapons?
To my sister, Thank you for reaching out, for speaking truth and for being a source of light in the middle of darkness.

Ephesians 4:2-3New International Version (NIV)
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

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Vitamins for the soul.

A friend texted me on Friday to see if I wanted to meet for coffee. She only had an hour to spare but I readily agreed to meet her. We ordered our coffee and found a table. We launched immediately into talking, filling the hour so quickly and covering quite a few topics. Too soon it was time to part.

I had entered our time together feeling pressed and frustrated about so many things. But I left it feeling calm and renewed. After several weeks of snow, too much time spent at home alone and pressures at work that were dragging me down, it was like a breath of fresh air to get to sit down with a friend and talk.

As I got back into my car to continue my errands I realized that I was craving connection and real conversation.   Not the chatter at work, not the pleasantries that I exchange with people at church, but real conversation, sharing of life.

That thought took me back to a question that had been asked on Wednesday night at church about why people leave the church. I have so often talked to people who say “I don’t feel connected.” That set the gears in motion for me and I started to wonder, what is this connection we all seek? And we do all seek it.   Everyone wants to fit in, to belong, to be a part of something. Everyone wants to feel wanted, needed, special. Everyone wants connection.

I heard a report on the news this week that research was being done to try to discern why teenagers and young adults are leaving their countries to go and join terrorist groups.   It was discovered that at least in some cases, these young people had sought relationships, had tried to find a place to belong, only to meet with failure over and over. And so they go to join this cause, something they can unite around, a place where people want them, accept them, where they are part of something bigger than themselves.

That brought me back to the church question. Don’t we have something bigger than ourselves to unite around? Jesus died for each of us, sinners, bought with a price, washed in the blood….saved by grace. Why does this great truth and His extravagant love for us not pull us together and cause us to pour out lavish love on each other? Why does any member among us feel unaccepted, unloved, like they don’t belong? Why do they feel adrift and not connected?

Is it our own individual sin that causes us to feel disconnected? Is it that as a people we are too distracted, to busy, to unwilling to make commitments?   Is it that we have let ministry take the place of ministering? Is it that while we say it is all about Jesus, it is really more about us?

Do we let our backgrounds, our hurts, our slights, our perceptions and misconceptions, our passion and desire, our pride and our pain, keep us from pursuing connection, from offering connection? Do we walk by hurting people on our way to take care of that tasks that is on our to-do list, do we put up walls that keep people from coming near?

As is always the case with me, I have more questions than answers. What I know is that God created us for community. He did not create us to journey alone. He has left us so many instructions on how to treat each other, how to love each other. Will you join me today in praying that he will show us each how to love as He wishes us to and in learning to do that, find community and connection with each other?

That hour on Friday, that cup of coffee and real conversation….it was a vitamin for my soul!


Together we built a barn..

Together we built a barn…..

Barn raising, as defined by Wikipedia; “A barn raising, also historically called a “raising bee” or “rearing” in the U.K., describes a collective action of a community, in which a barn for one of the members is built or rebuilt collectively by members of the community.”
This week I got to participate in a fund raising event to help with opening a new charter school for special needs children. With charter in hand, building secured and an opening date of August 25, the school was moving along with great enthusiasm toward the start date. As enthusiasm and momentum was at a high, they were informed they had a month, until July 31 to raise $100,000.00. Without that money in the bank, the school would not be allowed to open. Wow. A steep hill to climb. With the paper work that would allow them to solicit corporate donations not yet approved, they set out to come up with a plan to raise these funds. Fundraisers were planned the communications committee got out the word, friends and family were asked to help…and much prayer was lifted up for this cause.

I knew about this from the beginning and immediately gave a contribution to the cause. I was confident that with God’s help they would find a way to do this. The donations came in steady and sure but with only five days left they had only reached $80,000.00. That is a substantial amount of money in 26 days. But $20,000.00 seemed a lot to get in the next five days. I decided I could help out a little more and so I did.

With two days left they still needed $15,000.00. I had been posting their updates on my Facebook page, encouraging people to donate. But on this day something clicked inside of me and I knew this thing was possible and I set out to see if I could help make it happen.

You may be asking what about this particular project had caught my interest. Well there is this boy, this autistic child, the son of a very dear friend, who will attend this school this fall. Long ago he stole my heart and I so deeply want him to be in a place where he can learn and grow. But not just him, others like him for whom the world is not a very comfortable place. It is hard to explain it all but I have been passionate about seeing this goal met and that school be able to open.

My post on Facebook increased. I began to talk to friends and share about this worthy cause. What happened next stunned and amazed me. Friends of mine began to post the fund raising request on their timelines. They emailed and texted and called their friends bringing the need to their attention, asking them to give. People handed me cash in the hall. At one point I did something I had never done before and I emailed a large group of people, begging them to donate. And some did.

For two days people that know nothing of this school, do not know any people from the school, reached deep and gave and tried to help in getting others to give and the total kept going up. As each new total was posted my excitement grew and so did my amazement at what I was experiencing, at what I had been privileged to be a part of. Co-workers greeted me with “what’s the total, are we there?”

This event evoked in me a depth of passion that I had long since forgotten that existed. I watched as people came together to help, as they united around a common cause and together made something good and positive happen. I am not a fan of clichés but I kept thinking “United we stand, divided we fall”. What a powerful force for good we can be when we are willing to die to self and join together to reach a goal. We accomplished together what none of us could have accomplished alone. Being a loner, this has been a powerful lesson for me.

I am profoundly grateful for the friends and co-workers who united with me to promote and recruit, to give. Their actions speak volumes about who they are. Their willingness to step up and help makes me proud to know them, grateful to have them in my circle of friends and committed to help them when they need it. It validates my belief that “love does.”

I deeply believe in community, especially in the church and somehow it seems this is at least part of what it should look like. One among us has a need and the rest of us come along side and bring others with us to see that need gets met.
For me, I know that for a moment in time, God held me with His hand in the cleft of the rock and allowed me to see His glory as it passed by. I stand in awe of Him, of the hearts he touched and I marvel that when we just love each other as He commanded us to, that amazing things can and do happen.

To each and every person that participated in any way in this effort, especially those in my circle, I thank you not only for what you did, but for your part in making this a moving and amazing experience for me.

As I end this post the total sits at $99,000.00. Somehow I just know before the day is out it will reach $100,000.00.
If you are reading this and want to be part of this amazing journey, just click on the link below to donate.

Within hours of me orignally posting this the goal was reached!

Together we built a barn……