March 21, 2014

Christianity = Uncomfortable


Jesus said very clearly that Christians are not meant to just coast through life and be comfortable and be happy all the time.  In a perfect world these things would be all that would be expected of us.  And when Christ returns this will be the case.  But at this point in time we live in a broken world filled with so many hurting people.  How many times do we look the other way when we see them? 

Even in many churches people don't really connect with each other.  They sit beside the same people every week but they never talk to them or know their struggles.  And sometimes when folks are new believers they are asked to be discreet and just raise their hand while everyone's eyes are closed and heads are bowed. 

The insinuation seems to be that having faith in Jesus Christ is an embarrassing or shameful thing.  It's as if being a Christian means you don't tell anyone and you keep your personal struggles to yourself. You should just live a "good life," pretend you have no issues, and somehow... magically you will feel better and people in the community will be impressed want to go to church too.

But is that what the Bible teaches?  No!  The Bible teaches us to GO OUT into the community wherever we are and share the good news that we have!  The hope that we have of eternal life and forgiveness and freedom to no longer be chained down by sin and shame.

But how many of us are actually doing that?  Do we prefer to stay in our Christian bubbles because it's easier?  Less scary?

Sometimes Christians in their bubbles sit around and talk about issues.  And talk and talk and talk about them.  And they come to conclusions and agree on them and then walk away and do nothing about the issues.

Sometimes Christians see or know of people who are in need.  They will share the needs and talk about them and agree that something should happen and then they themselves do nothing.  What is the point of it all?  Why bother talking about things if no one has any intention of doing anything? 

" If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion- how can God's love be in that person?"
~ I John 3:17

 It's not okay to let "other people" do the hard work of mission trips or reaching out in your community.  We do not have the right to do nothing.  We were bought with a price.  Jesus died so that we could go and do everything we can to tell everyone we can about Him.

Look, I'm not saying all of this as if I am living the perfect Christian life.  I struggle too.  But God is convicting me and teaching me that being uncomfortable and being misunderstood is okay.  In fact, many times God prefers that I experience those things because then I am dependent on Him!  And then my efforts have supernatural power because I'm not going and doing things by my own strength. 

What if God is calling you to do this:


Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

How do you know God doesn't want you to actually get on a plane and go to places like Haiti or Thailand or Alaska or Africa?  How do you know He couldn't use you in those places?  Do you fear that the creator of the universe would be unable to provide financially?

How do you know that you would be ineffective reaching out to the homeless in your community or those who have suffered abuse?

How do you know that your unbelieving coworker won't listen to you if you shared what Jesus did for you?

You don't know.  You assume.  It isn't true that you are not good enough, smart enough, experienced enough... fill in the blank.

God can use you!  I used to think I didn't have much to bring to the table.  But God proved me wrong.  And if God can use me He can use anyone.  Period.

As Christians we are called to go out and be a comfort to those who are grieving.  We are to be counselors to those who have suffered abuse and trauma.  We are expected to speak up and stand up for injustices and the evils readily accepted as politically correct in society today.

We no longer have the excuse to live only for ourselves.  And even if you are married and have kids you are not excused.  

Being a Christian should be hard work.  Every day.  But Jesus promises that He will be with us.  He promises that there are rewards for being faithful workers.  Because the time is coming when there will be no more opportunities to help anyone. 



" And don't forget to do good and to share with those in need.  These are the sacrifices that please God."  ~ Hebrews 13:16


March 13, 2014

Adventure in Philadelphia 2014 Flower Show


I have been doing a lot with friends and family for several months and realized that it might be a good idea to go do something alone.  An adventure with just God and myself.  But what?

One of my favorite hobbies is gardening and out-door, backyard hosting.  I cannot wait until the weather gets warmer!  And while I was perusing information about flower shows in my city I learned about the Annual Flower Show in Philadelphia.

" That's it!"  I thought.  " That is what I want to do for myself.  Go and admire lots of flowers in pretty arrangements and just imagine what it would be like to have a few of them in my back yard."

So I hopped in my car and drove to Philly on a surprisingly warm afternoon.  Already I felt as if Spring was on its way!  There were crowds of people all heading to the Convention Center and I felt the excitement of being a part of something beautiful and unique.

Upon entering the main show my eyes were greeted by the most beautiful bold and vibrant colors of yellow and pink flowers.  They were everywhere! And after I stared for several moments I finally remembered to take out my camera.

There were so many arrangements of flower art I could hardly believe my eyes.  Every single one was unique.

 And the various competitions were stunning.  The variety ranged from pressed flowers to miniature flower arrangements to outdoor spaces to bonsai trees and everything in between.

Pressed Flower Art

Miniature Arrangement

100 Year Old Bonsai

 Before I called it a day I decided to visit the butterfly room.  It was a room where people could go and feed and hold rare butterfly species from around the world.  Apparently it was the first time this was open to the public so I didn't want to miss my chance.  And what an experience it was!

I left Philadelphia that day feeling happy and amazed at all the beauty and wonder I saw.  Man is capable of beautiful things.  And God's artistry never disappoints.