As I was taking photos of the island, I began to think about the people. Isn't that essentially what makes a place great? The people? I think one can have all of the money in the world, but if he isn't surrounded by good, loving people..or hasn't learned to love those around him, then alll his wealth is futile....Some of my finest moments weren't in the most beautiful places...
But they were amongst people who made me feel beautiful.
We should strive to make others feel beautiful. That kind of love brings out color on the most dreary of days. We should strive to be the friend who initiates laughter. Who lifts up..and builds.
There are a lot of beautiful people on the island. Some physically beautiful...and some, like my grandfather, who carry a light on the insdide. Time and sun and saltwater have a way of aging, but true beauty never dies.
I think about the gospel. I think about all the different denominations and beliefs that are an umbrella to the word, "Christian." ..To me, a part of being a Christian is about people. Christ came to save people. He came to love people. Every commandment that he gave is a command that involves loving and respecting God and people. The other day I was reading about the state of many chuches. I read how the gospel has been watered down by exorbitant musical productions, huge structures, in house coffee bars near the sanctuary....and the list goes on...
It sounds fine and all, but is it all necessary? Are we forgettting that Christ lived humbly, without the bells and whistles, because none of those things were needed to change lives and move people.
As humans, don't we all crave love? Isn't that our one basic need, besides the food that keeps our bellies full and the drink that keep our hearts afloat?
Love. Christ offered love.
Lately, I have commited myself, not to pointing fingers at other churches and religions, but to bow my head low and pray. I pray for my own church. I pray for your church, whoever you are sitting behind this screen.
I pray that, together, we find and share love despite the few, minor differences that we may or may not share.
What would it look like if every church in America of all denomiations..humbly prayed for the neighboring church. Instead of rolling haughty eyes at this belief or that..what if we just prayed for one another and lived out the belief we lay claim to.
another thing that has touched the corners of my brain today...stirring a musing..is the idea of "wildness."
Blackberries are in bloom. They are peeking thier pretty little heads in all of thier delicious slendor. The fences abound with honeysuckle. Beauty is all around. It is in the wildness. Although, I don't agree on the teachings and ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson, I love his quote, "Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, and drink in the wild air."
Last week, I wrote a blog post about how I see God in things that are ordered, well-kept, and beautiful.
Wildness has it's own beauty, and I can see God in the midst of things that grow and spring up, all crazy and wild.
I don't believe every day should be a party. But I don't believe it should be lived all stuffy and full of fear and anxiety. There needs to be more a drinking in of the wild air..and then..
thanking God for the wonderous moment in fills the nostrils and hits the lungs.
You are alive, my friends. Drink it in, and give thanks for that precious, wild life.
I think strangest things when I am picking blackberries. It's almost as if my musings have free reign on the open field. Wild sounding, right?
First, I see the adventure. Braving and battling the dozens of mosquitos. Carefully watching my own feet as they shuffle through grass...feet wary of cottonmouths or unidenifiable things that slither.
I sometimes pretend that my family is humgry and their next meal will undoubtably come from the sucess of my blackberry hunt. And so I strive to stay amongst the thorns a little longer, all for their benefit.
For the healthy antioxidants, those little immune boosters..
and soon, I am a hero in my own story. I saved the day by picking blackberries.
Then, I start to think about the hungry and the homeless. I wonder if they ever think to go into a field and pick blackberries and drink in the wild air.
and then, I remember that most fields belong to someone. There are fences and policeman and threatening signs that say, "NO TRESSPASSING, VIOLATERS WILL BE PERSECUTED"
I wonder if they stare across fields of blackberries and see them as something out of reach. I wonder if those signs are menacing to hungry people staring out at fruit that will probably just rot on the ground.
And then I start musing about how it would be nice and lovely if we could post signs in our yards that invite the hungry to come and pick to thier hearts content.
And then I begin to think about how I can get blackberies to people that really need them..
So maybe it sounds strange....or maybe it makes sense..
God says He writes His word on our hearts and minds..So perhaps He just fills my tiny little brain with His big thoughts of feeding people. Because God loves people.
I could muse on blackberries for days. I will probably need a separate post just for musings on little black fruit.
|sweet baby bear, drinking in something by the looks of the drool alongside of his sweet, little face. See the bohemoth mosquito bite on his cheek?|
|My beautiful Cade...|
|Brendan and my nephew, Luke. The boys could be twins. I love this picture. The "bear" is giving a bear hug. Drinking in the wild air.|
|a world of color|
|I like how the boats are docked. Each house has a boat garage.|
|Nothing says drink in the wild air like an inviting hammock.|
|a bright red swing and a tire horse.|
|I like to imagine this as little Venice. Houses perched amongst the water. I know that Venice is probably uncomparable, but it's always good to imagine. Each spot has it's own hidden beauty. We just have to ask God to let us see it.|
|I love this little sign "Welcome to the Lake." and one day I want a chair like this..|
|a bright yellow crab trap. I love it!|
|Let's set up a picnic table and dine here, Jesus.|
|What a lovely little outdoor patio. great for barbeque and drinking in more wild air..and dining with Jesus|
|For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Psalms 36:9|
|I like the Christmas lights strung up around the porch..|
|My hardworking mom endlessly working in the yard|
|after a day of picure taking..I was in mom's room and I saw this as a unique photo op. I liked the symmetery and the strangeness of it all. Kindof, wild..I know... haha|
|Little bear. the little booger never wants to look at the camera.|
|The lighting in the background was perfect. I love how it illuminated the flowers in the background.|
|Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in Heaven, Matthew 5:16|
|Our neighbor and my blackberry picking buddy, Mrs. Julia|
|Bear woring hard with his tractor in the yard. Scratching at mosquitos|
|I love how the moon and the cotton candy cloud..|
|The pontoon bridge at dusk|
|Me, the island girl|
|Pathway to the sea, part 2|
"I heard the above quote last week during a training in Phoenix, AZ. I love it because it is truth. For so many years now, a weak, tame and small god has been preached week in and week out in churches all across this land. The result: Christians who are scared to death to take chances for the King because of the dangers that they could endure. We have become like that which we worship. We worship a god who is more concerned with our safety and our security. This, friends, is NOT the God of the Bible.
The God of the Bible is dangerous and good! He sends us out like sheep among wolves...dangerous! He calls us to die daily, take up the cross of suffering and follow Him...dangerous! He warns that following Him will make us a hated bunch and a persecuted bunch...dangerous! He calls us to love our enemies...dangerous! He calls us to make disciples of all nations...dangerous! He promises to be with us always...good! He has saved us through the death of His own Son...good! He has given us everything we need and all the blessings of heaven...good! He has reconciled us to Himself...good! Nothing can snatch us from Him and nothing can separate us from His love for us...good! OK, I think the point has been made well enough. He is dangerous and good!
I have heard much of my life that at the center of God's will is my comfort and my security. LIE! At the center of God's will is a bloody, deadly cross with the Father's Son on it! Yes, this cross has purchased for believers eternal comfort and security, but in this life will be much hardship and difficulty. Today there approximately 2,000 people groups that have not even been engaged with missionaries yet, let alone the gospel. 639 of those people groups have a population of 100,000 or more. Some of the largest unengaged, unreached people groups are in northern India and the Punjab of Pakistan. I am speaking about groups that have 10 million people or more with ZERO workers among them. There is a reason these groups are still unengaged. They are dangerous. I write this mostly to draw out the Paul-types who sit in churches week after week wondering what their purpose is. They will eventually get frustrated and go form a non-profit or start a business. They will inevitably re-invent the wheel while telling everyone they don't want to re-invent the wheel. For these unengaged peoples, THERE IS NO WHEEL!
I would like for people to ask themselves one question: "What am I willing to endure to see Christ worshipped among all peoples?" For some it will be leading a team to a place where no work is currently going on. For others it will be living more strategically here in the States so as to bless those who go to the unengaged and unreached peoples of the world. And for some it will be releasing your children into the Lord's hands to labor among the nations. There are many other options, as well. The point is that the Church in America needs to become far more reflective of her Husband, Christ. We need to function and live as dangerously as Christ, and as fixed on the Father as he was. As we fix ourselves on Him we will become like Him, for it has been written that we become like that which we worship. We are living in a day and age when the task of completing the Great Commission is close to being fulfilled. To steal a football analogy, we are in the red zone now. The field is shorter and it's harder to score. There are some hard places ahead of us, but Jesus is not a fool. He knows where He's sending us, and He knows full well what will happen to us. And as has been said to some many pioneers throughout history, God says to us, "Do not be afraid, for I AM with you!" No place can be too hard with that promise!
Enough of the status quo. Enough of the fear of terrorists. Enough of the excuses. Enough of the passion for comfort and security. OK, so here's my question: Are you ready to get in and get after these remaining people groups? If so, message me and let's get the ball rolling. I'm serious! Why wait any longer, let's begin the process and see where the Lord leads.
Would love to hear from you!