Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Your Kingdom Come!

First of all, I can see now that my goal of being a Monday, Wednesday, Friday blogger was a pipe dream.  Life often crowds in and crowds out some of my more enjoyable activities as well as the ability to ponder!  Often I become so busy with obligations that thoughtful devotion is difficult.  I am working on this!  Please bear with me.

Right now I am about halfway through Rob Bell's new book Love Wins.  (YES, I am reading it on my ipad.)  I am being very challenged by the urgency this pastor has to see God's kingdom come now.  If our idea of eternal life is only about where we will be after we die, then we are totally missing out.  Eternal life is not merely quantitative; it is qualitative.  Eternal life is about living in a way that makes a difference. 

Eternal life is letting God's spirit inhabit me in such a way that my neighborhood is powerfully affected because I live there.  As my friend Graham would say, "No one is safe from a blessing."  :)

So I am asking myself, what I am doing, how I am praying, who I am being that would ensure that His kingdom come and that His will is done on earth as it is in heaven.  AND I am crying out for mercy and grace because frankly I am really not doing much to advance the kingdom in my little neck of the woods.

May the Lord ignite us with His passions and fuel our hearts with His desires!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Handicapped Accessible

When I go to Phoenix to see my family I generally drive my mom's 12 year old Ford Taurus.  (It only has 60,000 miles on it.)  The perk to driving this car is that it comes equipped with a handicapped parking sticker so I can get those prime spots right by the door of most establishments.  However, sometimes I forget that I have that all access pass to premium parking and wind up parking pretty far away.  That's not a big deal except when it is 115 degrees in the shade at the height of summer. 

I thought about this while I was reading Romans 5 this week.  And yes I do know how odd my brain is!   That's a topic you will need to take up with Jesus.  Anyway, Paul writes that through Jesus "we have gained access into this grace in which we now stand."  How I praise God that the throne room is handicapped accessible!  Indeed my sin, my stubbornness and brokenness were/are more than a handicap!  They were totally debilitating and cut me off from God's amazing grace.!

The CROSS and my faith in the efficacy of its work gives me access to the riches of God's grace.The dictionary defines access as "The ability or right to approach, enter, exit, communicate with, or make use of."  That's awesome!  A whole lot better than premium parking; I stand before God soaked in grace! 

Yet often I forget the access I have, the permission, ability and right won for me to approach and communicate with the God of the universe.  I fail to take advantage of my all access pass and forget the grace in which it is my privilege to stand and the favor in which I walk.

JESUS PAID IT ALL!  I don't want to forget that!  I want to remember to say thank you and I want to take full advantage of the access He won for me!  I want to be soaked in God's grace so that when I am squeezed that's what comes out!  When I do that I'm not handicapped anymore!  I am whole.  That too is a gift of the cross.


Monday, March 21, 2011

My God is so Big!

So, last night at youth group we watched a Louie Giglio video called "Indescribable."    For those unfamiliar with Louie, he is the pastor who started the Passion tour from which all the Passion CD's come.  Anyway, I highly recommend the video!

Louie gave a timely visual reminder of how big God is and how small we are!  By showing the relative size of earth, the vastness of the universe, the beauty and order of creation he drove home the message I have been hearing for some time, "It's not all about you (or me)!"  The world does not revolve around me; planets do not orbit around me.  I am really pretty insignificant!

Oddly that thought brings me great comfort and hope!  It is pretty counter cultural.  Advertising and contemporary self-help psychology encourage me to focus on me!  What a recipe for disaster!

I was made to magnify!  When I magnify God things stay in perspective.  I recoginize that I am like a Who down in Whoville- small, sinful, and insignificant-UNLESS the indescribably big God of the universe chooses me, loves me enough to send His own Son to die for me.  Guess what?  He did choose me giving me even more reason to magnify Him and not me.

The picture is our galaxy!  Can you spot earth?  Ya, me neither.  Amazing that God calls each of the stars and you and me by name! 

Some favorite song lyrics come to mind- "I have made you too small in my eyes; O Lord forgive me!"  and then one of my cousin Marty's favorites which certainly puts things in perspective, "Great Big God-itty bitty devil."

And finally one of Mrs.  Hasty's favorites-  everybody sing:

He really is!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Angry Birds

Earlier this week I was sitting in a frien's office with several other adults enjoying a little fellowship.  And then it happened!  All the ipad and iphone users including me began to compare notes on a game called "Angry Birds."  Before you know it we were all on our respective Apple powered devices trying to get past one more level.  At this point all real fellowship stopped because we were all so absorbed in this silly little game where birds are attempting to get rid of pigs (really cute graphics by the way).  The whole thing made me say I am starting a 12 step group for Angry Birders.  At which point one ardent Angry Birder said, "I do not have a problem."  Well, isn't denial the first sign that you do have a problem? :)

Anyway I could write for days on the effect that technology is having on genuine intimacy and effective communication.  My students will tell you my soap box for this topic is very big!  However that is not what I felt the Holy Spirit whispering as I was trying to master level four of the St. Patrick's version of Angry Birds. 

The sense that I had was that the Holy Spirit was asking, "What is this drive to just get past this level, to move up, to have mastery?"  Seems I do this in many areas in my life and by so doing I miss the beauty of the process.  God is much more interested in process than in results because it is in the process that we learn to walk with Him and become like him. It is in the process that we learn to hear and respond to His voice.  I love 2 Corinthians 3:18, we "are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."  Are being transformed sounds like a process to me!  We are works in progress by a Holy Spirit process!

By the way we become more like Him as life rubs up against life.  We become more like Him by spending time together in genuine fellowship.  I am not sure the App store can facilitate that but a 12 step group might. Hmmm!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Living on Credit

Now, don't be alarmed!  Though I did just apply for a new credit card via USAA, I am not advocating a departure from Dave Ramsey or biblical financial principles.  I am just studying Romans 4 and pondering.  Paul quotes the book of Genesis and reminds us, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."  He further reminds us not to get into a wage earning mentality.

I confess I often do have that mentality developing a sort of tit for tat thing with God-expecting that because I have been extra good and done x that He should do y.  (That's as much algebra as I can stand.:))  To try to live that way makes my relationship with God laborious and not glorious and certainly not gracious.  To live under the law rather than on what is credited to my account because of Jesus is to exist without the sheer wonder of His love!

I am listening to a Hillsong album a lot right now.  My favorite song is called "Forever Reign."  It begins, "You are good, You are good when there's nothing good in me... " and goes on to say, "I'm running to your arms; the riches of your grace will always be enough."  Living on anything other than faith credit makes those words powerless and meaningless.

I want to live in dependence and wonder this Lent, depending on God's crediting my faith as righteousness  When God does this he is not rewarding my good deeds but displaying His amazing grace! 

What God is, He is all the time, relentlessly as Graham Cooke says.  HE IS GOOD AND GRACIOUS and I am content to live on that kind of credit.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thoughts on Prayer

Well, this is my initial outing into the blogasphere so here goes nothing!  The children's church lesson this week is on the Lord's Prayer.  As I read and meditated on Matthew 6:5-15 I was struck by a few things.  Number one I became aware in a new way that prayer really isn't about getting our needs met but about building relationship.  So little of the Lord's prayer is about the "stuff" with which we seem so preoccupied most of the time.  "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6:8)  To me that reminder in combination with the powerful opening of the prayer, "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name," is the Lord reminding us one more time that we really do walk in favor.  He is our Father and in my family the Father did provide and protect. (My dad has been on my mind a lot this week.  He would have been 83 on Monday.) These verses also reminded me of how much I need to be caught up in the majesty of God, to encounter Him in His holiness so that I can do His will.

So during Lent I am going to be preoccupied with Jesus.  Then I think I will be like the baby in this photo, just resting in Daddy's arms, knowing that I have favor.