Tuesday, May 1, 2012

If We Are The Body



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As I am finishing up a book study, Crazy Love, by Francis Chan I am convicted and challenged to live differently.

Some questions have come to mind as the conclusion of this book is drawing near. And please know that these questions apply to myself more than anyone else. But these are also things that I've seen in the Christian churches and people within them. I don't think we see sometimes how our words and actions divide instead of unite.

If we are the body then why ::

Why are there dress codes for some churches? Do we mean to exclude and make some feel like if they aren't dressed right they may not come in? God's probably just happy they showed up. We should be too.

Why do we repeat words spoken in privacy followed by "Now, don't tell anyone I told you this." Like this makes it OK. Words spoken out of concern behind someones back should then be spoken to their face if they are really out of concern for their well-being. They destroy a little bit of the person you speak about every time you gossip about them behind their back.
Proverbs 18:8 "The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts."
Proverbs 12:18 "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
James 1:26 "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless." 
I want my words to bring life and healing to someone. Not cut them down and make them feel bad.
In Proverbs 18:21 it says " The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Our words have the power to build someone up and be Jesus with skin on to them or take them down.

Why is it easy to hide behind our bibles, and use them as weapons to bring others down that don't adhere to our ways of thinking or interpretations, instead of using it as a tool to teach and learn from?
John 8:7 "...If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."

Isn't overindulging at the Sunday Pot- Luck just as bad as over indulging in alcohol?
Proverbs 23:2 "Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony." Gluttony is the overindulgence of anything. Whether it be food or drink.
Proverbs 23:20 "Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat..." 
Why are we quick to assume that someone that has a drink in their hands is weak in faith and is going to be a stumbling block to others? Seems to me the one sitting in judgement is going to be the stumbling block to bringing others to Him, not the drink.

Why do we withhold due praise? Out of fear that nothing good like that will ever happen to us? Out of pride? Jealousy?
Romans 13:9 "Do not covet"
Hebrews 3:13 "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."
Hebrews 10:24 "And Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." 
Why do we look at those that adopt babies from other countries as "out there" Christians, or "Radicals," and those that are taking religion "too far." We have the attitude of oh, that's good for them, but not for us, we aren't called to do to that; but aren't we all called take care of the orphans and widows?
John 14:15 "If you love me you will obey what I command." Jesus did not say, "If you love me then you will obey me when you feel called or good about doing so..." {Francis Chan}
 James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
Why are we more worried about our check book, safety, and comfort rather than with things of Jesus?
Matthew 6:25 " Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?"
Matthew 6:27 "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
1John 2:4 "The man who says, "I know him" but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
Luke 9:26 "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."

And in Luke 18:22 he tells the rich ruler who desperately wants to follow Jesus and inherit eternal life and asks Jesus what can he do to make sure this happens, Jesus tells him to "Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

I think Jesus knows how much we love our stuff. The more we have the better, right?



 In "Crazy Love" Francis Chan states, "Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers."


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If we are playing it safe then we are going to miss out on God's blessings. "Risk aversion is not obedience. Playing it safe means people are messy and we don't want to get involved. "{John Fuller, Pastor of Prairie Lakes Church} But we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are the Body of Christ.

Playing it safe, leaves no room for faith, and this leaves no room for God.

Just showing up on Sunday morning to church isn't good enough.
Have we become ho-hum Christians? Satisfied by our good enough, better than most mentality?
Weren't we made for more? Don't we crave more?

Change really can start with one person. With me. With you. It's a domino effect.
"How we live our days...is how we live our lives." {Annie Dillard}
When we refuse to participate in a gossip fest, one person will notice and their faith will be strengthened and encouraged.

When we downsize instead of upsize so that more of our money is invested in lives instead of stuff, someone will notice and maybe follow suit.  Luke 12:20-21 says "You fool! {he is talking to the rich fool that was building bigger and bigger barns for his stuff} This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what your prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

We know Jesus died for us, we believe what the bible says, we go to church. But do we read the bible? Do we LIVE it out?

Where I come from in the South there are churches on just about every street corner in the bible belt, some have over 1,500 members. But do you know how many will be in Sunday School on Sunday morning, or how many actually volunteer when a need arises?  About 300-400 of those 1,500 members!

Now don't get me wrong, I love the south and the people there and I know of a lot of "on fire" Christians down there. Lukewarmness isn't a South thing, it's everywhere, and it's a heart thing.
It's a cycle that's not going to stop until we start living one-piece lives.

God has brought this to the forefront of my heart, through Crazy Love. And boy have I been convicted! There were times I didn't want to finish the book, it bumped into my cozy little life I've made for myself.

I need My heart to change. I want my life and family's lives to matter more than just making more money, working towards the next promotion, or how big of a house we live in.

I'm depending on God to show me what's next. No matter how crazy it might look, I'm praying that I'll have the courage to move and be obedient.

To love Him is to be obedient to Him.

What about you? Are there any next steps you are contemplating for God? Waiting for Him to show you what's next in this crazy faith adventure we call life?

Lots of words today, lots on my heart.



"The test of a preacher is that his congregation goes away saying, not, 'What a lovely sermon!' but 'I will do something." Rev Billy Graham




Linking up with::  Domestically Divine Tuesday, Titus 2sdays, On Your Heart Tuesday, Teaching Our Children Tuesday, Encourage One Another, Living Well Wed, Winsome Wed, Imperfect Prose, Word Filled Wed, God Bumps-And God Incidences, Soli Deo Gloria, Beautiful Thursday, Thought Provoking Thursday, Hearts 4 Home Thursdays, Proverbs 31 Thursdays, Faith Filled Friday





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23 comments :

  1. I found you through write your heart tuesday. I am plannning on reading Francis Chan's book this summer. I read 7: An experimental excess on mutiny by Jen Hatmaker and it turned me inside out. I am thinking a lot about these things lately as well.

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    1. He is "Radical" for sure. At first I was a little turned off, but I think the more God worked on my heart as I went through the book, the more I realized he was just being obedient. Something I could definitely be more of!

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    1. :) Thank you Denise!! My prayers are with you as you deal with your health problems!

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  3. Wow this is a really wonderful post!!! I so agree with all that you said. One of the biggest problems we see in the church is judgmentalness and self righteousness. I am convinces if people would take their eyes off each other, stop competing we would have massive revival! Thank you for this wonderful post!

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    1. Thanks Tesha! Your right the judgementalness and self righteousness are two of the biggest problems in church today. It's such a turn off for new believers and those that are curious and visiting the church. How right you are about the revival!!!

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  4. I loved this book and even loved his second one better. "Forgotton God" is about the Holy Spirit and just as convicting and moving.

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  5. I will have to read his second one. He has such a passion for God, it's contagious!

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  6. Thank you for sharing all the ways in which this book has challenged you!

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  7. Very profound! Sounds like a great book!

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  8. This is a really challenging post. I want my heart to change, too. I want to be able to love as He does!

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  9. oh friend. i found my feet shifting, pacing with this agreement. yes. this love we were called for? it is scandalous. it can't be contained, or kept to a box. it can't be kept down by "right" and "wrong" for when our judgements end, or love can begin. thank you for sharing your heart.

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  10. You are asking a lot of very convicting questions. Here's what I do know, if I burn hot with the passion of Jesus and a life transformed by His love, others will be drawn to the flame.

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  11. Thank you for stopping by Leaving A Legacy today. I LOVE the name of your blog! I so want people to see something different in me. Thank you for your post you asked very challenging and thought provoking questions.

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  12. This is wonderful! We were blind-sided by attacks from our former church, and all these things spun through my mind as we were excommunicated. You are right - these things need to change if we are to truly act as the Body of Christ.

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    1. Wow! Excommunicated? Bless you heart, that's awful! Sometimes good people do bad things, I hope you have found a new church family that's loving you like Jesus with skin on.

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  13. What an incredible post. I love Chan and his books. They light you on fire, don't they? I'm praying I don't get lukewarm or stale with my faith.

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  14. Thanks, Alecia, for the excellent post! Only God knows the hearts, and only He can judge. We may speak the truth in love, but we should remember that when we see Jesus, we will have to account for every idle word.
    Thanks again for the reminder, and God bless!
    Laurie,
    Saved by Grace
    http://savedbygracebiblestudy.blogspot.com/

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  15. I can really connect with this post. I know that feeling of "I was my life to matter for something more". I am leaning on Jesus right now to lead me through this next step in my journey with Him. Thanks for providing some encouragement for the journey.

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    1. I'm leaning in with you. Trusting in faith for the next step to be revealed. Thanks for stopping over!

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  16. Alecia, A couple years ago, when Crazy Love first came out, I read part of the book. But I went back to re-read it last month, and know that the book needed to be re-read now ... "for such a time as this." I've highlighted something on about every page. You've done a good job of summarizing some of the key points.

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    1. My book is heavily highlighted and underlined too! I don't want to forget anything I've read. It's so easy to finish a good book like that and be so on fire for God, and then you put it away and forget about it. Praying that doesn't happen this time.

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