Real Life

I attended Real Life Church today in Dallas, GA.  You know the odds of having a great experience are increased when you pull into the parking lot and a vintage VW bus is parked there.  I was not disappointed.  One of the best moments was my 15-year-old daughter telling me after the service that she really liked it… and looking forward to going back.  I was even happier about it when she told her brothers and sisters that she enjoyed it today!

I have struggled finding a church for our family to call home for some time now.  Wherever we end up going to I end up feeling restless for one reason or another.  One friend told me I shouldn’t be concerned – that it’s confirmation of the vision God has given me.  His words are so true.

I’m still praying about where we belong… where God wants us to serve Him… a place not to just walk in and be feed and then go home.  I’m desiring to give of myself to serve the Lord how He so chooses.  My take away from our visit here today is that this church is being led by real people who desire to see real change in the lives of others.

Stay with what you heard from the beginning, the original message.  Let it sink into your life.  If what you heard from the beginning lives deeply in you, you will live deeply in both Son and Father.  This is exactly what Christ promised:  eternal live, real life!  (1 John 2:24-25, The Message).

Do you need a break today?

It’s interesting how each person that follows Jesus is so different. The gifts given, the personalities, and purposes for each person are all different. God is very personal with each person. Even the circumstances in life are different for each person. For some, it may seem like everything in life always goes their way. Another look at the human race it may seem like there are others that always struggle and have difficulties… never getting a break.

Why is it that some seemingly have no problems and all they touch turns to gold or at best stays steady moving forward? Why is it that others seem to never get a break?

It’s the same thing when I look at churches. Most churches get to a certain place with the number of people attending. And they just maintain that number… sometimes they will hit a growth spurt and leadership is gelling and moving forward then BAM roadblock… people leave and move on and continue on elsewhere or they get frustrated with the whole church thing and just drop out. Then there are those churches that start up and never look back… they grow and grow. The staff grows, changes, and grows some more.

Do you ever find yourself frustrated? Like there is something else that you should be doing… or that you just aren’t fitting in with what you are doing or where you are serving? Do you think that maybe you are doing something that God really didn’t intend for you to do… thus bringing on the frustration and roadblocks?

In Psalms 73we read about the frustrations of Asaph.  I’ve read it several times in the past couple of days. Do you relate to the thoughts of Asaph? What about in verses 11-14?

  What’s going on here? Is God out to lunch?
      Nobody’s tending the store.
   The wicked get by with everything;
      they have it made, piling up riches.
   I’ve been stupid to play by the rules;
      what has it gotten me?
   A long run of bad luck, that’s what—
      a slap in the face every time I walk out the door. (The Message).

Look and see just how Asaph ends this Psalm in verses 25-28.

You’re all I want in heaven!
      You’re all I want on earth!
   When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,
      God is rock-firm and faithful.
   Look! Those who left you are falling apart!
      Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.
   But I’m in the very presence of God
      oh, how refreshing it is!
   I’ve made Lord God my home.
      God, I’m telling the world what you do! (The Message).

I don’t know why (but for some) things just seem so easy – and for others it’s incredibly difficult. Wherever you find yourself I encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus. Stay focused.  Give all of your attention and worship to Jesus.

If it’s difficulties you are faced with remember the words of Jesus to John the Baptist’s disciples just before John was beheaded, “You’ll be blessed if this does not cause you to fall away.”  God can and will get you through anything… it just may be in a different way than what you are expecting.

“Unforced rhythms of grace.”

I’m following reading plan as I read through the Bible.  I’m loving it.  I am on track to read the Bible through two times this year.  If you haven’t noticed I like to use The Message by Eugene Peterson.

Today I was reading in Matthew 11.  Checkout the words of Jesus here in Matthew 11:28-30. 

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  (The Message).

I love how Eugene Peterson has translated these verses!  “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”  This reminds me of the “Dance with me” posts I wrote in March 2008.  There are several posts there with this thought.

Jesus invites us to walk with him.  Our lives are to walk with the Lord as the Holy Spirit freely moves in our lives.  As I sit here, I get the vision of a wheat field moving with the wind out on the open plains.  The wheat moves without effort as the wind moves across the plain.  Jesus wants us to watch how he lives and to learn to move as he moves. 

I encourage you to read Matthew 5.  Think about walking with the Lord and putting to work the words of Jesus.  If you are burned out on religion, church, or “Christians” who say one thing and live something different… Seek Jesus… walk with him… “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”  You will find a new world – a new life awaits you!