Sunday, September 23, 2007

what you practice IS what you preach

There is a thought that I have been struggling with, and a commercial was on right when I was thinking about it that went with it,

This commercial has kids saying,
“Don’t tell us that unless you really mean it.
Because it is way too important.”

This political commercial I believe is what the church needs to hear. Not go out there and vote for a certain politician, but don’t just say something, show me. This sort of goes back to “practice what you preach,” I would even like to change it a bit:

“What you practice IS what you preach.”

Imagine if we lived by this thought…
Maybe people would have food who don’t have food,
Maybe people would have clothes that don’t have clothes,
Maybe people would have something to drink,
Maybe people would not be left alone,

Here is what Jesus said about it:
Matthew 25:31-46 (The Message)
The Sheep and the Goats
"When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why: I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.'
"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'
"Then he will turn to the 'goats,' the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because— I was hungry and you gave me no meal, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was homeless and you gave me no bed, I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, Sick and in prison, and you never visited.'
"Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?'
"He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.'
"Then those 'goats' will be herded to their eternal doom, but the 'sheep' to their eternal reward."

It seems to me that God could care less what we know, but maybe God is concerned about our Faith and what we do about it.

James 1:19-26 (New International Version)
Listening and Doing
19My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

James 2:14-26 (New International Version)
Faith and Deeds
14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

I don't know exactly what this means for each person, and there certainly is no 10 or 15 step method to it, but I believe that as I seek God through scripture, song, creation, and others; He will teach me.

So if "What you practice IS what you preach" then what is your life preaching about Christ?

Thursday, September 13, 2007


If we see prayer as a way of accomplishing things,
then what happens when they go unanswered?

What if we saw prayer as a way of admitting, “I know I can’t do anything, but I know God does?”

What if prayer became a way of God using us, not us trying to use God?

What if we prayed for guidance?What if we prayed to hear from God?

What if we prayed to get to know God better?

How does prayer fit within the Christian life?

Does it?

Joanna, my fiance, wrote something about praying in color
Check it out:

Just Words...

Do we really realize how much words say about us?

They probably do almost as much as our actions.

What about the words we use as Christians?
Do the words we use in church hinder people from understand God?

Think of some of these words that we probably take for granted:
Holy Spirit

So if these can hinder, what words could we use?

What if the words we used in church and as Christians helped people
feel love, hope and peace?

What if people wanted to know God because we stopped
using words that make them feel smaller and starting using words that inspire?

What words do you use daily that may be hindering others
from coming to know freedom, hope, love, peace, change, and ultimately God?

Church ≠God

Church ≠God
Religion ≠ God

What if we as Christians, and yes I put myself in this category, are making the Church, God?
What happens if this is true?

Maybe this is why so many try to be so busy in church, and forget about God.
Maybe this is why instead of prayer; we are too busy arguing over how church should be.
Maybe this is why churches fight over people for membership and ignore growing the Kingdom of God.

Could this be why so many get so upset when things change, because we are changing their God?

Our church has been "mixing it up" a bit, and within the youth minstry we have been changing a lot. Mostly corriculum and retreats we go on, but also we painted over a certain room that had a lot of history and changed up some of the adults helping. I knew that there would be some struggle with the change, but what came to pass was much more. Essentially, youth and parent alike, were struggling with the changes a lot, but most could not figure out "why?" Just that we changed it.
I wondered why it was such a struggle with not really a reason. I came upon the thought that maybe we as Christians have made church a substitute for God. Maybe people spend time at church and that is spending time with God. Maybe people are on so many commities at church thinking it makes them better in God's eyes. Maybe they struggled so much with these changes because we were esentially changing "God."

Think about this:
What are some things that you experienced in a Christian or Religious setting that made you not want to be Christian, or not stay at a certain church or with a certain religious group?
Do you still struggle with these things when you are in a church setting?

What if the purpose of Church is not to make God like us more, to get us into Heaven, to have the greatest building, to do the most perfect rituals, or to teach the most relevant programming, but maybe the purpose of the Church is to bring fellow believers together in a faith community challenging each other to grow in faith, hope, and love. Sharing our stories of how Christ has made a difference in our lives, reading scripture to find hope and guidance and understand who God is, and love God with everything we have and love our neighbors as ourselves. INSIDE OUT

this was a pretty random ramble so take it as you will, i am sleepy :-)