Thursday, February 02, 2012

Religon Is Intoxicating.

I came across some scripture today that has always confused me. I love how in His own time He gives you understanding of scripture. Even many different understandings of the same scripture at different times in your life.

Today was Luke 5:33-39. Let me set the stage for you. He's having lunch with Levi, a tax collector, and all of his friends. The Pharisees are there as well asking questions again. They've already caused a stink over Jesus partying with "sinners". To which Jesus replies, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." Then they go a step further. Let me quote the scripture for you.

"They said to him, 'John's disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.' Jesus answered, 'Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.'"

So we have here Jesus basically telling them. You're fasting and waiting for this "messiah". But my disciples don't fast because I am here! But there will come a day when they will. He reveals himself as the "chosen one" and explains he won't be there long. Hold on, this I think, is where it gets good. Jesus goes on to tell them a parable:

"No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, He will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wine skins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wine skins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wine skins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better.'"

So the rest of the verse, here, is the part that has always confused me. You may say, "But it's so obvious!" Yeah well...I get that a lot.

Jesus has come and is instituting a "new way". This concept is foreign to everyone. They have had the law. It's all they know. But Jesus is the new garment. He doesn't fit into the old way. Their way of doing things. You don't tear a new garment to mend an old one. You just use the new one!

This is my favorite, favorite part. No one pours new wine into old wine skins... again we have old and new paralleled. He didn't come to change the Pharisees. To pour new wine into old wine skins. You must pour new wine into new wine skins. He is raising up "new" leaders. Why? Because! "No one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better.'"
I love this part. Why is it that no one after drinking old wine wants new wine? What is the difference? Old wine is better is intoxicating. Jesus was raising up new leaders because the Pharisees and religious leaders of the day, were drunk on religion.

So this has brought me to this question: Are you drunk on religion, or are you allowing Jesus to fill you with "new wine"?

Monday, November 07, 2011


My day was pretty normal. You know the usual. Breakfast for the kids, start school, clean the house, try to slip in a bible study somewhere in there. Spend some time contemplating the latest tough decisions in our lives. Which today amounted to "what in the world are we going to put under the tree for our boys this Christmas" You know the hard stuff...

Then I read something that sets my head spinning. Seriously. The kind of spinning where you're not sure if you're sitting down. Then you realize you are, which is good, because you just might pass out. We have some friends in central Asia for a visionary trip. Mainly walking and praying, talking to people along the way. One of the guys has been keeping a blog of certain things. I like to read it to stay updated on how the trip is going and the interesting things they have encountered the past few weeks. But today's entry stopped me in my tracks. I was faced with the stark reality that my faith is weak. He spoke of a translator they have been using, and told a bit of this mans story. A believer in a Muslim country, who had several friends tortured and killed for sharing their faith. I think we hear of that so often that it has almost hardened us to the reality of it. But he shared a link, which is the report of the people killed. It's what I want to share today. I have no words beyond it. Only tears, and a refreshed understanding that there is more to our faith than what we tend to make of it sometimes. Beware, it is not for the faint of heart.

Monday, October 31, 2011


I’m walking down a dusty dirt road. Pasture land. It appears to be mid summer, because of the dry landscape. I’ve been here before. I know the way. As I come to the t in the road I know if I turn left it’s the way I want to go. So I do. Soon, I know why I know the way. I’m in the setting of a previous dream and I realize it. As I stare ahead I know that is the road which I’ve been on before and was lost. Because of this I now know the destination I’m seeking is to my right. So I find the road to the right. As I turn on this road I am still on a dirt road, but more in a neighborhood. I am unsure what house I am looking for. But I know when I see it I’ll know that’s it. Suddenly I’m very aware that I am in a dream. I notice how vibrant the colors are and I know God wants me to pay attention to every detail, because he is speaking to me.

I notice the bright blue sky and the brilliant green tree tops. There were bright red benches and stadium chairs everywhere. I saw flashes of yellow but could not put the color with an item. It's the most clear a dream has ever been for me. It feels so real. There is someone standing in front of me at a distance. I can't make out who it is but I know they are guiding me. The sun is overhead and I can feel a northern wind. It is refreshing and peaceful. I know God is in the breeze. I breath deeply. Then I am at my destination. It is a job site. The house is not finished from the outside. It is only at framing stage. I know what I’m looking for is in that house. As I walk in the house changes from new construction to an older burnt out home or dilapidated barn. There is fresh dirt where the floor should be. I can see the sun coming through the slats in the ceiling, as though it is just now dawning over the horizon. It’s dark in this building. I can see lots of flowering bulbs which are getting ready to bloom. As I step towards them excited, I notice what I was looking for. The ground has been disturbed as if something has been dug up. I consider digging anyway to see if anything is left, but I know what I was looking for has already been taken. I’m sad at first. Upset that I didn’t get there first. But then as I look at the disturbed earth I feel my care floating away. I’m more interested in the flowers yet to bloom.

I decide I can take some of them back to my home and plant them there. The earth is soft and moist and the bulbs will come up easily. But as I begin to pluck the bulbs from the earth, I can only find three. One was tall and you could tell it would replant easily. It had a full bloom ready to burst forth. Another was small and thin. It had a healthy bulb on it though, and I knew it would be iffy for this year, but if it did not bloom this year the bulb would reproduce next year with a beautiful bloom. There was a third. It’s bloom at been torn off or eaten by something. I felt the need to take it as well though. Thinking perhaps if I took good care of it, it would produce the next season. I studied the ground knowing there had been many bulbs to dig up before I had started. Now after removing those three, all I could see was grass. I was a bit disappointed, but satisfied that I gotten the three.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Are you awe-full?

I think sometimes God tends to speak to us in times that we least expect it. I know we've been going through this change into a new season of our lives, and with it God has been doing some personal reorganization as well. He's slowly been showing me that I let my fears and desires get in the way of who He made, and is making me to be. I put on this facade of the quiet, wise, encouraging, person. Which through the years is who I've seen people enjoy more. Which I absolutely can be that person, sometimes. But in that, I've suppressed the the person that laughs at inappropriate times, the girl who would break out in dance when no one else is even thinking about it, and the person who would yell at a concert to God, because it's not a "mature" thing to do. I don't know when my desire to be a "mature" person over took my "awe".

Let me explain. Last night, there was a push for the students to be in awe of God. That at some point we become to cool to express joy or awe for anything. I've always heard this and even taught this, but never realized how much it describes me! It just fit into this idea that God's been teaching me. So after youth, I was sitting with a friend discussing this whole life change that God has presented me with. So she says, " I know exactly what you're going through, God has been teaching me the same thing over the past year. Something I've learned is that God delights in my childishness, it's who he created ME to be." I had to let that sink in. So as I've been processing, I've been analysing all the things I don't want others to see in me.

I often laugh or smile at inappropriate times. I have always hated this! As I was thinking through it, I came to a new understanding. I smile or laugh when people are hurt emotionally, or struggling through something difficult, but not when hearing about it from others. Only when hearing it or seeing it first hand from the person themselves. I know, it sounds bad, right? But as I think about it. The reason I catch myself smiling or laughing isn't out of amusement. It's because I'm so excited I can see God working in their lives. I can see the opportunity for growth and I can't contain it! I am truly in awe of God sometimes.

I often contain the urge to randomly dance. It's just not mature... I guess I've always thought of people who do this as seeking attention. I guess God is working two things out in me through this one. One, Do not judge! And two, if I have this fear of not wanting people to think I'm seeking attention, then I'm obviously not seeking attention. So why would I not want to express my worship to God when He puts a song in my head, and a desire in my heart? The trees don't decide whether they are going to bend to the wind or not when people are watching. Why should I care?

I tend to maintain this whole mature, wise, encouraging front. Partly because it's who I want to be, and partly because I think it's what others think I am. Don't get me wrong. I have my moments. But it's just not who I am all the time. I'm childish, needy, afraid, and judgmental at times. This, is who I am most of the time. The other more admirable traits are only slight glimpses here and there. Yet I try to hold up this front, and make it the other way around, because I don't want to disappoint anyone who hasn't seen that yet.

I wish I could say, now that I realize these things, I'm going to be a different person. But, I feel this is going to be a slow process of transition. From the person I've made myself to be, back to the person God has created. It's going to be a difficult road of shedding layers I've put on myself. Am I confident I can do it? No. But I believe this is God working in me, and He can accomplish anything.