T-Minus 7 Days…

Friends, my departure date is swiftly arriving.

Last night, I went down the airport to pick up my friend, and after she got in, we walked past the United counter and I looked at her and said, “We’ll be here in one week sending me off!” That’s when it really started to get real… In one week, Jesse will be picking me up, I’ll be freaking out, we’ll go to the coffee shop so I can say my last goodbyes and I’ll be gone. CRAZY!

It’s been weird for me to see things differently as I am leaving. For one, I know now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am a control freak. I am worried about how things are going to be while I am gone. I am worried about my Youth Group kids and how they will grow or fail while I am gone. I know, in my head, that the Lord holds them, but practically I worry. I just love these kids so much and I want to see them grow and succeed and love God. But, I also know that God has called me to go to Belgium and has given my favor with the youth kids there like he has my youth kids here, so I am going in obedience, and full blown excitement. But I do worry for my students here.

High School (and Middle School) are hard. I think things may legitimately be more difficult these days than when I grew up. Or maybe just where I live now. But I feel like sin is crouching at every door, and the doors are wide open. They have so much access to so much more than we did, with all the technology and accessibility. Gossip can fly the second it’s heard, rather than giving a person a minute to think about it before they share it. You can pull up any image on your phone at any time, that’s dangerous. The need for person accountability and impulse control is higher than its ever been, and unfortunately, its a lost art.

So what do we do. What have I learned to do when my inner control freak, well, freaks out? I turn to prayer. I cannot control everything and everyone, as much as I would like to, but I can talk to God. He not only has the control, but the plan and He knows best, even when it does not make sense.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:5-7

And you call be praying for me, that instead of Epaphras, this would be true of me.

“Epaphras [Morgan], who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.” Col 4:12

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Oh, Broken Church!

There are times that I feel just angry. I don’t mean to, and I know that it’s wrong. I should be more patient, understanding, and encouraging. I just get mad though.

I should probably tell you why, haha!

I get really angry with American (or Western) Church mindsets, and how people can so easily get sucked into “Church Culture” rather than true and fruitful Faith in Christ. I can literally rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and RANT on this topic for hours, as those who know me in person can attest. This past week, at my church, i was thinking about this, and getting angry about this, and stated thinking about it.

I then began writing.

I was able to get out some of my anger in the poem below, and communicate how I was feeling, and call out those who I feel need to be called out (if they read it…)

It is long. I was going to apologize of it, but truly – Sorry, not sorry! I couldn’t stop… and I think it needs to be said. So take the time to read it please. So here it is.

Plunged deep in the world

Anchored by the Truth I know

Seeking a way to love the Tares,

Finding it easier than believed.

But as time progresses, love demands more.

My heart breaks as my treasured friends flail.

Trying to find happiness, joy and purpose.

Failing and left wondering Why.

How do I console and comfort

When my respite, my solace, is not what they want to hear.

Their deepest need and the completion of their desires,

They reject as archaic, narrow and just not for them.

“The hypocrites, the judgement, the culture that skewed,

The church doesn’t want them” They think and they cry.

And they’re not wrong.

The church is uncomfortable with friends like mine.

Their lives are messy and filled with grime.

Pain beyond measure, impossible choices,

Risky situations and problems we can’t solve.

How do we act with the lost in our way?

The Pharisees, that brood of vipers,

The religious “elite”, those Whitewashed tombs,

They judge, spurn and withdrawn in disgust.

The proclaim shallow praise for their “pious natures,”

While looking down on the broken with a sneer and a stare.

Rather,

Look to our leader, our ever Faithful Big Brother.

How does Jesus engage the lost?

Does He judge, spurn and withdraw,

Or does He love, move close and embrace?

Matthew and Mark both tell the tale,

Jesus was eating, living and loving,

The worst of the sinners, the tare, the lost.

THIS is our call, oh broken church!

To be a Christian, oh “Little-Christ.”

Our Lord would embrace, love and reach to meet needs.

Do you push them aside or cross the road,

or, God-forbid, attack and judge.

Do you assume you know their state?

Do you know their minds, their thoughts and their pains?

The lies they believe or the Truth they can’t see?

Christ came for the sick, the lost, the sinners to the core.

How quickly we forget that’s our state for sure.

Why do we think we can elevate our plight?

That we’re not “that bad” or never took it “that far”

But save the hand of our Lord reaching down

Our state would be sure and equal to theirs.

We’re indulgent, disobedient and seeking our own.

Sin breaks us all and drags us down deep,

Beyond what we think, beyond what we know.

Our desires, our lust, removes all our reason.

Don’t fool yourself, or think you’re above it.

Your state, you sin, without Christ is damning .

Not matter our sin, it removes us from God.

Separate from God, no goodness exist.

In order to love and serve the lost,

We must realize we’re not far from that heart.

Our culture, our nature, resist this approach.

We long freshen up, cover up, and boast.

To accept and speak of our weakness is shunned,

Hide the dirt and proclaim the good.

How funny, that sounds like the very attitude

The Good Lord rebuked the Pharisees for.

Hiding the truth of our sinful heart,

Claiming the glory for good in our lives.

Not realizing how hiding our sin just makes us look fake.

Promotes the idea that we are mere hypocrites.

Step beyond ourselves and how other see,

And be truthful and honest with those in view.

Don’t show off your “power” and “holiness.”

What good is that for struggling friend?

Rather boast in your weakness, and in your failings,

To show off the Glory, Power and Love,

Of the One who brings all Good to the world.

The One who saves all broken lost sinners,

Who cry out His name, and, oh, what a sweet name!

Live your life not to proclaim your goodness,

It’s worthless, filthy rags, as dear Isaiah calls it.

But look to the Good, with a capital “G”,

That comes from beyond ourselves,

Despite ourselves,

From our Glorious King.

We cannot fix and save the lost.

But we were never supposed to,

For that is not who we are.

Our purpose, our aim, no matter our pride,

Is to point the lost, the ones by our side,

Our friends and dear ones,

To the only one who can.

Jesus the Christ, the God-Man, the Savior of All.

Comments, questions and criticisms are welcomed.