Sunday, September 5, 2010

I believe...

This morning I attended Heartland Church with my beautiful sis-in-law and some of her close friends.  I really miss attending my own church when I am out of town, but if I had to have a second favorite church, Heartland would be it.  It is always a treat to visit.  I am always astounded with the presence of the Holy Spirit and how the music and message pulse through my heart. 

Today's service did not disappoint.  There was a guest speaker, Karl Clausen who spoke on the topic- Thrill: When Normal Is Not Enough.  Also the title of his new publication.  Mr. Clausen is an excellent speaker, and I found his message so very entertaining as well as meaningful.  As always, I can never do the message justice, but let me recap for you:

He began with addressing the "God-shaped void in our hearts" (see here where I have discussed my own God-shaped void) that he concludes "only God can fill." Yet as humans we always try to fill that void with material objects, or other sins (food, alcohol, clothes, shopping, etc.)  It is like trying to shove a circle down a square hole.  It just doesn't fit, and it just doesn't work, and we end up in a mess.  Mr. Clausen offered up 5 anchors that can help us move away from this mess and begin to fill our God shaped hole with a God-shaped block.

1. Get a vision of God's Greatness toward us.  AKA: if our perception is puny, our passion will be puny.  So reverse that.
2.  Check to see if you possess authentic faith and not just an illusion of transformation.  Remember, even demons believe in God, but do we believe in Him and believe Him?
3.  Walk free from destructive habits and sin.  (see here for my own journey towards walking free)
4.  Experience ongoing fresh encounters with God (just recently I discussed a very fresh encounter with God, I wish these occurred more really gives me a sense of being Alive!
5.  Share Christ with kindness and confidence. (This is really the message that hit home for me...)

Up until #5 I was doing pretty good.  I thought, yes all this sounds terrific, but I am already experiencing much of this.  But Mr. Clausen mentioned something to us in point #5 that really convicted me. 

"The world isn't rejecting Jesus as much as it is rejecting angry evangelicals"

Isn't God treating me with kindness?  Isn't His grace enough?  So when I share the gospel, am I approaching the topic with kindness, compassion and confidence?  It is apparent to me that I am more willing to share with others what I don't believe, instead of what I do believe. 

"Tell the world what we stand for more than what we stand against."

As a vegan, it is easier to say "I don't eat meat or dairy" than it is to say "I do eat vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, grains, etc."  But isn't it nicer to hear all the wonderful things I do get to eat, versus dwell on the things that I don't get to eat?  Again, it is easier to say that I don't agree with factory farming than it is to offer up alternatives and talk about how I think the animals should be treated.  We as humans tend to focus on the bad instead of the good.  In the same way, as Christians we get caught up in all the many things we don't believe in or can't do instead of telling the world about the freedom found in Christ.  You may hear, "oh those Christians, they hate gays, abortions, etc.  Well, most of us seem to forget that when Christ came he freed us from that law that condemns us from our sins and he brought with him love, patience, forgiveness, compassion, kindness.  And yet, we condemn others for the their sins.  Outsiders only know Christians for what they don't believe in, instead they should know us for what we do believe, faith, freedom and love.  

So today I am sharing with you what I do believe...

I believe in God, in Jesus, in the Holy Spirit
I believe Jesus died for my sins, and he loves me so much, he forgives my sins and renews my spirit every day.
I believe the Holy Spirit allows me to have an authentic relationship with my Lord and Savior and gives me fresh encounters with my Creator that revive me and lift-up my soul
I believe that we have all fallen short of the glory of God, and that statement leaves no one out...anyone can be saved, anyone can be redeemed.
I believe in loving people, because God first loved me.
I believe I have the most wonderful husband on earth...sorry folks, he's taken!
I believe in eating healthy, being active and loving my body.  It is the only one I'm given, I must care for it and use it to God's glory
I believe in the compassionate and kind treatment of all people, animals and any other living thing.
I believe God has a specific plan for me and has made me uniquely to fit that plan.
I believe Him.  I believe every word He wrote, every story He told in the Bible.  I believe in the messages He sends personally to me.  I believe in Him and I believe Him.

Tell me what do you believe?

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