Monday, August 29, 2011

Helping with the Research

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Lysa TerKeurst has asked for input for her upcoming book. Technically, these questions were supposed to be answered in her comments, but, well, I didn't want to fill up a whole comments page by myself...

How would you define unglued?

I'm going to define it this way:Unglued-- losing the restraints that keep one's behavior reasonable and acceptable to oneself and/or one's peers

What does coming unglued look like for you?
For me, there are degrees of 'unglued'...sometimes it's a full-fledged raging temper tantrum (usually involving repeated irresponsibility or disobedience on the part of one or more of my children), but more commonly it's a word unfitly spoken, devoid of grace or empathy when I feel I've been judged, unappreciated or marginalized.

What factors contribute to you feeling unglued?
Fatigue, being taken by (unpleasant) surprise, being pressed for time or pressured into agreeing to something I do not feel I've had time to process and think through. Frustration at not being heard. Particularly if several of those conditions occur at the same time.

Do you tend to explode or stuff? I rarely explode anymore; I am learning better ways of handling the bad stuff. But when I do explode, it's a doozy that leaves me feeling like a humiliated failure. Mostly, now, I stuff. Stuffing is not necessarily bad if it can be worked through at a later time, but if it isn't dealt with it will become fodder for the explosion.

What would you want to make sure I cover in a book like this? How to repair the damage after the glue has failed...I have a hard time getting back to comfortable around folks to whom I have exposed my less admirable traits.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
There is some small comfort in knowing that we all mess up from time to time, but it doesn't really help alleviate the humiliation of having to own my character flaws in front of other people. Thank God for those mercies that are new every morning...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Faithful Faves: Acts

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I *love* the book of Acts. So much good stuff to choose from...but I landed on this little narrative and it made me smile. So this is what I've selected:

Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed that she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, 'Peter is at the door!'

'You're out of your mind,' they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, 'It must be his angel.'

But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. -- Acts 12:13 - 17a

There is so much in this whole story...which sadly begins with the beheading of John's brother, James...but I'm going to focus on this bit of it, because it always struck me funny that the believers did not believe Rhoda when she came and told them that the answer to their prayers was standing on the front porch. Nobody even went to see, until they heard his continued knocking.

I've talked before about the Hebrew scholars who wouldn't check out the Magi's story at the birth of Christ, because he didn't come as they expected, but, see, in this instance faithful, praying followers of Christ wouldn't even walk to the door to see if Rhoda was right.

Why? Because they expected the answer to come in a different way

The folks gathered at John Mark's mother's house knew Peter was chained to guards and locked in prison; I really think the focus of their prayers was for God to move miraculously on the trial the next day.

But how much cooler was God's answer to their prayers for Peter??

I need to learn not to limit God with my preconceived expectations.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Still Congested

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Third service today ended at about 1:00, and we had a baptismal service afterward.

7 hours later, my semi-closed sinuses and puffy eyes are reminders of how moving that service was.

Philip Cameron and a boatload of older teens rescued from the streets of Moldova made their annual appearance at church today; they come over during the summer and visit all the churches that support the work over there.

But we were privileged to see eleven of the young people baptized after 3rd service.

Now, in the U.S., it's usually not such a big deal. Oh, folks are happy enough, but for these kids it's different.

It's making a huge statement. Families disown kids who receive baptism. So each of these kids were very aware that they were breaking traditions; they were all somber and deliberate.

Out Pastor always gives baptismal candidates the opportunity to share anything before they're baptized. Most folks smile and shake their heads; a few make a short statement into the microphone. But each one of these kids took the microphone and declared their thanks to the Camerons, for bringing them the opportunity to hear about Jesus, and then they declared their love for Christ and their intention to follow him with all their heart.

Totally spontaneous. Unbelievably moving. Humbling beyond words.

I'm going to be reflecting over this for a long, long time.

Here's a bit of their story, a video shown today in church:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Faithful Friday Faves: John

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

John. Today's book is John.

Picking one passage from John is like walking into Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory and choosing ONE delectable to sample.

So, I'm going to go with the one thing that dropped into my spirit the moment I realized John was up this week:

Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?"

Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later."

Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."

Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows you will disown me three times!

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be where I am." - John 13:36 - 14:3

The last time I did a deep study of the book of John, the context of that passage really struck me. Often we split the story at the end of chapter 13 -- when Jesus declares that Peter will deny him -- and pick up the next time with the lovely promises of chapter 14 and never realize that they go together. Those chapter-and-verse breaks make the Bible easy to reference and study, but it does disrupt continuity at times. We forget that.

Jesus just told Peter that he was about to fail the biggest test of his faith to date, and then says, in effect, 'Don't worry about it'.

It's all part of the same speech. Jesus didn't hesitate or change the subject. He dropped his bombshell, offered comfort, and then answered the original question.

In some odd way, I find this passage comforting. Peter failed...but he repented. None of the promises Jesus gave him were invalidated because of his failure.

I've failed, many times. I stagger under the weight of my failure. I'm quite sure that there are people who discredit anything I would say/do for the cause of Christ because of my past failure. And, to be honest, I would sacrifice much for the opportunity to go back and un-fail any one of those moments. But I can't.

But I can repent; renounce my stupidity and my self-centeredness and my pride and learn to recognize similar situations so I will not fail in that way again.

And I can cling to Jesus words "Do not let your heart be troubled."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Faithful Friday Faves: Luke

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I hesitated over two or three passages...and a couple of recurring I skimmed through Luke, but the one that got my attention was a familiar story with a note I wrote beside it. I can't remember if I made the observation or if I was listening to someone who made the observation, but it started some wheels turning so it's today's pick:

"You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'"

"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him , "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. - Lk 18: 20 - 23

The note in my margin is next to verse 20 and it points out that the commandments Jesus listed were the ones that had to do with how people interact with one another. Of the rest, one is about attitude ('Do not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor') and the other four are about our relationship to God ('Do not worship anything in the place of God, do not make idols for yourselves, do not misuse the name of the Lord and keep the Sabbath holy')

Remember, Jesus has said that the two great commandments are 'Love God' and 'Love your neighbor'. He put the question to the rich fellow about loving his neighbor...and the ruler was quite happy to respond that he'd been doing that his whole life.

But, when Jesus pointed out that he missed the first commandment - Love God with everything you've got - the guy was hit with grief.

Because when it came down to it...he couldn't part with his possessions to give God first place.

And I don't think he realized it until that precise moment.

We all have those pivotal moments when God speaks to us...could be in any number of ways...and we see in a flash that we had no idea what was really going on.

And, at that moment, we have a choice: Continue with the status quo, and go no further with Christ, or give up the thing that is distracting/consuming us and follow Him.

I've had mini-moments like that...and sometimes I've chosen rightly, and sometimes I have not.

The grief of missing the opportunity has ALWAYS been greater than the grief of giving up the distraction. You'd think I'd learn.

Fortunately, His mercies are new every morning. Someday, I will have learned...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Faithful Friday Faves - Mark

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I told you I'm stuck in a time warp; I just realized that today is Friday...time to look through Mark...

Maybe it's a symptom of my current state, but two verses jumped out at me and, since they are somewhat related, I'm going to use both of them.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. - Mk 1:35

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." - Mk 6:31

A number of years ago, the big thing in youth ministry was WWJD, which stood for 'What Would Jesus Do?'

There were WWJD bracelets, mugs, notebooks, name it. All aimed at getting kids to stop and ask themselves 'What would Jesus do?' when faced with a decision.

But there is a subtle deception in that question, which is this:

It assumes that we can figure out, using human reasoning, what course of action Jesus would take in a similar situation and then do that.

The problem is...Jesus often defied human reasoning in his actions. He did not do what made sense. So how can we, using our reasoning abilities, figure out what Jesus would do?

See, if you study the Gospels, you'll see that Jesus didn't figure out what he was gonna do in any situation, either. He just did what he saw his Father doing.

And the way he could tell that was he cultivated such a close relationship with the Father that he knew what the Father was doing.

He went off by himself and prayed. Often. Sometimes all night.

I submit to you that we can't really do what Jesus would do in a particular situation unless we have first done what Jesus did on a regular basis: spend quality time building our relationship with the Father and the Spirit.

Which is why the second verse speaks so loudly to me today.'s in the middle of the business that Jesus told the disciples to come away with him. Not when things settled down, not when the business was finished, but right there, while the people were still coming and going.

Anybody wanna say 'Ouch!' with me? I have a really, really hard time stopping in the middle of the busy and going away with him.

And it's been worse this summer. But I do hear that voice...Come with me by yourself to a quiet place and get some rest...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Caught in a Time Warp

Whilst reading through the posts on my facebook wall, I chanced across a post that mentioned a major league baseball team being eliminated from post-season play.

"Whoa," I thought, "How can anyone be eliminated so early?"

I took a second trying to place myself on the calendar...feeling rather early-Juneish.

I had a dizzy moment when I realized it is August and school starts Monday.


There have been summers that zipped by in the past, but nothing like this summer. How can time move so fast all of a sudden??

I recently saw a news story which stated that a group of scientists had absolutely proven time travel/ travel faster than the speed of light is impossible. After seeing this summer evaporate in a twinkle, I'm wondering if they didn't miss something in their computations...