The Body of Christ Needs Women. Women Who Go Forth and Go Out.

“But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy. You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Cor 12:25-27.

And then begins the most famous chapter ever written on Love…

And it is probably not a coincidence that an exposition on the Body of Christ is followed by a call to radical, true Love.

And if it is true that when one part suffers all the parts suffer, then our words and our actions and treatments ought to be slung over our shoulders with all the respect of an honorable weight…to be carried inside the walls of The Church, up onto its platforms, and out of our lips, God help us. Like a solider knows the sacredness of self-sacrifice and duty and this is why he must carry himself so. Because a weight is not the same as a burden.

And when God speaks and moves in hearts that open, He cannot be quenched. Because Holy Fire is not tamed. Because Holy Spirit Fire fell and still falls on even the most unlikely. Praise be!

It first Fell in a home, a room, a space.

And immediately it burst through the doors out into The World because it was impossible to keep those Fire-Flames still inside those walls.

And what happened inside a Home kept right on happening and it’s been happening for two thousand years still. Falling untamed. Falling and bursting.

And the point of Home is not to stay there, because Jesus calls us to go out and go forth…even if that means going out to bring others in. Like how we go out to bring others home to their True Home.

Making disciples means meeting people where they are.

Making disciples means going forth…

Thank God, Esther did not “go home”. Instead she went forth and saved a nation.

Thank God, Jael did not “go home”. Instead she went forth and defeated an army.

Thank God, The Women did not “go home”. Instead they witnessed the supernaturally healed body of Jesus Christ, and they ran full of joy to tell the story…

Thank God, Corrie Ten Boom did not “go home”. Instead she went forth, boldly proclaimed the Living-Word of Forgiveness and challenging the healing of those who have endured unspeakable hate. And the healing of those who caused it.

Thank God, Catherine Booth did not “go home”. Instead she went forth and helped to found one of the most established charities in the history of the world: The Salvation Army.

Thank God, Mother Theresa did not “go home”. Instead she went forth and made her home with the least of these and loved the forgotten in a way that only a Mother can. Wrapping her arms around the filthy, the lonely, wrapping her arms around entire city blocks and nations and decades of forgotten souls.

Thank God, Christine Caine did not “go home”. Instead she went forth and founded the largest anti-human-trafficking non-profit in the world and rescued men and women in a way that only one who suffered through years of sexual abuse can.

Thank God for the artists, the singers and dancers, the missionary women who boldly proclaim the Gospel. Some alongside their Lovers, their Husbands. Some alone, because God called them alone. The Pastors who go forth and weep with the lost and hold the broken and show the face of Jesus by being his hands that hold their faces and their bodies.

And I agree with Ann Voskamp when she says, “this is not about whether women should preach to men or have authority over men — this is ultimately about God clearly calling women to be co-labourers in the Kingdom, to preach the Gospel in everything they do, to be mothers of the faith.”

God calls women to do Mighty and Holy work, and it is when The Body of Christ is fully at work that we best portray the Glory and Goodness of the Gospel.

Because Pastoring a life is more than a title and the recognition of being “on staff” or “paid”.

And platforms are given, and we have the opportunity and the honor to Bear Witness to the Power of the Gospel. Not to shame and belittle The Body of Christ.

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And they will know we are Christians by our love for one another…

But either way, that Holy Fire will never stop falling…

I Am Not Content. And It Wounds The People I Love.

I have more material possessions than 95% of the current human population on this earth.

Continue reading I Am Not Content. And It Wounds The People I Love.

The Church Needs You. And It Needs All Of You.

The Church needs you. Like, it needs you.

The Church needs your story, your wrestlings, your questions and doubts, your open palms, your fears and authenticities…it needs your story of Gospel Redemption. It needs your life, not like the blood in your veins, although it needs that too…it needs your lifetime. Your day-to-day, your smiles and tears, your coffee pot and even your front yard.

And when I say “Church” do you think of little white steeples and neatly lined pews? Or perhaps the industrial-modern campus downtown in some city, groaning to be heard?

I’m not talking about buildings at all. I’m not talking about locations. I’m talking about a move of God. I’m talking about the Beautifully Broken Body of Christ.

The Body of Christ needs you.

The Body of Christ needs Mothers. It needs your gifting and talents, the way you crave truth and community. It needs your fierceness. Your heart for the oppressed. Your wild love-in-action. It needs women who refuse to listen to loud, alluring voices, and instead it needs women who work relentlessly hard to hear and obey the Word of God.

The Body of Christ needs the Deeply Broken. It needs to grieve with you and rejoice with you, to listen to all that God has done in you. It needs you to remind us that when God begins a mighty work, he sees it through to completion. But mostly, it needs your bravery and boldness…because you know darkness like few others do, and that means you know how to wage war against spiritual oppressors that seem impossible to overcome. You know the transformational power of the Holy Spirit. You are the evidence of it. And we need to see what God does when his spirit gets Holy-Deep inside a lost lost soul.

The Body of Christ needs Fathers. It needs you to wrap your arms around the orphaned and abandoned, to speak truth and identity over the souls of the wounded. It needs you to be unapologetically for justice. And it needs the sureness of your God-Given role as a protector and defender. It needs you to be healthy, discipled, humble, aware of the weight on your shoulders, aware of the power of your own voice.

The Body of Christ needs Children. It needs to hold them, to delight in them, and to speak truth over them that builds a supernaturally firm foundation of an Identity in Christ. It needs that childlike wonder and joy. It needs your insatiable appetite for miracles, and your absolute faith that is not easily shaken.

The Body of Christ needs Grandmothers and Grandfathers. It needs your wisdom. IT NEEDS YOUR WISDOM! It needs to hear and witness the faithfulness of God in your life. It needs you to stand as a testament of God’s unfailing goodness. It needs your love, encouragement, guidance, and most of all I think it needs your homes. The Body of Christ needs your open doors, the peace of a home filled with trinkets of a life well lived. It needs your couches, for the struggling marriage, for the mother who never saw what mothers are supposed to do, for the man who doesn’t know how to be both gentle and bold.

The Body of Christ needs Artists and Creators. It needs the beauty you alone see. It needs your expressions, reflecting the creative nature of God through color and sound and texture and words. It needs the story you long to tell, the story placed deep inside you by the Holy Spirit.

The Body of Christ needs the Thinkers and the Doers. It needs your steadfastness. Your determination. It needs to see the reflection of God the Father in you. It needs the way you process information. It needs your ability to act upon wisdom.

The Body of Christ absolutely needs Young People. It needs your dreams and passions. It needs to hear all that God has placed on your heart. It needs your ability to resonate love to a generation of souls suffering in silence. It needs your enthusiasm, your practical help, your questions, and it even needs the way you challenge systems. Do not let anyone look down on you simply because you are young. And shame to those who do. Hold your head high, and do not be ashamed of who God has created you to be, of what burns inside of you. When you combine the giftings of the Holy Spirit with radical authenticity inside thriving community, and cover that all in the truth of Christ, you’ll see God move in ways that will take away your ability to breathe. You will see miracles.

You guys!!

We are missing so so much inside the church. We are missing the inherent, multi-generational relationships.

And the older you are, the longer you have been walking with the Lord, the more this weight falls on your shoulders and on mine.

If you have walked with the Lord for two or three or five decades and you’ve never discipled a single soul…you aren’t just missing out on getting to know a younger generation, you are missing out on the MIGHTY and BEAUTIFUL work that you are designed to accomplish. You are not furthering the Kingdom of God.

Sometimes, the people The Church needs the most, are the ones who rant and complain the most. It’s impossible hard work to spread the Gospel when your lips haven’t stopped mumbling in 15 years. Shut up. And get to work. Sometimes, God needs you be silent.

The Body of Christ needs people to get up out of their seats!

The Body of Christ needs people who spend less time inside a church building, and more time outside of it.

Write these words on your arms, wear them like a garment: Jesus walked and talked and ate and lived and cried and laughed and he did it all outside of the walls of a church building.

How do you heal a marriage? Over dinner. Over time. With Love in action.

How do you heal the wounds of trauma? On a couch. With a hug. In intimate worship. Over time. With Love in action.

Build a fire. Like an actual fire. Sit. Talk. Laugh. Cry.

Get rid of all your crap. Clean off your counters. And invite someone over for dinner. Light some candles. And ask the hard questions: what are you struggling with right now? what do you need? can I pray healing prayers straight up to heaven over you?

Once a month. Just do it once a month. Once a month for the rest of your life. And you will get to watch God move in incredible ways.

Church! You ARE the church.

It is not the pastor’s job to do your job. Unless you enjoy watching pastor after pastor burn out.

It is not a missionary’s job to do your job. Unless you enjoy seeing ministry after ministry close. (Did you know that most missionaries spend 1/3 of their time simply asking for funds to survive while they go and do the jobs no one else will? Not ok.)

The Church isn’t missing anything, its missing YOU!

Read that again…

The Church isn’t missing anything, its missing YOU!!

You Don’t Have To Be A Foster Parent To Change A Foster Kid’s Life

Imagine that you have fallen into deep waters, but it’s your first time to swim. Fighting just to get a breath in; & then someone hands you a screaming child, a stack of paperwork, a bunch of trainings & appointment reminders. Then imagine being expected to complete it all while keeping yourself & that terrified child above water. Oh, & you can’t get the paperwork wet because, of course, it has to be legible when you turn it in.

Continue reading You Don’t Have To Be A Foster Parent To Change A Foster Kid’s Life

I Collect Dead, Dying Things. I Collect Brokenness.

I found this coin when I was 10 years old. I was camping about an hour east of Seattle, deep in the mountains, and as I walked barefoot through the camp sites I suddenly felt something underneath my feet that seemed out of place. I looked down to see a square coin, and couldn’t believe my luck. A coin, IN THE DIRT, from half-way around the world.

I’ve been collecting coins ever since. When I go to another country or when friends go, I ask for coins, please.

And sometimes I collect things that celebrate the creative expressions of peoples all over the world. Sometimes, I revel in the art of countries I’ve never been to. I collect sacred moments, beauty, friends.

But sometimes, I collect dying things. Rotten, rotting things. Things that kill and steal and destroy.

Sometimes, I collect pain and I store it away and I hold it tightly and I let it simmer on the back burner and it’s ok for a while…until it’s not. Until your kitchen burns down. Until the flames reach up and up and quenching them is impossible. Until you barely escape with your life. Until your skin bears the scars of your choices.

And I think I’m starting to see the quiet power in releasing. The STRENGTH it takes to open your palms and say, “Here, it’ll only bury me in flames if I keep it.”

(This is what we mean when we pray for “the wisdom to know the difference.”)

This is what Jesus means when he says to “cast your cares on him”. There is almost a violence to it. Because casting well means you get to eat. Casting well means your family survives. And it’s almost like Jesus KNOWS what he’s asking. But he’s painting a picture of something hard, something that takes energy, a task, a behavior that grows more skilled over time.

He is asking you to shove your fingers deep into the heavy, crude nets of first-century Israel. He is asking you to grab them tightly, like your life depends on it, because your life depends on it. And he is asking you to take that deep breath, and ready your entire body, plant your feet firmly on the deck, and with every cell in your body, without a sliver of hesitation, heave those nets up and over the side of the boat and let them sink heavy-deep into the water.

Because if you can’t heave them over the side, you’ll never be able to heave in the abundance God will place inside those nets.

BECAUSE IF YOU CAN’T HEAVE THEM OVER THE SIDE, YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO HEAVE IN THE ABUNDANCE GOD WILL PLACE IN THOSE NETS.

If you can’t give it, throw it. If you can’t release it gently, release it forcefully. If you can’t open your own hands, let someone open them for you. And if you find that you still can’t, even after all of that, it’s ok. Some of us need to WRESTLE.

God knows. He isn’t afraid of letting you wrestle. He’s not afraid that your struggle will affect his sovereignty, his ability to make all things new, his grace.

There is nothing you can say or do to make God love you any more or any less. Because his love isn’t tainted with sin. It is PERFECTLY. HOLY. WHOLE.

And he sees the weight of brokenness you carry on your shoulders.

And he just wants to take it.

It is a daily releasing sometimes. It is a repeating of obedience and trust that changes everything. It is one step, one movement at a time.

God never asked us to do easy things. He never even asked us to do possible things.

How do you move a mountain?

One shovel of dirt at a time.

How do you move a mountain?

You can’t. It’s impossible.

How do you move a mountain and change your life?

With faith in a God who can make all things possible.

Because he is making all things new and he will not stop when he gets to you.

God Doesn’t Make Mistakes, So It’s Impossible For You To Be One

I’ve heard God doesn’t make mistakes.

I’ve heard it is impossible…

Everything about you. Your nationality, your skin color, gender, hair texture. How expressive or reserved you are. How introverted or extroverted you are. Your ability to sing or create art or to fearlessly barrel race horses. Your laugh.

NONE OF IT IS A MISTAKE.

God knew exactly what he was doing when he reached across time and space and birthed you in the darkness and fashioned you into something spectacular.

You are not a mistake.

It is impossible for you to be a mistake. Because it is impossible for God to make mistakes.

I spent my whole life thinking I was a mistake. That who I was was so shameful. The way I theatrically tell stories, how I want to weep for three days every time I watch The Green Mile. How making a space look beautiful fills me up with so much joy I cannot even express it. How injustice makes my blood boil. How my idea of “good church” involves crying with and laughing with and eating with a handful of people at a time.

Because I always thought I should want other things. I should be less passionate. Less emotional. More practical. More extroverted. Less awkward for heaven’s sake (Lord, above have mercy).

But none of these things about me is a mistake.

It’s weird, but not weird at the same time, to say that THE WORLD NEEDS YOU! And it needs ME. And not in a self-absorbed way, but simply because we are here and because we exist means that God destined for each one of us to be here.

The family he placed us in is not a mistake. Your birth order. Gender.

The country we were born in is not a mistake.

Our skin color is not a mistake. And all those freckles you have or don’t have.

God isn’t surprised you made it earth-side. He isn’t surprised you think post-it-notes can save the world, or that you haven’t been able to find a pair of matching socks in your house since 2007.

God knit you together and created you exactly perfect. Where you are standing right now, that earth beneath your feet that bears the weight of your presence, it is sacred because a sacred being stands upon it: you.

You are priceless. Invaluable. Never compared against another. Never regretted by God.

You are not what has happened to you. What someone took from you or did to you. You are not what someone else says you are, or even who you say you are. You are deeply and irrevocably eternal and brokenness is not eternal.

Stand in this today. Say it out loud. Because a thousand voices are telling you otherwise. Speak this truth over yourself and your children and all the people…that you are not a mistake.

God doesn’t make mistakes.

I’ve heard it is impossible.

It is impossible for you to be anything other than exactly what God created. And this is not something to fear, it is something to rest in.

 

The Goal Isn’t “Don’t Be Like Them”…The Goal is “Be Holy”

Continue reading The Goal Isn’t “Don’t Be Like Them”…The Goal is “Be Holy”