Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm Back...but really messed up!

Did that title get you hoppin on over here to this ole blog?
I'm ready to get back to blogging, and oh how I've missed it!
Grading work and report cards have bogged down my time and my brain cells.
Kids with so many needs pulling out all my energy leaving me exhausted by days end.
Crabtree family things taking me from end of work to beddy by time.
But oh how my heart has been working, twisting and turning, being refined daily.

So here it is...
I'm really messed up.
Not in a I need professional help kind of way, but in a heart transformation kind of way.
Extreme tragedy in my life has ignited a soul search.
We have this one life.
This one life to live fully and completely.
To make an impact on others and serve others.

"Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge:
"God authorized and commanded me to commission you:
Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life,
marking them by baptism in the threefold: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you.
I'll be with you as you do this,
day after day after day,
right up to the end of the age."
Matthew 28: 18-20 MSG

It's more than the "American Dream" of owning the house, 
two cars, furniture, careers, trips to Disneyland (oh I said it).
I would dare to say that I am in the midst of a radical transformation.
One that some people may not understand fully, but one that is tugging at me day in and day out.

It's not easy to put into words but it's something that Jason and I share and talk about all the time.
Right now I'm reading two books:

Radical Together by David Platt

Amazon says:
Take the next step. From radical followers of Christ to radical communities of faith.
In Radical, David Platt’s plea for Christians to take back their faith from the American Dream resonated with readers everywhere, and the book quickly became aNew York Times bestseller. Now in Radical Together, the author broadens his call, challenging us to unite around a gospel-centered vision. 
How, he asks, might such a vision reshape our priorities as the body of Christ? How might well-intentioned Christians actually prevent God’s people from accomplishing God’s purpose? And, how can we best unleash the people of God in the church to carry out the purpose of God in the world? 
Writing to everyone who desires to make an impact for God’s glory—whether you are an involved member, a leader, or a pastor—Dr. Platt shares six foundational ideas that fuel radical obedience among Christians in the church. With compelling Bible teaching and inspiring stories from around the world, he will help you apply the revolutionary claims and commands of Christ to your community of faith in fresh, practical ways.

7 by Jen Hatmaker

Again from Amazon:
American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.
7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.
Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.

These two books are speaking directly to my heart.
It's like they were in my heart.
"This one's for you Denise!"
I find myself engrossed in what the authors are sharing.
"Yes, I get it.  
I totally can related to you.  
Please can I call you (err, text you)?"
I want to sit down with Jen, Bibles in hand, and pray and talk.

We are called as believers to a radical life.
A community of believers that serve the community.
Not just our immediate community, the ones like us, but God's community.
The orphans, widows, homeless, injured, and downtrodden.

Read this parable told by Jesus.
(Insert self for sheep and goats)

Matthew 25:31-46

The Message (MSG)

The Sheep and the Goats

 31-33"When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

 34-36"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why: 

   I was hungry and you fed me, 

   I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, 

   I was homeless and you gave me a room, 

   I was shivering and you gave me clothes, 

   I was sick and you stopped to visit, 

   I was in prison and you came to me.'

 37-40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

 41-43"Then he will turn to the 'goats,' the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because— 

   I was hungry and you gave me no meal, 

   I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 

   I was homeless and you gave me no bed, 

   I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, 

   Sick and in prison, and you never visited.'

 44"Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?'

 45"He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.'

 46"Then those 'goats' will be herded to their eternal doom, but the 'sheep' to their eternal reward."

In our small group at church we have studied how to study the Bible.
The central verse has been Micah 6:8.

The Message version says:
But he's already made it plain how to live,
what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple:
Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don't take yourself too seriously-
take God seriously.

We are blessed, things are good.
But are they the best?
Are we living the best for God? 
Hmmmm, so much to think about.

Finding the blessings,

Linked up over here with others sharing their hearts.

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