Monthly Archives: April 2011

I’ve Been Hurt By The Church

I’ve been hurt by the church.

This is probably the most used phrase regarding the church besides of course “church is full of hypocrites”. I’ve been thinking what does being hurt by ‘the church’ entitle us to?

Being hurt by spiritual people in spiritual environments is a common occurrence and it probably always will be. In spiritually charged situations like church there are expectations that people should not be perfect but be our own definitions of perfect. And because we are imperfect, trying our best to follow God (and how many interpretations for that are there!) we are constantly projecting what we think is right on everyone else; hurt and judgment is bound to happen.

I heard a story of someone who kicked another person out of her small group because the person wouldn’t give up a sin habit (what a hilarious phrase). The leader interpreted her bible to say that if someone lives in sin to ‘remove them from your meeting’. Her choice would no doubt be defined by herself as true kindness and obedience. As much as we would all judge her for being judgmental and hateful (‘would Jesus kick someone out’ would be our go-to phrase) you gotta stop and think how hard that must have been for her.  Here is the leader trying to do what she believes the bible says to do even when it’s hard and the person in the small group is probably trying her best to kick the sin habit but something isn’t working. The question isn’t was she right or wrong because that can be argued either way, the observation is that people are about to get hurt.

The ironic thing is that someone else with another interpretation of the bible could ask the leader to be removed because she is female. It’s a never-ending cycle! Bible verse after bible verse and the Apostle Paul nowhere around to expand on what in the world he meant when he said it.

All I know is that this is how things start…good people trying their best and everything falling apart in the process.

The problem isn’t that there is no grace or love in the church the problem is that everyone has different definitions of grace and love and EVERYONE has a different interpretation of the bible. No matter the side you take in the story you will never convince the leader that she isn’t reading the bible correctly and you’ll never convince the “sinner” that her leader did it out of love. So, what is the answer?

Do you find a church as similar to you as possible so there is less judgment but no challenging thought or person? Do you find a church that challenges everything you think so that there’s more growth but you hate everyone who goes there? Do you find a church that’s so huge you never have to have a real relationship with anyone because everyone is so disappointing anyways? Do you find a house church so you feel less controlled by a pastor but then have to deal with people in your business?

Being married to a pastor I can honestly say that no one gets hurt or judged more by ‘the church’ than a pastor themselves. Dustin and I have some crazy stories. We’ve been thought the worst of when we were trying our best, we get judged but are then accused of judging, people think we are too liberal or too conservative (you can never be what everyone wants), we’ve been given “spiritual words” that brought nothing but pain and confusion and were entirely inappropriate and wrong.  And unfortunately, we’ve hurt people too.

I realize some people are just pure evil and full of pride and just given over to satan to do his bidding among God’s holy people but for the most part those are not the people hurting us. It’s people trying their best and just not being our definition of kind, gracious, perfect or holy.

So, although feelings of hurt are valid it doesn’t make anyone special, it makes us believers who choose Christian community because that’s how the apostles in Acts set it up.  It’s super messy but if it makes you feel better your pastors are feeling it to. The one thing it doesn’t warrant is giving up.

I get hurt sometimes in my marriage but because there is a covenant there and I have complete faith that Dustin loves me at his core I can forgive and move on and the same goes for him.  Find a church where you know you are loved at the core and then enjoy the mess!

In YWAM my DTS leader always said that tension is necessary for growth. Well, there we have it.

Forever in debt to the people of The Harvest who love and support Dustin and I unconditionally even though we are young and crazy! Words can never express…

The Man of Sorrows

A beautiful text about Jesus. Written 600 years before his birth by the prophet Isaiah.

1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4 Surely he took up our pain
   and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
   and made intercession for the transgressors.

With All Thy Getting…

With All Thy Getting, Get Unction!

My husband suggested I read a book he just devoured by Leonard Ravenhill. I usually shy away from anything, especially books, using the word “revival” in the title because frankly I just tire of the word. However, I thought I’d give Why Revival Tarries a chance, since the author was a different breed of person I thought the book might be too. I was right.

Every pastor, bible student, God-seeker, church planter, missionary, and leader should read this book.

Chapter 1 has so pierced my heart and shattered my carnal admiration of intellect all I can do is repent and say “Oh God, give me unction!”

Excerpts From Chapter 1: With All They Getting, Get Unction

Unction is God’s knighthood for the soldier-preacher who has wrestled in prayer and gained the victory. Victory is not won in the pulpit by firing intellectual bullets or wisecracks, but in the prayer closet. The meeting is won or lost before the preacher’s foot enters the pulpit. Unction is like perfume. Unction is like dynamite. Unction comes not by the medium of the bishop’s hands, neither does it mildew when the preacher is cast into prison. Unction will pierce and percolate. It will sweeten and soften. When the hammer of logic and the fire of human zeal fail to open the stony heart, unction will succeed.

Unction cannot be earned, only learned – by prayer.

Preachers used to sow seed; now they string intellectual pearls.

Away with palsied, powerless preaching which is unmoving because it was born in a tomb instead of a womb and nourished in a fireless, prayerless soul. We may preach and perish but we cannot pray and perish.  With all thy getting, get unction, lest barren altars be the badge of our unctionless intellectualism.

"Everyone wants my mantle but nobody wants my sackcloth"

The Will to Walk

As we emphasize different things in leadership, business or ministry I’ve realized that there is always a downside to the emphasized good thing.

I see this in churches that emphasize intimacy with God and churches that emphasize the sovereignty of God. You get two extreme sides of two real truths about who God is but in the emphasis there can often be an interesting reaction. God is so big in his nature and character that when we communicate specific truths (good truths!) sometimes it’s interesting to watch how those are taken and lived out, especially by young people.

What I hear most at The Mvmnt from our students seeking counsel is not Christian guilt like it was in my youth group, it’s not extreme sin struggles, feeling unworthy of his love, nor is it lack of faith in God’s existence.  The biggest struggle we hear from our students is their feeling that God isn’t present in their life like they would like him to be. They want him to take away their wrong desires and he doesn’t, they want him to make them feel goosebumps or emotional during worship and he doesn’t, they want to hear him speak audibly or they want to see a vision and when he doesn’t they feel upset or cheated. I hear at least a few times a week “I’m doing everything I can but it just doesn’t feel like God is there”. They don’t doubt God is real; instead, they get frustrated because they know he’s real and they can’t figure out why they aren’t feeling more of him. I love this.

I love this because it points to what we emphasize and I believe in what we emphasize. We preach, teach, worship, counsel and sometimes even scream the reality that God wants to be involved in their life. Anyone who has been to The Mvmnt will hear over and over again from the platform, at the alter, in the salvation room, during prayer, or in times of counsel “God sees you and God wants you”.

Simply put we emphasize a relationship with God. And because we communicate so strongly Gods desire for their heart and life in turn they treat their relationship with God accordingly. And if we all remember back to high school relationships they can be quite volatile. I used to worry for them and petition God to do what they want him to do so they don’t lose heart. We would communicate over and over again about the danger of depending on feelings in our walk with God and yet it was still just a real struggle among our kids.

I don’t get upset anymore and I no longer feel the need to beg God to do something big and emo for them. Instead, I’m pleased that they have a sometimes volatile relationship with God because that’s what a REAL relationship is for them. They love, they hate, they experience, they forget, they ignore and then they obsess. Although it points to immaturity in their walk what I love is that it’s real. They are just walking through life with a God that doesn’t always make sense and they are learning to trust that. And although He might not be doing things that they want him to they keep coming back because he’s doing exactly what he should be doing. Drawing them steadfastly (not emotionally) and teaching them along the way. It’s truly beautiful to watch.

 He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs—to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best.  He cannot “tempt” to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

– An excerpt from CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters: Letters from a senior demon to a junior “tempter”.

My First Blog Post…

I’ve been debating: to blog or not to blog? I enjoy reading other peoples blogs but for some reason me blogging feels really obnoxious. So what do I do? Start blogging of course. 🙂

My title “deeper still” comes from one of my favorite quotes by Corrie Ten Boom:

“No matter how deep your darkness, He is deeper still.”

My walk with God has been one of that. Deeper still moment after moment and deeper still year after year.

Sometimes facebook doesn’t seem like the appropriate place to express thoughts and so here I am starting to blog. It will be interesting to some, maybe annoying to others…

Either way, here I am blog world.

%d bloggers like this: