Archive for the ‘Following Jesus’ Category

A Song for the Suffering

March 8, 2016

This beautiful song by Shane and Shane features a sermon excerpt by John Piper. I’m moved to tears every time I listen.

“Though you slay me
Yet I will praise you
Though you take from me
I will bless your name
Though you ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need”

 

Isaiah’s Economic Recovery Plan

October 18, 2008

“The kind of fasting I want calls you to free those who are wrongly imprisoned and to stop oppressing those who work for you.  Treat them fairly and give them what they earn.  I want you to share your food with the hungry and to welcome poor wanderers into your homes.  Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

If you do these things, your salvation will come like the dawn.  Yes, your healing will come quickly.  Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.  Then when you call, the Lord will answer.  ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.

Stop oppressing the helpless and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors!  Feed the hungry and help those in trouble.  Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as day.”

– Isaiah 58:6-10 (NLT)

The Fire

June 22, 2008

“Light is always costly and comes at the expense of that which produces it.  An unlit candle does not shine, for burning must come before the light.  And we can be of little use to others without a cost to ourselves.  Burning suggests suffering, and we try to avoid pain.

We tend to feel we are doing the greatest good in the world when we are strong and fit for active duty and when our hearts and hands are busy with kind acts of service.  Therefore when we are set aside to suffer, when we are sick, when we are consumed with pain, and when all our activities have stopped, we feel we are no longer of any use and are accomplishing nothing.

Yet if we will be patient and submissive, it is almost certain we will be a greater blessing to the world around us during our time of suffering and pain than we were when we thought we were doing our greatest work.  Then we are burning, and shining brightly as a result of the fire.

Many people want the glory without the cross, and the shining light without the burning fire, but crucifixion comes before coronation.”

-L. B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert

Easter Sunday

March 23, 2008

He is Risen by Michael Jothen

He is risen, Alleluia! Christ is risen from the dead.
He has ris’n to conquer sin, He has ris’n to save us.
All good Christians sing today!
Wipe the tears of death away.
He is risen, Alleluia! He has ris’n to save us.

Good Friday

March 21, 2008

Mother in Grief“A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.'”

– Luke 23:27-29

He is Here!

December 25, 2007

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.”

– Isaiah 9:1

My Carefully Calibrated Difference

September 15, 2007

I recently finished Sara Miles’ excellent new book Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion. Sara chronicles her surprising mid-life transformation from atheist to Christian and her calling to establish a food pantry in one of San Francisco’s most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Passionately committed to the unconditional welcome of Jesus’ Table, Sara and her food pantry volunteers embrace schizophrenics, drug addicts, little children, ex-cons, and sweet old ladies alike. One particular section of the book has really stuck with me:

So I’d sit down next to people and let them talk or cry; I’d listen and put my hands on them; at some point, I’d pray aloud, without really knowing where the words were coming from. It felt homey, not mysterious. But it usually made me cry too…

If my carefully calibrated difference from others wasn’t going to be the vitally important thing about me, then my identity was going to be bound up with all kinds of other people at their most vulnerable and unattractive…

It was my own weakness, my own confusion and hunger; it was everything I couldn’t be sophisticated and together about. Of course I was going to weep, and pray, with her.

(more…)

Praying for My Enemies

April 18, 2007

When I decided to undertake the spiritual exercise 10 People to Pray for to Start Changing the World, prepared by my friend John Lamoreau, I really didn’t think it would be all that difficult. After all, I think I’m a pretty nice person. And I don’t really have any “enemies.”

But John’s list was disturbingly practical – pray for the family member who bugs you the most, your most obnoxious co-worker, the most abrasive person in your church. And the guidelines said to not pray for these people to change in the way I want them to, but to pray for God to bless and guide them.

This exercise turned out to be more difficult than I thought. The list also included the politician you most dislike and the most evil person in the world who comes to mind. But it was actually harder to pray for the people in my own life that I struggle with than it was to pray for a nasty dictator! Some of the prayers were said through clenched teeth.
(more…)

Setting the Captives Free

March 4, 2007

“What a tragedy it would be if amidst all the movies and memorials celebrating the life of Wilberforce in 2007, Christians missed out on the chance to actually be Wilberforce in 2007—to be used of God to set slaves free, to bring an end to slavery in this generation, and to bring honor to the mission of Christ in the world.”

– from On a Justice Mission by anti-slavery activist Gary Haugen


“Is this not the fast which I chose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” -Isaiah 58:6

Too Much & Not Enough

February 3, 2007

In the dialogue surrounding the Convergence conference, one theme that has come up is the intense pressure we women face to measure up to the ideal. Jamie shared how she doesn’t feel that she fits the stereotype of a Christian woman because she is just “too much.” This is a message we receive a lot as women – that we are too much and not enough all at the same time.

We’re too emotional, too needy, too opinionated, too demanding, we talk too much, we expect too much. And we are also not pretty enough, not thin enough, not educated enough, not accomplished enough, not rich enough, our houses aren’t clean enough, our kids aren’t perfect enough. And apparently this pressure to conform to the standard has been around for a very long time.

In Luke 10, we meet Martha, a wealthy woman who was hosting a dinner party for Jesus and his disciples. While she hurried around with the preparations, her younger sister Mary ignored the demands of entertaining and simply sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to his teaching. In 1st century Jewish culture, it was highly inappropriate for a woman to sit at the feet of a rabbi. Mary was certainly managing to be too much and not enough all at the same time! She was too bold, too forward, too audacious and she was definitely not a good hostess.

(more…)