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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Selfie Christianity



I’ve never seen a good selfie, mine or anyone else’s. You know what I’m talking about. They are posted all over FaceBook and every other social media site.

They are never very flattering. I mean, how many selfies have you seen that should be framed and put on a wall? When I take a selfie, my nose suddenly looks like the honker of a goose. In order to make my nose look decent (and, let’s be honest, I don’t really love my nose…thanks mom for passing on that gene to me) I’d need a selfie stick the length of Texas. And then, some other part of me would look bad.

Some selfies are taken by “dumb” smart phones, which means the shot is taken by clicking a reflection in the bathroom mirror. Really? I don’t need to see your filthy bathroom, or you without your shirt on…wait until you get fully dressed please.

My smart phone allows me to “turn the lens around” at the push of a button so I can take my selfie more conveniently. It’s also more convenient if you have spinach in your teeth, it acts like a bathroom mirror (yes daughter, I’m thinking of you).

As a culture we have become so self-absorbed that the best pictures we can take are of ourselves; as if the world is just waiting with baited breath to see another bad picture of myself posted so they can “like” it.

This self-focus bleeds into other areas of our life as well. It feeds the lie that life is all about me, and everyone else should notice.

STOP!

It’s time we stopped living out our Christianity like we’re taking a selfie. It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus and what He wants. It’s about living the life He’s called you to live. There is no part of it that is about you, your convenience, how you feel or how your needs are met!

It is about loving, serving and living in a way that reflects the beauty of our Savior.

A friend of a friend of a friend (does that distance it enough?) recently told a friend that she doesn’t really get up to go to church anymore because it’s her only day off and it just isn’t worth it.

That’s a Christian selfie.

Church isn’t about you. It’s about Him and how he wants you to relate to His people. It’s not about what you get out of it, but what you put into it. You will never be fully his if you aren’t involved in the things that are uniquely Him. If you’d look outward instead of inward you might find that you are there for someone else! The Apostle Paul, in Romans 13, tells us to love others as well as we love ourselves.

Another friend of a friend of a friend gets put out when people ask her for money to go on a mission trip. Her thought is that everyone knows she has money and asks because they think, “Oh, she can afford it.”

Christian selfie.

Whose money is it anyway? Has she ever thought about praying that God would let her know if this is the best use of His money? She’s been given her wealth for a reason…maybe it’s to advance the Kingdom of God.

What? Your church doesn't do it your way? Christian Selfie. What about not serving because I just don’t have time? Christian selfie. What if Jesus didn’t make time to spend 33 years on earth to make a way for us to spend eternity with him?

Church…it is time to stop focusing on yourself and start living completely for Him. It's time to rid your life of the Christian selfies that keep you from becoming the man or woman he calling you to become. The days are growing darker and our King has a purpose and plan, created long ago, for us to shine our “flash” out into the darkness to point the way.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Disappointed in Worship



I have a close friend who was told she should apply for what seemed like the perfect job. Working from home, flexible hours, enough travel to be interesting, good pay and benefits. It seemed like the perfect fit, especially since she really doesn’t like her current job. She had an “in.” Everything looked like it was an answer to prayer.

Today she received her “thanks, but no thanks” letter.

I have some other friends whose son is bound and determined to take the scenic route to God’s best for him. The siren call of narcotics is too hard to ignore. He thinks somehow his life is an island, and his choices don’t impact anyone else.

His family has been wrung through the ringer.

And then there’s my friend who just broke her back in a car accident. Oh, and the one who trains harder than anyone I know only to sit on the bench time and again. And the friend who is lying in bed with a herniated disk.

How do you worship when God’s best for you is radically different from what you thought it would be?
 My friend Joe had a great life. He was part of a large wealthy family and loved deeply by his father. He experienced a little sibling rivalry, but nothing to complain too loudly about.
Until his brothers sold him into slavery.

One day fancy clothes and a souped-up camel, the next a slave collar and manual labor.

What’d he do? He dug deep and rebuilt his life on the foundation of his faith in God’s plan. It revealed a lot about his character. He moved up the ranks until he was sold out again. This time for not doing the wrong thing.

New clothes…prison garb. Bad food.

Rebuild again.

He’d been given a vision of his future that was radically different than his experience to date.

At the end of the story, we see what motivated his heart (Genesis 50:20), “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.”

That’s all well and…good…but can’t this happen to someone else?

Romans 8:31 – “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Never forget that He is on your side, always working for your best. Always there. Always moving you toward His purpose for your life. Who knows? He might even surprise you!

Be disappointed. But worship.