Speak Life

Monday, March 31, 2014


I feel like I have been drinking water through a fire hose.

On one hand, I am so out of this world excited that the water is abundant and on the other I feel like I am just soaked and wet and overwhelmed by the sheer force of it. I honestly haven't felt this way since Catalyst in October. There were moments then when I just had to walk outside and sit. There was so much divine wisdom being poured over me by so many, that it was just overwhelming.

This has been one of those kinds of weeks. I have literally sat with my face in my Bible and a pen in my hand for hours a day, dishes piling up, laundry that still stinks, hair that goes unwashed, I go to carline in my pajamas all because I have been sitting at my desk guzzling through a divine fire hose. And for no other reason than He is drawing me, waking me before the alarm and speaking volumes to me, breaking my heart piercing it  with His truths and I am brave enough right now, for the moment to just sit with Him and be still.

My pastor recently said in a message, "a lot of people are only reaching their potential for Christ, just as the disciples did, because someone spoke life into them."

Can I get an amen? I have been thinking a lot about fear lately because it has dominated me in different ways throughout my entire life. It's detrimental, a destroyer of so much of the good God intends to bless us with yet it can so easily be combatted when others take time to speak life into you. I just can not imagine where I would be if people along my journey from birth to now, had not led me to truth when I was crippled with fear.

Jesus spoke life into His people, His twelve. His very not so bright and ever scandalous twelve. He constantly, purposefully led them to truth about themselves and about who and what they were created for.

 
Matthew 22:37-40
"Love the Lord with all your heart and all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself."
 
 
In a world that is vying for our allegiance to one side or the other, to one belief or another to one denomination or political party, to a zip code, tax bracket, committee, project, worship style, policy, or heaven forbid our ability to dehumanize people for how they struggle or what color their skin is, may I just suggest we get back to the business of speaking life to one another? May I boldly ask that we stop trying to draw lines in the sand that divide and start weaving our gifts together so that they become nets to catch our equally loved brothers and sisters when they fall, or when they are being beaten down?
 
And can I dare remind us that when we clang our Christian symbols in the name of the things we believe to be absolute truths, that we are elevating ourselves to a place of taking on and interpreting with 100% confidence, a God that never intended on being small enough for us to ever fully comprehend? Call me crazy, but I am pretty sure the Bible leaves room for disagreement in a lot of places. We can choose to eat ourselves up from the inside out or we can focus on His greatest commandment for us and the foundation and reason for it all. What I am sure of is this. God sent his Son for me and for every other face on this planet that has ever come and for every one that will come. Every one. I am in no position to exclude anyone from HIS table because of my narrow view of who He is. I only have my limited time and experience to filter through. His word has been and will always be for all.
 
May I remind us all that there are people in this world who will never hear us speak life into them because they A- don't fit the mold of someone we consider worthy of our time, efforts or energy. They don't fit because we don't allow them to. Or B- They can't see God bc we align ourselves to our Christianese loyalties so tightly, that our clanging voices deafen them and they run as far away as they can to avoid the noise. As "Christians" we have seemingly gotten really good at excluding people and choosing who gets to come to Christ or how his stories are told.

 To this point, I just had a conversation with an amazing, successful woman tonight who's father won't speak to her because her boyfriend is of a different race. Let's forget the age old argument that it's a different time and let's move to the one that says God's word has been, is and always be relevant. Matthew 22 wasn't written for 1967 or for 2014 but for all of time. You do it or you don't. It blows my mind. I am pretty sure God said love your neighbor as yourself, not just the ones who look just like you and can use the same hair and skin products interchangeably... How can we look in the mirror and not see that WE who are professing Christ are steering people away from having life spoken into them, not just by those who are like this Dad, but for all the rest of the genuine Christians that may follow. The ripple effect of the stumbling block can cause a landslide. And lying in the rubble could be the next Paul, or Noah, or Esther, or Mary, or Joseph.
 
And let's just be honest, if you aren't intentionally trying to foster unity among race or economics or whatever, you are still a part of the problem of the perpetual cycle of division. Just like anything else in life, if it isn't lived it isn't learned and if it isn't learned it isn't applied and if it isn't applied, it doesn't change. If you want to teach your children to love all of God's people, you need to let them be in a position to do so. That may mean taking them into the mission field or taking them to the park across town to meet a friend who doesn't look like you. It's quite possibly learning with them and laughing at moments when cultures collide. Like when you mention to your black friend that the place you are in smells just like a tanning be and they immediately reply "well I can't say that I know anything about that"... The sheer reality of those moments makes me just die, in a good good way.  You can't teach your children to value something that is never tangible. Break the cycle. The world has enough division, lets not continue to let race or social class keep God's people in discontent.
 
Or for how about the teenager in your child's youth group who is pregnant? Yep, do you welcome her in, maybe even encourage your child to go out of their way to make her feel welcome, do you surround them with love and acceptance, building trust and relationship or do you whisper private warnings against getting too close to her for fear of your own daughters reputation being tainted? Happens all the time, makes my stomach turn. Are we teaching our children to avoid being led astray or are we raising up  future generations who are confident in their faith to offensively lead? I am so terribly aware of how often people parent out of fear, as if the Spirt Of God is not bigger than the things of this world....
 



And let me pick on one of my own, this dear one has a classmate that he has really struggled with this year. Mind you, this is my rule following, precious, loves doing things right kid. This boy in his class has a mouth on him that would embarrass your grandma ok. I know, I've eaten lunch with him. Purposefully and intentionally, I have told my son all year without getting involved in any other way, that his only job is to be the Jesus to this kid, that He may ever see anywhere else. You know halfway thinking my kid is going to be able to be a good influence, a good leader... I've not told him to find new friends or pick a new table. I've told him to take the initiative to love.
 
Guess what we found out last week? That kid, with the foul mouth, he's homeless. He lives in a shelter a block from the school with a countless other homeless people and he is most likely exposed to more words that we as adults have ever imagined to be acceptably audible. He's likely seen things in his life we feel uncomfortable even talking about. But guess what, jokes on my kid and me... The one all in an uproar about that classmate for his less than stellar vocabulary. That precious boy has a heart for Jesus that raised over $1,000 for Jump Rope For Heart. He said he was moved by a story of a kid "who had it worse than he did." Cue tears from my 9 year old BOY and alot of shame for being so judgmental. Insert Mom Hug and lesson learned without having to say another word on why in our family we choose love and steer clear of conflict, condemnation and exclusion. My precious boy learned a great lesson last week. Never count anyone out! Never be the voice that tells someone they can't because when you do, you are trying to predict a destiny you have no control of! And, it's possible to have a heart for Jesus and cuss a little....
 
You either live Matthew 22 full of grace and mercy and love or you don't, you love people LIKE  YOU LOVE YOURSELF or you don't. You either have the Spirit of God in your heart or you don't. That spirit speaks life and it bears fruit and it gives hope. It sees the unseen. It's the stone that builds up great people and stories and the one that glorifies God and adds names to the kingdom, unlike judgment that buries that next great leader and the glory and the guest list for the eternal.
 
You bear fruit when you speak life to all people. We too, like Christ,  must look at the things unseen, not the things seen.
 
 
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7
 
 
Who are you speaking life to? Who out there isn't becoming who God meticulously created them to be because they have never had life spoken into them like Jesus's twelve did; his very scandalous, messed up, uncanny, twelve?
 
When Jesus looks at your heart what does He see? Is it a soul that draws lines of division, one that has check off who is worth it and who belongs in your circle or not, are you a clanging cymbal that feels the need to defend their every stance, only seeking to hear or love or know those that think like them, talk like them believe like them or their gospel or a heart that wakes up and longs to first sit in His presence and be loved and broken and stretched and then let loose life giving water and love onto every soul that will listen, regardless of how you are alike or different?

 Love, out of a love from God loves all. The end.
 
There will always be those that claim to be kingdom builders, yet they are the very ones that reject the cornerstone. Fear immobilizes us to move beyond what's comfortable and Jesus was not about comfort. So in order to move where Jesus is we have to be willing to face fear, and throw off it's chains. We must be okay with uncomfortable. Let's not be those people who live as slaves to fear. Let's be a people who love, above all else and in all things, love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. Let's lead, not react.  Let's leave behind the things and places and people even that are sins that entangle and encourage us to segregate, to divide, to dismiss. Let's run from those sins and let's fix our eyes on Jesus as Hebrews 12 says.
 
Let's just do that, shall we? Arm in arm, thread by thread, weaving that net to catch our brothers and sister when they fall, stitching together our threads to make that blanket to cover them when they hurt and wrap them when they need love. And then, may we be faithful and brave enough to admit and confess that we don't always have all the answers and let God who's sitting on His throne, who has and is and is to come, let's let Him be the judge and defender and let's you and I just obey.
 
Love God, love people. Speak Life.

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