Two FRESH new ways to be an annoying Christian

Christianity

I’m good at annoying people. Sometimes I repel people from Jesus, the very thing, the very Person, I’d like to compel them to without even trying. How about you?

I was thinking that some of you may not have the gift of annoyance like I do.ย #blessedย 

This blog is for you, dear brothers and sisters.

Here are a couple of ways that I’ve found are good at repelling people from Jesus.

Do these faithfully and you’re sure to succeed at being annoying for the cause of Christ:

  1. Use Christian-ese or churchy lingo so that ordinary people have absolutely no idea what you’re saying.

For example:

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I’ll use a conversation for a church announcement to illustrate this point.

“Ladies, if you want to be a woman of the Word, come Friday to fellowship with us. You’ll be blessed as we share time together.

Get prayed up and show up, and bring your lost friends because you are the only Bible that someone might read.”

I think this one is self explanatory.

What the heck does this mean, you may ask?

If you don’t know, then you need to get yo-self to CHURCHย and start taking notes on our lingo right away so you can speak it fluently.

 

2. Love the sinner, hate the sin. I’ve actually said this. (gasp)

One of the problems with this is that I don’t see it anywhere in Scripture.

Yeah, I’m REAL good at annoying people. I’ve turned off my fair share of people from Christianity and from Jesus when I get all Pharisee-ical. See, I did it again!

That’s Church lingo for: legalist, person who looks down on others for not following the letter of the law perfectly and shuts people out for the very cause they are zealous for in doing so.

Don’t tell me you’ve done it, too? Told someone that you think they are great, but you don’t agree with their lifestyle. If this is you, maybe weย can start a support group for Annoyers Anonymous.

How about if we do what Jesus did, and just love people?

Care about them and what concerns them? Period.

Right now, just as they are. Not in spite of a lifestyle, or choices. Because that’s one of the things I love most about Jesus.

He doesn’t require me to clean myself up from my sin before I approach Him, although He is Holy and could require that from me.

He wants me to turn to Him and away from my sin, but He still seeks me and you and each lowest-of-the-low person before we’ve even thought about turning to Him.

He simply loves me, and you, and the person that’s [fill in the blank] just as we each are. Right now.

He doesn’t like sin, but He also doesn’t say stuff like “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

By the way, that’s all of us. Not one of us is without wrongdoing.

When we aren’t able, or don’t FEEL love for people of a certain category, then maybe the problem is us, not them.

This is a red flag to ask ourselves, “What’s going on in my heart that I’m making Christ’s love for them conditional based on _______? (fill in the blank with behavior, lifestyle, or looks)

I don’t have the power to love people without God or without Christ in me. His love overflows from me, out to others.

Don’t be an annoying Christian. Unless you want to repel people from Jesus. If you do, these are two very successful methods I’ve used through the years.

You’re welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚

Christine

coffeewithchristine.com

 

 

 

Jesus in a corner

Christianity, Christmas, Uncategorized

Sometimes we put Jesus in a corner. Or an attic.

I find myself doing that sometimes, literally and figuratively. I was ALL happy with myself three days after Christmas when I took all the decor down and put almost all of it in boxes.

Since I’ve de-glittered the house, and still had packed up boxes of Christmas decor out in view, I’ve thought about how we treat Jesus sometimes.

I packed up my nativity scene from the dining table and had Baby Jesus tucked safely in styrofoam. You could still see him because I didn’t put away the styrofoam completely in the box for a while.

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I’m missing a piece, but I don’t think anyone noticed this Christmas. The most important Person was in the scene….Jesus.

After I procrastinated a couple of weeks, I taped up the tired Christmas tree box and put it all the way in the back of the attic. We won’t need it for 11 months, andย I wanted it out of the way.

I wonder how often we do this with Jesus in our lives. We have seasons and times that we give Him the spotlight. He’s the focus, the reason, our everything. We may give Him full and complete access to every part of our hearts and lives.

Little by little, though, sometimes we put him in a corner. Subtly.

It doesn’t happen on purpose. At first.

But when we begin to struggle with anger, or disappointment, or hurt, we may shun Jesus a little because we don’t want to forgive. Or we don’t want to face our part and change. Or we want justice, and that feels right.

Jesus may be put into a corner because we begin to get busy. It is, after all, a new year. New goals, health focus, workouts, check my social media feed, work, sports, kids activities, hobbies, gotta check my phone again.

Distractions. Not on purpose, but it happens sometimes.

Sometimes giving Jesus full access to our hearts feels scary. Paradoxically. Because there’s no one more trustworthy than the One who crafted and created us. He knows the deepest parts of us, every longing and worst thought, yet lavishly loves us.

Intentionality. If you and I want to keep Jesus front and center in our lives, it will take the choice to be intentional. Carving out time to be with Him. Choosing to focus my thoughts on Him during my everyday tasks.

Brother Lawrence in Practice of the Presence of God explains this much better that I can. It’s a short and sweet, very practical read.

Will you and I put Jesus in a corner, or way back in the recesses of our heart’s “attic”?

May we people who seek Him with our whole hearts, forsaking other stuff that doesn’t really matter. May we be people who REST and soak in His presence.

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I know I was thinking this the whole time. How about you?

Living Out The Journey of Your Calling

Christianity, mission, Uncategorized

Do you feel like your life’s calling is a mystical thing?

Maybe it’s a very simple, practical thing that we can all do, every day, no matter where we are on the globe.

God calls us to Himself. The rest is geography.

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Keeping it simple and practical.

Be with Jesus.

Know him.

Love him.

Allow yourself to BE loved by him.

When those things happen, we will be compelled to evangelism, and to service.

But first we must BE with Christ. Geography will be less of an issue.

I’m convinced that there’s not a wrong answer of geography when we’re truly abiding in Christ.

This watercolor was inspired by this video on Calling by Propel Women.

Living Out The Journey of My Calling

Freedom in forgiveness

Christianity

It’s impossible for me to forgive on my own. As a survivor/victim of sexual abuse, I have stored up a lifetime of anger, and hatred toward those who abused me and hurt those I love. I’ve feltย completely justified in my anger, that it was righteous, because the abuse was heinous and evil. Until recently.

I’m doing a workbook that addresses forgiveness and asks some questions that cut right to the heart of this matter. I told God straight out: I hate him!!! He hurt me. He also hurt those I love and doesn’t deserve forgiveness. He deserves to rot in prison.

I love that we can be grossly honest with God, because after all, He already knows what’s in our hearts, it’s helpful for us to be honest with Him.

As I told God the ugliest parts of my heart and how I felt about this one person, it was as if the Holy Spirit whispered “Jesus died for him.”

But I don’t want to forgive him God! I want justice! ย “Jesus died for him.” I paused for a moment. If I refused to forgive this one who abused me, then I’m setting myself above Jesus, who died for his sins and mine. I’m setting myself above God. I didn’t want to do that.

Yes, I would forgive, and trust God to deal with justice for the wrongdoing. Enough pain and evil has been done. I will not be a prisoner to unforgiveness anymore.

I’m not saying this is easy. It’s truly an act of our will and our feelings may take time to follow. The prayer pictured belowย is helpful for me in the forgiveness process. You may find it helps, too! I have a long way to go and God is still at work in my heart every day. But freedom sure is worth the hard work!

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Walk by faith, not by sight

Christianity
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No more progressive lenses, I’m switching between readers and distance glasses.

Have you ever wanted to dance at a doctor’s office? Kiss and hug your doctor? Weep for joy with thanks and gratitude at your doctor’s office? Inside I wanted to, recently, but I could tell by Dr. Romero’s reserved demeanor that I should keep the displays of emotion to a minimum. I simply ended with, “Tell your wife to give you a big hug and kiss.” My happiness was because the doctor gave me a clear and concise explanation for the double-vision and migraines that have been troubling me for the past couple of years. I had a micro-vascular stroke during a severe migraine at that point in time (2.5 years ago) and it caused a palsy in the oblique muscle of my eye, resulting in double vision. Eureka! It all made sense now….

In more simple terms, a killer migraine caused a “short” in the nerve that goes to my eye muscle, causing it not to work properly, so that I now have double vision. That causes a vicious cycle of more migraines and other complications. I’m pretty happy with this news. It doesn’t really change the circumstances, but it does affirm what I’ve been telling doctors and everyone who will listen for quite a while now. My takeaway…we know our own body better than anyone. Except for our Maker. And boy, are we wonderfully and intricately woven together!

Walk by faith, not by sight. These words have a more profound meaning than ever before to me, because without my glasses, I see everything double! Even with my glasses, my eyes fatigue very easily and sometimes I can only do half of what I’d planned in a day. That used to really frustrate me and make me so mad. Kicking and screaming mad inside. Feeling sorry for myself mad.

Recently walk by faith, not by sight means when I don’t have sight, quite literally, because of fatigued eyes, I must rest. Rest can be active, you know. That’s something I’m learning. When I am not sleepy at all and it’s only 1:00pm in the afternoon, but my eyes must rest, I am forced to close them. I have choices in that moment. I can be really frustrated at my situation, and obsess on what I’m not able to do at that time, or I can simply take the time to be still.

What you do matters

Christianity

Do you believe that the little things that you say and do really matter? Well, they do.ย After a couple of discouraging days, I have been surprised and thrilled by a few of my friends.

Yesterday morning started off with a voicemail from a friend that may be a little “out there” for some of you….but I loved it! She prayed out loud for me on voicemail. Even though she didn’t know the exact circumstances, her prayer was beautifully simple and hit the nail on the head with what I was going through.

A little later I received this sweet text from another friend:

text prayer

She included a Scripture. (which I couldn’t wait to look up, it was Ephesians 1:17 ) The greatest part was that I didn’t know who the text was from until much later in the day, because I didn’t have her name in my contacts. So for most of the day, I felt better just because a couple of people let me know that they cared about me.

This morning was the icing on the cake! I was stuck at home for a few hours because we had electricians at the house doing work. There was a knock on the door, and it was a friend that I haven’t seen or talked to for a few weeks. She popped by and said, “I have been thinking about you so much the past few days, and praying for you, and I just thought I’d stop by to see how you’re doing.” What?!?!?! Incredible…..

I will close with this thought: What you do and say can really matter to someone. It only takes a moment to pray for someone. You can pray while driving, cleaning, working, or showering. While texting someone a quick message only takes a minute, it could be a turning point in their day. Leaving a message that you care or praying on voicemail actually matters.ย These three friends demonstrated God’s love to me in their simple acts. I know that others care and are praying, too, but these are tangible markers in my day that point me to the reality that I’m not forsaken or forgotten.

Now pick up your phone and tell somebody you care about them!

Not who I wanna be yet

Cancer, Christianity

Sometimes I want to be further along than I am. Let me explain. My friend Connie recently had surgery for cancer. She’s one of these super-gentle, soft, rare people who just oozeย loving-kindness. (Totally opposite of me: loud, sometimes crass) I absolutely love her! A couple of days before the surgery, I asked her how I could pray for her. Wanna hear how she answered? That God would be glorified.ย I was speechless. I mean, I love God. Immensely. And I want Him to be made famous through my life. But I can honestly tell you that if I wasn’t trying to act all spiritually mature, I wouldn’t answer the way Connie answered if asked the same question. I would probably have said something like “Pray that it won’t hurt, that they’ll get all of the cancer” or “Please pray for my doctor.” I want to be able to answer the way she did, with God’s glory as my number one concern if I was in her situation.

Sometimes I just want to be more spiritually mature than I am. I am also finding that I can’t “fake it till I make it” with this stuff. I can only be super-honest with myself and God. It’s okay if that’s not where I am yet. I can ask God to grow me so that His glory and fame is more important than my comfort. I’m not who I want to be. Yet.

Downtime: Wasted time or time invested

Christianity

This is not a guilt trip. It’s just something that I’m observing in my own life lately. We are all hard-wired to need rest. It’s always fascinated me that when we were created, it was with a huge physical limitation: our bodies need sleep and rest daily. That is surely by design and I don’t think God did that on accident. Every day, we must sleep and we must rest. Or we’ll be a little bonkers.

I’ve made my disclaimer, so now here’s my main point: Downtime can be different from rest. This is time when we’re taking it easy, hanging out, and it’s usually with some kind of passive activity, like TV or computer surfing, or reading. What I’ve been noticing about myself is that downtime can be a supreme waste or it can be valuable time invested for my soul, heart, and mind. Reminder: I’m not guilt-tripping myself or anyone else. Having the last couple months of my life with lots of physical limitations, I’ve been homebound or couch-bound a LOT. That means a whole lot of downtime, and it’s gotta be filled with something!

Here’s what got me thinking about it. Someone asked me what my days looked like when I’m stuck at home because I’m not well. On some days, I’ll surf the internet for hours, perusing Pinterest and DIY blogs. I’ll detour into all kinds of interesting cyber-places. I don’t watch a ton of TV unless it’s the weekend. But boy, on the weekend, if I’m homebound, you better betcha I’m checking out episodes of my favorite shows On Demand! These are the things I naturally and passively do, without really thinking about what I’m doing.

Other days, I will have the passing thought that it actually matters what goes into my brain and what my eyes see. On this kind of day, I’ll listen to sermons of pastors that I respect, I’ll read and practice memorizing portions of the Bible, and be intentional with downtime. Last week I ran across this short video that explains the value of meditation and memorizing Scripture. It fired me up and got me excited to tackle some larger portions of the Bible to memorize. Check it out.

Since watching it, I’m working on Psalm 46. Piper’s point is true, that God speaks through our mediation of Scripture. It has been meaningful on so many occasions since I started. Try it, it’s fun!

Relax

Christianity, Jesus

google.com

from google.com

Check out this great devotional for today, September 27th, from the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It’s short and is written from the perspective of Jesus talking to us, His children:

Relax in My everlasting arms. Your weakness is an opportunity to grow strong in awareness of My Almighty Presence. When your energy fails you, do not look inward and lament the lack you find there. Look to Me and My sufficiency; rejoice in My radiant riches that are abundantly available to help you.

Go gently through this day, leaning on Me and enjoying My Presence. Thank Me for your neediness, which is building trust-bonds between us. If you look back on your journey thus far, you can see that days of extreme weakness have been some of your most precious times. Memories of these days are richly interwoven with golden strands of My intimate Presence.

Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 27:13-14

I couldn’t have said it better! That’s all folks……

How to conquer worry

Christianity, fear, Parenting

Worried? This morning while reading Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, I had an “A-ha!” moment as I saw the easy process that he lays out.

Here’s the three-step process to conquer worry:

1. Imagine the worst-case scenario. Really. Go there in your mind and pinpoint what you are most afraid of in the scenario that you’re worrying about.

2. Now that you have admitted your worst fear, imagine if that really were to happen. Reject unreasonable fears or accept them as realistic.

3.Accepting that some concerns are realistic, how will you respond in the face of these fears?ย What will you do? How will you minimize the damage and move forward?

personaldevelopmenttoolbox

My good friend walked me through this process a while back, and it was powerful! I’m not sure if she knew she was following these steps, but it worked. Here’s what happened:

We were planning an overseas mission trip to a city that was experiencing bombings, unrest, and religious fighting with villages being slaughtered. ย You can imagine that I had every reason to be afraid, traveling with my husband and our two kids, aged 19 and 13 at the time. On top of that, I had been dealing with excruciating back pain from herniated disks. The idea of a 24-hour overseas flight was causing me such anxiety that the pain and muscle spasms had intensified and I could only experience relief by laying sideways on the ground.

My friend pointedly asked me, “What are you most afraid of?” It’s funny that sometimes when we say our worst fears out loud,ย we realize that they are ridiculous. I voiced several scenarios that I worried about:

1. What if my back blows out on the plane or over there? It’s a third-world country and I might have to be hospitalized there or flown back in unbearable pain. (Reality: This is very unlikely. However, if it happens, I would take pain medicine and fly home.)

2. What if we were caught up in a riot or religious fighting, or bombing?(Reality: Again, unlikely, since we would be staying outside of the city in a remote village area. However, if this were to happen, I’d be with my husband and kids. This dissolved my intense fear, thinking about the fact that I wasn’t going anywhere without them.)

3. My absolute worst fear: That someone would harm one of my family members. What if someone kidnapped or hurt my children or husband? (Reality: My family probably wouldn’t be targeted for violence. We were not even passing through the crisis area of town so this was a pretty unrealistic fear.)

As I talked through these, I realized that only one of them was a real possibility. If the other things happened, they happened. After going through those scenarios I saw that the mission we were going for was worth the risk. Jesus is worth it even if I was scared to death!

This technique to conquer worry can be used for all kinds of situations that we face: finances, family issues, parenting, health, did I say parenting??? I don’t know about other parents, but the number one thing I struggle not to worry about is my children. That said, worrying is not exclusive to parents.

Jesus commands us not to worry inย Matthew 6:25-34:

โ€œTherefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ? (emphasis mine)

This is a helpful tool to think through how unfruitful worry is. Try it out and let me know what you think~