Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another (Better) Review on the Shack

Brother Maynard over at Subversive Influence just did a review on The Shack.

If my review piqued your interest, please read his and you will probably read the book for sure.

Also if you are reading it or have read it or are planning to read it, would you please leave feedback here about what you thought or what it stirred up in you. It does not have to be positive.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Prayer at the Ocean

You need to know something about me to understand this story. I Love The Ocean. I Love The Beach. I Love The Smell. I Love The Sand. I Love the Sunshine. I Love The Ocean! I only can afford to visit it once or twice a year but Husband tries to make sure that happens for me.

This past weekend Best Friend had rented a house by the Ocean. She invited me down for a few days of their week because she loves me and that is why she is my Best Friend. In fact almost anyone can be my best friend by inviting me to the beach…I’m easy like that. But she is my Best Friend for putting up with my crap too, so only she gets her name capitalized.

The day I arrived it was raining. The next day it poured. I was so disappointed. I love the ocean but can enjoy it much more in the sunshine. As I sat on the beach at 10:00 the first morning there were thick clouds everywhere. The weather report said it was to rain all the days that we were to be there.

I sat there and realized that I could pray about this. I could ask God for sunny weather. But I didn’t. Here is what I remember praying. “Father, I love you. Thanks for letting me have the time to come here. I would really rather that it be sunny but you know what? I am going to trust you with this one. I just want the time with you today and tomorrow. If it rains, I will just spend the time with you. If it is sunny – the same. Come and be a part of my days here at the ocean.” I sat in peace….content.

Guess what? By 2:00 that afternoon the sun came out and stayed out the whole time we were there. The whole time!! We could sometimes see heavy dark clouds to our North and heavy dark clouds and rain to our South. But right where we were on the Outer Banks coast – it was glorious.

Now this did a few things in me. Had I prayed for sunny skies, I would have been proud (and amazed) that my “prayer worked.” I would have hit the “prayer jackpot” in some way. Know what I mean? Had it rained after I had prayed for sunny skies I would have been tempted to think that God did not like me, was mad at me or was not capable of answering my prayers.

As it was, the sunny skies just produced gratefulness. I was so grateful that Father was there with me. The sunshine was just a wonderful bonus. He did not reward me for praying right. It had become more important to spend the time with Him in whatever way he had planned than it was to selfishly decide that I knew best for the weekend.

But now the test came. Did I just hit a formula for prayer? Is the success to my happiness just wrapped up in asking Father for relationship and then he will treat me each and every time to what my heart truly desires? Is this how I should always pray? Should I write a book? “The Prayer of Relationship – How To Get The Skies To Clear.”

Some of you may think I am crazy but this is how my mind works. I LOVE formulas! I love when it always works. I’m a very disturbed person because I should know by now that formulas have never made me happy. They never work all the time.

So I resisted the urge and talked myself out of this new way of praying being a formula. And the next time I pray for something, Father may very well encourage me to pray for what I want or specifically for a thing or a happening. He can do that. No formulas. Just relationship.

(But I do think I could make money on a book by that title……hm….)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Books To Read

I have not done an official book recommendation yet on this blog. I have two today.

The first is the book to your left. It is available on, here. If you are in or have come out of a church that is using terminology such as, Apostolic authority, covering, submission to authority, headship, set man or apostolic sons, please read this book.

One of the main strengths of this book is that it is a reaction to the abuse that exists in the camp and not the camp itself. Dr. Crosby is not "throwing out the baby with the bathwater" but is definitely cleaning the baby up.

He gives a thorough explanation of all the words used in the Greek that people in the Apostolic movement are using. He gives each a fair piece of study and explains what they are really saying. His chapter on Spiritual Covering is brilliant. I also enjoyed his grasp of the Old Covenant theology and New Covenant theology and how that shapes the landscape of what we now call church. I have read books especially from Bevere and others on authority and submission and I see now that much of what they base their premises from are strictly an Old Covenant mindset.

This book needs to be read by all those who call themselves an apostle or are in relationship with one. If you are at all questioning the teachings of these new apostles, please read this.

The Shack

I took many theology courses in my Fundamental Bible College when I was in my 20's. I realized early on that what I really believe about God does shape my life. Unfortunately I came out of that encounter with theology believing that God was very mean, had stopped all the fun stuff of miracles and such, and theology became dry and dead. Since then I have adjusted my theology bit by bit. Nothing though has changed me as much as this book has.

This is the deepest book of theology that many of you will ever read - but don't let that scare you off. I read it to my 12 year old son and he loved it. It is a meeting of a man (Mack) who has experienced a horrendous tragedy and has suffered through a "Great Sadness" for three years following. He is angry at God for letting this terrible thing happen. God invites him to revisit the scene of the tragedy to meet with Him there. Mack takes God up on his offer and spends a weekend with Him. He gets to ask God all the questions that you and I would love to ask. God reveals himself to Mack and we get a glimpse of a God that seems to be too good to be true.

The favorite thing that I took away from this book is the relationship that God has with himself and the relationship that he asks us to be a part of. There are wonderful nuggets of life with God that you will chew on for years and years after reading this.

I cannot tell you how much you need to read The Shack. We cried with joy at such an unveiling of a Father who is truly good and truly loves us. Husband, Son, and myself have read it at least twice so far. I even gave it to one of my daughters who is running so hard away from God right now. With tears in her eyes she shared with me her favorite parts.

Please order it now. And just a note. You might has well order one to give away, because, trust will wish you had.

Note: Amazon is now offering this book and you can see it here and read some of the reviews

Friday, September 14, 2007

Nothing has changed. Yet everything is different.

Nothing has changed – Yet everything is different.

Nothing has changed. I love the Church. I try to gather with the Church as much as I can. I delight in the Church.

Yet everything is different. I don’t go “to” church. I don’t go to services. I don’t participate in any church activities. All my friends do not belong to the same “church.” I am not a leader in the “church.” My kids are not being raised in the "church."

Nothing has changed. I love to worship. I love worship songs that bring my heart, mind and spirit into the same place where the Spirit of Father feels real to me.

Yet everything is different. Worship is not prepackaged for me. I don’t “go” to worship anymore. If I worship it is by my own decision to make time to tell Father that I love him. Sometimes worship does not even involve singing. Sometimes it is just in the sitting and listening. Sometimes it is in the loving of someone else that Father puts in my path. Sometimes it is in preparing dinner for my family so that we can gather around the table and love each other and have Father there with us.

Nothing has changed. I love to give. I love to give an offering of money. I love to be generous.

Yet everything is different. I no longer have one basket that I put all my offerings in. I no longer give from a place where if I don’t, God will be mean to me. I no longer give out of obligation. No one ever sees me give anymore. I don’t march down front to put in my money into a basked in front of the whole “church”. I give a lot more to the poor.

Nothing has changed. I love fellowship. I love to help people grow to be a follower of Jesus. I also love to learn from others how to grow more to be like Him.

Yet everything is different. I don’t have prepackaged fellowship. There are no meetings that I attend where the “fellowship time” is set aside for me. Many friends no longer want to have fellowship with me because they perceive that I hurt them by leaving their church. Fellowship is much more intimate now – just with a few. Much like how sweet something tastes after you have eliminated sugar from your diet, this fellowship is soooo sweet. Even brief encounters with other Christians (that I don’t’ even know) at a bank or grocery story feels like the sweetest fellowship ever.

Nothing has changed. I love God. I speak to Him. I even call this “prayer” sometimes. Nothing has changed.

Yet everything is different. I have changed how I speak to Him. I sit with Him mostly and do not speak. I listen a lot more. I have changed from calling him “The” Father to just Father. I ask him for other things – not so much my own stuff anymore. I don’t pray about “church” things anymore.

Nothing has changed. I love the teaching that comes from others on the Word of God. I love to hear what they have to say.

Yet everything is different. I don’t have prepackaged teaching every Sunday morning. I have to go and search it out. Also, for the first time in my life I allow myself to question who is teaching and what they are saying. I can disagree. I can love one part and spit the other parts out. I have to decide for myself if it matches up to the Word in a way that I think that Jesus and the disciples meant it to. Another thing is different too. I learn from anyone who speaks. I am not forced to only read or hear one “stream” of beliefs. I have read or heard from staunch Presbyterians, atheists, the Reformed faith, the charismatic teachers and most lovely, those who sit around my table with me. I love to be with others who are learning new things. I’m on a journey and it is fun to have so many of you talking to me, teaching me as I go.

Nothing has changed. Yet everything is different.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"Raised in the Church"

Words are so odd to me right now - especially religious words. Words that just a few months ago flowed from my lips without a thought. Now, as I read them in a whole new light, I find my mind tripping over them.

Some of you read my words on prayer. Religious words, words full of theology – maybe good or maybe bad. Vague words. Church Lady words. Words from books. Words from someone else. Words that make you part of a club. Words that mean something to a very few of our population. Words that need an interpreter if you talk to someone outside of the “church”.

Another one hit me today as I read it. They said, “I was raised in the Church.” When they say it you can hear the capital “C”. Now we know they were not raised in the building – although many of us felt like we were with all the endless meetings. I know I grew up with Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and then of course when old enough for youth group meetings we were together at least one or two other nights. Before we were old enough for youth group there were the choir practices that we had to sit in the hard pews on a Thursday night for what seemed hours. Hmmm....maybe I was raised in the Church.

But this is not what people mean when they say that phrase. They are not talking about the actual time spent. They are talking about being raised in Christianity. With Christian teachings, Christian friends, Christian theology, Christian lives, Christian buildings. Christian leaders, Christian meetings, Christian rules, Christian pastimes, Christian schools……..But they do not say they were raised in Jesus. Or in a relationship with any sort of a Heavenly Father. It is not about relationship. It is an institution.

Now my children are not being raised “in the Church” like their older siblings. This makes me ask what are they being raised in? I wonder how they will speak of this “raising” that we are doing now.

If I could help them with the words, I would hope they could say when they are grown, “I was raised loving God.” Or, I was raised as a Christian - but not like you think.” Or, “I was raised in a Jesus follower kind of way.” I wonder what they will say. I definitely don’t think they will say they were “raised in the Church.” And today, at least, that does not bother me.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

And This Is My Hope

And this is my hope:

Party! by Emerging Grace