Tag Archives: serving

To my gay and lesbian friends who feel excluded and alienated and discriminated and rejected:

I am sorry. We have failed you.

We have not represented him well.

We have not taken seriously our calling to be ministers of reconciliation.

We have ignored peace and mercy and opted for justice (at times narrowly defined by our current political systems).

We have sought morality above love.

We have been proud when we should have been humble.

We have defended our rights when we should have laid them down.

We have picked up our knowledge of good and evil instead of picking up our cross.

We have picketed when we should have been washing feet.

And for that I am sorry.

The way of Jesus is always tender. His mercies are new every morning.

His reach is not limited by any human definition.

I love his Church–fiercely–and I am a part of her. But I recognize her reflection of him is still being polished.

She is still learning, growing, being made into his likeness. (And I, along with her.)

Please know that Jesus is infinitely more good than what you see through us.

There is nothing about him outside of good. Good, good, good, good.

Pure, unadulterated, goodness.

(And we–his Church–are good too, but only in him, and because of him.)

We are weak and growing up and in need of his grace too.

We are beautiful and flawed and holy and human.

And you may not always believe it, but we really are trying our best.

As much as you need grace, we need it too.

From each other, but most of all from him.

Help me as I learn to love more completely.

Help me.

Help us. (Oh God, help us.)

STOP.

Related post: What if compassion moved us? (Thoughts on gay marriage and the church.)

 

Love,
A

P.S. I went over my time limit on this post. Please also note that I will delete any comments that I deem as unkind or disrespectful. (You are free to agree or disagree with me in the comments – that is not the issue. Just know that I will not engage in on-line debate or tolerate slander in my little space here.)

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited

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Serving people is almost always inconvenient

Serving people is almost always inconvenient.

So often I don’t feel like making the effort, giving the time, or dishing out the dollars. Even when I know I “should”.

But inevitably, when I’m able to get over myself and move beyond my feelings I begin to serve and my feelings almost always change.

Recently I was given the opportunity to do something that would require a big effort, a big sacrifice of time, and a huge inconvenience in terms of scheduling.

Believing it was the right thing to do, I said yes.

And now, having done the “thing” I’m so, so, so glad I did.

Yes, there was some sacrifice involved. Yes, it meant adjusting a whole bunch of life to make it work. Yes, it would have been much easier to just say no.

But if I had said no I would’ve missed out on an incredible blessing – the blessing of giving.

Jesus said it’s better to give than to receive. it wasn’t just some good idea when he threw it out there. It was (is) truth. And I can testify to that.

I’m amazed at what I’ve received simply by choosing to give.

Sometimes the giving is difficult at first, but always as I’ve chosen to give (serve) my sentiments have changed mid-stream.

The giving becomes “easy” in that it flows.

And as you pour out, you’re also filled. (A very strange paradox.)

The surest way to be filled up is actually to give first. After all, if you’re already full, what room is there for more?

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you ever feel like serving is inconvenient? Have you experienced that feeling changing as you’ve stepped into it regardless?

 

Love,
A

p.s. By the way, I think if you give/serve in order to receive something in return… you’ve missed the point and your selfishness can hinder the blessing. The point here is that receiving is a beautiful byproduct of the giving.

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


I don’t go to church. Or do I?

Whenever people ask me where I go to church I stumble and hem and haw and try to find words to answer their question.

The truth is, we don’t go to church. At least not in the sense that people are talking about.

Both Ryan and I have “home churches” that we love – his in Sydney, mine in Oregon. We love going back to those guys and feel totally at home there.

Those churches are places of friendship, connection, encouragement, and worship. They are places that we represent through our service. We consider ourselves an extension of them as we work here in Townsville.

But we don’t go to a place we call “church” every Sunday morning.

The thing is, we do have a church. We meet with a group of believers several days a week – working, serving, worshiping, praying, growing in relationship. We teach one another, we break bread together, we encourage and strengthen one another.

We actually are the church. It just also happens to be our workplace.

I know it’s hard for some people to get that.

They need a name, a denomination, a set of four walls.

So when I tell them that we don’t go to church, I can sense some of them cringing inside. (Is she really saved? Is she bitter toward the church? Is she *gasp* an independent?)

Newsflash, yes, I know God. No, I’m not bitter. And no, we are definitely not independent.

Sometimes I think we have far more community than I think is even comfortable.

(But that’s not really the point of church is it? To be “comfortable”?)

The point of church is to gather, serve, grow, teach, encourage, worship, connect. Be the Body.

So yes, I suppose I do go to church.

Nearly every day.

STOP

 

Q for you: What do you think church is?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Writing behind the scenes

There are so many reasons I write.

I love the creative aspect of writing. I love the way my brain works when I’m on the keyboard.

I love words. And rhythm. And piecing ideas together.

I love trying to make something–art or instruction–that is beautiful or enjoyable or sometiemes just plain useful to someone.

What many people don’t know is that I probably write offline far more than I write online. And between my six–yes six–blogs, I write a lot. (Only three of those blogs are public, mind you.)

BUt actually, much of my writing happens in emails. Just good old fashioned one-on-one, person-to-person emails. (“Old fashioned” – heh heh.)

Almost daily I get an email from someone who is asking for advice or prayer or encouragement, or who simply wants to share (and be affirmed in) an experience. Many of them are old students of mine. Some are friends, or friends of friends. Some I’ve met through blogging. And some seem to appear out of nowhere.

it’s an incredible opportunity to use what I love (writing) to be a blessing.

I don’t get paid for it. I don’t get famous from it. I don’t have anything to show for it.

But I love it.

Why? Because it’s tangible. I know I can help people… and I want to.

Yes, I can share my (at times limited) life and experiences… but more importantly I can point them to God, the One who gives life.

it’s a very private ministry, and extremely hard to quantify, but it’s a very valid one too.

The only problem comes when people ask me “what do I do?” (as in my work). I sometimes stumble over this question and usually just say I’m a stay-at-home-mom (plenty of work right there, folks!) and a part-time teacher. (Which is true.)

“Oh, and I write” I sometimes throw in there.

But mostly? Mostly I’m just me. Without a title. Trying my best to use what God’s given me to help out the next girl.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Is your “work” easily quantifiable?

 

Love,
A

p.s. I’m not always able to do it straight away, but I always try to make time to respond to emails and private messages.

p.s.s. I just realized that I was talking about emails as if they’re not online. Haha, oops. I suppose I should’ve talked about “public and private” instead of just on/off-line writing. I guess that’s what I get for writing without much forethought and with no editing! 🙂

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited