I know I am where I need to be when…

I started blogging because I had too many thoughts that needed to be written down.  And I figured, what the heck, maybe I will share them… I know I am where the Lord desires me to be when my blogs are not forced, as they have been the last few weeks, but when they instead flow from a fount that will not shut up in my head.  I could write 4 or 5 blogs today, and not touch all of the thoughts circling in my head.

Let me share a couple though:

Brother Yen, in Heavenly Man, bemoaned the Western Church bringing in tracts from their various denominations.  He talked about how united the Chinese church was when “all” they had was the Word.  My thought today is that perhaps one of the problems with denominations is taht instead of The Body working together and functioning together, all the feet go and join one denomination, and all the arms are somewhere else.  I attended a Pentecostal Bible study last week, and loved it.  I wish my own upbringing had included more emphasis on the Spirit – as their’s clearly does.  I heard prayers of faith, more than I have before as well…  But, what if each small church were a reflection of the universal church?  What if these women of faith were not all comfortable together, but rather each one was in a pocket, encouraging other believers who struggle with less faith?  I am not sure I am explaining myself well – I just think perhaps denominations are for the purpose of connecting on secondary issues, rather than uniting on primary ones.  And so, it feels sometimes like all the people with the gift of teaching are in the Baptist churches, and all the people with the gift of faith are in the pentecostal churches, and all the people with the gift of service are in the united churches… because like draws to like, and we go where we feel accepted.  All the feet hanging out in one building….

I was also thinking this week about Paul’s exhortation to his audience – that they compare what he was saying with Scriptures, to see that it is so.  I can’t find the verse I am thinking of (help me out Dave), but the Bereans also come to mind: “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”  Acts 17:11

Mulling this over – these are certainly no great or new thoughts – Paul was clearly not upset that they second guessed him.  With all of his knowledge – being a Hebrew of Hebrews, etc… (Philippians 3:5,6) he praised the Bereans for putting their own understanding of the Word above his teaching.  They were not to accept his interpretation, and neither are we to accept anyone’s understanding of the Bible unless we have gone to the Word, to see if it is so.  Oh!  That we might hold God’s living and active Word as highly as we ought!

The rest of my thoughts swirl around being filled by the Spirit (a whole ‘nother blog), and martyrdom, and suffering, and how the world is going to look in a few short years.  About reflecting the love of Christ to my children.  About prayer.  And making lists to pray – let me throw in a thought on that one here. 

I am continually feeling a prompt to not “take down prayer requests”.  Does your church do this?  Make a list… What things do we make lists for?  Groceries, and budget meetings… I used to make a list of things to talk to people about, when I was nervous and did not know what to say on the phone.  I felt secure if I had at least three things to discuss.  I think we hide behind our prayer lists, because we have no clue how to converse with God.  We say we write these items down to remember them later in the week – but we never do.  Or, so that we are not praying for our own needs, but that someone else can… that’s silly.  Why do we tell one another our needs first, and then tell God?  What if *gasp* more than one person prayed for the same thing?  What if I brought up my sick daughter in prayer, and then two people later someone else addresses the Lord with the same need?  Where two or more are gathered… I want to pray with two or more – meaningful prayer, not grocery list prayer.  Not check, check, check we covered all the needs prayer….

 

Alright – rant over…..

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Raquelamisto
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 10:16:07

    Sometimes Paul really pisses me off – he’s known to make me uncomfortable. But I LOVE LOVE his loyalty to God. Not only was he not insulted that they double-checked his Biblical knowledge, but he encouraged it! Why would it be an insult for him if his true heart was for the people to know God?

    My heart is so not that dedicated to the cause of Christ. I often take it personally when I’m challenged. ..sigh..

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts this morning, chica.

    Reply

  2. Jenn
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 18:47:53

    Interesting post, Nic. I have been on a journey of meaningful prayer lately. What’s been most amazing is the things He will share when I actually pause to LISTEN. 🙂

    Reply

  3. Nicole
    Apr 26, 2008 @ 06:38:25

    So, when is the last time you girls felt you had experienced meaningful corporate prayer? I asked someone I’m close to, and they did not even hesitate to recall a time almost 20 years ago! It’s a wonder that we try to live our Christian lives apart from an earnest seeking after God (present company included). I’m just feeling really convicted about this lately….

    Reply

  4. Jenn
    Apr 26, 2008 @ 07:07:30

    I have a small group of girlfriends. We started out as a leadership team and the relationships that God has grown out of it are incredibly intimate. We pray together often and have prayed each other through high and low times of life. I know that this is far from the norm, though.

    Reply

  5. Raquelamisto
    Apr 26, 2008 @ 12:01:26

    Probably about a month ago… after I got back. Not having a group of Christians to pray with while I was in Liberia was TOUGH. How about you?

    Reply

  6. Steve Grove
    May 08, 2008 @ 12:43:58

    I pray and fast once a week with my wife – it makes a world of difference (yes, I pray more than that, but we fast just once – on Wednesdays at noon).

    People who have the ability (and discipline)to pray through a list faithfully do a wondrous work for the kingdom. I know several of them, and even if only a couple people in the church use it, the list is very worthwhile. Have you ever gone back several weeks or months and looked at the old “lists” and seen how God has answered? It gives you quite the “buzz”.

    I am sorry, also, to point out this “rant” is in the same context of denominations. That tends to be how denominations get started, because we think something is goofy or “not right” and so complain, etc. I would suggest, rather, encourage the people for whom “lists” work, and put forward something else that works for you – which you kinda did, though the thought wasn’t developed nearly as much as the “ranting” was. Just my 2 cents worth (though in Canada we may have to go up to a nickel if we lose the penny).

    Reply

  7. Nicole
    May 12, 2008 @ 06:41:42

    Steve –

    I think you made an excellent point. And, I was raised in a home where my mom got up every morning at 5:30 to pray for her family, with her prayer journal in hand. I too love going back through old journals, and seeing how God has answered our prayers.

    I guess I should clarify then – I think that lists CAN be awesome – but most of the times, in the corporate prayer I have experienced, they become an easy way to not get real or personal with God and each other…. Incidentally, since I wrote this post, my small group did pray without a list, and it felt wonderful, and God centered. Of course we need to take our needs to Him, of course He hears – but if those aspects of prayer are superceding corporate worship of God, there is a problem, do you know what I mean?

    Reply

  8. Steve Grove
    May 12, 2008 @ 12:22:40

    It is the whole focus on the structure, rather than what the structure holds. I totally agree. Bruxy Cavey (End Of Religion) talks about the living water being held in a cup. You need the cup, else all the water goes all over the floor. Some cups are plastic, some silver, others styrofoam. But the danger is making the cup the priority when it is the Living Water that satisfies our thirst and keeps us alive.

    There is the value in pointing out the negative of our experiences (the deconstruction, so to speak) in church, etc. Those same short-comings do minister to others. I sometimes react too much on the “rants”, because that is my “rant”. I pastor a small, mostly senior congregation in a small city. They need the structure that the “traditional” church has, so I struggle to make sure we are also dialoguing and current in our faith. It is hard to mesh the two at times, but I know these seniors love God in their own way. In reading blogs by younger people, there appears often to be no appreciation of who they are, their backgrounds, or their needs – it is all about deconstruction.

    We sing hymns and choruses. We take prayer request and praise items. After the sermon I open the floor for any questions or discussion. We fellowship after with refreshments. I don’t expect everyone to pray throughout the week about the requests, but for those that do, they can make a list. I try to work with those who want to do more, while encouraging the people on the edge of their faith to make it more real.

    I have really appreciated the last few discussion you have had on your blog. Your desire to follow Jesus shines through.

    Reply

  9. susan
    May 13, 2008 @ 14:20:45

    oh Nik i love how you describe this:
    “All the feet hanging out in one building…” i truly think you are right!! how can we get this to change? i miss you friend, so glad you are back.
    maybe we’ll have to take up some of these topics in our wed. mornings????
    su

    Reply

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