Monthly Archives: March 2016

Spiritual Gifts in life

I grew up Baptist.  The Baptists officially believe that the gifts of the Spirit aren’t for use today.  My church never mentioned the controversy, if controversy it is – I can only remember one sermon on tongues, the pastor witnessed a sermon that he had given to a large group having been translated in the ears of some of the hearers, and he said that that was the proper interpretation of the gift of tongues.

Baptists, in other words, don’t go there.

Calvary Chapel does.  Charismatic with a seatbelt is what they call us – in other words, we don’t do standing up during Sunday service and just going for it.  In fact, our “afterglow” services are few and far between.   But if you want healing, you call the church secretary and she’ll set you up for a meeting with the elders, and they’ll pray over you.  Sometimes God heals.  Sometimes not.  But it’s not “I had a sore back” kind of healings – it’s big stuff.  Like, I talked to a lady who’d been healed of liver cancer.  To God be the glory.  We have an exorcism team.  Again, you go through channels….  too many weird folks in this world, want a sensation, want a miracle only for the entertainment value.

And of course ours is not a faith based upon experiences.  Experiences are awesome, but they’re not *why* we believe.  I believe in Jesus, not in feelings.

So that makes me shy of this subject a bit, but … I read y’all’s blogs and I wonder… am I the only one in this circle who has felt the power of the Holy Spirit at work?  Who finds prayer occasionally euphoric?  Who gets words stuck in her mouth (or removed)?

Am I the only one who belongs to a church who matter-of-factly prays for God’s will and waits on His command, expecting Him to answer clearly?  Who considers this all just part and parcel of the Christian walk?

It’s a blessing.  It’s a blessing to know that if I ask, God will answer.  That I’m not going to be let flounder around like a fish on the sidewalk.  It’s a blessing when God speaks through me (not tongues, I don’t have tongues).  Prayer when I can feel the Holy Spirit pouring through me is *amazing*.  Corporate prayer is phenomenal.  I’ve been known to be high for days after getting together for prayer.  It’s like there’s so much joy inside of me that there’s not enough room.

Sometimes I just get so full of joy or love … I just about can’t stand it.  I want to be able to share it, to share that feeling.

There’s stuff I’ve been given peace about, things I’ve prayed about for years.  And they still haven’t happened, but I’m at peace, like… it’s already completely sorted, it just hasn’t happened yet.  Talk about the peace that passes all understanding – ’cause I don’t understand it.  Sometimes I try to worry after those things, even though I’m not worried, just because I’m letting my flesh try to take control.  It’s not prophecy, I don’t know how it’s playing out – just that God’s got it.

I guess I’m writing this because I want to share, to compare notes, to witness to God’s glory and His awesomeness.   This should be a normal part of the Christian walk, IMO – there’s no reason to treat something that’s written about so often as abnormal.   Maybe y’all are even shyer than I am?

Discuss.  🙂

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Calling out Apostates

This is something I’m terribly uncomfortable with, until the level of apostasy becomes absurd.  I’d much rather let Jesus be the judge… as He most certainly will.   But on the other hand, perhaps we’re doing a disservice to the public by not calling out those who call themselves Christian while having no adherence to the Word whatsoever.

I’d like to have discussion on this.

Is it better to chill out, or call out?  Is this a thing where some folks are gifted with the calling out, and some folks gifted with the chilling out – as parts of the body of Christ?  Is there a line beyond which one cannot cross before every Christian should refuse fellowship and communion until repentance is reached?

Can we differentiate between the folks who are in grave error, and potentially apostate vs. those who are unquestionably out of the family?

(This all came up because one of my non-Christian friends keeps quoting Spong… and I about had an aneurysm … he’s no Christian, how can he be a Christian when he doesn’t believe in a “theistic god” https://thesethingsinside.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/spongs-12-points-for-reform-of-christianity/.  I don’t care if you, my non-Christian friend, like what he has to say, but DO NOT QUOTE HIM AS A CHRISTIAN.  He blasphemes the name of Christ by claiming it.  Or Osteen – might be a Christian.  *might*.  Needs a hard lesson in martyrs and to be sat down and read the epistles of Peter.  But these dudes are *still alive* so there’s still hope of their coming to repentance.   So since they’re living humans, they’re by definition not my enemy … it’s repentance that’s wanted, come to Christ, there’s none so sinful they cannot come and be saved…)

Anyway, discuss please.

Faith – Obedience – Trust – Salvation

https://hearthtobelovely.wordpress.com/2016/02/13/obedience-is-an-expression-of-faith/

I owe Ballista74 a rewrite … which he’s not quite going to get, but I will do a bit better job of explaining myself.  That post was several back-of-the-stove pots all mixed into one, and it was confusing.  And whenever the issue of salvation comes up, the last thing I want to do is be confusing!!

Salvation is a gift of God, which we accept via faith (John 3:16 – believe).  It involves no works whatsoever on our part, unless you consider faith a ‘work’, which I do not.

What I wanted to talk about in that post was what the preachers call the “process of sanctification” – my experience of my walk in faith, and how obedience and trust and faith work together.  I didn’t want to sound like, “I’ve sooo got this” because I don’t.  But sometimes I just look at God’s work in my life and I sit in wonder.  The way God works is COOL.

You take that first tottering step of faith, like a baby … and God catches you and helps you along.  And your faith muscles get stronger, and you learn to trust in Him.   Just exactly like a baby with a good parent, the more you try, the more you dare, the higher you jump, knowing you’ll be caught – the higher you’re willing to jump next time.

This process of obedience grows you as a Christian.  Nothing to do with salvation at all.  And it’s not really “your work” – it’s not like we wouldn’t all like to squinch up our noses really hard and wish ourselves into spiritual maturity.  It’s the Holy Spirit working through you – as you get out of His way, it gets easier.

And it gets harder.  Because (hopefully) we don’t stay babies forever.   The scary thing that God takes us through, saying, “Trust Me, I’ve got this” of our first year in Christ is nothing to the scary thing that God brings us through 20 years later.  If we keep moving forward, keep obeying, we keep maturing.  It’s when we refuse to obey, refuse to take that jump – that’s when we stagnate.

Okay, that was more cohesive, right?  :D….

So I’m sitting here, and this is a big change year for me, and there’s some scary stuff going on – on several fronts.  And I’m like, “Okay, it’s cool.  You’re in charge.  But [pauses to rub scars] could you let me know how much this is going to hurt?  I tots know it will be worth it.  It’s all good – but let me in on the plan?”

And sitting here with the rewrite, I see that part of the jump this time is the not-knowing.   Will the hit come from the expected direction?  Will there be a hit?  Will it just be so intense, the changes in other directions?  What will be???

The desire for knowledge is, in part, a desire for control.  It’s a desire to “help” God by being prepared for the next step.  Like I can prepare myself for the future better than God can. [rolls eyes at myself]

The desire to strive, the desire to do well on the tests… that’s part of who I am.  But I’m forgetting… I’m not the one in control, and I’m not the one doing the grading.  I won’t even know what’s going on until eternity, in all probability.  So I just need to take up the DAILY obedience, the daily trust, the daily choice to obey – especially in the things I think are “little”.

Some things are hard and easy at the same time.  Trusting God?  Yeah, got that.  Not trying to turn to the last page of the book?  Uh.  I’ll work on it.  🙂  Daily choices, just daily – I can do that.  Through God’s grace, and not on my own!

And that’s cool.  Knowing that I don’t have to do it, I just have to choose and ask and God will do it for me.  He’ll hook me up, just for today.   Manna has only ever been for one day, sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.

One step at a time.

It’s a joy.  My heart swells as I’m being taught new things, as I grow closer to Him.  It’s *wonderful*.  Such a privilege.

Community

Elspeth’s post about her father and community (https://terrybreathinggrace.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/a-mans-man/) has pushed one of the thinking pots from the back of the stove to the front.  Scott didn’t help any, as he talked about roots (https://morallycontextualizedromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/379/).   I honestly can’t say I belong to any country other than America.  A right mutt, that’s me.

I grew up here, in this crazy town in SoCal.  My husband grew up here.  My dad grew up here.   I don’t like it here!  It’s much too hot in the summer, and the summer lasts far too long.  There are way too many people.    If all of y’all would go back home, that would be awesome.   SoCal circa 1965 seems about right.  We had enough water to go around… :p  (I could whine about the drought for a while? Pointless).

But whining about a lack of community … which I’ve done… reveals that I do have community, it’s just that as an independence minded American, I’ve ignored the various circles available to me because they weren’t just what I had in mind when I thought “community”.  I mean, community is where my HS friends all move back (or we all move to the mythical ranch in Idaho) or where I move to a little town where everyone thinks like me and looks like me and… right?  I couldn’t POSSIBLY be doing community if I don’t have a garden and an orchard.  I couldn’t possibly be doing community unless I can do survivalist stuff, right?  I couldn’t do community and still be part of the wider culture.  No.  Definitely not.

‘Cause community definitely isn’t a big church that bends over backwards to involve their people and get them interacting, where I know a ton of faces and am known.  Where my kids make friends and grow and learn and do goofy stuff.

Community definitely isn’t my crossfit box, half of which I’ve friended on FB… lunatics all, showing up to ‘deadlifts and donuts’ or an ugly Christmas sweater party, sweating together, encouraging one another.

Community?  Definitely not knowing the grocery clerks and chatting with them while I shop.  Definitely not recognizing the shoe guy at the CF box.

Community?  Absolutely not having my BFF and her husband a few doors up the road.  It’s not knowing the good dentist and doctor and veterinarian.

I don’t want to be here… but here is where I am.  My awesome neighbors who I am losing will be replaced by more Christian neighbors (we don’t take this for granted in SoCal), and the wife is about to have twins.   Maybe an older mom next door would be good?   Bother.  That whole Titus 2 business.  I was only supposed to do that through the church, right?  Oh.  That’s not what it says?

You know what?  I’m starting to feel like an ungrateful brat, that’s what.  I *have* community, it’s already here.  And I keep being given beautiful gifts… but all I look at is what my dreams are made out of.

I have some confession/apologizing to do to the Almighty, and some repentance.  What would making that 180 look like in my life?  It starts with less whining.   Yeah, I still want that ranch and enough water to grow a tomato without a fine… but that’s not why I was put on this planet.  Heaven isn’t here.

Heaven isn’t HERE.  I think the search for that perfect place is one of those hungers that CS Lewis talked about, things that never quite get fulfilled in this world, because the hunger itself was made for the next world.  After all, could my community be perfect if I couldn’t go eat scones with E’s daughters?  If my dad and Chris couldn’t go for a long photo walk?  If I couldn’t help Mychael with that bread recipe and laugh at her duckling’s antics?

Someday, we’ll get to do all that.  Well, I’m not sure about the ducks or scones or bread… but we’re sibs in Christ, and we’ll get to hang out as much as we want.   But for right now… for right now… I’ve got work to do right where I’m planted.

Best get to it.