Alive in Christ.
Yesterday morning I woke up at 10:30am to a text asking if church was still on or if it had been canceled due to the bad weather. I replied, "I don't think it's been canceled, but I'm not sure I want to drive on these icy roads." I got a text back...."I'll come pick you up if you want."
Cue: wrestling with the Lord.
"Lord? Why am I not wanting to go to church today? This is the first time in a while that I haven't had the desire to go learn more about you. Is it because I'm really having a hard time with some individuals? Yes. Ugh...I really just want to watch the live feed from my bed. Fine. Whatever. I'll go. Mind You, I only have like 20 minutes to get ready..."
Hop in the shower, throw some warm clothes on, slap on some makeup, wear a beanie (first time I wore a beanie to church. ever.), pop in the contacts, grab my Bible and notebook, run downstairs, and jump in the Jeep with my mentor, Rhonda, and we're off....
If it wasn't for her coming to pick me up, I probably would've just stayed home.
How lame am I? Really.
We got to church a little late, but that's okay...the Lord caught my attention quick and hard.
Philippians 1: 12-30.
We're going through an in depth study on the book of Philippians, of which I am very excited about because I've always loved this book and Rhonda has decided to come every week to go through it with us. This makes me happy. It's pretty much like having a family member come to church with me!
Verse 27a- "Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ."
My heart sunk. I know in my heart and my mind that I am not always conducting myself in a manner worthy, key word: worthy, of the gospel.
Worthy: having worth, merit, or value; honorable, admirable.
I am a wretched sinner full of yuck, un-forgiveness, and as of late, pride and selfishness. These are NOT qualities of which are worthy or honorable to the gospel. *deep breath*
Sam went on to talk about a true story from a book entitled, "Burnt Alive." Graham Staines was an Australian Christian missionary along with his wife and three children; two boys and a girl. They did ministry in India going around cleaning and helping people diagnosed with leprosy. One night Graham and his two sons (ages 10 and 6) attended an annual jungle camp, in close proximity to a 'gang' of sorts in the town called Manoharpur (yes, I researched this part). At midnight this 'gang' attacked Graham and his sons as they were sleeping in their station wagon van. The gang deflated the tires, broke windows and prevented the Staines from being able to escape this horrific operation. All three had been pierced with spears, and the van torched. All three men died that night...but the image of the torched bodies is one to not be forgotten. Graham was sitting in the middle of his boys, his arms wrapped around both of them, with no sign of a struggle. Later on, Graham's wife said, "My husband and our children have sacrificed their lives for the Nation of India. India is my home. I hope to be here and continue to serve the needy." And then...what really got me...to the point of tears....Graham's daughter, Esther, stated, "I praise God that He found my father and brothers worthy to die for Christ."
Verse 29- "...not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake."
Do I really suffer for his sake? Um. No. I'm not over in India, with my family, burning alive for Christ. I'm sitting in a nice warm office, typing on a nice laptop, in cute clothes...complaining about my job. Really Autumn?
So...if that story wasn't enough for my heart...it was Baptism Sunday. Three young kids got baptized, and then Sam announced that if you felt the Lord tugging at your heart strings, to go get baptized....four more people decided it was time. Wow. I was standing in the back, crying my eyes out. These young kids shared their life verses and wanted to make the public declaration that they were "Dead to sin, and Alive in Christ." They want to live their lives, not only believing in Christ, but suffering for His sake. They want to live lives worthy of the gospel. Why is this concept so hard for me? To be completely alive in Christ and suffer for Him. Why do I let my fears and insecurities take over all the time? Sam tells stories of how he sits in Starbucks with his Bible open and talks to random people about the Lord. He also does it in airports and wherever else the Lord leads him. Why? Why can't I be that bold in my faith? This really bothers me. I love the Lord with all my heart. Period. No doubt about it. I strive to live like him and make sure people can see Him in me. But why do I fear sitting in a coffee shop and having people come up to me asking about this Jesus person? Or starting up a conversation with someone about His love and what He's done in my life?
Rhonda told me at lunch that I need to be more bold and challenge myself.
"Okay," I thought...but what does that really mean?
Challenge myself to spend more time in my Bible everyday, commit spiritual suicide (which I'll blog about another time), write down all the things the Lord is doing, pray for my friends back in CA that need Him, pray for my family...even the family members I don't talk to...these are all challenges, but I want more!
So....my challenge to myself is to...be more bold in my faith. To live with the mindset of being 'fully alive in Him, yet suffering for His sake.'
I don't know what this fully entails...but I have a feeling that if I ask for more boldness, the Lord is going to answer it. And (as I laugh to myself) am scared of this happening. "Be careful what you pray for," people say...but deep down inside, this fearful prayer is something I need to pray. I desire to be bold in my faith, to one day be sitting in Starbucks or Jives, reading the Bible and have someone comment about it, or ask questions. I desire to have these insecurities drift away, never to return. I see the woman I want to become...and so, I am challenging myself to actually become her. So that one day, my husband will see my boldness for my Lord, my children will see, and everyone around me will see just how much I love Him and want to talk about Him.
Needless to say, I am so blessed that I went to church. I still struggled in my heart with some individuals, but after having a delectable lunch with Rhonda, sharing my heart with her, venting, and crying many tears...and of course, hearing her blunt, yet loving words, helped my struggling heart to settle. If there's one thing a girl needs is a Mom or mom figure to talk to about life with. I was very challenged...in more areas than one, and it was nice.
Oh, and it was also Superbowl Sunday!! The Packers won! WooHoo!! And the Black Eyed Peas sucked SO bad during the halftime show. The only thing that saved the show was Usher. But really...you'd think people would get a clue about Fergie...someone needs to be bold with her and tell her that she just cannot sing. Period. Maybe I will one day :) Just kidding!