Thursday, May 28, 2009

My new favorite verse

All these years of reading the Bible and I've just now found this treasure! :)

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Romans 12:11 NIV

Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master.....
Romans 12:11 Message

but serve the Lord with a zealous spirit; or but let the Spirit excite you as you serve the Lord.
Romans 12:11

It's not only OK to be zealous - God desires it of us! :) His Spirit excites us! *IF* we let Him! :) WOW that's cool!

It's so exciting to know I don't have to keep my flame in tact. YES I *do* need to have self control....yet I can be excited! We have freedom to be enthused, excited, passionate, on fire. God has blessed me with a personality that is full of these things and it is exciting to know that I can be free to be the full me He created me to be! I don't have to "grow up" the way the world desires me to!

So many times I used to get discouraged when others didn't express their excitement like I did --- but I have learned that:
a) many are just not excited because...
b) many haven't experienced what I have and...
c) many are going through different seasons than me... OR
d) nobody has the exact personality as I do and I have to be okay that they express their zeal differently!

SO it doesn't matter if others are excited just like me or not..... as my brother in Christ Mark shared with me last weekend from a book entitled _____ (?) (this is my paraphrase).... we are free to be consumed in the presence of our God and get so wrapped up in the music He spins into our lives that we ignore the other cadences the world tries to project into our days. We can get caught up in the music! We can be all who we are meant to be in His presence. He frees us!

Fervent in Spirit
NOT indifferent!

I like those phrases!

Thanks for this part of my personality, God. The Randi Jo that you made me to be - the one that leaps into my Daddy's arms, that is excited about you and your love! The one that so badly wants to let loose and dance and let my hair down and squeal in excitement when you make yourself known to me. The one who can't stop smiling when I feel your love... the one who can't stop crying when I hear the Spirit! Thanks for helping me find these words today Daddy! I LOVE you! :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Learning, Discipleship, Systems

I have truly been under attack the last few weeks... but God has been so faithful to bring people to encourage me, pray with me and speak into me. He is reminding me to take my thoughts captive and use His Word as a sword! The attack today was just feeling overwhelmed with information. and discouragement of what I felt was time wasted in my past as I tried to learn/grow...

A few thoughts on what I learned:
  • because I was always such a great public school student... I have this system of acquiring and retaining knowledge... but here's what I learned: spiritual transformation has nothing to do with that system. That system is not applicable to my spiritual life. (dang! and praise the Lord! I'm so thankful that it isn't!!! I hated that process of school and how nothing was ever used later on. Just memorized for reguritation. So thank GOd it's not like that... but dang! dang! because I sure did treat it like that for a long time... what a waste...)
  • true wisdom only comes through experience and life lessons.... letting the Word play out in our lives... not just acquiring knowledge.
  • it's all about transformation - not information
  • that being said.... I know it's a great thing to be seeking knowledge ("info")... yet I've let it get in the way of me spending time with God. How did that happen? The system became a thing I leaned on instead of God.
  • So how to seek knowledge but let it help me get closer to God and not hinder? I don't want the sytem to become a "thing".... so to keep my organized side happy but not depend on the system... I will now choose just *one* verse/passage and not move on to something else until it has become a part of me.... until I have truly soaked it in and have made room for it. I will continue to write letters to God in quiet tme as I have time and as He leads me in my journal - but I will just highlight the passage He's working with me on. Not a million passages a day - ONE.
  • I don't know how this happened. I thought I was such an advocate for not letting knowledge be an idol. For God loving my heart and not my brain --- but something shifted..... I truly believe that so many of us christians are so busy LEARNING we don't even know God. We spend so much time learning we never spend time BEing.
  • I had truly let myself get overwhelmed with 'information' and organizing it.... There is just so much to know! It's always such a humbling and (even) mourning experience to see how little I know.... how little I will always know on this earth... how much more there will be... and how there is no formula and final exam to regurgitate all of this. That's a great thing and a bad thing. Bad thing because I'm a control freak in many ways and I like systems. I love organization.... but I need to stop leaning on me. I need to GIVE IT UP! Geesh! How many times has God spoken that to me. Give up trying to do it on your own and you will get what you desire!
  • I must learn to trust the Spirit more. He will help the words abide in me. He will help me memorize and acquire wisdom.
  • I should not be discouraged that I had done it wrong for so long. I did what I thought was best at the time. I refuse to let the devil in to burden me with guilt at the mistakes I've made.
  • This process is so hard. All this pruning and growing and stretching. I better get used to it - this is what life is all about huh? :)
  • just because I don't remember all the books I've read, all the scriptures.... that is okay. I'm not supposed to. I also don't remember every meal I've ever eaten -- but it nourished me at the time and that's what is key.
  • Reminder to self: remember what Allysa spoke into me about grandma. Grandma didn't 'lose' that knowledge and wisdom that life had taught her though I saw her lose it in her earthly body & mind the last years. Her physical body isn't who she was/is. Her spirit is still very alive and well. I can't be fearful of losing knowledge, stressed over keeping it organized, etc..... this isn't what life is about. Geesh! It isn't about filling my brain and storing things up like school - this is all about learning to lean on Him. Learning to think like Him. Live like him. Working out my salvation that He already gave me. Journeying daily with God - to let Him change and shape and mold me to conform to Him more and more. Grandma, who she really is, her spirit never lost anything and she truly did pass so much on to me - that knowledge & wisdom wasn't lost in so many ways!

As always... this teaching though it is for me personally is also SOO applicable to the role I'm in right now with Connections at church. He is reminding me that learning/discipleship/growing isn't linear. There's no -- okay she 'got this' now let's let her graduate into the next 'class'... It's very 'messy'... can not be controlled... Spirit-lead.... circular...and unique for each of us.

How come I truly don't like systems in the church -- yet in my personal spiritual life I was operating in one? What I believe so strongly about discipleship - I need to apply personally!!

Knowledge & wisdom comes from life and I know as Connections director, God just wants to help me create environments for people to connect so they can experience life together. In a tight community with His Spirit.. growing and learning through life experiences... prepared & encouraged & strengthened through the Word.

P.S. I can't stand know it alls.... but I sure do love lovers. People don't care what you know... until they know how much you care. We are not called to fill other's minds with knowledge... we are called to love.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Dorothy Nolte

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fishers of Men

I'm just in this season where I just feel the Spirit. A boldness maybe is even the word. I just feel pushed by the Spirit. Pushed, stretched, uncomfortable with all He's asking of me...and every time I try to ignore it.... He sends the message that much clearer & louder. He's telling me that He's looking for people who are willing to reach out. Be a bridge to others! So few people interact with others and truly get into other's lives!

I hear you God.... now help me figure out the easy "next steps" for me. This is the thought process I'm working through today with Him.... tomorrow I will give some more "next steps" as far as how this all fleshes out as I try to make myself available in this world to others!! :)

"...Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men"

Is a person a fisherman if he doesn't cast a line? Is one following if he isn't fishing?

There are 3 tricks the devil will plant in our minds on why we can't engage with others. I pray for each of us to make positive that God is telling us to hold back... and not the devil.

a) I don't have enough time. God - am I giving you enough time? Am I giving your children enough time? God you tell me to be focused on things not of this earth -- and that is you and that is people. That's the only things that will last God. Are we as a church body showing others that they are worthy of our time? Or are we only showing them that *we* are worthy of *their* time.

GOD YES there are periods of our life when you call us to rest. You demand us to rest. But let us be sure that YOU are telling us to rest and we're not acting out of fear, laziness or falling into the devil's trap of excusitis (a disease --- symptoms are excuse after excuse after excuse)

b) I just don't know enough to pour into others. God help me believe that the message of the cross is this simple & foolish God! God it's simple! You picked us up and carried us into our Father's arms because we allowed you to save us. GOD the world doesn't get it! 75% of the people that we ask on the streets, "do you know how to get right with God?" won't answer with the gospel. The cross. The finished work. let us not get bogged down with anything but this message God. Help me understand that the christian life isn't about transfer of knowledge from one person to another but an indwelling of the Holy Spirit and encouraging each other in that. Help me believe Acts 1:8 that I have the power of the Holy Spirit and I know enough to share. God I know nothing...I'm such a blonde and flighty and I'm not super intelligent... yet I know enough to share God! I know the good news God! I know this news---- that there's ONE GOd and He's real and huge and powerful and all knowing and He loves me!! and I have connected with Him, THE God of the universe in a real and intimate way through Jesus. It is that simple God! I don't need to know all the answers. Let us help people get over this myth that only pastors have access to truth and knowledge and God. We know enough to GO! Let's be okay with the gray areas and that there are things we don't know. let it never hold us back from opening our heart because of a lack of knowledge! This is what mentorship/discipleship is all about -- opening our hearts to show His. period. serving others with our gifts! period. amazingly enough - I find people don't care what YOU KNOW... they care that you care! They want somebody to listen!! They want somebody to hear THEIR voice! they don't want to just listen on Sundays --- they want more --- are we giving them that opportunity!??!?!! God there are people screaming for somebody to care! Help us be your heart GOd and show them they are your children and are worthy of our time God! your children are worthy of our ears and worthy of our patience to let them struggle and wrestle and battle. help us not just be satisfied with people conforming to christian living God --- isntead let us not stop praying for converts GOd. For radical followers of you foolish enough to believe they have a secret to share with a confused, information bogged down complex thinking world.

c) I just am empty. If we're going through a dark season... we feel we'll somehow discredit the BOdy if we try to pour into others..... that's a devil's trick! see above -- people need somebody to listen. People need somebody to care. I don't care what season you are in -- you have 2 ears and you can give them to somebody at least once a week. God help us believe that when we have nothing left to give... you will still flow through us. Sometimes GOd THE way you want to help US to get out of our seasons is for us to open our hearts to your children. God we are blessed when we serve others! Let us not forget that God. When we open our hearts to others --- your Spirit in us speaks to theirs God --- and our spirit comes alive as that flow through happens!!

It's not about us - God it's about you. Let us not be a clogged pipe / a rubberneck for what you want to do. let us not keep this secret to ourselves. God let us be a channel that you can work through. You are looking far and wide for people who will just open their hearts to others. Give us the gusto to just GO and see what YOU can do.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

wait, Randi & thoughts on Community

To make an incredibly long set of lessons over the past weeks be short.... here it is..... be patient Randi.

Give me a new christian and I will have all the patience that God provides to wait on the Holy Spirit to do His work.... I'm not even waiting for anyTHING out of a new christian (though sometimes I DO fall back and not have as much patience as God would want me to). I don't need them to be looking, smelling, acting like a christian in any set time (in fact, let's hope they don't just conform to christianese... we have now such a "strong" 'christian culture' that one can actually conform without converting to be a follower of Christ) ...point is, I can trust the Holy Spirit to do His work. I am okay that a lot of the work He does won't be seen.

BUT there is something I am yearning for so bad that God has had to continually remind me to wait on... and that is this beautiful vision He has given me on how to truly BE the church. How to truly experience community. How to live life together and truly work toward being an Acts 2 Body. I've seen it... I know others are living it....I'm excited for it. When I do get there, it's not like I'm going to say, "ok that's it, I've arrived".... it's just that I believe it truly is the "next step" God has laid on my heart... and as I pursue Him, I know that this yearning He has put in me for this.. is from Him. He continues to provide me resources & experiences that just fuel me even more for this desire for this specific mission He's given to us. He continues to energize this vision/mission whenever I give up even a little.

But here's the thing He's trying to teach me.... that I can't force others to want to be in community with me. As frustrating as it is... I have to be okay with that. As discouraged as I might get as we look for others to journey together to figure out how to be the church biblically, I can't convince. I'm just ready for the next step... but right now it's clear He's telling me to wait on Him. But it's just tricky.... I try to wave the flag that we need each other/need more time together... but because we don't have the time together now... I'm in a rush when we do get the time cuz I know we probably won't be together again for a while so I'm in a rush to get everything out of those opportunities that we can. And being in a rush doesn't help those opportunities.

God is telling me..... *He* will show others how clear it is in the Bible that we need each other. I truly believe that we are not being obedient & not being the church if we're not in community with others. Truly living life together with open hearts.... reaching up to a mentor and reaching out to others. I really believe everybody no matter who they are, at all times should have somebody they are reaching to/learning from... and somebody they are pulling/reaching to/pouring their heart into.

Just as He has shown me, He will show others. I may or may not be the tool He uses to show that to those around me and I have to be okay with that.

God I'm thankful that you are going to form a community for me & B to be in. Help us wait on others yes --- but also help us reach out and look for those that are ready now. Thank you God that you use so many different avenues to teach others so I don't have to even teach. You will teach through whatever is best for them on your timing.

God I know that this is just the specific vision/mission you've given us and that my brothers & sisters have been given unique visions of their own... GOd open my heart to what you're teaching them too!

God thank you for showing me that I should just find ways to model the type of community I believe you'd want us to be in. Help me be a blessing God and just reach out to whoever is willing. Help me continue to 'wave the flag' of community but never be a burden or annoying. Let me let YOUR truths annoy/offend and never myself or my tone be the one annoying or offending.

YOU create community God -- help me just create environments to foster it and encourage it and never hinder it.

Thank you for the community I know you are creating for us. A community of christians that will share life together... not just Sundays. That will encourage one another in the faith. Listen to & pray for each other's struggles.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Love & Holy Spirit post from January

I've just been thinking about this post from January and wanted to put it here again. The part I truly wanted to remind myself was this:

He is teaching me what it means to truly LOVE. but I couldn't manufacture/ create that sort of love. I couldn't make myself love Him enough to desire to spend time with Him. that's where the Holy Spirit came in! Listening to talks on the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan and then reading out of Love Dare --- within 24 hours they both had the EXACT same message --- that HE is the one who gives me the ability to LOVE --- selflessly. It is impossible to have agape love and desire God so much without the Spirit. The Spirit is who lets that love flow.The spirit is who we tap into when we show that agape love. It's His outpouring that allows that love to be possible for us.

So it's like the one thing I was striving for - I was *trying* to love God & others (on my own doing)..... when I stopped striving and let Him love and help me --- then I was given back a million fold what I was striving for.... sort of like, you can't get it -- until you give up trying for it. What you sow you shall reep type of thing?? Give up self - get self back? Give up your life, get it back.

I was trying to do things by myself.... rather than letting the Spirit do His thing. It was an impossible feat so obviously the devil had a great hold on me as I beat myself up with guilt.

It's so true --- we can not in our own work manufacture or create love for Him or others. We can't "try harder". HE is love - all true unconditional selfless love comes from Him alone! We must let the Holy Spirit fill us... spending time with Him & The Word, asking God to please fill us with love & passion for Him.... those were the first steps for me. To just ask for help, make myself available in quiet time & time in the Word..... then before I even realized it I was filled with love for Him & others!