Showing posts with label church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label church. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 yourself

Love your neighbor as yourself

Love your neighbor as yourself 

Love your neighbor as yourself.

what stands out as you read these words?
what are you first thoughts?

I hear a command- 
a beautiful, life changing command to love my neighbor. 
and I've heard it all my life. 

Loving my neighbor has been so beautifully demonstrated to me.

My parents met in ministry. They are some of the most selfless people I've ever known.
I'm surrounded by such loving, gracious, kind and generous friends.
Our church is so good at being intentional in how we show love to those around us.

I think I'm pretty okay at loving my neighbors.
I love to love other people.

what about the second part?
what about me?

> When faced with the opportunity to express disappointment in our fallen world, 9 out of 10 times I'm going to take it out on my self.


Why is the church so focused on loving our neighbors, yet self-love is 'selfish' and 'prideful'?

Why is it okay to speak to yourself in ways you would never dream of saying to others?

Why are we so quick to forget that in order to love our neighbors, we have to be fully saturated in God's love for us? 

TODAY: find God's love for you.
               soak it up.
               and then love those around you. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

broken people sit in church pews

every Sunday, church buildings fill up with imperfect people.
we stand in the sanctuary, singing songs led by flawed worship leaders.
we nit-pick words spoken by struggling pastors.

on Sundays, we slap concealer on our blemishes.
we straighten our posture and sweeten our words.
we nod and smile while tuning out.

how sad it is,
that we feel the need to pretend our brokenness doesn't exist.

because in reality,
when the broken pieces stand together
the glory of the fixer is all the more beautiful.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Cleaning the Floors- Part Two

On day two we served dinner to the homeless of Portland. It was a lot calmer then breakfast had been, as we had a significantly less number of people (but still a lot!) Before dinner, Union Gospel Mission does a church service with music and a speaker. We were told to sand as people came in, as to not take up seats.
  As I was standing, I got a awkward feeling about me. Watching these people come in, seeing their plastic bags, smelling the drugs, and feeling my heart break. God hit me, reminding me that these are his people. It was so humbling to share in a tiny, little piece of others lives, and for the street friends to allow us to witness their truly vulrible state.
  And I thought about how judged I would feel if a group of teenagers sat in the back, watching my every move.
I found myself in the partially inhabited front row, singing 90's worship songs.
I found myself wondering about all the emotion in the room.
What I would be feeling if the tables were turned.
How raw we sat before God.
Some in disbelief. Others in awe.
These are Jesus's friends.

In a calm moment, I sat at a table chatting with a few of the street friends. This woman, she reminded me of someone.
It was the woman on the floor.
  Yet she wasn't dirty- she had a fresh shirt on. Clean hair. Dirt-less nails.
I thanked Jesus for cleaning this woman. For cleaning the floors.
And we began a conversation.  We both care to much about what others think; we both try too hard to please everyone. We share a second child position, yet we have different numbers of siblings. I asked her if I could pray for her once again, and if there was anything unparticular I could pray for.
  She asked if I could pray for safety. She looked me in the eye and told me she had been raped so many times, and if I could pray that it would lesson, that would be great.
  How many oceans of pain could this have created?
I tear up as I type this. Not because "it showed me homeless people are real people too," or something equally dumb. But because it still hits me. It still makes my heart skip a beat. It reminds me that we are surrounded my pain, and this life will be full of it.
  So I cried out to God. It was the first time I have ever been angry with God, and it wasn't happy. I asked him how he could allow this to happen. I asked why this evil, this pain, this heaviness that I feel so deeply could be tolerated by my loving and just God. Why could this happen?
  God held me in his hand as I cried out to him. He let me yell and scream and feel the feelings I needed to feel. But he calmed my heart. He gave me comfort.
We sung of this Jesus, and his heart for his kids.
     Others shared the heaviness of what we had witnessed and herd.
It was beautiful.
 It was beautiful because the Holy Spirit was fully alive in us.
Because we are His.
Because he has filled us with life.  

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Cleaning the Floors- Part One

Hello friends! As you may know, I went on a mission trip to Portland OR with my youth group a few weeks ago. This is part one of a story I wanted to share with you. :)

On the second night of the mission trip, a sat wide awake in my little corner of the Sunday school class room. I had been lightly dozing, but was failing to fall asleep. We had gotten in bed around 11:30pm and I was trying to sleep before we would get up at 4 to serve breakfast to the homeless of Portland.

  It was hot, I was exhausted, and despite my efforts I couldn't sleep. I then proceeded to give God a little lecture about how 'I really need to sleep so I'm not a grumpy cow in the morning. Seriously God, can you please help me fall asleep? I can't serve these people if I'm not emotionally preset. Pllleeeaaassssssssseeeeeeeeeee.'

 And after I had prayed my whinny little prayer, and laid in my sleeping bag for a while God really clearly spoke to me. "Elissa, you need to clean the floors." 

"Wait, what?"
       "Clean the floors"
"Ummm, like now? You want me to get up and clean these laminate Sunday school classroom floors?" 
       "You'll know"

  We arose at 4:00am to eat some breakfast, pray, and hop in the van to head downtown. We helped prep. breakfast, set up, and then we began serving meals. It was very overwhelming work- people were pouring in by the masses, hungry and cold. Some were covered in sores, some yelled at themselves, while others were so high they didn't know their own name.

 Homelessness isn't new to me, but the heaviness of these peoples hardships burdened my heart. We made a point to treat our street friends with dignity, as we would to any person. It was so sad to see faces light up when I called them 'sir' or 'mam', or made eye contact as I wished them a good day.

  I had been periodically sitting down with people and near the end I sat across from a lady finishing her breakfast. You guys, this woman was so dirty. Her black bare feet were contrasted to her pale skin. Her hair was greasy, her clothes had obviously been well loved, and dirt encrusted her long fingernails.

   She had ended up with eight lid-less styrofoam containers filled with eggs and gravy. Stuffing these containers in a reusable tote bag, that obviously didn't have room, I got down on the floor with her. She showed me her second bag and the bottom was lined with squished blackberries. The juice was bleeding through, creating a huge mess. A huge, huge, mess.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A wet, cold, and rainy baptism

   Dear Jayna,

So on Sunday, I was baptized.
In the rain.
In the cold.
In a mettle horse trough.

 And, let me tell you it wasn't perfect.
It wasn't in some beautiful lake on the island on the perfect summer day.
But it was enough. Enough for me to be crying.
And more then enough for God to do his thing, without me stepping in and telling him how 'we' could do it better.
Because that is what it is about, right?
It is a public decoration that my life is his, and he can do his thing through me. And as you know, (a little to well) that I am far from perfect. I do not wake up every morning and live my life in submission to him. I mess up, I yell at my mom, and I get jealous of other people.
But this spring, God brought me to a place in my life were I needed to change, and he is the only source of the hope that I have today.
I could tell you a whole list of things that would have made it better: but I am truly thankful.
And it would have been amazing if you were there, and I only thought about that five billion times.
But any just want you to know, that I am thinkin about you, and that I hope and pray that this post finds you all right:-)
                                         Love you - Elissa
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