Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lifest, lifest, lifest...oh!

What better way to spend a few days in the summer in Wisconsin when you are faced with no job and the phone calls have stopped coming in than to escape to Lifest and simply worship the Lord?

It didn't matter who was performing, we simply longed to be in the presence of other believers and to just get away from the routine of sitting around the house waiting for emails or phone calls with job offers. Nothing has come yet. And we had to start living off our savings. I am learning that it one thing to talk about the love of Jesus and another to live it out. It is one thing to say that we are trusting the Lord, and another to live it out. It is one thing to say we are devoted followers of Christ, and a completely different thing to actually BE one. Because BEING one means sacrifice, living on the edge, and doing what the world views as crazy. Joe and I are battling this very thing every day....and we pray that God would make it so clear where HE wants to lead us on the next phase of our lives.

At Lifest, I talked to amazing young people who are using their lives to tackle huge issues. I talked to a girl from Appleton about human trafficking for a long time. Then, I sat in a make-shift hut talking to another girl about providing small business loans to people in Ethiopia to battle poverty and injustice. I talked to another girl (is there a pattern here, or what?) who is off to Kenya in 6 months to duplicate a feeding ministry that Katie Davis is doing in other parts of Africa.

I told Eleanor, if I could, I would re-do all my college years. Looking back...what a waste! Too many parties. Way too many bad choices. Too many regrets. Yes, I ended up with a degree that maybe, someday will help me get back into the teaching world...but seriously...what is that degree doing for me today? Eleanor and I talked about Bible college and looked over some information we picked up about a pretty cool school on the west coast. "Oh, daughter...learn from my mistakes."

So Joe and I were inspired and challenged. Someone recently told us that we were living the Crazy Love type of life. We laughed inside and thought, "No...we are not doing enough!" I don't know what God is stirring up inside of us...but He is stirring. I DO know this...wherever we end up, God has brought us there for a purpose and a reason and it's NOT to work hard to buy a nice house and have new cars. It will be an adventure to figure out exactly what is it HE has prepared in advance for us to do!

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10)

This was one of the first versed I committed to memory as an adult. I was humbled to know that God, the creator of the universe, had actually prepared works for me to do! My job as a follower of Christ is to actually DO those works! Lest anyone think I am a believer of good works getting me into heaven - that is hogwash. I am saved by the grace of Jesus Christ...and my gratitude for that salvation fleshes out in living a life of DOING the things that Christ taught us to do. He did not teach us to simply go to church on Sunday morning and think that was enough. In fact, he chastised the babbling prayers of the pagans, thinking they would be heard because of their many words (Matthew 6:7).

No, Jesus taught us to love our enemies, to pick up our cross daily, to seek justice, to give to the poor, to sit with the sinner, to desire mercy not sacrifice. I have to ask myself if I am doing these things - and many days, I fail miserably. I don't love my enemies - in fact, I hardly love my own son some days. I chose the easy route instead of picking up my cross. I seek self-comfort instead of going out of my way to see justice is done. I don't give because I only have few dollars left in my wallet and I really want a strawberry milkshake. And I wish I could just burn a bull to show the Lord my devotion instead of being merciful to those around me.

As we listened to music and enjoyed the beautiful Wisconsin summer day, we simply sat in the presence of the Lord. There were no big revelations. No neon signs with an arrow saying, "Go this way!'. Instead, we simply sat with God. And worshiped Him.

The night ended with Joe and I and all our children standing on their feet, hands raised, singing
Separated until the veil was torn
The moment that hope was born
and guilt was pardoned once and for all

Captivated but no longer bound by chains
left at an empty grave
the sinner and the sacred resolved

and all of creation sing with me now
lift up your voice and lay your burden down
and all of creation sing with me now
fill up the heavens let his glory resound

Time has faded and we see him face to face

every doubt erased forever we will worship the king

the reason we breathe is to sing of his glory
and for all he has done praise the father praise the son and the spirit in one


and every knee will bow oh and every tongue praise the father praise the son and the spirit in one

and all of creation sing with me now
lift up your voice and lay your burden down
and all of creation sing with me now
fill up the heavens let his glory resound





No comments: