Lately, it’s felt a bit like a war, hasn’t it? Emotionally my heart + brain + soul have felt wrecked. Damaged. I’ve wanted to run away. With a battleground over Jen Hatmaker’s statements about gay marriage being holy, the presidential battlegrounds and my own personal drama, I can’t quite keep holding on.
I am tired.
I am a Christian leader and I am tired of the battles.
Yes, I should have known they would come. And before you question my spirit (because isn’t that all we do anymore?), I’m not playing martyr. I know there are far worse things that could happen. Our brothers and sisters dying at the hands of ISIS, but maybe – just maybe – they are they ones winning as they are in the hands of God, as we sit and wonder how much longer until our King Jesus comes back.
Truth be told, I’ve been unraveled ever since the Imperfectly Brave Weekend. It has been harder to get into the Word, I have felt less valued, increasingly anxious. I have grown more and more frustrated at the state of the church. Even though it has been hard, I’m doing my best to run to the scriptures because I know they are the only words that would fuel my spirit.
If you didn’t think Christian leaders experienced this, think again.
It is an aggressive fight for faith every day. Don’t think anything different.
But before I begin to play WOE IS ME as my soundtrack, I thought we would set some anchors for us – some solid truths – that you and I could sit on as we walk these hard and tiring roads.
GOD LOVES THE CHURCH MORE THAN US
“Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25
Our love will never reach the magnitude, extravagance, outlandish depths of the way Christ loves the church. He died for her. He was whipped + mocked + ultimately crucified on her behalf. Why? So that she would flourish and be a carrier of hope unto the ends of the earth.
So what happens when we are too busy fighting over coffee in our lobbies and whether or not we should sing hymns or contemporary music?
SOULS. SOULS HAPPEN.
Souls that God cares about and commissioned us to take the gospel to.
Dear Church member, we need to care more about our commission than returning to the good ol’ days of the 1950s. The 1950s aren’t coming back. Chin up, look forward and decide to engage our culture.
GOD IS HOLY, THEREFORE WE REPENT
Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you can’t tolerate wrongdoing” Habakkuk 1:13
There is no doubt that this is a confusing time, but not a new time. Our human flesh is prone to idol-making. Even of humans. And because of social media and a new way to put lights on “Christian famous” humans, Jen and Brandon Hatmaker’s controversial comments about homosexual marriage have rocked us.
Before I go any further, I don’t know Jen or Brandon personally, but I have loved their work. The way they love people is extraordinary and if I saw them in Austin, I would surely sit down for some chips and queso.
It must also be said, I hold to a traditional view of marriage, as does the board and staff at Imperfectly Brave. Our interpretation of the scripture reveals to us that God intended for man and woman to be married, not man and man or woman and woman (nor any other “matrimony.”)
And because God is holy and can not be around sin, I believe in repenting and turning from this behavior JUST AS MUCH as I believe in repenting and turning from an adulterous affair, stealing from your business, lying to your friend, burning under selfish thoughts, choosing to abort, engaging in pornography, drinking to get drunk and gluttonous anything.
What I do not believe in doing is throwing a stone. So what if we stopped and if you are convicted of the truth, teach it in your place to your people well. Pray. Get in the Word. Rinse and repeat.
THEY WILL KNOW US BY OUR LOVE
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16-17
Dearest Christian, does the world feel condemned by us or do they know we have the most wonderful gift to give them? What are we filling our mouths with? Speech filled with salt – joy, praise and thanksgiving – or do they only know what we are against?
My husband sings the most simple of songs each morning to our girls. My girls know it’s their daddy’s favorite song. They ask us to sing it every morning – even if we forget.
This is the day! This is the day! This is the day that the Lord has made!
It is all grace, believer. All of it. This day, that breath, your heart beating, blood coursing. Grace, grace. What grace. If we believe this, our speech should match it. Joy! Thankful hearts! Songs! Dancing! Freedom!
Yes, even in confusing times.
Yes, even if persecution comes.
Yes, even if someone hurts your feelings.
Let them throw the stones. The world can hurt our feelings. The universe can be dead set against us
When we are tired and want to run away, we can remember that God sent his son and we have abundant life and that alone can carry us through any storm. Guaranteed. How has that carried you through recent or past storms?
And just because I can hardly stand it, I have to share our video from the Imperfectly Brave Weekend! I am letting myself be reminded of all the good. You can too.