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The announcement of election happened and our kids were worried about our result. They had many questions and we talked through politics on different levels for our 4 kids different ages, but We had only one thing that we needed to say that they all needed to get.
“God is not surprised, God is not worried, We should not be either and we should pray and love and walk out our faith.”

Then Trump’s day 1 happened and bigotry on so many fronts publicly reared it’s ugly head across the US in a way that is heart-wrenching and breaks God’s heart. So I sat with my kids this morning before I dropped them off at school and told them:

“People can’t blame trump for their choices. Their wrongful actions are THEIR actions. At the same time you guys need to know that no action is an action. Today when you go to school if you see anybody speaking or bullying people because they aren’t like them, are from another country, have a different religion, or a different color remember that they were made in the image of God and you need to stand up for those who are being told they are anything less than beautiful and God’s creation.. say something, step in the middle, and make sure your teachers know. As people who love Jesus we NEED to be different, speak differently, and ACT differently.”

My politics for 2016

October 13, 2016 — Leave a comment

MY ONLY POLITICAL POST:

I have been praying and thinking for days about the plight of our country, society, communities, families… I find myself just saddened over what I see.

I am watching racism, bigotry, sexism, bitterness, fighting, greed, deception, vile discussion, character assassination and more… I’m not talking about the presidential election. I am speaking about what I see in people’s discussions over the election and it’s candidates.

Person after person on social media ranting and raving about how evil hillary is and how disgusting trump is and in the next breath act exactly the same way with those they are talking with.

I’m coming at this from purely a flawed christian point of view. I believe in a God that not only loves but IS LOVE. It is the church’s responsibility to express this reckless love that has no strings attached, that doesn’t enable evil but also knows how to give out the grace that we have been given. Yet as much as that is true, it is literally the opposite of what I am seeing.

We have two people to vote for. Neither are great on policy. Neither are great morally. Neither measure up and we are stuck with an interesting dilemma on who to vote for. With that said regardless of who they are and what they have done it should not in any way define how you choose to speak to those around you or what garbage you sling on Facebook. You can’t blame the political situation for your complete disregard of your call to breathe life into this world.

Those of us who know God are literally called to bring heaven to earth by our words, by our actions and by how much we love. For those who don’t know God or don’t want to pick up a bible, WE are the only bible they will read. Instead of a verbal diarrhea of doom and trash talk which results in increasing our label as hypocrites and convincing people God is a jerk, we should be taking this opportunity to show people how Good, how gracious, how forgiving, and how loving God is.

We should not spend the next two weeks mudslinging and then after election in quiet prayer for the president. We should be singing praise to our God now for his peace in situations that make no sense.

Both candidates have slogans but the only one we should be preaching is that our hope is built on Jesus and regardless of what happens HE/WE WILL NOT BE SHAKEN.

And then for those of you who just can’t stop filling the internet with garbage that points to UNTRUE characteristics of a good God… STOP.

Pastors and leaders be careful what you type because people might not remember your sermons every week but the internet remembers what you type.

We have the opportunity to recover the things that have been stolen from our lives. The peace, the joy, the hope etc… It starts with our faith in a God who is unchanging and our choice to daily work on being more like Him.

We should ALL take a close look at what is coming out of our mouths because if it is not true, noble, kind, good, lovely, authentic, compelling, gracious, the best, the beautiful, praise, peace, love… If it isn’t pointing to a Good Good father then you need to work on what is on YOUR inside instead of going after others… SO THAT GOD MIGHT BE GLORIFIED and you can make the invisible God visible to those around you.

This song below from Tim Hughes inspired from the psalms is my prayer for myself right now. Im responsible for ME… Those who read this might want to use this as their prayer too:

“May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart
Bless Your name, bless Your name, Jesus
And the deeds of the day and the truth in my ways
Speak of You, speak of You, Jesus

For this is what I’m glad to do
It’s time to live a life of love that pleases You
And I will give my all to You
Surrender everything I have and follow You
I’ll follow You

Lord, will You be my vision, Lord, will You be my guide
Be my hope, be my light and the way
And I’ll look not for riches, nor praises on earth
Only You’ll be the first of my heart”

recovery

It would be wrong for me to say I’m a healthy person. I am overweight, a person who deals with issues like anxiety and lack of self worth, and I really love Cheese and Bread. With that confession out there I have in the last 6 months set out on a journey to work on getting healthier. It has been hard, sometimes easy, rewarding and down right annoying. I discovered, while eating better that I am clearly addicted to sugar and found myself in the “in between times” eating to deal with stress. I’m a stress eater? Where in the world did that come from and how did I never even notice this?

I set out on this journey not because heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer are in my genes, but because every time I ate something acidic I would get major heartburn and a pain in my side. A lame reason I know but sometimes it takes dumb circumstances to get us on the track to working on bigger ones.

What I discovered after a few months of eating a restricted diet is I was no longer having stomach pain from acidic things. It was absurd. I could now eat salsa with no problems.

Another thing began to happen. I started drinking only water, green tea and coffee. My body was constantly being flushed of toxins and being sustained on being “clean”.

And then it happened…

Pain…

I’ve endured pains before. I am used to them being overwieght and not in the greatest shape, but now I was feeling pain in places I never did before. My neck pain is out of control. My back and hip pain seem to come in waves for no reason at all.

A funny thing about Dairy and Cheese. They are foods that cause inflammation. I cut them out and you would think that if I was now ingesting anti-inflammatory foods that it would reduce inflammation and I would feel like 1 million dollars.

Well the truth is the inflammation I had previously was masking the pain in other areas. Basically this “thing”, this lifestyle that for all intensive purposes was killing me, was also numbing all kinds of other issues.

This realization has forced me to work on all kinds of areas that were never part of the “deal” of this diet. Posture, stretching, fitness, strengthening areas that are not in a normal workout to support the years of abuse on my body that the inflammation was hiding.

So now you must be thinking to yourself: “why is the word recovery in the title of this post?” – glad you asked.

Sunday I announced to our church that God had been speaking loud and clear that we are a “recovery church”. That is an odd statement, I know, but let me explain. Recovery is often associated with alcohol or drugs, but I have come to the conclusion that it needs to be associated with recovering things that have been stolen from us. It might be Joy has been stolen because of fear, Peace has been stolen because of abuse, Sobriety has been stolen because of addiction, kindness has been stolen because I am a “me-aholic”… The truth is every one of us as christians are in recovery because the enemy is stealing from us daily and we need to take it back by force!

There is one thing I have learned though about recovery that has now been solidified by my inflammation issue. When you remove the thing that is killing you there is also a discovery that it was making all the other pain numb. Hidden pain that was getting worse and worse and you never even knew. Now that it has been removed you are forced to deal with all the other things that it was hiding in your life.

Just like my health journey, when it comes to recovery this may end up being more painful than it was before… But it’s worth it.

When you remove the things that anesthetize your spirit then the spirit of the Lord can heal you from the inside out. 

It’s in that moment that you can say:
I might be in pain but YOU are my healer
I might be afraid but YOUR love casts out that fear
I might be sad but YOU bring joy everlasting
I might be confused but YOU give me a peace that I can’t understand
I am no longer a slave to the things I did before, but that also means have have so much more work to do… This time with YOUR strength.

what a

The God who breathed stars into existence, who spoke and made the heavens created us out of dust, to be little mud men in relationship with him. What a mystery. What a privilege to be called sons and daughters because of the mind shattering love and grace and mercy of God.

Jesus, God’s plan A, took all of our sin, all of our garbage, all of our hurt on himself. All the things we have done and have yet to do. He bore it all. He did not come to condemn. As he was being beaten and nailed to a cross, He responded to the offense with “FORGIVE THEM!”.
What a privilege it is to worship Him.

The prince of peace came in humility. The bread of life was broken so that WE might have life… so that The love of God might finally be revealed with such clarity and impact that nothing would mistake it.
What a privilege it is to worship Him

And the curtain of the temple that separated the presence of God from man was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. Bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. All that was created from beginning to end, Angels and demons, principalities and rulers, Satan and the religious, All of heaven and earth, all that is seen and all that is unseen suddenly woke with a realization… Through the splinters of wood and the poured out blood, revelation came. “Truly this was the Son of God!”
What a privilege it is to worship Him

To seal the deal Jesus rose from the grave, fully man and fully God. He returned as a teacher, friend, healer, gardener… as God…He ministered to followers that would change the world as an act of worship.
What a privilege it is to worship Him

He ascended into heaven and left us with the Holy Spirit. The living God and the same power that raised christ from the grave to be with us always. So that as we draw near to the Good father we can be reminded that his love endures forever. What a privilege it is to worship Him

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. – Eph 3:16-19

What a privilege it is to worship Him

have it all

It feels like just yesterday that I did a review of the bethel album we will not be shaken, where I shared that I was pretty much lukewarm on most of the cuts on it. I have everything ever put out from bethel, brian and jenn, ian mcintosh, steffany gretzinger, jeremy riddle etc etc… You get it; pretty much anybody associated with that crew and usually love almost everything until the “we will not be shaken” album and I found myself, unlike the title, kind of shaken as it just would not stick with me. I also feel like I may have been set up for a trap because the marketing forced my brain to have an expectation of it being a cross between tides and loft sessions. It wasn’t.

Then came “Have it All” in my inbox to review a few weeks before it officially came out. I clicked the link and said to myself. “what is this!!??!”. I had no idea there even was another album coming and so unlike the last one I was not boxed into sonic expectation and my mind and ears were open to whatever would meet them. I was ready to press play, give it a few listens and then review it. My plan was to post a review a few weeks ago, but as you can see I failed. Now let me keep this review concise and simple as it will also explain my delay in typing this review in the first place.

This album instantly became a prophetic prayer over my spirit and my circumstances. 
It forced me to wrestle with a new level of surrender.
It reminded me that God doesn’t “give His heart in pieces”
It made my heart pour out “thank you” over the circumstances that I normally should not be.

Every track was dripping with the LIVE groan of the Holy Spirit and as polished as it sounds it is also raw and untamed.
Normally I would go through track by track, but there are 16 tracks and I will get acute carpal tunnel if I share on each one so instead I will just encourage anybody who reads my blog… Go buy this album and let it carry you into worship, challenges you to be more like Jesus, and brings peace as the Holy Spirit washes over you.

Oh the peace that comes
When I’m broken and undone
By Your unfailing grace
I can lift my voice and say
You can have it all, Lord

I can almost guarantee that the peace that passes all understanding dropped on you by just reading those words. It is that powerful of an album. It features Brian and Jenn Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Steffany Gretzinger, Amanda Cook, William Matthews, Jonathan Helser, Paul and Hannah McClure, Kalley Heiligenthal, Josh Baldwin and Bethel newcomers Leeland and Cory Asbury. I think it’s ironic that the last two would be called newcomers, but they are to the bethel music. 

Music of course has a ton to do with personal preference. What surprised me as well is that while a few of those leaders stylistically are not my favorite on past albums, on this one there isn’t a voice, a lyric or a song that doesn’t move my spirit.

These 16 tracks are on continual repeat right now. “Have it All” has become a personal meditational prayer each time I listen and now that it still rings in my head an heart all day long.

Brian Johnson said it best ““The sooner we realize life is about surrender, the longer we have to make a real eternal impact here on earth.”.

Don’t buy this album to support Bethel. Don’t buy this album because you think of me as a bearded wise sage that told you to.

Buy it because your spirit, your journey, and the depth of your surrender needs it. 

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this album free from Hoganson Media Relations and Bethel to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”