religion


Being a Christian is not about going to church, it’s about having a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and allowing yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit, rather than being governed by the law. Bruxy Cavey communicated this truth eloquently and clearly in his book The End of Religion (Colorado Springs, Colorado: NavPress, 2007). Some of my favorite quotes from that book are:

  • There is a difference, an important difference, between relating to God through systems of doctrine, codes of conduct, inherited traditions, or institutions of power, and relating to God directly, soul-to-soul, mind-to-mind, heart-to-heart. Jesus taught this distinction, lived this message, and was killed because of its implications.
  • Jesus’ call into a rule–free, principle–based spirituality is very difficult for religious people to fathom. Certainly, rule–less spirituality is only a constructive way to live if love is the guiding dynamic, the foundational principal of our lives. This is essential to Jesus’ message. Jesus never made rule–breaking a worthy goal in and of itself. His point was that rule–keeping should be a natural expression of something deeper, rather than a goal unto itself. Simply remove rules and you are left with anarchy. Transcend rules with love, and you are beginning to live like Jesus.
  • So here is the great irony – Jesus is happy to see his followers get organized in order to help spread the message that organizations are not the answer. Christ-followers read the Bible to learn of Jesus’ teaching that reading the Bible is not what makes us a Christian. We pray regularly in order to commune with the God who reminds us that praying regularly is not what makes us acceptable to him. We meditate to immerse our souls in the love of God that is already ours, not in order to somehow achieve a state of self-induced enlightenment. And we go to church to collectively celebrate the message that going to church is not what makes us God’s children.
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Excerpt from When Doing Isn’t Enough:

Waiting is not popular in our modern society. Immediate gratification is popular. We want what we want now, and we do everything possible to get whatever it is we want now and avoid waiting…God appears to like waiting and seems to require it of anyone who will be used by him, particularly those who will be used in a significant way. When studying the lives of individuals in the Bible who have been used by God to accomplish extraordinary tasks there certainly seems to be a correlation between waiting and serving God in the extraordinary ways they were called to serve.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/When-Doing-Enough-Waiting-Plenty/dp/1625860838/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1508523850&sr=8-3&keywords=books+by+mary+detweiler

I am sending this out to those individuals who have a hard time doing nothing.

Excerpt from When Doing Isn’t Enough:

In 2003, I participated in a Bible study titled Experiencing God. Out of all the reading and writing and discussion that took place over that twelve-week period, the only thing that stuck with me was the following phrase: Don’t just do something. Stand there. As a task-oriented individual who has historically functioned as an overachiever, I had great difficulty wrapping my mind around this concept. Just being and not doing went against my grain on a very deep level… [10 years later] I ran across a card on Crosscards.com which said Until God opens the next door, praise him in the hallway. This resonated with me. My third book was in production and I did not have another one percolating inside me. I also was no longer leading a ministry. I was in a hallway and had run out of doors to open. As an action-oriented, doing kind of person, this was an uncomfortable place to be. I knew though, that God was going to have to provide the next opportunity and open the next door for me to walk through. I knew I would not be able to do it on my own. So, in this time of uncertainty, I am waiting and trusting, praising Him in the hallway.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/When-Doing-Enough-Waiting-Plenty/dp/1625860838/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1508523850&sr=8-3&keywords=books+by+mary+detweiler

I am reading a biography of the Apostle Paul by N.T. Wright. Some of the words Mr. Wright used to describe Paul were “bold”, “never tried to hide things”, “tactless”, “never tried to curry favor”, “never for a moment shrinking from speaking out”, “reputation as a world-roving troublemaker”, “much more afraid of not being true to the gospel than of any consequences a bold proclamation might have had.”

 As I read these various descriptions of Paul it occurred to me that many of them describe me as well. This was very comforting to me as the characteristics I share with Paul have historically been seen as negative by many church people, especially church leaders. Now that I know what good company I’m in, I can shake off the opinions of me held by these individuals, no longer allowing them to impact me. Maybe some of these characteristics are what is needed for a disciple of Christ to significantly impact his or her world.

 

 

Excerpt, When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough:

Question: Where do women belong in the twenty-first-century church?
Answer: Wherever God places them.

God has carved out places for every one of his daughters in his church, and he wants us to occupy the places he chose for us. Whatever spiritual gift or gifts you were given, you were given for a reason and a purpose, and he wants you to use it for the purpose he chose for you. He does not want you to hide it. If you choose to hide your gift(s), God is displeased. In his book The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren states “You don’t bring glory or pleasure to God by hiding your abilities or by trying to be someone else. You only bring him enjoyment by being you. Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God’s wisdom and sovereignty in creating you.”

Link: https://www.amazon.com/When-Going-Flow-Enough-Upstream/dp/1625860714/

Excerpt from my Christmas reading:

“… the heart of the Christmas story: sacrificial love…love and sacrifice are synonyms, the deeper the cost of giving, the deeper the experience of love and joy. Sacrifice, of course, is what the true Christmas story is all about. It is not so much about giving as it is about sacrificing. (All sacrifice is giving, but not all giving is sacrifice.) … Sacrifice means to give to another person something we could have kept for ourselves. It means to choose, to deny, to love, to give, and to find the deepest pleasure in another’s joy. …

There is no shortage of opportunities to sacrifice. All we have to do is look for the need. That’s what God did when He sent His Son into the world at the first Christmas. The need was twofold: for the human race to see what had been lost in the Garden of Eden–perfect humanity; and to restore what was lost–fellowship with God through the forgiveness of sins. Once the need is identified, the gift becomes obvious. The challenge is to be willing to provide a gift as big as the need. Sometimes the need is bigger than what we can comfortably give in terms of time or treasure. And that’s where sacrifice comes in. Giving becomes sacrificial when we take something we might normally have channeled toward ourselves and dedicate it to increasing the joy of another.” (David Jeremiah, The 12 Ways of Christmas)

The following excerpt from When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough has been running through my mind all morning, soooo I decided to share it. Here it is:

“I want them [my sisters in Christ] to be who they were created to be, to be free to operate in their spiritual gifts, and to fulfill the purpose for which they were created and designed to fulfill. I want the Church to not only give them permission to pursue their calling, but to also actively encourage and support them in doing so. I want the Church to tell them they are on equal footing with men and don’t need to fit themselves into prescribed roles.

Needless to say, we have a long way to go to make this happen. There are a lot of battles which will need to be fought and many streams in which individuals will need to swim upstream. Much conflict and controversy will follow. Whoever chooses to fight these battles or swim up these streams will need to be ready and willing to face a torrent of opposition. It will take people who have the determination of James Madison, the visionary leadership of Elizabeth Stanton, the dedication of Susan B. Anthony, the perseverance of Martin Luther King Jr., the amazing selflessness of the Freedom Riders, and the passion of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Most of all though, it will take people whose hearts have been changed by Christ.”

If anyone is interested in reading more, here’s the link to purchase the book: https://www.amazon.com/When-Going-Flow-Enough-Upstream/dp/1625860714/

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