Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I realize this is a delicate subject.

I am part of a group that is looking at our youth ministry space and making design recommendations for updates and improvements. We technically don't have a space besides regular classrooms. It is hard for kids in a youth group to see the mega churches in their cities and only wish to have the facilities and on tap entertainment that they provide. My home is pretty and certainly nicer than the majority of the world's population will ever dream of. But herein lies the quandary. Today I have been plagued by this thought: how can we expect our kids to simplify, do with less, intentionally recycle, give extravagantly and at the same time be party to trying to "update" their space. These are extremes, I know. Yet the question will not leave my heart.

Personally, I feel like God is taking me on a journey of living with less. I am loving it. I feel like the economy is proving that storing away for a future that is uncertain is not a goal worthy of the kind of dedication and slavery that consumes so many lives. People have literally seen there nest eggs evaporate. Should we be responsible? Sure. Do I think that we should be giving and generous ahead of financial hoarding? Absolutely. There has to be something to the idea of "daily bread' given that Jesus speaks to it so often. God is not big on the Israelites storing for tomorrow either.

But honestly, this is hard. Our Christian culture looks very similar to the world in general when it comes to money and stuff and I am over that. I made a decision to not buy any new clothing or anything decorative for my home for this year. It has required me just not going to stores. In certain stores I just avoid those departments. But it is hard. And this is just one small area. Now this is not just about doing with less, it is about enjoying and appreciating what we have. A hard discipline really.

So while I have these challenging areas in my life that God is trying to grow me in I am also faced with the youth space issue. What to do?

Monday, March 02, 2009


You've heard the research, maybe even heard the direct accusations. Christians are hypocrites. I am not a fan of casting any large group into one particular category with one foul swoop, and so my instant reaction is to say, "wait a minute." I want to do a good PR job on us and manage our images a little, justifying behaviors or explaining away actions. I so badly don't want to be "one of them" that my indignation and holier than thou attitude, lands me right in the middle of "them" more than I would like.

Like it or not, this is a worthy topic to think about. Servers in restaurants complain about the Sunday lunch crowd, unbelievers feel judged by Christians, many who have held themselves up as people of God have been exposed to the general public as cheats, liars, adulterers and manipulators. At some level it is not too much to say, some have earned the reputation of Hypocrite and all of us have to now bear it. But the court of public opinion is not really the greatest concern for me, albeit important. What about God...what does He think?

I have spent time in Acts 5 with Ananias and Sapphira lately. What a sobering read that can be. And after much reflection I believe we are being taught something so powerful in this account that it can not be ignored. God acted harshly, swiftly, decisively with these two. Why? Others have lied, others have cheated, many still do. I firmly believe the issue at stake was hypocrisy. God is ever patient with us as we attempt to live in kingdom ways - often messing up and allowing temptations to overcome us. Yet, if our hearts are turned to Him and we are desirous of a surrendered life and are making attempts to that end, He continues to grace us with gifts of growth and change. However with A & S He sees right through to the heart. They had predetermined to appear religious, pious, holy, sacrificial, surrendered- but it was all a show. God will not have that. If our aim is to receive the admiration, praise and respect of our spiritual family by our acts of faith that are borne out of ill-motive and deception we can expect the wrath of God. They were claiming to be something they were not. God did not require their land or the proceeds from it. And yet they chose to try to deceive the Lord, the Apostles, the community of faith in order to appear more righteous than they were.

For many of us, we will not face such a drastic situation. But on a daily basis as we live for God I have been challenged to review my motives, my heart, my intent and to ask God to cleanse any ugliness from my heart. How thankful I am for mercy!