Zombie Apocalypse

Those difficult people are …dead inside. They are miserable. They can’t feel empathy. They try to get you upset because at least then they feel …SOMETHING.

And if people don’t know God they don’t know love. These are His words; not mine.

If they don’t know love, they don’t know HOW to love you AND they can’t love themselves in a healthy way.

 

They simply don’t know how.

Like a zombie apocalypse, they’re everywhere and they want to bite you with sharp words and actions and make you die inside too.

This is where grace and compassion show up.

You have something they don’t. They want it but don’t know how to get it. They’re envious but they won’t express this in healthy ways because they’re not even understanding what they’re missing.

When this truly sinks in, it has power to already take away some of the pain they’ve caused.

When you know God, His love can’t HELP but spill over from your life to theirs.

 

Lord, shine and bring the dead to life.

Help us help people take the graveclothes off.

 

 

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.

But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” –John 11:38-44

To The Ones With A Gentle Spirit

People get so mad.

About everything.

About that this isn’t a full sentence.

Like hate-filled, gossip about you, unfriend you, crucify you, plain and ugly, wish death on you, angry.

They do it about just ….well, about everything.

If you don’t like what someone likes or approve of what a group does, so SO MANY people (and it seems like more all the time) treat you as if they now choose YOU as an enemy.

Precious You, if you’re still reading this and you’re not already writing a hundred word essay about how wrong I am with this blog post, your gentle, warrior spirit is open and please know you’re not the enemy and hear that it’s not about you. Your gentle spirit is a fresh relief from the hostility to anyone with eyes to see. Thank you for being here.

It’s about “lovers of self.” It’s a Biblically prophesied-over, already expected, spiritual war.

And in the middle of it all: is a spirit of pride.

You know the situations I’m talking about.

It happens at work, school, home, in marriages, those you-better-be-at-the-next-family-reunion-or-else (dare I say) celebrations, stores, vacations, church, standing in line, post offices, coffee shops, hospitals, restaurants, wherever you feel led to serve, and everywhere else I didn’t think to mention.

And God tells us to avoid people who are behaving this way.

Check out what 2 Timothy 3:1-9 says about it.

Difficult Times Will Come.

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a FORM OF godliness, although they have denied its power; AVOID such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, ALWAYS learning and NEVER ABLE to come to the KNOWLEDGE OF TRUTH. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. BUT THEY WILL NOT MAKE FURTHER PROGRESS; for their folly will be obvious to ALL, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.

(emphasis, mine.)

Read through that list again.

It’s insane how many of these words fit everyday situations.

The number of prideful, arrogant people — who have no Holy Spirit so they are able to show no grace — seems as if a giant Goliath and the grace-filled people with quiet strength for the battles seem like David.

(But we all know how that story goes. David defeated Goliath so there’s that.

1 Samuel 17:47-50

Verse 47

…All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, AND HE WILL give all of you into our hands.”)

Praise God for people who are after His own heart!

Acts 13:22

But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man AFTER MY OWN HEART. He will do everything I want him to do.’

David’s oldest brother was mad at him telling him he could not do what David KNEW he was there to do. His brother (Eliab) said his (David’s) heart was wicked, BUT GOD SAYS David was a man after GOD’S own heart! Praise God that he listened to what he knew he could do and did not listen to the ones who didn’t believe and who were jealous.

1 Samuel 17:28-32

When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.

David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”

(And then even the king didn’t believe David could do what he knew he was there to do.

1 Samuel 17:33

Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

Sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know.)

 

Whatever unkind, without understanding or trying to see things from your side of the world, prideful ways people act toward you, aren’t your burdens to take on yourself.

These aren’t your behaviors and you can gently, gracefully respond (remembering a gentle word turns away wrath. Proverbs 15:1.)

And you can boldly say, “NO, thank you. The way you’re talking to me isn’t going to be okay. Maybe we can try again another time.” (But maybe not. YOU get to choose. And I pray you find more healthy boundaries – and enforce them – all the time.)

Whether it’s something that has deeply hurt my feelings or feels as if it’s blocking me somehow from what I know in my spirit that I’m supposed to be doing, God has taught me to stop in the moment, just breathe, and (immediately remember to) ask Him 3 questions in every situation:

(Note: This works SO, so, so much better if I do this BEFORE I get my feelings in the way, but often truthfully it happens after something hurt my heart more than I’d like to admit… because I forgot that this life is not about me and yet again tried to make it about me… but 3 things are:)

Lord, what do You want me to LEARN from this?”

What do You want me to DO with this?”

How can I honor YOU in this?”

We get so offended too easily and take on other people’s angry pride as if it’s something we “should” carry. Because honestly people have become really good, experts even, at trying to make others absorb their unresolved junk in life that they have not (maybe purposefully and perhaps not so much) dealt with. It comes out as heavy artillery in our direction. Some days this is overt and MUCH of the time it’s covert. And people use a thousand different tactics to try to make you accept their stuff. (Rest in the Truth that God sees ALL of it and NOTHING is hidden from Him!)

But it’s not ours to carry.

And if we started to, we can lay it down.

We are to mourn when people mourn and rejoice when people rejoice. (Romans 12:15)

But to carry what they won’t hand over to God is not your responsibility.

It’s theirs.

Like a good coach or employer or father would do, God has purpose in everything He allows us to experience whether we’re too short-sighted sometimes to see it or not.

The next time someone does or says something that hurts you, I’m asking you to pray these 3 things because we have been PROMISED we can cast all our cares on Him.

1 Peter 5:7

Cast ALL your anxiety ON HIM

BECAUSE HE CARES for YOU.

Are you doing your part? Every day? Casting your cares?

Carrying that junk that others have been trying to pile on you is way heavy.

And it needs to go.

Dear People Who Feel God Stirring Your Heart to Some Kind of Ministry,

Where do you put your hope?

ONLY YOU know when God whispers to your soul.

It’s something you’ll not soon forget.

Please pray continually about the ministry He’s nudging you to. Every step needs to be saturated in prayer.

When God puts a dream in your heart HE can be trusted to lead you to everything you will need to do the work.

We’ve listened to many, many people tell us that we need to “do things this way” or “that way” because “that’s just the way ministry works.” There is some good advice out there.

But also I’ve heard of brand new ministries that were born into people’s hearts but were aborted because they gave up when a few said, “That’s not possible” or “No. We won’t fund that.” Some give up when faced with churches who want a “5 Year Plan” and won’t even pray with them toward this work.

I just CAN’T find it in the Bible where Jesus said follow committees, preachers, or churches, family, friends, or other leaders, and when they say “No” then give up.

Where is your Hope? In people? In circumstances? In other Christians? Or in God?

I have read that Jesus says “Follow ME.”

God is the God of the impossible. He’s great at making impossible things possible.

The Holy Spirit is here to lead us.

This stuff is real.

What God has put on my heart is that when people and churches and organizations that do NOT donate, whether prayers or money or other kinds of support, that does NOT mean it’s time to give up!

Perhaps God wasn’t using them for this particular ministry.

And that’s okay!

 

There are many people God does bring you in contact with who believe with you

…BEFORE the physical buildings can be seen,

…BEFORE it “looks official,”

…when it’s still ONLY BY FAITH that you feel compelled to take another step.

We felt God planting in our hearts that He was moving our family from Texas to Alaska to open a homeless teen place. Currently we’re waiting on Him in Washington. He’s training us more every day.

And I still can’t give anyone a 5 year plan. (…probably never will be able to.)

And the funny thing is I can’t find it in The Bible where God says I have to.

As we have stayed in prayer, walking in faith, over the past 4 years, God has led us to people:

with hearts for ministry and specifically for this ministry we feel moved to,

who are counselors,

people on Boards of Directors who are already working with the homeless,

people who have started organizations that help rescue sex-trafficked girls,

maternity ministries,

CEOs with the same hearts for this kind of ministry,

people who know about nonprofits like 501c3,

architects,

builders,

teachers,

camp directors,

musicians,

worship leaders,

preachers,

prayer warriors,

singers,

gardeners,

landscapers,

hunters,

chefs,

janitors,

AND

people who have donated financially (some once, and some a few times) over the past 4 years

EVEN THOUGH

they know we’re not even “there” yet. (Yes, we’re keeping the list for later tax purposes.)

God has sent people to believe with us, in spirit and in action.

And THAT is the most amazing thing.

For God to send support like that is just reassurance time after time that HE’s got this and HE IS listening and leading and providing.

After all, He IS our Provider, so… I’m not surprised but ALWAYS constantly in awe every single step of the way.

If we’d TRIED to plan all this, things couldn’t have ever gone better.

When you see God giving you the next step and the next, you can’t help but want more!

My question is that if we’d “planned” it all on paper (to get a church or organization to donate) then where does being open to the Holy Spirit daily fit in?

I actually don’t even think that’s how it’s supposed to be done “Biblically.” I think that’s taking a dream God gives and trying to make it fit our way.

Perhaps “planning” how we want it to look isn’t such a perfect way after all.

That “plan” would have changed so many times by now already.

My faith and my hope is NOT in an organization

or in a preacher

or in a committee who may pull funding

if we’re not fast enough for them,

or if we don’t baptize enough people in their given amount of time,

or for whatever results they want to see on a graph chart or powerpoint.

My hope is in HIM.

And HE is faithful to complete work He started.

 

SOMEBODY NEEDS YOU.

And God, ALONE, is MORE THAN ENOUGH to lead you to this work He’s prepared in advance for you to do. (You’ll know it when it happens because it’ll include your passion and talents He gave you.)

I can’t tell you it will be easy but it’s very worth it even when others think it’s silly. (And they will. So what? Let them think it’s silly. Perhaps, when they’re ready to surrender to Him, God will move them, too. Your job isn’t to convince them. It’s to follow in faith.)

There are doors that God unlocks through prayer, singing praises to Him, and reading Scripture out loud, that we could never have unlocked ourselves.

God opens doors that NO enemy can shut.

And He closes doors that NO friend can open.

HE IS ABLE.

 

A few years ago when we told someone about this God-sized dream He’s placed in our hearts, they asked skeptically, “You and whose army?! Who is going to do this work with you?!” I said, “Me and whatever army God calls together.”

Watch Him do it.

 

Hear This Truth:

Proverbs 3:5-6

TRUST in THE LORD with ALL your heart

and lean NOT on your OWN understanding;

in ALL your ways SUBMIT TO HIM,

AND HE WILL make your paths straight.

Everybody is kind of broken.

Some people want you to believe that they are totally okay; that they have it all together.

They don’t.

Being broken isn’t a bad thing. God says He can use you when you’re broken.

EVERYBODY is broken in some way. God is the ONLY One who can repair the brokenness.

It would take a long time to understand why people react to stuff in life the way they do since each of us is broken in a different way.

Think about it.  If we were whole, with nothing at all ever wrong in our lives, we could always 100% of the time react in a healthy way.  But we’re just not always okay.  And so stress (even good stress) can affect our responses (even when we don’t really want it to.)

If you take time to look around you’ll see some of what it may look like in everyday life and a way you can help because you CAN help (whether you realize it or not.)

You can have a plan already in mind to be kind ~ ANYWAY.  Watch for moments because they’re sure to show themselves.

When your boss is moody – show a little more kindness and enthusiasm at work.

When your teacher is upset – turn in your assignment early if possible.

If mom is feeling overwhelmed – do a job or 2 that she didn’t even ask you to do.

If dad seems angry – take a few minutes to remind him how much you appreciate him.

When a student comes to school late or is disrupting class – use gentle, encouraging words (as she may not have heard any recently.)

If the checkout guy is slower than you’d like remember it may his first job (just like once upon a time it was your first job) – be more understanding and speak softer.

When your wife meets you with an icy look – be a little more gentle and help melt it.

When your husband grumbles – make him a snack and remind him of a specific thing you admire about him.

If your employee is having an off day – tell him you’re glad he’s there and he’s valuable (which may be perfect words to lift his energy.)

Even though God is the only One who can do the repairs, WE can STILL be people who help (INSTEAD of rolling eyes, stomping off, making a smartalecky comment, or all the other ways that are NOT helpful…)

Just because someone’s outsides look okay doesn’t mean the insides are okay.

If we’d quit trying to hide all the broken pieces, we’d begin to heal a lot quicker.  Jesus is The Answer. And everybody needs more kindness and love.

 

This Little Light of Yours

This little light of mine.  I’m gonna let it shine.

Hide it under a bushell? NO. I’m gonna let it shine.

Wait. What’s a bushel? (I think it’s a basket.)

 

Okay – now –  let’s try this in more modern words.

This little light of mine.  I’m gonna let it shine.

Hide it at my kid’s ball game?

Hide it at the board meetings?

Hide it in P.T.A. meetings?

Hide it when I’m at the gym?

Hide it when that girl walks by?

Hide it when I disagree?

Hide it when they cut in line?

Hide it when my wife’s upset?

Hide it when my husband’s angry?

Hide it when no one’s watching me?

Hide it when my kids mess up?

Hide it when a wrong number calls?

Hide it when I go to school?

Hide it ’cause I just feel grouchy?

Hide it when the world’s on fire?

 

NO!!

 

–>This little light of yours. NOW is time to let it shine.<–

Let it shine ALL the time.   ALL THE TIME.