Monday, March 29, 2010

An Israelite at Heart

You know how the Israelites didn't want to hear God's voice? They wanted Moses to hear it and then tell it to them. They wanted the priests to speak to God and then pass on the message.

Well I am an Israelite. I want someone else to hear God's voice then pass the message on to me. I am too afraid to hear his voice myself. Today in church I was convicted again with "I don't really know God!". My natural reaction to this thought was go buy a book on the theology of God or listen to more sermons or buy another worship album. Then I thought or maybe I should just read the Bible.... but reading a book on God sounds much less threatening than reading the Bible, listening to a sermon about God is much less threatening than listening for the voice of God, and singing a praise song is much less threatening than saying personal praises to God.

So while I read the OT and think... "Those silly Israelites! God chases them and forgives them and loves them... and they still don't get it!", I realize if they had such a hard time of it, why would it be any different for me?

Sunday, March 28, 2010


On Friday, George talked about Saul's conversion. He referred to Acts 9:16 where Jesus says to Anannias referring to Saul, "I will show him how much he will suffer for my name.". The question was given, "Why is suffering a part of the Christian walk?". I thought... Good question because I don't want to suffer. George said God asks us to suffer to show him how much we love him: "Love is measured by how much it is willing to give up."

Turns out, I don't have a whole lot of love for God. I seek earthly comforts every day. From a warm blanket when I'm chilled, a cookie when I wake up, a nap when I'm tired, a movie when I'm bored, a phone call to a friend when I'm lonely, etc, etc.

I'm reading "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas A Kempis and his words about suffering shot arrows...

"If thou dest set thyself to that which thou ought to do, namely, to suffering and to death, it will quickly be better with thee, and thou shall find peace"

"This is not the power of man, but it is the grace of Christ, which can and doth so much in weak flesh; so that what naturally it always hates and flees from, that by fervor of spirit, it encounters and loves."

"Christ's whole life was a cross and martyrdom; and dost thou seek rest and joy for thyself? Thou art deceived, thou art deceived, if thou seek any other thing than to suffer tribulations; for this whole mortal life is full of miseries, and signed on every side with crosses."

I have not yet come to terms with the idea of suffering. I don't want to suffer. So what do I do when I come to the place where I realize how little I love God and how unwilling I am to make changes (deny myself creature comforts, submit myself to suffering) in order to love him more? Am I the lukewarm people he speaks of in Revelation? I'm leaning toward yes. May God have mercy on my soul.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

You won't have time to read all of this...

Because I'm going to write all the notes down that I took this week at Impact 195. It's my way of processing it. Maybe it won't make sense, maybe it will. My tendency in life is to sit back and be lazy. I let other people do the work, or the program do the work, or the process do the work instead of buckling down and doing the work with the people, program or process. It's a bad habit I've gotten into and will take time to break. Also, I'm learning the leaders names... so I'm just going to put their names above the notes I took off of them when I took notes. These aren't my thoughts... i think if I have some I'll put them in (parenthesis). Here goes...

Matthew 13:24-30 (The parable where someone sows weeds in with the wheat)

the weeds that were sown were called darnelle (I dont' know how to spell it... thats how it sounded when he said it:)) and as baby plants they look identical to the wheat. You can only tell the difference right about harvest time. In life, it's the same... there are weeds or enemies growing around the wheat or us and sometimes it's hard to tell what is weeds and what is wheat.
In the parable, the farmer (God) wasn't surprised when the workers told him that weeds had been planted. He was calm and collected. God knows we have enemies and he's not surprised by them.
Some of our enemies are:
-living according to the world
-Satan-he tries to get us to believe lies
-lusts of our flesh
But we have to remember that Satan is a defeated foe. He has nothing over us. We're in Christ and Christ has already won; therefore we have already won.

(He had us do an activity where we planted seeds for the person next to us. Then we gave away our plant and it is to be a reminder to us for the next 9 months that we HAVE to water and sun the plant just the same that we need to water and sun our relationship with God and we should grow at at least the same rate as the plant)

Don't be surprised if we aren't that excited when you start reading God's word daily or praying regularly or fasting, etc. Those are basic practices. Small steps are great, but if you've been a Christian for a long time, then you should be doing those things already. (He demonstrated by riding a bike around the room asking us what we would think if he (at 39) was excited and expected us to be super excited about him just learning how to ride a bike. We would be excited, but also confused... why didn't he learn that earlier?)

George: Lesson 1 on our Irrevocable Calling
Jeremiah- means raised up by God
he had 40 years of ministry and they were the last 40 years before Israel was taken captive by Babylon. What if we are the final generation before the world or our country is taken captive?

Ps. 119: 109 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
To know God is to know his word. We need to have hundreds of verses memorized. (I've got a LONG way to go....) God has made the vast majority of our calling clear in his word. God's word is faithful. We need to know God's word.

Over analysis produces paralysis... we often over analyze our calling when it is before our eyes. ( I like this little saying... I have totally over analyzed to the point where I can do NOTHING)

Our calling is:
I'm called to know God's word.
I am formed for a purpose
He calls me to the purpose he fashioned me for.

Is my job my vocation--latin word means "to call" ---- or my occupation ---latin word "to occupy or take up space"---The devil wants to occupy my life.

We are called to know God and be in a relationship with him.

We should know God in the bulk of our day--not just in the fringes of the early mornings or just before bed readings. (So true! Sometimes I get to the end of my day and God has not even crossed my mind)

If you don't know God, you won't know your calling.
If you are fearful of the next step, then you don't know God.

Jeremiah 1:5 I set you apart.

you've been called to be set apart. We have to decide to be set apart. God wants us to decide. He wants us to be decision makers. We want God to make the decisions in our lives b/c we are more concerned about success than obedience. (Yikes--this was new to me... I am completely more concerned about success and whats more is I want someone else to blame if it goes sour! God, it's your fault this relationship went bad... I prayed and told you to show me if it wasn't going to work.)

(Then he applied the whole decision thing to marriage....) Marriage isn't about who you choose to marry but how you choose to live with the person you marry. We want God to tell us who to marry... again b/c we are more concerned with success than obedience. (hmmmm.... relationships continue to be such a tricky thing to me...)

God wants us to make decisions out of the hope that he is a good father. We should be enthusiastic about decision making--we're inspired by the things of God.

Deciding is an act of love for God.

Did I choose my job out of love for God and b/c it matches what God's word says?

Nobody liked their calling including the Son of God. (What!?! I might not LIKE what I'm called to!?!?!)

It isn't enough to do work that expresses my talents and provides for my needs----Gifts should expand his kingdom, not my career.

He bought a something that he was really excited about and got the box home and noticed it said, "Some assembly required". Dang. He just wanted to enjoy it. We're the same... we come with "some assembly required". We need to work at our relationships with God and other people. It doesn't just happen.

Scott. (About the blind man and Jesus in Mark 8:22-26)

The blindman lived in Bethsaida (meaning the house of hunting)
If he lived in a hunting town and was blind, he would have been completely dependent on those around us.

We walk around dependent on other people for our quality of life. We're also dependent on others spiritually--how they react to us, what they say to study or read.

If we are looking for people or circumstances to make us happy, we will always be blind.

We have to have a heart commitment not to look to people or circumstances.

So Jesus takes the blind man out of the town and everything he's ever known. He's out of his comfort zone. Jesus LEADS him out which requires Jesus to take him by the hand and the man has to follow. He NEEDED Jesus.

We all need to be led. We can't do it on our own. If we could, Jesus wouldn't have had to die.

Trying harder doesn't work--exhibit A: The OLD TESTAMENT!

You can only to tomorrow what you are becoming today.

Jesus SPITS in the blindman eyes. Don't miss the offensiveness of this act. It's not fun to be spit on. It's degrading, demeaning and no fun.

If God chooses to spit in my face, God is doing me a favor.

Mingo on Mt 5:13 We are the salt of the earth

-Salt was used as a healing agent.
-Salt was used to make correct paths clear--as seasons passed, they get unclear... so the salt clarifies where the path is.
-It preserves what is good

George on Isaiah's Irrevocable Call Lesson 2

Traffic makes a path hard. Sometimes our lives and hearts have so much traffic that they get hard. Pray that God would soften our hearts.

Isaiah saw God. We NEED to see God.

We're not limited by our abilities but by our vision.

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Mt 5:8

Seeing God for who he is is the game changer.

(He asked us to take one minute to write down 25 attributes of God. Try it.)

(This is what I came up with: just, kind, good, loving, righteous, can't think of anything.... always present, ever knowing, perfect, unchanging, can't think of anything...... keeper of promises, always right, unchanging, there's still 45 seconds left.....)

How full is your mind of God? (obviously not very for me at least)

We need to have a fresh vision of God.

Isaiah sees God on the throne right after King Uzziah died. He sees the TRUE king.

Who is my true King? Who's directing the course of my life?

We need to see God as Sovereign. That means God is free to do whatever he wills. When God says do something, we say yes.

The Great Commission. It's NOT an option.

Is God here to enrich my life or am I here to give my life to him?

Most people want to serve God, but only in an ADVISORY role. In my prayer life, do I tell God what to do? Do I direct God instead of getting direction from him?

A boss gives us direction. God gives us direction. What if we went to our bosses the way we go to God and told them what we wanted done? (YIKES... that would NEVER fly!)

God is sovereign. We are not.

What if I saw God as Sovereign? How would that change today? Do I have plans for today? Did they come from God?

Isaiah saw God high and lifted up. He saw God as MAJESTIC. Am I in awe of God? When I think of God, does my breath catch?

I absolutely HAVE to know god.

Is God too small? What if the obstacles are not that great, but our understanding of God is too small?

The Sun is 180 earths lined up in circumference. How does our little palm block the sun when we hold it up? It's b/c our hand is much closer than the sun. Maybe our problems are closer to us than the Son. If the Son was closest to us, he would block our problems.

God is infinitely greater than every good thought of him. God could create a new universe every day and it would not even touch his creative capacity. Maybe God made an infinite amount of space out there just to prove how great he is.

You can tell the size of your God by the size of your worry list.

Gary on our Irrevocable Call

All we have is today. We've been promised an equal amount of time.

Be faithful with what you have today. Make the most of every moment of your day.

George Lesson 3 on Irrevocable Call... Ezekiel 8:1-8.

God's hand fell upon him and took a hold of Ezekiel, lifted him up and took him to Jerusalem. (By the hair on his head mind you)

What would it feel like for God's hand to fall upon me? A calling always begins with a revelation of who God is.

All the self help books are about discovering yourself. In the Bible, people discovered themselves when they discovered who God is.

God grabbed him by his hair. What grips my life? pride, materialism, ambition, worry, desire for comfort, pleasure, worry, intellect?

When God grips you, you will be elevated above the mundane. Up out of the normal.
Do I still have normal ambitions and ideas?

The world wants us to be "well-rounded". In Scripture this means dull. If we are a dull sword, then we have no point. Does my life have a point to it?

Then God brings him to Jerusalem and shows him visions

What do I envision for my life?
I need a vision of God who is the author of my life.

Not Vain Imagination--The vision we have is the map we will follow. A vision of where life could go will take me on a journey of selfishness.

A vision of God will take me on a journey of worship.

The vision God gives Ezekiel shows him the Image of Jealousy at the GATE OF THE HOUSE OF GOD!!!

God wants us to understand and see that he is a jealous God. He is zealous for his relationship with us. An EXCLUSIVE relationship with us.

The image of Jealousy represents ANYTHING that takes prominence in my life and competes for my attention. What are the idols in my life today that provoke God to jealousy?

In verse 8, God tells Ezekiel to dig into the wall to discover more visions. He digs and sees detestable images of creatures that are worshiped.

Sometimes we have to dig into our hearts to discover the images/idols that are there. Is it flippancy, rebellion, greediness, lustfulness? What is on the inner chambers of my heart?

(I told you... Good job reading it all... my heart and mind is full. Maybe your heart was tweaked by some of this... mine was most assuredly. I don't know what else to say except that I am tired and need a nap now.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dealing with Fear

Fear has been my biggest mountain this weekend. As I come up to the first week of Impact 195, I am filled with fear and apprehension. I am a different person without sleep. I'm starting down a journey that will demand more hours of wakefulness and a very limited amount for sleep. For example, I am working right now. I work 7Pm to 7am, will (hopefully) take an hour nap in my car and get up for classes from 9a-1pm, go home to sleep until 1730 (hopefully) and then back at work tomorrow at 7pm. I've never been one to go without sleep. Sleep deprivation has never been a trophy that I have pursued and am not impressed with those who hold it up as some great achievement. I know that God created us to need sleep-it's a physiologic necessity and many studies have proved it. In fact, one of my favorite posts of Keith Drury ( a professor at IWU ) is about sleep... here's the link:

Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is sleep. And so I am entering a period of voluntary sleeplessness... and I am afraid of it. Afraid of how I will treat my roommates, my patients, my coworkers, my new friends in this class. Afraid of my health, my attitude, my mental well being...

And then I remember that fear is not of God and "Perfect love casts out all fear". But I have it. So what do I do with it? How do I rectify it? How do I get rid of it? How do I get "perfect love" so that I can get rid of this fear?

I was talking to my sister today before work and she said "Isn't it sort of cool... uncomfortable, but cool that you are completely out of control in this? You have to just trust God and there's not a whole lot more that you can do."

I am definitely not at the point where I can think of it as cool...and trusting is not my strong point, but Katie say's she'll pray... so may God have mercy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bedtime @ 2am...

I'm transitioning to nights because thats what we do in the Navy... we go 2-4 months on days then switch to nights. So I've been on days since January and it has been beautiful. I remember one of my fellow nurses said, "Kenealy, you've been exceptionally happy the past few times I've seen you... oh yeah, you're on day shift now." And that explains what happens to me when I go to night shift. I am not a vampire nor a bat... I like the day time best. In fact, early morning is the best. It's quiet... feels like stolen time where people don't get in the way:)

But for the next 9 months I am going to do night shift b/c I'm also doing an internship at my church that goes M-F 9am-1pm. So somedays I will work 7p-7a (hopefully sleep for an hour) and then go to the internship from 9-1. Insanity, I am sure. As I discussed this insane option with the leader he said, "You're young and resilient. It will give you practice for when you have kids... I haven't slept in four years since I had kids. Sometimes we have to put ourselves in positions where it is absolutely impossible without the strength of God." (Side note... If kids =not sleeping for 18 years... you might have to count me out:/ How is that possible!?!) And so I walked away with a stronger desire to do this program.

What is the program? I don't know for sure. It's called IMPACT 195. I do know that we DIG into the word... we dig into each other and we dig into our community. All three parts fill me with excitement and anxiety. My goal for it is to Know God Better. I want to Know him, Love him and Obey him... and then sometimes the stinker in me says, "No you don't! knowing, loving and obeying God= doing crazy, scary, insane, weird things... DON'T do it!!!!" Well like I said, it's the stinker in me that says that.

The 195 stands for the # of countries in our world... we want to impact each one.