Friday, September 14, 2018

Proper Perspective

Let me preface this blog by saying, anythingwe do for God, anywhere, is wonderful. I do not want you to think I am against short term mission trips…nothing could be further from the truth. But, too often, I have seen churches give a spiritual elevation for people who go on mission trips. We hold them in honor as we post pictures and pray extra hard for them while they are away. (we should pray for them!) But it is almost like stating, “These are the most spiritual in our church, because they go away to serve!”  

Before you attack me, I have been on lots of short-term mission trips and they have been life-changing events in my life; events I never want to forget. But I also noticed in myself a desire to let people know I went, and I have to admit, I felt a little superior when I told them. I wanted (not consciously) for people to think better of me because I had sacrificed my time to share the Gospel. (Just being real, here!)

Why am I writing this?  Because it became evident to me (while listening to a group share their mission trip experience) that we will do things for those across the ocean we would never do for those in our own neighborhoods. I suddenly became aware that those close by are also in desperate need of the Gospel.  Examples: Seldom if ever, do we give people who reach out to rebellious teens, time to share…maybe because we are too busy keeping “those” kind of kids away from our church so we won’t have to deal with them. (ouch) There isn’t an “elevating to honor” those who work with addicts…maybe because the addicts might want to come to our church and that would give us a bad name. Do you get my point? It is much easier to deal with those kinds of issues far away from home…safely away from our comfort zone. 

But God clearly asked me that night: 

If you can go and do…why can’t you stay and do?

There was a reason Jesus first mentioned “Jerusalem” in Acts 1:8. Have we looked at our “Jerusalem” lately? The fields are white…ready to harvest…but the laborers are few. There are kids who need mentors…someone who will truly listen and care. There are people caught in all kind of issues who need to know there is an escape from their bondage. There are ministries all over Mississippi (my state) and wherever you might live; some even in your town. Perhaps you can go on a short-term mission trip to your very own neighborhood…or even your very own neighbor.  I guarantee, just like going over-seas, your life will be changed forever…plus you can sleep in your own bed! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Gossip by Any Other Name…

Today, I became sickeningly disheartened by what is happening within the church. Believers are running to social media by the droves to add their comments about someone within the ranks of Christian leadership, who has fallen into some moral failure or innuendo. It reminds me of junior high/ high school…”did you hear about Sally?  No, what? Well…”and the whispers begin.  Before long whatever was said about Sally in that first conversation has been enhanced, added too, and embellished until it is so tantalizing we can’t help but share. It is better than Blue Bell ice cream. In the meantime, Sally is devastated because about 95% of what is being shared is untrue and no matter how much she protests, by this time, people believe what they want to.  Social media gossip is a sick type of voyeurism. We live vicariously through it. It seems we can’t help but click on every morsel of someone else’s failure. What was once their story, becomes a part of us…now, WE would never do such a thing, but we do want to experience every single detail of what that person did. We wear our Pharisaical robes and prance around in judgement while lives are forever changed.  

While we might think this only happens in secular society, I am talking about church people. The enemy has been on a rampage with leaders and recently many among us have fallen.  The true is, WE placed them on a pedestal that was too narrow and too high for them to ever remain and when they fall we point and say, “See, I told you!”  

Some of the failures are true, but there are also those who are innocently accused who have borne the same fate. We read massive reposting’s of what others have said about a person or a situation and often repost without researching the facts.

One example of an innocent person being maligned is about a popular woman Bible teacher. She had been seen talking to another woman leader whom a particular group considered a heretic.  Immediately, this Bible teacher was called a false prophet, heretic and was said to be leading women down a dark path.  They never sought the reason why this conversation took place and worse yet, they had never read nor listened to any of this teacher's teachings at all. They formed their opinions and condemned her.  Christians, men and women, all over social media joined the throngs of those who were condemning. Let’s throw her out!  When the facts were discovered to be different, it was too late, and the damage was done. Gossip.

Sometimes the rumors are true but we don’t know all the facts. Even if it is true that still doesn’t give us license to condemn.  Last year a popular football coach was fired because it was discovered he was engaging in some immoral practices. This coach had stood in pulpits stating his love for Christ. Because of his Christian stand, the enemy place a target on his head and he fell. The church responded that there should be no mercy for him.  Fact: Before this became public, he had already confessed this to his wife, who had forgiven him. Their lives were in process of being healed from his failure but when it hit the presses, his family was put in the limelight and all of them, including the innocent were destroyed.  Many in the church sat back, smug, with arms crossed, stating he got what he deserved. 

I could list more even more recent incidents but that is not the point of this message. The point is the church is engaging in massive gossip. Believers this is not to be. I am NOT condoning the moral failures of leaders. There is a higher standard for leaders, but It is up to God to take care of them.  Jesus did that with the woman caught in adultery when the robed spiritual leaders wanted her stoned to death. He simply said, “Those without sin, cast the first stone.” (John 8:2-11)

We seem to want to focus on others, don’t we? It is so much easier than focusing on ourselves.
Let me ask you: What if you were held accountable for everything that has come out of your mouth the last 20 years? What if every place you have ever gone or the things you did for the last 20 years were blasted on social media? What if your own moral failings, which God had already forgiven, were sent out on Facebook?  How would it feel?  Yes, I believe that our church leaders should be held accountable BUT what I see  happening can only be defined as downright gossip. Shame on us. We have not prayed for our leaders instead we are exceedingly glad when they fall because it takes the focus off our own failings. Perhaps we never liked them, so we relish in his/her demise. I literally became sick to my stomach last night as I heard conversations that continue to tear down other brothers and sisters in the faith. 

Folks, we are not responsible for what will happen to those who have fallen and therefore should not become judge and jury.  But we ARE responsible for what WE do in the Body of Christ.  Paul stated it like this:

Colossians 3:8-17

 But now, put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator. 11 In Christ there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. 14 Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Let's begin to focus on the log in our own eye.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sticks and Stones...The Sin of Being Offended

When I was growing up, several times a day our class in school would have recess. We would line up and go to the playground and then run like the wind to participate in all kind of activities. Lots of lessons were learned there. My favorite was when I was defending my championship status on the tether ball court. I was not that athletic, I was just taller than all the other kids in my grade so tether ball was my game. In tether ball, there is a distinct winner and a distinct loser in each game. That was the fun of the game…the challenge. We knew that at the start so when I or my opponent lost, we would say something like, “Well, you just wait until tomorrow,” and then go happily back into class. No one got their feelings hurt because they lost…it was just the way it was. My first lesson was that in life there will be those who win and those who lose but we continue to try. Another lesson was: be careful how you get off the teeter-totter! That was the good part of the playground.
But there was also another lesson:  Not everyone on the playground likes me or wants to play with me. I had my share of people who would say unkind things about me. Things like, “How is the weather up there?” Or kids whispering behind my back, “There goes horse face, Mr. Ed!”. Did it hurt? A little, yes but when I got home and told my parents, my mom would generally say, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me!”
We know that this is not true for words do hurt us. Deep wounds from abusive people fester in a person’s life because of the negativity constantly spoken. I understand that as I had to struggle through many things said to me from my own mother. Words hurt but there is a different air today. The world has become overly sensitive. The word “offensive” is rampant and I find that we are afraid to say anything for fear of being offensive to someone.
I want to make a distinction in what I am going to be talking about. There is a big difference between verbal abuse and being offended. Abuse is treating a person with cruelty or violence regularly or repeatedly or treat in such a way as to cause damage or harm. Abuse is the constant belittling of someone until they believe what the other person says.  I will not be dealing with that nor do I want you to think it is the same thing.
On the other hand, being offended is getting our feelings hurt because someone doesn’t agree with everything we have said or believe. I do not want you to I think I think it is fine for people to intentionally hurt people with their words. I do not, but I do think we are hyper-sensitive in today’s world and I find that to be one of the tactics the enemy is using to divide us…especially in the church.
Matthew 24:10 says:

  • KJVIn the last days... then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
  • CSB Then many will fall away, betray one another, and hate one another.
  • HCSB Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another
  • ASVAnd then shall many stumble, and shall deliver up one another, and shall hate one another.

Luke 17:1 “He said to his disciples, “offenses will certainly come but woe to the one through whom they come!”

Wow, I hope you see that in the last days, offenses will come and many will: stumble, fall away.  In this verse, the word “offenses” is the word skandalon means according to Vines Expository Dictionary, “Laying a trap in someone’s way!”
Add that definition to Matthew 24’s word for falling away or being offended, the trap is being set by our enemy to cause us to stumble and no longer be the face of Jesus to the world. 
What Jesus is saying in these two verses to His disciples simply put is, "If you take the enemy’s bait and become offended by what is being told to you, you will betray one another and hate one another."
There are two lessons we can learn from this. First, in the world are people want to live the way they want to live and if the Word of God is spoken to the contrary, the person reacts by feeling offended. They then call the person who spoke the words a bigot, or other such name.  Hate grows between the two and eventually there is a falling away from the truth. Congregations are divided because instead of speaking truth from the word of God, we live in fear of hurting someone’s feelings. We then begin to accept anything that in our minds is good. That is the trap! Jesus said he "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matt. 10:34 The sword is the Word of God which will offend many.
Because God’s Word is offensive to our own sense of right and wrong, many churches are falling away and stumbling and hatred is spewing from our mouths. This is the problem with taking the bait the enemy puts before us. If we know the truth and stand by the truth, we are not offended by the truth but are comforted by it. satan seems to be winning the war of truth in our world by using the bait of offense.  We cannot allow this to keep going.  It is time for us as a people of God to stand strong on the truth, no matter if it hurts someone’s feelings.

Secondly, while that is the bait of denying truth, the principle of this “bait of offense” can also be applied to “getting our feelings hurt.” Does this sound familiar?  Years ago, someone said something to someone and that someone told someone else and that someone else told someone else and before we knew it, we were all up in arms taking sides and those sides are still in effect but no one remembers why. It is worse than the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. It is bait on a trap and when we take the bait, it soon consumes us; we get our feelings hurt and somebody must pay. And pay we have. Long time relationships are destroyed because of this. Sometimes whole congregations are affected.
This is a very dangerous bait. Think about the 4 stomachs of a cow!  When a cow takes some grass or grain into their mouth, they chew on it for a while.  Then they swallow it.  Later on, they bring it back up and chew on it some more and swallow it.  Bring it up two more times and by then every nutrient in that food has completely been assimilated into the body of the cow. It is the same way with the bait of satan. He puts the bait of offense on a trap on the very places we are walking. If we don’t watch it, we will be fall and stumble. We begin to chew on it for a while, then swallow it…only to bring it up again and again until that offense has consumed every part of our life.

Now, I am going to meddle.  When was the last time you got your feelings hurt by someone? How did you react to it? When you see or think about that person do you still have unforgiveness in your heart? Has unforgiveness turns in to anger and that anger turns to bitterness? You see the trap?  The enemy knows exactly how to work us up into a frenzy. Unless we do something to intentionally keep ourselves from stumbling, we will find ourselves falling away and hating others.

So, let’s take a little test to see if you have fallen:

  • The Spiritual Pride of denial. We deny that we have been hurt, so instead of dealing with it, we repress it. We pretend everything is alright because we don’t want people to think badly of us. The problem is, we are not very good actors and it comes out in many different ways…passive aggressive ways of hurting that other person.  A public shunning of that person.  Discomfort when we have to be with that person. So, how’s that working for you? There is a constant walking on eggshells around you.  People begin to avoid you because you are about to blow at any moment!
  • The Victim scenario. You feel justified for feeling the way you do. People tell you, “You have a right to be angry!” and you believe them. You become a victim and desire to have people surround you and agree with you…you begin to gather troops together to attack the other person. You begin to share how unfair things are with everyone around. You often destroy someone’s reputation because of your anger toward that person.
  • Internalizing. When you think of certain people you become angry and bitter. The offense is never far from your mind. It is as if the offense just happened even if it has been several years ago.
  • Social avoidance. You have stopped doing things or going places you love because that “someone” might be there.
  • I can’t help it. You use the excuse that “you are only human” to not deal with your situation.
  • Taking sides syndrome. You cannot be friends with someone because they are friends with the person who hurt you.
  • Final falling away. You cannot seem to have a consistently positive relationship with God. Reading the Bible is a chore… You then become offended with the Word of God because of things like: “forgive your brother” Love your enemy.  You argue with God that He just doesn’t understand what that person did to you. That is the final falling away…the disobedience of doing what God says to do.

Jesus knew this was going to happen and so He warned us in the scriptures to avoid it. The solution is to forgive! Do not hold anything against another.  This very thing of offense is causing us to stumble and it is destroying the very body of Christ. The world takes offense at everything but we in the church ought to be different.  Listen to what James says:

James 4:1-7 
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.  Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us ?  But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”
 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. [Quit taking the bait!]

So, what can we do if we find we are taking the bait of satan?

  • Stand always for the truth of God uncompromisingly.  Don’t allow it to offend you because it offends those who don’t believe it. Speak truth in love.
  • When someone says something to hurt your feelings, talk to them about it right away. This is uncomfortable but pray first and then go to the other person. There have been times when I simply misunderstood what the other person meant or that person was not aware that it would hurt you.  Do not let it fester. Nip it nip it nip it!
  • Don’t take yourself so seriously!  Don’t be so sensitive. We need to have a sense of humor about ourselves and we need to thicken our skins.  If you find that you are constantly having your feelings hurt by others, perhaps “the others” are not the problem.  Learn to laugh at yourself. I have a one week rule…if what is happening to me right now won’t really matter in a week, I let it go. Too often we focus on things that really do not matter in the long run and often that destroys relationships.
  • Realize some people are just mean.  You have heard that “hurt people hurt people.”  Instead of being all angry, begin to pray for that person to have peace in their own hearts. Do not take to heart what they say.
  • Realize that sometimes we are wrong and we need to be offended because we are not doing what God commands. The truth hurts!
  • Realize that God esteems you and that nothing anyone else says about you usurps His thoughts toward you. Keep your relationship with Him utmost. Remember that people not only lied about Him, they also spoke unkindly to Him, and then eventually killed Him, he never held it against them. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Luke 23:34
  • Forgive, forgive, forgive. This is hard, I know but it is a command from the very mouth of Jesus. Remember that forgiving doesn’t mean that what the person said was ok…it means you are going to trust God with the situation.  It really doesn’t do us any good to focus on the offense and destroy ourselves in the meantime.

I have had to intentionally ask God to help me in this regard. There was a time in my life when I found myself in a personal pity party just about every week. It was a very dark time and I realized one day that I was focusing only on me…I had taken the bait, hook line and sinker and the only person that was hurting was me. I began to ask God to help me in this and slowly I gained the victory. I am my heavenly Father’s precious child and no one can ever change that. 

Do I still get my feelings hurt?  Sure, but I have learned that the bait is poison and is not worth the time. With God’s help, I am able to live life nearly free from being offended. You, also, must be aware of this trap and avoid it at all cost. We are to be the light of Jesus in a very dark world. This world is imploding because of being offended at every turn.  They need to be shown how to live life free.  Today, do not look at the world and judge until you have taken the offenses out of your own heart and realized that sticks and stones will break you bones, but with Christ’s help, words will never hurt you.

Friday, February 16, 2018

10 Thoughts about Parkland, Florida

The shooting in Parkland, Florida has caused debates from gun control, to drug control, to having armed guards at every door of our schools. It is crazy.  Then there is the obligatory comment, “Where was God in all of this? Didn’t He care?”  This happens every time there is a tragedy but by next week we will be happily on our way not remembering our questions or the violent discussions between people of different opinions.

While things are still fresh on our minds, may I offer my 2 cents…it won’t buy anything other than a thought or two to consider.

1.     God, Yahweh, is deeply distressed over this incident.  It has hurt the very people He created and came to save.  He is grieved because of the tears of mothers and fathers, wives and children.  Throughout the Bible His character reveals that this is not what He wanted for the very people he formed with His own hands and breathed His very breath. His plan was perfect.  His plan was freedom.  This was not His plan.

2.     God gave instructions to His people as to how to live. Through Abraham, He formed a people to be loved and protected.  He used Moses to free them from tyranny and since they did not know how to live in freedom, He gave His law along with the instructions: Follow these and all will go well! (Grace paraphrase) These same instructions were told to Joshua, and to the prophets and the leaders of God’s people.  “If you follow my commandments, things will go well for you.”  Was God merely a bossy guy who wanted His own way?  Absolutely, not.  He is All-Knowing, All-seeing and All-powerful.  He knew the dangers of living in a fallen world and gave us boundaries to keep us safe.

3.     Just as Adam and Eve wanted to go beyond God’s boundaries, we have done the same thing.  We also fall for the question: “Did God really say?” at every turn.

4.     You might be saying, “Yeah, but that is the Old Testament, and we live in the New Testament.  It doesn’t apply to us?  Doesn’t it?  Jesus clearly stated that He fulfilled the law and the prophets.  He further said, “If you love me keep my commandments.” John 14:23   Our nation, and many other nations, have turned completely away from the commands God gave to us as boundary lines.  Every reminder that was posted throughout our country of the 10 Commandments has been taken down in our public arena. We call it separation of church and state but really it is a separation of God and His protection.

5.     The New Testament church was the first to see the deadly results of secular thought. Any mention of God and His laws was met with death.  Today, the ruler of the world, satan, has so clouded our nation’s vision, we are wandering around in chaos and darkness.  It seems darkness has won.

6.     It is time the church quit saying, “for God and Country.” We have made them equal…or perhaps even have lifted country higher. We hear more about political views than we do biblical views.  We become passionate about a candidate but yawn at the mention of an Almighty God. A look at our nation, would indicate that God has turned its eyes from it. It is time the church quit taking political sides and stood on the side of the one who is Faithful and True.

7.     It is time for the church to stand more firmly than ever before…and I am not talking about boycotting and reacting to the abuse we are given. The early church were people who stood for the truth of God even when they were faced with beheadings and other gruesome deaths. It is time we begin to lift Christ high no matter the consequences and get off the bandwagons of secular remedies to our problems. It is time for the church to begin to believe that God is all powerful again. Do we trust Him?

8.     Perhaps we, the church, are to blame in this situation because somewhere along the way the church stopped being the light…we hid our light under a basket and instead focused on our own preferences of worship, buildings, and programs. Perhaps instead of being salt, we preferred to not offend and let our witness become paving materials for the world to run over.  Perhaps…

9.     The church needs to quit thinking comfort equals being aligned with God. Jesus warned His disciples: “The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy; I have come that they have life and life abundant.” John 10:10. This thief is on attack and Christians are not immune. The life He was talking about is eternal life…life the way God meant it to be when He created us.  After explaining all that was going to happen to Him, Jesus spoke these words to His disciples:  John 14: 33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

10.  This situation in Parkland Florida, has grieved the heart of our Father but  He gives a pathway to peace.  That way is IN JESUS.  Not in church buildings or programs. When did we quit telling people that?  When did we quit telling our youth in our churches that the only way to peace is through Jesus not through social media or self-esteem?  When did we quit telling the world about this peace when our IRAs and Social Security fails us?  When did we quit believing that peace comes from Him?  These are questions we must answer because of all people on the world, those of us who know Him personally and relationally, have let those kids at Parkland down. We know what we should do…we have a small window of opportunity. Will we do it?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I Just Needed a Hug

In 1998, things were different.  Computers were just introducing “Windows” while most of us still used DOS with printer paper on a roll. Email was a “new” way of communicating.  The cell phone was called bag phones because they were in a bag, (duh!) were heavy and to make a call on them required a P.H.D.  Social media was the vision of the “My Space” inventors. The world-wide web was still a mystery and .com was not even a thing yet. Yes, in 1998, things were different.

Things were different relationally, as well. In February of that year, my daughter, a freshman in college, had a wreck. We lived in another state and got a phone call pleading for us to come as soon as we could.  Little did we know our daughter was coding in the ER as the nurse was making that call to us.  (We discovered later, our daughter had no heart beat for about 4 minutes but was revived.)  We caught the first plane out but it was still several hours before we arrived at the hospital.  When we arrived, she was in the Critical Care unit but was awake. Her multiple injuries included several fractures in her pelvis, a punctured bladder and a broken back.  We were hit by the realization that this had been a serious accident and we praised God we still had our daughter. While we were happy she was with us, the next steps were not clear.  After taking care of getting articles from her car and getting the insurance paper work taken care of, my husband and son flew back to Florida while I rented a car and stayed for the six-week stent in the hospital. It was my daughter and me in a world where we knew no one.  Yet, God provided His peace and comfort which I will always be grateful for.  

In 1998, there was no Facebook or Twitter or even a laptop to communicate with the world outside of her hospital room…only a telephone. Looking back, that was a blessing for I was able to speak, not text, to many people back home. It was a conduit to something familiar and comforting. One friend in Florida asked what I needed and I answered, “I would love a hug from you.”  We both knew that was not likely to happen but it was a deep cry from my heart.  I needed to have a friend-a human’s touch- to let me know it was going to be ok.  I knew I had God but I also needed human touch.  (That is the way God made us, you know?)  I had family and a couple of friends who lived just 90 minutes away and they came.  That was good. The hospital staff was great. I was blessed. And God’s peace prevailed.  

The 3rd day in CCU, I was dozing in one of those wonderful pull out, vinyl chairs, and heard a knock on the door.  I sleepily called out, “come in” and looked up to see my Florida friend standing in the doorway saying, “I came to give you that hug!”  There are no words to explain how my heart soared.  I knew that no one would drive over 15 hours to give me a hug unless they truly cared and  I desperately needed to know that. She stayed for a couple of days ministering to me, giving biblical wisdom and comfort while also sharing her life with my daughter; letting her know how much God had in store for her. Eventually Hannah had to leave but God wasn’t finished with other hugs He had in store for us.  A youth group from a neighboring church came to visit my daughter bringing movies and fellowship.  They came back several times each week during our stay.  Another church in the town sent their women’s ministry leader to visit me.  For some mini-respites, she took me to the mall and came back several times to take me to lunch.  We were in the hospital for 6 weeks but never had a day that someone wasn’t with us. Hugs were abundant. Yes, things in 1998 were different.  

Facebook has ruined this kind of ministry in many ways.  Today, when tragedy happens, it spreads quickly online, and there are “likes,” and “promises of prayers” almost immediately.  But have we just taken an easy road? Although the promises of prayers are good, do we really pray?  Do we click on the “teary face” in the comment section and believe that is will bring comfort to the hurting person? Remembering February 1998, let me know just how far we have gotten from truly showing our care to people who are hurting. God in a loving way, brought conviction down hard on me about my lack of giving "hugs".  

My granddaughter recently had a swimming pool accident where she broke her neck and her back.  She was blessed to not have paralysis and after looking at the scans, the doctors indicated that she was one very “lucky” girl.  (we prefer blessed!)  News spread on Facebook and there were hundreds of “likes,” and “promises of prayers."  These were all greatly appreciated and this is not to point a finger of judgement but there was no “hug”. There were only two voice calls.  Facebook clicks and texts had been made and life went on.

Some might say that it is the world we live in today.  But is it the world we WANT to live in?  Sadly, I fear, social media has taken away the human parts of ministry.  People are lonely.  People are hurting and we have reduced our sympathy to a click.

God convicted that I am among the worst of all.  He reminded me when I needed a hug from a human, there was one who listened to His call and drove 15 hours to give me one. Ministry takes intentionally.  It takes sacrifice.  It takes selflessness to be that kind of person but that is what God has called us, the church, to be: intentional, sacrificial, and selfless.  Perhaps if I (we) quit living in cyber world, we would be able to look deeply into people’s eyes and see the hurt and confusion.  Perhaps we would recognize there are those that need to know we care in a physical, tangible way. Perhaps if we began to do things like they did in 1998, the world would believe the church really does care.  

Today, I am praying for God to show me how to be more than a person who just “clicks” my feelings. I want God to make me into a person who will go out of her way to give a real live hug to a person who just needs to know someone cares.  How about you?