Heather’s soapbox: I have been reading Mark Buchanan’s book, Your God is Too Safe. A few quotes hit home and I wanted to share them with you. The first has to be the source of so much of the denominationalism. I am constantly amazed by the bitter fighting that occurs because of what each denomination feels is the truth. I suspect that all denominations have much truth, and a few inaccuracies. We are being refined and as we allow God to work in our lives we will line up more and more with truth. What I have noticed among Christians is the desire to take pot shots at denominations that have missed the mark, dig in the trenches and not dialogue. It is true, we don’t want lies about Christ spread, but at the same time the real battle is not about an erroneous thought, the real battle is satan and I suspect that as he wanders to and fro on this earth he is getting a good chuckle that Christians are doing his work for him. While we are to espouse the truth, it must be done in love. If it is done from a point of self-righteousness no communication can occur and only bitterness will grow.
Here is the Buchanan quote that sparked my soapbox.
P. 111 “Whole theologies hinge on the smallest words. John Stott says that the heart of theological language is in the prepositions – in, of, with, to. As. Split that word open and out spills an entire philosophy and strategy of missions and ethics. Where do we get our power? To whom we are to go? What should we say? How then shall we live? As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you….”
Earlier in the chapter Buchanan was asking teens to define Christianity and their response was telling. p. 110 “A Christian is someone who doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink or do drugs, doesn’t have sex until marriage, doesn’t use bad language. Of course. I am not suggesting that a Christian does these things. But it’s tragic that we instinctively define Christians by what they are not, by what they avoid. It’s like being asked to draw a picture of someone and instead of drawing everything around the person and leaving the portrait blank.”
And on the same page: “We are known by our fruits, not by our lack of tree fungus or leaf rot.”
I want to be known by my fruit, and I pray to God that I never succumb to the spirit of legalism.
On a bright note I wanted to let you know that I did complete Breaking Free by Beth Moore and I have to encourage you to consider doing the study. We made a list of strongholds. Many feel that strongholds are those very powerful ones like abuse, addictions, etc. But as we become refined in Christ strongholds can be self-righteousness, unforgiveness, worry, etc. We will be refined by God of all strongholds, large and small, if we are open to Him.
I came home after the study and cried. God gave me one of the most remarkable gifts yesterday. First of all, He made sure that I was a leader of a small group – hard not to fully involve yourself in the lessons if you are to lead others, so I couldn’t skim over the tough stuff, and the responsibility kept me coming back even though there were points in the book that made me want to quit the study or gloss over the material. Then I was talking to the facilitator, and shared a bit with her of what God was doing regarding the abuse I received in my past, and someone told me that they overheard what I was saying, so I told her a bit about my past. She gave me a card yesterday and told me that because of my sharing with her, she broke free from a stronghold that had been tormenting her.
If that wasn’t enough, people in the group kept commenting that they remembered me when I walked into the group 2 1/2 years ago, and how far God has grown me. And constantly came up to me and said that I had done well. The facilitator wrote me a wonderful note telling me that I had done so well, that God helped me to really do what was necessary for such a hard study. And then last night when I sat down to read the Bible, out fell another note from someone in my small group thanking me. She must have put it in my Bible when I wasn’t looking.
I cried so hard because this is such a proof that what satan meant for harm, God turned to good. To think that the dross of my life reached out and touched so many people was such a confirmation of the work God has done in my life. I count myself so blessed and immediately prayed that God keep using me however He wants. I love Him so much.
Have a blessed day, I get to go and visit Pastor Don’s mom. She is delightful and fun to visit. I sit with her on Thursday mornings.
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