ending the binge

SLOW. that’s how i’d describe the last few days. we are home, the holidays are over, and we are moving toward getting back into routine as the semester starts monday. but the late mornings in bed do not want to fade the way i’d like them to…my new flannel sheets entice and bid me not to leave the coziness of the bed when morning comes. if i don’t fight the temptation, monday will bring a rude awakening!

Jesus has also been renewing our hearts these past few days. is it just me (certainly it’s not), but does our relationship and closeness to Christ seem to flounder during the exact season when we are celebrating his birth? perhaps it’s all the traveling and not being at home in our routines, long 3 week vacation (for us students), or all the presents. i know my heart does not feel as distant from God at Easter…so it’s something about the way we celebrate Christmas, i’m sure. i lament this, and i’m not sure how to combat it. do i just hope for the best next year and not develop a plan of attack? that certainly won’t do.

we are in this sunday school class at church for young married people. just got an email saying we are starting a new book/video series on how to be a contagious christian. i must admit, my first reaction was “not too interested.” not because i think being contagious is unimportant, but because i think “i’ve got it down. i’ve arrived.” who am i kidding!? if that were the case, everyone i came in contact with would want to know jesus. i was convicted shortly thereafter, thinking about a relationship where i treat the person just as the world would, rather than welcoming her back with love and acceptance, despite what she’s done and my not knowing the whole story. i am not like jesus, and i’ve got a long way to go.

matt and i have been asking ourselves a lot lately what it means to be jesus to the world. that’s what he’s asked us to do. and christians in our society aren’t looking that different from those who don’t believe. sure, we talk…but how is that language translated into action? we watched a couple of sessions from the Passion conference this week, and the host/emcee got me with this: “Christian does not mean Jesus to our world.” people will continually affirm that yup, god is great. but they often don’t mean God, and rarely mean Jesus.

jesus’ words and life were a lot for people to swallow in his day. he’s not a cozy guy with perfectly parted and combed hair stroking a lamb and holding a staff (think i stole that from john eldridge). today, James 1:26-27 got me:

26If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

i’ve been shaken…i don’t want worthless religion. but will i act? i don’t know. the second part of that verse…to visit orphans, got me too. twice now in two days, my heart has been moved for fostering children in our home. we have several friends who do this and it is beautiful. hard, to be sure. but i was thinking: we have limited pace, are highly mobile (move a lot), and want to go to Chicago for the summer. is this even possible? i just keep thinking if we wait and wait and wait, some children will grow up never having been cared for in a home. can i see if we even ‘qualify’? definitely.

i think that’s all for now…a lot of thoughts for sure. my To Do list is lengthier than i thought. so i better get going…

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