Tag Archives: Christianity

My Life as a Timothy (pt 1)

Standard

No, this is not a post about me being transgendered. This is a post about my life as a church kid. I know, I know, the transgendered thing would probably be more interesting. My experiences as a church kid appear, from the outside, to be pretty vanilla. I wasn’t abused by a church leader, I never left the church to experience other religions, and I definitely didn’t go on a crazed drug spree, see a vision of Jesus while on an acid trip and then come back to the church weeping for forgiveness. Although my stories of being a church kid lack a certain dramatic flair, they taught me a lot about God, people and the jacked up world we call home, and these are insights I’d like to share with you. In between, of course, posts about ultrasounds, picking out baby items and the fact that I now have to use a rubber band to hold my pants up because they no longer button 😉

I’ve been going to church my entire life. Somewhere along the way I learned a valuable lesson that most church kids miss out on: God is not The Church. The Church is supposed to represent God, is supposed to show His love to all people and to teach people about God. But The Church is human, and God is divine. The Church makes mistakes, and God doesn’t. The Church abandons God, God does not abandon The Church.

I’m not sure where or how I learned this lesson. I don’t remember by parents ever sitting me down and saying “Brianna, God and church people are not the same.” But I think it was something they, and other adults in my life, taught me by example. At a very young age I knew that God could heal people, but people couldn’t heal people. I started prophesying when I was about 12, so I knew the difference between God’s voice and people’s voices. I just knew that God was more powerful, more loving, and more knowledgeable than any human. So when people, Christian people, betrayed me, hurt me, lied to me, disappointed me, and ignored me, I never once thought that God was doing any of that.

This outlook meant that I never turned my back on God because of things that went wrong in church. However, it also meant that for a long time I didn’t think I needed the church or other Christians. I had friends that were Christians, and I went to church every Sunday because I had too, but my general attitude was ” God and I are tight, the rest of you are crazy.”

To be continued

Advertisements

A Christian Who Can’t Pray

Standard

I’m a Christian who has a a hard time praying. Wierd right? That’s like being a bee who has a hard time making honey, or a fish that has a hard time swimming. Prayer seems like one of those things that should come naturally to someone who was raised by a pastor and has been a Christian her whole life. But alas, it is something I struggle with. There are lots of different things that make prayer difficult for me, but the major one is that I often don’t know what to say or exactly how to pray. I don’t just want to give God a laundry list of things I desire. I want prayer time to be meaningful and to be a conversation, but I don’t always know how to do that.

My small group leader a few years ago taught me that prayer has four parts: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. I remember it as ACTS. This little acronym has helped improve my prayer life immensely. Whenever I go to pray and am just completely stumped as to what to say, I write out ACTS on a piece of paper and start at the top.

Adoration- First, tell God how great He is. Repeat his attributes to Him. For example, “God You are wonderful, You are the creator of heaven and Earth. You are Alpha and Omega. You are loving and kind.”

Confession- Confess your sins. All the sins…even the little ones.

Thanksgiving- Thank God for everything. I make it a regular habit of thanking God for my car and my iphone because without those two things my life would be much more difficult.

Supplication- This is wherre you get to ask God for things for yourself and on behalf of other people. Don’t be afraid to ask for big things! Obviously, we shouldn’t be asking for needless material possesions but there are major life issues that require serious prayer. Pray that your mom is healed of cancer. Pray for God to take away your drug addiction. Pray for the salvation of your coworker. Pray that God miraciously provides food for your family even though your out of money. Pray for a job. God love us and wants to bless us and hear our prayers but you have to ask!

This may seem too structured and too much like a formula for some people. If you don’t need it, that’s fine, but if you are struggling with prayer I strongly suggest you use it. Think of it this way: do you always have meaningful coneversations with important people in your life? Are you able to have a deep emotional conversation with your roommate every time she walks in the door? Do you and your husband always have a million things to say to each other? Does your family talk non stop at the dinner table? Most likely, no. In those times we all revert to formulaic questions to get the conversation going. For example, we ask “How was your day” or “What did you do this weekend?” Think of this formula as a jump start to the conversation with the Big Guy. Its something to help you get in the habit of prayer so that eventually, it just comes naturally to you.

So there you go, my quick little guide to prayer. How do you pray? Do you pray out loud or write in a journal? Do you pray for big things? Share your thoughts in the comments below

Christianity, Noah and Neon Pink Baseball Hats

Standard

When I was in third grade I scored a sweet role in the church Christmas pageant. While all my friends had to be angels with the first and second graders (what a bunch of babies, muahahaha) I got to be a dancing shepherd with the fourth, fifth and sixth graders. I honestly thought I was the coolest thing since mint ice cream. The day of the big performance came and I got my costume on. Like everyone else I had on black pants, a white turtleneck and red suspenders. However, while the other shepherds sported black baseball caps I decided to make statement and went with…are you ready?…hot pink. Blinding hot neon pink. After all, what’s the point of being awesome if nobody can see you?

Last week Joe and I led a lesson in our small group that was about how we as Christians should live differently from the rest of the world. We started talking about how hard it is to set ourselves apart from the selfish, sinful ways of society. With media, friends and the general population advocating sin all the time, its just so hard to be righteous and God fearing. Being a third grader with an affinity for pink accessories is cute, but being a conservative adult doing God’s will is often something that is mocked. It’s so hard being a Christian. Waaaa!!! *tears*

Just as we were feeling discouraged and sorry for ourselves, I remembered Noah. Most people know the general story: world wide flood, an ark, animals two by two and a rainbow.  you read the story in Genesis you will see that the Bible is very clear in explaining that every But what is often overlooked is the fact that Noah and his family were literally the only righteous people on the entire planet. Go to Genesis and read the story again. The Bible states, multiple times, that every single human EXCEPT Noah and his family was sinful. Every. Single. Human. All their friends, all their coworkers, everyone they passed on the dirt roads or in the market. Literally every single person they came in contact with every day was incredibly sinful. Amongst all of that, Noah and his family were able to live upright lives. They maintained a relationship with God,  followed his commands and were found righteous. They didn’t just wear pink hats. They wore giant, blinged out pink hats.

Today, there are thousands of Christians in different countries who have to live out their faith alone, just like Noah and his family. They live in countries that supress religious freedom and therefore cannot freely fellowship with other Christians. Many of them don’t even have Bibles to read. And yet they believe in God’s sovereignty, pray, and often risk their lives in order to do the right thing. My pink hat goes off to those people.

So the next time we feel sorry for ourselves and complain about how hard it is to be righteous in an unrighteous world, let’s take a second and realize we actually have it pretty good. Most of us have friends, family, coworkers, church family or classmates who are also Christians who we can turn to for support, encouragement and accountability. And if you really don’t know any other Christians, tell me. We will be BFFs and run around the world proclaiming Christ and wearing the biggest, pinkest hats we can find 🙂

Just Sex

Standard

I’m sad that frustration has brought me back from my week long blogging hiatus. I have been super busy and have so many interesting things to report. Yet it is my most hated blog topic, politics, that consumes my thoughts to the point that I can’t wait to blog on my laptop but must pen these thoughts on the iPhone.

Prop 8 was ruled as illegal by a federal judge today. But what I would like focus on is something I heard on Kiss FM this morning. Callers were discussing the idea of “open marriages” in which spouses decide that it’s ok to cheat on each other as long as they follow the rules agreed upon by both husband and wife. Most people, most women actually, were outraged by the idea. One wife, however, said she is involved in such a marriage and has been for ten years. Her sex drive is much stronger than her husbands, so she goes outside of the marriage for sex. She clarified that it was “just sex” and that she “made love” only to her husband.

Just sex. That is the moral dilemma facing current culture. The attitude that it’s just sex before marriage, it just sex outside a marriage, it’s just homosexual sex, it’s just a marriage, just a divorce, just a relationship. Nobody cares about sexual morality. Nobody cares about commitment and promises. Nobody cares about each other.

I find it extremely ironic and painful that in a society so focused on loving and accepting everybody, we refuse to see the damage we are doing to one another with our promiscuity. My husband and I had sex with each other before we were married. And I regret it every single day. Everyone told us that it was fine since we had been going out for so long and were planning on getting married. Even my Christian friends approved. And yet on my wedding night, I felt disappointment and shame. Not only for myself, but for my husband. When I decided to have sex, I wasn’t thinking about what was best for him, I was thinking about what I wanted. I let my selfish lust take away something he could never get back. And that, my friends, is a shitty way to start a marriage.

I can hear the comments now. People are going to make the illogical assumption that I am accusing all this opposed to prop 8 of being sexually promiscuous. I’m not. I know lots of people in committed and healthy marriages and relationship who simply want homosexuals to be able to experience that same joy. And you want to know something? I do to! I wish with all my heart that God, the source of truth, allowed homosexuality. I wish he allowed premarital sex. It would have been awesome not to feel guilty every time I did it without a wedding ring. I wish I could stay happily married to my husband and still make out with David Boreanz from Bones. But it doesn’t work that way. So, while I do want my single girlfriends to live it up, meet new guys and have fun dating, I can’t support their one night stands. And while I can imagine the frustration of a husband whose wife no longer has sex with him, I cannot justify his cheating. And while I would love to see my homosexual friends in legalized happy marriages, I could not justify voting no against prop 8.

It’s not “just sex.” It’s a gift God gave us. It’s a privilege, not a right. And I will no longer stand silently by as I see ALL sexual immorality slowly destroy the lives of my friends, my family, my culture, my country.

World Watch Wednesday

Standard

 

Uzbekistan, Laos, Mauritania, Yemen, Afghanistan, Maldives, Somalia, Saudi  Arabia, Iran and North Korea. Out of all the countries in the world, these are the countries were faith costs the most. These are the countries where churches must meet in secret, where Bibles are difficult to obtain, where believers lose their families, jobs and homes because of their faith. In Uzbekistan, T.V. media regularly airs negative propaganda about Christians, spreading the idea that they are ignorant. In Laos, the government puts strict surveillance on Christians and often arrests them and pressures them to renounce their faith. In North Korea, the worst violator of human and religious rights in the world, Christians are often forced to watch as the government kills their family members.

 Every year, Open Doors releases it’s World Watch List, a list of 50 countries where “faith costs the most.” The top ten worst violators were named in the paragraph above. The list focuses on countries where persecution for Christian faith, in any denomination, is the worst. The list does not focus on persecution for political, social, economic or ethnic reasons, although often persecution for those reasons exists as well.

To determine whether or not a country makes it on the list, and what ranking it receives, Open Doors asks a serious of 50 questions. These questions look at the legal versus the real status of Christians, the role the church plays in society, factors that obstruct religious freedom. To see specific questions, look at the full World Watch List at www.odusa.org.

Despite the length of the list, it still does not cover all of the countries where Christians are discriminated against and religious freedom is hindered. Persecution and religious restrictions are a real and widespread problem. I encourage you to “be on watch.” Learn about these countries, pray for the Christians living there, and help bring awareness to a problem that grows more severe every day. Go to www.odusa.org or www.facebook.com/worldwatchlist