Sisters

I am briefly pausing from the Beautiful Mess of the Church series because today I got to meet a very special little girl, Baby Ruthie. My sister gave our family another precious little one.

I have never been one to go nuts over babies. I have a huge extended family, so new babies have been the norm in my life. Even still, newborns scare me to death. I don’t really want to hold someone’s fresh pride and joy. But there is something about my sister’s children. Both my older sisters have had babies, and each time I have experienced a unique love for these children when I meet them. I have certainly never felt this way about any other babies.

I love both my older sisters so much. SO MUCH! Christy and Connie are the perfect siblings. This is why:

A long time ago they taught me how to dress. Modestly. How to wear make up so I wouldn’t look like a 14 year old clown. These are important things you know.

They have taught me how to love a husband and be a good wife. I understand the need to confess sin and pursue forgiveness because they have done it with me. They are wonderful examples of being a great mom. Oh how they love their families! They each devote themselves to their separate churches. Tirelessly.  They fight their sin. Every day. They are not fake. They are not vain. They are consumed by grace. It sets the pace of their days. They love Jesus. Really they do. I watch them love Him.

I want to be just like them.

Many of my best childhood memories are with Connie. Even though she is six years older, she would entertain my silly games. Countless hours we played together. We scarred the ground riding double on my banana seat bike. She wrote me stacks of letters and notes–always affirming her love for me and telling me I was the best. She made me feel like the best. She still does. Even today, while holding her new baby, in pain, and medicated, she encouraged me to the whole room. “We are going to have a seminary graduate. It’s amazing Lorrie Beth.”

There is no one like her.

I feel great responsibility for my two younger siblings. They are watching me, and learning from me. Luckily, I’ve been taught by the best.

Welcome to the world Little Ruthie. I love you.

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Give Me Fire

Give me fire

Oh God

Set my heart ablaze for you

The old man is dead on your cross

Your love has brought me life

I have life

I have life

Set my heart ablaze for you
~

Your great grace came crashing down on me

How could I resist it

I will burn for you

My life will be a flame for you

Great and wide and reaching to the lost

I will tell of you, precious Jesus

Savior and Holy King
~

Look at what you have done for us

While still in our sin

You forgave even in agony

We didn’t know what we were doing
~

Now your eyes are burning flames

Your voice a roaring waterfall

You look at us with great compassion

Laying your hand of blessing on us

~

Only you can give the fire
~

Give me fire

Oh God

Set my heart ablaze for you

The old man is dead on your cross

Your love has brought me life

I have life

I have life

Set my heart ablaze for you

Friday Faves

I am pleased to introduce a new weekly post you will find every Friday on Servant Living. Friday Faves will be a collection of my favorite links for the week. It could be something I find funny, educating, or creative. There’s really no tell’n what will show up. Hope you enjoy!

The Gospel in One Minute

Christy Nockles talks about “Glory in the Mundane”

Jurassic Park 3D: Robert and I can’t wait to watch this over the weekend. He read the book in preparation, and I must get my Jeff Goldblum fix! Also, I haven’t seen a 3D movie since Chicken Little.

The “Beautiful Mess” of the Church – Part 2

This is the second installment of the mini series, “The ‘Beautiful Mess’ of the Church.” Check out Part 1.

I last ended with the idea that if the church hides its mess it hides God. Let’s pursue this further.

It is impossible to understand sin and not understand the grace of God, and you can’t understand God’s grace without understanding sin. It is a two-for-one deal. This isn’t all there is know about the human condition and it is certainly not all there is to God. Consider sin and grace the starting point of the Christian’s journey.

It is all about Jesus.

Sin–we are totally incapable of living out God’s law with perfection (Romans 3:10). Jesus came and lived a perfect life for us (2 Corinthians 5:21;1 Peter 2:22). We are in need of a sacrifice to atone for our rebellion against God (Romans 3:25). Jesus is the sacrificial lamb that took away our sin (John 1:29).

Grace–God planned our salvation. He orchestrated our escape from eternal punishment through his Son, Jesus (Acts 2:23).  God can forgive our sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 4:25). As Christians, we boast of God’s grace because it is the only reason we are not dead in our sin (Ephesians 2:8). We are forgiven because of Jesus, redeemed because of Jesus, and covered because of Jesus.

So what does all this have to do with the church?

Jesus is God’s great revelation of Himself to the world, and He is the cornerstone of the church (Ephesians 2:20). Why did Jesus come? Because we are dead in our trespasses and sins, and God wanted to restore us all back to himself. Remember…sin and grace! It is the starting point and basic truth of the Christian church.

Now, forget everything I have just said. Don’t bother with Jesus being the cornerstone. And stop talking about the grace stuff.  Instead, take your sin and hide it. Put on the fake smiles and dress your children in pretty clothes.  Make sure you have a good cover story for why your husband isn’t with you when you get there. When asked about your week, leave the part out where you drank yourself into sleep four-out-of-seven nights. Don’t talk about your 19 year old who is in jail for the second time this year. He’ll bring shame to your family. And please, please don’t talk about the voices in your head. You would freak everybody out. This isn’t a loony house you know.

With Jesus hidden, this is what the church becomes.