Monday, January 19, 2004
"how can I begin a career in serving God?"
Oh, man! Someone found my main blog by searching with those words!
Serving God is not a career. Serving God is the attitude of looking for an opportunity.
Whoever you are: You can start your career now, by looking around you. The pay stinks, but God takes care of your real needs. Start with prayer. Someone in your current work place / neighborhood / whatever needs to know about Jesus. Ask God to place that person into your heart.
We need more everyday ministers.
Pray that God will send more harvesters!
I am struck, as if seeing this in a new light, that when people cry out in pain, they meet criticism as if they have treated their oppressors too harshly.
Sunday, December 14, 2003
I'm considering joining the Roman Catholic church.
Perhaps these folks are also considering it.
Thursday, November 20, 2003
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
There are some benefits to being fat.
You could save someone's life.
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Cloning Yields Human-Rabbit Hybrid Embryo
I echo Quenta. Lord. Have mercy.
Sunday, June 01, 2003
"Thank you for writing for me."
You know, I never quite understand what is meant when the voice of the Holy Spirit whispers into my heart. This afternoon I heard, "Thank you for writing for me," as soon as I hit the "publish" button on my blog program.
That is the second time I have heard those words. The other time was when I mailed a submission to a magazine. I have lots of magazine articles rejected. But I have only heard those words twice.
A puzzle piece slid into place this morning.
Why in the world does God want me, or anyone, to fast? The question came up again this week when I (of all people) recommended fasting to my congregation.
Fasting does not have to mean a vacation from food. You could fast from video games, or Diet Coke, or whatever "thing" you really like to do. God loves self-control. Self-control is merely the act of putting off something you want for just a little while. Consequently, if we drink coffee, we can put it aside for a fifteen hour period of time, and consider that a fast.
I have witnessed God moving in a great way during periods of fasting. Why then?
Here is the next step in what I discovered: Jesus said you could not serve both God and mammon.
"No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:13, NKJV)
I believe that to be true. The human species is not very good at multi-tasking.
While you fast, you are voluntarily saying, "Lord, I really like donuts. REALLY. However, for today, I will lay aside my love of donuts and use the time I would have spent eating to take up my love for you."
So why does God love self-control? Put yourself in his shoes. You, God, are a woman in love with a man, and I mean starry-eyed and in LOVE. That man publicly professed his love for you. Now, every time you wait on your date, he shows late! Well, he is sorry, but he was obsessively polishing his new truck one more time. You did want to go to dinner in a clean truck, didn't you? As much as you love this person, you know that in marriage you will be playing second fiddle to a pick up truck. Now, you, God, start to long in your heart for even one day that this person freely chooses you over the pickup truck.
Next, try this scenario: One day the beloved woman says to you, God, "You know instead of a cup of coffee and a donut at eight a.m., I'm going to spend two minutes talking to you." You have waited for this moment for a very long time. You kiss her. You bless her. You give her the things she asked of you. You hold that moment in your heart. Maybe she will change and you will finally have one of those loves with no strings attached.
I could not see this connection, until I fully understood that God loves us like a lover. He gets jealous. He cherishes the day of our commitment to him. He is starry-eyed and in love with his creations.
Wow. Maybe fasting will be easier in the future.
Saturday, May 31, 2003
I forgot to mention that bruises showed up on my arms this week, about Wednesday or so. As anxiously as I have waited for the stigmata, you would think this would have been the first thing to record! My left wrist has a long-ish (half inch) red mark in the middle of a bruised circle. My right arm is scratched and bruised about the wrist.
Is this the stigmata? See, three years ago, I heard the voice of God, or the voice of the Holy Spirit, however you want to say it, asking the question, "Would you like the stigmata?" Now, I don't know if he was making conversation, or offering, or even telling. The most that has happened to me since then is this: I have learned that Christians are to be images of Christ.
"I don't understand," has come to be my trademark statement.
Knowing that I do not know, has not helped any.
IN THE NEWS:
This is devastating.
The check’s in the mail, unless . . .
I'm devastated. Our country has passed an incentive to create a class gap between the poor and the rich. Not just between rich and poor people, but between rich and poor children.
Father God, what would you have me to do? What can I do? Already, I feel the sting of poverty in my life, in my church, and hoped for relief has been snatched from us and given to the wealthy! Rescue us. Hear my prayers, Lord. Hear my prayers. Through Christ Jesus, who loved the poor, I pray. Amen.
A vision I had this morning is bothering me. I saw a man in his late twenties or early thirties. He looked at me, with one of those facial expressions that says, "My heart is so wounded, that I can no longer bear to feel." He held a ring. It looked to be an egagement ring, all shiny as if it had never been worn. His eyes fell to the ground. His head bent down. I could see the top of his head covered with medium long brown hair. He dropped the ring to the ground, turned and walked away.
Who was he? Why did he show me? Was that symbollic of something in the church?
The even odder thing is this: I can feel his presence. It's like he is walking around, going elsewhere, but looking over his shoulder at me.
Is a demon troubling me? I do not feel fearful. Has God given me a vision? If so, what on earth is it about?
I will go to the church to bake communion bread today. That way I can go into the sanctuary and pray while it is baking.
Thursday, May 29, 2003
Feel like wasting some time? Take "The Geek Test"
I was 30.96647% - Total Geek.
Leave a message if you took the test.
"Geeks for God" here!
Today's reading is Luke 24:44-53.
You know what? Take "The Geek Test". What amazes me about those of us who are constantly clamoring for wisdom by accumulating books, searching the net and going where no man has gone before, is that we have a deep seated urge to "get it right".
Come on. Admit it. If you can read, write and pronounce every character in JRR Tolkein's elvish language, what are you going to do with it, besides win an argument with someone on a bus? It's tempting because, for once in my life, I want there to be something, so unique, that I may be the only human to "get it right".
The real question is this: What on earth is the "it" we are trying to get right? In Luke's story of the ascension, Jesus let his disciples get it right.
"Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures." (Luke 24:45, NIV)
The "it" they got right, was the divinity of Jesus, the fulfillment of scripture, and the power of God's Holy Spirit. That's a mighty lot of understanding. It makes me feel a little sheepish about knowing the entire history of Star Trek's Seven of Nine.
"Father God, you are the ancient of days. You are mysterious beyond the scope of our imaginations. Your presence extends beyond the edges of our galaxy. Lord, open our minds to understand the amazing fulfillment of your word. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
Get it right.
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
In response to my concern over a church saying, "it's needed," as a reason to conduct a profit-making business, Jeff posted the following:
"I wanted to tell you that this is something that is a topic that is currently being discussed at my church. Some people want the youth group to do a fund-raiser, but our pastor, rightly, is opposed to the idea, thinking that individual contributions are the correct way of raising money. It is just an interesting coincidence."
The finger of God just may be waving at Arkansas.
Tuesday, May 27, 2003
If you have not read it yet, open an eyeball to what Associated Press is saying about God.
"The character of God has become increasingly human and secular in comedies such as "Oh, God!," "Dogma" and the new "Bruce Almighty," suggesting mainstream audiences are more open than ever to wacky, nonreligious versions of The Man Upstairs" - AP
What is the hubbub? Well, AP is pointing out that GOD is being portrayed in movies as if he were man! They are toying with the notion of God as a "wacky, nonreligious" man.
That makes me chuckle.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1, NIV)
It makes me chuckle with delight, each time some hard core realist plays with the idea that God might possibly become man and walk among us.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:14, NIV)
Every time God makes his presence known, he does it like a fresh wind blowing. Every person who discovers him seems to believe that nobody has ever discovered him before.
Merciful, heavenly Father, shaft of light in the universe, thundering voice of the skies, I lift up to you all who have not believed. Tell them that you would so desire personal relationship with us. Tell them that you would become one of us. Let them play with the idea that you would so desire our presence, to even take on our form. In the name of the human life you took on, Jesus of Nazareth, I pray. Amen.
What would happen if God actually wanted to be man?
I worked today.
Essence of God
Spirit of Jesus
Wind of his breath
Ancient of days
New like the sunrise
Old like the rivers
Monday, May 26, 2003
Luke 22: 7-38
"do this in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:19, NIV)
Those words of Jesus ring through my heart. Today is Memorial Day. I am trying to draw words up from the depths of my soul to describe this day, but all my soul will give to me is sadness. My heart trembles at how terrifying God is, and at how easily I forget his presence.
We honor people who have died. Well, no. We console ourselves in the deaths of those we love. The dead will not get their feelings hurt should we forget them. My spirit asks why. Why did they have to hurt? Why did they have to die?
Don’t point out the Adam and Eve story. I understand how sin came into the world by one man (and one woman). In today's world of traffic, jobs, finances and stress illnesses, who gives a rip about the first woman and man?
Sorrow pierces our spirits. In search of any one thing that has real meaning, we run back to God. He so desired a relationship with broken man that he came and walked among us - and hurt with us. When his time among man drew to a close, he ate supper.
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:19, NIV)
Father God, I lift up those who are sad. We remember that you hurt with us. Let your loving nature be found among us today. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Sunday, May 25, 2003
I go back to work on Tuesday.
I may end up deleting all this, but for now, I'm going to blog.
So, I'm sad over the church I attend. I'm sad over my brothers and sisters in Christ. Mick came up to me after the meeting today.
Well, Mick. He's a southern kind of guy. He's a little bit sarcastic, always good for a joke. He usually brings up the negative side of things when other folks go gung-ho without thinking. He's someone that everyone ought to have around, just to keep them grounded.
Anyway, Mick says to me, "I am not going to fast." That was in response to my request that everyone fast and pray on Wednesday while the Bishop hears our arguements. After a little talking he didn't balk at being asked to put off something, anything, that he wants, for just a little while.
A fast does not have to be a total abstinence from food, but God loves self-control.
To be honest, I am drinking red wine. I want to lose myself in the reminder of the blood of Jesus.
God help us.
TUESDAY, My next job will start. Ten dollars an hour. Am I deserting Jesus? God help me.
LIVE IN SIMPLICITY
If anyone is reading this, hear my plea! Live in simplicity and honor God.
Here is the story behind the stigmata. Yes, I have the stigmata. You might have it too. The stigmata is borne by any individual who is willing to hurt, just like Jesus hurt, just because that individual loves God with everything they have got.
Oh, God, where do I go when the church I love needs to be rebuilt?
Wait, I got sidetracked and forgot the stigmata. Okay, here is the story. Three years ago, I heard the voice of God. He asked, "Would you like the stigmata?" Yeah, the word was LIKE. "Would you LIKE the stigmata." I thought it sounded pretty fascinating. I said, "yes." My life was permanently changed.
I didn't know that an ordinary person could fall so deeply in love with God.
I started a diary. I was going to record every step that was taken in "achieving" the stigmata.
Three years later, I picked up the diary, read it
God knows, I filled the house with loud raucus belly laughter!
did I spell that right? Oh well.
I am an image of Christ.
Yeah, I have a couple scratches on my arm, that I somehow got exactly one year after the first crucifixion dream. It's not much, believe me. The scratches don't bleed or throb on Fridays, or anything like that. I've just learned that to become an image of Christ, you need only discover how wide and long and high and deep is the love of our God.
Should I try to convince them, Lord? Let me have a clear answer, please. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen
Well, we had a church meeting today. I presented my option, just as I believed that the Lord meant for me to present it. There weren't any takers.
Either the Methodist Church can take over our building payments, or we will disband, move out, whatever. That's pretty sad. Either way, we, as a church unit, are forever changed. We, as individuals, are forever changed.
God didn't give me the command to convince them, only to present to them. I am pleased that I was bold enough to speak.
In Jesus' name, may we be forgiven. Amen.
Saturday, May 24, 2003
I GET IT!
I GET IT! I GET IT!
Okay, let me scroll down for a moment. Oh, yeah, and THIS IS THE STIGMATIC'S LOG. I'm excited.
There it is. On 5/5/2003, I wrote the following in my blog.
[5/5/2003 2:00:36 PM | Anita Van Ingen]
"This is my house."
I heard that this morning while strolling through the sanctuary. He sounded angry. What's up?
I really am baffled by spirituality. Really.
Other than that, He is a beautiful God. I'm quite smitten.
NOW. Here is what is happening today:
Several church members are ill. It does not seem as if God is angry, but it seems as if the people are unprotected. I'm okay. But then, I'm usually okay. PLUS, I am not a member at the church I attend. Not only are several members unprotected, but also the building itself is going through trauma. Last winter, it was the furnace. This summer, it is each one of the four air conditioning units, one at a time. Plus, woodpeckers are about to break through the front wall, and rainwater is seeping into the nursery.
With all that happening, we are out of money, and I mean TOTALLY out of money. With several church members sick or otherwise traumatized, who could come up with an extra offering? We will have a meeting this Sunday to make some decisions about the future of the church.
OKAY. That is the situation. Now, let me tell about how we have handled our money problems in the past.
We established a Mother's Day Out program. That brings in money, and is supposed to be a witness to the community. However, we really don't teach the daycare kids about Jesus. So, where's our witness? The daycare is a business.
We rent the sanctuary two nights a week to Weight Watchers. This helps people from the community to know where the church is, right? Wrong. Weight Watchers hasn't brought us members or visitors. The renting of the church is a business.
We rent two offices to the conference "Connected in Christ" team. They DO witness Jesus. Okay.
NEXT. Read Matthew 21:12-17. That's the story where Jesus drove the moneychangers, in other words the businesses, out of the temple.
Here's Matthew 21:13 (NIV): "It is written," he said to them, " 'My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'
So the voice of God said to me, "This is my house." and He sounded angry.
I need to convince the church members that we should close the daycare and send Weight Watchers on their way. We should operate the church Monday thru Saturday as a church, not as a business that holds worship on Sunday. With this cleaning out of the temple, I think we'll be back under God's protective care.
Father God, you have given me this insight. Make me bold to deliver it to your people. I love you so, and want to serve you, but you know how my voice fails when I have to speak in front of a crowd, help me. Give me someone else's voice if necessary. I lift up Good Shepherd United Methodist Church for your loving care. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
"these I will bring to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations."
All praise be to God.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
The little church I attend is going through extremely hard times. The pastor and parishioners are fighting fear, just like I did two weeks ago. There is not one family in the church who is not suffering some tragedy. Well, maybe me, I'm not suffering. My mom isn't well, but as long as I'm not fearful, I'm usually okie-doke. So, why are we under attack?
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
In case one or two of my millions of readers would like to know...
I am not Roman Catholic. I do read Amy Welborn's blog because it is interesting. I AM catholic in the sense that catholic means "universal". I am a member of the universal body of Christ. If you are Christian of any denomination, then you are a member of MY church.
I am not on the roster of any church or denomination. However, I tithe, worship, attend, volunteer and generally get worn out at a United Methodist Church in Sherwood, Arkansas. Those of you who have never been to Arkansas are missing a real treat. Check out Jeff's blog at * Local Annotations
Thanks for all your prayers. I have a job starting Tuesday, May 27