Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 25 - Listening to Sermons

I guess I'm officially old. I love listening to sermons at work. Working and listening to someone talk - if I was thirteen that would be SO BORING. But I now love it. My job doesn't allow me to listen as much as I would like (I sometimes have to think and read which doesn't do well for soaking in a sermon).

One of the guys I enjoy listening to (other than my dad, that's a given) is Matt Chandler. He is a pastor in Dallas and around my age. He was just diagnosed with brain cancer. They found a tumor that was malignant and the cancer is fatal. They are doing all they can to prolong his life but I believe two years is the best case scenario. He has three small children and a growing church. The tumor probably started growing twenty years ago but on Thanksgiving he had a seizure and that's when they found it. He has an amazing outlook. He says he welcomes this suffering. This was no surprise to God.

One of the reasons I relate to him is because he teaches against "bible belt" thinking. I live in New Jersey and a big group of people up here are catholic. I almost got hit yesterday because there is a big catholic church down the street from our neighborhood and it was Ash Wednesday so everyone was going in to get their ash smudge on their foreheads. I see all these rituals that catholics believe will get them to heaven eventually and it is no different than "bible belt Christianity." So many southern Christians hold to a magic prayer they said one Sunday and then they do their duties as Christians - go to church when it's convenient, pray for hurting people, feel guilty when a curse word slips, and smile and be nice to all who they come in contact with (even if they hate their guts - at least they were nice!). And we think that's all that is required to get to heaven (the prayer part) and win God's favor (everything else). I know this is not only southern Christianity - it's in the north too but it's much more widespread down there.

I enjoy him and relate to him because he teaches it's all about your heart. You need to be revolving around God not the other way around. We're not here to do things for God because He needs us. It's not like he saw us and thought - hmmm - now that's someone I want on my team! (Totally stole that thought from Matt Chandler). No, he chose us for our weakness. He chose us for reasons we can't comprehend but He promises us they are for His glory.

As I walk through this "new me" that I am trying to develop from the inside and praying it will show on the outside, I am shown how dirty I am inside. I can stop putting tons of bad stuff in my body but it was already dirty before I added anything. That's why I have to renew my heart and my mind before any of this is going to work. And it's only because of Jesus' innocent blood on the cross that makes any of this change possible. This life is SO not about me. That is a chunk of truth I need before me daily.

On another note, we have finished our kitchen renovation! I will post some pictures this weekend. Feels good to be finished. Martin took off yesterday to work on it and then I came home last night and got right to work while he went to a meeting. I finished around 10 PM. Long day but totally worth it!

We've got a missions committee meeting tonight. Oh and Martin has decided to become a deacon at church. More on that after I sort through the selfishness in my mind on the subject.

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