Offer what you have

So, I was listening to my audiobook, called: not a fan, a few days ago and the author mentioned the feeding of the 5,000 by Jesus. Now being a pastors kid, I’ve heard this story about 500 times but there was just something about hearing it this time that made the light bulb go off.

I started to think about what was actually going on… before I continue I may help to give it a quick read:

4 Now the Passover, a Jewish festival, was near. 5 Therefore, when Jesus looked up and noticed a huge crowd coming toward Him, He asked Philip, “Where will we buy bread so these people can eat?” 6 He asked this to test him, for He Himself knew what He was going to do.7 Philip answered, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread wouldn’t be enough for each of them to have a little.”8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simoni Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There’s a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish—but what are they for so many?”10 Then Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.”There was plenty of grass in that place, so they sat down. The men numbered about 5,000. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks He distributed them to those who were seated—so also with the fish, as much as they wanted.

The part that stuck out was Philips answer to Jesus, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread wouldn’t be enough for each of them to have a little”. 200 denarii would have been a significant amount of money. Roughly around eight months salary for a standard laborer. Philip couldn’t get his mind around how they were supposed to feed all these people. Was this going to be the best way to spend their money? You mean, Jesus really wanted them to feed everyone… they didn’t even have that kind of money laying around… how were they going to get it… were the crowds really worth it? Was it really their responsibility to feed them?

What did Jesus really expect of them…

I’m sure all these questions went through their minds in that brief moment of panic after Jesus’ request. All they could find were a measly 5 pieces of bread and 2 fish (which if your into biblical numbers add up to 7 by the way… aka perfect plan). Little did they know what Jesus could do with so little.

I think we often react to God in the same way Philip and the disciples did to Jesus. He asks something of us and we immediately go to planned panic mode. How can I make this happen? Can I afford this? Can I really get enough time off to go there? Did God really ask me to forgive them? I’m supposed to do what God? How?

This hit close to home for me. I take on big tasks. Just ask Lindsay. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a project that was just standard… somehow I always find a way to beef it up or go to the extreme. Remodel a kitchen, ah why not just bust the whole thing out and start from scratch. The downfall is sometimes I can fall into thinking that is what God expects of me in everything He puts in my path.

Now I’m not implying that we should not do our best in everything we are given. But, what I am saying is that maybe sometimes we can’t see the forrest for the trees. Maybe we are too busy trying to figure out how to give God what we think He needs from us, by our own means, that we forget how much we need Him.

Maybe God is saying,”Offer what you have and see what I will do”.

What Jesus asked of the disciples was huge. I mean 8 months salary… think about that. Not many people could afford that. So the disciples, much like us go into panic mode… because they are trying to solve the problem by their own power, understanding and resources. They added the numbers up got the grand total and realized it didn’t add up… this was too big for them… this was too much…

Sound familiar

The problem you are facing… the ministry thats been put on your heart… the problems with the church… your disappointment in relationships, jobs, life… your regrets… your failures… your loss of hope… They all seem to big for you… there too much… and you can’t see how to accomplish what is ahead…

God simply says, “Offer what you have and see what I will do”

Whatever it is… offer what you have and see what I will do. You see, God didn’t design us to be strong. He didn’t design us to have all the answers. He designed us to love and to need… to need His guidance, His strength, His patience, His love, His peace, His answers… His hope. God designed you to need Him and to be a vessel for him to show His greatness through. Your resources, time, skills, talent, ideas, inspirations, hopes, desires… you have been equipped in this moment, at this time to accomplish the very tasks God has put in front of you…

So may you embrace your brokenness, may you find peace in what you have been asked to do, may you find strength that is not your own, may you be broken to be strong, may you trust God knows the steps ahead, may you trust… Trust that God isn’t asking for your answers but simply for your obedience, may you discover your value to God is not in your solutions and answers, and may you see the answers to the problems set before you are not in what you can do on your own but instead in offering what you have already been given. May you see God answer the situation before you with nothing more than your 5 tiny loaves and 2 small fish.

At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.

We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”

— Mother Teresa

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

— Martin Luther King

Faith to Choose

So I pulled up to the house a few weeks back and as I was getting out of the car I couldn’t help but hear this frantic scratching noise coming from the gutter spout. Now I have to admit this caught me off guard. It’s not every day that my gutter scratches at me.

My first thought was some wild, and probably very angry, animal had gotten stuck and I had a choice… walk away and enjoy my turkey sandwich or risk a wild animal mauling in my attempt to help. Well, I chose the latter and decided to help the little critter out.

After a some power tools and some careful disassembly skills, I took the gutter spout apart to find a squirrel spanning the center of the spout mission impossible style and scarred out of his mind. I could only assume he fell through the gutter and got trapped in the vertical part of the spout with no way back up and an underground drainage line below.

Now I’m not sure how long that little guy was in that spout but God used what happened next as an opportunity to show me another piece of His heart.

I was trying to help the little guy out of the spout by tilting it up so he could run out the end but every time I tilted the spout he would run to the opposite end. I would turn the spout around and try to help him out the other side and he would do the same thing and run away from the end that offered him the very freedom he was so desperate for. His fear trapped him and all he felt he could do was run. Run away from what he didn’t understand. Fear kept him from the freedom that was only a few steps away.

So, I decided my help wasn’t really helping all that much. The only thing I could think to do was lay the spout in the middle of the yard and leave knowing he would find his own way out. After about 30 minutes flew by I went out to find he had finally escaped and had taken off to the patch of trees behind the house.

It was then God allowed me to understand what he was trying to show me.

You see, many of us have found ourselves in a situation much like my little squirrel friend. Stuck in a place where there doesn’t seem to be a good answer anywhere we look or maybe there are multiple answers and we have no idea which to choose. So fear stalls us, breaks us and we hold on with everything we have just in hope that God hears us and will come to save us. Come to give us help, maybe point us in the right direction.

But what if we are like the squirrel and are so stunned with fear, fear of making the wrong choice or fear of what is on the other end of the spout that we don’t move at all… Sometimes we run from the very help God tries to offer us. Be it fear, pride or just a misunderstanding of the heart of our Father… we run and sometimes we freeze.

So, I believe sometimes God may step back, lay the spout down and give us time to choose which end of the spout to leave ourselves. The funny thing is both ends lead to the same place… the same freedom… the same hope… the same ultimate plan. The only difference is we just have to choose one.

In times like this it may feel like God is nowhere around… it may even feel like he may be ignoring us. But what if times like this are really God seeing us in our frozen fear and instead of trying to force us out one end of the spout He instead gives us room to choose… knowing either choice leads to the same place. It might very well be that there isn’t a wrong or right path but that maybe we just need to move… to have faith that we may plan our lives but God orders our steps… faith that even if we fall our Father is only an arms reach away. Faith to choose something and start walking again and not live in fear, anger or hurt. Maybe God is giving us faith to choose.

So to you who are frozen in fear. To you who are angry. To you who have lost hope… To you who have been hurt, bruised and broken. May you have the faith to walk again… the faith to overcome… the faith to see beyond the spout. May you find the faith to choose… and in turn find your freedom.

 

 

It’s not what you believe that counts, it’s what you believe enough to do.

— Garry Golberson

Death is not a completion of life on earth but more of an accounting of life on earth.

— The Clay

For all those who have ever lost hope in the church

This is something God gave me late last year in response to my own personal struggle with the modern day church. I’ve gone back and forth on whether to share this or not but I feel like now is the appropriate time.

This is for all those who have ever lost hope in the church,
have left and never looked back…

For all those who are exhausted, broken, hurt and feel alone…
Let us remember that in all our brokenness…
God chooses us to fill with Himself.

His goodness, His peace, His hope for His church…

Let us remember we are His church… and in turn find peace to hope again.

 

The Church – From The Clay

The Church,

Is God’s creation being created,
being perfected,
being rescued from ourselves.

It’s Love given and Love received,
beaten, broken but full of life and with arms wide
Enduring even the worst of time, of persecution
Love being shown through one another

Awkward,  different but fresh and deep
Love is why we were created… Love is why we live.

Before the stars were made,
Before the earth shook at His command,
Before time itself was time…

He charted His path of love to rescue us from ourselves…

Brick and mortar… they could never hold His love…

Love beaten, but love prevailed…
But not because of what we did,
But because of the words that left his mouth…

The broken helping the broken… it’s a beautiful painting in his eye…

Need to see the church? Then look no further than the form starring back in a mirror…

We are His Bride,
Perfection being perfected,
Brokenness being pieced back together but held in high regard.

We are His prize and He is ours…

Rescued,
Loved,
Cherished…

We were in His heart before our time…

Before the words left His mouth…
He loved us.
Before His hand grabbed ours…
He knew the price,
Before we breathed His name…
He loved us.

But Love saw fit that we were worth love,
Love in purity creating love out of Himself, we have His heart…

Because He gave it to us…

Freely, without cost… but at the highest of all cost.

Broken… pieced together, to make an image not of our own,
But of the Father revealing Himself through our own tears…
Showing His love in place of our own cracks…

Because Love never fails… It can’t…

It endures… It perseveres… It completes what it was set out to do…

Love rescued us… Love made us beautiful…

Love is who we are,
Loving others and loving our Creator…
Here is the secret of Gods heart…

And, when we find Gods heart…
We find, The Church…

Water is life and because we have no water, life is miserable.

— A Voice From Kenya

It’s not the churches responsibility to fix the sin problem, Christ already did that. Our responsibility is to remember the grace and love we receive, even in our filth, and in turn share that love with others.

— The Clay

The simple paintings of a child may look to be nothing more than random lines of color to the average eye but they are beautiful works of love in the eyes of their father. In the same way our Father sees the paintings of our lives.

— The Clay

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