You Better Recognize

Resurrection Blog Post #2: You Better Recognize – check it out by clicking ———> here.
Or read it down below. Or both.
I suggest both because there’s other great posts to check out. And a cool logo. And awesome people. Just do it already.

This week’s Christmas Sunday message was the familiar story of Christ’s birth, with an interesting twist. Though the story had not changed (nor should it ever), the shift in perspective certainly had—posed in the question of, “what do you really see when you see the baby Jesus?”

Sure, you see a cute little baby in a manger surrounded by hay, barnyard animals, His parents and maybe some townspeople—but even the most faithful of believers can sometimes become desensitized to who it really was laying in that Bethlehem manger.

manger
The core team was challenged to read the book of Luke this week.  As I began the first four chapters, which also included the account of Christ’s birth, there was something that the Lord pointed out to me—both as an amazing correlation with the question from the sermon and an equally amazing reality check for me, an old desensitized believer.

In Luke 2:25, a righteous and devout man named Simeon was told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he saw the Lord’s Christ. And when Joseph and Mary had presented Jesus in the temple, Simeon proclaimed to God, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace…for my eyes have seen your salvation…”

Automatically I thought, sure, the righteous man, the one who had long-served God, and was most likely raised in the traditions and teachings pointing to the coming King—of course Simeon would recognize and proclaim Christ for who He was.

But then—an encounter drastically different from Simeon occurred in Luke 4; Jesus was preaching in the synagogue when He met a man possessed by an unclean demon. The man tauntingly questioned Christ but then acknowledged Him saying “I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” A demon, Satan’s minion, saw Jesus Christ with all power and authority; the One from God.  

Two very dissimilar people.
Two very dissimilar relationships with Christ.
One very similar reaction.

God then forced me back to the original question: “what do you really see when you see the baby Jesus?” A cute little baby or the Son of God, our Savior, our Sacrifice and our Salvation reigning with all power and authority of Heaven?

Even the demon saw Christ for who He really was.

Do we?

 

<3 Carrie

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You Better Recognize

Originally posted on Resurrection Church:

This week’s Christmas Sunday message was the familiar story of Christ’s birth, with an interesting twist. Though the story had not changed (nor should it ever), the shift in perspective certainly had—posed in the question of, “what do you reallysee when you see the baby Jesus?”

Sure, you see a cute little baby in a manger surrounded by hay, barnyard animals, His parents and maybe some townspeople—but even the most faithful of believers can sometimes become desensitized to who it really was laying in that Bethlehem manger.

manger
The core team was challenged to read the book of Luke this week.  As I began the first four chapters, which also included the account of Christ’s birth, there was something that the Lord pointed out to me—both as an amazing correlation with the question from the sermon and an equally amazing reality check for me, an old desensitized believer.

In Luke…

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At My Party God Serves Pie

Too often I notice myself throwing a party of the worst kind—with a theme of pity.

I’m single. I suck at long-term relationships.
I don’t like where I live. I feel stuck and isolated.
I’m lonely. I don’t have any friends.
I want a new job. But I’m not good enough for anything else.
I’m ugly. I don’t look like her or have a body like that.

You know, Satan is the prince of the power of the air. And without giving him too much credit (because even he must first ask God permission), he is very cunning and has an incredible way of hitting us right in the gut, right where it hurts the most. He knows our weaknesses and uses those against us as our greatest temptations to try to get us to curse God, feel sorry for ourselves and lose hope. Satan and his demons watch us now, just like he did with Job.

Job—the man God Himself described as His servant of “there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.” While I consider myself far from that description, that’s the exact man who God lead me to for a big helping of humble pie.

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It didn’t take me long to get a wake-up call. Not even having to go farther than the first chapter of the book, Job lost nearly everything: his oxen, donkeys, sheep, servants, camels and all of his children—one right after another (talk about when it rains it pours)—and what does Job do? Have a little Bowe fit? Sit down, cry and have himself a good old-fashioned pity party? Hardly…

Job 1:20 – Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.

Say what? This man who just lost all his earthly possessions and his children…worshiped? Wow. Talk about a hit in the gut.

Even though it’s often easier to say than do, it’s just the type of reminder that I needed (God’s always good at that). I certainly haven’t lost all my possessions or even nearly the majority of my family but yet I still find it in me to get down far more than I should. Job is an amazing example of this: It’s not about what happens to you, it’s how you respond to it. Amen. The next time I start to feel low, it’s all about perspective. It’s all about letting God whisper to you in the midst of the valley, speaking truth into the lies of which Satan tries to convince us. And the next time I find myself feeling empty, all I need is a big slice of humble pie.

I’m single. Sometimes, single-hood is a gift, just ask the Apostle Paul.
I don’t like where I live. Be thankful you have a home.

I’m lonely. You are never alone, for God is always with you.
I want a new job. Be grateful you have a job.
I’m ugly. You are perfectly and wonderfully made, and God thinks you’re beautiful.

 

Less Whine. More Worship.

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It’s a Resurrection!

Just a little update – I am excited to be a part of the core team working to plant a new church in Charleston, WV called Resurrection Church. We, as a team, have started a blog to share our journey and the background of the church. I do hope that you’ll take some time to get to know us, pray for us and join the movement to shake our city for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is my first contribution to the Resurrection Church blog titled “If We’d Only Obey…” :

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Acts 9: 10-19
(October 20, 2013 Core Team Meeting)

“Had Ananias not obeyed God, there would have been no Paul” – Pastor Mason

No Paul?
It was a seemingly straightforward statement that dumbfounded me. Had Ananias not accepted the call on his life to “go”— the man who has been noted as Christianity’s most important early convert and the first major missionary to preach the Christian gospel to non-Jewish people might not have ever existed.

Obedience is woven into the very foundation of the Christian faith—how differently the human story would have turned out had Abraham not been willing to sacrifice his son; had Noah not been willing to build the arc and gather the animals; and had Ananias not been willing to accept his call from God to visit a powerful, Christian killer named Saul.

So often I view characters of the Bible as superheroes that are untouchable, with unattainable power for someone as common as me—when in reality most were considered to be pretty ordinary men that possessed extraordinary faith. And were it not for the obedience of these seemingly everyday people and their example, the course of history would have been forever changed. These regular people transformed the face of Christianity and paved the path that we walk today.

Just as Pastor Mason heard and obeyed the call from God to begin this movement, and we as core team members have obeyed the call to join the movement, God is still looking for common folks to follow him in obedience.

So I have to wonder—whose life might God be calling you to lay the foundation for— who might you effect if you’d only obey? Maybe your neighbor, your coworker, your family, your friend—or maybe yourself?

#TrustAndObey #FromOrdinaryToExtraordinary #Resurrection

<3 Carrie

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When The Have Nots Have It All

This is part four of my “lessons from Moldova” series.
Parts one, two & three can be found here: Missing and Making Connections  here: God’s Perspective: Like a Kick in the Teeth and here: It’s a God Thing, Always.

Our group was blessed with the opportunity to deliver bags of food to families in need, to talk with them, learn about them and to share the love of God with them. The people we met had nothing by the world’s standards but were incredibly rich in their humble character and giving spirit. Though they were without, they still wanted to give—be it compote, a handmade bracelet or a warm smile and hug, each and every one never ceased to show their appreciation and affection.

Regardless if it was a single mother of three who had to work around the clock just to keep her children from starving or a selfless grandmother who was raising her grandchildren because their parents had abandoned them—each and every family was extraordinarily welcoming, inviting and soulfully giving.

Their stories, warm conversation and genuine interaction showed me something that too often I lose sight of in my busy, self-absorbed life in the States. Taking the time to be present, to truly show people you care about them, about their lives and their needs could mean the difference in giving life to someone or leaving them as they are.

It took the “have nots” to show me that often I am, in fact, the one without—missing the most important thing that I, or anyone could ever possess and share—love. Seeing in them was the Jesus I’ve been reminded that I (and we all) so desperately need to be.

Share the love. God’s love.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) – And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But…

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It’s a God Thing, Always.

This is part three in my “lessons from Moldova” series.
Parts one and two can be found here: Missing and Making Connections  and here: God’s Perspective: Like a Kick in the Teeth

There are certain things that happen in life—and more specifically during this trip—that can only be explained with the phrase “that was surely God”.

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From everything that seemingly went ‘wrong’ and the chaos continuing with mishaps from missing flights to delays to having plane tickets cancelled and a passport lost (ahem, Sam)—all of these things that were ultimately worked out could not have been without some divine intervention.

The amazing thing, as I have learned, is that God always gives us opportunity to learn from what we perceive as dysfunction. And the lesson in this chaos is that it’s often at points of helplessness that we learn to trust in God. But it’s in these moments I realize that it shouldn’t only be in our times of despair or major crises that we realize that God is in control. He created it, He already knows it and He’ll see us through it. He promised.

Never before has it been so clear to me how important it should be to trust God in all circumstances—the good, the bad and everything in between—He will always be with us and work things for our good—and most importantly, for His glory.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

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God’s Perspective – Like a Kick in the Teeth

When God has other plans, sometimes those plans involve 2 nights in a 5 star resort – a bit of a stretch from our intended destination.
It’s been quite interesting to assess our situation and God’s lessons for us since arriving at Lansdowne Resort -

God always has a plan - As discovered in the previous blog post, “Missing and Making Connections”, no matter the reason things may not go the way we’d planned, God has a plan far greater than any we could derive on our own.

God always providesEven though our original itinerary changed and regardless of our initial disappointment, God found it appropriate to bless us and take care of us in a very grand way.

God always gives perspective - If we’re willing to look for it, God allows us to see the silver lining in any situation. Initially, I thought the silver lining was scoring big in a luxury resort. Eventually though, I realized that there were other lessons to be learned – staying in a resort where I felt like an outsider gave me a glimpse into the excess of the situation I found myself in, and beyond that even the over abundance of blessings in my life at home – there is tremendous importance in being grateful and aware of others’ circumstances and needs around me.

God always prepares - Beyond that, we discussed as a team how God may have been using our stay at Lansdowne as a way to show us the obvious departure in circumstances – from the “best” life has to offer to the “worst” of what we would see in Moldova – and literally the world of difference. A difference that would humble us by the perspective God allowed us to have.

Hindsight – we had no idea how right on we were. Being able to experience the life of luxury only prepared us for complete humility when we arrived in Moldova. The conditions that we found many of the people living in were deplorable and sometimes dangerous – but the one thing that I noticed over and over was the hospitality, the gratitude and gracious giving of what little they did have. For me, it was an overwhelming lesson in how spoiled I truly am, how greedy I find myself being and how much more I could be doing from the blessings I already have – that we all have. How much more of Jesus I need to be showing to others around me – no matter if I’m in Moldova or in West Virginia.

God wants to use us now, in the exact circumstances that we’re in, with exactly what we have to offer – our limitations and our blessings – and realizing that for me was like a kick in the teeth (in a good way).

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