Monday, June 29, 2009

The Epiphany Part 2

Before you read the following post make sure you have read Part 1 to be completely caught up.

So to continue. Last night while driving down the mountain Shawn and I started talking, and it was there that it all clicked for me. We have this Christianity/Religious thing all backwards. We have been completely doing it wrong. The way I was taught with youth group, youth leaders, Christian magazines, and pastors was that in order to get to heaven you needed to. 1. Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior 2. Repent and turn away from your old wicked lifestyle and 3. Stop doing wicked and bad things. If you did not do these things you would burn in hell for all of eternity. For a young christian the list of sins that you will burn in hell for kind of goes like this:
  • No drinking
  • No smoking
  • No drugs
  • No secular music or strange fire (as some call it)
  • No bad TV
  • No bad movies
  • No cussing
  • No sex
  • No dating
  • No heathen friends
  • No secular books or magazines
  • No babies out of wedlock
  • No living with a man or women before marriage
Well I broke every single one of those rules except the drugs (not my style) So under the teaching of my "old life" I would essentially burn in hell. Which now explains why that nasty Facebook person thought I wasn't serving God. But you know what?....That is NOT what keeps you from heaven. Not doing those things does not mean you are saved. There is so much emphasis put on living a Godly and holy lifestyle and refraining from doing anything on the above list, but not enough emphasis on what being a Christian is really all about. You know what God wants from us? To love Him and to love one another. Matthew 22:37-40(The Message Bible)

37-40Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."

All God wants from us is to make a decision and to acknowledge that "Yes. You are the Son of God" John 3:16-18 (The Message Bible)

16-18"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

But where we make our mistake and where we lose people is by insisting upon living under our convictions. For some people it's not so easy to just stop drinking or smoking. There are good Christian men and women. Pastors, and teachers, and Prophets who have a glass of wine, or cigar occasionally. Does that mean they don't love God? Does that mean they are going to hell? No. Because all the Bible says is "BELIEVE IN ME AND LOVE ME". That's all he wants. God does not demand like Pastors and Youth Pastors and Camp teachers that you get rid of your secular music (hell! that's how my husband pays for my expensive shopping habits!), God doesn't ask that you stop smoking. You know what? I don't even think he cares! As long as you believe in him and you love him and you love others you are fine! When I cuss because I cut myself or stubbed my foot, yeah He probably doesn't like to hear it. But you know what bothers Him even more? When my sister and I would fight and call each other names...Why? Because we broke His only other rule, which is "Love others/Don't hurt others/Don't Curse others". Pornography and adultery is blatantly breaking rule number 2. A husband (or wife) hurts their partner when they engage in pornography or lust after someone else. "LOVE ONE ANOTHER"

So you see, I now wonder if Michael Jackson really went to hell......If he believed that there was a God and he believed Jesus was the Son of God he did all he was required to do. There is that whole issue of confessing our sins before God, but don't we all do that on a daily basis? Maybe not everyone goes into their prayer closet and begins to unload a laundry list out loud. Maybe some go through out their day and think "Wow, that wasn't a good idea to yell at my boss. Shucks. I shouldn't have done that.". That's confessing. Confessing is merely speaking aloud a truth even if you don't know exactly who you are saying it to.

Matthew 22:14 (New American Standard)

14"For many are called, but few are chosen."

Now I'm no Bible scholar. I did go to Bible school and did pretty well academically, but I could still be wrong here. But my interpretation of this scripture. Perhaps everyone is not called to live a completely pious lifestyle. We are all called to confess that Christ is King right? After that is done, we are then required to love one another. If we do those things, we have done what was required. Everything else is extra curricular or being "chosen".

I think back to my mention of Oprah in Part 1 and how she certainly follows the commands. But it's that "Love one another" that she has down to a T! Better then some Pastors and Church communities. Oprah, gives and gives, and gives, and gives. Yes, she might give Wash Machines and Cars, and Books and KFC coupons, but she still gives. She loves. And I believe she is a believer. She might not go to church every Sunday and she might live with Stedman, and have physics on her show. But she's done what was required.

This post is getting really long so I think I should just sum it up as this. We (Christians) have made this thing extremely more complicated then it needs to be. We put far to many requirements on ourselves and on others then Jesus puts on us. I think that Michael Jackson did go to heaven. I think he believed in God. He believed Jesus was the Messiah. But he was also still lost. He was an ignorant man who did not know any better. But he had a heart that hungered for truth, a heart that for 50 years searched and searched for what true happiness would be. God saw his heart. God knew how much that man hurt inside. And I think He forgave him.

I think that when we get to heaven we are going to be very surprised by those who are there and those who aren't. Finally coming to this revelation is completely changed how a view so many things in the world. Trust me, I'm not looking for an excuse to cover up any of my past mistakes. I humbly repent to God every day for the things that I have done. But I have decided that I'm not going to live under this cloud of shame or be worried about what is going to happen to me after I'm gone. I love Jesus, I believe he is the Son of God and I am going to strive every day to love even the mean old lady next door who hit my car. I'm going to stop putting so much stock in ancillary things. I'm going to stop putting so much stock in "I'm a Pastor", "I'm Leader" "I run prayer groups!" "I'm a Prophet". How about "I'm a lover of Christ".

I'm just going to love Him. The rest will be worked out on it's own.

The Epiphany Part 1

I interrupt our regularly scheduled program to share an epiphany that I had last night while driving back down the mountain from Sunday night dinner at my parents house. I warn though that this post may be quite lengthy so you might want to pause your TV shows or grab a bowl of popcorn.

Of course the conversation last night veered towards the Billy May's death, the Farrah Fawcett ass cancer (Helloooo I don't mean to speak ill of the dead, but am I the only one who didn't know she had ASS cancer? And how the heck do you get ASS cancer?) and of course the shocking death of Michael Jackson. We started talking about how we are all so shocked he had died, etc., etc. Then we started discussing my sisters FB status about Michael Jackson and it was "Michael Jackson...I wonder what God is going to say to him..." Someone had written back about how they thought God would ask them if MJ knew him, and they started speculating how they did not think the response was going to be very good....Ok so skip forward to Sunday night, so amongst our big dining room table we started a rowdy discussion of the FB comment and I mentioned I'm sure that across the churches in America that day the Pastor's probably mentioned how MJ had died and was going to burn in hell and he got what he deserved because he was a sinner, and then he probably followed up with some scripture and passed the offering bucket around... So then my mom was telling us how she heard that Andrae Crouch was able to lead Michael Jackson to the Lord 3 weeks before he died. Also before I get to my main point I need to interject one other small note. Last Sunday we had a guest speaker come to our church and he was talking about how he got kicked out of a church because he was saying that in one the CA wildfires, houses all around Oprah's house were burning down but hers was left untouched. He wondered to the Pastor if God spared her house because she was such a giver (giving being a big thing in the Bible)...The Pastor said no and that Oprah was leading people to hell, and he was never invited back that church...
Ok so now that I have given you all of that info I can share with you the spiritual epiphany I had last night.

If you only know me via my blog, you may not know that from the time I could blink basically I have been in church. Every time the doors were opened there my family was. I was on the worship team, at youth group every Friday night, signed the purity contract, threw away my secular music after every Acquire The Fire, was homeschooled so I didn't have to be influenced by those bad, bad public school kids. And when I graduated I packed right up and went on to Bible School (until I got, more or less kicked out, but that's another story for another time). So me, I'm a Christian girl, I always have sought to do my best living my life the way I was taught I should in youth group and camp meetings. But then I went to Bible school. In 2004 my life and my mindset completely changed. Was it a good or bad change? Well that depends on who you ask. After I left Bible school I struggled a lot with Christianity. Not so much the objective of Christianity, I didn't doubt a lot of things I had been taught, but I started to see Christians as a big group of hypocritical, lying, heathens that put on their ties and stockings on Sunday and pretend they are better then the man who sleeps in on Sunday morning. For the past 5 years I have really struggled with what it means to really be a follower of Christ. I never went crazy and did drugs or slept around with a bunch of different guys. I was pretty tame compared to others. But I did smoke a cigarette once or five times. I did get drunk twice, swore I would never do it again and I haven't, I dated, I would go to the guy of the moments house unsupervised, I listened to secular music, I watched Soap Operas (ooooo the horror!), and I had I committed the most unforgivable sin..I lived with a man and had a baby out of wedlock. But even in my "backslidden" state I never stopped loving the Lord. I never stopped praying or reading my Bible. I never stopped going to church (well I did for a bit, but for other reasons), I never stopped believing in all that I had been taught. That's why when last summer someone had commented on FB that they weren't aware I was even serving the Lord, (I guess it was my big belly that threw them off the scent)the comment enraged me. I didn't understand how someone who I hadn't seen in 4 or 5 years and even barely knew could make an assumption like that. And so I figured I must really be a sinner uh? That is until last night...I believe that we (meaning us Christians) have gotten this entire thing completely wrong. After the initial shock of MJ dying wore off I felt myself getting sad because I thought "Wow he was just an amazing musical genius here on earth, it's a shame he died and now won't get to go to Heaven" I struggled with that last week because from what I know about MJ he has had a terrible life. He had great success with his career, great financial success (minus the millions of debt he's in now) but yet he was such a hurting person. It was like the media keeps calling him this "man-child" a conflicted man who didn't really know who he was. I started to think that it was really unfair that he would have to go to hell.

But last night I was hit with such astounding clarity about this Christianity thing and being saved, that it made me wonder about all I've known for the last 16 years. Here's my disclaimer. I know some of the people who read my blog, and some of you I don't know. Some of those I know are unfortunately probably going to be offended by this. I apologize. Certainly not my intention. My theory could be completely and utterly wrong. I'm not saying I'm right. I won't know until I get to heaven and I hope that is a looooooooooooooong time from now. But sorry if I offend anyone, you are more then welcome to delete me and my heathenistic ways from FB, MySpace,Twitter, Blog List, or what have you.

This post will cease for now, as I still have about 100 hours of work left to do and I don't want it to get to long that no one reads it. Part 2 shall follow shortly....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Free Paint

While watching Real Housewives of New Jersey Reunion Part 2 (really good) a commercial fro Glidden paint came on. They are giving away free paint on their website. I have a spare bedroom to paint so I just picked "Watermelon Smoothie"

And of course, I can't post today without mentioning the passing of a great American icon...Michael Jackson. Me? I was born in '87 so I wasn't one of biggest fans or anything, but I am certainly familiar with just about all of his songs. So many of the people I grew up listening to and like now have been influenced by him and his music. It's such a strange thing, like Michael Jackson...dead....But my heart just goes out to his family and his kids. And I really hope that he knew he was getting ready to go and made some peace with God.
Let's blare his greatest hits 24/7 for the next week :-(

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Biting toes? (UPDATED 6/25)


Why does my baby seem fascinated with biting my big toe? Isn't that like the weirdest thing ever? I sit on the sofa with my feet sometimes kicked out on the chaise part, or tucked under me and he'll come up and start biting them and giggling like crazy! Tonight he was doing it and when I pulled my foot away and started moving faster to get to it! He's a really cute odd little Monkey.

I forgot to add to my update post last week that he's started sharing his food with us :-) And at his doctors appointment his pediatrician was so excited when she started putting his progress in her charts. She was like "You have to see this! Come here!" So we scurried over to her little mini laptop and he had shot so far up on the percentile chart! I had never been so proud in my life!

This week has been one of those weeks. The days have seemed to be over much quicker then I would like because I still have mounds of work to do and Aunt Flo came and visited this week and my head has been POUNDING. It doesn't help that I spend over 8 hours a day staring at a computer screen, telephone screen and TV screen (I need background while I work) simultaneously. This week should have been great because school is out and my little sisters have been over every day and it's been great having them here because they help me with Monkey so I can get work done, but it's just been a draining week! So today I closed shop early and decided to go to the park. This helped a lot! The fresh air, sunshine and slight breeze was a great pick me up. Plus my sisters and I plotted on how we could "borrow" some of the neighbors pool passes. It's such an odd thing. We have a community pool a few blocks away but we can't use it because there are two different communities in the same area and we are in the other. It's weird because it's only separated by like a street! So I'm rather pissed we can't use it. But luckily there is supposed to be a really nice one a short drive away I am hoping to get to Saturday.

Anyway here are the pictures from today's park outing....

The Littlest Aunt Juli

Park trip with Daddy Tuesday after Tacos

Sunday, June 21, 2009

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