Jesus Doesn’t Care About Middle-Class

I am being vacuumed slowly and painfully into the vortex of suburbia America.  This was one of my fears when deciding to move here. In Florida I lived in smaller town where I knew people and saw familiar faces. I was able to get to know my neighbors and the cashiers at the grocery store and the lady who worked the counter at the pizza joint.  I also intimately knew the lives of the teenagers, their struggles and their pain.  I prayed over them and dried their tears. Their lives kept me immersed in the realities of the world.

At one point I served as staff of a church who’s property backed up to a poor neighborhood.  Children would come out on Wednesday nights in search of some community.  I would walk nine year old girls home at ten o’clock at night when it was pitch dark out only to find their moms say things like, “I was wondering where you were.”  Those same kids would show up on Sunday, not feeling like they quite fit in, watching through the windows at the “churched” kids. Barefoot, dirty and unfed.

Now I”m back in the bubble of the city.  A bubble filled with children living with a narrow worldview, thinking their lives are difficult.  I’m living in a city where your attire is important, and everyone pays hundreds of dollars to get their hair done.  I’m surrounded by people who take regular expensive vacations and teenagers consider $150,000 houses the “ghetto”.

nice house

 

And all of this “lifestyle” is sucking the life out of me.  I find myself wishing I had more “things” and comparing myself to the trendy women who walk about with their babies ducktaped to their bodies.  I find the time and energy to reason with myself about buying clothes and shoes. I desire things now that I did not desire eight months ago.

shoppin

 

I completely understand that some people work hard to have nice things and own their homes and do their nails and spend $200 on their hair.  I get it.  But I don’t want to be that person if it costs me what matters most.

I see myself losing perspective.  I see myself allowing the world and my flesh to drown out the purpose of my life.  I feel myself allowing God to be at arms length because the suburban lifestyle is oh so comfortable.

Friends, it will suck you in.  And it’s strong…oh so strong.  Convincing you and enticing you.  The seductive dance of wanting and buying and needing skews the picture of the why Jesus came in the first place.  Your bubble- life you live without disturbance, focused on yourself and your own needs and wants, completely shelters you from the Kingdom of God.

Pop the bubble.

Take off the blinders.

Remove the night vision.

Change the way you look at things.

Alter how you think of your circumstances.

Most of us don’t have it that bad.  In fact, most of us have it pretty damn good.  Don’t let middle-class America determine your relationship with Christ, if it hasn’t already.

And I’m not talking about donating a few things to Goodwill, or helping load a food truck.

I’m talking, be sold out for Jesus instead of worrying about what’s on sale or how you’re going to get more of something you already have way too much of.

I’m talking, stop being in a hurry and start being still in His Presence.

I’m talking throw everything you think you know about your neighbors & all that gossip out the window and really listen and be a friend.

I’m talking stop just showing up to church on Sunday after going to the bar on Saturday.  Don’t go to the bar and serve, give, love.

Do more, be more.

Jesus doesn’t care much about your middle-class or upper-class or wealthy status.  Jesus cares about the condition of your heart, your intentions and the love you have for Him and His people.

 

LG|LP 

Tiff 

Hey Churches: Stop With All The Logos

Blame it on my background in advertising.  Or maybe it’s the million churches I’ve been to in my life.  Or maybe it’s the clutter that already lives in my mind.  But I’m not sure why churches like logos so much.

It seems every ministry has it’s own logo.  And not only each ministry, but sometimes even every ministry under every ministry has it’s own logo.  When a person…a visitor….ME…when I dig through the website of a new church or open the bulletin/program on a Sunday it looks something like the logo quiz game.

logo quic

Stop.  Please stop.  it’s overwhelming.  Too many logos, that mostly don’t look anything alike, have no purpose but clutter, clutter, clutter. I know in your mind, in your heart, they are meaningful, but to the person trying your church for the first time, they are just confusing.

Everything we do should lead to the simplicity of the message: It’s all about what Christ did for us.  Our logos and “business” of church should remain simple as well.   Additionally, our ministries need to convey a sense of unity, as we are trying to unify people in their relationship with God.  Too many logos shows division in the church, particularly if there is no common thread within all of the logos.

I say it in love, stop with all the logos. What do you think?  When you visit a church do logos help you or confuse you? Comment…and remember….

You are loved.

 

 

When a House is Not a Home

I have this friend who has to sell her home. She doesn’t want to, but circumstances beyond her control have forced her hand, and she now has to give up her sanctuary. A few weeks ago, my family sold my grandparent’s house. Well, it was more than a house, it was home. It was a place lots of children were raised, lots of praying was done, and the place where my grandmother went to see Jesus.

It makes me sad to think of it, and shines light on my ridiculous jealousy when it comes to other people’s homes. I want a home of my own so badly, to build those memories, to give my kids a forever place where the grandkids can come for the summer and I can teach them things their parents will fail to.

But like my friend and like my family, as well as the devestation of all the Hurricane Sandy brought, when it comes down to it, a home is just a house. It’s a thing. We get so attached to things. Really, it’s quite ridiculous. We can’t take them with us. And no matter where my grandparents chose to buy a house, it would’ve been our home.

I wonder if this was a little something to do with Jesus being homeless. We all know his ministry was traveling and it didn’t make sense for him to have a home, but what if there was more to it? What if he knew that something as insignificant as a house could become a stronghold, an idol?

I wonder what other idols we have in our lives that control our thoughts and emotions?

Thoughts?

Amidst The Chaos

The search is in progress for a new place for my Sunday morning students to meet. A few weeks ago, we picked McDonald’s. Hard to focus kids over french fries. This past sunday we tried the park. Serene, surrounded by God’s nature, uninhibited. Yah…ummm….no.

Noisy carwash across the street, yelling kids, ridiculous sized birthday parties and bugs.

Amidst the chaos we tried to focus on Jesus. Under the pavilion we gathered around the long picnic table, yelling our thoughts and questions at each other as two different families set up their picnics around us. It was futile. We decided to call it quits and trek a bit further out to pray. We stood there slapping the bugs off our legs and dodging bird droppings hoping that Jesus was not as distracted as we were.

Our lives are much like the trees in that park. Surrounded by chaos, constant noise, numerous distractions, it seems impossible to find Jesus. We allow everything around us to interrupt our focus, to stop us from praying, to keep us from going deeper in our relationship with God.

Some how and in some way we have to find the ability to drown out all that submerges us–leaving us gasping for air. Jesus can’t do that for us, we have to do that ourselves. Trees root themselves and are able to grow and reach toward the Creator despite the little feet that try to stomp them, or the constant noise that surrounds them.

And we find trees, still strong, able to withstand–simply because they were able to focus on growing in Him. How’s your focus?

FREE | STRESSED OUT KIDS WORKSHOP

Saturday, October 6, 2012

10:30-12:00

Bloomingdale Public Library 

1906 Bloomingdale Ave

Valrico, Fl 33596

INVITE YOUR FRIENDS!

REGISTER HERE

 

An Interactive Workshop focusing on

  • Why our kids are so Stressed
  • How we know if our kids are Stressed
  • How Stress affects their behavior
  • What we can do to help kids with Stress

 

A Workshop For

Parents

Teachers

Volunteers

Ministry Leaders

Childcare Workers