Andyouinvitedmein’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘conservative

Trans-Siberian Orchestra by Michael Tyler

Trans-Siberian Orchestra as photographed by Michael W. Tyler

On Sunday we went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and with all the lights and acoustics I suddenly felt like I could be on that stage performing. I was dreaming like when I was younger and it seemed like the sky was the limit on what I could do and who I could become. When you are young you don’t think about not seeing a loved one again.

The last twenty-four hours has been nostalgic in that I longed to be back at my grandparent’s house. There were certain things that could only happen there with them like my grandfather calling Santa “Santy”. Or my grandmother always burning the bottoms of cheap biscuits–those you buy in four pack for around a dollar for the four.

Everyone was welcomed at their home. Family members who might not be welcomed anywhere else were welcome to come and have a bite to eat and fellowship. Because my grandparents were peacemakers, no one who had an ought with another got mad at Jewell and Ercie for befriending the other party. This gift has been passed down to my parents as they could have hostile acquaintances come to their table and peace would take over everyone…there was no more family or friend “war”.

This is Christmas Day…the day our Savior was born and it was through him that our sins are forgiven and we are reconciled to God. Today is the day you need to find that loved one who has been outside the warmth of your embrace…if you can’t find them by traditional means search through Google, Facebook and MySpace. Make this a “Lost Sheep Day” and welcome them home.

I started this blog by talking about youth and things we don’t think of such as losing our loved ones. On Christmas Eve morning I lost a friend named Jack. He was a beloved pastor who had the heart of a child and embraced everyone. I’ve known Jack for eight years and suddenly time was gone: time to tell him how much I loved him or how much embodied the grace of Jesus in his everyday life.

On Christmas Eve night a close friend became a grandmother. That baby is just like the baby that comes to everyone. Remember that special love the first time you saw your child, sibling, friend? If you are not in touch…reach out and get in touch TODAY!!! Blessings…

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It has been a month since I’ve blogged. I’m getting settled into a new job and have been working long hours and many weekend days and nights. Last weekend the girls and I went to a church that had none of the perfect qualities that we might desire. My oldest loves worship. My youngest loves peers. I love intellectual sermons that challenge the heart. But for sometime I’ve known that God wants us to visit that church.

This church was the victim of an electrical storm so the scant sound system and overhead had “gone to glory” in electrical terms. The songs were long and not what we like for worship. Other similar issues were like this, and the guest speaker was a preacher who sounded like Tyler Perry’s Madea. Yet in the middle of all of this we were deeply touched by God. My oldest and I both felt like we were swinging in my grandmother’s swing at sundown on a summer’s evening. We haven’t felt such spiritual peace in months.

A couple of days ago I was with my mom and mentioned an older, poor preacher who came to town back in 1991 and his sermon spoke depths into my heart. Once again we were visiting a poor, poor country church that is commonly called “The Little Church” in our area. This man gave me some wise insight that continues to carry me today.

In my book And You Invited Me In there is a character named Miss Lois. She is a real person in my hometown. Family illnesses prevent her from attending church except on rare occasions. However, she reads and prays and has a closer walk with the Lord than anyone I’ve ever come across.

So what is the point of all of this? Finding God isn’t a matter of getting to Atlanta, San Antonio, Tulsa or Houston to get blessed in that mega-church where the pastor sells thousands of books. God is sometimes found in the hidden places. And it is there he has the greatest blessings for our lives. For a moment we might think “no, this can’t be God” but if we rest in Him we will soon find that He is moving mightily in the willing vessels, the pure heart and those who ask nothing but to be with him.

This is probably part one of a series of thoughts on the heart.

I’ve always been conservative, and keep more of a conservative leash on myself than most people would realize. On the other hand, in the last few years I’ve tried to listen to people on the outside to understand what they’re hearing from us. One thing that continues to pop up in commentaries and newscasts is that we conservative Christians are two-issue people: we’re pro-life and anti-gay. And when it shakes out, that’s about where we stand.

A decade ago the talking heads of conservative religion said that if you were pro-choice or homosexual you were the “doom of America”. Somehow that unbalanced train of thought continues today. What we don’t realized is that something happens when we make those our only issues…I’ll cover those in a minute….

First, Jesus was all about the spiritual. Pharisees and all those like them were going around making sure every mint twig was tithed and Koshered. Jesus ALWAYS spoke about a person’s heart–so we need to remember that in all we do. It was the giving heart of the widow in the “widow’s mite.” It was the heart of the Samaritan. Let’s put a new twist on the Samaritan for today.

There was a man in Hartford, Connecticut who was hit by a car and no one stopped to help. Many people passed him on the street and didn’t want to get involved. Surely there were many church people who drove or walked past. And God looked down and wondered what was wrong with their hearts that they could ignore someone in pain when all of them had so much–health, material goods, jobs, family, and so on.

I don’t know if America is going to fall or rise. If we fall, I can’t say what will be the magic bullet to kill the nation, but since Jesus clearly spoke about the condition of the heart we need to look inside an examine our ways. Because that’s probably why we’re sinking…

Therefore when we isolate a group and make them our scapegoat, then we disenfranchise this group of people. We make them non-people, and non-people become expendable. Once they’re expendable then you hear a grade school child say: well, it’s okay to kill a gay person. (And the child could not understand why I said it was wrong.)

If Jesus were to return today he wouldn’t ask any of my conservative fellows about the political issues of the day and how we changed the world by an amendment here and there. He’d ask if we treated our neighbors with honor–you know the neighbors who’ve just returned from a California wedding. He’d ask why we hadn’t been there to wipe the tears of our child we sent away because (s)he was “living in sin”. Jesus would ask how we could forget about this child’s pain because God never forgets about our pain. He never sends us away. That would be like the people passing the man in Hartford, and God isn’t like that…

Therefore, forget the outside…look at the heart, your own heart. Listen for the heart of the person you don’t understand. Listen for the cry of their heart.

May 12, 2008
And You Invited Me In
“In the conservative church, our problem is not having enough grace. Grace is the name of our ship and why we are saved. Extending grace when it seems impossible what the book is about.”

By Jeremy Reynalds
Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

 

 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) It’s a tragedy that Cheryl Moss Tyler’s book “And You Invited Me In” would be considered controversial in most conservative evangelical circles.

That’s because it’s a very readable and eminently Biblical exhortation for self-described Bible believing Christians to show the love of Jesus Christ to homosexuals. Once I began reading “And You Invited Me In,” I couldn’t put it down. If you choose to purchase the book, and I strongly suggest you consider doing so, I believe that you’ll experience the same reaction I did.

Click here to link to and read the full review of And You Invited Me In by Jeremy Reynalds: http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2008/s08050065.htm

 (Photo by Sheliah Miller of Tulsa World/AP)

The photo is from yesterday’s twister in Oklahoma. We have relatives there who deal with this all the time. A storm like this carries incredible power to rearrange a landscape and change lives. As powerful as this twister was, the power of unconditional love and forgiveness is even greater.

Several times a year my mother will report that her fellow churchmen question: Why don’t we have ‘the power’? The Power they’re looking for is the power to lay on hands and a person is healed, delivered, or whatever is needed by the seeker. It would also be The Power to raise people from the dead. Frankly, when I die just let me go on and rest in Jesus arms—don’t be calling me back. That’s just me, and I need to get back to what I intend to say in this blog.

In my opinion The Power is only two things: unconditional love and forgiveness. From there you’ll be able to witness the nine visible attributes of Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control. There’s no law against these, and people will be able to identify you as a follower of Christ because of these attributes.

Warning! Unconditional love is very difficult, but it’s something that Satan cannot copy. He can’t copy forgiveness either. And that’s The Power…this power might not be able to raise a dead person, but it’s the power that will transform a broken heart, heal a dispute, or resurrect a family.

I live in The South, and as the weather changes we experience tornadoes all spring and fall. I’ve seen hundreds of after-the-storm interviews on television. The only thing that matters to any of those being interviewed is that their family and friends made it out okay. After the storm it isn’t the gold Cadillac or the Prada shoes that matter.

Once we’re living with Jesus and can look back on this life we’ll see how important relationship is and wonder why we didn’t move quicker to reconcile. In the hereafter it won’t matter what “Sister Susie” thinks. It will only be about how much we did in forgiving and giving grace to the extent that it hurts.

So this Sunday in church think about the richness of relationship. Think about the person in your life who isn’t there anymore because of an “ought”—Bible term to mean “we got mad and haven’t made up yet.” As you reach out to them, forgive and restore, then The Power will come like a tidal wave.