jesus not religion

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

That’s what I’ve asked myself.

Days after tornadoes and unrelenting rain and hail left their unmistakable marks of damage, debris, and death in Oklahoma.

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

In all honesty, the media and its frenzied thirst for sensationalism and drama numbed me out. Too much to process. Too many assumptions and “facts” that would later be changed. The numbers of deaths and damages raised and lowered, raised and lowered.

The souls. The children. The wounded. The desperate. The miracles. And devastation.

What do you do?

And then I saw something beautiful. Glimmers. Tangibles of something beyond this human frailty.

An outpouring of love. Of resources. Of undeniable hope in the face of overwhelming odds.

This is what is unfolding.

Out of the debris, we rise. Our faith shaken but not forsaken. Our hearts broken but not annihilated.

And the Church. What of the Church?

This cynic has had her cynicism skewered, punctured, and thrown aside.

Humbled in watching and experiencing the Church come together. Meeting needs. Searching out how to best be utilized. And doing exactly that. Large and small. All denominations. People from all over the state, the country, and the world coming to Oklahoma. Serving. Giving. Weeping with the grief-stricken. Sitting in the ruins alongside those who have lost homes. Celebrating over lives saved. Rejoicing in and over each act of love.

The focus is on need. And love. And rising each day. Rising to meet, to reach, to be alongside one another.

There is beauty in ashes. There is Jesus. In each outstretched hand. There is Jesus in each action. I see disbelief in the eyes of those unable to believe that help is here: Feeding, clothing, combing through the debris and rubble, cleaning and restoring. And that this very help will continue to pour in.

Love skinned in flesh. Love covered in dirt and grime, sweat and tears.

Each day we rise. Each day Jesus walks with us and in the midst of all the damage. Jesus is here.

In the weeks and months and years to come, let us remember.

Let us remember that when we don’t know what to do? We love as love does.

We crawl in to each other’s heartache and cry and sit and be. Sit beside others in strength. In gentleness.

We are called. Called to action. Not just today, but in every moment of this.

We are called. Called to remember.

We are called. Called to sacrifice. Meeting each and every need without hesitation today. Tomorrow. And the next and the next.

Give ruthlessly.

Give unabashedly.

And look and listen.

Your neighbor, your friend, your family, your community need you with them.

Meet with them. Look them in the eyes. See the depths. The joy. The pain. The loss. Listen to their story.

We are called to come alongside one another.

And this is where I find my Jesus. Right here. Holding and stretching and reaching. Unwavering in his unfathomable commitment to us.

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

Be love.

Because that is what love does.

 

Enough

You are enough. For months now that is what keeps coming to mind. You are enough. There is nothing to add, subtract, calculate, manipulate.

I am enough.
You are enough.
Do we not realize this?
With God for us
with us
in us
With God being in all things
all knowing
all places
What is to fear?

Our lack?
Our weakness?
Our mistakes?

If we grasp even the slightest comprehension of a loving God who is everything we learn to quit disclaiming, to quit could’ve, should’ve, would’ve-ing our lives away.

I am enough
because
God is more than enough.

So when Comparison comes knocking on my door. And I open it. Comparison runs and greets Insecurity who has been hiding under my bed as an old friend. They unite in their lie. They vampirically feed on my if onlys, somedays, I wishes.

I am learning to kick them both out the door. And with them doubt. Doubt. Comparing. Insecurities. These are but the tiniest specks of nothingness to my God. I forget this. I despair. I believe these lies. Our comparisons, our doubts, our fears are bigger than our God. We believe God is changed, vengeful, angry, unwilling. But He isn’t. He is not bound by my monkey mind.

I am enough. Are you? You are enough. Am I?

Quit straining, pushing, fighting, to meet your vision of expectations.

Expectations are the 2nd cousin of hope.

Give me hope. Speak truth in my life.

Those do me better than expectations.

When I see God in a bottle of mouthwash, in a washing machine, in a smile, in a moment of desperation, even in depraved places I am tasting God.

I have affirmation of my God who is more powerful than regret*, who loves me fully, completely, wholly – who is more magnificent than circumstances, situations, and incidents – who loves me enough to say “You are enough”.

I bring God to the dressing room and I critique each part of me – showing him my scars, showing him my uglies, showing him my doubts. I tell him He messed up. I can never be what I need to be or long to be.

He listens. He responds.

He kisses my scars and says to me “You are enough.”

He smiles gently at my uglies and says “You are enough.”

He gathers my doubts in His sure-steadied palm. He examines them out of amusement, out of understanding. He is not frustrated or irritated. He lovingly picks up each of the doubts and examines them. A scientist studying a species of doubts. To each doubt he says “That is my child. She is enough.” One by one. Until all the doubts are contained in a jar. He never tires of this. He never tires of me, of you coming to him. And for this one exquisite moment – I know I am enough.

I am. You are. Enough.
Because God is more than enough.

*Author and blogger Jon Acuff tweeted about this very thing: @jonacuff: “Am I not more powerful than regret?” The question God asks me when I’m afraid to take a risk I might regret.

Guts and Grits

A sketchnote

This is an ongoing series about the book Love Does by Bob Goff. I am exploring each chapter and sharing a few of my thoughts.

Chapter 31 – Two Bunk John

“Living a different kind of life takes some guts and grit and a new way of seeing things.”
This is the final chapter of Love Does. I asked my sister Kyndal what chapter was her favorite or really stood out and affected her. She said without hesitation, “Two Bunk John!”

 

Two Bunk John lives his faith. In big, bold, extraordinary ways. He is in Uganda helping run Restore Academy. The kids, John, and everyone involved are learning and teaching all of us how to move beyond typical and do things different.

 

I’m doing this chapter a disservice, there is so much in it and of course an incredible, moving, and inspiring story.

 

Read it. Read this book and I bet you’ll be moved to action. 

Live as love does.

To read an excerpt check out Bob’s guest post for Donald Miller here.

Palms up living

A sketchnote

This is an ongoing series about the book Love Does by Bob Goff. I am exploring each chapter and sharing a few of my thoughts.

Chapter 30 – Palms Up

“When people ask me what it looks like to follow Jesus, I usually say that following Him looks like dealing with all of the issues everyone else does – disappointments, tremendous joy, uncertainty, the whole bit – and having your mind change all the time as you learn how Jesus would’ve dealt with things. Following Jesus is about having your paradigms shift as you navigate a wide range of emotions while living the big life Jesus invites us into.”

 

Living palms up is what Bob talks about in this chapter. Palms up helps us be calm, honest, and accurate. Palms up is how Jesus lived. It “means you are strong enough to be vulnerable, even with your enemies.”

 
I’ve found myself trying this technique physically. When I am sitting somewhere I place my palms up and the backs of my hands rest on knees. It’s a vulnerable position palms up. But physically, mentally, spiritually I think it is better to live palms up then with fists clenched.

 
How can you live your life more palms up?

To read an excerpt check out Bob’s guest post for Donald Miller here.

Stalking Jesus?

This is an ongoing series about the book Love Does by Bob Goff. I am exploring each chapter and sharing a few of my thoughts.

Chapter 29 – Memorizing Jesus

“I used to think I could learn about Jesus by studying Him, but now I know Jesus doesn’t want stalkers.”

Bob Goff keeps bringing it. Bob’s encouragement to move from  “Bible studying” to “Bible doing”  was all over me like a rat on a cheeto. Bob also helped me recognize when I am stalking Jesus or when I am knowing and doing as Jesus does.

I do want my faith to be its own love story. I want to be known for action, for loving, for doing as Jesus does.

To read an excerpt check out Bob’s guest post for Donald Miller here.

It’s time to pick a fight

This is an ongoing series about the book Love Does by Bob Goff. I am exploring each chapter and sharing a few of my thoughts.

Chapter 28  – Skin in the Game

Passage that affected me:

“I want to pick a fight because I want someone else’s suffering to matter more to me. I want to slug it out where I can make a meaningful difference. God says He wants us to battle injustice, anyone who gets distracted with the minutiae of this point or that opinion is tagging out of the real skirmish. God wants us to get some skin in the game and to help make a tangible difference.”

To read an excerpt check out Bob’s guest post for Donald Miller here.

God pursues us

A sketchnote

This is an ongoing series about the book Love Does by Bob Goff. I am exploring each chapter and sharing a few of my thoughts.

Chapter 26 – Jailbreak

I’m going to share this quote and let it sit with you quietly and powerfully:

God pursues us into whatever dark place we’ve landed and behind whatever locked doors holds us in. He holds our unwashed and dirty hands and models how He wants us to pursue each other. Sometimes that means picking up a phone and asking a stranger to do something that seems crazy at first. He invites us to leave perfectly fine careers like Charlie did, and rather than having us apply for a position, He says our lives are the position. And He says to ordinary people like you and me that instead of closing our eyes and bowing our heads, sometimes God wants us to keep our eyes open for people in need, do something about it, and bow our whole lives to Him.

To read an excerpt check out Bob’s guest post for Donald Miller here.

Living on the edge

This is an ongoing series about the book Love Does by Bob Goff. I am exploring each chapter and sharing a few of my thoughts.

Chapter 25 – God is Good

Bob Goff shares the story of his dear friend Don Valencia. Don’s story is brimming with life. Don’s life and death makes me want to live my life so much less fearfully and hesitantly.

Bob makes an insightful observation: “Have you noticed that lots of people who trust God seem to be wired to live near the edge?”

Don’s friendship, life, and death taught Bob that God is good. All the time.

I will be the first to tell you, this chapter was hard to read. Hard to contemplate. Most likely because my dad also died from cancer.

But the beauty.

The hope.

The trust.

The way Bob lives. The way Don lived. Both of these men had me smiling despite my heavy heart.

I want to live on the edge, too.

I want to say every step of the way: God is good. All the time.

To read an excerpt check out Bob’s guest post for Donald Miller here.

Be secretly incredible

This is an ongoing series about the book Love Does by Bob Goff. I am exploring each chapter and sharing a few of my thoughts.

Chapter 24 – Lose the Cape

“Secretly incredible people just do things.”

Be secretly incredible.

Lose the cape.

And as Bob puts it, “Be awesome.”

Don’t worry about self-promotion or marketing or painting the perfect version of yourself.

Do things knowing only God knows.

God knows and that is fully, satisfying enough.

Let it be enough.

Go live a secretly incredible life.

To read an excerpt check out Bob’s guest post for Donald Miller here.

Jesus plus nothing

This is an ongoing series about the book Love Does by Bob Goff. I am exploring each chapter and sharing a few of my thoughts.

Chapter 23 – Friends, Welcome Home

I love this chapter because it makes me excitedly nervous.

Nervous because it makes Jesus and God and faith seem much more accessible than I was ever taught or thought.

Excited because dang it this has nothing to do with religion – this has everything to do with Jesus.

“It’s Jesus plus nothing.”

Bob just keeps bringing it home. An amazing tale full of whimsy and then the beautiful, hopeful, hard truth.

I’m just going to leave it here for today – Jesus plus nothing. I’m going to rest in those words and then I am going to bound with energy to see what love does next.

To read an excerpt check out Bob’s guest post for Donald Miller here.