Friday, December 18, 2009

Give Jesus

Last fall I started reading a blog called Bella Mella by Melanie Clark.
I love her sensible fashion tips that she provides.

And then suddenly in August she put a post up asking for prayer for her 12 year old son Andrew. And all her fashion tips were set aside.
Pray for Andrew
The Clark family would find out their son would have brain cancer and life as they knew it would never be the same. Andrew's skateboard that he rode on daily was put down as he would be taken to doctor's appointments and even checked into the hospital.

Prayer after prayer from all over the country bombarded the throne room of heaven on behalf of Andrew.
Hoping, begging God for a miracle.

Wednesday, December 15th Melanie and her family ushered Andrew into the arms of his Creator.

So as we are stressed about getting the right gift, enough gifts, the perfect gift,
Melanie is picking out what to bury her 12 year old son in.
Choosing a casket to hold his body.
Going through his empty bedroom and getting his favorite stuff to display at his funeral.
Holding his skateboard he'll never ride again.

And in the midst of this horrible storm that just started last fall,
she is choosing to keep her eyes focused on Christ.
Her ending of her post says:
God is good.

I would say Jesus is definitely the reason of her season.
The season of her life she never thought she would be going through and yet she chooses to bring honor and glory to her King.

Want to give someone the perfect gift this Christmas?
Give them Jesus.
Keep focused no matter what on Him, because you can get sucked in so quickly to the demands of this world.

If you would've told Melanie that her youngest of 3 children would be dead before Christmas,
she would've never believed your news.
Andrew was healthy and was riding on a skateboard more than he walked
just days before his diagnosis in August.
if Melanie did have a heads' up of her son's death,
her panic wouldn't have been over where Andrew was going to spend eternity.

Her actions would have been the same ones she displayed these last 3 months.
She would have tried to find a way to save his life, buy them more time, make him comfortable, ask others to pray,
but never worry about where he was going.

Because Andrew knew Jesus.

And in the last days Melanie had with her son on earth,
she didn't ask him to make a Christmas list and then run out and join the mad shoppers to
buy him the
best skateboard,
latest video console or i-pod.

Instead, she sang songs about Jesus to him,
read the Bible to him,
prayed over him
and laid in bed with her Andrew.

And with his last breath, her 12 year old son reminded her that
God is good.
He gave her Jesus for Christmas.

Let's keep the X out of CHRISTmas
and remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Only a Mother can describe her child's last moments in such a beautiful way...
please click here to visit Melanie and leave her an encouraging message.


Monday, December 7, 2009

The Last Jesus

This song (bottom of post) by Kirk Franklin, The Last Jesus really goes along with yesterday's post.

Hope you take the time to listen to the very truthful powerful words of this song.

It's meant for all of us.

If you were the Last Jesus someone saw...Who are they seeing in you?


Sunday, December 6, 2009

.75 cent Jesus

The church.
It's made up of many different lives coming together as a body of Christ.
Gathering together to worship Jesus one to two times a week.
Many churches preach the message of bringing in the lost "as is" and just loving on them.
Being Jesus to them I believe would be the correct "Christianese" terminology for this out reach.

But what does this really mean?
I mean, it's easy to cheer people on from the pulpit or place in leadership to be Jesus to others, but it's harder to actually step out and do the reaching.
Not everyone in the church is like this though.
Some actually don't just ask themselves WWJD, they just live it out.

It's easy to talk about reaching out to the city, to the ones who don't know Jesus, but to actually do it when you're face to face...whole other story.
So what if you were visiting a church that professed this stuff and someone in a leadership role approached you at the coffee center.
And the Jesus they left you with didn't match the Jesus they preached about from the pulpit?

If you have guessed something happened at church this morning to spur me to get on my blog and write from my heart, then you would be correct.

My son had two friends with him at church and after the service the boys went to get what they thought was free hot chocolate. A basket of cocoa packets seemed inviting to them as the snow was falling to the ground outside, so they were helping themselves when approached.

Approached by a woman who has a role of leadership at the church.
A woman known by many for her rudeness.
And that is what she approached my son and his two friends with this morning.
Over hot chocolate.
Telling them that each packet of hot chocolate is 75 cents.
And taking Aaron by his shoulders and telling him how he knew this.
How this time it would be "free", but next time they each need to put 75 cents in the money basket.
Not only approaching them once.
But twice in a matter of minutes.

I was packing up my stuff when my very embarrassed son came to me and told me of how rude she was. Knowing the reputation she has of being rude and witnessing it first hand, it was very easy to believe 3 boys over one rude woman.
So, I wrote out a check for $5.00, enough to cover 5 boxes of hot chocolate at Wal-Mart.
I put Hot Chocolate in the memo and went and handed it to her.
When asked what it was for and I said hot chocolate, without taking her eyes off the check, she waved her hand at me and walked away.
With my payment. And her rudeness.

Now as I share this, please know when my kids have come to me before on things, I am not the type of Mom who just "sides" with them. But taking in the reputation of this woman and after driving back to the church to talk with her, I know that I have 3 teenage boys that are not lying cocoa thieves on my hands. Just 3 boys that wanted some hot chocolate.
But above all of that he said she said garbage, this post is about what kind of Jesus we are to others.

So if you were this person in leadership how should you be to them?
Shoot, even if you're not in leadership, how should you be?

In the few moments you gave yourself permission to enter these kids' lives...what kind of Jesus would you leave them with?

Let's say, before you approached them, you knew some inside information about them.
Would you leave them with a different type of Jesus?
A kinder one?
What if you knew....

That the 2 boys that came to church with us come from homes that their parents don't care about them. At all. One kid has spent up to four days with us before his dad has called his cell phone wondering where he is.

That yesterday morning Aaron and I attended their basketball game and I was both kids'"cheering Mom" because one kids' mom is back in jail after already serving 4 years and the other kids' Mom just doesn't care to watch him play or do anything.

That the reality of these 2 boys having a dime in their pocket let alone 3 quarters for a packet of overpriced hot chocolate is probably pretty low, especially when I know for a fact both boys receive free lunches from the government at school.

That both of these boys are really on their own. They both live on the north side of town and both get up early to catch a city bus to attend Southwest high school. A school that probably has the most supportive parents in the city. And that's just by looking at how many parents attend the sporting events wearing booster buttons with their kids' faces on them. But not theirs.

That one of the boys is not saved.
That the other boy became saved when he came to youth group with our son 3 years ago.
At this same church.

That these boys will ask to spend the night on Saturday night so they can go to church.
Any church.

That Aaron has been going through some real struggles himself lately at school. And how he doesn't even want to come to this church. And how Gene and I were just praising God he came this morning without an attitude.

So if you had the opportunity to approach these 3 boys this morning knowing all of the things above, would you approach them differently?
Would you not embarrass them and make them feel like they're stealing packets of hot chocolate?
Would you still take the time to make a sign on a hot pink card that says:
A sign you took the time to place on the cocoa basket because you said "Aaron has done this before", even though he said he didn't know there was a charge for hot chocolate.

Because see, it doesn't matter if we know those things or not.

We're either clearly Jesus to others.
We're not.
When we have the love of Jesus in our hearts, the joy of Jesus comes oozing out of us.
And when we have pride and a need to control then that is what will come oozing out of us.

My husband grew up in a black southern church in Orlando, Florida.
One I have attended with him a few times when we go visit.
When talking with him this afternoon, I said this...

"You know for a fact Gene that the church you grew up in would've never acted like this.
Not one of those sisters in Christ would've approached these boys like this.
Instead, they would've said, "Baby are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Come with me to the kitchen and let me feed you while you sip on your hot chocolate."
Because bottom line is Jesus wouldn't want their measly 75 cents.
He wants their hearts.
And those women get that."

For years, I've heard my Grandfather tell a story of being embarrassed when he was a kid by a "church person".
He's 84 years old now and hasn't attended church since.
That was the Jesus he was introduced to.
And that's the Jesus he wants nothing to do with.

Not too long ago our pastor spoke about the different rooms in a house and how important the "foyer" is to welcoming new people, hurting people...everyone.
Does the foyer of your church have a hot pink sign up?

Being Jesus to "them"...

"Them" might just be 3 teenagers helping themselves to some hot chocolate in the
house of God's foyer.

What kind of Jesus will you leave them with?

A lost soul costs a whole lot more than 3 quarters.

~Many Blessings~