Jesus Freak

Listening to Jesus Freak. It’s bringing back the feels.

If you grow up in church, you often grow up thinking that “Jesus Freak” means missions trips and youth conferences and “Official” ministries, titles, numbers of converts and endless Sundays of never resting. A checklist of do’s and don’ts. Checklist Christianity even with the highest of intentions.

As I get older, how it plays out in real life, as an adult who’s lucky enough to live in the US, is less checklist and more day to day choice of attitude and small to large self-sacrifices. It’s loving the people around you and telling them “Hey, the creator of the universe loves you more than you can fathom”, and then treating them as if they are loved and have value in the eyes of our creator. Yes, sometimes being a “Jesus Freak” means not chewing out the person who fully deserves it, but responding in gentleness. It means taking the time you don’t have to be there for someone, regardless of if they’re a “Christian” or not. It means less Starbucks for you and more coffee for the homeless dude on the corner. It means seeing people in the context of their value to Christ, not their value to you. It means loving God, and loving your neighbor as yourself, no caveats.

It’s seeing Jesus more and more as you mature and realizing more and more how much you need Him, and just how perfect He was while He was here, and reminding yourself He’s still alive, just not here. It’s remembering that every person you encounter is created in the image of a Holy God, and Jesus is proof that God longs for each and every one of them to be reconciled to Him no matter what sins they’ve committed.

It’s realizing that Jesus was a REAL PERSON, who REALLY sees us and loves us, not some vague humorless figure from ancient tests whose name we use to prop up our political and societal agendas (thanks to Radio Free Babylon for the much needed modern context!).

It’s the pull to be more like Jesus – who loved perfectly – than to be more like our own reasoning of what a “good person” is, which for me personally calls for more gentleness and patience than I possess within myself.

If you are not an American or in a country that practices religious freedom, being a Jesus Freak, particularly in the last year or so, sometimes looks like being arrested, separated from your family, mutilated and raped, possibly blown up with your children for worshiping the Risen Savior on Easter Sunday.

Whatever being a “Jesus Freak” looks like for you today, I want to remind you, to encourage you, that He is worthy. Whatever your cost, He has paid the ultimate price, not just for you, but for the super annoying person next to you. Following Christ isn’t merely a checklist of things, but a heart and mind that are oriented around honoring God and being more like Christ.

-E

029 Modesty of Wealth (#Preachersneakers)

MODESTY OF WEALTH (#Preachersnsneakers)

This week Sandy and Elisabeth talk a little more about the subject of modesty. Discussion includes the extremely popular Instagram account @preachersnsneakers, why that should matter to the modern church and what Paul’s message on modesty really was for the early church.

Our discussion of Paul’s message to the early church is pulled from 1 Timothy chapters 1 & 2. Yes the entire chapters. We won’t be adding any specific quotes in these notes because taking brief statements from Paul’s letters have led to massively out of context dress standards and unBiblical ideas on modesty, clothing and wealth. Instead we go into an in depth explanation of the purpose, context and instruction that Paul gives us. Spoiler alert: It’s NOT a checklist!!

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians [3:28]

CONCLUSION

Does God really care if your pastor wears $3,000 sneakers? Yes, yes He does.

I beg you to shepherd God’s flock for whom you are responsible. Watch over them because you want to not because you are forced. This is how God wants it. Do it because you are eager to serve, not because you want money. 1 Peter 5:2

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Freedom

“The Lord God has put His Spirit in me because the Lord has appointed me to bring the good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort those whose hearts are broken, to tell the captives they are free, and to tell the prisoners they are released.”

Isaiah 61:1

We first see these words in Isaiah, but that’s not the last time we see them. When Jesus is starting His life in the ministry He goes to the synagogues to teach, and in Luke Chapter 4 we have the first written account of what Jesus is teaching. What is it? Isaiah 61

This powerful message is often overlooked because He’s just reading Scripture in the synagogue. But actually, He is announcing to the world that He is here to fulfill the prophecy. Jesus is announcing His purpose. He has come to set us free.

He is freedom from pain. Freedom from grief. Freedom from oppression. Freedom from illness. Freedom from death itself.

Recently, God has been showing me that He is also freedom from guilt. For so many of us Mother’s Day is a painful time. Losing a child, losing a pregnancy, and infertility come with overwhelming guilt. And even though I no longer avoid church on Mother’s Day, it still brings mixed emotions for me.

Survive. It’s the most basic instinct for all of us, but for moms, we would trade our survival in the blink of an eye to make sure our children would. A mother’s most important job is to keep her children safe from harm.

So when you lose a child, a pregnancy, or when you are unable to conceive, you feel responsible. Even when we know without a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing that we did wrong and there was nothing that we could’ve done to prevent it, you still feel at fault.

This will be my 10th Mother’s Day, yet my oldest child is only five. It’s a very weird holiday for me, and millions of other women, who feel like they have failed as a mother. I am so blessed with two amazingly beautiful children. I am grateful for the opportunity to raise them, guide them, and love them. But, I am still mourning my children that aren’t here, and I still feel guilty.

But in Jesus I don’t have to live in that guilt. I have freedom.

It’s not easy to let go. The guilt is oddly comforting. It is easier to feel guilty than it is to trust. It is easier to be ashamed than to be bold. It is easier to sit in chains than it is to break free. But Jesus didn’t come so that we could stay in darkness. He came to set us free. And those He sets free are truly free.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John [8:36]

So if you are like me, and you are struggling with motherhood guilt this week, let’s pray together that God would lift us out of the darkness and into His light. That we would be free from the grip of guilt just as we are free from death. And that we would be able to forgive ourselves just as Christ has forgiven us.

-S

028 For Those Hurting on Mothers Day

For Those Hurting on Mothers Day

A special message for those who grieve on Mother’s Day.

If you are mourning you are not wrong.

ECCLESIASTES 3:1-4 There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under Heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot. A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up; A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.

If you have lost a child they are in the arms of an angel.

MATTHEW [18:10]-11 See that you don’t think these little children are worth nothing. For I tell you that they have angels in Heaven who are always in the presence of my Father in Heaven. The Son of Man came to save that which was lost.

If you don’t have any experience with this type of loss be joyful because you have hope, be patient when trouble comes and pray at all times.

ROMANS [12:10]-13; 15 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality… Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

If you aren’t sure how to respond, the answer is always love. Not just in word but in action. Remember the broken hearted. Don’t let the fear of saying the wrong thing keep you from saying anything. Your silence speaks so much louder.

1 JOHN [3:18]- My children we should love people not only with words and talk but by our actions and true caring. This is the way we know that we belong to the way of truth. This is what God commands: that we believe in His son, Jesus Christ, and that we love each other, just as He commanded. The people who keep God’s commands abide in God, and God abides in them. We know that God lives in us because of the Spirit God gave us.

CONCLUSION:

If you are mourning this Sunday, you are not alone. You are seen. You are loved. You are important. And you are covered by our prayers.

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027 Modesty Pt2: Who Told You That You Were Naked

Modesty Pt2: Who Told You That You Were Naked

This week Sandy and Elisabeth have a discussion on modesty, church dress standards and lust.

MARK [7:20]-23 And Jesus said, “The things that come out of people are the things that make them unclean. All these evil things begin inside people, in the mind: evil thoughts, sexual sins, stealing, murder, adultery, greed, evil actions, lying, doing sinful things [indecency; lust; lewdness], jealousy, speaking evil of others, pride, and foolish living. All these evil things come from inside and make people unclean.”

These verses are Jesus’ response to the Pharisees when they tried to use their checklists to trap the disciples. This is something we see all over Scripture where the Pharisees look at someones actions but Jesus looks at their heart.

GENESIS 3:9-11 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked?

God didn’t tell Adam and Eve they were naked. God didn’t tell them to be ashamed. Every time the church tells a woman she is naked we are echoing the words of satan in the garden.

PHILIPPIANS 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

Whether you are male or female, in everything you say and do, in every action and reaction your attitude should be that of Jesus. If the attitude of our heart is in the right place it really just doesn’t matter what you are wearing.

CONCLUSION:

If you believe that Christ dying on the cross covered our sins, once and for all, and you cannot add to that work, then we must get rid of the checklists, and we MUST be patient with people as the Holy Spirit leads them to places that may different than He is leading us.

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Today is the day He declares: It Is Finished.

The day our hope is fulfilled in the most horrific way possible. Literally, the best man that ever has, or ever will live, died on this day thousands of years ago, and in that deepest mourning, the greatest redemption was born.

Today, we see the full picture, from Eve to Mary, and the unspeakably great love that our Redeemer has for us, in that while we were yet sinners, He willingly died for us, so that we may be reconciled to our Creator, the price for our sins paid. It is dark and dreary where I live today. It matches my mood, it matches Good Friday.

“It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed”

Luke [23:44]

It’s spring, we’re having a normal spring day. Things die and nourish the soil, then there’s gloom and darkness, and then in a day or two, flowers everywhere will unfurl, given life by the required gloom. Darkness to light, death to life, the cycle we see over and over, the story of our Salvation echoed in creation since the beginning of time. On Sunday we will celebrate how Christ alone breaks this cycle of death, and we will celebrate the Resurrection.

But today, knowing and loving Christ, I struggle with mourning, despite the fact that Christ said not to:

27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!”

Luke [23:27]-29

I think of Mary, who loved Jesus in ways that perhaps no other moral ever will, and how one of Christ’s last words were commanding that his mother be cared for (John:19) “ 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”

I wonder where Eve’s soul is, and the relief she and Adam felt when Christ died for the sins they allowed to enter the world.

It’s the Friday before Easter. It Is Finished, the story comes full circle. The head of the Serpent is crushed. It is Good.

-E

026 Of Modesty and Men

OF MODESTY AND MEN

In the first of a 2 part series Sandy and Elisabeth sit down with their husbands to get a male perspective on modesty, lust and purity. In this interview style episode the men talk about what they were raised to believe, how those views have changed over time and what we need to teach the next generation about these topics.

INTRODUCTIONS

David is Sandy’s husband of 11 years. They have 2 children together, he has two adult children and he has two children in Heaven. He is a self-described “Christian mutt” as he was born into the Lutheran church, baptized in a Baptist church and attended Charismatic and Pentecostal churches with his family along with attending Catholic school for most of his education before settling into non-denominational churches in adulthood. In his professional life he is a manager in Information Technology, in his internet life he is the host of the Shooter’s Nation Podcast and in his personal life he is a perpetual student of leadership, safety and self-defense.

John is Elisabeth’s husband of 8 years. They have 1 child together. He was raised primarily in the Baptist church. He felt abandoned by the church after his father passed away at a young age and spent a few years away from it before God called him back to the church. In his professional life he is in Information Technology, in his internet and personal life he is a self professed D&D nerd.

DISCUSSION TOPIC

This discussion was initiated because of a pastor who tweeted the following: “Your seasonal reminder, ‘Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel with modesty and self-control.’ 1 Timothy 2:9. Leggings are underwear not outerwear, wear them properly.” This was follow up to his tweet: “Leggings aren’t pants. Wear pants. Leave the leggings at home.” basically admonishing women for wearing leggings and yoga pants in public because he deems them immodest. He also defended his tweets saying that he was a shepherd shepherding his sheep.

MODESTY, PURITY AND LUST OH MY

When asked what they thought about these words here were the responses:

Modesty: Behavior

Purity: Thoughts

Lust: Dwelling

Modesty has more to do with the behavior of the person wearing the clothes then it does with the clothes the person is wearing. Purity has more to do with a persons thoughts and motives. Lust is the act of dwelling and fixating on impure thoughts and is a sin.

Modesty does not equal pure thought. Immodesty does not equal impure thoughts. The burden of purity falls to the person doing the thinking. You are in control of your actions and your thoughts and what a person does or doesn’t wear is completely irrelevant to how you handle yourself.

Placing the burden of controlling mens lust on the clothing of women is just an excuse to sin.

Blaming someone else for your thoughts or actions is weak.

TRAIN THEM UP

What should we teach our sons? You are capable of controlling your thoughts and keeping yourself from dwelling on and living in those thoughts. You always have a choice to remove yourself from a situation. You may have to sacrifice something to do it but you always have a choice. Follow Christ’s example and subject your thoughts to the same control that you would subject your body.

What should we teach our daughters? Expect respect and not settle for anything less than that. Don’t allow yourself to be treated as an object of someone’s sexual fantasies. Don’t settle for a guy that treats you like a possession and hides you away from the rest of the world but expects you to be the object of his sexual desires behind closed doors.

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025 The Green New Deal – How Christians Should Care for the Environment

The Green New Deal – How Christians Should Care for the Environment

This week Sandy and Elisabeth discuss the now defunct Green New Deal, it’s importance to National politics, to the next generation and to God. And they dive deep into what it looks like to interact with the Earth in a Biblical way.

GENESIS [1:26]; 28 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over everything that creeps over the Earth”….and God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the Earth.”

God tells us twice within three verses to have dominion. This repetition commands attention and emphasizes the importance. Aaron Armstrong from the Gospel Project put it very well: As God’s image bearers in Creation, we were intended to act as His representatives. We were designed, in a very real way, to show the world what God is like. So when God gave us the command to rule over the earth, the expectation was to do so in a way that reflected His character.

We were created to care for God’s creation and we were commanded to do so. But if we refuse, and we do the opposite, will we kill the planet? The short answer is No. The long answer is that God designed all of His creation with a perfect balance. If we push that relationship out of balance then God’s creation will no longer supply what we need to survive and the people will be scattered. We can see many examples of this in the Bible itself. From natural disasters such as the Great Flood to the direct hand of God in the Tower of Babel. And we can see more recent examples in the fall of the Mayan empire and the subsequent reclaiming of the land by nature.

The point: As Christians, we know how the story ends. We aren’t going to surprise God by ending things before His plan is ready to be executed. He is infinitely patient and His timing is perfect. He will not be rushed. He will not be scrambling. But if we do not follow His commands, we will be waiting, we will suffer and we will be scattered. Just ask the Israelites.

2 PETER 3:8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day.

So why does the Green New Deal matter to Christians? The short answer is because people matter to Christians. And while the Green New Deal is extreme and misguided in some areas and completely unattainable in others, the heart of the document is trying to save people in the only way the world knows how.

As Christians, we should care about the earth because it was our first commission. And there are some really easy ways that we can help our environment that will make very little impact to our daily lives.

Check out the full episode for lots of fun and easy ways that you can follow God’s command to care for the earth and be a witness to those around us by honoring God’s creation.

PROVERBS 31:8-9 Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

PSALM 1[40:12] I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.

PROVERBS 22:2 The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all.

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Potential

This is Planty. She was my Valentine’s Day present from John.

For those who don’t know, Hydrangeas are grown specifically for holidays like Valentine’s Day or Easter, wrapped in foil and sold at grocery stores generally have a pretty stressful life. According to Plant Addicts “The foil wrapped hydrangea has usually been grown for a one-time, spectacular show. The plant has been fed specifically to produce many large blooms quickly, quite often at the expense of the future health of the plant.”

They are forced grown in pots that are too small and they are trimmed too heavily and fertilized very strangely to produce prolific blooms at a very young age.

Either people don’t want to take care of them because they’re finicky or the plant just can’t handle life after bloom or its pot is too small or it gets put outside too early. There are a bazillion factors that usually result in these beautiful but damaged plants having a short life and being thrown away.

Mine, however, is not dying.

For the last 6 weeks, I have very carefully maintained her indoors I have kept her soil moist, I have transferred her outdoors in a pot that is so small it makes my eye twitch but I know that I have to wait and let her acclimate to being outside for a little while before I re-pot her.

In the two days she’s been outside, she’s put out new growth, all over the place.

New leaves are signs that she’s not dead, she’s still growing and she wants to be big and healthy.

At some point over this weekend, she will be getting a new pot with a custom mixed soil and some proper fertilizer and she will be lovingly cared for by hand

Odds are, she will never be the big, deeply rooted in the earth, prolific bloomer that she was genetically intended to be.

She might! Some people have accomplished this with “foil hydrangeas”, but she might also live in a pot being pretty and green, and only producing 1-4 blooms a year. Even if that’s the case, she will bring me joy.

But the point is, she’s still trying. Despite being plant abused, despite being shoved in the wrong pot with the wrong soil and having weird expectations, she’s still growing, and I’m gonna support her until she’s done.

She’s a $15 plant. And I’m excited for her. I have deep faith in her. I will care for her daily, even though she’ll likely never reach her full potential.

How much more does our Creator care for us, root for us, and get excited about even the smallest progress, regardless of how broken and abused we are? Regardless of how we feel about ourselves when our blooms have fallen away, and we’ve been pruned for our own good?

Were Planty a human, she’d probably not be feeling so great about herself right now. She’s had a rough go, and the thing she was specifically grown for – those lovely blooms in February – are now long gone. But it’s okay. I’ve got plans for her that she cannot possibly comprehend, and I’m gonna take care of her, as long and she’s willing to keep growing.

-E

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

 

Matthew [10:29]-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

024 Contentment-Because You Can’t Always Get What You Want

CONTENTMENT – BECAUSE YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT

This week Sandy and Elisabeth talk about contentment, including the difference between the Biblical definition and the modern American definition, the difference between our needs and wants, and choosing contentment in good times and in bad.

LESSONS FROM PAUL

PHILIPPIANS [4:11]-13 Not that I am speaking of being in need for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I now know how to be brought low and how to abound. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Paul is writing this from prison. He has by all standards every reason to be discontented and yet the message he sends back to the church is not to tell them how good they have it but to remind them that in all circumstances we must find contentment through Jesus.

LESSONS FROM SOLOMON

ECCLESIASTES [5:19]-20 God gives some people the ability to enjoy the wealth and possessions He gives them, as well as the ability to accept their state in life and enjoy their work. The do not worry about how short life is because God keeps them busy with what they love to do, the little pleasures are distractions from the meaningless world

Solomon uses Ecclesiastes chapter 5 to warn us that money does not buy happiness but more importantly he goes on to tell us that the ability to enjoy life and be content is a blessing from God. The little things are the most important things and give meaning to a meaningless world. Pay attention to the little things. Choosing contentment will lead to a joyful life.

LESSONS FROM JESUS

LUKE [12:25] And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his life.

Here again we find another example of Jesus giving us a bit of science. It’s almost as if He knew how our bodies were supposed to work.

If you find yourself constantly having a negative attitude and feeling anxious every single day start a thankfulness journal. Every day write down 3 good things that happened that day. It doesn’t have to be life changing or profound just 3 things that were positive in your day. Your brain will begin to look for these good things and focus on them and slowly your whole perspective will shift and you will find yourself seeing things in a different light. A positive light.

CONCLUSION

EPHESIANS [2:10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Since we have eternal hope in Jesus we can be content with our circumstances in the here and now and we can do all things through Him because He created us to do good things and prepared those things for us so that we could walk through life according to His plan.

So find the good you were created for and know that He will give you the strength to do it.

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