"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." ~ Matthew 5:8

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rescued for a Purpose-video

Claire Culwell has first hand experience with one of the touchiest subjects in our nation--abortion. Claire speaks out gently, sweetly, yet boldly about her experience as an abortion survivor. She is living proof that fetuses are not "blobs of tissue" that can be conveniently disposed of, but humans like us with a purpose and a story stretching out in front of them.  What touched me most about this video was the love between Claire and her birthmom, who is grateful God spared her daughter's life.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

We love, because He first gave us a relationship

Orphan Sunday 2011 from Summit Crossing on Vimeo.

There was nothing lovely or lovable about us when He found us. We were wallowing in filth, playing and bathing in the refuse of our own sin. We didn't even want to be pulled out, we liked this muck! And then, the Saviour found us, His enemy. We saw Him and hated Him. We wanted to run, we liked the way we were living!

And yet.

He reached down. 

He pulled us out.

He cleaned us off, even while we were kicking and screaming, cursing the only One who could save us.

And then He gave us a new heart and soul, taking out the stony heart and giving us a heart of flesh that could feel. (Ezekiel 36)

He loved us. 

He adopted us.

He gave us a share in His inheritance.

God plucked us out of the muck and mire of our own sin, cleaned us off, gave us His robes of righteousness, told us He loved us, gave us an unimaginable inheritance by calling us His own children and allowed us to live forever with Him in His everlasting Kingdom. 

Why don't we turn and show that love to the least of these? You were helpless. So are they. You were without hope. So are they. You were ugly and unlovable. So are they. You had nothing. So do they. You were dying. So are they. You were dirty. So are they. You were naked. So are they. 

19 "We love because he first loved us." ~ 1 John 4:19
 31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' 41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' 45Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these,you did not do it to me.' 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." ~ Matthew 25:31-46

God is a God of relationships. He didn't just pluck us out of the muck and mire, clean us off and set us on our way. No! He made us His children! We, who were unlovely and unlovable, are now His eternal children! He takes good care of His children.

That's more that just sending a check.

That's relationship. That's love.

And that's what they need.

~ Anna

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What a Savior-Video

I heard this song for the first time today--and what a worshipful song it is! It's funny how when we fix our eyes on who Jesus is and what He has done, our troubles and needs seem to fade away into insignificance.
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sometimes it's fun...

McDonald's happy meals are a rare treat when you have eleven siblings: 

So sometimes it's fun to do some easy "little sister spoiling"

My beautiful eleven and seven year old sisters enjoying their Happy Meals

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Christianity and rap: Engaging the culture or becoming part of it?

Reformed rap, or holy hip-hop, has taken the Christian culture by storm, and with it, comes many mixed feelings. Some feel like rap represents a lifestyle of sin and debauchery, but some see Christian rap as another medium to reach the lost. Which is it? Scripture isn't even clear-cut on this issue! Here are some thoughts as you explore this question.

lecrae Pictures, Images and Photos lecrae Pictures, Images and Photos

  • We are commanded to "sing a new song" to the Lord several times. God is interested in creativity! And certainly, singing rap to and about God is a "new song." Psalm 149:1 says, "Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly!" (Psalm 33:3, Psalm 40:3, Psalm 144:9, Isaiah 42:10)
  • Admittedly, there are people who don't like rap. They just don't enjoy listening to rap. That's okay! But just because you don't enjoy or like rap doesn't mean it's wrong.
  • Someone who has been redeemed from a lifestyle of sin and debauchery associated with secular rap may have trouble listening to reformed rap without the constant reminder of their former choices. So, for that person, rap is something they need to avoid. You could look at it this way: a former alcoholic who has been saved may not be able to just have a drink every now and then. It's a reminder of their former lifestyle and is a temptation to pull them back into their captivity to alcohol. But that doesn't mean that alcohol is sinful for every person! We all must recognize our weaknesses, and if that means avoiding something that isn't inherently sinful in and of itself, then we must make that choice. Quoting from Romans 13:2-4: "One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgement on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgement on the servant of another? IT is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand." And later: "So then each of us will give an account of himself to God." (verse 12) So, rap may be wrong for someone just like Facebook, Oreos, exercise, texting and Starbucks.
  • God made everything good. This includes music. Genesis 1:31: "And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good." Man has corrupted what God has made. We can change our culture by redeeming all genres of music: rap, metal, electronic and rock included!
  • God gave us the ability to use our hands to create art: we can use that ability in a God-glorifying way to paint a beautiful scene or to draw an obscene picture. He gave us our sexuality: we can abuse His gift outside of the beauty of marriage and shatter it, or we can exercise His gift within the protection of His plan in marriage. God gave us music: we can use it to glorify Him or to glorify lifestyles and choices that are directly in contradiction of His ways. It is the same with rap. We can use it to bring glory and honour to God and His name, what He has done through His Son and what He is continuing to do in and through His children. Or we can draw attention to ourselves, carry a message that exalts sex, drugs, abuse of women, violence and sinful lifestyles and throw dirt in the face of God.
For further consideration:
Check out some rap songs and listen to the theology-rich lyrics.

Reformed Rap Elsewhere