Monday, June 13, 2011

Heaven

My last post was an update on My One Word. I started this journey from a random Facebook link and then 6 months later I'm blown away by what a difference this whim has made. Another blog I read, Grit and Glory, asked for an update on our words. So I obliged mostly because I was planning on posting that anyway. Then I actually linked it up and thought I was done. Or not! I read through several other blog posts from other people about other words. They were wonderful!! They spoke about their words and gave examples in their lives. They spoke clearly and openly so that even a newbie could see their path. I feel like I only halfway did that and I think God feels that way too. How do I know? Church today! It's amazing how often a good church service can do that.

Today was Homecoming Sunday for our church. I have to be honest and say I didn't really get why were having it. Sorry to all my SRWC readers out there, but I really expected this to be just a fluffy little Sunday. I didn't expect to learn something or a whole lot of somethings. I now understand that Homecoming is to celebrate the birthday of a church. I also understand why that is important for our church, which by the way is 106 years old.

So a little more info that should have been in the last post before I tell you what I learned in church. I have long lived by the motto, "Let your life be your witness." That is a good idea, but you can't rely solely on that. And I have for a while. This word hope required me to actually speak up for Jesus, not just smile and nod until someone seeks me out. I spoke up and said Jesus is the answer. I had to stop and listen to someone talk about their messiness. I have had to pray for that person and for an answer. I have had to deal with the heartbreak of a non-response to my message. And that is awesome! It has not killed me. It has not driven me to depression. It has not caused me to lose my job. It has not caused me to lose friends. It has not caused me to lose reputation points. HOWEVER, it has caused me to discover a bigger calling than I knew I could handle. It has caused me to passionately care about the endangered childhoods out there. It has caused me to face each day with more hope and more vigor than I knew I had. It has caused my faith to grow. It has caused my control freak nature to back off a little. It has caused me to live more intentionally. It has caused me to focus on my real priorities in life. So yeah I'm excited about living out the rest of my hope year.

Today I learned what I need to know about hope. It may be a shock to hear a 'good Christian girl' to say this, but I don't really look forward to Heaven. I know it is there and I will love to hang with Jesus, but I don't want that right now. Ever since I have become a Christian I have lived in fear that Heaven is closer than I want it to be. So I haven't looked forward to it. I have always thought about it as forcing to leave things undone. God has been pressing me about this for a while. I have posted about Eternity and Paradise. I have been getting an glimpse of the big picture that I haven't been seeing. In my little sermon notes notebook, I recently wrote, "Stop desiring the beauty and glory of this world. Desire God more. Desire his beauty and his glory. He made it, so [you should] want him and his [things]. [And] not just to make up for what I don't have here!!! God isn't a sloppy second." The term may be a bit risque. Sorry, but that is exactly I was feeling. All too often that is how I treat God, especially when it comes to the issue of Heavenly beauty vs. natural beauty. I want to see it all and experience it all here because when I get to Heaven my chance will be over.

So our guest pastor today talked about our home during Homecoming. It was very appropriate for so many reasons. The most important one being God wanted to tell me this. The guest musicians we had also talked about Heaven. Both of them mentioned that Heaven is beautiful. So beautiful that we can't really describe it well. Gold, jade, rubies, and crystal are a pale reflection of what Heaven really is. Once again I go back to the idea that God created the whole universe, including the beautiful places here on Earth. So won't Heaven be like what we have only better. God is there and his creation is there! I need to take the time to picture Heaven as it really is and not as my fears have made it out to be. I need to see what the reality of it is because I am supposed to be giving hope. How can I possibly be giving hope if I don't have it myself? How can I give people hope about my anchor that gets me through the storms of this life and not give them hope about the shore that we are going to? The truth is that I can't. If I am not giving them hope for the whole picture, then I'm not giving them hope. At the very least not enough hope.

This is especially important right now because on Wednesday I'm going to Honduras. I'm going there to spread the love and hope of God to these children that so desperately need to know it. How can I look at them and tell them about Jesus without telling them the best part? Because if I leave out Heaven am I not telling them that this world is the best there is? And that would be a really crappy message. So this very appropriate message that God reinforced to me over and over again is the next step in My One Word journey, a journey that ultimately leads me to other people.

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