Just got home from church.
Yes, its Saturday night.
Yes, my church has a Saturday afternoon service. (Some of us have to work in the morning, ya know.)
Yes, I went there instead of to a bar. (And had significantly more fun actually.)
Just thought I'd share some of what I heard tonight. It was WONDERFUL to hear something that didn't need to be chewed on or decoded... just principles that can be put into action. Right here. Right now. I'd feel bad for "stealing" but Pastor Steven TOLD us to talk about this stuff this week... so here goes... some straightforward, easy to apply advice, coupled with how I relate it to myself and how I plan to apply it.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout ALL GENERATIONS, for ever and ever! Amen."
The basis of tonight's teaching was that there are certain things that every generation should pass to the next. There were 5 specific ideas, but we stopped after 3. I'm hoping for the other two next week. =)
1. PRACTICE SELECTIVE HEARING.
This does NOT mean hearing only what you want... like when my mom would ask me to empty the dishwasher as a kid and I somehow never heard it. Strange phenomena. Instead I should be selective about the people who I listen to in regard to my choices and decisions. So many people my age are taking their decision making cues from places like Lil Wayne songs... HELLO?! He just got out of jail. That's not where I plan on ending up. So MAYBE I should be listening to people who have achieved the goals that I'm pursuing. people who have the integrity, character, personal strengths that I strive to have. Its such a simple thought that I want to say DUH!! Seriously though, I don't always do this. As Pastor said (after admitting that it was a cheesy line) "right voices lead to right choices." I'm blocking some people out. If you're negative, consider yourself disregarded. My next project? Making sure I'm ALWAYS one of the voices that you can listen to....
2. FIND YOUR SOUND AND PLAY IT LOUD
Needless to say I LOOOOVE this analogy. Music, more than anything else in my life speaks to my soul. I KNOW that sounds exceedingly lame, but its true. EVERYONE knows how I feel about music... specifically The Beatles (who happened to be covered in the worship set and referenced in the teaching... I LOVE MY CHURCH!) But as Pastor Steven pointed out, and as I WELL know, The Beatles were insanely popular because they were new, fresh, unique. They found their own special sound and they played it loud. Its the same for us. To quote tonight's teaching "The thing that makes you unique is the thing that makes you powerful." I'm so much different than anyone I know... even my best friends, my roommate, my sisters. And thats what makes me valuable and useful to God. There's no one else with my combination of experiences, personality traits, interests, strengths, weaknesses. Sometimes I think I stick out like a sore thumb. For example... at work I'm one of about two white girls. I'm the ONLY one who doesn't listen to 100% hip hop. I don't even know what my coworkers are talking about half the time. Outside work, I'm the only one of my friends who can't stand up in a pair of high heels. Everyone else is someone's girlfriend, focusing on getting married, and I'm daydreaming about finishing grad school and becoming a licensed therapist. I watch the news about 5 times a day. I have a hoop in my nose, and I wear geeky "Buddy Holly" glasses. I read constantly and I always have headphones in my ears. I drink too much coffee and I LOVE anything to do with psychology. And all this silly stuff that makes me ME is what makes me a tool that God can use. How? Where? When? I don't know, but I do know that my interests and personality strengths dictate where I'll go in life, and thats why God made me the way I am. So I'm gonna pursue my interests, follow the dreams God instilled in me, achieve my goals with His help, be as ME as I know how to be... and I'm gonna do all that in the most Christ-like way possible, in the hopes that God will use me in a way that is totally unique and special to my life.
3. JUST KEEP SHOWING UP!
This part is my FAVORITE! How many times do we beat ourselves up because we don't measure up to Christ's standard? I do it ALL THE TIME. I just wanna quit trying because I always fail. But the funny thing is that He knows that... if I was gonna succeed then I wouldn't have needed him in the first place. When I'm tempted to sin Satan makes me think Oh, this is no big deal... then BAM! As soon as I do it he makes me think this is SERIOUS, God's never gonna forgive you for this. And yet, somehow I continuously fall under the guilt of this little scenario. SO SILLY... when the point of being a Christian isn't to be perfect... its to fall... and then GET RIGHT BACK UP. Now, THAT I can definitely do. I'm fully capable of coming back, showing up again, and asking for forgiveness... and lucky for me that's all I have to do! Its not about following rules at all... which is good for me, 'cause I've never been the best at that. Its about knowing that you can't, and depending on the only one who can. I'm gonna keep failing on occasion (its inevitable), but I know that won't stop me from showing up!
As I said before, we never got to the last 2 things... I'm staying tuned 'til next week. I guess you will have to as well. =)