What to do when the lines are blurred

leap of faith

The Christian life is forever a grand adventure. That’s a quote from my friend Chief. He and I have one common ground that forever gets us into trouble. We leap believing a net will appear. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. But it always an adventure. Sometimes those adventures take their toll on me spiritually because the line between living in faith and living in the flesh is sometimes blurred for a personality such as mine. You see, my first action is reaction to any thought. Any. That’s a problem.

God said in Philippians 4:6 ~  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Be careful for nothing means to “not worry.” It doesn’t mean don’t be cautious, which is often how I live my life. In ministering to myself this morning I need to unpack a few scriptures to get myself back into the adventurous living of Christ. The issue is this, if you leap enough times and the net doesn’t appear, the impact is painful.

The impact of broken dreams

I’m a dreamer. Oh my stars am I a dreamer! And if I’m honest being a dreamer is often an escape from reality. But when those dreams lie shattered on the ground because they didn’t come to pass as I thought they would, the impact is often for me to physically and emotionally shutdown. I usually do one of two things. (1) I shut down. Turn off the world and retreat inside my head which can be a very scary place. (2) Make someone else’s dream happen, in a very small sense of the word. Meaning I take on a thousand projects of a thousand people who are readily available to ask me to do something. (3) Quite often my last resort, I turn to the word of God. It’s where faith and flesh collide.

The impact of broken confidence

I’m familiar with failure. It’s a part of the life of someone who lives the “leap and the net will appear” mentality. Failure has never stopped me from trying again. But what will most assuredly shatter my confidence is when my leaping appears to the world as recklessness. And sometimes to me as recklessness. I restore that confidence in remembering the countless miracles that God has done in my life, but even they too were often God rescuing me from a not so very well thought out plan. So thus, it’s a vicious cycle. God however has confidence builders on call, like my best friend and biggest fan, Gloria. Or my friend Jessica, who spurred my spirit on by recalling how I had made a difference for her as she spoke at a ladies meeting Monday night.  And my friend Dewey who calls just to check on me, who consoles my spirit and reminds me quite often that The Jesus Chick needs to stay on the path God designed. Confidence too is where faith and flesh collide.

The impact of broken spirit

Probably the hardest of all is when the flesh wins out over faith and I feel uninspired to go on. It’s when I’ve taken a hit from several directions. It’s not that the Word has let me down or that the encouragers in my life have let me down, it’s when the world has taken its toll and I don’t even have the desire to walk to the edge, never mind jumping off to another adventure. It’s where I’ve been of late.

So how do you fix a broken spirit?

Psalm 51:17

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

You offer it to God. Part of being in the ministry is realizing the paycheck doesn’t look like the 9-5 job. There’s usually not a paycheck. The pay is presenting the gifts that God has given you to Him and through Him, and allowing Him to tell you your worth.

Paul (the writer of Philippians) and David (the writer of most of the Psalms) had much in common. Both understood that the power behind the child of God is in prayer, supplication and thanksgiving. It is with an attitude of brokenness and contriteness (remorse) that God can use us. It’s where faith and flesh part.  The flesh wants no part of regret or remorse. The flesh wants no part of being broken. But in that state is where I find my strength to leap again. Because in that state I realize that my dreams, confidence and desires are through Him, and it will be through Him that success will come. And it will.

Philippians 1:6

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

This ministry is fueled on the love of God, but if you’d like to help fund it please click the link below:

http://thejesuschick.com/pray-and-consider-supporting-this-chick/

What to Do when the Lines are Blurred

The Christian life is forever a grand adventure. That’s a quote from my friend Chief. He and I have one common ground that forever gets us into trouble. We leap believing a net will appear. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. But it always an adventure. Sometimes those adventures take their toll on me spiritually because the line between living in faith and living in the flesh is sometimes blurred for a personality such as mine. You see, my first action is reaction to any thought. Any. That’s a problem.

God said in Philippians 4:6 ~  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Be careful for nothing means to “not worry.” It doesn’t mean don’t be cautious, which is often how I live my life. In ministering to myself this morning I need to unpack a few scriptures to get myself back into the adventurous living of Christ. The issue is this, if you leap enough times and the net doesn’t appear, the impact is painful.

The impact of broken dreams

I’m a dreamer. Oh my stars am I a dreamer! And if I’m honest being a dreamer is often an escape from reality. But when those dreams lie shattered on the ground because they didn’t come to pass as I thought they would, the impact is often for me to physically and emotionally shutdown. I usually do one of two things. (1) I shut down. Turn off the world and retreat inside my head which can be a very scary place. (2) Make someone else’s dream happen, in a very small sense of the word. Meaning I take on a thousand projects of a thousand people who are readily available to ask me to do something. (3) Quite often my last resort, I turn to the word of God. It’s where faith and flesh collide.

The impact of broken confidence

I’m familiar with failure. It’s a part of the life of someone who lives the “leap and the net will appear” mentality. Failure has never stopped me from trying again. But what will most assuredly shatter my confidence is when my leaping appears to the world as recklessness. And sometimes to me as recklessness. I restore that confidence in remembering the countless miracles that God has done in my life, but even they too were often God rescuing me from a not so very well thought out plan. So thus, it’s a vicious cycle. God however has confidence builders on call, like my best friend and biggest fan, Gloria. Or my friend Jessica, who spurred my spirit on by recalling how I had made a difference for her as she spoke at a ladies meeting Monday night.  And my friend Dewey who calls just to check on me, who consoles my spirit and reminds me quite often that The Jesus Chick needs to stay on the path God designed. Confidence too is where faith and flesh collide.

The impact of broken spirit

Probably the hardest of all is when the flesh wins out over faith and I feel uninspired to go on. It’s when I’ve taken a hit from several directions. It’s not that the Word has let me down or that the encouragers in my life have let me down, it’s when the world has taken its toll and I don’t even have the desire to walk to the edge, never mind jumping off to another adventure. It’s where I’ve been of late.

So how do you fix a broken spirit?

Psalm 51:17

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

You offer it to God. Part of being in the ministry is realizing the paycheck doesn’t look like the 9-5 job. There’s usually not a paycheck. The pay is presenting the gifts that God has given you to Him and through Him, and allowing Him to tell you your worth.

Paul (the writer of Philippians) and David (the writer of most of the Psalms) had much in common. Both understood that the power behind the child of God is in prayer, supplication and thanksgiving. It is with an attitude of brokenness and contriteness (remorse) that God can use us. It’s where faith and flesh part.  The flesh wants no part of regret or remorse. The flesh wants no part of being broken. But in that state is where I find my strength to leap again. Because in that state I realize that my dreams, confidence and desires are through Him, and it will be through Him that success will come. And it will.

Philippians 1:6

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

This ministry is fueled on the love of God, but if you’d like to help fund it please click the link below:

http://thejesuschick.com/pray-and-consider-supporting-this-chick/

3 Ways to Ruin a Church Service

I was at a service last night that actually started before anyone entered the building. My heart was stirring most of the day as I prepared for the service. I felt the Spirit moving when I stepped inside the building. By the time that service started my wheelbarrow was already filling up! That’s a reference from the church Pastor, Darius, last night. He said that “people can be blessed a thimble full or a wheelbarrow full, it depends on how prepared you are to receive it.” Oh, that stirred me. I came in with an empty wheelbarrow. No thimbles for me! I don’t take those kind of services for granted because they are for certain not an everyday occurrence or not even an every church occurrence. It’s not that they couldn’t be. And for me, it may have nothing to do with the church or service, but it might be that my heart isn’t right. Life takes its toll sometimes.

So how can you ruin a church service?

Come Preoccupied

The cares of this world can take their toll.

Matthew 13:22 says it like this:

He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

Not only will the cares of this world prevent someone from being saved, but they can suck the life out of those who are saved! I sometimes think I need to wear a shirt that says, “Please, don’t ask me and I won’t ask you.” Everyone’s got struggles. Some may seem petty to someone else, but when it’s our problems, it’s not petty. The struggle is real… very real. And if I enter a service with the cares of this world on me to the point that my mind is preoccupied with nothing else, the preacher will be hard pressed to bless. So what’s the answer? Prayer’s a great place to start. Prior to last night’s preaching, the Pastor opened the altar. It was lined with praying people. What did they pray for? I don’t know, it wasn’t any of my business. I went to the altar to do my own business with the Lord. And that few minutes of time were honored by God.

Come Presumptuous

You want to leave a service as empty as you came in, come anticipating nothing. You’ll get exactly what you came for. Presumption is nothing short of pride. It’s saying that you already know what God is going to do. It’s an easy mode to get in, I’ve been there on more than one occasion. We go through the motions of salvation.

Romans 9:20-21

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Coming into a service with the attitude that it’s going to be “just another service,” is a prideful way of saying that God doesn’t have the power to make it an amazing service. Just stomped my own toes there…

Come Pretending

Church isn’t just an obligation, it’s a necessity. And coming to church for the purpose of checking that off your list is pretending, not serving. My wheelbarrow was filled last night because I ask God to fill it with what He’d have me to hear. I heard one thing, someone else may have heard something entirely different from the same message. The gospel is exclusive and inclusive. It’s for everyone (collectively), and for every one (individually). But pretenders seldom get anything from the Word of God because the second it starts to make them uncomfortable they turn the preacher off like a bad radio station.

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

The truth hurts. It convicts and sets a soul in search of rightness. It’s not for pretenders.

I will confess that I can be all three of my bullet points. Last night was the exception because I needed to hear what God had to say and I ask Him to say it. I ask Him to leave me out of it. And just give it to me straight. I came expecting Him to rake me across the coals for failed Christianity. But He rather soothed my troubled heart like Daddy does. Abba. Father. God.

He knows me. And praise God… I know Him.

John 4:23

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.


This ministry is for the exclusive purpose of glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and encouraging folks along the way. If I have blessed you, and you feel lead to support this ministry, click the link below and know that I am grateful…

How to Survive the “Not Yet” Moments

EASY BAKE FAITH

There was a group of Jesus’ brethren, said to be distant relatives of Mary’s, who didn’t believe He was the Christ. They desired proof that He was or proof that He wasn’t. I know folks like that. But Jesus’ response to them was “Not yet.” I don’t believe curiosity in Christ is a motive God cares to honor. God has nothing to prove. And yet continually mankind tries to prove that He is or is not who He says He is.

In times of trouble my weakened flesh will seek to prove God’s power by pulling me out of what I consider to be a fiery furnace. But I can feel the Holy Spirit roll His eyes and say “Seriously Shari… that compares to a fiery furnace like the ankle deep creek on Philips Run compares to the Grand Canyon. I certainly make light of scripture sometimes. Rather than in a fiery furnace I am perhaps in an Easy Bake Oven where God is seeing how I withstand the heat. I’d rather be removed like a half-baked cookie but God’s leaving me in until I’m golden brown and firm in His foundation. It’s a trying time. But timer still says “not yet.”

Jesus’ brethren desired that He go to the feast of the Jews in town and prove himself in front of -the religious leaders and the naysayers of the day. But Jesus wouldn’t even walk with them. He told them to go ahead, He wasn’t ready. His time had yet to come, and then He said “but your time is always ready.” Jesus was speaking of His death, which it was not yet time for, but for their death, it could be anytime.  Just like our can be any day.

I felt a little more relational with the brethren than with Jesus this morning. How awesome would it be at my next Jesus Chick event to be able to speak of the fiery furnace that God plucked me out of. I mean, really who wants to hear my crybaby Easy Bake Oven story of how I whined and whined every time the heat was turned up until God finally took me out of the fire. No dramatics. Just cookies and cream.

So Jesus waited and went to the feast alone. It was there that He went to the temple and left them in awe of His wisdom. They couldn’t understand how this “unlearned” man could speak with such authority. The people were in awe of His miracles and the Jews were in awe of his mind, but they were missing what mattered. They were in a “not yet” moment. God wasn’t going to prove Himself to either party. He wanted them to awe in who He was. He was God.

Those “not yet” moments in our lives are like that. When God is waiting for us to possibly mature into the responsibility He’s about to give. Or become willing to trust Him beyond what wisdom allows. A few weeks ago I was hit in a tender spot of my ego that continues to be an Easy Bake moment in my life. Not being a college graduate in my field of work can bring judgmental remarks from people about my qualifications for life. They sting… because I know where my wisdom is from.

Jesus’ third not yet moment brought that to remembrance for me.

“But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” – John 7:39

But that Spirit has now been given and He has been glorified; which we celebrate this week. I’m grateful for that reminder today that all “not yet” moments in time have a purpose in Christ Jesus. And if we allow His plans to thoroughly bake, it will be well done!

***

I’ll not complain when the power and blessings of the Holy Spirit bring unexplainable and unspeakable joys in my life for my service through the studying of His Word and the sharing of the Gospel. That is a gift of unmeasurable worth! But through the coercing of others in the ministry, who see my work as worthy, and the coercing of the Holy Spirit Who says “Through His blood I am worthy,” I have added a ministry donation button to this site. If you do not have, or do not feel inclined to give, then please don’t feel obligated. But if I have encouraged you and the Spirit speaks, your gift of any amount would be appreciated and honored by God. 

If you’d like to know more about what I do, send me a message and I’ll be happy to share with you what God is doing and the direction we’re going!

3 Reasons You Make me Wonder

I won’t calling it judging, I’d prefer to say that I’m wondering if some of the people I meet are saved who tell me they’re saved. And yes, some of them are even in church! Whoever coined the phrase “Being in a church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than being in garage makes you a car” was spot on! I know this from firsthand experience because I was in a church 34 years unsaved. Nobody ever bothered to ask. So I don’t assume just because you’re in church that you’re saved. I don’t assume anything. Salvation is between the person and God, not the person and Shari. However, there are a few things that make me wonder if some people are saved and cause me concern. Perhaps I’m just spiritualizing judging, but I don’t think so.

I’m saved but not in Church

That’s a red flag for me right out of the gate!  Hebrews 10:25 is often quoted with regards to “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves,” and it’s truth! But even if that verse wasn’t mentioned, what about the entire book of Acts and the way the early church acted? Look at the great sacrifices and persecutions that the Disciples of Christ made for the sake of assembling themselves. Why was it so important? Because it was new? No. Because it was necessary. They relied on each other for spiritual, mental and physical sustainment. Nothing has changed in that department. That’s what a church family does.

I’m saved but I’m Nasty

That’s probably the hardest pill for me to swallow. You’re either not saved or you are living the most defeated life in the church. Let me define nasty… Mean spirited, fault finding, bigoted, judgmental, unforgiving church folk. Not necessarily all of those attributes in one but any one of them will cause me to wonder. If you’re not saved… I hate to tell you that there are those kind of people in church. They are rare, but they are there. There are those who are of the opinion that their opinion is second only to God. And for me, the very, very human Shari, I’m hard pressed to believe they’re saved because I see little or no evidence of an attitude of Christ. It’s for certain a learned attitude and doesn’t come immediately upon salvation. But overtime there should be a noticeable change in the attitude of a child of God. When God said “love one another,” He didn’t put any “unless” in the sentence to follow. When God said to take the beam out of your eye before you try to remove the mote (speck) from your brother’s eye (Luke 6:41) He was calling for self-examination. And for the judgmental people I run across, I seldom see any self-examination but rather the judge, jury and execution of the souls they meet that don’t fall under their acceptable Christian characteristics.

I’m saved but I don’t talk about Jesus

I know, now I’m meddling. Because I’ve been told this by many “probably saved” people. They have a plethora of excuses.

  • I’m not a preacher. (When God said go into all the world… He wasn’t just speaking to preachers.)
  • I work for the government (what’s your excuse off the job)
  • I don’t want to sound too churchy (It’s not churchy to talk about Jesus, it’s evangelism and the only way that someone will know their need of salvation, churchy people led me to Christ, I am grateful!!!)
  • I’m afraid of their response. (I’m more afraid of the God’s response to me if that person goes to Hell because I didn’t talk about Jesus)

So am I judging, no, I really don’t know if anyone is saved other than me. I know I’m saved!!! And this is why:

  1. I desire the fellowship of other Christians and to hear the Word of God preached
  2. I genuinely love all people! I do not like nasty folk.
  3. I talk about Jesus. A lot…

Are you saved? I sure hope so, because I love you and I want to spend eternity getting to know you.

Discovering The Worship Within Us

JOHN 4:19-24

19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The Worship Within

It’s been my desire for a few weeks to work on a Worship song. God has been pouring His words into my soul and I’ve been amazed at what’s been happening… even in the face of a struggle within myself. So this morning I set my mind to write a worship song.

I was going to get myself in a mind of worship! I came into the living room with guitar in hand and began to pen the words down of the song. The words came swiftly enough, so I felt as if God’s anointing was on me once again and I was ever so grateful.

Now for the tune…

That was a little odd for me. Usually they come hand in hand… the words and music enter my brain in a married state. But this morning only words. So as I began to try to wrap my mind around a melody by going back to the Bible story where the song idea had come from.

John 4:20-24

It’s the story of the woman at the well. The woman married five times and now living with the sixth. That woman… the one who Jesus knew… and she knew He knew, but she didn’t know how. So she perceives that he is assuredly a prophet and attempts to turn the subject away from her indiscretions of life to the matter of religion. Or perhaps song writing.

It is here that my song and my soul found the flavor of the music for the words God had given.  But they weren’t what I had imagined a worship song to be like, just like the woman at the well, who told the Lord, the Jews worship one way, and we (the Samaritans) worship another. And Jesus informs her that she doesn’t know what worship is. But He’s about to show her.

It’s not religion or a location, it’s a spiritual act drawn on the emotions of gratitude for salvation and of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Worship is very personal.

And the melody came… and it came with a Jewish flavor. And my first thought was like the woman of Samaria, “But God I’m not Jewish.” And as the guitar rang out my spirit filled with happiness and I understood, that I’m not Jewish, but I am Jesus’ and He is very Jewish.

I had a new understanding of worship. It’s not about who I am. Shari, the sinner, the failure, the doubter and often rebellious child of God. But I am the child of God. Perfectly forgiven.

Verse 23 says that God is seeking “such to worship Him.” Someone understanding the truth in themselves, and seeking the truth in Him.

So I got a little Jewish this morning in the name of Jesus! That was fun and it was worship!

If I have blessed you, please consider donating to this ministry…

http://thejesuschick.com/pray-and-consider-supporting-this-chick/

Jesus Loves Us Anyway

Nobody is any more shocked than myself when I realize how God is using me for the Kingdom. I know me. I wouldn’t trust me with such a task as presenting the gospel! I’m sure there are times that I fail to remember what it is I’m doing when I write in this space in the name of Jesus. It is my goal to present my words in such a way that anyone who would stumble upon this blog would see the saving grace of Jesus Christ for whatever season of life they happen to be in. We just changed seasons a few weeks ago. What a welcome site the season of spring is to our weary cabin fevered souls, who long to be outside experiencing the sights, sounds and aromas of nature. Well, maybe not all aroma’s… skunks are a questionable creation. But had they not been created we’d never have grown up with the animated character of Pepé Le Pew. The French debonair lover who mistook a feminine feline for one of his own. The cat knew Pepé was a skunk because of his odiferous ways. But to Pepé, he smelled just fine! And such is man…

Most days, I think I’m just fine. And then I realize how very much I stink. I’m not at all who I want to be. I want to be that cool cat, well-seasoned Christian whose walk of faith is a light for all to see the pathway to salvation. But God knows me. I am not that cool cat. His word once again pierced my heart today as I read the last words of John 2:25 – for He knew what was in man.

My mind went immediately to the failures, the stinky moments in my life.  Why does God tolerate me?! Why did He allow me to be set before people as an illustration of what not to do? I don’t understand that any more than I understand why God made skunks. What role in life do they play? Well, it turns out, they serve many.

Skunks eat whatever they can scrounge, which includes insects, plant materials such as wild fruits, mice, and the eggs of birds that nest on the ground. Things that can damage our lawns and damage our homes. I’m sure there are other “non-googled” purposes that I am unaware of. That was just a few. But God gave me to know this morning there was a purpose in the skunk and there was a purpose in me.

As Jesus began His earthly ministry and began selecting His team, we discover that He knew them too. As Andrew brought his brother Simon Peter to Jesus, Jesus’ first words to Him in John 1:42 were Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.”

Jesus not only called Peter by his present name, but tells him what his future name will be as well (referring to Matthew 16:18). Peter, a man of certain purpose, but he also had some pretty stinky times in his life.

  • He and the other disciples prevent children from coming to Jesus (Mark 10:17)
  • In selfish ambition he and the other disciples argued about who would be the greatest in Heaven (Mark 9:33)
  • Peter rebukes the Lord about His foretelling of death (Matthew 16:22)
  • Peter fell asleep as Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion (Matthew 26:40-45)
  • Peter publically denies being associated with Christ and cusses to those who accuse him (Matthew 26:69-75)
  • Peter leaves his apostleship and goes back to fishing (John 21:3)

Yet before and during all that Jesus refers to him as the rock. It is Peter that Christ comes to following His resurrection and instructs him three times “feed my lambs, feed my sheep, feed my sheep (John 21:15-17)

God knew that Simon would have some stinky moments in his life, but yet here I am in the year of 2017, almost 2,000 years later and I’m still talking about Peter and using him as an illustration of the love, patience and purpose of Christ Jesus in His life. Christ knew that too. I wonder if today Jesus and Peter are setting in Heaven and He says to Peter. “You thought you were messed up? Look at the life of Shari! And yet still I have purposes in her life that she’s about to discover!”

I wish I was better. I’m sure you wish you were too. But what you and I have to get a hold of is that even in the stinky times of life, Christ will be glorified if we allow the world to see that He loves the broken, stinky people. So like Peter, I will feed the lambs and the sheep in this place, in this season, till I am perfected in Him in Heaven.  

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. ~ John 2:23-25

***

____________________________________________________________________________________

I’ll not complain when the power and blessings of the Holy Spirit bring unexplainable and unspeakable joys in my life for my service. But through the coercing of others in the ministry, who see my work as worthy, and the coercing of the Holy Spirit Who says “Through His blood I am worthy,” I have added a ministry donation button to this site. If you do not have, or do not feel inclined to give, then please don’t feel obligated. But if I have encouraged you and the Spirit speaks, your gift of any amount would be appreciated and honored by God.

I do what I do because I’m gifted and afforded the opportunity by grace and feel that I am accountable for the ministry that God has given. God has been enlarging my territory. For that I am grateful. But for that, there are expenses. Thank you for reading my blog. It encourages my soul, I pray I’ve encouraged yours!