Tag Archives: Truth

You Get Wise, You Get to Church!

community october

 

My husband loves to quote movies. Thus, the title of this post.  Can anyone tell me who said it? Or what movie it’s from?

We get lots of advice from people, don’t we?  Solicited, Unsolicited…it doesn’t matter, some people just like to advise.  Let’s be honest, we have all been given some bad advice over the years.  If we are really honest, we have to admit we’ve likely also offered some bad advice.

Someone told me once that you should be careful who you hang around with because you will start to become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Hmmm…that got me thinking.

My husband and I are attending a class at church and one of the pastors explained it like this…We are all playing along, living our lives, grading ourselves on our holiness, assuming we are getting about a B.  If we are super prideful, we may actually believe we are getting an A.  We are following rules, we are “religious”, we are successful in the world’s eyes, we don’t see any overt sin in our lives (usually because we are avoiding seeing it).  We compare ourselves with others and we come out on top…”At least I’m not as bad as that guy!” We may give money to charitable causes and maybe we serve a little but out of duty.  Or maybe we do feel a passion to serve and we are doing and saying all the right things.  We go to church but we are not necessarily living transformed lives.  We look past that though and drift along, showing up in all the right places. We give ourselves high marks for things we think are “holy”.  We deem ourselves, “pretty good”, maybe a B- or a C plus.  Most of us know better than to say we are an A.  We may think it but we know we should be humble because we learned that in Sunday school, so we give ourselves a B while patting ourselves on the back for our humility.

Meanwhile, the Bible tells us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. The Bible says that keeping the law is not what’s important.  James 2:10 tells us “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” I don’t know about you but I know I’m not capable of keeping all of the Laws in the Bible.  I’m working on the Big 10.

So the pastor had written a bunch of grades on the board…A, B-, C…and then he put a slash through all of them and said, “Actually, we are all getting an F”. And there was a big red F on the board. Now for someone like me who is a rule follower, this does not sit well.  I have spent my life doing what I’m told, caring about rules, following God’s commandments, going to church, taking communion, praying, writing, speaking and yoga-ing for Jesus.  The sting of this truth revealed my heart.  I was trying to be “good enough” for God. I believed I was about a B. I was performing and striving and hoping and praying that my “works” would please Him.  Maybe you do this too? Maybe you’ve been fighting to be an A and when you feel like a C, despair sets in. Friends, that despair is not from the Lord.  The Lord offers hope.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

“For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.” – Romans 8:3

See, God knows us and loves us and sent His son to save us.  Picture that report card with an F on it.  When Jesus came, it miraculously changed into an A. He wiped our slate clean. This is the good news.  This is the Gospel.

The toughest part of this for some is not believing that Jesus came or that God loves us or that the sacrifice on the cross was for us…the toughest part for some of us is admitting that we cannot do it alone. We don’t believe the F.   It’s difficult to admit our own weakness and need for a Savior.  But it is necessary.  If you could do it alone, Jesus’s life and death would mean nothing.

Some people in our lives, some of our “teachers” will tell us we are a B, we are “doing great”, we should just work harder, do more, give more and then we will be enough. But the wise teachers will tell us about the one who hands out the A’s.  Our wise teachers will lead us the the only One who can give us a passing grade.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

I told someone once that I am a sinner saved by grace and she looked at me and said, “Yeah, right. What have you ever done wrong?”  Isn’t that just like us? We assume other people have it all together.  We look at our shortcomings but speculate that others have none. Y’all.  For real. We are all sinners. We can dress ourselves up and shellack the heck out of our lives but underneath, we all struggle with sin.

This is not fun to talk about.  That’s why we don’t. But once we get past this part…this conviction and repentance part…we get to grace.  Grace gives the A. Grace graduates us.

Surround yourself with truth tellers. People who will lead you to the Master Teacher.  People who will lovingly and tenderly call you out on your junk. Friends, we are all jacked up. You, me and all our neighbors, pastors, priests, teachers, politicians, leaders.  Don’t look to the right and left and think “they have no sin” or “I have no sin compared to them”. Jesus is the only one without sin.  As for us, we are all in the same boat…we are all castaways in need of rope.

Let Jesus be your teacher.  Spend time with Him.  Make Him the one you spend the most time with. As for your 5?  Hang around with people who point you to Him.

I look forward to seeing you all in our caps and gowns on graduation day…humbled and grateful for the way He handed out A’s.  All of us, incredulous at our good fortune, knowing the courses were tough and we could not have passed if not for Him.

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

For the Love – It’s Time!

lead

 

Every once in a while a book comes along that INSPIRES.  Jen Hatmaker’s new book, “For the Love” does just that.

This book is for all my friends who are leaders.  That is EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. YOU.

Mothers, daughters, sons, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, friends.  You are champions.

Young, old. Single, married, divorced, separated, dating. You are loved.

I’ve seen you do your thing…teaching, writing, preaching, speaking, lawyering, doctoring, hugging, laughing.  You can be a boss in the boardroom and make a mean cupcake for the class party.

You are hand holders and snot wipers.  You offer a shoulder to cry on and a seat at the table.  You laugh freely and love deeply. You offer your heart.

You know things…like how to make a 10 year old boy roll on the floor laughing and how to recognize when your teenage daughter has been slighted by a friend.

You push the swing and swing on the swing and swing the bat. You are comfortable in fancy shoes and cleats and muddy bare feet. Your mission field is the neighborhood, the workplace, the bus, the yoga studio, the coffee shop.

This book is for you.

You know it is more important to be kind than it is to be right. You know when to compromise. You walk through life with open palms, not clenched fists. You understand that vulnerability is a strength. You know the first one to say sorry actually wins.

bridge

 

We see you in churches and neighborhoods and schools and walking paths and breakfast diners. We see you in the stock market and the business school and the interview. We know you are behind the camera and in front of the camera and you are the camera. You have vision and depth and soul. You create art. You draw people in.

You are on mission. Today. Where you are.

This book is for you.

You have been offered grace. By God, parents, teachers, coaches, friends, many people in your past. Grace is your lifeline and you have been saved. You reach out to offer that grace to others and so others seek you…other grace givers …humble servants and truth tellers.

The older you get you recognize your gifts. You don’t minimize yourself or your talents. You no longer want to sit on the sidelines. You don’t want to read about what others are doing…you want to go to battle. You don’t fear what will happen if you fail, you look forward to what will happen when you succeed. You show up. You are ready to do the deep work. You are free.

 

for the love free

 

This book is for you if sometimes you feel not worthy. You wonder, “Have I done enough?” …”What is my calling?”…”Who am I?”  Jen addresses all of this. She also addresses the church with chapters like, “Dear Church…” and “Dear Christians, Please Stop being so Crappy…” 

This book is for you if sometimes you find yourself wondering if you your family is too crazy (NO), If it really is too difficult for you to crack an egg (NO), if Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Lopez get their beauty supplies at Walgreen’s (NO) and if you should wear yoga pants outside of the house with no shirt covering your bottom. (FOR THE LOVE…NO!) Jen covers all of this beautifully. She’s got your back.

There are recipes and thank you notes and lots of personal anecdotes. She includes Scripture and always leads you back to love and truth and Jesus.

 

jesus ftl

 

You will love her for her honesty. She becomes your best friend, mentor, teacher, preacher and coach. She tells you it will be okay and you believe her. She holds a mirror up, tells you to take a good long look, assures you that you are beautiful and equipped and then says, “C’mon now, get going!”

This book is a movement.  This book matters. “For the Love” is a battle cry.

We are missionaries. In all the places we live and work and abide. For all the people we see, heal, touch, hear, comfort, teach, love.

Jen reminds us, “You are too vital to lose years to regret or shame or insecurity or fear. We are not slaves to those masters; Jesus saw to that.”

She encourages us, “Take all the hard parts-the failures, the losses, the wounds-and give them to Jesus for glory. He makes magic with those, I tell you.”

Amen.

Let’s go make some magic, shall we?

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

 

I Am Woman Hear Me Preach

rise up holy yoga

 

This article inspired me today.  Check it out. http://sarahbessey.com/why-not-have-a-woman-preach/

In this article Sarah Bessey is asking the question, “Why not have a woman preach?”

I remember when I was younger my mom read me a book.  It was one of those golden books and it had a sweet girl on the front I think.  I can’t remember the details but I remember there were characters in the book doing different jobs.  There was a mailman, a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, etc.  The doctor was a woman. That must have been pretty radical for the 70’s but it wasn’t radical for me. It wasn’t radical for my mom.  My mom told me I could do anything. My mom preached.

My dad preached too.  With his kindness and his belief in me.  I saw no difference in the amount of love that could be given from a man or a woman.  There was no difference.  They loved equally and powerfully.

My mom told me about Jesus and His plans for me.  She taught me right from wrong.  She modeled kindness.  She hugged and laughed a lot too. She welcomed people in to our home. Make no mistake, she preached.

As I got older, I had teachers that told me I could do anything, be anything, achieve anything.  They encouraged me.  They were men and women. They preached. They preached about opportunity and possibility and hard work and dedication and taking risks and trying my best and believing in myself. Men and women, they preached.

These people did not need permission.  They did not need a degree in encouragement.  They did not need a board of directors or a council of decorated clergymen to tell them they were good enough.  They knew it.  God approved them. God. Not man. And He gave them an assignment.  He said, “Go love the people in front of you”.  AND THEN HE PUT THE PEOPLE IN FRONT OF THEM! They heard His voice saying, “Encourage that child”, “show up”, “be an example”.  They did not wait.  They could not wait. It was time.

All we have is this moment. Are you going to wait? For permission to preach? From whom?

In college, I knew a sorority sister that preached. She talked about Jesus, she shared His Word and His promises. She encouraged us to know Him. It was the early 90’s. She was 19 or 20 and did not yet have a college degree. Age and education have nothing to do with preaching.

My kids preach to me!  The other day my oldest daughter laughed at me when I said I’m not a hypocrite.  She laughed.  I asked her why she was laughing and she said, “Mom, did you not hear what the preacher said?  We are all hypocrites!” BOOM.

That’s my girl.  Preach!

As an adult, there have been so many! There are women pastors who have made an impact on my life.  There are writers and speakers and organizers and women fighting for the victims of sex trafficking.  Women are on the front lines wiping tears and fighting for justice.  Some are in the court room and some are in the church.  Together we preach.

I have been abundantly blessed by everyone in Holy Yoga. That is some serious preaching. Mind, Body, Soul preaching! All the women who have been set free by Jesus and know His love and grace can’t help but preach!

There are too many to name here.  Think about the women that have helped you.  Think about the moments of grace.  Consider the examples in your life and thank them for their obedience.  Because when they were called to be an example, they answered that call.  Many of them did it afraid.

I would not be who I am today without these preachers. Whether they ever stand behind a pulpit or speak on a large stage or publish their writings…it does not matter.  God gave them gifts and opportunities and they answered with a GREAT BIG YES! Yes I will love that person.  Yes I will listen. Yes I will tell them about Jesus.  Yes I will encourage them. Yes I will be kind. Yes I will forgive.  Yes I will repent.  Yes I will pray. Yes I will read Scripture. Yes I will spend time alone with God. Yes I will listen for His voice. Yes I will live in joy.  Yes I will be grateful.  Yes I will open my home and my heart and my life. Yes.

And if you call me to it Lord, I will preach with words on a blog and on a stage and from a yoga mat.  I will get to know you so I can hear your voice.  I will not shrink back.  I will not be afraid. You go before me and show me the way. Yes, Lord, I will follow you.

See, God does not speak only in the church. He does not only use priests as conduits for sharing the faith. He does not speak differently to men and women. He is speaking to you and me right now.

Our humanness makes us look to the center stage waiting for direction from someone who is “smarter” or “more important” or “ordained” or “better than us”.  But God is standing there, in the margins, in the hallway, by the bathroom door, beckoning us.

Preaching looks like helping with homework and making dinner and loving your spouse.  Preaching is a hug before school or a ride in the rain.  It’s a phone call and a text and a Facebook post.  It’s cheering from the stands and standing at the gravesite and bringing flowers to a friend.  Preaching is sharing coffee or wine or chocolate.  Preaching is putting down the phone and listening with your eyes.  Preaching is holding your tongue and choosing kindness.  Preaching is staying home and staying out of trouble.  Preaching is standing in the gap for your friend who no longer believes  and reaching out to God on her behalf.  Preaching is choosing to be different so others see that they can be too.  Preaching is honoring commitments for the long haul.  Preaching is seeing the good in others and pointing it out to them and everyone else.  Preaching is not competition.  Preaching is love.

So in answer to the question, “Why can’t women preach?”  I say, they can and they do and they will.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 (ESV) it says, “Do not quench the spirit.”

I was in a Beth Moore study and she always has a great way of explaining things. She was talking about what happens when someone is on fire with the Holy Spirit and the people around them (or maybe one, big, powerful person) come in like the fireman with the hose and just start spraying to put out that fire!! What a shame! People…that is not our job! Let the Holy Spirit work through all people as God sees fit.  Guess what? Man does not decide who is promoted to speak God’s Word and encourage others. GOD DECIDES.

Now go. Preach.

The world needs you.

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved
photograph by Stephanie Moors Photography
video by Echo Star Cinema