Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Celebrating Our Journey

According to www.freedictionary.com the 2nd definition for journey is, “A process or course likened to traveling; a passage”.  In life we have many journeys and you and I could speak of our journeys through high school, college, marriage, having children, careers, Christianity, and the list goes on and on.  December 6th, 2006 was my family’s first Sunday morning worship service at TSCC.  December 10th was my first day “on the job” and now 5 years later, we’ve completed the first 5 year chapter of this incredible journey.

In many ways it feels like we are still in the beginning phases of this journey.  The love and acceptance I and my family have received here has made these 5 years seem like they only started yesterday.  The Church here has not only accepted my preaching and teaching of God’s Word, my help in leading them along with the elders, it has also accepted my family as their family.  We came here knowing that we would have to take major road trips to see any of our blood relatives (other than my brother and his awesome family, who are still 2 ½ hours and a mountain away).

And yet we have never felt alone during the holiday seasons, or any other time.  We have friends here that are those lifetime, never forget you type of friends – and we have a lot of them.  Five years of watching a group of people grow closer to Christ, to each other and to us has been tons of fun.  Not to mention the fact that we keep having more and more added to this amazing family.

So as we look forward to the years ahead, let us continue to stick together, love each other like God loves us, look for ways to bring others into this family of God, and never forget to give God the Honor as He continues to shape us individually and together into a masterpiece for His Glory!  Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  NLT

In Christian Love and Service,
Lance, Jen, Cade, and Carter Osborn

Friday, October 28, 2011

I don't want to go to school

Parents – Ask Questions!!!!!!!

My wife and I have been attending a required parenting class at Cade’s new school that has been life changing for me and I don’t say that lightly.  I’ve been to a lot of parenting classes and seen plenty of videos but this one has challenged me in ways I’ve never been challenged before.
One of the main focuses is dealing with attitudes rather than behavior.  Bad behavior is a result of a bad attitude and if you ignore the attitude and focus on the bad behavior, you are ignoring the problem and dealing with the symptoms only.  You know how that works medically and it isn’t any better with children, in fact it’s worse.

Another thing this class focuses on is asking questions to see what the child is thinking, how they are feeling and why their behavior is bad.  This was illustrated to me this week.  Every morning lately Cade has been saying, “I don’t want to go to school”, which is weird because he loves school.  Jen and I have gotten frustrated and started telling him to stop saying it because we know he doesn’t mean it.

Finally yesterday when Cade said it again, Jen asked him why he felt that way, yeah we finally got it right.  His answer?  Welling up with tears he said, “because I just miss you guys so much and want to be with you”.  This wasn’t a manipulative act either because he wasn’t in trouble.  It was his heart revealing how much he loves us and feels loved in our home.
Wow!  Talk about a wakeup call.  Here all this time I’ve been getting frustrated with him and irritated that he is saying this and all along it was just because he loves us. 

Again I say, parents ask questions.  Yes, Cade still needs to go to school, and yes we want him to love it, to learn, and have fun, which he does.  But we must never forget to find out what is in his heart and what he is thinking and feeling.  Children have emotions, feelings, and thoughts that often get ignored in our desire to make them do "what is right" (in our opinion) regardless of the situation.

Parents learn from my mistake and ask questions and please, please, please, listen to them when they answer.

God Bless you in this most difficult yet rewarding task,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Favorite Things

I remember in grade school when our music teacher began to work with my class to determine which of us wanted to enter in the regional contest for singing or any other talent we might have.  There was a song that we guys stayed away from but there seemed to be at least one girl every year that would sing it.  “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens”……. Really?  For a boy in the 5th grade that was an extremely lame song……. “Girls in white dresses, with blue satin sashes”?  Talk about making a ten year old boy want to vomit.

But you know the song has a point.  We all have our own specific list of our favorite things.  It might be shaped by our gender, race, background, upbringing, etc.  It might be shaped by role models, parents, grand-parents, teachers, or many other things, but it definitely exists and is unique to each of us.

I also remember in the 5th Grade receiving a calendar picture of Joe Montana from Mrs. Green.  She had randomly picked QB’s for each of us boys and I got Joe Montana.  I became a 49er fan for life and now live less than 2 hours from Candlestick Park (where they play, for you non-football fans).  It’s amazing how life works.

Today’s list of favorite things is very different from back then but it still exists.  It includes NY Super Fudge Ice Cream, G2, Lindt Dark Chocolate, Boneless Buffalo Wings from Chili’s, the TV Show Monk, the Andy Griffith show, Southern Gospel music, Oklahoma Sooners, and the 49ers.  Here’s the thing, as you read my list you might be rolling your eyes, or laughing at me, or even agreeing with me, but to me it’s an amazing list.

I do have a point in all of this.  God has blessed me with a list of favorite things that has nothing to do with food, or football or TV Shows.  It’s the morning drive Cade and I take to his school every day, it’s the view of the ocean, and the mountains, and even sky-scrapers.  It’s waking up every day and knowing that I’m loved by the most amazing woman (in my opinion) God ever put on this earth.  It’s watching my youngest son as he learns to walk, and talk, and shake his head no, and laugh uncontrollably when he’s tickled by his mom. 

And last but not least it’s every October during pastor appreciation month when I’m reminded again just how blessed I am to be serving God at Tyler Street Church of Christ.  The truth is that I get this reminder on a weekly if not daily basis, but this one time of the year when I’m showered with love and gifts and cards, I shake my head in wonder and thankfulness that God saw fit to put me and my family here.  Working with and under a Godly leadership, and alongside a bunch of amazing people who have given us so much over the almost 5 years we’ve been here, from physical gifts to emotional and spiritual gifts. 

I have a shelf on my desk that is dedicated to nothing but the cards and small reminders of this love, and it grows each and every day.  These are a few of my favorite things.  May God bless you today as you think of your list of favorite things, and may you be thankful for the people and things God has placed in your life.

Blessed beyond belief,


Monday, August 15, 2011

I am irreplaceable

Even as you read the title to this blog you know where I’m going, and it’s possible that a picture of someone you know is now in your mind.  You know the co-worker who brags to others that they can demand a raise because they are irreplaceable.  The boss, the job, maybe even the whole company would go down the tubes without them.

We spent the weekend on a mini-vacation and didn’t get back until time for our Family Night Sunday night.  When I asked about how the services went, I found out that we had a really good attendance, and someone even jokingly said, “I feel bad for Lance”, because there were more people than normal.  Of course we had a really good attendance day last week as well…… wait a minute that’s right, I didn’t preach last week either.  How much more can my poor bruised ego take?  I’m joking of course.

The truth is that not for one minute do I think that I am irreplaceable, but I want to be.  If you’re honest you also know that you want to feel irreplaceable as well sometimes.  We want to be needed, loved, appreciated, and missed when we’re gone.  While we want others to succeed and especially when we are talking about the Kingdom of God, the most important thing is that God is glorified, it’s still nice to know that you’re needed right?

Here’s the secret – TSCC is an amazing place where I’m praised, applauded, commended, and appreciated on a daily basis but my irreplaceableness (I know that’s not a word) needs to come from God and even then it’s not based on what I’m doing, it’s based on who I am.  Someone else could easily take my place in the work of God, but nobody can take my place in God’s eyes.  There is only one me and He wants me to be with Him so bad that He sacrificed His only Son so that I could be with Him forever.
Yep – I’m irreplaceable in God’s eyes.  My value doesn’t come from my service, my preaching, my talents, or abilities; it comes from being loved by the very one who created me.  He is my life, my fullness, my all in all, and while I’ve never ever served in a place where I’m appreciated as much as TSCC (and keep loving me despite my failures please) J my value is from having Christ make His home in my heart.  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%203:14-21&version=NLT

Please follow this link and read an amazing passage of Scripture in the NLT and know that my prayer echoes Paul’s when I think of you, and you coming to terms with the fact that down here you are replaceable but with God your value has no end.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How's the Lemonade?

Sunday we spoke about life and how we are often handed many lemons in life.  It could be that used car you bought, or an employer giving you an unfair pink slip, or an unexpected trip to the emergency room to repair your rambunctious child’s broken leg.  Maybe it’s just the everyday stress and pressure of being an employee/husband/father/Christian/neighbor/friend, etc.  Or maybe it’s all the jobs that come along with being a woman (which are far too numerous to list), especially if you have small children at home.
We discussed the old adage that states, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”, and how many of us would prefer to hang on to the lemons to pull them out at the appropriate time to complain to others about just how sour they are.  The thing is, nobody understands just how difficult your lemons are except you, because no matter how much we try to empathize and sympathize with each other we are not in their position feeling what they feel, experiencing the same emotions, hurts, struggles, and disappointments that they experience.
So what really is the point of all the griping and complaining – does it somehow make you feel better or encourage the person you’re complaining to?  Nope, but here’s something you probably know but need to be reminded of – GOD WANTS YOUR LEMONS – He’ll make the lemonade, He’ll help you to use those lemons to somehow encourage someone else, to make you stronger, to build the type of character you’ve always dreamed of having.
Finally here’s a challenge to you and me, this week choose someone to bless, someone who you know has been handed a few lemons.  Maybe send them an email or better yet a hand written card, maybe a positive phone call or buy them a coffee, or small gift card.  If you’re so talented bake them a dozen cookies, or something you know they’ll enjoy.  And whatever you do, don’t tell them about your lemons, make it about them this time and see how you feel at the end. 
Will you do it?  I pray that you will and enjoy the lemonade God is making through your life example.   Phillipians 2:14 TNIV;NASB;CEV;NCV;CEB - Do everything without grumbling - Bible Gateway

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

She’s more than a Secretary

Over the last several years the term has become Administrative Assistant. It's a bigger word, and it definitely describes the position better because you and I know that many offices can barely function without the Administrative Assistant. I just learned today that a woman (who is so much more than a secretary, or administrative assistant, or any other description you could give her), that I admire very much has been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. It apparently has spread to her liver and lungs. As we all who know her pray big prayers to an even bigger God, my thoughts are spinning in regards to this amazing woman who I've known less than five years.

Her name is Sharon Bridgewater and she quietly and unobtrusively gets things done. She would never dream of usurping any authority over her especially God's. She is one of the most godly, humble, selfless women I have ever known. She will do anything for you and will go out of her way to serve you before herself. She needs us right now, needs our prayers, needs our encouragement, needs our love, needs our selfless service, and trust me when I say, that if the roles were reversed she would be the first to do all of these things and many more for you or I.

Every day when I go in the office I just know she will be there and I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes I take her for granted. It's not that I mean to, it's just that she never seems to show any weakness. Even while she has undergone test after test, she would repeatedly call in and apologize profusely that she couldn't make it in, as if she were inconveniencing us all. That is the kind of spirit that is seen throughout Scripture in Godly women. A more steadfast woman, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, and friend would be difficult to find. Sharon, if you get a chance to read this please know that we all love you and are praying for you.

In Christian Love, Lance

Monday, May 23, 2011

From the Frontline

As Memorial Day approaches, there have been many men and women on the frontlines throughout this great country's history. Some were forever changed, some came back to broken families, some came back heroes, and some never came back at all. For all those who serve on the frontlines there are many more that serve in other ways and never see the battle lines. Are they any less worthy of memory? Are they any less Veterans? We owe all of them more than we could ever imagine, no matter what part they played or will play.

This makes me think about the greatest kingdom ever, the Church. This last weekend at a Memorial Service for a Christian, who had passed away, I saw three ladies from TSCC working in the kitchen and made the comment, "I see you three at every event we do, slaving away in the kitchen and you need to know how much I appreciate you". They're response was, "you are at all those events working too". This is true but my response was, "yeah, but everyone sees me and knows that I'm working, and yet how often do you guys get credit for your service in the Kingdom?"

I also happen to know of 4 men from TSCC who are up at Park Creek today cutting limbs back from the road so the campers and RV's coming up next weekend can get through with minimal scratches. A couple of them are probably taking time off work possibly even unpaid to work in the kingdom. I also know that there was somewhere around 50 volunteers at our VBS Lunch yesterday and yes all of them have jobs they will be doing during our VBS programs.

So coming from a guy who is often on the frontline, here is a big thank you to all the backline (if that's a word) workers out there, not only here in Sacramento but in the Church all over the world whose service often goes unnoticed. And to all those veterans who have served our country, and those who continue to serve our country, a big thank you to you as well. May you all have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.

P.S. The reason I didn't mention the names of the people is because for those that I noticed or know about there are many more that I don't even realize are doing things behind the scenes and I don't want to leave anyone out. 


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's in a Word

What single word best describes mothers?  They are all so different each with their own strengths and weaknesses, their own unique talents, abilities, personalities, etc.  They aren’t perfect or infallible by any means so what word do I use?

I thought about stable, but that sounds like a barn, or steadfast but that seems so lifeless and boring.  Amazing and incredible are wonderful adjectives but are very general and could be used to describe many things or people.  I need a word that best describe Mothers all over the world.

Dependable sounds like a car or a good mule.  Patient, well even the best mother sometimes struggles with this quality even though they usually have men beat hands down when it comes to patience.  Goodness, consistency, beauty, love, are all great words that describe mothers but still not what I was looking for.

And then it hit me!  The perfect descriptive word.  It’s perfect because it covers all facets of mothers.  After all Moms are also chauffers, coaches, counselors, best friends, driving instructors, beauty consultants, tutors, chefs, nurses, and experts in many more fields.
The Word?  Flexible.  Changing on the fly, adapting to any and every situation.  My favorite quote of all time - "Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape" - Anonymous - Thanks to all the mothers and wives out there who have perfected the art of flexibility.  We love you!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Happy Life of a Servant

You and I have been told over and over that the more you serve others the happier you are, and you have probably been as skeptical about that statement as I have. Let's face it as a general rule we are pretty much self serving people. So through the years when I've allowed myself to be guided by the Holy Spirit instead of myself I've found myself in positions where it's been proven to me that it is really true, the life of a servant is a happy life.

Yesterday I went and visited an older lady in our Church named Lucille. She has been struggling physically and hasn't been able to attend the services for quite awhile. She has been through quite a bit in her life and as I was driving to her house I was praying (with my eyes open of course) that I would have the right words to say to encourage her and lift her spirits. Turns out God must have been fairly amused with my self-centered prayer. You might be saying, that doesn't sound like a self-centered prayer, well it was, because that very prayer just assumed that I would be the one doing the encouraging as if I'm the great glorious encourager and she is the poor down-trodden soul who needs my wonderful abilities. I'm exaggerating a bit here because of course that is not what I was thinking but instead of asking God to use this situation for His glory, I assumed that she was the one who needed the blessing.

You probably know the rest of the story, I walked in and while she looked pretty frail, the only thing I noticed was how happy she seemed. She talked to me of how blessed she has been with so many great neighbors, and friends, and family members and church members. She talked of all the opportunities she has had in her life to help and bless others. We talked about her beloved El Camino that she gave to her brother, and her family; we talked about the paintings on her wall, and many other things. She never stopped smiling through the entire visit, and I was reminded again of how when you start out with the idea of serving someone, often you are the one who gets the greatest blessing.

Thank you Lucille for your wonderful outlook and your beautiful spirit and thank you God for reminding me that to serve is to be happy and blessed. We don't serve for that reason of course but it is a result of our service to God and to others.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Are you struggling with faith?

Often people make the statement, "I'm struggling with my faith", and I understand because I've made the same statement myself a time or two. Here's what I've found though when doing some self inspection and when talking to others who are going through the same struggle. Faith in God really isn't the issue, many times. Faith in what God is doing or isn't doing around us is the issue. I believe in God and there is no way (in my mind) that I will ever stop believing in Him, but when I see things going on in the name of Christianity that is absolutely contrary to God my faith starts to waver. Maybe the Church you are attending is not a very bright light for the world, or maybe those around you look really good on Sundays but the rest of the week, you know what's going on, maybe you've been reading or hearing or watching all the horrible tragedies that are happening or maybe you look at your own life and can't see God working at all.

It is so easy to get frustrated with the gossipers of this world, and the mean spirited people, and the ones who try to tear you down to build themselves up, and the list goes on and on.  Unfortunately many of these people wear the name Christian which just makes it that much worse.  What we see around us and what we believe become so far apart that we cannot connect the dots. Add in the fact that you are constantly reminded that you are not doing enough for God, saying the right things, abstaining from the wrong things, reading your Bible enough, praying enough, etc. it is no wonder that your faith begins to dim.

So far this article is pretty discouraging huh? But here is an undeniable truth that we know, hear, quote, but so often don't really believe. "For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV. If you want to live for Christ you cannot go by what you see. What you see oftentimes is discouraging and disheartening, but what you believe is that God is in everything, and that He will never let you down. "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV

The beautiful thing about all of this is that the more we focus on what we believe and not what we are seeing, the more God will show us visible, tangible, real expressions of Himself. Remember Elijah who wanted to die because of all the horrible things around him? God used His own creation to take care of Elijah, used a violent wind, earthquake, and fire to get his attention, and then spoke to him in a still small voice. Finally God revealed to Elijah all of the others who were still on the right side. Elijah's faith wavered because he was focusing on what he saw which left him unable to see the evidence of God all around him.

So today, right now, wherever you are, you have the opportunity to live out your faith. You believe in God, show it through your life. Others may or may not come on board. Tomorrow there may be another terrible tragedy in the world, but you live out your faith and watch God bless your life, and who knows, maybe you are the one that will bring life to the Church you attend. Not because of anything great you do, but because of your great faith in the Creator of this world. Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. NLT

May you see the grace of God today and may you act on it so that someone else will see it as well.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Conversation with God

What a trip we've had so far. Traveling 26 hours in two days with a 4 month old baby wasn't a picnic but we managed. From there we went to the Osborn Reunion in Grove OK, where I re-connected with my family, some whom I hadn't seen in 24 years. From there we went back to Woodward, OK where we spent time with my parents and other friends which was also a great time. Then I headed to Tulsa for the Tulsa Evangelism Workshop fully prepared to hear new ideas about ministry and evangelism and ready to take them back to the Church with renewed vigor and vitality.

Of course God had different ideas and I found myself in the first two classes being convicted and on my knees in repentance for allowing myself to be work oriented and not God focused. I heard lessons on surrender and a non-judgmental spirit, and humility, and many other things that as I spend hours each week working for the Church and God, I tend to forget or ignore. This brings me to my conversation with God. I found myself telling God that He just didn't understand. I wasn't here to be convicted or spiritually challenged myself; I was here to bring more passion and excitement back to Sacramento. "I'm here to help lead a Church along the path of transformation they are called to, don't you know that God?"

His response was equally as aggravating as the process leading up to it, I could almost audibly hear Him saying to me, "You need to be transformed in order to lead anyone else into transformation, but then you know that don't you Lance"? All week of classes and sermons I was hearing great ideas and ways to help the Church become more mission minded and reach the unsaved but even while hearing these, there was a constant reminder that I need to let God work through me, and lead me as I team up with the elders to lead the Church. God works, He delivers, He saves, and He deserves the credit and glory that humans like me try to take sometimes.

So this week of surrender and forced humility, coupled with the encouragement, and exhortation I received results in an overall excitement of getting to go back home and continue to work in the greatest organization of all time, the Kingdom of God. Thank you for reading my rambling thoughts.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Heaven’s Whoever Policy

John 3:16 "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. In the fifth grade I had three whoever experiences all in the same year. Three occasions to sign up for something that anyone and everyone was invited to sign up for. Being the smallest, scrawniest, slowest, nerdiest kid in my school let alone my class, I was often subjected to being the last one selected or not selected at all very frequently. These 3 opportunities though were for whoever wanted to sign up. They were band, football, and basketball. Being that it was the fifth grade and a small school they apparently didn't have the heart to turn anyone away. But even with that being the case, I had very different experiences in all three situations. There are many reasons as to why they were so different. Some of it had to do with the educators, some of it had to do with my talents or lack of talent, but regardless of why, each whoever opportunity was vastly different.

My basketball experience was a hilarious one. While I had played some basketball, about the only thing I could do well was steal the ball and that was mostly because I was so tiny, no one could see me until it was too late. The one time I had the opportunity to score was at the foul line and even underhanded I couldn't get it to the hoop. Everyone could sign up, and at the end of the intramural games the main coach picked a travel team to play against other schools. While I didn't even get close to making that team, my experience on the intramural team was mostly positive. My coach let everyone play and didn't care if we won she just wanted to give everyone a chance.

Band was a piece of cake. Even though I picked the trombone which was too big for me and I had to use my foot to push the spit valve because I couldn't reach it with my short scrawny arms. The fact that I was an Osborn and that meant that I already knew music was a help and plus there were only two other trombone players and they were terrible. We had a great music teacher and it wasn't long before I was doing pretty well and began to love playing trombone.

And then there was football. Not only was I tiny, I was frail, and slow, and the worst football player to ever lace up a pair of cleats. I was subjected to being pounded every day in practice, my coach who didn't like me made sure that no one ever took it easy on me and if they did he made sure they pounded me twice as hard the next time. I started the year as a 3rd string cornerback and then one day in practice I made the coach mad and he demoted me to 4th string which in reality we didn't even have enough players to have 4 strings. Needless to say it was a horrible experience and yet one that I not only endured but I signed up again in my 6th grade year.

Here's the thing, just because everyone can sign up doesn't mean that everyone is good at it, or will even enjoy it. But Jesus tells us that when it comes to everlasting life it just doesn't matter how good you are, how talented you are, or whether you are tall, short, fat, skinny, male, female, and He certainly doesn't care about the color of your skin. He doesn't care if you have money or if you are homeless, His policy is truly the only whoever policy that has no restrictions or challenges. Everyone is welcome, everyone will love the experience, and everyone is promised eternal life. The only thing we have to do is believe it. Pretty amazing huh? Heaven's whoever policy according to Jesus' own words are for everyone who believes. Do you? Will you be obedient to Him? I promise it will be better than any band, or basketball, or football experience.

Monday, February 7, 2011

We’ll pay you to do it again!

About 17 years ago during my Bible College years a bunch of us went to a place called Heritage Square. It's a Victorian Village with lots of food, shopping, an amusement park, alpine slide, etc. At the time when we went they had a Bungee Jump as well. I distinctly remember that most of my friends were either unwilling to pay the fee to do the jump or were too scared. I being the brave, eccentric, loaded 20 year old with lots of money and bravery decided to take the plunge (literally). Okay so you probably want the truth right? I was scared to death but determined to prove that I wasn't scared and as for money, well I was a college student who waited tables to put me through school. $20 was a fortune for me, but I was determined to prove how tough and cool I was.

I climbed the stairs; the person at the top strapped me in and asked me a simple question. Are you ready? I wonder if God considered my answer of yes a lie, or deception or just stupidity. The second question was also simple, do you want to jump or do you want me to push you? My response was, "If you don't push me, I'll still be standing here an hour from now because there is no way I'm jumping off this ledge." The very nice attendant (or at least she appeared nice) said, "okay, I'll count to 3 and then push." I being the trusting sort, said okay go for it. She counted, one, two, and pushed on two. Apparently they do that to keep you from bracing yourself and thus injuring yourself. Well it worked. As I went plummeting to certain death I was the picture of beauty and grace and…………. Okay if anyone is reading this that was there, you are laughing your head off right now because you know that I apparently kicked and screamed the whole way down. Gone was the cool 20 year old trying to impress others, gone was my faith in the attendant, at this point I was too scared to even think about asking God to forgive me for the lie I had told just a minute before.

At the bottom I was approached by a complete stranger who offered to pay my way to do it again, so they could get it on camera (yes we had video cameras back then). I guess you had to be there (and not be me) to appreciate how hilarious the whole experience was, but I learned about faith that day. I believed in the harness, I believed in the security of the structure, I believed in the big fluffy thing I eventually landed in, and I believed in the attendant's word. If I was strong enough in my faith to do something like that why can't I believe in the Creator of the universe? He made me, He loves me, He sent His Son to die for me, and yes He sometimes pushes me off the edge when my reasoning is getting in the way of my faith, but if He says He's going to count to 3, He won't push at 2. I'm not sure if I will ever take the plunge again (speaking of bungee jumping), even if someone offers to pay the price, but every day is a plunge of faith, and yes God paid the price and it was a whole lot more than $20.

 p.s. Thank you Jan Embree for bringing this unpleasant memory back to me by commenting on a FB photo =) LOL

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Go, marry a prostitute

I’m currently reading the book of Hosea in my devotions and as I begin the book I read those words (Go, marry a prostitute NLT) and although I know the story, it’s still kind of shocking to see it again in black and white.  Some versions have tried to soften this word but the truth is that the Hebrew term in vs. 2 always means sex for money.  This is not a woman who would become tainted, she already was. 
I can’t imagine how horrible it would be to find out that your spouse was committing adultery, but to marry a woman, knowing she was a prostitute and didn’t have an inclination to change would be beyond my comprehension.  And yet I’m that woman, I’m the adulteress, the prostitute and so are you.  I’ve been unfaithful to God so many times and He knew that was my inclination before He ever married me.  You and I, all of us, we are the bride of Christ and sometimes we aren’t very beautiful on the inside or out, and yet God still loves us.
John 3:16 is a love letter.  For God so loved the world (the unfaithful, hateful, lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, murdering world) that He gave His one and only Son…………………………
When someone hurts me, I hurt, I may not retaliate, and I may not hold ill will but I hurt.  I selfishly and naturally look for ways to be healed.  When we hurt God, He looks for ways to redeem us.  It’s never about His hurt; it’s always about our forgiveness.  So thank you God for marrying an old prostitute like me, for not giving up on me and continuing to love me when I hurt you.
As we progress through this powerful verse we will spend more time talking about the gift (Jesus), and our choice to accept or reject this gift, but for now let’s just stop and contemplate the kind of love that is described in Hosea and here in John 3:16.  For God (Creator, and author of all life) so loved (not in words only but in actions) the world (that’s you, and me).
In Christ,