Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"As It Turns Out"

I am from a church going family. I can't remember a Sunday when we weren't in church and at a family dinner after. It was just what Sunday was about in my world and it has given me some of my most treasured memories. I was in Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Confirmation and every conceivable youth event our church had to offer. Still, there was a part of me that felt confused and empty, like I was involved in all the business and politics of "churching", but I didn't really understand what faith was really about and there wasn't a lot of talk about salvation.

I thought I just wasn't old enough yet or that there was something more I needed to do. I remember a lot of chanting, standing up and sitting down and hymns that I knew all the words to but sang without thinking about what those words meant. Maybe that sounds familiar to someone.  It is really a personal recollection, and not meant as a slam against any particular church or denomination. I know some extraordinarily faithful people in churches like the one I went to.  I remember a lot of twenty minute talks about God but what I don't remember is someone going through scripture verse by verse and teaching God's word as bottom line truth.  Maybe I was just to young to remember. I even had a pastor, yes, a pastor tell me once that the Bible was written 2000 years ago and is not really applicable for today. That really messed me up!

As I experienced pain and a lot of searching in my life, I found my personal Savior in Jesus Christ and turned my life over to Him. He meets us where we are and I found that so comforting. I didn't have to totally understand doctrine or theology to have His forgiveness, unfailing love and acceptance.  God chose the Bible as His way of communicating with His people and I decided that I needed to know what was in there.  I also determined that I could read it literally and believe that it is truth.  If I can't count on the integrity of scripture then I have no baseline from which to operate.  If it isn't ALL true, then none of it is and it is not worth the time to sort it out.

I have had periodic spurts of quality preaching but I was still missing something.  I believed the Bible and I had no qualms about looking there for answers but I didn't know how to study. I didn't know how it was all connected and which parts were written as prophecy, which were written literally and which were parables. I had no clue about the book of Revelation and virtually no understanding of end times. I didn't know the historical background or chronology that provides necessary incite to the setting and culture of the times.  Turns out that is pretty important and I didn't even know where to begin.

I have to say that all of that has changed. I began to sit under the teaching of a Bible teacher with an incessant  passion for teaching the word of God. He studies the whole picture including historical documents and commentaries from the time. He understands church history. He knows the culture, the region and has actually gone to Jerusalem to study.  When I began to sit under verse by verse Bible teaching with someone who has an incredible gift of making it interesting with movie like reality, I began to put those lost pieces together and figure out that the Bible is a book that IS meant to be understood.  It is meant to communicate with us the ultimate truths of God. Turns out, it is really interesting. Turns out, it is full of instruction for today. Turns out, it was meant as a personal communication to His church and me.  After years of confusion, it turns out that what I really needed was in my hands all along. I just needed to listen to someone who is brave enough to teach it verse by verse without the fear of people getting restless and voicing disapproval at it's depth. Thank you Galyn for not watering it down, for making it real and exciting and for unapologetically bringing the truth to light.  I hope you know what an impact you are making. As it turns out, the truth did set me free.

If you're interested in listening to Galyn Wiemer's teaching, check out his website at It is full of study aids, audio and video teaching and opportunities to attend other Bible studies in Des Moines. He has written four books including a comprehensive study book, "Framework For Christian Faith".  We are privileged to have him teaching at Faith E-Free Church in Audubon on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. Please feel free to join us on this incredible journey.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Step Away

I pray. I give God problems and then I all but strain muscles jumping up to grab them back because I am not quite certain that He fully understands the situation and will take care of it the way I would like Him to or as quickly as I had hoped. I may just have been a little hasty in giving that to Him. Come to think of it, maybe I can just handle it on my own.  I can envision God looking at me when I try to manipulate the outcomes and saying.... (think police drama).
"Put the problems down. I'm not going to tell you again. Just put them down and step away!"

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"The Goosebump Things"

There is a deep part of me that only surfaces when someone, (this time a student) asks me things like... "Did you do what you wanted to do with your life?" Surprisingly, the answer is... no. I wanted to do theater or perform or be in speaking of some kind.  I have done some of that and I loved it.  My parents thought that it was too risky so they recommended that I become a teacher because I was interested in art. They said it would be a good life for a woman who wanted to raise a family. Because I respected my parents and because in that time, teaching was one of the only options for a woman, I did as they suggested. Does that mean that my life was a waste or that I am not happy in what I am doing? That answer is also, no.

God has obviously blessed what I am doing, my art programs have been strong, my students win a lot of awards at contests and I get messages from former students that I have influenced their life choices and inspired them. I am always deeply touched by that. It feels like a thumbs up from God.  I am in a position where I can be His hands and feet and I am happy to be used in that way.

I love my kids. I spend a lot of hours with them and we develop a rapport over time. I like the enthusiasm and youth that I soak up from them. It gives me an opportunity to keep up and stay current to some extent. I am flattered when they want to have their pictures taken with me. When they ask my personal advice, it makes what I do seem more significant. But, I need to be prepared. I need to be able to speak out wisdom....that only comes from a relationship and a long walk with the Lord. I need to be praying that He will bind my tongue unless it is of Him...which should leave me speechless 80% of the time.

For the record, I have a deep and abiding love for the Lord and for my crucial people and of course that gives me my greatest fulfillment.   I still long for the "goosebump" things. For me, there is something transcendent about being in or going to a play, listening to live music or attending performances of about any kind. There are times when I am so moved that I don't even have words to express it.  When I am the one speaking or performing, I have the satisfaction of thinking that I may have touched someone and given them that same indescribable feeling. That is the stuff of my dreams.