Yesterday, after another long day at work, I decided to spend a little time with Jesus. I usually don’t make it to church on Wednesdays because of the drive, but I needed it this week, so I made it happen. I attend Destiny Church in Broken Arrow… not to be confused with Destiny Life here in Claremore… they are not affiliated with one another and I know nothing about Destiny Life. But I do know about Destiny. I started going to church there about five years ago. At the time I was living in Tulsa and it was much more convenient. But what can I say, I love it, so it’s worth the drive. Plus, going to church outside of Claremore allows me to really take Sundays off without being asked 20 questions about what’s going on in the city, having to listen to people complain about their electric bill or being asked for favors in getting people out of speeding tickets. That alone is worth the 40-minute drive. J
My pastor, Mike Goolsbay is a different breed. He’s young, he’s funny and he’s got lots of stories… but he loves Jesus and he loves people and he continually reminds us that that is the mission of our church. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard him say the words, “Destiny Church is about loving people, helping them find their next step and teaching others to do the same.” I think a lot of times we get wrapped up in the religion side of church or even the status quo as to what church we go to, who we attend with, how big the building is, etc., and not to say that doesn’t happen at Destiny, but since I have been attending there, I have done it because I love it and for no other reason. I feel like it’s a great teaching church instead of a being preached at kind of church, if you know what I mean. Plus, I love people, so Destiny’s mission nails that one for me. I like to help people solve problems, so Destiny’s mission fits my life there too. And finally, I value the importance of changing lives, educating people, helping them grow to the point that they can go and help someone else grow. So again… Destiny’s mission is perfect for where my heart is. If you are looking for a church home in the Broken Arrow area, I highly recommend Destiny Church.
Last night’s message was on incentive… specifically how when we invite Christ into our lives it brings hope, and that hope brings incentive… to walk in grace, change our motives and find power in scripture… the end result being that it gives us the incentive to live differently and grow in God’s love.
As you may have been able to tell from a few of my recent blogs, I’ve been a little grouchy and throwing myself a pity party. I’m so sorry for that. I have been lacking the hope that gives me incentive to live a life worthy of the calling I have received. I’ve been making it about Cassie instead of about loving people. My bad. Sometimes it’s funny the things God uses to put us in our place.
One of the verses that went up on the screen during the message last night was Hebrews 10:24, which says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” A friend sitting next to me leaned over and said, “That’s what you do for me.” It broke my heart… in a good way of course. After the week I’ve had, that was exactly what I needed to hear to quit feeling sorry for myself. I had just finished giving that friend an ear full on how I was feeling sorry for myself and how I felt taken advantage of and neglected by people in my life and how I was tired of always being expected to cater to everyone instead of do what I want or need. I said I was going to start being more selfish and see how everyone liked that. And yet, despite my selfish motive, my friend could still see where my heart is. His words reminded me why I do the things I do. I do them because I love people and I want to help them find their next step. Those words, “That’s what you do for me,” may be the biggest compliment I have ever received. That’s what I want to do for people. That’s what I need to do for people. Thank goodness that even when my perception of my surroundings changes, God’s perception of me doesn’t. He made that clear to me through that scripture and the words of my friend.
Another verse from last night that really stuck out to me was Romans 3:5, "Hope does not disappoint us." So true… hope never disappoints… expectations always do. I need to keep that in mind in my dealings with others. I should always hope people make uplifting choices, but I should never expect them to do anything. When I hope for them, I have the ability to celebrate with them when they accomplish great things. When I expect from them, I only build resentment when they don't meet the expectation and hurt them when I remind them they failed. That is not what loving someone is about.
And finally, 1 Peter 1:16, "... for it is written: Be holy, because I am holy." I have read and heard this verse many times with the emphasis on the "be holy" part. Last night Mike put a different spin on it... he focused on the "it is written" part. God has already written the plan for our life. That's not to say we don't have choices... that's the great thing about our God... He always lets us choose... He just hopes we make the right choice, forgives us when we don't and always gives us a new opportunity to do what is right and what lines up for what is written for us. I'm so thankful for second chances.
I’m still struggling with a few things in my life, but at least now I have the incentive to live differently. It's time for my second (or 932nd) chance. Thanks to my Jesus for giving me the extra chances and thanks to my friend for reminding me of what is written for me. You both have very special places in my heart. J
To show my appreciation to Jesus for all the grace He has given me, I'm going to quit with my pity party and start loving people (and myself) the way He hopes I will.
To show my appreciation to my friend for helping me start the uphill climb out of my rut, I took him to see the new Harry Potter (said in my best English accent). We should have had a Harry Potter marathon beforehand to brush up on the storyline, but it was a last-minute rash decision and all the other movies showing either I’d already seen or they didn’t look worth it.
While I am in no way a huge Harry Potter fan and have never read the books or anything like that, I do enjoy the movies… they are entertaining. I have a knack for picking out one line in just about every movie I see and remembering it forever… not just because it’s clever or funny… it has to be something that invoked an emotion in me. There were a couple lines like that in this movie, and all of them came from Dumbledore.
The first stuck out the most… “I always surprise myself on my ability to turn a phrase. Words are, in my not so humble opinion, the most inexhaustible source of magic; capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it." Anyone who really knows me knows why this line stuck with me. Let’s just say I have a way with words. J This quote is so true to me… words truly are like powerful magic. They can be good magic or dark magic, but they do things to people that actions never could. It is important to me that I learn to use my words only for good.
The second is an obvious one, but still enough to inspire some thought… “Don't pity the dead. Pity the living. And, above all, those who live without love." I don’t think I need to add any commentary other then, we need to work to love those who have no other source of love in their lives more than anyone else… no matter how difficult it may be… they need it the most… especially the ones who don’t love themselves.
And finally, my favorite… “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” Never be afraid of what you feel. Never question what you can dream up. If you feel something or believe in something, don’t rationalize it away unless you have truly given it the opportunity to be something great in your life. People may not always agree with you, but they will get over it. Would you rather live a life upsetting a few people who will forget about it a year from now when they see how happy you truly are or would you rather live an unhappy life always suppressing yourself and never really knowing what could have been. I vote for the happy life.
Those are my words of wisdom for the day… courtesy of Jesus and Dumbledore… J