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Churchified

african-american-gospel-choir-clip-art-51544
Photo Courtesy of ClipArtHut

 

Written after a conversation with a friend about empty, poisonous church antics. It burned my biscuits.

I don’t want to do church.

I don’t want to play church.

I am the Church.

The Church is me.

It has to breathe.

It has to be.

It has to reach beyond what my eyes can see.

It has to feel the Truth in front of me and slay the dragons I have yet to defeat.

I still have victory over the enemy, but I fight for the prize of the high calling, while boxing these rabid thoughts behind my eyes…

Everyday, I rise.

 

I am the Church.

I am the walking, living, breathing mouthpiece of the most high God.

I inhale His goodness and exhale His obedience.

He is in me and I in Him.

So, I am His hands.

I am His feet.

I am everything He created me to be

Impeccably.

I’m tired of noise in sanctuaries filled with hungry souls.

I’m tired of watching aching bodies leave with gaping holes.

I’m sick of seeing the sick and tired, dying inside pretending to be inspired.

I’m sick of boils bubbling from despair.

Hope expired.

 

Applause! Applause!

A round of applause for everyone on stage

for everyone engaged in cinematic display.

I’m not looking for actors to fill a role.

I’m looking for the Church

the crease

the Fold

the boundaries drawn with blood stained veins

the lines that separate the road from the Way.

 

Do not tempt me with your tinkling cymbals.

Do not entice me with your exclusivity,

But draw me in with Love unscathed

Draw me in with the beauty of His Name

Draw me close to heal my pain

Rain motivation on me

Protect me with your arms of prayer

Don’t manipulate my heartstrings and tell me you care.

Bottom out with me at the feet of Jesus.

Let our souls pour into His Hands until He feeds us

His joy, His love, His strength, His faith.

I’m not interested if it’s any other way.

I am the Church and so are you.

If we can’t be real,

then who are you?

I was always taught that Church was a hospital and an oasis for all to leave better than they arrived. Unfortunately, this isn’t happening every week. Instead, we attend as spectators of a traditional requirement or as mindless participants of a circus act. In a way, we have become conditioned to be churchified.

What do you think?

The Blessing.

There are few times when I travel backward in my mind and find nuggets of perfect synchronicity in a fraction of a second. Saturday was one of those times, so allow me to walk you through the steps. Bear with the chain link of events below as I bare my soul.

STEP 1: THE PLAN

It all began with an idea to have a fun-filled, let-your-hair-down kinda day for my performing arts troupe, which consists of experienced professionals in various industries. They’re amazing superheroes in their respective fields and on any stage of creativity. A beautiful dichotomy of talent if you ask me. This delicate balance needed a breeze of fellowship, so August 13th was set for Summer Fun Day at Avondale Park. I could hardly wait.

STEP 2: THE CONSIDERATION

One of our members attends graduate school out-of-state and was making the trek to spend time with the team, so I watched the weather closely to ensure that she could travel to us safely. I didn’t see some responses from my crew (which I later discovered was due to a technical glitch), so I considered canceling it altogether. After all, we had received bursts of thunderstorms every day that week and Saturday was going to follow suit. I decided to keep the plan based upon the forecast, and added some extra prayer to the meteorologist’s news. So glad I did. The weather was perfect.

IMAG3155STEP 3: THE IDEA

On the previous evening, we held rehearsal and one of our members brought up the notion of eating at Saw’s Soul Kitchen in Avondale, Alabama. I had never been, so I immediately was intrigued and ready to go. The dance of overcasting clouds and sunshine made for a mean game of volleyball and Uno. We were having fun, exactly what I prayed for. It seemed only fitting that we carry the good vibrations over to the restaurant.

STEP 4: THE GOODNESSIMAG3164

The food was delicious and so was the laughter. We sang along to the old school soul music showering over our cozy little table of five. We were enjoying each other’s company, exactly what I prayed for. Then, enter a smiling stranger who politely asked us if we were about to leave and if he and his family could have our table. If you’ve been to Saw’s in Avondale, you know the severity of this request. There are less than 10 tables in this eatery and the line to obtain one when they open at 11 starts at 10:40 AM at best. I’m ashamed to admit that I shook my head “no.” Thank God for my friend, who apparently was closer to Jesus than I was in that moment, that said yes and my stone-faced look morphed into a smile and a nod. IMAG3169He was kind and respectful, and I was proudly selfish. I’m usually the person that is cognizant of busy hours and needed seats, but on that day, I didn’t want to be considerate. I was marinating in the loveliness of time that our team rarely experiences without the demands of a deadline. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want it to end…
but it was time.

IMAG3173STEP 5: THE SUGGESTION

After releasing our table, the same friend that suggested Saw’s pointed our attention to a thrift store nearby that she loves to visit. Sozo Trading Company was the destined place. Being the economical giants that we are, we jumped at the chance to embark on another adventure. Like giddy children filled with wonder, we walked inside and immediately felt peace. Dakota greeted us with a smile and noticed our matching shirts. She inquired of our talents and we agreed to perform a human video before we left.

STEP 6: THE CRUX
Remember when I gave you the demographics of the team in THE PLAN? The challenge that comes with our creative make-up is that schedule clashes are inevitable and not everyone learns the same piece at the time it is taught. In this instance, there was also the factor that one of our members had not performed with us in over a year. So, the suggestions started flowing. “What about this?” “Were you here when we did that song?” “I don’t know that one, but I can learn it.” The communication about the business at hand resulted in my spirit being nudged to return to the first song I heard in my soul stereo – How He Loves Us by Jesus Culture featuring Kim Walker-Smith. It fitted the mission of Sozo perfectly, so I shared those thoughts with my team. So, in true Workmanship Incorporated anointing, we quickly forged as a unit and half of our quad learned the piece in the back of the store. The funny part is that no one batted an eye of curiosity or annoyance. They just shopped around us as if our full-bodied belonged in the setting. In less than 45 minutes, we were all caught up and ready to serve.

STEP 7: THE BLESSING 

WINC at Sozo
Thank you, Dakota.

We ministered. Right there inside of the front entrance doors.
If you’ve never performed a human video, it requires all of your muscles to cooperate and be in sync with those around you in order to present the storyline clearly. Two of us were negotiating with our bodies about previous injuries, two of us had learned the piece in minutes, and all of us were in sync. It was beautifully amazing. As usual, we performed for an audience of ONE – the ONE who gives us Life and the ONE who needs it. Dakota recorded and took pictures. When the song was over and we expired all we had, Dakota was teary and patrons were nearby. A man approached us with watery gratefulness in his eyes and hugged us, thanking us for the message of Love. His courage to be touched is what sincerely touched me. An open masculine heart is said to be soft, weak, or feminine by society’s standards unless they’re crying about winning a championship, but at that moment… he felt loved and reminded, and that was all that mattered. Then, it dawned on me. He was my blessing. Dakota was my blessing. Austin and Amanda (fellow Sozo staff) were my blessing. The gentleman at the restaurant was my blessing. Steps 1 through 7 were the blessing that led to the makarios moment… this man hugging people he didn’t know because of a Message that we said silently. We were presented with the opportunity to eulogeó (to speak well of, praise, or bless) God in the presence of His people and it resulted as a makarios experience for ourselves and others (refers to the believer in Christ who is satisfied and secure in the midst of life’s hardships because of the indwelling fullness of the Spirit).

What did I learn that day?

That your plans are never yours. They always affect someone else, even when you don’t know it. And you’ll be better off letting God lead the choices you make because He always has a two-edged blessing waiting for you. Blessings are always simultaneously designed. They are never unilateral.

To learn more about Greek words related to “blessing/blessed,” click here and here. I hope you enjoy the insight as much as I did.

Peace & Thanks for Listening. (I know it was a long one this time, so really… thank you.)

 

Water Proof

Caution: Let’s go swimming in our thoughts for a bit…. 622 words deep to be exact.

I don’t know how to swim (effectively), but I love the beach. I see a swimming pool and I want to jump in like an Olympic diver and scuba diving is on my LTD (life-to-do) List. With all of this enchantment over water, such a simple necessity, it would make sense as to why God would use it to get His points across.

THE LATSOL MOMENT

One morning while I was walking my dog Sammy, I noticed the dew on the grass. My dog loves to slurp it off the grass in order to prolong his morning ritual. It was nothing new, but the temperature had been consistently 90 degrees or more in Alabama for a week and even the evenings felt like a cough of heat from the daytime. On this particular morning, the dew arrested my attention. How was there dew on the grass in the midst of heat? I know the scientific answer, but that wasn’t satisfying at that moment. Then I heard God say gently…

“No matter how hot it gets, there’s always dew on the grass in the morning.
That alone should be proof that I will take care of you.”

Wow. That was my water proof.  Finally. See a few years ago, I asked for God to help me understand him more… to make himself tangible to my curiosity and satisfy my itch to learn Him in a deeper way. So in order to understand my excitement about this “theorem,” you must hear my “proof.” (Hey, math teachers… two points?) 

Although there are contrary beliefs, these is mine.

HERE WE GO…

Proof:
God is like water.
It is a representation of His deity and awesomeness and is not bound by circumstances. 

Lastly and personally…

To say that water fascinates me would be an understatement. The shower is my thinking place and a warm bath is a cozy envelope for my questions and feelings of frustration. I leave them there, in the envelope, to go down the drain forevermore. When I step out of the shower, I am new. I’m ready for the day or evening and mentally prepared for what’s ahead.

So, when I saw the blades of grass with dew and Sammy was enjoying the natural refreshment in spite of the heat, I felt like God gave my proof some recognition. More like I finally listened to what He had been saying all along. I am God. I will provide. I am not affected by your changes. I am always here. 

I took a deep breath that morning and my soul agreed… and I felt amazing.

Peace & Thanks for listening.

Know The One You’re Walking With

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Walking tall

For my Grammatical Family Members – “Know The One With Whom You Are Walking” 😉

My dog taught me a lesson again. It’s such a simple one.

Let’s start with his swag. His confidence is pretty up there, especially when he’s with me. If he senses the need to bark, he does. It is only when he deems it necessary and it has kept us safe a few times already.

When we walk together, he watches out for us… All 8 pounds of him looks out for all of me. Sammy is never intimidated by larger dogs or people for that matter. You would think he was 10-feet tall. He’s not rude, but he’s secure in his walk with me because he knows I’m his owner and I will protect and sustain him.

How often do we discredit God’s ability by walking without the confidence in which we should have? Every step is made with faith in lip service, but not necessarily in the fortitude of God’s ability and good pleasure.

God wants you to know Him well enough to trust him.

Just like He has your back, do you stand up for Him when it is necessary? Not that God needs your bark or bite, but do you live life with the peace of knowing that He is always in control, no matter what happens on the journey? Do you walk tall because you know who’s walking with you into work, school, or at home? I will admit that sometimes I don’t. I have to be reminded. When we know the one we’re walking with, we give in to the exchange of trust with no room for doubt and fear.

Sammy walks taller than me every day without thinking about it. You can best believe that is changing in me with every step I take from this point forward. My God is worth that level of trust. So is yours, so get to high steppin’.

Peace & Thanks for listening.

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