Thursday, January 8, 2009

Reverently Relevant

In keeping with the Lord's conviction to have an undivided heart, He has reminded me to stay focused on the ministry He has called me to...for now that is my family, young people, seekers and new believers. He's also given me a ministry of encouragement that falls into every relationship I have, but I find it easy to keep that one in tact, unlike the other sometimes.
"Get the Word out. Teach all these things. And don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed--keep that dusted off and in use." 1 Timothy 4:11-14, The Message
I've noticed with all the time I spend around the younger and the trendy, that I've been forced to conform a bit. I text. Got me a Facebook. Even got a bunch of "friends" on it. I enjoy ordering my Starbucks with the right name in the right order as fast as I can spit it out. Oftentimes, I shop in the junior section, cuz I like the style for the most part. (when I'm not in my lounge pants at home anyway). Contemporary Christian music rings well in my soul, even a few of the (shudder) rappy sounding ones (gasp). Love the sound of the phrase, "That's all I'm sayin," and "I'm on to you." Unfortunately, "Like" has like, you know, become a regular word in my vocabulary. Being in kids and youth ministry for years, this is all a natural part of who I am, the way I'm wired, the unique person that God made me to be. 

As with anything, though, a line must be drawn. ONLY the Holy Spirit moving in and through us can convict us as to where that line should be. Here's mine:

I can be relevant without losing my reverence. Yup, that's the bottom line.

* I shalt not have eye candy coming out of the top or bottom of my blouse, (unless it's after hours for my husband's eyes only...winka). The thought of someone else's husband glaring at my chest or midriff or my own teenage son struggling not to stare at someone else's young wife or daughter is enough conviction for me. I can show my fun personality without spending a fortune OR trying to draw attention to myself with what I wear. And as a mommy, I vow not to buy my girls clothing with text across the front that says "FLIRT" or "I hate my Brother" or certainly not "HOT" or "DELICIOUS" (or any words at all frankly) glaring from their bottomside. There's a line, and I won't cross it.
1 Timothy 2:9a (NIV): "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety..."
* A huge thumbs down for the words "Oh my God," unless it's used respectfully in prayer or praise. I can't even stand the sight of "OMG" in texting and twittering. I realize the "G" can stand for "goodness" or "gah," but it's not the first thing that comes to one's mind...HIS holy name is ours to keep precious, to hold dear, not to use like the rest of the world does. Some think this is legalistic. I dare say... "NOT!" My Bible tells me which lines are not gray, and this is one of them.
Exodus 20:7 (The Message) "No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; GOD won't put up with the irreverent use of His name."
* I will not stop treasuring the old hymns, while still enjoying worship music of all kinds. No matter the beat or the rhythm, I will especially hold dear the songs that are rich in meaning and hold to correct theology. However, I won't cause division in the Body or turn up my nose to those who prefer a different sound than me, as long as it stays in line with God's Truth.
Psalm 149:1 (The Message): "Hallelujah! Sing to GOD a brand-new song, praise Him in the company of all who love Him."
Ephesians 5:19-20 (NIV): "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
*I shall not be on Facebook or email or text or blog more than I am with my God or my friends and family and community, real and in person. I'll remember that a "live" hug does way more for my children than a virtual one will do for anyone. The Lord is watching how I spend His time, and though I can make a difference through the world wide web and the potential it has to offer, there is no doubt in my mind that the largest difference comes from knowing Jesus more...which means spending time with Him. Though I'll text my kids as needed and sometimes just for fun, I won't forget to show them what it means to look them in the eye and say "I love you."
Mark 12:30-32 (NIV): "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
*I dare not forget to look in the eye and give a smile to the person serving my iced venti vanilla nonfat latte at the drive-thru. As much as I'm there, I shall make the effort to learn their names and as much about them as possible without making the car behind me honk at my lack of courtesy. And while I'm at it, I may as well remember that my money is the Lord's money, and as He allows me to spend it in pleasure, I will do so making a difference in attitude and action with the people in my path, maybe even paying forward a purchase or two.
Colossians 4:5 (The Message): "Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don't miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not to put them down, not cut them out."
*And like, as much as I need to be able to communicate with, you know, my kids and their friends, and many of the youth at church who keep in touch, I won't forget that most of my words are to be used for praise, and I would be well to remember to like, well...listen more than speak. And I'll not get so totally flippant and loose with my words that I show disrespect to God or another person, which is so easy to do, ya know?
James 1:19b: "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..."
1 Peter 4:11a: "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God."
Here in this city that I live, Lord, I know that You have called me toward seekers, young people and new believers, and relevance is important in order to reach these people around me. But dare I never forget reverence to you in the process. May I be holy and devoted to you without becoming self-righteous or indignant toward others. May I listen more, and speak less. May I "be" just what You want me to be to someone else, without even having to me to completely do away with the need to be understood, and ask for help in understanding others instead. Lead me to offer Your help or Truth to someone without allowing them to trample me or lean on me too hard in the process. Remind me to remind them to lean on You, that You are the Only ONE who can meet their deepest needs. And may I do it all in the awesome glory of Your name, Amen.

In the Key of HE,

18 friends shared a comment:

lori said...

Two things...THAT may have been the BEST thing I've ever read here and I've read some UH~MAZING things here...(UH~MAZING is as trendy as I get with the lingo, and it's probably not even 'right!') You are so RIGHT...we can live IN the world and not OF it..we have to be in it..we have to exist and minister to those around us, and that means understanding them and who they are...BUT...

Second...I'm printing this out to share with some friends (real;)) and one to keep in my journal! It's a keeper!!

You have a gift girl...a gift and your Spirit shines through!!

Oh and for the people ask ME to turn DOWN the radio, hurts their ears, but you can't listen to Third Day and Toby Mac on low volume, it's just not right....

Your Sister with SOUL!;)


Sita said...

This is a wonderful post with several nuggets I want to hold n to. Thank you, LauraLee.
Love, Sita

Denise said...

You are a loving, and very precious blessing to this world my friend. I love you.

Patty Wysong said...

We are so on the same page, here! Very, very well said! I couldn't agree more!

Laurie Ann said...

This was, like, such a cool post! Seriously, LauraLee, I loved it. "I shall not be on Facebook or email or text or blog more than I am with my God or my friends and family and community, real and in person." resonated so deeply within my heart I said, "Honey, come look! I need you to hold me accountable to this!" And he said he would. I love it. Oh, how God speaks to me through you, my friend. Love ya! Laurie Ann

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

absolutely FABULOUS! One of my favorites of yours. So relevant and cutting edge and full of conviction. Powerful stuff, friend, and like, I'm not just sayin' that (I'm not the type to just say it to say should know me better than that). And what's up with facebook? My son made me do it, and I totally don't get poking and requests and all the snowballs being thrown my way.

As if I needed another addiction. I'm drawing the line on that one!


Joanne Sher said...

This is incredibly real and true and convicting. Just excellent, La!

Catrina Bradley said...

Amen, Laura!!!!!!! To everything you claimed for His Glory, and to the prayer I need to pray daily.

JesusRulzMe said...

Okay sister, you KNOW I'm totally tap dancing all over the place here....okay, maybe more in my heart than in my body (as we know I'd probably break something else! HA!).

Anyway, oh, I just loved, relevant without losing reverence....seems we've had this chat before....and in PERSON....yes, so much better!

So, are you ready for a real hug from your goofy sister yet?♥ HA! I know I'll see you REAL soon! Can't wait!

I love you so much!

P.S. You're the bomb! ☺ See, I can be "young", where's my stone tablet and chisel?♥

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Just so you'll know, I referenced this post at the end of my latest post.


Laury said...

Wow. I love your conviction in this piece. Awesome.

Denise said...

"Relevant without losing reverance" - beautifully said!

While our outlets of expression are varied - the common denominator to the relevance is Christ. Can He be seen, heard or felt in all that we think, say and do. "Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity." (from 1 Tim 4 - MSG)

A good pause to consider what is my life teaching.

This is definitely a keeper. I am glad I traveled over from "Peace for the Journey".


Wanda said...

So amazingly well said. I love that! Thank you for posting it for the world to see.

I'm inspired!

Terri Tiffany said...

Amen LaraLee! I love how you wrote this out and the verses between!!

Anonymous said...

I like your distinct, unwavering lines, and I couldn't agree more!


Betsy Markman said...

You go girl! (That's about as hip as I'm capable of being...)
Draw that line and hold it fast! It's not enough to draw people to church...we want to draw them to the Holy God! Thanks for doing your part in that.

Josh said...

You are definitely hip and trendy while at the same time being real and heartfelt. That is you! And it is your heart that always shines in everything you write. I too have felt the conviction to make sure that everything I say and do lines up with the Word of God and the actions and teachings of Jesus Christ. I could definitely relate to what you so boldy spoke of here. This is a post that both adults and teens need to read.

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