Category Archives: in my opionation

Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes (turn and face the strain)

People deal with change in their very own, unique way. Some people truly hate it, some people get all giddy over it. I am the kind of person who acts like I hate it but inside I am secretly all giddy.

Everyday I get to know myself a bit more. This time I have discovered that I actually really enjoy change, even if it’s scary or uncertain. I feel all excited that something is stirring and I am a part of it. I can always see the positives of the change. Always.  Unfortunately somewhere along the way I have picked up a bad habit of acting really stressed and complaining about it the whole time.  Why do I do this? I don’t know. It makes no sense. Maybe now that I see the truth, that I love change, I can stop pretending to despise it and start receiving it with giddiness and positivity.

Naive? Yeah, maybe. Oh well, I’ve definitely never said I wasn’t naive.

As David Bowie said:

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace I’m going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Oh, look out you rock ‘n rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Pretty soon you’re gonna get a little older

David_Bowie

More about these changes next week…

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Filed under aiming at heaven, BABY, church stuff, currently reading/listening to, in my opionation, Life and Marriage, life questions, right?, rockin' out, So it begins...

Jesus is not Ghandi

david_bazan

Last Thursday Dustin and I saw David Bazan perform a “house show” at our friend Josh’s place. There was about 50 of us nicely packed into the living room where Bazan strummed his guitar and played a great acoustic set that even included some classic Pedro the Lion songs.

Bazan always has a question and answer time at his shows. Dustin saw him a few years back and was really struck by some of the answers he gave. So I was really interested when someone asked him if he believed in an afterlife. I’m not going to write out the whole reply because I don’t remember it accurately enough to do it justice and also I’m a blogger not a reporter. But there was one part that stuck out to me- Bazan said that he is no longer afraid of death and hell. He said he has come to realize that hell is something that some mean people made up as a threat. (He didn’t talk about heaven so I don’t know if he feels that it is something nice people made up or not.) After stating some disgust at the state of the Evangelical church he went on to say that he would just like to see people follow what Jesus taught. There were supportive “yeahs” and light clapping around the room.

I’m not trying to single out Bazan, but he is a good example of a common theology among our culture. It has become popular to see Jesus as a sort of Ghandi figure, quoting the couple of verses that fit their personal idea of who Jesus is- love your neighbor as yourself, take care of the widows and the poor, turn the other cheek, ect.

I find that they often leave out the parts where Jesus talks about the divisive things: the kingdom of Heaven advancing by force, worshipping God and serving only Him, how Jesus will turn people away from heaven, how real hell is and how many will end up there, and don’t even get me started on the parts where Jesus starts predicting the future and talks about a final judgement. These are not the things that you hear when people reference how great Jesus was-WAS-and how we should all follow his example.

People think of Jesus as some really great guy who taught us how to live in love and peace with humanity. The ultimate hippie. That is partly true, in a very pathetic, watered down way. Jesus didn’t see himself that way. He said: “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace on the earth! No, I came to bring a sword.” Surprised? Read Matt 10:34-39.

Is this the Jesus that you know? If it’s not then it’s time to open a Bible and read who it is you claim to know and follow.

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Filed under aiming at heaven, church stuff, currently reading/listening to, groupies, i am feeling feisty., in my opionation, life questions, more like Him, my friends., right?, stuff I don't like

Love it or Hate it?

There are certain movies you either love or hate. People get pretty passionate and fired up about these movies, and I am one of those people.

Here are 3 movies I have chosen that seem to really divide people in taste:

1. M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village

The_Village

I love this movie. M. Night Shyamalan started off so strong with The Sixth Sense. It is by far his greatest movie. Then there was Unbreakable which I thought was great. The Village is his third movie and may not be as strong as his first two. Which seems to be a pattern because they just keep going downhill- anyone see The Happening? Yuck. I chose The Village as the movie I love because I know so many people who hate it. The story has so much thought and depth, and the cast of  Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Adrien Brody is incredible. I felt like the love story is sincere enough where you understand her need to go through danger and find help. The very thing that people find stupid about the movie- the fake monsters- is the thing that I learned the most from. It is an accurate analogy of how we are kept in fear by lies that end up running our lives. Maybe I am getting too deep with it, but that is what I got out of it.

2. Sophia Coppola’s Lost In Translation

lost_in_translation

I love this movie. Sophia Coppola may have ruined the Godfather III, but she has gone on to make some of the most amazing movies. Lost in Translation is the follow up to her first film The Virgin Suicides, which I also love. This movie was able to capture that feeling of being isolated and lonely  exploring a foreign country and the cultural shock that comes with it. The first scene of traveling through Tokyo at night is so captivating. You really feel like you have been in Japan for 2 hours.  One of my favorite scenes is where Scarlett Johannson’s character, Charlotte, goes on a day-trip to a visit a Buddhist temple outside Tokyo.  She experiences so much but feels so alone in it. I had a similar experience when I was in Amsterdam and this may be why I relate to the feel of movie so much.

Besides it capturing all the emotions of traveling, it also has Bill Murray. Enough said.

3. The Notebook

the_notebook

I hated The Notebook. Some people (girls) are going to be so sad that I am saying this, but it’s my blog and I can say what I want. I am not much of a chick flick person, unless it involves Romy and/or Michelle. I think the movie itself was really beautiful, the little town in North Carolina set in WW2, but the story of a rich girl falling for the poor, country boy is not a new idea. I can’t stand movies where they are pulling every heart string to get you to cry. The first 20 minutes of the movie was so bad that I honestly don’t remember the rest except the part where they both die at the same time. A sweet idea, but waaayyy too sappy for me. You might think I must have a heart of stone, but I just don’t like being manipulated into feeling sad to the point of tears over something so sappy, and this movie is shameless in doing just that. Sure I liked the scenes of a nice summer romance- ice cream, canoe on a lake, cabin in the woods. I am still a girl after all. I just don’t like how far they push the sentimental.

Those 3 movies are the only ones I could think of for today.I usually don’t do the whole leading question that begs for comments, but  this time feel free to agree/disagree, add some of your own that you love or hate. I am curious to see what people think.

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Filed under i am feeling feisty., in my opionation, right?, stuff I don't like

Attention All Church Shoppers

I had a fabulous facebook chat with my friend Josh today. We were talking about the current trends we see in some friends relating to church. There are a few things that we noticed, and maybe I will write about those another time. For now I thought I’d blog about the biggest thing: church shopping. We as a 20-30 Somethings are the absolute worst when it comes to church shopping. Or, probably more appropriate, just church bashing (sometimes not even actually attending anywhere). Somewhere along the way church became a buffet to us. It became unlimited options for us to pick through and chose exactly what we want. What WE want. It seems like the part about where GOD wants us has become unimportant. (note: I am not talking about people who happen to be in-between churches, I am talking about people who have a pattern of criticizing and leaving churches.)

I was in church one Sunday morning about 3 years ago really unhappy with my church and wishing that we could attend a different one. A cooler one. God spoke to me something at that moment that seemed so base at the time but has subsequently changed my life. I sat in the balcony looking down over the congregation, irritated, frustrated and disappointed, when God said to me that He had called me to this church. He said church is like a family and in a family you can’t chose which one you will be born in to, or what your family members would be like. You may have a weird uncle or a nosy aunt. But it doesn’t matter because they are your family and you chose to love them. I was so convicted by God saying this to me, and I repented for my judgment against my church- my family. After that Sunday the flood gates opened for me and Dustin. We met amazing friends, were promoted in the church and found a true intimacy and unity at ORCC. I can say with all my heart that I love this church, and in return the church loves me. Does that mean that I don’t struggle with things here or don’t have certain desires that I would like met? No, of course not. But when in life is that not the case? This is true in my marriage as well, or in my friendships, but I don’t stop being loyal to them. If you chose to be loyal and love your church you will find the same in return. If you are cold and judgmental you will receive the same in return.

Here are 2 of the best quotes I have ever read about church shopping:

“We have reduced the church to one hour-and-a-half event per week; we have reduced the Gospel to cater to felt needs and personal preferences; and we have reduced discipleship to optional private spiritual exercises …We are raised with so many options we are paralyzed by the possibility of something better … God/church simply gets added to the list of things we consume … the problem is that much of the ‘attractional’ church has fostered this understanding by catering to it …” -Mike Erre, speaking pastor of Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa, Calif

“But we as individual “church shoppers” must realize there are problems with every single church. Let me repeat that: There are problems with every single church. There are lame people in every one. There is gossip in every one. There are weird, awkward people in every one. Pastors are going to screw up, the music might suck and the greeter at the door might turn her nose up at you when you enter. When these things happen, remember that none of those things matter. Do not be distracted by these things. People are always going to be flawed. That’s why they need Christ. And you know what? You are there to bring more of Him to that place. You are there to give of yourself, to humble yourself, to form relationships with people you might not normally associate with for the sake of something greater than you. Offer to apply for leadership.  Offer to help with a mission trip. Go feed homeless people. If you go with the intent to give of yourself in any and every way possible, I promise the sucky worship leader or the yawner sermons will not matter.

If we walk actively and raise our voices, we will connect. If we sit passively, expecting to be catered to, we will be left in the cold.”

source: Pastor Andrew Schwab

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Filed under aiming at heaven, church stuff, i am feeling feisty., in my opionation, life questions, more like Him, right?, stuff I don't like

Hipster Kids

It’s inevitable, our baby is going to be one of those hipster kids.

hipsterkids2

Look at that kid on the right, he’s got Dustin written all over him.

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Filed under BABY, I love my husband, in my opionation, Nerd Alert!, rad shizzz, right?, rockin' out

Bitterness Sucks.

Each year we do 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting at our church. This year the Pastors were asked to take 1 of the days and write a blog post on the verse/topic of the day. I thought I would post mine here to share. It’s a bit long, but give it a chance. 😉

Today is day 3 in our 21 days of prayer and fasting. I pray that God is showing you mighty things as you go through each day. The theme for today is “Deliverance from Bitterness and Rebellion” and the verse we are meditating on is Hebrews 12:15 “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” NLT

In my life I have found few things as sneaky and damaging to my walk with Christ, and my relationship with others, as bitterness and resentment. Something as simple as a mean look or insensitive comment can cause an offense to enter our hearts and unless dealt with properly, a poisonous root begins to take hold. Hurts will happen; it’s unavoidable and out of our hands. Yet what we do with those hurts is our choice. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness and resentment, and nothing drains you like bitterness and resentment. But we don’t have to live with it. We must remember that Christ has forgiven us and we should forgive others. “You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so must forgive others.” (Col. 3:13) NLT

If we choose to bury a painful offense no matter how seemingly small and insignificant, instead of forgiving, it is guaranteed to grow into an ugly monster. This monster is insatiable; always looking to be fed with agreement from others. It usually sounds something like: “Have you ever noticed how unfriendly so and so is?” “Have you seen the inappropriate things she wears to church?” “They should have never hired Pastor so and so”. Going back to our verse for the day, this is the very place where this bitterness is now “corrupting many”. Our bitterness has become a stumbling block for others. How often do we participate in these conversations where someone’s bitterness is on display and instead of lovingly encouraging them toward forgiveness we participate and join in? I am sorry to say that it happens all too often in my life.

Paul would be disappointed. In this verse he is speaking to us with urgency: “Look after each other!” The mandate that Paul gives is for you and I as the body of Christ. Many times bitterness and resentment lives just under our radar: living, growing and waiting to bring death to our relationships. Paul is saying that it is our job to recognize these deadly traps and lovingly lead one another to the healing ministry of Christ.

We should remind each other that we have been forgiven so much and in return need to forgive others. Remind each other that if we want to experience God’s grace in our lives, we need to extend grace to others. (Mark 11:25). We are a team, we are not called to live separate lives, we are the Bride and in that we need to hold one another accountable.

As Pastor Brian talked about yesterday, the next three weeks is a time of laying down and sacrificing. Choosing to forgive and let go of bitterness is an act of obedience, a true sacrifice. Let us be obedient to Matthew 5:23-24,

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

I urge you, before you go any further in your time of prayer and fasting, find reconciliation. Whether it’s to a family member, a church friend, a co-worker, maybe it’s even your spouse! Go to that person and make peace. This is the true sacrifice that God desires of us. As you do this you will see that root of bitterness dry up and die, leaving room for love, peace and victory!

Much love to you, my church family,

Pastor Kate Groeneman

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Filed under aiming at heaven, church stuff, currently reading/listening to, in my opionation, more like Him, right?

Get the heck out of here.

I just read that Ryan Adams married Mandy Moore. Mandy frickin’ Moore. This better not change the love-sick, depressing music I have come to love from Ryan Adams. How can an artist continue writing about love and loss after getting married? I had the same fears when Chris Martin married Gwyneth Paltrow. Coldplay’s music was little less heart-sick with love and a lot more political. I do like the songs that are about Chris Martin’s kids, those are so great.

Well, congrats you two love birds. Hopefully this will make Mandy Moore’s music more credible and not make Ryan Adams’ less.

mandymooreandryanadams

A tall girl with a short guy. I like that.

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Filed under currently reading/listening to, in my opionation, love and marriage., music, right?, rockin' out