My Name is Not “Those People” ~ Julia Dinsmore

While some of you are in transition to my new blog –…into the neighborhood, I wanted to shoot you a link to a new post over there…

My Name is Not “Those People” ~ Julia Dinsmore

For those who may not know about the new blog, please check out Trying Something New.

Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

2011’s Top Posts – if you care

I’ve seen a number of people share their top posts, so I thought I would take a look at what was most read…or at least viewed.  Not sure if people actually read it or not.  I’m still trying to decide what to do with this whole blog thing.  Should I keep writing and sharing?  Not sure.  It’s a great way to share information, events, pictures, etc., but not sure if I really have much to share these days.  Is it something I am still called to do?  I guess we will see.

In the meantime…here are the top 15 posts from last year, based on the number of views.  Maybe you missed one of them.  Maybe you want take a closer look at and order one of Adrianne’s handmade Anglican Rosaries (Down2EarthDezign’s).  Or maybe you read about Cassie and Hands Up Ministries and wanted to serve or donate (“Feeling Grateful For all He Has Given to me!” Cassie Matthew).  Or maybe you want to read my failed attempt at trying to participate in a book discussion/review (MissionSHIFT – Part 1 ~ What WAS I thinkin’???).  Or maybe you are interested in learning more about CCDA (Go to the people Live among them….Chinese Poema picture = 1000 words and 1276/27=47.259259).  Or maybe you wanted to buy and read Wayne “Coach” Gordon’s book (who’s ur neighbor? – a series I started, but never finished…..ooops!  Neighbor 7: Someone Who Is NakedNeighbor 5: Someone Who Has Been Robbed and Neighbor 6: Someone Who Is Half Dead ) Based on the fact that 4 of the top 15 viewed posts were from this book, maybe I need to pick it back up again and keep sharing….Regardless…here’s the list (1-15) if you are interested.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share.

Once Upon A Time…
Go to the people Live among them….Chinese Poem
“To Give or Not to Give?” Bob Lupton
Down2EarthDezign’s
MissionSHIFT – Part 1 ~ What WAS I thinkin’???
Neighbor 7: Someone Who Is Naked
Sent and Sending
“My friends are my estate.” Emily Dickenson
a picture = 1000 words
who’s ur neighbor?
Neighbor 5: Someone Who Has Been Robbed
“Feeling Grateful For all He Has Given to me!” Cassie Matthew
Prosperity Gospel = B.S.
Neighbor 6: Someone Who Is Half Dead
1276/27=47.259259

Once Upon A Time…

there was a single 40+ year old woman who wondered if she would ever get married….

Yesterday was the 3rd Anniversary from when I married the other half of my pair, Louis.   And it’s also the 4th Anniversary from the first time we spoke…on the phone.  Time and time again, Louis and I have told this story of how we met.  We try to tell it quickly, because we don’t want to bore the asker or monopolize the conversation, because the whole story could very well take all evening!!!  LOL  I laugh, but it’s true.  But, to leave out the details would not be honoring to God, because that is where you will find God….in the details.  And…I HATE details…usually.  But, He loves the details of our lives.  In this story, I love the details.

During Lent a couple of years ago, I started documenting the story of how I moved into my community and my life since, including the events leading up to meeting Louis.  If you want the details of the story, start reading here (click the links), The Chair, where I begin telling the story and read forward to Don, Luke, Jesus & Marti, and SWF Seeks Other 1/2 of PairBe Still.Just for my friend, Jeanine…For Melissa, Michelle and Jeannine….the list grows 🙂 in honor of Judy O’Hara and Change of Heart…Just in Time.  The story picks up at 4 months after I moved into my community.

Louis and I need to practice telling it a lot quicker, but yet still glorifying to God…so let me start here, for those of you who don’t like the details.  🙂

I was in my forties and wondering if I would ever get married.  If it was in God’s plan for me.  After Don Coleman gave me a scripture, Luke 10:1-7, my prayer changed from a future husband to “the other half of my pair”.  Friends were praying with me.  (As a matter of fact, there are several friends that I still pray will meet their other half!!!  I haven’t forgotten!!!) God used so many people in the process.

OK.  I have written that paragraph over and over again.  I can’t do it!  Can’t leave out the details!!!  I give up!!! So…you will have to read it from the blog!  But, I do want to point out some of the things I learned…

  • God loves the details in our lives.  Don’t be afraid to share them with Him.  Nothing is too small or too big for Him.  He works in the details.  Don’t overlook them. Actually…watch for them!
  • God uses other people.  If you feel the nudge to talk or do something, pray about it.  It just might be the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  Then, do it.  If people weren’t obedient, they wouldn’t have been part of the story and witnessed God’s movement.  God would have just found another way to get it done.  He doesn’t HAVE to use us.  He chooses to use us.  He chooses to allow us to be part of His mission.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE that!
  • Pray specifically and radically. Yes, I gave God a deadline…I want to meet “the other half” by the end of the year.  Some people think that is crazy or bossy.  Whatever.  I just call it praying specifically. Praying the what seems impossible is praying radically.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask others to pray with you.  Find a couple of people you trust to be transparent with your “stuff” and ask them to pray expectantly.  Then, watch God move.
  • Remember…sometimes, it takes time.  It took 2 years since I prayed the first prayer!!  I know some of us are waiting longer than that for our prayers to be answered.  There are prayers that I haven’t gotten the answer I want yet.  But, He hears us and He answers us.
  • Read the Bible. Meditate on His Word. See what God says to you through it.
  • Make time in your busy schedule to read the Bible, meditate and pray.  You gotta get still and quiet to hear His voice.
  • People watch you and your behaviors. We were very conscious of that especially while dating.  Louis didn’t spend the night…EVER. The kids especially watched for us to slip….expecting us to have sex before marriage, which we didn’t.  You probably want to know how we know.  Well…let’s just put it this way.  They asked.  A LOT.  They would try to “catch us”.
  • I don’t fully trust God, but I am learning to trust Him with all my heart, soul and strength.  Still a work in progress.  But, this, along with many other times, reminds me…God is in control.  I just need to follow his leading and be obedient.
  • Regarding marriage:  Lots of people go into marriage thinking…”If it doesn’t work out, I will just divorce.”  I never thought that. Divorce is not an option for me. Marriage, for me, is for life. (I know…there are reasons!!!)  But, Marriage is WORK! Dating is WORK! From the beginning (OK…the 2nd date), I chose to just be myself. I wasn’t going to play any games.  I thought, I need to be real.  This is who I am.  No, I didn’t dump all my stuff…my baggage…in the first month. That would have scared him off, even though the bullets didn’t!  Some ask me if I felt like I ‘settled’.  No. God told me His plan.  I just walked obediently.  Now, 3 years later… is it hard? You betcha!  No doubt! For some short moments, I feel like it’s not worth it. It was so much easier being single! But, as Gary Thomas asks in his book Sacred Marriage… “What if God designed marriage more to make you holy than to make you happy?” Yowza.  That ALWAYS stings a little…ok…A LOT!  Marriage is a ministry.  Louis and I (with God) are one, yet a pair.  We are individuals with our own likes, dislikes, passions, opinions, etc.

But, this I know…we have been called to serve the Lord together…through thick and thin, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, and to love and cherish.  In our whopping 3 years of marriage…we have experienced a little of all that…thick and thin, sickness and health, rich and poor, and better and worse.  It’s teaching me how to love and cherish Louis…more than I do myself.  It’s making me more holy. I confess…I have a loooong way to go.


Sent and Sending

I know these posts are pretty heavy for a merry, happy Christmas season.  But, this is just where I am right now.  After 8 years of serving as the Minister of Sacrament and Word, Louis won’t be behind the pulpit at Third Church Petersburg every Sunday. This 98 year-old church is closing effective 12.31.2011.  A year ago, my job ended.  We have really been seeking what God has for us.  In this search, I think He is revealing to all of us….He has so much more!  He is going to birth something new!

In yesterday’s post, Incarnation, I wrote about why Jesus was sent to Earth….

Luke 4 NIV

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, 
to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Moving ahead about 30 years, Jesus appears to his disciples after He has risen from the dead. This is what He says to them…

John 20 NIV

 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Moving ahead about 2000 years…if we call ourselves Jesus’s disciples, then this is for us as well, right?  As the Father sends Jesus, He now sends YOU and ME…filled with His Spirit…to PROCLAIM freedom for those held in bondage of all kinds, to PROCLAIM recovery for those who are sick, and PROCLAIM the Lord’s favor.  It is not good enough to simply feed the homeless, clothe the naked, or care for the widows and orphans, although that is all WONDERFUL stuff!  Please don’t get me wrong.  But, we, if we call ourselves Jesus’s followers, also need to be sure to PROCLAIM the name of Jesus while we care for the poor, widows, prisoners, sick, etc.

According to some recent studies, 83% of Americans call themselves Christians, or Jesus Followers.  If that is the case, then why do we still have racism and prejudices?  Why still starving people?  Why are there still places in our country and our world without running water? Why are there so many injustices?

The following picture was found all over Facebook, but I think it really speaks to this topic.  I’m not casting stones here.  Louis and I continue to challenge ourselves on a regular basis.  It’s not easy, and we have a long way to go.  As we celebrate Christmas tomorrow, the First Coming of Jesus, let’s also challenge ourselves to work toward reconciliation with God and each other AND to bring the end of suffering, hunger, prejudice, thirst, injustice, and pain. Let’s be about the Mission the “Sent One” sent us on!

…your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.


Incarnation

Word became flesh…and moved into the neighborhood. John 1:14 (MSG)  

For me…that’s the story of Christmas.  God becoming flesh and blood, and relocating to the neighborhood.  Thanks, Jesus, for giving up heaven to come to this sinful world.  Why???  To glorify God.  Jesus said the following in Luke 4:18-19 NIV

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, 
to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

So, what does that mean for us?  Stay tuned.  In the meantime, check out this awesome Spoken Word.  Love it!


#occupytilicome

 

I had a full couple of days of meetings and lunches.  Conversations ranged from personal stuff to the Occupy movement and other current events to church divisions over the view of Bible.  And one friend said something like… Ya’ know?  I can’t be worried about all that.  I just need to be obedient to what the Lord asks me to do.  I just need to do what the Bible says.

So…it got me thinking, what does the Bible say about Occupy?  I did a quick word search in the King James Version on Biblegateway.com…and it led me to the parable that Jesus told about the 10 Minas, in Luke 19.  A businessman had to leave and gave each of his 3 servants 10 minas and said

‘Occupy till I come.’ (KJV), which the NLT translates as ‘Invest this for me while I am gone.’ and the NIV states ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ (Luke 19:13)

After becoming king, he returns, and this is what he finds…

  1. One servant had doubled his money….and he was given 10 cities to manage.
  2. The second servant increased by 50%…and he was given 5 cities to manage.
  3. Then, there was the third servant, who had basically hid his minas under the mattress.  It didn’t even gain interest.  The king then took all his minas and gave them to the first.

In vs. 26, Jesus goes on to say

‘…and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.

Whether we think that is fair or not, it’s the way Jesus told it.  We may think…but at least he didn’t LOSE any of his minas by playing the stock market.  But, nope…that is not the way it goes.

So…back to my friend today.  She is choosing to invest ALL her minas everyday in any way that she can.  In this day when you can’t pause for a second without hearing or reading something about occupy this or that.  I am challenged by ‘Occupy till I come.’  Til Jesus returns, I need to put my money, my life, my time, my talents, my gifts, my everything.  I pray that the Lord will reveal what I am holding back….what I am putting under the mattress…what I am afraid to put out there.

What about you?  What are you holding back? What are you not using fully for the Lord til he returns? Join me in the discussion here, on FB or by tweeting… #occupytilicome.


a picture = 1000 words

Jesus says…to Peter…

Matthew 16:18-19  New Living Translation (NLT)

18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid, bind, or lock on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit, loose or open on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

This scripture has really been speaking to me lately.  Jesus didn’t tell Peter that He would build any denominations or buildings upon this rock.  He said that he will build HIS church…and the powers of hell will not conquer it.  To me that means that when we work together as HIS church not as an individual church building or denomination, He will give us the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.  So, I am constantly challenging myself (and it is a challenge, for sure!) to look for ways for us to work together to bring HIS kingdom on earth in RVA as it is in heaven.

Most recently…nearly 100 people from an unknown number of denominations, churches and ministries came together from all over Metro Richmond area….and even Raleigh, NoVA, Maryland and Boston!….came together on October 29th to learn from Noel Castellanos, CEO of CCDA (Christian Community Development Association).

Someone once said “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  Well….here are 50,000+ words representing the Church in RVA! Watch the slideshow for pictures from the Church-Based Community Development presented by the CCDA Institute.  Thanks to our co-sponsors City Church, East End Fellowship, Hands Up Ministries and Northminster Church.

Also…be sure to let me know if you want to be added to our distro list for future events!  And if you are on FB…click here to join our group discussions>> CCDA n RVA

PHOTO CRED:  Terence Talley, 15 year old photographer from my neighborhood!  Keep up the great work, Terence!!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.