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She talks to Jesus.

I talk to Jesus all the time.

But not in a super weird religious way that doesn’t fit right but in a sort of, “Oh hey there, best friend, this guy is offering us free popcorn. You want some, too?” kind of way which often gets me kicked out of Wal-Mart.

It’s like I take Him in by osmosis, deep breath by deep breath.

And I think it might be for a few reasons:

  • I’m growing deeper in my faith journey. I’m learning more. I’m learning to love others which has never been my cup of tea. I’m making myself available to people, which I supposed is part of that whole loving thing. Again, it hurts. (The fact that my husband and I routinely joke about my icy heart and RBF should tell you a thing or two. Which he kind of loves because I can’t be moved, y’all.)
  • The world is ending. I feel like one of those crazies on a street corner with the sign and unwashed hair but the crazy has worn off and all I see is a deep commitment to truth in their eyes.
  • I’ve cut the fat. There are so many distractions on the daily. I’ve removed so many in my life that I now feel like I have my finger on the pulse of who God is and who He created me to be.

Perfection? Ah, heck no.

But growth? I’ve got that one down pat.

And really, it all began with one little word to the Father Almighty:

“Hello.”

Insert Adele sound clip here.

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He loves you, not your Lexus.

Commercialized Christianity.

I termed it this way to one of my very cool blog readers (Hi, Daniel!), and it’s stuck like gum to the shoe that is my brain.

Or something like that.

I don’t know if you feel it, but it seems pretty prevalent. Doctrine based on the prosperity gospel (this concept that financial blessing and physical well-being are always God’s will for a person…um….have these people met God?) and other false doctrine tends to lend itself to this new-fangled term.

Or maybe it’s old-fangled. Maybe there’s a whole Wikipedia page about it that I’m too lazy look up. In that case, apologies.

I guess my issue now (as well as back in the day when God was the last thing on my mind…right after getting an “oil change.” I mean, that just sounds gross) is that people turn the grit and grime of Biblical living into a beautiful little present with just the cutest little bow on top.

Have you gone outside?

Nothing cute about that mess.

This life is no different from when Moses was wandering out in the desert, face in his hands.

True, Christ came and He rose and we have that good news (no wait, BEST news) in our hearts that makes this life so worth living now.

But there is absolutely nothing cutesy and safe about this walk with Christ. In fact, let me remind of you something:

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:33 

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” Luke 9:1-5

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-62

It might just be me, but I’m getting the sinking suspicion Jesus isn’t too concerned with how many Lexuses I own.

I’m not saying having money is bad. I’m not saying being prosperous is bad. And I’m definitely not saying that’s not God’s will for you.

What I am saying is that your security, safety, and good fortune are not the point of the Gospel.

Jesus is the point of the Gospel. How He lived and died and loves you and me and every sinner in this world despite the fact that we certainly don’t deserve it.

Maybe, just maybe we shouldn’t read the Bible to learn about ourselves, and instead, read the Bible to learn about Him.

One last note: Have you ever read the Book of Job? Do you understand the point of Job’s story? It’s this idea that God allowed so many horrible things to happen to poor Job, not to punish him, but to elevate him to a spiritual status like none other.

God loved Job. So God gave Job a trial to further their relationship together and to release Job of everything that doesn’t matter in this world.

Everything but God.

And I can assure you this: Job never received a Lexus.

And I have a feeling that Job didn’t care.


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Everything must go.

Not everything.

Clothes are probably a must.

But I don’t know.

We (my husband and I…just assume from here on out that “we” refers to me and a man I tricked into marrying me ten years ago and stays because I’ve hidden his keys…in the ice maker…shhh…) love watching Naked and Afraid.

At first, I just assumed it was a bunch of naked people running around for the sake of ratings.

And yes, it kind of is.

But it’s also so much more.

Take for instance the three alpha males who continuously pray to God before they score during a hunt and even though they reek of testosterone and electric eel slime, they check their egos at the door and even keep offering the other naked group on the show the food they’ve killed because, and I quote, “It’s the Christ-like thing to do.”

You’ve never seen so many naked Christians.

I think I’m writing this because I wanted to tell a fellow Christian friend how much this show rocked but then I didn’t because I thought she’d judge me.

HOW. MESSED. UP. IS. THAT.

Here’s why I think we shouldn’t judge: there’s a very intricate web being woven at any given moment and you only get a glimpse of a few basic strands.

What I mean is that God is moving all of us, those who believe in Him and those who don’t. And just because you assume certain things shouldn’t be done/said/thought by those who love Jesus doesn’t mean that you’re the final authority on what should be done/said/thought by those who love Jesus (Matthew 7:1-5).

That’s…well…kind of Jesus’s domain.

Things aren’t as defined as I once thought they were. I think we wade waist deep in a big ‘ol sea of gray when walking this Earth.

But God knows that. He knows our hearts, and He’s molding us as we tip toe down the path he’s mapped out for us even when our feet are tired.

So when you see someone walking down their own path, open your heart and snap shut your criticism. Pray that God has them as tightly as He’s holding you.

And if you notice their feet are bare, don’t judge. But maybe offer them some shoes.


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Bibles and blazers, oh my.

The closest I ever got to reading the Bible growing up was the Bible as Fiction class I took in college.

Wait. Scratch that.

I did have a religion class I took in high school. (Think Catholic. All Girls. Blazers. A sobering realization later in life that not everyone gets a brand new car on their sixteenth birthday. Yeah.)

I remember having to tab those really thin, practically see through pages and either accidentally sticking the pages together or ripping them apart.

So I easily equated the Bible with equal parts frustration and anger over the years.

Plus it’s antiquated, right? I mean look at us now. All evolved and emotionally sensitive to each others’ needs.

I’m sorry. I just fell out of my chair from all the laughing. And the idea of me wearing a blazer.

Okay, so what if it’s not antiquated? What if it applies even if socially things have changed a bit over the years? How does this book reflect our lives and more importantly, how does this book guide each individual human being on the planet to become the living embodiment of Christ’s love on earth?

That’s a pretty big ask in my book. And I know what wearing polyester on a daily basis feels like.

So, where do we begin?

I always like to begin at the beginning if only to live my life like a Lewis Carroll novel. And I find that beginnings are easier when you have back up.

Enter the Bible Project.

The Bible Project is a series on YouTube that breaks down what exactly the Bible is, how to read it, and how it connects with Jesus in ways that’s hard to fathom for us simple plebeians who are still lamenting the fact that Hanson is no longer played on the radio. 

Above is their What is the Bible? video. Every video of theirs is beautifully animated, well-researched, and put into understandable terms that WILL BLOW YOUR MIND.

Take that super annoying and not at all useful Bible tabs.

But because these guys have built such an amazing ministry and have a heart for truly spreading the Good News to others, they also have a website where you can download written materials that take studying the Bible to the next level.

And I don’t know if you know anything about me but studying is how I like to get my party on. They don’t call me Party Pants Clay for no reason. And by “they” I mean me. And my dog. She’s half-chihuahua so you know she’s legit.

The Bible Project crew offers study notes on various topics, but I’m linking their How to Read the Bible study notes here.

“But Ericka, I don’t even own a Bible and don’t have the magnificent shoulders necessary to pull of a blazer like you do.” 

I know, you guys. I know.

 

But then here’s this brilliance: Tim and Jon, the co-founders of The Bible Project, already knew that and developed an easily accessible Bible app like the glorious wizards they are.

It’s called the Read Scripture app and breaks down the Bible into digestible chunks and even sprinkles their informative videos and meditative/prayer opportunities throughout.

And again, no tabbing required.

I cannot stress that enough.

I’m creating a resources page on my site that will have this type of info handy for you all.

I know what it’s like to live in the darkness. And there will be plenty of opportunity to get into the nitty gritty of my past life. But just know, it only seems like the end because the end is whispering hard in your ear.

But so is God.

It’s up to you to decide who you’re going to listen to. And the Bible can help you do just that.

No blazer required. Fortunately.


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