Joel Osteen Is a Poser. This is okay to say if you’re a brother or sister in Christ, right?

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Every day I am overwhelmed by the vastness of people needed to share the goodness of a loving Jesus. While pondering this thought the other day, this story from a few years back came to mind. May we be encouraged to leave the “who is called and who is not called” to the greatness of God and worry solely on who God has called us to be. Individually.


{notice the dialog of this post. It is a conversation I had with another believer a few years back.  The negative views in this post about Joel Osteen are not mine. I am only passing along what was said in a conversation. }


A friend of mine wrote a quick post on Facebook a few weeks back:

she wrote: “I thought it was cool to see Joel Osteen on The Voice!”

A friend of hers replied to her post: (We will call the friend, The Other Gentleman.)

The Other Gentleman: “Joel Osteen is a poser. Stating Mormons are Christians is heresy. He has said that. He is a feel good phony that paints a false picture of Christianity. He shys away from calling anything a sin. He is far from bold. He is Lukewarm at best. He is also a health and wealth guy who hardly ever quotes scripture. He is a great example of how TV evangelism hurts more than it helps the cause.”


To which I took part in a bit of a debate. ICK! I usually do not do that. It must have been a moment of weakness– or did it hit me on a personal level? Perhaps both.

Can you imagine my heart? It’s little self was about to flutter off into the air!

Here is my reply: (we will call myself, myself. )

Myself: “Joel doesn’t quote scripture often, I will agree. However, he is also one of the only pastors who does not take a salary.”

“Mark 9: 39-41  “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me,  for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.


People are loving Jesus and feeling hope– Joel isn’t their holy spirit, God is big and can convict and teach their hearts if they are open to him through this teaching. People are closer to the heart of the King sitting in a health and wealth church than no church. And I for one am highly against health and wealth, but it’s not about us and our opinions, is it? It’s about not being a Pharisee and thinking our way– our thinking–our convictions– are the only way.”

Other Gentleman: “He doesn’t take a salary because he has made millions on book sales. It’s still using God to get rich. The love of money is the root of all evil. Would Jesus be a millionaire? Would he sell his ideas? No he offered free salvation. Also in regards to hope, hope and feel good messages have their place. However one can’t truly know the grace of God or experience true spiritual freedom without first coming to terms with what they were saved from. I wonder how many people at his church never are convicted of sin because sin is a bad word to Joel. Finally, I know more about the bible than Joel. He has no formal training. How can you trust ignorance with you salvation?”

Myself: Well, we sell His ideas, we wear and sell His crosses on t-shirts and and necklaces. christian book stores gross millions per year. Most people spend more time shopping for Jesus “stuff” and looking up feel good scriptures per year than talking to people about the gift of grace.

“Be careful friend, who are you to say you are better than someone? More equipped? We serve the same God and he is who qualifies us. What would you have done to Paul? Or better yet, the adulteress woman go Jesus told to go and do the same? What about the man with all the demons who went into the city, telling everyone what Jesus had done? Was he qualified? Was his story, “God forgives sins” or “GOD is REAL and can do anything!”
How can you downgrade Joel Osteen’s Gathering if you say yourself, “I do not know how many people in his church are ever convicted” you don’t know so your only choice is to pray for them. Do you doubt what our big God can do? He can use an ass to speak, the murderer David to rule and share his own heart, can’t he use Joel? Yes he is rich, and I also subscribe to the “would Jesus be a millionaire” rant– however, who will reach the rich if we are all poor? Who will help the poor if we are all poor? What does he do with his money? Do you have a garage? Do you park your car in it? Someone in Africa or South America would say “How can YOU be a Christian, you have a house for your car and we don’t even have a home.”A Christian there would say to you: “The scriptures say, Even the son of man had no place to lay his head how do you have not only a home for yourself but also your car?” Who determines the point of being rich? Above all, judging is a huge sin, talking bad about others is a sin. If we have a problem with someone, especially a brother… We are told to go to them and try to work it out, then take a friend, then go before the church. Not call them terrible names and say they are not doing the work of God– what right do we have? I Wonder what Joel is doing right now? Do you think he is spending time on Facebook or do you think he is perhaps talking with others about Jesus? Finally, How can we trust someone of ignorance with our salvation, you ask? We don’t. We trust in the giver of salvation and that is what he teaches- trust in God. That big good God who uses broken, poser people like you and I to share his incredible, crazy, unbelievable without faith,  story.”


Other Gentleman: “Ok, in regards to Paul, he never held back his views. Paul said women shouldn’t be allowed to speak in church. He also destroyed the charismatic movement and Pentecostal movements with his rules for speaking in tongues. Also Paul knew the Bible. He was a Pharisee before conversion. Devout. I never said I was a better person than anyone. I just said I am far more biblically versed than Joel. I also never said people can’t be forgiven. However, one must confront their sins to be saved. Without that you can never be a new creation. Read the book of James. Or study the Pauline Epistles. He confronts sin. We have free will. God can’t convict someone unless they are open to the conviction. When someone is telling you God is going to make u rich and wealthy you aren’t open to conviction. If u don’t trust your pastor then y go to church? Kind of a waste of time. Also I am.pretty sure all modern denominations would.be classified as false teachers by bible. Also I am not a pastor. I am not held to the same standard. Even James acknowledges that. God doesn’t pick and choose who to save. To say that praying will make God soften a heart is similar to the Catholic church praying people into heaven. God gives us free will. You cant pick and choose what to accept in the Bible. If one part is a lie it is all destroyed. The problem today is denominations. They mold God into their image of him.”


{by then, it was time to stop.}

Myself: “When you open the doors of your church be sure to invite me. The book of James, one of my favorites glad we share that love. Grace and peace to you!”

Other Gentleman: “Also in regards to being rich. Hardly any church takes care of the needy. It is more.important to pay pastors full time salaries for three hours of work and have big sound systems. Because that’s exactly what Jesus would do. I dare you to find one church who gives 80% of their tithes to the poor. That is the standard for a good charity. I give large amounts to charity every month. I doubt you know anyone who gives a higher portion than I do to charity. If the church gave as I give we would wipe out poverty overnight. Also I don’t give expecting riches, like the Osteens, charismatics and Pentecostals teach. Helping poor people isn’t like buying a heavenly lotto ticket.”

Myself: “Be careful, friend of what you boast about.

  
Matthew 6:2-4  “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.


It is none of our business what another gives. I was simply stating, you do not know what he does with his riches. As far as debate on Facebook, I am done with that. Being right is not what it’s about and we could go on and on all day long, running in circles wasting time. I would gladly have a cup of coffee with you– don’t know where you are in the world, but if you’re close I’d love a chat, face to face to sharpen one another. Outside of that, I’m finished. hmmm, I’d probably even Skype. ; ) May you love people like crazy– even the ones who you think are posers, liars, and false witnesses… oooohh Christ’s bride, scary thing to talk about. Good day!”

Other Gentleman: I didn’t announce it until you challenged my generosity. Also, I don’t want a reward. Heaven is my reward. If that isn’t enough to motivate the church then nothing will. Also, it is my business how those who claim to be called of God tarnish his name. The same reason Jesus attacked the money changers.

Are you tired yet? Man, I am just after reading it all again. I didn’t do much fixing of punctuation, that is taken right off our Facebook conversation.

If I could sit with this man, I would say to him a many great things. =) The biggest one would be, who are we to talk bad about Joel? Did you know, my father. The same father who left when I was a young girl, didn’t see him again, until I was married with two children– The same man who was an alcoholic and abusive– talks about Jesus now, has a relationship with Jesus because of Joel’s ministry. I would have told this man about how my dad meets with a bunch of his friends, many of them old drinking buddies, in his garage each Sunday morning for “church.” They sit around talking about God and how big and good He is all because Joel is sharing love through the TV. They sit and watch Joel’s message right there in their garage. They are getting it. All because Joel shared it differently. Differently than all the other preachers he had come in contact with. I would have laughed with this man as I told him one of my dads friends name is, “goob” I’m pretty sure, that’s what they call him, anyway. =)   { I’m so proud of you, Dad! }

 

This is the truth, friends–

relationship is personal.
The story of God– is relational.
The love of Jesus– is personal.
Showing that love– is personal.

To have a conversation like this– it has to be personal.

Paul reminds us:“If I speak in human or angelic tongues,but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

It isn’t about Joel, your pastor, myself, or you. It’s about the cross.

May we love everyone, all the time, no matter what. May we take the problems we have with others to them and love them with our correction, all the while being humbled by the errors they find in us. May we speak the truth in love always. Remembering, God does not need us to defend Him–


We are not at war with other people, especially Christians, defending our faith.

Encouragement in the form of relationship, talking, spurring one another on, yes! Downgrading, tearing apart, no.

It’s all about the love, baby! The love. God is so good.

Feeling ornery today! ;) I think I’ll open this one up for comments. What are your thoughts on this, friends? How do you handle things like this– do you engage in cyber debate, relational debate, or no debate at all? Do you feel it best to not touch the subject? Or perhaps offer advice lovingly?

Pondering this still,

Kati

*For the record, I personally think Jesus would look a lot more dirty and be bent low with the broken way more than Joel. However, at that point– I must go back to square one. Complexed by the truth that it takes all kinds of people to reach all kinds of people and thankful that it isn’t my job to decide who should do what.


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As soon as I heard about Robin Williams, I thought of this:

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Robin Williams.

Yup, you know what I’m talking about.

As soon as I heard about what happened, I thought. Yup- I’ve been there.

Have you?

I mean, I’ve never pulled the trigger but I’ve sat with those who have, in one way or another. Those who tried to take their own lives and failed– only to feel like they can’t even get that right.

I’ve held the gun– thought about the funeral. I’ve even thought of all those people who would miss me if I were gone. I’ve cried the tears of feeling unwanted when there was no reason to feel that way but I’ve also cried the tears of feeling unwanted when there was a reason to feel that way. And there have been more than one. For me. And maybe for even you.

One time, when we were kicked out of the church – when we needed the church most, only to find it was merely a business, hiding behind the mask of Jesus? Yes. When we struggled through those terrible, hard; HARD days– I heard that man of mine say,

Man, this. THIS is the reason people commit suicide.”

I’ve told you before- I’m nobody special.

As soon as I heard about Mr. Williams, I thought of this post by Ann.


What the Church & Christians Need to Know About Suicide & Mental Health– from the heart of Ann Voskamp @ a holy experience.

 

Dear Church,

Cancer can be deadly and so can depression.

So can the dark and the shame and the crush of a thousand skeletons, a thousand millstones, a thousand internal infernos.

We could tell you what we know.

That — depression is like a room engulfed in flames and you can’t breathe for the sooty smoke smothering you limp — and suicide is deciding there is no way but to  jump straight out of the burning building.

That when the unseen scorch on the inside finally sears intolerably hot –  you think a desperate lunge from the flames and the land of the living seems the lesser of two unbearables.

That’s what you’re thinking — that if you’d do yourself in, you’d be doing everyone a favor.

I had planned mine for a Friday…” FINISH READING HERE




All my love and hope for you to stay strong,

Kati

why shackin’ up with people might not be such a bad idea.

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I met her Monday.

Monday. The day I finally let down my guard and allowed you to tip toe into my world. The day I finally shared what all God was doing. The day I trusted you with my secrets.

Because after all. People like to see a persons plans fail. Not many like to see or help them succeed. I believe the old saying goes, “They’ll pay a quarter to watch you smile, a dollar to watch you cry.”

But this isn’t about succeeding, is it?

Driving past our new future homestead, on our way to someone’s home to take out their garbage, we saw the neighbor, Ms. Rachel*.

By chance, my man and oldest daughter had met her earlier in the day, they mowed the empty lot next to her home. They never told her we would be moving in, next door to her– next month, Lord willing.

Stopping by to say hello, Daniel introduces me to her. She’s only lived there for two months.  She tells my sweet man about a leak, asks if he can help. We talk about food from her country, her small business here in America, and then it turns to where we live. To which my man says, “Well, you know, Ms.Rachel*, we are going to be your new neighbors.”

Puzzled, and talking so super cute with her accent, “You a gonna do what?”

Yes- we are going to be your neighbors, right across the road. We are going to use it for the community.”

We went on to tell her of our plans. Once a week, nonprofit, donation based cafe’ downstairs with healthy, homegrown food– special teas and coffee. We told her about the evening soup kitchen. Where people can come and eat homegrown food, enjoy special drinks, yummy coffee. Talk about Jesus, life, hardships, and just live together. We told her about the community garden we’ve been blessed to already start. We talked about the lifegroup currently meeting at our home, studying the book of ACTS and the early church. How they gathered together, sharing everything, nobody in need. Everyone a family. We told her about the community clothing SHARE we plan to have open twice per week. Where people can come and donate time, earning vouchers to shop for good, clean, clothes, toys, and housewares.

Then she says it.

You a gotta be kidding me…. ohhhhh you a gotta be kidding me. I just a sitting in my living room saying, ‘Oh God, today I fasted, something good is gonna happen… oh God, today I fasted, something good has to happen.’ You are my good news! The Lord has answer my prayers– I a prayed someone would come to that home who would use it for Jesus. “

“Oh, this is a gooood day. A gooood day. “

She grabs my face with her worn hands and kisses my cheeks.

“The Lord has answered my prayers. We a gonna do a lot of good stuff together. We are gonna use your home, AND my home. Oh, I’m a so excited.”

Little did she know, meeting her- had answered my prayers.

Funny how God works.

Not moments later, a man pulled up. Talked with my man. He had heard, through the little community grapevine, what we were doing.

He offered his city lot to use for an additional community garden.

His vacant. totally ready to plant a garden. city lot. The city lot directly across from the home we’re purchasing for the purpose of doing life together with the community. He offered it free of charge to be used for the purpose of loving people. Loving people through food, through working the ground, through talking about life, through living. Together.

He [that amazing. always knocking my socks off God.]

He had provided. again.

Not only had He provided like-minded friends to start together.

sold our house.

provided another home several thousand dollars less than asking price.

even given us an additional fridge for the cafe’ and a neighbor had randomly given us a deep freeze, unaware of what the Lord was doing.

The list goes on, and on, and on.

And He still knew I still needed a little something- something like a random neighbor saying, I’ve been praying for this sort of thing to happen.

Because when you do this sort of thing, friends. Something like offer your home for community use, take on a home bigger than you would choose to buy if not for this purpose, with human hopes it all works outwhen you share hopes and dreams of simply walking this Jesus walk differently, a little more like the way you read about in scripture- where people lived together, dreamed together, held each other accountable, and helped each other no matter what. Where there were no TV’s or smart phones to steal our attention… back “then” as my kids always say. When you start talking like that?

People think you’re crazy. YOU start to think you’re crazy.

So, tomorrow, I’m going to need another reminder, I’m sure. Because I’m human. And the ways of the Lord are scary. And saying you’re following the “way of the Lord” alone sounds and feels all pious. But He just reminds me again and again.

This. is what you’ve been called to at this moment. Don’t hide your lamp stand. Tell others the good news of what I am doing.

So, we told Ms. Rachel*. And she said, “We’ll use your home, and my home.” The man stopped and said, “You can use my city lot.”

And God says, “See? There are other crazy people out there, my darling.”

Do not be afraid.

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“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Do you ever feel crazy?

Friends. We serve the God who silenced the hearts of Kings. The God who created the ground we walk on. He will give you boldness to stand strong and love big. It’s scary. But He’s bigger than your fears.

Sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes it just starts with a prayer or sharing ideas with friends. Most times? It means putting the bible study down and just getting dirty– applying the words we’ve read time.and.time.again. Sometimes, it’s getting out of the boat and sinking time.and.time.again. Oh my, oh my, I’ve almost sunk to the depths of the sea several times. I’ve done a lot of things wrong, assumed wrong things, and handled loving people wrong, many times.

But that Jesus of ours? He loves us all the same. He looks on us and has big plans for our little steps of love.

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should: how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” Ephesians 3:18


May we have the courage to show this love to everyone
- no matter how crazy it makes us seem, no matter how many times we fail, no matter how scary.

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We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” – Mother Teresa

Much love,
Kati

*Ms. Rachel’s name was changed for this story.


 

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Surrounded by millions, sitting alone

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You may remember my little going off of Facebook thing? You know, where I sat down one day and spilled all of my secrets of social media addiction? Yeah that’s the one.

Well, a little update here? It has been wonderful times a million.

Because you see, there are lots of wonderful little things going on in my little world and the people who know are the people who care about me. And I celebrated a birthday in the most simple of ways. Because I’ve been sick some days and people around me loved me for real life. We’ve taken road trips, attended important things; even buried a cat. And I witnessed it all! (because usually I would have been too worried about my 600+ friends witnessing it all that I would have missed it by taking a picture to share or updating my status.) Side note: Oh man, i love status updates. It’s like  news all wrapped up in a wonderful package.  Oh, oh! and I miss you people so much! Send me a snail mail, email? I’ll reply, really I will.

I digress. Annnndddd, I’m lame. (…pssttt, it’s true though, go ahead and send that letter)  ; )

This video?

Yup, it’s amazing. Soak.it.up.

Social Media is WONDERFUL.

 

But so are Oreos.

Too much of anything is just too much. And.I.had.to.put.the.cookie.down. as far as social media is concerned.

Shout out to Oreo fans everywhere committed to living a more simple life with a little less social media!

All my love,
Kati

Why the only fight worth fighting is the fight for love: A daughters story of her fighting dad.

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As I type- someone I love fights to breathe.

Gone are the days of important phone calls, junk mail to read.

The phone calls missed, the birthdays forgotten.

All matter not.

This is the truth of life friends.

We will all fight. We will fight over dirty laundry, dishes, and kids who have places to go.

We will fight with neighbors over property lines, cooks over food served cold. The phone company over high bills and insurance companies over unpaid promises.

But when the time comes to fight for life: those moments will not matter.

What will matter is, did you love.

Did you love when it was hard. When it wasn’t deserved? Did you love after years of absence and neglect?

Were you Jesus to someone?

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My dad left. He was fighting hard for custody of me and didn’t win. And when he lost, he left. And I never saw him again.

It wasn’t until a dozen years later that he called out of the blue to meet.

We’ve seen each other every year – once or twice, sometimes more for the past several years.

And the reason of absence doesn’t matter- the loss for words. The birthdays forgotten and the books never read.

What matters is now. What matters are the years after the dozen lonely ones. The years of having babies and those babies calling him, grandpa. Years of random phone calls from him- sometimes an email.

What matters is today. That when a fight ends- either his or mine, we will have loved no matter what.

May you choose, friends. To fight the battle that matters. The battle to love others- no matter what.

1 john 1:19

“We love because he [jesus] first loved us.”

And that dad of mine?

Well he’s pretty great after all.

Loves today and always friends,

Kati

Slow down, your kids are watching. A 13 year old’s view of a busy mom.

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A few months back, I was drowning.

There I was. A wife to one, mom to six. Between homeschooling, work, several different kid activities a husband in full time school–I felt the world closing in around me.

I never knew she was watching.

At the peak of my despair (can we call it that?) I felt the lord gently telling me [well, actually more like, scream at me] “Let it all go, live simple, love big and sit more.”

So, I did it. We stopped swim-team, stopped packing the days full of activities, I made a better shopping schedule — to keep from spending all week in the car running back and forth to the store; and we even sold the puppy.

I started sitting more. I started saying no. I looked at my phone less. I stepped away from social media. I stopped trying to be everyone’s savior.

A few weeks after this change had become the new “me”, my Alli, just a teenager read me a poem she just so happened to have laid on her heard during the night.


Slow Down, Your Kids Are Watching

Why is life so busy?
People to see, places to go,
Someone to call, to text.
Gotta update my Facebook status,
I should Tweet  that.
Why are my kids always
Asking for food?!
Homework, bills,
Deposits, withdrawals,
My boss is mad again.
She just had a baby,
What should I cook for her?
I need to get them a wedding gift and
Wish them a happy honeymoon!
Happy Birthday to you,
Here’s a card.
Sorry about my handwriting,
I was in a hurry.
My husband and his job,
He’s never home anymore.
Prom, seriously?
Time to mow again,
Should probably water my garden
it’s close to dying.
My glasses broke,
She needs braces?!?!
Summer’s almost over,
School starts soon… school supplies.
New shoes! Guess it’s time.
I need groceries!
Soccer, football, basketball practice.
Doctor’s appointments on Monday.
Please feed your fish.
When does church end again?
The crock pot beans should be done soon
I have an email to send before three.
Library visit, okay!
Almost out of gas.
Sick? Wash your hands!
Go take a shower now.
Did you brush you teeth?
Are you ok?
Get well soon!
Remember the old days when life wasn’t as crazy as this?

~Alli Gibson

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Wow. Only God knew she saw my good intentions as just another stressed out momma.

A good little reminder maybe? A reminder to live simple, love big and sit more. We only have this life, and they are watching.

From one busy momma to another,

Kati