Our 7 Qtpies

October 20, 2011

Beautiful Feet!

On Monday I wrote a post about my struggle with staying in God's will and how He led me through that decision. Part of it was a verse about having beautiful feet. Beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News! Yes! I am being stretched and taught so much where I am right now, and that stretching is in reaching the lost and hurting where they are and loving them with the love of Christ.

In the mention of that verse I mentioned that our church had asked people to donate the shoes on their feet to Soles for Souls. The post wasn't about this event, so I didn't elaborate it other than to be proud of our church for donating over 1800 pairs of shoes. Someone kind of freaked out about this, so I will elaborate on it.

We live in America, such a rich nation! Even the poorest of the poor are pretty rich in comparison to some other nations. There are people who have no access to shoes, like EVER, and the price is that they get sick or die. They walk around and grow tough soles, but that causes cracking in the skin which allows parasites and infections to take hold. Because they are so poor, they are most likely scavengers in dumps which poses an even greater danger of punctures and cuts, which leads to more infections and loss of limbs and death.

Even if I am poor, I probably can afford to go to the thrift store or yard sale and get another pair of shoes for pretty cheap. These people do not have that option.

So, our pastor and staff arranged a donation but didn't tell us. He gave us the opportunity to LOVE these people with our BEST and donate our shoes off our feet and to go barefoot and spread awareness of this issue. If we just go tell these people about Jesus, they won't care. But if we go LOVE them because Jesus loves them, then they WILL care about why we would do such a thing for them. They deserve to have shoes, and if we are honest, we will admit to having more than we need in the shoe department. Who can't share their shoes?

The church did not force anyone to donate their shoes. :) Really. I did not donate my shoes. MANY people did not. Some of my kids did, and my husband did. He gave up his favorite pair of boots. He can live without them to save someone's life. I kept my favorite pair of heels, which really wouldn't be a help for them. But we went home and packed up 4 bags of shoes and brought them up to donate. And we still have shoes we never wear.

It is not illegal to drive without shoes. It is a myth. So, no, our church did not call cabs and tow trucks for our congregation or send them out to break the laws of the land.

What about the families? Is it thinking about the families to take their shoes when they might have to go to the store after church? Really, it is Sunday, is it thinking about families to patron a store so people have to work and can't be with THEIR family on a Sunday? So you are inconvenienced, it won't kill you like the parasites and tetanus will in Africa. Small price to pay to serve and love someone. Though I actually saw the some of the congregation went out to eat barefoot and other places, wondering if they would be kicked out. I didn't hear of anyone having to leave because of it. My guess is that most people went home to get one of their 5-20 other pairs of shoes on and then went about their day.

The other big criticism was about what good our heels and dress shoes would do over there. Well, obviously the heels wouldn't be so good, but really, mens dress shoes are pretty much safe and good for feet. However, the amount of dress shoes and heels worn to our church by the 2-4,000 people who attend all of our services is pretty much about 1% if you were being generous, lol. Maybe 2 men wear dress shoes, and maybe 3-4 women wear heels. We don't cater to "churchy" people, we aim for the people who NEED Jesus in their life, and they are often not what churchy people want to see in their church. They wear jeans and t-shirts, ripped up clothes, some are even smelly and drunk. But they see HOPE, hope that will get them out of their addictions and poor choices and bring them to joy and peace.

I realize that this is going to bring out the vultures to try to destroy our church. You have a heart problem if you think that God wouldn't want these people ministered to. The Bible tells us that it is HIS job to judge those who have not chosen Christ. 1 Corinthians 5:12-13. The Bible tells us that we should be wise in the way we act to them, we should be FULL of Grace and only use Salt for seasoning. We don't smash people with SALT, accusing them of their sins, we are to be full of GRACE toward them and then give them salt and let God work on them. Colossians 4:5-6.

Do you who are religious know who Jesus spent his time with? He spent intimate time with his friends and believers, yes. He had his weekends with church, but where did he spend his time outside of being refreshed? With the worst of the worst of the sinners. The tax collectors, the prostitutes, the DRUNKS. He spent so much time with them that he got a reputation for being a glutton and a drunk. Matthew 11:19 "I, the Son of Man, feast and drink, and you say 'He's a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of the worst kind of sinners!'" He was out there, going and making disciples! He was out there with the LOST, not the religious. And the religious hated him. Matthew 9:10-11. He hung out with NOTORIOUS sinners and the Pharisees were INDIGNANT.

If you love Jesus so much that you are very religious, then you should be asking yourself if you spend time with unbelievers. Do you? Are they a big part of your life? Do you surround yourself with other believers and insulate yourself? I insulated myself. I didn't even know how to FIND friendships with unbelievers! "Invite someone to church who doesn't know Christ? How? I don't know anyone who doesn't believe!" Not practicing my faith right there. I am changing that! I, and so many of my friends and church acquaintances over the years have all taken pride in making ourselves to be more like Jesus. Yet we missed this important part of who Jesus was on Earth! I still don't have it all together here, I am learning who Jesus was, what He did, and how to be like Him.

The religious people crucified Christ. The notorious sinners mourned his death. Because they had a relationship with him. They became His early church, and they paid dearly for it by the religious people. They were called a cult, Acts 24:14 I admit that I follow THE WAY, which they call a cult. Well, I guess I am honored to join them and be called a cult. And to walk barefoot for someone else.

(I am not going to allow attacking and vicious comments on my blog. If you have an honest question and are willing to hear an answer, I will participate. Haters will be deleted.)

October 17, 2011

Weigh the Cost

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" ( Romans 10:14-15 )

Yesterday in church we were called to walk out of the church leaving our shoes behind. No one knew that they would be asked to leave their shoes. People wore their good shoes, their favorite shoes, their comfy shoes, their new shoes. Over 1800 pairs of shoes were left in the church to be donated to a cause that will show third world country people that we LOVE them. So that they can hear the Good news.

I want to have beautiful feet! One day I will stand before Christ and I want Him to think my feet were beautiful. I am called to serve in a controversial way, and it is hard. I don't mind the hardships, I try not to worry about the gossip or let it hurt me. I pray and seek where God would put me and then I do it. If I hadn't gone through the desert recently I may not be able to remain where God has me, but He made me strong for this day.

There is a price for following Christ. From being ignored to ridiculed, from being beaten to being killed. If we can't bear the ridicule and the loss of relationships, how will we bear the cost of death? Will we lay down our very lives if we walk away when we are gossiped about?

I debated walking away last week. Not away from Christ, but away from where He has me. I felt that maybe I could just serve Him anywhere, why did it have to be here? Was it worth what I was losing to stay here? But the truth of the matter was more was the cost of relationships worth staying in God's WILL? Could I step out of God's will for relationships and still be blessed?

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39 New International Version (NIV)
I look at this and I know that if I can't stand firm with losing people I love deeply over Christ, I would not be able to hold firm to my faith when facing death. I don't choose to lose relationships, but I can't disobey God to save them.

I want beautiful feet. I am so thankful that my God always loves, always protects, always guides, and always comforts.