I’m taking a shot at writing for 5 minutes joining Lisa Jo and Five Minute Friday.  Today’s topic is Remembering.

I’m a children’s pastor.  Specifically, to preschool age children.  And although I may not be their teacher every week I still grow a huge attachment to them by the time they graduate kindergarten and move on to the first grade.  Occasionally, I will run into these “graduated kindergartners” and their families outside of church.  It could be a few months later or even several years later.  I’ll always greet the parents and the kids.

Here is how those conversations usually go… I say hi, comment on how big their child has grown.  Parents will say hi and look at their child and say “Honey, you remember Miss Lisa, right?”  And here comes that blank stare….”Um, maybe…”

I see their little minds trying to make a connection to who I am and where in the world they have seen me before.

But when asked about church and what they like about it, their eyes light up.  And then the conversations begin.  About a friend at church they met or a Sunday School teacher they really like or the latest Family Worship Night they attended.  Rarely, is it about a specific lesson or what they “learned” in class.

And then I smile.  You see a younger child may not always remember a Bible story, or a memory verse, but they will remember the relationships.  The friends they made or the connections with a teacher.  Those my friends are the building blocks to a life time of walking with Christ.  They will hear the stories again, they will memorize  scripture over and over, but the foundations of a relationship with someone at church is the beginning of a relationship with Christ.  That’s what I want them to remember, not Miss Lisa.

Five Minute Friday

Looking Back

There are times in my life where I think God is speaking directly to me.  Mostly, I get direction from God by paying attention to indications.  These can come from scripture, a friend’s statement or even on Sunday morning listening to my pastor.

Once, I was reading scripture in Psalms and in the Gospels.  Every day the word trust came up.  A lot.  I finally wrote in my journal, Okay God, I get it, you want me to trust you.

So recently, I read about Abraham and Lot in the Bible during my quiet time.  Then I read about Lot’s wife in Angie Smith’s book “Mended”.   Then I watched the miniseries ” The Bible”.  If you watch the first episode you know they showed Lot and his wife running for their lives out of Sodom.  Okay stay with me here now, it doesn’t mean that these three events mean anything, it could have been a totally random thing.  But when it presents itself three times, well, I pay attention.  Basically, I stored all these things up.

Lets backtrack a bit.  God told Abraham to pick up his family, stuff, everything he owned and move.  God had a plan for Abraham’s life.  A big plan.  God planned for Abraham to have as many descendants as the the stars in the sky, even though Abraham had no children at the time.  Abraham”s nephew, Lot decided to go with him.  They traveled together for a while, but God had blessed them and their “stuff” was getting in the way of each other.  Their families, servants and livestock were too big to travel together.  So Lot and his wife split ways with Abraham.  Lot and his family settled in Sodom.  Not exactly a city of good.  In fact, it was so full of wickedness, so God decided to destroy it.  But Lot had not turned wicked, he still belonged to the Lord.  God spared his life, but as they were fleeing Sodom, Lots wife looked back and became a pillar of salt.

Here’s the part I’ve pondered the most, she looked back.  Why?  Was she looking back because she desire the lifestyle Sodom offered?

How many times have I looked back, Lord?  Why?  

I know it is not because I desire my old life.  I am a child of God and I can no more separate myself from that fact then I can separate heart from my body.  He lives in me.  He’s my rock and he saved me. I belong to Him.

So why look back?  What I discovered was, I was looking back to see what was following me.  Those “things” that permeated my life before Christ. Those lies about me I thought I left at the foot of the cross were still there.  I’m not worthy, not good enough, not talented, not smart enough and the worst, not lovable.  Those “lies” have followed me around for a very long time.  Way too long.

So here are some truths:

  • I am a completely new creation – 2 Cor 5:17 (NIV)  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old is gone and the new has come.
  • I am deeply loved and accepted by God –  1 John 4:9-10 (NLT)   God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.  This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
  • I am forgiven and fully pleasing to God – Romans 5:1 (NIV)  Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

These are just a few of the promises God gives us, we are made new, we are loved and accepted and forgiven.  Because of this we are His.  Words I was introduced to a long time ago, but somehow I forgot those words were for me.

Promises I need to remind myself daily of.  If I want to live a life that is fully pleasing to God, I need to forget what’s behind me and press on.

  • Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)    Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.   Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 

If I want to live a full life, one that is in line with God’s purposes for me then I need to stop looking back.  It’s not a perfect thing right now, in fact I’m pretty sure it won’t be perfect until the day I meet Him.

How about you?  Is something following you, making you look back?  My prayer for you, my friend, is to look ahead, forget those lies because if you belong to Him, He wants you to have a full life that is pleasing to Him.