Tag Archives: Faith

Reinventing God?

Rebecca Johnston is a 29-year-old licensed minister.  She is currently serving as the outreach pastor at The Journey Church in Plainfield, Indiana.  She serves the congregation by mobilizing the Body to reach out to those around them to offer spiritual, emotional or physical help.  Rebecca and her husband, Joel, met and married in Vienna, Austria where they were both serving in an international church. To fill up free time Rebecca is a volunteer loan editor with the micro-finance site Kiva, plays Castleville, watches a few different television shows with her husband and enjoys traveling. These things are all possible at this time as she and her husband have no children yet.

A prominent author is going to give us new insight into God. This new revelation will make us rethink everything we ever knew about God.  People have accused him of reinventing truth, reinventing God.

I haven’t read the book, it isn’t even out yet, so I can’t make a judgment on what the contents really are, but I can look at the press release and puzzle over why I would need God reinvented.

I became a Christian at the age of 12, taken by a friend who did not want to go by herself when she was asked to attend. Something in those church services, in a slightly hyper-emotional, conservative, Midwestern, small town church, stirred my junior high heart and turned me on a path toward the living God.

I went from being painfully shy, an emotional TNT stick ready to be detonated by the smallest vibrations, to a person called by God. I now bore his Good News to find and restore the lost or broken. I wander through the wilderness knowing he is beside me, in front of me, and behind me pushing should the need arise.

I went through a time where I was both emotionally and physically sick. I was burned out and used up by my acts of service.  Twelve days of hospitalization and the loss of my apartment days after being released could have made me think God was not looking out for me. I found though the more I leaned into God, and the more I ripped away how I thought it should be, the more generous he was with me. (More accurately, the more I noticed the grace God dealt to me). I didn’t miraculously get better overnight, either physically or emotionally, but I learned something new about myself. I learned about human nature, and about the peace God promised to his children. The problem was NOT my understanding of who God was, it was my understanding of who I was meant to be.  I lacked an understanding of what he wanted from me and for me. Because I love him, He really does make all things work together for my good.

Since I was 12 my understanding of who God is has changed dramatically.  God never changed. My imperfect understanding was refined, pulled and changed. I really love the words of 1 Corinthians 13 when it says what we see or understand now is like looking in a dim mirror.  What I see here and now is an imperfect reflection of the perfection of God.

I am stunned by the thought of reinventing God, because I have always known him to be absolute perfection.  Somewhere in the interim between first conversion and now I realized the flaws in understanding do not lie with who he is or what this person or that person says about him, it has always been me that needs to be reinvented.

written by Rebecca Johnston

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Pedestals, Ditches, and Scared Little Girls

Amy Van Pay is an ordained minister in the Assemblies of God.  She and her husband are AGUSM Missionaries serving as Chaplains to Triathletes in the area of Boulder, CO.  They have 3 children: Camden-8, Cale-5, and Ainsley-2 months.

Recently, I had a conversation with my mother about my mother-in-law.  She said,  “Every time I see her, her make-up and hair look like it was professionally done.  She always dresses so nicely.  And to be honest, I feel really self-conscious around her.”  Then I began to inform her of why she looks that way; how she is so concerned about her self-image, she can’t help but spend all that time and effort on her appearance.

Isn’t that silly?  Here are two terrific women around the age of 60, longing to be acceptable to the other, oblivious to the fact that they’re not only accepted, they’re put on some kind of pedestal by the other.

Aren’t we all that way a little?  I know in my own life I’ve struggled with this.  I meet someone, make an assessment, and either place them up on a pedestal or throw them in a ditch.  Either they’re a person I feel I have to earn acceptance from, or someone that, well, they’re just a step or two down from me.  It’s not that I don’t like those I put in a ditch.  I just somehow reason that I’ve got this relationship in the bag–nothing to be earned here.  I know.  I’m a jerk.  Maybe you’re one too?

It’s times like these we need to take a few steps back and see ourselves for who we really are much of the time: scared little girls.  Beneath our big deal lives and responsibilities of womanhood, lies a bright-eyed young lady so unsure how she should behave.  By the time she’s put so many on those pedestals, it feels good to put a few in the ditch.  It’s only natural.

Here’s what I’ve observed: it isn’t humility that causes us to hoist others up.  And it isn’t arrogance that makes us put someone down.  In my estimation, there’s one just one little thing in us that’s producing both behaviors: pride.  It’s gotta be.  What else would make us so entirely concerned with ourselves?  When we’re caught up in these so-called assessments, do we ever take the time to consider what we’re doing to that other person?  I’ve been held up high, longing for someone to quit assuming I had all the friends in the world and just care about me for a minute.  I’ve also been thrown to the side, feeling like their relationship with me is some kind of obligation to them.

So, my fellow Smoking Hot (Little Girls) of the A/G, I’d like to propose we all let each other and ourselves off the hook.  Let’s level the playing field and be authentic for a change.  After all, what are we afraid of?  She’s just a scared little girl too.

written by Amy Van Pay

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Diamonds are forever…or not!

My engagement ring is a channel set white gold ring with seven 10 point diamonds. It’s simple,  nothing overly fancy, but precious to me. The diamonds are big enough to sparkle beautifully in the sun. Since we got engaged in college with a very limited budget, they are definitely not flawless diamonds. The color is fairly bright, but some of the diamonds have some occlusions, including a tiny black speck.

Last month, I was sitting and talking with a friend when I glanced at my hand and noticed that something looked “off”. Continue reading