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Before reading my post, please refer to this news article:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090522/pl_politico/22832

So, the question is do I as a Christian support this bill to make a “year of the Bible” recognized by the federal government?

The answer is no. Emphatically no. Is it a nice endeavor? I believe so. It would be fantastic if instead of having to prove ourselves at every nook and cranny in the federal system if they could give us a little recognition. Is this good timing? Absolutely not. Are there more important things the Christians in Congres should be focusing on? Heaven yes.

This is not good timing because of all the decisions Congress needs to make about our country and the direction it is headed in. We are living in an economic crisis, and if the government doesn’t take action we will continue to decline and no longer be the world power we are currently (although no matter what, we will be surpassed by China, India, and Japan shortly anyway). Healthcare is a mess, social security a joke, and companies having to fire most employees or shut down. Everyone’s job, home, and economic wellbeing is hanging in the balance. This being so, it is absolutely irresponsible to be putting all your time and energy into passing a bill that doesn’t change anything really. It will be considered the  “year of the Bible”, it does not promise more federal recognition for Christianity, does not ensure that the Christian message will be spoken louder, received more, or will be more generally accepted around the world.

It’s just something that conservative Christian groups will be able to point to and say “see what we’re doing for the kingdom!” when in reality, they’ve brought the kingdom down. Christians have to understand that God’s kingdom is not limited to the “religious”. God’s kingdom is just as much found in our healthcare or federal government as it is found in prayer at schools or crisis pregnancy centers. Dualistic Christianity tends to put things such as this Bible bill and fighting against abortion and things like this as more important for the kingdom, more holy than the environment or the economy or anything else not specifically a conservative Christian concern.

Political Christians are the worst examples I know of a Christian, even worse than the Hypocrite Christian. Not that I’m saying they are “bad” Christians, because all of us are “bad” Christians. All of us still sin, all of us make mistakes. Hypocrite Christians are dualistic thinkers, separating to the extreme the secular and the sacred. They tend to be very gnostic in their thinking, believing it to be ok to engage in whatever activities here on earth as long as they are dedicated to being at church on Sunday and “keeping their mind pure”. Of course, the rest of the world recognizes this as false and is just disgusted with these “Christians” that don’t live what they preach. Political Christians are similar to the Hypocrite Christian except they take a political platform that is a noble platform, such as stopping abortion to save babies lives, and make it their holy duty to push it as far as they can go. These Christians are willing to die for it, that’s how emphatic they are. They’ll picket anywhere they must, they’ll support any bill they can, they’ll talk on any conservative talk radio show about the evils of abortion clinics, they’ll forego their jobs and their families and their obligations because it’s what God has called them to.

Yes, abortion is wrong. I don’t think there’s much question about that. But these political Christians have stopped to see anything other than the position they champion. In the case of abortion, they have forgotten about the mothers that are getting abortions. In their attempt to save the lives of these babies, they are destroying the lives of these women. Who wants to go to church or listen to any type of Christian when you have already been destroyed by a group of Christians?

Our focus is on the wrong things. We have to be culturally relevant Christians and right now the most culturally relevant thing we can do is to engage in the economic discussion. We should be part of the solution, not part of the group beating a dead horse. In light of everything our country is going through, of all the answers that the people need, is there really any point to having a “year of the Bible”? What purpose does it serve, other than us getting a feather in our cap? We should be looking to serve our country rather than to serve our own agenda. I find it much more likely that we will have a “year of the Bible” after prominent Christians lead the church in answering the healthcare and environment and economy questions than after those same Christians fight to the death for this one silly bill.

Be a help, not a hindrance.

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Renewed Fervor

“You will seek Me and find Me. When you seek Me with all your heart.”

-Jeremiah 29:13

It has been months since I have sought out my Saviour. I have been more concerned with basic survival and pleasures that are fleeting than I have in growing my relationship with and my love for the One who fulfills everything in me. This morning, I finally sought Him out. And I took only one step before He swept me up in His arms, buried me in His embrace, and covered my face with His kisses. Oh how I have longed for His love and His touch! It has never gone away, as much as I tried to mask it or to quench it with other things. Where I once was exhausted, focused on survival, and hopeless now I am refreshed, excited about tomorrow, and eager to be lead in new paths.

“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

– Phillipians 1:6

God put a passion in my heart, a calling to my life and even though I ran away from Him and forsaked everything He had prepared me for, He did not give up on me. He has been ever calling me, never once did He break communication with me. I refused to answer the phone, I ignored His texts, and I turned away when I saw Him in public, but He never stopped. Like a lover who would not be denied, He continued to pursue me, He never left me for one instant. And now He is rejoicing because He is finally able to finish the work He started in my life.

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

– Psalms 46:10

So often I pass over this verse without another thought. But today, it brings such joy to my heart! In such a fast paced world, with such an ADD mentality, who would have known that my heart would leap at the chance to just be still and know that He is God? He will be exalted! No matter what I do, God’s name will be glorified but OH how I want to be the one to do it! I want to be a part of the masses, screaming until our voices crack how awesome is our God and how mighty is His name!

Day 63: Prone to wander

It’s been a long time since my first post about seeking God’s will for my life right now. I remember that first day I felt so excited, so sure that God had huge things planned for me and I was so ready to embark on that journey right then. But I didn’t continue in that fashion. I became distracted by my new boyfriend, by the relationships I was building, by the importance I felt when asked to be the preschool Sunday School teacher. I grew lazy with my schoolwork, I didn’t keep up a lot of friendships that were important to me, I selfishly pursued only that which benefited me directly and immediately. But most importantly, I discontinued my walk with Christ.

I didn’t read the Bible on my own anymore. I was more likely to skip a church service. I didn’t listen to my mp3 player, full of my favorite God-glorifying music, and I found more joy in watching movies than I did in talking with my Saviour. I found that suddenly I had no time for devotions, no time for fasting or meditation. Where I had previously been zealous for the spiritual disciplines, they ceased to even cross my mind. My prayers were few and far between and never in depth, always quickly-worded, never sincere or heart felt, and never about someone else. My thoughts seemed to revolve around the here and now and how I could take full advantage of it.

But God does not let His people leave Him.  There is not one prodigal son He does not accept with open arms, not one lost sheep He doesn’t rescue and not one lost coin He doesn’t search the world over for. And not one Sarah Beth He doesn’t let ignore Him or His calling. It amazes me how utterly wrapped up in  myself I can become, with God every calling me to Himself and I can’t hear any of it. It’s not until God completely shakes my world up that I snap out of it and realize that I’ve gotten so lost I don’t know which way is up.

But even as God turns my world upside down, He is loving me. He yanks me out of the street, not to hurt me, but to save me. His mercies are ever new and His love never ends. Everything He does is for His kingdom and for His glory and it is in my best interest to work towards that goal as well. He is there to support me as my emotions go for a roller coaster ride and He is forever supplying all my needs because I can’t in my own power take care of myself.

Take my heart Lord, take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.

My Story

God has truly proven to be my rescuer and my protector throughout my life. I can look back now, with a clearer vision of what was really happening behind the scenes and realize that my Redeemer loves me with a love that is pure and holy, meaning set apart, completely different from anything that we as humans can come up with. We don’t even have the capacity to explain or describe or understand God’s love.
 
When I was in 6th or 7th grade, right around that puberty/awkward stage, I got my first glimpse of porn. I was raised in a very conservative Christian home and had been homeschooled most of the my life at that time, so I hadn’t even heard much about porn up unto that point. But I knew in my heart that something wasn’t right about it. I didn’t understand why, but I was hooked. Mostly curiosity, but something else propelled me to that computer screen and to that Google homepage again and again when Mom wasn’t looking. Being young and naive, I didn’t realize that those pages track you so they can send you pop ups and emails to further the addiction. My mom eventually found out, was very upset with me, and I played the stupid card and pretended I had stumbled on it by accident once. Not even I understood the rot that was gathering in my heart.
 
I couldn’t go to porn sites anymore, but my curiosity was peaked at this point to sex and sexuality. My parents are great parents and they raised me right and taught me excellent morals but they forgot to teach me about sex. My mom said we listened to tapes about it at some point, but I don’t have any memory of it. Thinking back, I can only think of maybe 3 times of seeing my parents kiss, much less anything else. So sex wasn’t exactly anything I knew a lot about. I didn’t feel like this was something I could talk to my parents about (and what kid wants to talk to their parents about that) so I did my own research. Unfortunately, that research involved chatrooms and cyber sex, online dating websites,  and masturbation at night in my room. I was addicted to this stuff and I didn’t know why. I felt so dirty everytime I masturbated or had cyber sex with a complete stranger over the computer. I hated myself and felt like God must too. I saw Christianity as works not grace…I believed that once you prayed the prayer, than all the good things you did earned you God’s love. I wasn’t even sure how to know if the magic prayer worked, so I prayed it several times, I walked the aisle at church several times, I tried to get baptized several times. I felt so filthy most of the time, I thought I was light years away from God and that I had to work to get myself back close to Him…although I never felt closer than, oh say an entire continent. I would decide that I would never do anything sexual again, that I wasn’t supposed to have a sexuality, and that I wouldn’t give in anymore. And everytime I did give in, I’d fall deeper and deeper into this pit that pinned me in from all sides.
 
My senior year in high school I had my first serious boyfriend. He was totally out of my league, a football player for one of the schools in my district. It felt nice to have a guy pursue me, tell me he loved me, talk about marrying me…it wasn’t until after the break up that I realized that shouldn’t happen within the first month of dating someone. For 9 months I was in a very emotionally dependent relationship, that involved me dropping all my morals, dreams, plans, aspirations…basically changing myself to be someone that my boyfriend would want. I remember thinking the first 2 weeks or so of us dating “I would have sex with him if it meant he’d be with me forever.” I lost about 20 pounds in around a month, because he thought I should be thinner. I started wearing more makeup, paying more attention to the clothes I was wearing, sneaking out at night to rendevous with him. I let him do all kinds of things that up until meeting him, I had already decided I wouldn’t do until marriage. We never had sex, frankly because he broke up with me before we got to that point. He told me one night that he would never abandon me, that he wouldn’t be like his father who left him when he was 5 and the next morning he broke up with me. This is after he convinced me to go to a community college instead of a big prestigious school out of state like I had planned so I would be near him, convinced me to marry him as soon as he graduated from high school, had me completely change my plans for children and my theological beliefs, and had me plan out how we would survive financially once we were married. After the breakup, he deleted me off his myspace, blocked me, called my father and told him I was stalking him and that if I didn’t stop he’d have his dad come and have words with mine. Several months later, when I was in college, he toilet papered my house and had a bunch of his buddies prank call me.
 
After that, I was a wreck. I couldn’t stop crying for over a month, and didn’t get over him until almost a year later. I didn’t have any plans for college anymore but God somehow got me into Dallas Baptist University with maximum scholarship possible and plenty of financial aid. After the breakup, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how relationships were supposed to work, but I knew that I desperately wanted to be loved. After my previous relationship, I concluded that sex was love. My boyfriend seemed most happy with me when I would fool around with him. So that summer, I started opening myself up to guys physically. I had very thick walls put up so I wouldn’t get hurt again. I was going to be in control and I was never going to feel that vulnerable again. So any guy that wanted to date me, that respected me or treated me right, I shut down. I wasn’t having any of it, because I would have to open myself up and it hurt too much. But the physical, I could do that. I would feel loved, for a few days or weeks or months, and I didn’t have to take my walls down. In fact, I could completely disconnect while the guy did his thing and not even be affected by it. It seemed like the only solution available to me. I thought this was how things were supposed to be.
 
Along this scary road that I had found myself on, I truly discovered God’s grace and love and mercy. See, He had brought me to DBU to get me away from everyone I knew so that I could finally here His voice. He taught me that He is not about works, but about love. He romanced me to Himself, held me when I cried, whispered how much He loved and adored me in my ear as I slept, and protected me financially and sexually. There are so many times I should have ended up living in a box without a penny to my name, raped or molested but God always had my back, even when I didn’t care what happened to me.
 
God is my Lover, my Rescuer, my Protector, my Alpha and Omega, my Jehovah Jireh, my Elohim, my Adonai. He will never leave me nor forsake me, no matter how many times I run from Him. He has healed all my hurts, He has torn down all my walls, and He is leading me in the way everlasting. And He has awakened a passion inside me and given me this cry in my heart:
 
I want to be leading and changing. I don’t want to be a side person or a follower, I don’t want to be there when history changes, I want to be the catalyst! It doesn’t matter where, what, or how, I just want to shout from the rooftops what God is speaking to my heart and see it take action on the people around me. I could take up nearly any cause and be its champion, I could cry out for those without voices, I could speak the truth that transforms lives. I don’t care what God calls me to do as long as I’m not sitting on the sidelines or dealing with the mundane. I want in the game, I want on the front lines!
 
I want to be a Rescuer, because my Rescuer lives in me.

Old Memories

I went home for the first time in a while, other than Christmas, this past weekend. After work on Friday I drove the 45 minute trip home and then I spent all day at with the fam on Saturday. Apparently I had left boxes of stuff from when I first moved out over a year ago. So my mom pulled some of the boxes down from the attic so I could go through them and throw away what needed to be thrown away and take away everything else so she had more space in her attic. So I sat on the ground and emptied out the boxes and, surrounded by lots of old rubbage, I was run over by memory after memory after memory.

The first thing I found was this little porcelain angel box. It’s really small, can really only hold one ring but I love that thing. I got it when I was in 3rd or 4th grade from my choir director at church. I don’t even remember her name or what she looked like, but I do remember her pulling me aside one day and giving it to me. It was such a nice gift to give to a little girl and was completely random that it blew me away. She had thought of me, little crazy me, and trusted me enough to give me an extremely breakable, fragile little treasure. And I still have it, thats how much it impacted me!

There was a random writing assignment from middle school in one of the boxes, from The House On Mango Street. We had to answer several writing prompts about different chapters in the book. It was crazy to read through it and all of a sudden remember exactly what it was like back then, who I was back then. I definitely showed my writing skills off way back then, I wrote exactly like I do now only with more grammatical errors. It was like I was talking to 14 year old Sarah Hutchinson.  I was also a little sad because I could remember how frustrated I was with who I was, how lost I was at finding myself, and how my friends at the time weren’t helpful at all. But through all that I was struggling with, I answered the questions intelligently and in one I even shared the gospel. Huh.

The things that really made me cry were my coins from Venezuela and the bookmark my translator gave me. He had left a little note on the back. He was the most amazing translator ever, he didn’t just translate what I was saying to the people I was talking to, he took me under his wing and invested in me. The struggle I started in middle school about who I was continued into high school and wasn’t stopped until I met Gerardo on the mission trip to Venezuela. He called me bellissima and sat with me at meals and encouraged me in my spanish. He made me feel comfortable while I shared the gospel with strangers and helped me out when I stumbled or forgot where I was. He was my first love, in a sense. There was no one else in the world I felt more strongly about.

It’s crazy to think about who I was and where I was years ago and where I am now and how I got there. The people that have come into my life and impacted me, the places I remember being, the events I remember and don’t remember happening…all these things equal up to who I am now.

Day 1

So my pastor has challenged me and some other students in the church to start 120 days of listening for God’s voice. It’s 4 months of seeking God with everything we have, devoting all our time and energy to deepening our relationship with Him.

As soon as my pastor challenged us, I knew that now was the right time. Everything in the past weeks and months had been leading up to this point in my life, when God asks that I lay down everything and just sit with Him. So, I thought I would document my experiences in here for yall. The first day was really all about me slowing down. There weren’t any divine revelations or anything out of the ordinary, other than me taking my busy mind and relaxing it. I was still busy, I still had a lot of stuff to get done, but my mind was calm and rested and focused, as much as possible, on Jesus. 🙂 So far, my 120 days is going great!

I want to be a Rescuer

I want to be leading and changing. I don’t want to be a side person or a follower, I don’t want to be there when history changes, I want to be the catalyst! It doesn’t matter where, what, or how, I just want to shout from the rooftops what god is speaking to my heart and see it take action on the people around me. I could take up nearly any cause and be its champion, I could cry out for those without voices, I could speak the truth that transforms lives. I don’t care what God calls me to do, as long as I’m not sitting on the sidelines or dealing with the mundane. I want in the game, I want on the front lines.