Why Christians Need to Stop Silly Fights

“What are the benefits of public school,” a person asked on Twitter.

I answered, “You learn how to get along with people who are different from you.”

Instantly without any notice I was ambushed on Twitter by home schoolers who thought I said ‘home-schooling is Satanic.’ I said nothing about home-schooling. I answered a question about public school.

Unfortunately I innocently stepped into the middle of a conversation launched by a blogger pitching his pro-home school post. The Christian blogger had an agenda and he used me to launch his crusade against public school. I quickly bowed out of this accidental argument and called out the blogger’s agenda.

The home-school versus public school is one of those silly fights Christians tend to get into in the name of God. My friend Lee Grady posted an article about how Christians misuse the Bible. One way we pervert the Bible is when we attack each other with scriptures. We think we’re defending God’s honor and the truth when we’re justifying our position at our friend’s expense.

The home-school versus public school is one of the many silly wars we fight. I’ve seen these battles as well:

  • Moms with children who work outside of the home versus moms with children who stay at home
  • Purposefully single versus marrieds
  • Purposefully childless couples versus marrieds with children

And the list goes on and on. I was in a church where the pastor’s wife wanted to debate me about my decision to work outside of the home. My mom just died and I had a baby. I was not in the mood for an open debate about my decision to work.

I respectfully told the pastor’s wife that the decision to work was between me and God and my husband. We believed the job was a financial blessing and my children were being taken care of. “I think you’ve crossed some boundaries here,” I said.

A week later she called crying and repenting for her mistake. I was thankful she responded but my guard was up in that relationship. That was the beginning of the end for me for that church.

While I’m a firm believer in seeking wisdom and counsel from respected, trusted leaders, I believe these issues, among many, are between you and God:

  • Taking birth control
  • Have kids or not have kids
  • Get married or stay single
  • How you date
  • Where you live
  • What you do for a living
  • How you spend your money
  • How you decide to educate your child

Some people can’t afford to send their child to a private Christian school or lose income from a working adult. Instead of judging them for their decision to send their child to a public school, why not pay their way to a private Christian school? Paying for their tuition is a more constructive way of addressing your conviction about private Christian education instead of berating the parent for subjecting their child to the ‘liberal agenda.’

Christians who fight silly wars are at-risk for breaking this scriptural guideline for relationships:

Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters.[a] If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you.  God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12

Who are you to judge your neighbor because….

  • They send their child to a public school
  • They home-school
  • He/she doesn’t want to get married
  • He/she doesn’t want to have children
  • He/she wants to have a big family
  • She has children and doesn’t want to work
  • She has children and wants to work
  • He/she drives an expensive sports car or an older vehicle
  • He/she is a different race, gender or economic class

Who are you to judge?

Instead of judging, let’s love by praying and caring for one another. Let’s fight for another, stand with another and respect each other’s decision. Help an overwhelmed parent. Bring a meal. Take care of their kids. Celebrate life!

Tell me about a silly war you may have accidentally stepped into.

 

When God Comes to a Group of Teenagers

crowd.ogesbyThe smell of garbage permeated my dark bedroom. I wanted to die. I wanted to kill myself.

As I wept in that dark smelly bedroom, a presence drifted into the room. Suddenly I was overcome by peace, joy, love and I knew that someone cared about me. A voice spoke from that presence and said, “My hand is on your life. I’m going to take care of you.”

I didn’t grow up in a religious home but I knew that this was the voice of God. I realized that God cared about me even thought I didn’t know Him. I wanted to know Him, but there wasn’t anyone to tell me about Him.

Three years later I started going to a small Pentecostal church and I was on fire for God. My friends who brought me to church thought I was a freak and threatened to end my friendship. I quit following God and my life spiralled downhill fast.

I believe if someone would have told me how to follow God and to get to know Him when I was 10-years-old, I would have responded. My life would have been completely different. But there was no one. Not a single person to tell me about God.

This past weekend, I was part of a ministry team that went to a little town 600 miles south to help a group of middle and high school students encounter God. A remarkable 15- year-old, Charles Graves, organized this conference to reach his peers. His parents, Alyssa and Jack are on staff at the school that hosted the conference.

I shared my story with a group of middle school and high school girls. These girls want to know God and how to follow Him, but they needed a messenger. Jack, Alyssa and Charles have been faithful messengers to them. Now they needed to meet the living God.

At the last Saturday night service, they encountered God. I watched them weep, worship, and receive prayer. They didn’t even want to leave although the leaders said the service
was over.

If it wasn’t for the Graves, those kids would have never had an encounter with God. God needs a messenger to go to the kids — who were like me at 10-years-old that wanted to know Him — but had no one to tell me how to follow Him. I believe there are millions of kids in our nation who want God. They don’t want religion. They don’t want a bunch of rules. They want to know the God of the Bible who brings healing, deliverance and freedom.

A student’s leg grew out after Levi O’Brien prayed for him. That one healing sparked an interest in God to the point that the kids rushed into the library to learn more. The God of the Bible is extremely attractive to this generation. He just needs someone who doesn’t care about fame, title or a ministry to go to these little towns that no one would go to, to reach kids that most people overlook.

Are you willing to lay down your life to tell your neighbor next door or the kid that drives you crazy with their loud music about the one true living God? He needs you. This weekend, I was the person I would have wanted to come to me when I was a hurting 10-year-old girl who wanted to die. I was the woman I would have wanted to reach girls who want Him.

May you carry His life, His glory, peace and love to those around you. The world wants Him. Let’s not get in the way. Let’s be the way.

Don’t Forget God is Big and He Wants the World

What kid stands in 7 degree weather waiting for a bus to pick them up and take them to church?

What kid stands in 7 degree weather waiting for a bus to pick them up and take them to church?

Last night I shared with my son, Alex, how God is expansive and ginormous and His heart to reach people. “We have a big world out there Alex and God wants the world in His house.” I had just returned from Chicago and saw firsthand the enormity of God and His heart.

I actually saw gigantic God in the face of a child at a Wednesday service. This kid was jumping up and down with glee at a service, happy to be in His house and having fun. When I watched the laughter and smiles of these kids, I thought of how church should be #1 place kids want to be at on a snowy, cold day.

This kid stood in 7 degree weather, in the snow to get on the bus to go to church. Roads were bad around the city but he didn’t care. He was in God’s house.

Tonight hundreds of kids were jumping up and down, shouting, playing games, singing and then sitting on the edge of their seats listening to a lesson taught by a dynamic up and coming 15-year-old preacher about God’s love. I thought of how God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. I heard this verse millions of times but in the backdrop of these kids listening intently, God hit me how He loved these kids and how He loves people so much that He gave His best.

What am I giving to reach people? Do I have the same determination that He has to gather the planet into His house? That kid and a simple message from a 15-year-old preacher, a teenage girl, convicted me. God help me to remember the simplicity of who You are, what you’re trying to do and who you’re trying to reach.

Church of Joy, which ministers to thousands of kids every week, invests thousands of dollars and hours. The excellence and their effort to reach the lost convicted me. Give me Your heart for the world.

How God Remembers When People Forget You

I went from sitting on the front row in church to sitting in the foyer with a fussy child in a matter of years. I went from getting calls daily from ministry leaders to being a nobody. Stepping out of the inner circle of ministry and being on the prayer team to the foyer was hard for me.

I felt like God forgot me. People forgot me. And I was a nobody.

I wanted to leave and cried out to God. During prayer, He asked me, “Did you come here to sit on the front row and to work for the pastors or did you come here because I called you?”

I answered, “I came here because You called me.”

“I haven’t changed my mind,” He answered.

During that time one of the pastors reached out to me. She said that taking care of a special needs child was just as important of a ministry as being on staff. “Right now your ministry is your family,” she said.

With her words, I began to see holding DÁndra in the foyer as a ministry unto God. When I drove my kids to school, I was doing it as unto Him. When I read to DÁndra, I did it as unto Him.

No one ever gets called out in a conference and receives a prophetic word declaring, “Thus says the Lord I’ve called you to take care of your children!” Who prays for that ministry? Taking care of children is sheer hard work.

I felt lonely and isolated walking back and forth in the foyer with DÁndra because she couldn’t handle the loudness of the worship music. My husband, Jerome would relieve me but I had no help with her. God and my family had to be enough because that was all I had.

DÁndra’s sensitivity to noise began lessen as she got older. She is 11 and loves worshipping through the service. When she turned 10, a major Christian magazine asked me to write a cover story. I jumped at the opportunity because feature writing is my first love.

DÁndra loves jamming on the guitar.

When I interviewed the person, he asked me if I would be interested in helping out with marketing for an organization that he was involved in. I had already started a marketing communications business for a more flexible schedule and I said I would be very interested.

After the article was published, the media company asked if I would be interested in managing content for their women’s magazine. The enewsletter is read by over 40,000 women every week. At the same time, the gentleman that I interviewed asked me to consider helping out with marketing for a ministry organization.

I was amazed that God brought these opportunities to me. He remembered me when I was sitting in the foyer praying. He remembered me when I was driving my kids back and forth to school. He remembered me when I felt like everyone else forgot me.

Last Sunday a lady shared with me how she felt underused and forgotten. I shared with her a little bit of my story because I could totally relate to that. I had gone from managing TV and radio show productions and public relations campaigns to sitting in the foyer with a fussy child.

I encouraged her to look to God who always remembers. Instead of being resentful of being overlooked, pray. Pray and do it all as unto Him. Turn the mundane into an act of worship and devotion to God.

He has a long record of remembering people that others forgot. Joseph was forgotten and considered dead by his brothers. The woman with the issue of blood was considered an outcast by her town. And don’t forget the tax collector that everyone hated.

God remembered Joseph by fulfilling a childhood dream that he was clueless as to how it would be fulfilled. I’m sure if Joseph saw betrayal by his brothers, being sold into slavery, false accusation and unjust imprisonment as part of the process of fulfilling the dream, he would have prayed that God would pick someone else.

God remembered the woman with the issue of blood considered a pariah by her family and friends. This woman probably didn’t foresee a disease that kept her from her family and from worship in her future. Yet God put her in His future.

And the tax collector who everyone hated. Yet Jesus defied conventions by announcing to everyone that he was having dinner at his house. The tax collector instantly repents by pledging to return everything that he had taken unjustly.

Joseph, the diseased woman and the tax collector were forgotten, written off by their family and friends. Yet God had not written them off. And He has not written you off. He will never write you off. People may forget you and write you off as beyond being useful or being able to contribute anything worthwhile. But God will never write you off. He will never forget you.

He always remembers and He remembers you. Talk to Him, cry out to Him. Remember Him and He will remember you.

When You Can’t Fight for Yourself

Eleven years ago prayer Pastor Steve Gray prayed for my daughter DÁndra at World Revival Church. I was in the hospital and a few of my friends knew that she had Down syndrome. A medical team stood ready in case she had a hole in her heart.

Me and DÁndra

I didn’t know what to expect.

DÁndra didn’t have a hole in her heart and didn’t even look like she had Down syndrome. Her doctor wanted her tested again and the test came back positive. I had no idea at the time the significance of that third strand of chromosome but the last 11 years have given me a lesson on endurance and perseverance that I didn’t sign on to learn.

You see, today I faced the customary morning battle of getting her on the bus. Every morning it is a war zone as she fights, screams, throws a fit to resist getting dressed and ready for school. Some mornings I don’t have the wherewithal to fight and let her slide. On those mornings I drive her to school.

Eleven years later I went to the prayer meeting held every Thursday night at World Revival Church where prayer went up for her. Truthfully I didn’t feel like it. I felt as spiritual as an eggplant. But as we worshipped together and Pastor Kathy Gray laid out the plan, a warlike aggression from somewhere else overcame me.

I remembered stories I had read last night in a book, “Tale of the Defended Ones,” which are stories of real orphans rescued by God. (That’s another blog post.) I remembered some of the kids and teenagers I knew were struggling. You see, the target for prayer in April were families, children and marriages.

Throughout the prayer service I pounded the floor for tyranny to be broken over children were are being oppressed. I sobbed as Randall Lohman prayed that the Spirit of the World would be broken over our kids. In his characteristic candid style, he shared how he was vexed by the Spirit of the Age capturing the hearts of our kids.

I fought for other kids like someone fought for my daughter in prayer 11 years ago. I cried. I yelled. I pounded the floor in intense prayer. I spilled myself out with hundreds of other people who were doing the same thing.

After tonight’s prayer service, I know that I’m not alone in my morning battle of getting my daughter on the bus. I’m not alone in the war for her destiny. I’m not alone in the trenches of believing for the simple things like being able to make friends and speak well. I’m not alone.

I wish there were more churches like World Revival Church that really fight for people. If you need someone to fight for you and your kids, join us every Thursday night in April at 7pm. You’ll find a group of people who will fight harder for your life then you ever fought for yourself. You are not alone.

God restores a son to his mother

Deuteronomy 28:32 Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation, and you will wear out your eyes watching for them day after day, powerless to lift a hand. 33 A people that you do not know will eat what your land and labor produce, and you will have nothing but cruel oppression all your days. 34 The sights you see will drive you mad.

I was very confused many years ago when I got divorced.  I did not understand how separation could become so bitter and children could be caught in-between. There I was, standing outside my lawyer’s office, confused and angry. I had lost custody of my son without even the ability to defend myself or speak up about it. I had paid and paid and I was a mother grieving. The sight of the children’s department in a store sent me into tears.

As the years passed, I sensed the Lord calling me to return to him. I had made a vow to him in my childhood and had left church before coming of age. I liked God, but I didn’t really know him and I didn’t like church at all. Now, as an adult, I knew somehow that turning to him with all my heart was going to bring it all back, everything I ached for.

Then, one day, after searching the globe for Him, I heard a friend flippantly mention the joy of the Lord. I went home and I jumped on my bed and I cried out, “God, I don’t feel your joy! I don’t think I ever have. I need that!”

A week later, I was invited to watch World Revival Church (WRC) services at a friend’s house. “Sure, I’ll watch the sermon,” I thought. It was on Israel. I wasn’t sure what to make of the singing or the service but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the preaching I was hearing was true.

I watched services online for several months and then moved to Kansas City to join WRC. I wanted change, but it wasn’t until attending the school of ministry that my eyes were truly opened and my ears were cleared. I had not realized that the constant separating and splitting of my family was a symptom of a broken covenant. I just knew that whenever my cousins would move away or someone would stop talking to someone, my heart would break a little more. I knew that unjust bills were not supposed to wrap you in chains, but I did not have the power to do anything about it.

James and Darcy reunited!

Slowly but surely, I began to plant seeds that came from the teaching in this place the Lord brought me. I began to tithe for the first time in my life. I began to cry out for my family and my son. I began to hear the promise of the Lord for them and I began to see Him renewing His covenant with us.

I have been at WRC for 2.5 years and I just returned from a family reunion. A reunion in which my son attended with me,  My family gathered for the occasion. What an amazing God we serve. Every time I prayed for a family member, tears streamed down their faces as His presence was obvious. Their hearts were captured by Him as they told stories of the things He has been doing in their lives recently. Most of all, they wanted more of Him. They put aside festivities on the 4th and held a family Bible study instead.

I wish I could say that I came chasing God, but really, I had just lost all I had ever wanted. Once I found out who God was, I was completely smitten and I never again wanted to be separated from Him. I thank WRC for giving me access to the presence of God, for walking in covenant, and for the fruit of their ministry that they so freely share. — by Darcy Lagana