Monday, February 27, 2006

OverFlow Group

Eph 5:14-16 "wake up o sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. be very careful, of how u live-not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil."

Tomorrow is the first night for my small group based upon the book Waking the Dead by John Eldredge.

I was asked a few weeks ago by the two leaders if I wanted to be mentored during the 12 week small group sessions. I was floored, honored, excited, freaked out, and surprised. Alex and Meghan are the leaders of our co-ed bible study, and I am their assistant. I meet with them once a week outside our small group and help plan the next session. This process will prepare me incase I want to take on my own group next semester. We have 15 people signed up for our group. There will be small groups all over the Jax area studying this book together. My first task is to summarize the book and be able to share it with the group on Tuesday. Well, i thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share with ya'll what its about, so maybe you may want to pick it up...if this one doesn't sound good to you, you have to try his others, WILD AT HEART, CAPTIVATING, SACRED ROMANCE, hmm what else did i like....EPIC and Randsomed Heart. He's an amazing Christian writer, so if you want to be inspired and find out all God has planned for you, he's a good author to start with (Max Lucado is too)

Well, when I first started reading Waking the Dead, that's what it actually WOKE me up...personally, this book came at a perfect time because I've been dealing with the battle between good and evil lately. The devil totally doesn't want me to go to Peru (and I don't blame him, we are going to spread the word of God like NO OTHER) and my heart has been taking a beating. I was taken back when i read the three eternal truths, they were what my heart already knew, it just hadn't made it to my brain yet. These truths are: Things are not what they seem, there is a battle underway, and in this battle we have a crucial role to play.

Eldredge really goes into depth on guarding your heart and feeling fully alive. He is very open about how dangerous spiritual warfare can be to an unguarded and unprepared heart. There is so much glory found in our hearts that it can overcome any beating. Our hearts are the "keepers" of this glory because our hearts are what yearn for that relationship with God. And of course, God brings us every amount of glory that we are ever given.

Why then are we not happy all the time? We know God loves us no matter what...THAT IS A FACT...well, that leads to the answer. Facts stay stuck in our brains...Snow is cold, fact, yes, that's been lodged in our heads...Facts do not speak at the level that fulfills us. But when we are given a story, like a movie or a great book, that speaks to our hearts. That's why when we think of all the bible stories (Eternal truths) we yearn to be one of the characters, fighting or following God's great plan! I rather be the Peter who JUMPED off the boat, rather than when he denied Jesus three times! I know when i read each book, I connect with it in a way different from if someone told me "Follow God with all your heart" what does that mean? There has to be a personal connection. We are "awakened". These stories help us see clearly, not with the eyes of our minds, but with the eyes of our heart.

Eldredge really has a fun way of comparing the bible to pop culture. He contrasts how every story or movie we've seen proves these eternal truths in our spiritual lives. He uses stories like Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, and even Alice in Wonderland.

The part of the book that really woke me up was when he really pounded on spiritual warfare. Ever wonder why we do things inspite of knowing what we should have done? THink of the great stories...why did Edmound (in the lion, the witch and the wardrobe) turn against his own siblings when he knew it was wrong, deep in his heart? What does every story have in common? The character has a flaw, and the events trigger that flaw. There is so much more going on that we see initially, right? Well, this proves that things are not as they seem. We live in one world with two we can see and a part we cannot.

THe part of our world we cannot see is fighting non-stop. God is fighting for us through our heart. That's the only way he can connect with us to get a true, real reaction. The devil, or evil gets in through our head and messes up what our heart desires. It is so crucial that we never lose the burning in our hearts. Once that fades, evil has then taken over. To prevent that, we must understand the last part of these truths.....

WE PLAY A CRUCIAL ROLE in this war. God can't do it alone, we need to recognize this burning! We control our destiny...don't waste time asking yourselves "why is this happening to me? I"m nobody, I didn't do anything" Realize it head on that you are God's chosen ones who will break the power of the darkness. Jesus don't just choose the kings or rich folk-He actually goes for the tax collectors, fisherman, prostitutes, and children. Things are not what they seem, and WE are not what we seem either! THere is glory in your life that the enemy fears, he will do anything to destroy that glory, it may be before you even realize you have it!

Guys, for so long i hid in partying, pretending, and foolishness. I have accepting these mistakes, but really looking back it was a waste of time! I had so many gifts that I may have never found out if i didn't get my act together. WHo would have thought that i would be going on a mission trip to Peru with the plan to further God's kingdom using the gifts He's revealed in me? I'm telling you, you are so special...God so wants to use you. I know when i see you, i see so much good in your eyes. Your eyes are the hallway to your heart. Don't let evil take control of your thoughts, listen to your heart. We are all intelligent people here...if you don't believe me, think about a bad day you've had-your car breaks down, you got in a fight with your friend-or you finally realized how to fix a think that's what's really going on? Either the evil one is trying to bring you down and you are letting him, or God's granting you blessings to keep your spirits up knowing you are bringing yourself closer and closer to Him. (1John 5:19 "we know that we are children of God and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one" because "a veil covers our hearts" we are blind in the fog guys! Keep the eyes of our hearts clear!) Look up 2 Corinthians 4:6 its freakin proves all this to be true. But i want you to make up your mind about it...

"You will not think clearly about your life until you think mythically. Until you see with the eyes of your heart"

This is a quote about the book from the publisher:

"Building on these foundational truths, Eldredge shows readers why real Christianity is a process of restoration, where the broken parts of our hearts are mended and the captive parts are set free. Waking the Dead leads listeners to understand how to live from the heart, care for their heart like the treasures of the kingdom, and give from fullness instead of emptiness. This message also shows how living from the heart can energize people to love God and others in a way they've never experienced, revealing to them life's purpose: fighting for the hearts of others."

If you read this, let me know!