Authentic Koinonia

Koinonia (in case you are rusty with your Greek) means fellowship, share in common or communion. I have the honour and privilege every other week to lead a women’s lifegroup. My heart is for this to be a safe place where women can be authentic and walk with each other to grow in their faith and deeper in love with Jesus. To serve each other and the community and be a support system through life’s hills and valleys. It truly gives me great joy as I watch this happen and even as the group multiplies, the quality of authenticity permeates this koinonia. Only by God’s grace. Only by koinonia with Him first.

Pastor Craig Groeschel said, “You don’t have to know it all to be a great leader. Just be yourself.” For most of my life I didn’t believe this because my people pleasing determined my worth. In the process of God changing my life and recognizing my identity is in Him and not in what I did or didn’t do, God was able to extricate what being myself looked like.

One of the other great things about leading is helping people discover these truths as well. I have been reading the story of Isaiah in my favourite book of the bible, Isaiah! God gave Him a vision when He called Him to be a prophet to his people.The more clearly that Isaiah saw God, the more he realized his own powerlessness but he was still willing.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said,”Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

Isaiah knew he was inadequate for the mission by himself. What especially fascinates me in this passage is that God sends him to speak to His people about their disobedience but also tells Isaiah that the people will not listen to him. WHAT! I wonder if he regretted his claim of here am I , send me, with that extra tidbit?

The thing was God had called Isaiah because he was made uniquely for this purpose. God would be the strength he needed to call the nation to repentance but only see a remnant of the people respond. As I shared with some women in my group, you are uniquely created to reach people as you are. God wants to hear your voice. Be yourself, there is no one else like you for a reason.

Isaiah’s message confronted the people’s sin, yet only a tenth of them listened and returned to God. Often this happened only when the people had come to the end of themselves and had exhausted all other possibilities. Why do you suppose our nature is to try everything else, then if God is all that is left, well I Guess I will go to Him?

I encourage you today that however God is speaking to you, that you don’t wait until the He is your last resort. Are you to lead? Are you to supposed to be in an authentic koinonia? Are you supposed to take a message to even one person? Are you to repent of your sins and come to Him? He will extricate your true self from any lies you have believed and send you just as you are.

His child. Uniquely made. Be willing. Be yourself. See what the Lord will do.

God our Source – Guest post

 My friend Carol asked me to guest blog about parenting at lifeofbrucks.com

Go check it out: A bit about my friend and fellow blogger from her profile: MAMA BRUCKS – Mother of three princes and one lovely princess…a wife and follower of Jesus, just trying to encourage, inspire and simply laugh along with others…

Excerpt from my guest spot on my friend Carol’s blog site, http://lifeofbrucks.com/

It occurred to me if there was anything I would share with parents these days is for them to teach their children that God wants to have a personal relationship with them

Adult children bring a whole new gamut of things to pray and war for, as does a teenage boy!  I am thankful that age and knowing Jesus has mellowed me a bit and taught me how to trust better. God constantly reminds me that He loves them even more than I do. Oh what a sweet relief that is, knowing I have the God of the universe and creator of these very children, to surrender and trust them to.

See more in the Heart to Heart Series lifeofbrucks.com

 

 

God is our Pressure Valve

Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

I had this amazing memory today of my Mama’s stew. I could almost taste it. I don’t think I have had any quite like it and what I wouldn’t do to have it again. She used a stove top pressure cooker and I don’t hear of those being used much anymore. Although I am not a good gauge, I cook to live and help my family survive. Period. So cooking is not often a topic of conversation for me.

The pressure cooker was something though, it used to frighten me. Once it was heated to temperature, it got to shaking and a steaming and I literally walked a big circle around it thinking it was going to blow at any time. Of course it never did because there was a little valve that slowly let off the steam to relieve the pressure.

It reminded me of life this morning as I was praying for the many people I know that are facing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual difficulties. Life can sometimes be a pressure cooker. Heating up, steaming and shaking until we feel like the sucker is going to blow!

I have great news! We are not designed to live this life using our own strength, God has designed us to need His. Our part is to turn to Him, pressure or not and ask that He will be our strength and the valve that relieves the compression. One Hebrew word for God is Shub Nephesh which means Renewer of Life. Seperately Shub means to turn or repent and Nephesh means, life, person or soul. So to receive the renewing of life, we need to repent of our sin, our independence from God and breathe in the new life He offers.

Sometimes I think the pressure builds because we have not spent enough time knowing who God is. How can we know the Renewer of Life if we have not been with Him. There are too many things to keep us distracted. Do you know how you can be so busy yet still feel so empty? There is a longing deep within all of us for communion with the Father whether we know that is the thing we are trying to fill or not.

I am reminded of Martha, (Luke 10:38-42) probably because I have been like her for far too long. Jesus visited the home of the sisters Martha and Mary and Martha scurried about preparing the meal and serving while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet. Today as I read it, God highlighted what Martha said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

I first laughed thinking Martha you are a bold woman telling, not asking, Jesus the Son of God to boss your sister around.  Then suddenly I thought she is not necessarily asking Jesus to get Mary to help her but is pleading with Jesus to deliver her from this cycle of doing. She was the oldest and probably naturally responsible but she knew she was missing something and she needed Jesus to tell her how to change that. In His mercy He did tell her, calling her name twice because it was important for her to know and His love was intimate for her. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”

Jesus did not rebuke Martha for what she chose, He just invited her to set priorities. Do you feel your life becoming a pressure cooker with all that is happening in and around you? Are you overwhelmed with circumstances or have you become too distracted from what is important? I invite you to sit at the feet of Jesus and cry out to Him, ask Him to be Shub Nephesh, Renewer of Life to you. Let Him be the pressure valve and bring the relief.

I love the song ‘Just Be Held’ by Casting Crowns, one of the verses says,”If your eyes are on the storm, You’ll wonder if I love you still. But if your eyes are on the cross, You’ll know I always have and always will.” Listen and sit with the One who loves you.