Double BR Coming to a Blog near you.

Dear BR (Blog reader):

Would you like to join me on a little retreat, right here at this location?

As you may already know I have a little retreat I’ve been invited to be the speaker/leader/teacher at Camp Lutherwood for the weekend and as I’ve prepared, I’ve come to understand that this message goes a bit deeper for me and for you and is meant for more than just the ladies that are venturing to CAMP LUTHERWOOD. AND my near and dears (blog readers…here on out will be known as my BR’s) will not be able to attend the retreat.  Not one of you (insert sad face).

I am praying that the ladies who join me this weekend will join you as a faithful BR and the group will grow and the messages God hands me in the secret places of our time together will stretch into the unknown and fill the hearts of many who need just a little bit of what I have.

I don’t have much.

As a matter of fact when I was asked to join this retreat and bring a message that might somehow communicate GOD’S STORY in OUR STORY, I was completely unprepared and had nothing to offer.  This year of our Lord 2014 is a year that the locusts are really eating up in my life.  Its been a season that time has been stolen away, resources are being eaten up, the crop is not plentiful and the future is dismal.  BUT….there is God and with God all is good and right and correct and allowed and just as it should be.  So I rejoice in it!

Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Romans 5:3-4 AMPLIFIED

                            **Side note: if you’ve never taken a season to read out of the Amplified Version of the bible, go get yourself one and start   right away.  Rich, deep, explanatory rendition of the word of God.  So good.

I don’t have much.

Yep that was my first response to the invitation.  I have nothing to offer these ladies that will pay good money and come expectantly to the outdoors, to hear a message that will change their life and alter their path and bring them some bit of grace and mercy to carry them along this journey of life.

And God said, “GOOD”

I was like, “What? Good?  This is not good, I have nothing to offer”

And God said, “GOOD”

I was like, “Ya, not good, hello….going to lead women at a retreat without anything, NOTHING, ZIPPO to offer is not good, dear Heavenly Father, not good”

And God said, “Give them Jesus”

I was silent.

And so it went, and so it goes, and so you will join me at this Double BR (Blog reader blog retreat).  And I will give you all that I have.

I will give you Jesus.

Humbly,

 

Tracy

“Oh, were you serious about that?” Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker

Hi Blog Readers:

I honestly don’t know why you keep coming around these parts but I promise you this read will not disappoint!

This is Jen Hatmaker:

jen hatmaker 

Since Jen and I are best friends (read: I am one of her billion EF’s, email friends), I was asked, along with 250 of her other FAVORITES, to be part of her blog tour of her new updated version of her book INTERRUPTED!!  Here’s how it worked, I responded to her email, she sent me the e-copy of her book AND Tyndale House Publishers sent me the HARD copy of her book to GIVE AWAY or keep, whatever I choose…you know I’ll give it away.  Then, I will write a little blog and you will read it and get 20% off INTERRUPTED if ordered through NavPress.com through July 31st….HURRY!!

photo (5)Here’s the book, I read it and along with all the other “stuff” going on in my life it ruined my quiet little self centered, self directed, selfish heart and mind.  It picked me up and set me down in a new place with a what I hope is new fuel to burn my heart right into a flame of uncontrollable passion.  “When Jesus wrecks your comfortable Christianity” ~Jen Hatmaker

interrupted_page-136

I wrote a silly little blog a bit ago about Writing The Dreams, Ugh…how embarrassing that is after reading this book. I realized that my dreams are so about me and much less about God.  Now don’t get me wrong they are righteous, noble, cool dreams but don’t they all center on ME?  Ok, true, I want my children to seek hard after the Lord…is that for the LORD’s glory or mine?  Darn it all.

What would you struggle to give up is Jesus wanted to use your life to make a difference in the world?

Ok here’s the thing…All my dreams could be used to make a difference in the world and I think that is why I dream them…but if  my dreams are not God’s dreams for me then what use have I for my silly aspirations.  This is what this book did to me…It got me a bit off my high horse and a LOT lower to the ground.  The place where Jesus sits.

Unfortunately, I now look around and see that I have way to many clothes in my closet, I have so much food in my house we could feed an African village.  I value water like it is a precious commodity and only shower ever other day, thinking about those TRILLIONS of people that have no clean water and if they do they don’t shower with it!  I want to buy everything on NOONDAY because its totally cool and the money goes to women trying to sew education into their children, life into their villages, and purpose into their lives.  I can’t go to Munch n’ Music without wanting to cry in the heaviness of the atmosphere that surrounds you, void of the Spirit of God and full of poverty of Spirity.

Its true, the book made me want to go experience third-world, POOR countries and live amongst them, just to have the experience that goes along with what God is doing IN ME.  But it also made me look at the POOR around me. 

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” James 2:5-6, 8, 14-16

Jen says “It will not be enough one day to stand before the Lord and say “OH were you serious about that?” 

I don’t know if you’ve read the statistics on poverty lately but they are in this book and it crushed me.  We are a greedy, over privileged, RICH nation…my little community in Bend, Oregon has some homeless people too.  There are slums in America that are pretty bad, but they still have more then the poorest of the poor.  We know a man serving time in jail right now and he asked us to help him out with some money to buy some new shoes there and some snacks.  He could buy a TV if we put in a little extra to his account.  EVEN our convicted criminals are more privileged then the least of these.

So, the Holy Spirit used this book to make me look at my own community.  The poor in spirit, those who suffer not from poverty of finances as much as being captive to their own demons.  Completely poor to the mysteries of God.  These people are my mission field.  They are my family, my neighbors, my community, my city, my state, my nation, my world.  I could give them all the money in the world and all the comforts I have and they still wouldn’t be rich.  We are nothing with out our Savior. 

This book reminds us that meeting someone’s tangible needs in a non-Christiany, pompous way is how you open the door to their heart where you can poor Jesus in.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; ISAIAH 61:1-2

Go buy this book or send me a comment that will shamelessly try to convince me that YOU are the one I should give this copy of the book to…and then…

Then….

You tell me the answer to this question that I don’t have the answer to yet….

“WHAT IS THE NEXT RIGHT THING TO DO?”

~Tracy