Sunday, September 28, 2008

Martha Or Mary?

Listening to my mom moan and groan over her housechores while I'm sitting in my room learning worship songs on the guitar reminds me of a sermon our pastor gave a little over a year ago.

In a nutshell, the topic was: Are you a Martha or a Mary?

A Martha, he explained, is someone who works their fingers to the bone constantly without acknowledging God in their daily life. They're too busy hustling and bustling around the house or the office to sit at Christ's feet and just listen.

In contrast, a Mary is someone who does take time away to spend with God- maybe a little too much time- to the point where they're alone with God so much it impairs their daily life and effectiveness at reaching others.

Right now, my mom is a Martha. She's tired, achy, and irritated with her housework. I suggested she take a break and read her Bible for a while to chill her out, but this was her response: "I don't have time right now. I have to get this done."

Really, Mom. The antique buffet HAS to be dusted RIGHT NOW? Will the world end if you don't get the dishwasher loaded tonight?

I worry about her, I really do. I know she's just trying to be a good mom and keep the house from spiraling into grime-filled, lime-damaged chaos, but I personally think she takes it too far. She never stops. I help her out when I can, but truth be told I'm almost never around enough. She hasn't picked up her Bible at all lately. I had to give her my notes from Bible study last week just so she could brush up on Philippians. I don't want my mom to be worked to death, doing things around the house that can wait a day. I'm not saying she should be lazy or anything- she's a diligent worker and that's much appreciated- but she told me herself that she puts God inside a box for the day and just doesn't take Him out. I want to see her start putting her work on hold for once for some quality time with God during the day. I don't want her to become a "Sunday morning" Christian.

On the other end of the spectrum, I've put my homework and chores on hold for a few hours while I sit here with my Bible and guitar. Yeah, I'm a procrastinator. I tend to get lazy in my "earthly" work. I'll put my entire life on hold, shut myself in my room for the day, and spend time in the Word. While that sounds like a good thing, there are serious cons to this, too. I don't get out in the world enough. I shut myself in a hole. Sometimes I don't get my work done at all. My relationships with others becomes impaired. This isn't healthy either.
Too often I find myself neglecting the things I need to do to spend time with God.

So this is what I've learned: people need the best of both worlds. We can't work 100% of our lives, but we can't live 100% of our lives physically on our knees, either. God put us on the earth to "be in the world, but not of the world." We have God-given work we need to complete while we're here. He commanded us to work diligently. At the same time, our whole life should be a prayer, an act of worship. Worship and prayer isn't just something that you do in church or in your room. It's bringing constant praise to God in whatever you do and staying in constant communication with God as well. Along with that, we need our quiet alone times with God. In working diligently to glorify God and staying in constant communication with Him, we become the best of Martha and Mary.

We need balance, especially now that school has started. Pray for balance- not only for you, but for those around you as well. Believe me, others need it too.

In Christ always,

Thursday, September 4, 2008

So, There's This Rad Band Called Underoath...

And I personally think they're awesome. Not just because their music is so radical your face almost peels off your skull, but because of who they are and Who they represent.

Most UO fans know that during the 2006 Warped Tour they took a brief "hiatus"... anyone know why?

According to an interview between AP and UO, tensions had finally risen to the surface when a band member admitted his addiction to cocaine to the rest of the group.

Their first reaction? Leave him. Their initial instinct was to call it quits with him. Then someone asked, "Aren't you guys supposed to be 'Christians'? Aren't you supposed to help him instead of leaving him?"

At that point they realized the hypocrisy of it all. From then on they've worked on making their faith more genuine as well as their love for each other.

I think this is an excellent portrayal of Christians in real life. Yes, our ideals are sky-high; and yes, we have a heckuva time living up to our own standards [or rather, God's standards]. For that reason we're often called hypocrites- we say one thing, then do another. But the reality is that NO ONE is perfect, not even Christians. We all screw up. Every. Single. Day. That's a part of being human.


A true Christ-follower acknowledges their hypocrisy; they not only acknowledge it, but work hard to eradicate it. The Pharisees back in Jesus' day were hypocrites, too. But the difference between the Pharisees and true Christ-followers is that the Pharisees had no intention on having a relationship with God or improving their faith- they just enjoyed bullying the other Jews. A true Christian will, however, with the help of God, "throw off the things that hinder and the sin that so easily entangles."

By the way- the guy is still addicted to cocaine. But, just as God promises, he's been staying clean through opportunites God's given him. He loves to tour and play music- it's his God-given passion. And because of that passion and that dream to continue touring, he's stayed clean so that the cocaine won't throw him off. The Bible says, "He will not test you beyond what you can bear" and that He will provide a way for you to avoid that sin. For this guy it's touring. See, Christians still struggle with crap like this, too. I was chin-deep in self-destructive habits well into my 2nd year of accepting Christ. But God kept His promise to me too, and I myself have been "clean" of those self-destructive habits for almost a year now [praise Jesus!!];

So. Underoath is pretty sweet. Even if you don't like their style of music, you've gotta give them respect for staying together and continuing to follow Christ. They're out there representing God and His message. They're glorifying Him. There is no nobler task.
Love always in Christ,