Worship and Worry ~ A Tale of Two Sisters

Worship and Worry ~ A Tale of Two Sisters. Luke chapter 10:38-42  ~ The tale of Mary and Martha. One sister, Martha invited Jesus to her house. Yet, she is worried, distracted by many things.  Frustrated she has no help getting the meal ready, angry her sister Mary is doing ‘nothing’… Yet she is doing something… she is doing the one thing that matters. Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His teaching.

If I could walk in the sandals of these two women, I can see myself in both of them. I am not easily caught up in housework and fuss. I can easily let go of the daily tasks, to-do-lists and leave the house-mess. But. I am still easily caught up in the net of worry. I am distracted by many things. I might not be actively avoiding tasks for the sake of time with Jesus, but I am actively accomplishing much worry.

I am sitting at the feet of Jesus, yet immersed in worry while I’m there. I am actively sitting at His feet, but worry is looming while my soul is longing to be engaged. I am distracted by the many things I am not accomplishing while I am longing to hear the heartbeat of Jesus. This is not where Jesus wants me to be.

“It’s impossible to worship and to worry at the same time.”

I sang this phrase in worship over our church a while ago. This Truth saturated the room thru a lyric He stirred in my heart. I can not be fully in the presence of God, in worship, and worry at the same time. I must choose. 

I know the truth of both Mary and Martha. I have experienced both. I have been overcome by His presence, fully engaged in worship while doing the dishes and cleaning toilets. And I been embraced by His arms, settled in His love, simply Being with Him and doing nothing else. 

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Today I was given a gift of opportunity. I went running. walking. strutting… whatever you want to call it… huffing and puffing… I slow down. I see. She’s standing there. Beside her car, cigarette in one hand. Leaning back against the passenger door. I hear three words: Abused, hungry, rejected. “Hi” I greet her. She responds with a “hello” as well. This was a moment. God was opening a door to show His love to her. But I walk on…  I’m in a hurry. I am distracted by many things. I need to finish my run, walk, putter… I only have a set amount of time before I must be home. Before I need to pick up the kids from school. Pay the bills. Finish the chores… my mind is spinning.

I keep walking, 1 minute passes, maybe even less. Damn you, Time! And the lie I believe there is a lack of it. I turn around. Screw time restraints. Forget the rest of my putter… I stop. I turn back. I missed it! She’s gone. She’s driving away.

I won’t miss this gift again. I long to be in a routine of worship. I wrongly believed I was. It changed oh so subtly. I have been in a routine of worry. In worry I miss worship. In worry I miss Jesus. In worry I miss the gift to show His love. In worry I miss His presence. In one minute I missed her. 

God still loves me. This is not a beat myself over the head, I suck at following Jesus moment to bemoan and drive me into despair. This is a moment to listen. To learn. To sit at the feet of Jesus. In worship there is never a lack of time. In His presence, He fuels all that we need. In distraction and worry, everything can be stolen. This is a moment of repentance, humility and growth. I am learning ~ I never want to miss the One Thing again.

This is a moment to share. If this encourages you, pass it on! I am thankful for your reading.

In Him, Leslie

Fifty Shades of Love…

…because nothing says “I love you” more than a film laced with porn and violence… Happy Valentines Day!

A few months ago, we saw three minutes of porn and violence in the form of a romanticized trailer for an upcoming movie. The movie we actually paid to see was an intense WWII film, based on a true story of courage and unbroken determination. Yet, during most of the movie, I was distracted and disturbed by what I had seen in those three minutes. I wanted to scream. But I didn’t think that would go over too well in the middle of the movie. So I asked God to erase everything about it from my memory.

A few weeks ago, I took my children (whose eyes *see* everything) to a bookstore. My eyes glazed over the cover of this book laced with violence and porn, displayed on a table a few feet from the toy section where children play in this bookstore. I promptly turned it over. I wanted to pull a “Jesus in the temple with the money changers” and flip over the tables, but I held back my disgust and turned a few of the books over instead.

A few nights ago, the world celebrated, applauded and awarded a ‘song of the year’ grammy title to a song about a one. night. stand. I only caught a glimpse of the grammy’s the other night. And for the few moments I watched, while changing channels, this award being given. Sam Smith thanked the ‘man who broke his heart’ for the inspiration to write the song and win the grammy. and My heart broke. We rarely sing of true love anymore. We can not sing of what we do not understand.

If we do not know God’s love, we can not understand, receive, express or give Love. God is Love.

Nothing says “Happy Valentines Day” like a film full of porn and violence. Nothing says “I love you” more than a song about a one night stand.

Seriously?? …Is this what we have reduced LOVE to??

Please do not see this movie. ‘Fifty Shades of Shit’ (which was my original title idea, and my husband suggested I go another direction) Please do not waste your time, your energy or your money. Let’s get one thing straight – this movie is about MONEY. This is not art. This is not sex education. This is not sexual enhancement. This movie was made -and the books were written- purely to make money. Sex and money should never be partners.

My concern and disgust for ‘Fifty Shades…’ goes deeper than the movie or the books. We have a culture of choosing to believe and accept LIES. The lie says, ‘it’s okay to watch this movie, read this romance novel, peek at this magazine, listen to this song about a one night stand, scroll thru some porn…’ The lie says, ‘it’s harmless to invite porn into our marriages.’ The lie says, ‘it’s harmless to flirt, have a fling, have an affair.’ The lie keeps us in denial, ‘making it possible for a “john” to take advantage of a young girl and allow others to abuse her, to view her as his property, to make money off of her used body over and over again.’ The lie whispers to the buyer of the young girl held in bondage, ‘this is okay. there is nothing wrong with this abuse.’ When the TRUTH IS – there are SO MANY THINGS WRONG with this!!!

The TRUTH is we have a choice // don’t hire the prostitute // don’t participate in the cycle of human trafficking // don’t see the movie // look away from the magazine // close the book // turn off the t.v. // stop browsing porn sites // remove yourself from negative sexual conversation // flee from the temptation to flirt, have a fling, have an affair //

The TRUTH is there are many women, children and men in forced into slavery, held in bondage and sexual violence, being used against their will. They do NOT have a choice. WE have a choice. And yet we have the audacity to choose to SEE and applaud this movie and read the stupid books???? NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please. no. stop!

We need a ‘Joseph culture‘. We have a choice to flee from sin as Joseph fled from Potiphars wife… even when an opportunity presented itself… even though he probably would not have been ‘caught in the act’. He made a choice to flee. To be faithful to his God. Faithful to God’s Love. Joseph knew the Love of God, so he made the choice to say “No” and flee.

We have a choice to turn away from the images, even when know one else sees. We have a choice to say “No” and stop participating in the abuse. We have a choice to flee from sin and into the Love of Jesus. Wherever you are on the ‘spectrum’ of believing these lies, believing these things are okay… From browsing thru a soft porn magazine to becoming a “buyer” or a “john” caught up in the web of sexual slavery… You have a choice. Wherever you are – His Love is for you. and He is for you. You can choose the Love of Jesus. God is Love and He is for you. He desires to redeem mankind to Himself. To understand who True Love is. Who He is.

Then we will see Freedom Come. We will reject these movies, these books, these porn films, these magazines, the ability to oppress and abuse another human being in bondage. We will reject these lies and know the Truth. He is Jesus.

Please share your thoughts. Please freely share this blog. This is much deeper than a movie or a book series. I am praying for us. For freedom from these lies and for Truth to be known, as our stories rage on… In Him, Leslie

Christmas Worship Medley

Dear Friends, Merry Christmas! I would love to share with you our version of the Christmas Worship medley “Do you hear what I hear & This is what it sounds like”. We recently recorded the song, and the link below will take you to our Facebook page to hear it. Originally, we heard these songs beautifully woven together in worship led by Steffany Frizzell and Jeremy Riddle from Bethel church. I pray your Christmas season would be saturated in the love of Christ and His promise to come and reside as Emmanuel, God with us.

In Him, Leslie

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<div class=”fb-post” data-href=”https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152927685492430&#8243; data-width=”466″><div class=”fb-xfbml-parse-ignore”><a href=”https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152927685492430″>Post</a&gt; by <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/adam.l.babcock”>Adam Leslie Babcock</a>.</div></div>

5 truths about being a Pastor…

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Being a Pastor is one of the most unique jobs in the world. Second only to being a parent -or third only to being in the military- I believe it is one of the most exhausting jobs in the world. However, this is my humble opinion. Take it or leave it. It is what it is. Unless you’ve been a Pastor – you don’t know what it’s like to be a Pastor. No offense.

1. Pastoring is unique… Being a Pastor is extremely unique. Because People. People are the client… the work base… the responsibility… A Pastors job is the people they pastor. Did you know that? Now you know. You’re welcome. You never know what to expect from people. Everyday will be different based on the people Pastors interact with. Every church service is different. From attendance to sound issues, to worship choices and preaching topics, ever church service is unique. No work day is the same. We like this about being a Pastors. It’s never dull.

2. There is no standard answer … For every spiritual or Biblical opinion, question, debate, ideology, understanding and expectation… there can be a myriad of answers and angles to find the answers. Following Christ is a life long journey of learning. Yes, ‘the Bible tells me so’. Jesus loves me. Relationship with Christ, is the one and only way to God the Father. However, for some of the questions people have, there are not always simple answers. Because People. People are complicated. There is no straight forward Pastoral policy and procedure handbook given out to every Pastor when they become a Pastor. The Holy Spirit has to be our guide. Because People… Complicated People. They need to know God’s love and God’s truth. We like this about being Pastors… teaching, counseling, learning and growing God’s Word. It’s never dull.

3. There is little time off… The pastors primary job is to Shepherd the people in their church… while dealing with a dysfunctional copy machine, budget decisions, preparing and planning for services, organizing outreaches and volunteers, overseeing staff, plunging clogs in the church toilet, evicting raccoons who’ve made their home in the church sanctuary… and that was just on Tuesday. There is always something to do… or someone to meet with. Work hours can vary greatly… from 50-80 hours a week. There is not always a set schedule. Many Pastors are bi-vocational working full-time while Pastoring. And time off is not always time off. In our time of Pastoring, people have decided to leave the church, and give us the news while we’re on family vacation. This is our least favorite part of Pastoring – when people leave the church. But, it is what it is. It happens. Even during our time off. There is never a dull moment, even on vacation. It’s always an adventure

4. Results are unpredictable… As a Pastor it is difficult to assess the results of your job. Jesus is your boss and your work day is never the same. Because People. The results of time serving as a Pastor will vary, depending on the people. Church growth, discipleship classes, small groups, mission trips, neighborhood outreaches, teaching and preaching, giving and tithing, financial responsibilities…  ‘Production results’ will always vary. Because People. Are people are growing and maturing in their walk with Christ? Truly knowing people are growing in Christ can be difficult to assess… by their fruits we can knowwe can make a judgement… but some would say we’re not supposed to judge one another. HA. Because People are people. Complicated people. Pastoring is always an adventure.

5. Pastors are not Superman… Pastors are 100% human. In case you weren’t sure. In case you had any doubts. Any supernatural abilities a Pastors has are solely gifts from God. They must fully rely on direction and strength 100% from God their Father, Jesus their Lord and Savior and Holy Spirit their guide. No one -not even other Pastors- can know exactly what another Pastor is going thru day to day, moment by moment… they’ll have an idea, but every church is unique to its own people. But God… He knows. He knows all, hears all, sees all, understands all. He sustains super-human Pastors in their supernatural calling. Pastoring is always an adventure. 

As we prepare to leave our current Pastoral role and move into a season of unknowns, we are grateful. We are grateful for the Pastoral journey we have walked. We are grateful for the growth we have experienced thus far… and the learning we have yet to do. We are grateful the journey has never been dull and always been an adventure. At times very difficult, but never dull. Most of all, we are grateful to serve our amazing Lord, to whom no one can compare. He walks with us, beside us, around us. He goes before us, He is our rear guard. We know Him, we see Him, we hear Him, and we trust Him… in everything that has been and will be.

Our story rages on… In Him, Leslie

the incredible shrinking church

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sometimes the smallest ones can make the biggest difference…

A few years ago, we began to see our church grow while our church attendance declined simultaneously. Although people were leaving (for various reasons) something bigger in our church was stirring. The outside of our church body was shrinking, yet the core of our church body was growing stronger. Our souls were laid bare before God. We surrendered to His leading, His guidance, grace and wisdom, even as people left.  Last summer, our attendance hit at an all-time low, yet we knew God was moving in our midst. I personally struggled thru some of the families leaving, yet deep within my soul, the Lord assured me He was to be trusted thru this. My perspective began to shift. The smaller our church became, I grew more confident. This may seem backward… But God.

He whispered to my spirit and reminded me of Gideon. Gideon was the least in his father’s house… his clan was the weakest in Manasseh, yet he was called a ‘mighty man of valor’. The Israelites were being oppressed by the Midianites, they felt they had been forsaken by God, but God was calling Gideon to rise up… when the Lord spoke to Gideon He said, “but I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” (Judges 6:16) Gideon went thru his own process of testing and trusting God, his own journey of doubt and fear. His journey continued as He trusted God to be faithful to His word and calling… and Gideon prepared to defeat the Midianites.

He gathered an army of 32,000. Whoa. No problem. We’ve got a huge army. The Midianites will be no match for us! But God… He was probably chuckling as Gideon was gathering his army… Oh Gideon, don’t you remember what I told you about striking the Midianites as ‘one man’? You are the least in your family… from the weakest clan… This is why I chose you. So God reduced Gideon’s army from 32,000 to 300 men, sending home those who were fearful, trembling and kneeling down to lap water with their hands.

With a small army of 300, Gideon and his men defeated Midian. God shrunk this army so no one would boast Israel saved themselves. With the reminder of Gideon’s journey, God was shaking the foundation of my own heart… my need to keep all trust in Him, to boast solely in Him and take my eyes of any circumstances. Regardless of our shrinking church, I know our church is incredible! God was challenging my foundation of fully trusting in Him. Knowing without doubt – He. Is. With. Me. He is with our incredible shrinking church!

Often God chooses and uses the few – the weak – the least, to change the world. The foolish to shame the wise. The weak to shame the strong. So that the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:25-31)

Moses lacking eloquence of speech, leading the Israelites on an exodus out of Egypt from the clenches of a stubborn pharaoh…

Joshua and Caleb 2 spies fully following God, ready and willing to go after the land promised to them…

David the small in stature shepherding over-looked son of Jesse, killing the giant Goliath…

Jonathan and his armor bearer climbing the hill defeating the Philistines…

Elijah challenging over 400 prophets of Baal to an altar duel calling down fire from heaven…

Little children, the greatest in the Kingdom of God and our example, Jesus teaches for us all to become more child-like…

and Jesus beginning His ministry with 12 simple fishers of men set apart to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.

I know our small church is incredible. More importantly, I know the people within our church walls are people God is using to share Jesus with our community, to reach the earth for His Glory! God is searching the earth for hearts ready to trust Him… surrendered and willing to be poured out for Him… people and churches ready to be used to advance His Kingdom – In spite of our past, our size, our circumstances, our weaknesses – He. Is. With. Us. We can trust. 1 Corinthians 1:25 “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

And the story rages on. . . In Him, Leslie