Archive | August 2015

Rebranding

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Several months ago I created a small brochure about myself in order to help promote a new bible study.  This action was necessary as I am currently a relative unknown in the world of Christian speaking.  Not having a budget that allows for securing a graphic designer to do these things for me at this time, I am left with my limited abilities as a technologically challenged person.  While pleased with the results of my efforts at the time, it has recently come to my attention that I am apparently unaware of my lack in this area per the conversation between my sister and a client:

Client as she sees the brochure:  Who is that?

Sister:  My sister.

Client in a very sad tone:  Oh….

Sister:  What do you mean?

Client:  Is that from her funeral?

Note:  this has happened more than once…sigh.

When my sister first told me about it I posted it on facebook to which one friend who is a published author replied “lol…a little rebranding never hurts!”  It is most definitely time to rebrand.

The purpose of the brochure is to introduce me to those I’ve not met and give a little information about me that will hopefully peak their interest enough to invite me to their organization.  I’ve realized that while I will still include my photograph and the endorsements I’ve received in a new brochure, rather than just stating the facts of bible study opportunities and venues that interest me I need to include a more personal statement.  Something that gives someone else an idea of what I am really passionate about.  They need to know the heart of my message:  that Jesus came in order to make it possible for us to have constant fellowship with our Father.  It’s all about Him.

The more I pursue Jesus and learn of His ways, the more contrast I find with much of the message of the church today.  When did being a Jesus-follower become about us?  In learning that God’s heart is towards us and that we can become intimately acquainted with Him, have we rebranded the call?  Have we changed the mission?

And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake.  2 Corinthians 5:15

It’s. Not. About. Me.

Jesus came because He loved us.  He cared about all those who heard Him speak.  He wept over those who would not receive Him.  He still does.  But He never altered the message so that more would follow Him.  He made it clear that to follow Him meant to die to self.  He spoke of great blessings that would come to those who choose His way and plainly said that He came to give us life.  Abundant life that was to be enjoyed!  Enjoying life is not the problem, it was the plan!  But I’m afraid we so often settle for enjoying the temporal things of this world, seeking our own comfort and accumulations, rather than learning how to enjoy the deeper spiritual things that can only come when we are not thinking about ourselves.  Eternal life isn’t awaiting us in heaven – it’s now!  It began the day we placed our faith in Jesus.  We will miss the eternal in the now if all we think about is the temporary.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself  (disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests) and take up his cross and follow Me (cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also).  For whoever is bent on saving his (temporal) life (his comfort and security here) shall lose it (eternal life); and whoever loses his life (his comfort and security here) for My sake shall find it (life everlasting).  Matthew 16:24-25

As I drove to work today I wondered how much space would be free in our brains if we simply didn’t worry about ourselves?  There are days I feel I cannot find room in my head for one more piece of information.  I’m already overwhelmed with a lifetime of accumulated facts and experiences.  And guess what?  Most of the information I cling to is all about me.  Seriously, how much time do I really think about Jesus or others compared to myself?  How freeing would it be and how much good could I apply myself to if I quit focusing on me?  The ones who heard His words and chose that life changed the world.  What changes would take place if we did the same?

I’m not sure how many speaking engagements I will secure with the message that I am passionate about death, but to follow Jesus doing what He did and saying what He said is to proclaim that truly living can only be found in dying.  Here lie the greatest blessings to be experienced this side of heaven and riches untold because it is all about Him, not us.

Wait…maybe the fact that my brochure looks as if it came from my funeral is a good thing…

 

Rebranding” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

 

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The silence speaks

If he had known the course his silence would chart, he would have spoken.  If he had known that his silence spoke to me lies of my unworthiness to be loved, he would have told me the very opposite – that he loved me more deeply than words could express.  His silence spoke his disappointment loudly and I was too young to understand that it spoke more about him and his pain than about me.  Through the pretense of the everyday as if nothing were wrong, his silence grew to be louder than any other voice my soul could hear.  And it broke my heart.

It was an excruciating pain to know that his eyes avoided mine no matter how close we stood, that his voice would not respond to mine no matter how clearly I spoke.  I stifled my cries as it was clear they would do no good nor bring about any change.  Day after day, week after week, month after month, the silence chiseled the fragile strands of any innocent childhood belief that I was good enough to be loved.

If he had known his silence would create in me a desperation that was easily wooed by sounds of false love, he would have spoken.  I had no warning that my opposition to him would cost so very much.  His silence taught me that the consequences of mistakes in love were to be feared and that I would have to work very hard to be good.  The emptiness left by the absence of the voice I adored most was mine to bear, and I while I gained sympathy from many who knew, deep inside I believed it to be just.  I believed I deserved it.

If he had known that his silence would teach me to be a pretender, he would have spoken because he despised pretenders.  But I had learned in his silence to put on a happy face and do the things before me as if it didn’t matter that I was broken.  By the time he spoke a chasm had formed, but we never talked about that either.  And in that chasm lay the belief that the key to love was to do and say and be what someone else wanted, and to keep silent about myself for no one wants someone who is broken.

I carried all that his silence taught me into the relationships I had and into my walk with God.  It’s easy to hear the message that God is angry when it is what you expect.  It is easy to believe that God can only approve of you if you do what is right.  It is easy to believe that you do not deserve His help if you do not do exactly as He commands.  It is easy to believe that His silence means you are unworthy of His love when silence is the very thing you fear.

My desperation and resulting failure at love were the very things that brought me to real Love.  Having nowhere to run and no place to hide and my pretense in shambles, my brokenness spilled out as if a mighty dam had crumbled.  Every sob I let forth was met with Tenderness.  Every sigh of unworthiness was captured by Mercy.  Every ache of unloveliness was comforted by extravagant Love.  Every effort to “do” was quenched by what was already “done”.  I found I was truly loved.

I am on a continuing journey of learning who He really is and what His love is all about.  And sometimes love is silent.  Like when a mother just looks at her child without a word because there are no words adequate to describe the love that rages inside.  She asks nothing of the child but to let her look, to not turn away.  I have learned that God’s love is like that.

I have to purpose to rest in His times of silent love because it is still easy for me to revert back to my impossible efforts and wrong ideas that I must somehow do something to deserve His love.  Just this week I was asking Him what to do with His silence, and He simply said

“My silence speaks:  Trust me.”

And I was not afraid.

 

The silence speaks” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com