Monday, February 27, 2012

The Gospel According to Sarah McLachlan

I was sitting at a big, flashy conference when I first saw Sarah Mclachlan's video for World on Fire. My initial reaction was to be a tiny bit scandalized that a Christian conference would be showing a "secular" (that's what we call them, right??) artist. Nevermind the fact that I loved (love!!) Sarah Mclachlan and could sing all of her songs by heart, even the ones with the bad words.

The video rolled on and by the half-way point, I was wrecked. By the time it got to the part about the African slum with 800,000 people living in one square mile, it was difficult to breathe and I was in full-on ugly cry.


I couldn't shake it for days. I went home and dialed up some internet service so I could show it to my mom and we decided that maybe one day we would do a short term missions trip to Africa.

That was my only frame of reference for "helping" the poor back then: Spend thousands of dollars to fly somewhere for a week or two, then return to Indiana and resume my life.

The more we take, the less we become
A fortune of one that means less for some

Within a year of her video, we adopted Calvin. One more and Ruby came. Then we sold our house and bought one twice as big, for almost twice the money. No problem. We could afford it.

FOUR YEARS LATER we stumbled onto the online Radical series, taught by David Platt. Only then was I reminded of that video from all those years back. Only then did things start to make sense and our life begin to change.

I watch the heavens and I find a calling
Something I can do to change what's coming  

I find it both ironic and not ironic at all that the first true Gospel message I heard came straight from the beautiful lips of a secular singer. I have no idea if she knows Jesus, but her heart shows me that she just might. Either way, she's the one who somehow speared my heart with the truth. I didn't hear it from a pastor or a professor from my Christian college. I didn't hear it from the hundreds of Christian people I almost exclusively surrounded myself with.

I heard it from a girl with a honey voice who sometimes drops the F-bomb.

The world's on fire and
It's more than I can handle
I dive into the water
(I try to bring my share)
I try to bring more
More than I can handle
(Bring it to the table)
Bring what I am able


There have been times, on this journey of mine, that I feel strange about sharing these parts of our life. I have been accused of judging, or bragging. What I know now is that the Gospel demands that we get busy about the big business of taking care of our family in Afghanistan and Zambia and everywhere in between. They are ours.

We need to struggle and encourage and brainstorm together. We need to find the needy and unloved around us and when we do, I hope we'll talk about it a little, because there are people like me who would really like to hear about it. Bragging about taking care of the poor would be like bragging about brushing your teeth. These are things we are just supposed to be doing. Every day. No pep rallies or blue ribbons required.

I hope you'll watch the video and I hope it grips you to your core. I hope we all carry around the burden for weeks and then watch the weeks turn into forever.

After watching, I hope it is not four more years before you hear this truth again, but on the off-chance that it could be, I'll just say this: "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:27  And this: "If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion - how can God's love be in that person?" 1 John 3:17

The fantastic news is, in the seven years since I first really saw this Truth with my heart, the world has gotten somehow smaller. We know better now. We know that there are so many ways to get involved. We are more aware of the global crises of starvation, contaminated water, and human trafficking.

This is terrifying, gut-wrenching, soul-restoring, redemptive work. It's not supposed to be easy. But if we miss it, if we slink back against the wall instead of running out to the middle of it all, we miss one of God's central purposes for us. We miss the insane adventure and the pit in our stomach and the heartache and the joy and the opportunity to begin to realize that we've gotten it all wrong, but there's still time to do right. And we probably miss all of those things while we sit in church most Sundays.

The glaring reality is that I'm still not sharing all that I am able. I'm not doing more than I can handle. These are things that are on my mind and in my heart every single day. I'm wrestling and listening and sometimes, I'm plugging my ears and singing a cartoon song as loud as I can to try to drown it out. Sometimes, I'm pretending that I don't know. Sometimes I'm willfully ignoring the voice.

But the heart is a tricky beast. It doesn't unlearn truth, even when you kind of wish it would. It bangs it around and makes a racket-- you can't escape.

That's my prayer for me, every day - that I would not unlearn, that I wouldn't wish to unlearn. I want to care bigger and louder about His crystal-clear call and less about my silly self. I want to get more creative and infinitely gutsier.

That's my prayer for all of us, like it or not.

76 comments:

  1. I love this and you. I needed it. xoxo

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  2. This goes along with a message given yesterday in a worship gathering. I cried the entire sermon of a young missionary family going to an unreached people in hostile territory to serve. And then God whispered something simple for me to do in that moment, even as I questioned Him about the big picture, about the more complicated things I could do. Each moment is a chance to give something. I don't want to unlearn. I want to be available. I want to act. And your writing is another reminder. Act in faith.

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  3. Oh, how I loved this post! This is how our hearts are beating right now--I can not read books or watch documentaries fast enough about what is really happening in the world (and in our own backyard). It is breeding a great restlessness that is and that I pray will continue to move us to little and then big actions spurred on by genuine love.

    Thank you for sharing your heart--I often struggle to find ways to put it all into words. :)

    (I just saw this movement that started today that has some really practical action steps that anyone can do to help prevent slave labor and wanted to pass it on--www.72daysforfreedom.com--it's part of the Passion Conference.)

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  4. It's a scary thought, unlearning the truth. You know that song "Light the fire again" and it has that line "don't let my love grow cold"? that's what song this post makes me think of. It's easy to 'know' I should do something...but actually doing something and not just talking about it is the difference. It's between knowing and doing that love grows cold and the heart tries to unlearn the truth. that's my stuggle too. thanks for this prayer for us all.

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  5. Sometimes I read a post and I love it so much that I dont even know what to say about it. That's me tonight. I dont even know what to say, but I want you to know that I read it. Heard it. Loud and clear. Will ponder it. Long and hard. Thanks for sharing your heart.

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and being a voice.

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  7. I also, too, am {nearly} speechless. And, shamefully guilty of sticking my fingers in my hears and singing, La, la, la, to drown out what rolls around in my head, the hard things I know to be true. Thank you, thank you for taking the time to tap out such important words. xo

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  8. You have such a way with words and are so great at explaining truths.

    This:

    "But the heart is a tricky beast. It doesn't unlearn truth, even when you kind of wish it would. It bangs it around and makes a racket-- you can't escape."

    I have so much to say, that I will instead keep it short.

    Just know that what you said above is so completely true for me. My life has changed so much in the past 10 years. Back then, I recall reading something in an astrology book based on your birthday that said "At X age, you will become more philanthropical and more interested in the world around you and how you can help." and I honestly recall thinking "THAT doesn't sound like me at all."

    It wasn't that I didn't give or care, it was that I was more interested in my career, goals, success, etc...

    I'm glad I'm different.

    Although it is YOUR story above, it feels in some ways similar to mine. I've always been inspired or called when I least expect it and from sources that are surprising.

    You are a bright, shining gift to us all. Thanks for always circling back to what is really important and worthwhile.

    xxoo~

    TT

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  9. Man you're pushy....

    Thank goodness.

    Dana

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  10. I literally just sat through two promotional videos from organizations that were at the JUSTICE conference this weekend. My daughter who just came home from Portland last night came for dinner a showed us and told us what she learned about. Appalling.

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  11. what i wouldn't give to sit on a couch with you somewhere listening to secular music and talking about how God keeps stretching us. xoxo

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  13. Wow, I've been following your blog for a year now and want to thank you for the truth you speak, for pushing me and reminding me of God's purpose! We also just moved to a new place close "the ghetto" and I don't know HOW in the world God can use me to minister to his people (that are so different from me, academic College graduate that I am). I'm praying that we all would not be satisfied with giving to the poor in Africa, Asia, Latin America,... (all good, really), but also see the poor in spirit close to us. I don't want to miss the adventures at my doorstep because I'm too afraid or busy!

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  14. It is absolutely my experience that God uses all mannner of things to reach down to me, often not in church. Plays (Our Town by Nathaniel West literally brought me to my kness in my living room), John Donne metaphysical poet all the way from the C16th came God's voice calling me, a plethora of newspaper writers and song writers, you name it. Sometimes just the emptiness of a huge sky, sometimes looking at my sleeping child.

    I also feel very comfortable that the vast majority of my time should be with the non christians He has filled my life with. I value my Christian family hugely but my life is with the uncertain, lost, seeking...and the poor and the lost can be in very swanky homes and the corridors of power as well as the homeless shelters and scary estates. Sometimes the lost are sitting right there in the Church pews, sometimes my heart gets empty. Emptiness is not fussy about its hunting ground. And sometimes those we might be tempted to label as 'lost' from the loftiness of our church groups teach me more about honesty and love than many a sermon or Christian teaching book. Thank you so much for reminding me of what is important, and how easy I find it to lose the ears to hear and particularly the heart to act. Rawness of heart and courage step out, sacrificially if necessary - any tips on staying in that place?

    You've set me going now, God speaks and reaches down through you too!

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  15. she did speak the gospel my friend!
    i'm reading the hole in our gospel right now. talk about a life changer.
    david platt...my girlfriend lives in b'ham. heard him preach acouple years ago. talk about an entire church that has embraced adoption & living radical!!
    check out what's going on in atlanta...http://72daysforfreedom.com/ that spun out of Passion 2012
    awesome
    love that you speak the truth my friend

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  16. I am going to watch the video. My such moment came as I read the book, Kisses from Katie. A. must. read. I haven't yet figured out what to do with all this, but it has started my thinking.

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    1. I did read Kisses from Katie! So eye opening. I wrote about it here: http://flowerpatchfarmgirl.blogspot.com/2011/10/31-days-of-letting-go-katie-davis-book.html

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  17. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I find myself sitting on my over stuffed chair eating my cereal this morning and drinking my coffee and wiping away the tears and asking God where is his in all of this. He asked me "where are you?" I find it easy to convince myself that my calling is to my family right now and there is no way to stretch myself to the ends of the earth. Oh how wrong I am. Thank you for this.

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  18. LOVE THIS!!! Thanks for sharing.
    ~Jennie

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  19. Yes, Shannan. And James 1:27 was Joy's verse. The one she clung to as she took her last breaths in a third world country hospital while the Father held her close and took her home. She had been working in an orphanage in Malaysia for only ten days when she collapsed with a brain aneurysm. Oh, how I need to see and hear of the obedience of others. Thank you for that.

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  20. Truth spoken here!!!

    You inspired me to pick up a book that rocked my heart a few years ago. I basically highlighted every sing page of "Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God" by Blackaby. I think I need to dust it off and read it again!

    How about this...

    "But the plans He has for your life are based on what HE is doing in the world around you. He has a larger purpose in mind for all humanity. His desire is for you to become involved in what HE is doing to bring salvation to others. Discovering God's greater plan helps you know what He wants to do through you."

    Or this...

    "God has the right to interrupt your life. He is Lord. When you surrendered to Him, you acknowledged His right to help Himself to your life at His prerogative. If you are God-centered, you will adjust your plans to what God wants to do."

    I could just go on and on...You got me all fired up! :)

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  21. Dearest Friend, thank you...
    ~G~xo

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  22. I'm becoming increasingly squirmy lately myself, and the busier I find myself the squirmier I feel. I'm very interested - and a little scared - to see what God has in mind for my middle years. Now I'm off to watch the video! Thank you so much for regularly encouraging me to take look around :)

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  23. I remember when that video came out. I think I sent it to everyone I knew! God can use ANYONE to spread his truth whether that person knows it or not. I love Sarah, she's another great Maritimer.

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  24. tears! tears I tell you! I feel like our written voices are very similar - which means I relate so well to your writing. Thanks for sharing. And thank God for you!

    Amanda
    www.hillpen.com

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  25. I did watch the video. Made me think of the Oscars and all the award shows. I don't like to watch them for that same reason. While some struggle to put milk on the table these award shows take place. What a waste of money. I remember a few years ago, a documentary on one of the poorest counties in Ohio. This was before the worst of the economy crisis, that parents diluted milk to feed their babies. We have situations in our own country as well as all the third world countries. It is so sad. Sure makes you rethink. When I see the pictures of the third world, India I think, of that little child homeless and helpless it breaks my heart. And even worse, we probably couldn't help him if we even wanted.
    We need more people with hearts like you.
    ((((((HUGS)))))

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  26. Oh I LIKE IT. Yep... this is what it's all about. Funny, I have some very similar feelings and thoughts but they came from different sources- I think it's so cool how God will reach out and grab us with the same intents, but use different paths and different methods to accomplish the same heart destination.

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  27. Have you read "Kisses from Katie"? Your post echoes around in my heart. Thank you.

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    1. Loved Kisses from Katie! I wrote about it here: http://flowerpatchfarmgirl.blogspot.com/2011/10/31-days-of-letting-go-katie-davis-book.html

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  28. Came back because I didn't have time to watch the video. Now. What to do with the truth? That is always the tricky part.
    Dana

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  29. you will never know how much i needed to be reminded of this today, right at this very moment. in fact, i was praying for clarity, praying for my head to be set straight, and i clicked a link that brought me here.
    coincedence? nah. the Lord doesn't need coincidence.

    thank you for these words. thank you for this post.
    you have blessed me.

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  30. This reminded me of something I wrote in my Bible Aug. 2009, from Voice of the Martyrs: $3 worth of God, "I would like to buy $3 worth of God please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don't want enough of God to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant, I want ecstasy, not a transformation. I want warmth of the womb,not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God please." by Wilber Rees.
    God is at work! Change is in the air.

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  31. thank you. for this. for your heart. for sharing. thank you.

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  32. Thank you. I see Jesus in you and your journey.

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  33. Love this post. He uses your words to convict!

    Your blog is better than ice cream.

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  34. I think many times I'm doing just that: plugging my ears & screaming cartoon songs. Every time I read your blog, you challenge me to take down my hands and answer the call. Thank you!

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  35. Truth in this post. Lots of it! I think God uses many an unlikely source to get the attention of His people. I don't think He minds her sometimes use of the "F" word nearly as much as He minds cold hearts.
    The adopted Grannies got me...makes me want to go see mine.

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  36. Thank you for the reminder- "glad" I am home sick today as I would have been cryin' my eyes out at work, totally confusing everyone :)
    The hurting and disenfranchised are all around us, even in our perfect upscale college towns where I am constantly amazed at the willful ignorance of the serious and growing drug and alcohol addiction issues, not to mention the food and housing insecurity that go hand in hand with it, and the babies born in to these shattered lives. Sadness can engulf us, we need instead to step out in the faith of our Lord and do what we can, however small. It was more than what was done a minute ago, and does make a difference!

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    1. Amen.
      & Amen again about the drug and alcohol problem. How many blogs have you read that brought attention to this? I'm sure they are here somewhere, but I haven't read any...or written about it. Hmmm...
      It's a tragic epidemic...killing & stealing from precious people.

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  37. Thank you for writing this post. I shared the video on my fb page. Our cousins are leaving for Kenya in a few days to work in the slums of Nairobi and have committed to 5 years. Blessings to your family as you help the hurting.(and it is NOT bragging. It is encouraging.)

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  38. I've been following this lady..amazing work all started from selling banana bread
    http://jaajabarbshomeofangels.blogspot.com/
    She is with help getting an orphanage going....would be fun to send a clothing over when the children
    Arrive
    Xo
    Kara

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    1. thank you, kara, for sharing about the wonderful work that's being done. and it all started with banana bread- wow.

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  39. Wow, what a post. I'm always telling my husband that we don't have to serve on a foreign mission, that our mission is right here, in our home and neighborhood. Workplace, for him.
    Its so funny, cause Sunday at church the teaching was about reaching out to that 1% like the shepherd who had gone after the one sheep that had gone astray. How our mission is right where we are. Then the pastor challenged us to invite 3 people to church on Easter Sunday. He said 82% of the people you invite will come.
    It pricked my heart so, cause I'm a traditions girl. We always go to my Mom's that weekend, but I feel God leading us to stay home and invite a classmate of Jackson's to church. This kid has been bullying Jackson a little, but I can totally see why. Sort of...he is from a single parent home{Mom raising him, his brother and whatever other siblings}, and I know they are somewhat troublesome because the school counselors are well aware of the two boys. I just see where we could hopefully be a light in this boy's life, that my husband, Cory, could come alongside him and give him a male figure to look up to. So, instead of going to my Mom's and doing the whole egg hunt, Church, family cookout, we will be doing our own version here at home, hopefully, inviting this family and another to our little home after Church. Its exciting, really!!
    Elise

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  40. I am guilty...so guilty of being so wrapped up in my own dilemmas and issues that I fail to realize that they are tiny when compared to everything else going on in this world.

    I've been talking a lot about my "emotional boxes" and how I put certain emotions inside, shut the lid, stick it up on the high shelf and turn out the closet light...it's just too much for a person to bear...

    But is it?

    Thank you for the challenge. I don't who ever said you were bragging. They must be high on crack.

    Love you, shan.

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  41. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrueVp_kuZ8

    The above is a youtube link to Sarah singing a song called "Dear God." I think the lyrics accurately describe how she feels about God. She doesn't believe in the Christ of the Gospels and has been described as Wiccan by many. Although, she does seem to have quite a burden to care for the forgotten people, it's not out of love or obedience to Christ. I do hope she is not only singing about these issues, but also putting her feet and money on the ground. Although she was adopted herself, she has not adopted any children of her own. I think we should not be quick to put her on a pedestal. There are so so so many pastors, missionaries, men and women of God who have given far more of their time, money, and talent than Sarah Mclachlan. I mean, people who have really sacrificed. If watching this was the first time you had heard this message....where had you been?

    I do understand the heart of this message and agree with it. I just have a very difficult time wading around in the rest of it. I typically adore this blog. Your humor and creativity in writing. But to hear you say the first real Gospel message you ever heard came from an enemy of Christ...leaves me a little speechless.

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    1. Hey Jennifer. I wish I could personally email you back, but I have no way to do so, so I hope you get my note here.

      Part of my point regarding SM is that I do not know if she is a believer. She sang the song "Dear God" back in 1996. It wasn't her song, but she sang it. She has reported in the past being an Agnostic and/or generally having some false views on God. Regardless, it's not my problem to judge her soul. (So thankful for that.) Her message in World on Fire is Gospel, pure and simple. And yes, I have always seen and heard about other Christians who followed the heart of Christ in serving the poor, but until her song and then David Platt's series, I never heard it stated so bluntly: We MUST love our neighbor as ourself. We MUST live more simply and give our *true* excess (much more than I had ever considered) to the poor. These are not optional considerations. They are not asked of only a few, those "called" to be missionaries or pastors. They are requirements of being a Christ-follower. I think it's fantastic if you grew in your faith always hearing this message, but I did not. I heard a much "nicer" and more convenient message that went something like this, "Love your neighbor!" and "Pray for the poor people who have nothing to eat."

      I am sure there are many things that SM and I would not see eye-to-eye on, but I am so thankful that God used her to help open MY eyes and I would love to have her over for dinner sometime. (Think she'd come??) :)

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    2. I think it's first important to remember that SM is not singing the true Gospel message. She is singing about taking care of the poor, the orphaned. The true Gospel message is one of salvation through Christ alone. Of course we learn in the Gospels about how Christ loved people and cared for both their physical and spiritual needs. When someone is a Christian. We don't have to wonder if they are a Christian, we know it because they profess the name of Christ. Not only has she not done that but she has recorded songs denouncing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yes, it was in 1996. She stood by those words when challenged though. No, she did not pen the words. But when you endorse a song with lyrics as bold and direct as the ones she recorded and published...well, it doesn't leave doubt in my mind. She made that song a message. I don't have any interest in judging her. I have an interest in interpreting the message she has very plainly spoken.

      If you are not for Christ, you are against Him. There isn't a compromise.

      It is most certainly possible to learn "things" from men and women who aren't Christians. Teachers, professors, friends, family. Calculus, photography, cooking, accounting. But someone who is not a follower of Christ cannot teach you about the Gospel. Why? Because they don't know the Gospel. They can read me the Gospel, they can explain to me what others believe it is. But someone who hasn't chosen to follow it cannot teach me the true message. And even though SM's words seem very sincere*, at the end of the day they are not rooted in creating change to glorify God. And at the end of the day, that is command number 1.

      *You've adopted three children since seeing the video and make what percentage of her income? Still waiting to see her adopt.

      The post burdened me greatly because it also read to me as a slap in the face to the people of the church who have been telling us (since Christ came) this message. They just might not have the voice SM does, or the fame, or the face. "Look all you laborers in the field, SM said it better and she's not even a follower of Christ!"

      I admire you greatly. I do. You've made so many sacrifices for the glory of God and are truly trying to live out a life of service. I see it. I appreciate it. I am with ya in the fight. In more ways that you know.

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    3. I would also like to add to paragraph number three.... someone who doesn't follow Christ does not have the gift of the Holy Spirit.

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    4. I certainly never meant to slap anyone in the face. I think the church, as a whole, has been blinded to the truth about what the Gospel requires of us, as Christ-followers. Much of the church is beginning to wake up to this and it's so exciting! I don't discredit those who have understood this from the beginning. As I stated earlier, my experience has been the teaching that "some" are called to this. I never embraced this truth as something we were all commanded to do. So, so thankful that the tides are turning beginning to turn and that the blinders are falling off.

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    5. I believe it is very exciting, too. Very encouraging. Very needed. It is clear in the life of Christ that he met the people's needs spiritually and physically. My prayer is that we never lose sight of the primary importance of sharing the number one Gospel message of salvation alone through Christ. And then out of our love for God, His Word, and Christ's example- treat our neighbor as ourself. Aka, feed, clothe, care for all in need.

      To sum it up. The passage below is the main reason why the post made me feel very uneasy. Especially seeing there isn't one sentence that can be backed by scripture. But, we've already talked about that so I won't labor the point. : )

      "I find it both ironic and not ironic at all that the first true Gospel message I heard came straight from the beautiful lips of a secular singer. I have no idea if she knows Jesus, but her heart shows me that she just might. Either way, she's the one who somehow speared my heart with the truth. I didn't hear it from a pastor or a professor from my Christian college. I didn't hear it from the hundreds of Christian people I almost exclusively surrounded myself with.

      I heard it from a girl with a honey voice who sometimes drops the F-bomb."


      I also found this in my reading and thought you might be interested in it just as an fyi.

      SM speaking about the song "World On Fire" that she co-wrote with Pierre Marchand.

      “When Sophie Muller first approached me with her (video) concept, I thought it was poignant and brilliant,” said McLachlan. “The song is about trying not to feel paralyzed when we see all that is wrong with the world, and remembering that even the smallest gesture can make a difference — corny but true. I wanted a video that wasn’t about me and wasn’t preachy, but one that would help shine a light on the tragedy and turmoil in the world and also show the beauty and strength of the human spirit. Sophie and everyone else who touched this video worked tirelessly and for free to make it happen. This was a labor of love for all the right reasons and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

      For director Muller, this was the opportunity to express an idea that had been in her mind for some time. “When I was talking to Sarah about the song and video she said something about the fact that she was part of the problem (the state of the world) and I thought, ‘so am I.’ I had had this idea for a while, but now it had changed in light of the artist, the song and the world. It was rewarding to see how many people and companies were willing to give their time and efforts for no payment and how interesting it was to be in contact with all the charities,” comments Muller.

      http://www.mediathatmattersfest.org/films/world_on_fire

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  42. i wish you and i were sitting in our living room together. i have had so many of these conversations with my hubby. we feel so alone in our neck of the woods with these thoughts. why is it? do people not want to see the truth of the gospel? a friend and i started blessings in a backpack. i was so saddened by the number of christians who told me they wouldn't support sending food home with hungry kids because the government can take care of that for them. that is why they pay taxes! seriously...but oh the joy of seeing that child beam knowing they will eat that weekend. and the stories from the teachers about how that has changed the child - that is the gospel to me!! thank you for being so honest and real...and challenging! we are all called as followers of Jesus to serve the poor, needy, hurting, abused, neglected, widowed, orphaned, addicted. those are the people Jesus came to hang out with, why would i be above Him? thanks!

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  43. i'm waiting for your short or LONG term trip to Africa... ya never know. I'll hold down the fort or (thatched hut) until you get here ... :)
    LOVE YOU. YOUR HEART. YOUR BLOG. YOU. YOU. YOU sis
    lil sis

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  44. You are speaking the Truth, friend. The call to care for others is not to go on a bucket list. Our relationship with Jesus should compel us, in unstoppable momentum, to tend to orphans and widows. Its easy to allow our vision to become clouded by all the craziness of this world (country) we live in, so thanks for the reminder.

    And,in my humble opinion, SM not being a Christian doesn't lessen the gospel message she conveys. You don't throw the baby out with the bath water, right?

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    1. Thank you, Kara for that last point. If someone tells you that people are suffering, it doesn't matter who gave you the message---once you know about it, you are compelled to do something about it. And whether you are doing it in the name of Jesus, Yahweh, Allah, the Buddah or just because it is the right thing to do as a human being, the point is that you are taking action to serve others in need. If everyone did this, imagine the difference in the world.

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  45. I am a bit confused also... if you do not accept the gospel as truth how then can you share the gospel with others?
    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
    That is the simple gospel.
    Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
    We absolutely must take care of widows and the poor. We are commanded by God to do so! But this is not the gospel.
    Also if you are doing all these good works, which we should be, but not sharing with these people how to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ, the works are not helping them spiritually.

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    1. Hmm, I'm not sure I agree that just because she is not a member of the same church as you, you can't learn anything about spirituality from her. Sometimes growing up in a Christian home, I felt that other (non-Christian) role models provided better portrayals of Jesus's values than leaders in my own community did. I believe SM's take on this issue is actually rooted in the gospel traditions -- hence the name of the song. Luke 12:49: "I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning!" There do seem to be some contradictions in her faith -- she has claimed to be an agnostic, but she sings about God and angels. Perhaps she is, like so many of us, someone who has struggled to define her faith, who continues to try to reconcile her beliefs and doubts. I think that writing her off as a secular agnostic songwriter and dismissing her lyrics out of hand may to a disservice to an important message: we need to reframe how we think about our own spending and consumption in light of the extreme suffering and poverty experienced by others. Just because she doesn't explicitly deliver this message in Jesus' name doesn't make it any less central of a Christian value.

      Thank you for posting FPFG. I think about your blog posts for days after reading them.

      Jenn

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    2. Please also note that she denounces the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We shouldn't confuse her message with the Gospel.

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    3. my main point was and is, doing good deeds is not the gospel. The gospel is Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins, an innocent sacrifice for us, then rising again, offering us the free gift of salvation, not by works, but by faith alone.
      I don't take issue with helping people, just calling good deeds, the gospel. This is an extremely passionate topic of mine, so I will bow out and God bless you all.

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    4. Yes, salvation is by grace alone! I'm with you. The Gospel instructs us on more than just salvation, though. This particular portion of the gospel is something *new* to me. It's one of those things that seems so obvious now...like, 'why did it take me/us so long to see it'? It's been right there all along!

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    5. I agree! We are so spoiled here in America, all of us need to do more to help people..... shame on us!! The reason I get a bit ancy and aggitated is cuz a well know christian author and speaker came to my previous church saying Jesus is in all of us whether we know it or not, ummm that's not what the Bible says. He was promoting the new social gospel. Ack, it's a slippery slope!

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  46. Wrecked for the ordinary....Im reminded of a quote by C T Studd: "Some people want to live within the sound of church and chapel bell...I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell." I say that...I feel like I mean it...but,really, What AM I actually doing. Praying that prayer along with you FPFG..you are an inspiration, thank you for this post.

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    1. Oh,and P.S....one of my most spiritual moments was when I sat with a dear person,sharing a beer...*gasp*

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  47. i like it, your prayer for us all. and also i hate it. which seems to be the nature of this fickle heart of mine.

    praying for more guts and more grace. let's do this thing.

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  48. Thank you so much for sharing your heart...you have spoken the words so perfectly that I hear in my head! I am at the same place, being wrecked by Jen Hatmaker's "7", "Crazy Love", and "Radical". I grew up believing since I was a child, and like you, this message did not get through to me til the past 1-2 years. Thankfully, it's not too late to act! Love your blog, you have such a gift for writing...God Bless you and your precious family!
    Blessings, kathy

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  49. I love how God uses so many different ways to speak to each of His children individually using whatever means necessary to get our attention. And then it's our responsibility to act. I too feel that restlessness many have mentioned and also happen to be reading Kisses from Katie this week. We can argue theology or we can live His example and love deeply, bringing the Gospel to those in need. A sweet friend of ours lost her brother in law today. He was killed in Iraq by one of his student's while teaching in a Christian school. He was putting his faith in action and bringing love to a world in need...

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  50. I have seen this video and needed to see it again.

    I don't know if SM is a believer in Jesus or not. BUT God can use whatever means He wishes to open our eyes. He's faithful like that. And He used this video to open yours and to break your heart again and again. That's a beautiful thing. Thank you for being so willing to split it wide open for us.

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  51. Love this. Thanks for sharing.

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  52. Thank you for sharing this. You are not alone in what you have expressed here. God is stirring the hearts of His children globally. There is much more we can and should be doing. I love your heart and your blog. I happened upon it last year around V-day when I googled V-day craft projects and a picture of your magazine heart streamer came up. I clicked on the picture and found you. I’ve been following you since. You have a beautiful family and are a very talented writer. Blessings to you!

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  53. I'm not a Christian, but my family is. My mom sent me your post for the Sarah McLaughlin video. I just wanted to say that you are very brave and it's wonderful that you felt called by her song. You give me hope that not all Christians are out there to judge and reprimand people, but to try to make the world we live in a more humane place. Thank you.

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