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October 29, 2007



The illustration doesn't work. Here's why...

The assumption is that book clubs don't change people. I'd say that's wrong on the whole because of how we live our lives.

If I read a novel about a father grieving his son who just died, I may not resonate with that book. But if my own son has just died, that novel may stick with me forever and change how I think.

The same goes for church. Very few of us learn without pain. I know that almost all the changes God has wrought in my life in the last 30 years have come through pain.

If my life seems fine within the constructs of the justice that I understand, then it will not be until I experience injustice in my own life (whether directly through my own suffering or indirectly through close contact with others who are suffering) that I will be open to change or to a message talking about fixing injustice.

In other words, it is all about the fallow ground. We are open to learning whatever impacts us at the point where God has plowed the ground of our hearts. God's truth doesn't grow on hardened ground. Ears that are not open will not hear. Hearts that have not been broken can not be mended. The clay pot damaged in the hands of the potter cannot be used--until it is re-wet and reshaped as the potter sees fit.

I can't fault people who don't get what I get. They don't understand what I understand because they have not experienced what I experienced that made me change my mind. So how can I fault them for not understanding?

It doesn't matter if I sit in church for a whole year and only get moved once. If we think about our spiritual growth in terms of a year, we're all doomed. None of us will have responded enough or grown enough.

Yet life isn't a year. Discipleship isn't a week. Most of us will live 50-60 years as believers. Now if we get to the end of that time and remain unplowed ground, then yes, we'll have something to account for.

But let's not rail at people who don't get it. They may not be at a point of getting it because God is working on them in His time, not ours. We can raise the points. We may even rail a bit. But we can't make people grow. And we often can't make them see what we see unless God does something in their hearts first.

God taught me something a long time ago:

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."
---Isaiah 55:10-11

We understand how the rain penetrates the ground. But what of the snow? Well, snow only waters when exposed to heat that melts it. It may accumulate for years, but cannot penetrate unless the heat comes.

That is how most people are. It's not until the heat is on that many of God's truths sink in.

What did I know of justice until injustice found me? What did I know of love until I was unloved? What did I know of mercy until I saw my own mercilessness for what it was?

Our culture insulates people from pain--or at least it tries to. Therefore, I can't always blame people for being anesthetized. That's the natural state in which we've formed them.

Most lasting lessons people learn come the hard way. Only then does truth sink in, whether by church or by book club.


Insightful musings, Lisa. Thanks again for letting God work thru your writing.

Pam Halter

Lots to think about.

Lots to do.


I love learning the Word of God. I love studying it. I love KNOWING. But the Word itself says to be doers and not just hearers. And I have to remind myself of that. Being a wellspring of Scriptural information isn't really that helpful in the long run. I let it work in me. It definitely changes me. But I've got to let that change start affecting the outside part of my world, not just the inside.
And you are helping me get there, Lisa.


Thanks Kay, Pam and Elysa.


Would you quit making me squirm?? You keep doing that!


I've spent a lot of time involved in and teaching Bible studies written by worthy folks. This year I took time off from that to just read and hear the Word of God. I bought this set of cds - it's the New Century Version read by some famous women - it' not that they're famous that works - it's that their voices are lovely and they read the Word beautifully. I read along in my Bible and stop when I want to. To be honest I could listen much longer than I have time to! As the Word soaks in, I feel like I've had church at home.

As for church...it's hard sometimes. I listen with an open heart - even a hungering heart...and somehow I miss something. I can't blame anyone - it's just not my week to "get it." I leave a little empty and wishing for more of God. Then a few days later it comes - maybe gently or maybe like a ton of bricks and I have my "get it" moment.

Sometimes church for me is learning from others - like you Lisa and the others here. You sparkle Jesus into a blog or a book...and I find Him and am refreshed, challenged...and yes changed.

Honest to Pete...I simply never saw the homeless in my city before. Now I see them and stop.

So I'm learning to find church in a building where my pastor teaches...but also here and there in a world I didn't used to let myself be part of.

It's really amazing when I see someone or see an opportunity and God gently backs it up with a Scripture I've read. I'm out there and He's guidiing me from His Book...not from a teachers opinion cuz I come home and check stuff out. I don't take anyone's word for it except God's. And if I still am not sure ... I wait on God to reveal it in His time.

I've been in a book club discussing a Lisa Samson novel...and sister there wasn't an unchanged woman in the room! I've been in church where the Word of God was presented and you're right - I didn't do a single thing with it that was real and impacted my world. I was raised a "doer" and when I found grace became a "hearer." Now...He's shown me how to be some of both but I'm still learning. I'm a slow learner it seems. Taking baby steps with Jesus.


Joy, that was absolutely beautiful. Thanks so much for hearing that. Not just hearers but doers. Amen to that.

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