Okay alot of you know me, most of you think you know me but dont. I have been told I have left wing ideas, etc. Alot of my beliefs have come from all I have been through in the last almost 15 years ever since I accepted Christ at a Newsboys Concert in June of 1995. Since then I have been through seeking the Lord and running away from Him. I have also had now 2 children out of wedlock and been through forclosure, reposession, divorce, death of a child and cancer. I have been blessed from the Lord beyond belief and then there are other times where I have ran away from the Lord, but through it all He has brought me back, most of the time on my knees. I know last winter I ran from God. I was mad my marriage ended, angry that I was in a place where I knew no one and I was 4 hrs from my family..I jumped into a relationship with a man I thought was my Mr. Right and I ended up pregnant. Now I still consider this baby even with the circumstances it was conceived in a miracle baby because she has overcome so much. In 2004 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and have since undergone 2 rounds of chemo and radiation and was basically told I wasnt going to survive, the cancer was too far advanced. I surprised the docs by engaging in the fight of my life...to save my life. My illness ultimately destroyed my marriage and we lost our home and our 2 cars but I am still alive although I admit there are days I ask why God why am I alive? I have been doing alot of study in the word on the whole new wine in an old wineskin. In this group there are alot of people I have noticed that want to keep the old wineskin and refuse to allow new wine in new wineskins to change things, to maybe adapt things. I see women in here who would never step out of their comfort zone. This has been on the subjects of working moms vs stay at home moms, whether women can be pastors, whether women can wear pants, I even saw a post I dont know whether it was here or in another group about men who wear earrings. Some of these posts I read and I am like come on lets get real what is the ultimate purpose of the Lord here-- At least I have been finding out in all I have been studying is that the Lord desires a realationship with you...thats the bottom line. Today in Sunday School we watched a video about a little boy. This little boy was getting hungry and his mom was snoozing so he decided to make himself a bowl of cereal. He climbed on the counter and got the bowl and the spoon and then went to the pantry and got the cereal and then went into the refrigerator and there were 2 things of milk--- a half gallon carton and a gallon jug. The little boy chose the gallon jug and poured the contents into the cereal. What the little boy didnt realize was that the milk in the gallon jug was spoiled. He took a bite and spit it out and realized the milk was nasty. He dumped the bowl of cereal in the garbage and was ready to try again. This time he took the milk from the half gallon carton and poured some in the gallon jug and then went to pour it on another bowl of cereal--- you can probably guess what happened---the little boy took a bite and spit it out again. He tried one last time and this time poured the good milk from the half gallon carton onto a bowl of cereal and he was able to enjoy the cereal! I use that illustration to describe us. Pastor was talking today after the video about people being so close-minded -- he went on to describe spine issues and rib issues. Spine issues include knowing that Jesus is Lord and thats its all about a relationship with Him. Rib issues are issues that dont have to "be there" for a church to function. "Rib issues" are things like women working or staying at home, King James Version only or not, Women wearing pants, Wearing jeans to church in general, Praise Band or Organ and Piano or even no music at all, communion open or closed-- who should be allowed to partake of communion, Women being pastors Pastor went on to comment that churches are experiencing a decline in church membership since 1990. And when he asked why it was amazing at how many people said because Christianity in general has turned into a list of rules. Its like we have skeedaddled right past who the focus needs to be on and instead focused on the "rules". I know I am not a conservative person by any means but I also know that if we want others to come back to the Lord its not about the sin as people keep throwing at me, but its about getting to their level. We have to abandon the close-mindedness and instead open our minds to change --- There are times when I am reading the posts in here and I am like wow I so have another opinion on this, I so see another way..am I wrong, no I am not if we all thought the same way, the work of the Lord would never get done. I loved the article about the pastor that went into the bars with shot glasses advertising his church. I just heard the other day about a pastor that is preaching in California at an outdoor shopping mall as shoppers are shopping for the holidays. There were people that didnt want him preaching there so they tried to get him removed. He went to court and pleaded his case and the judge who was a Christian, denied the injunction. I went to a church that served pizza and beer, pop and wings with my friend in Ohio. Unorthodox you say? Well its working--those pastors are touching lives and planting seeds. Those pastors are going against the grain but they are bringing people into the kingdom by getting down on their level. After I ran away from the Lord last winter and spring it was a friend at the complex that I moved to that invited me to a coffeehouse night at her church. picture 30 20 and 30 somethings--singles, professionals, married, some kids, some not having kids getting together with starbucks coffee and bibles. Complete with a praise band who played praise and worship and acoustic music it was so awesome no one judging another just about a bunch of seekers from all different walks of life coming together to seek the Lord together. It was on one of those nights that I came back to the Lord on my knees with my "church family" around me and I repented for going away from the Lord, for having sex outside of marriage and all the things I had run away from. Never in my walk did I feel the presence of the Lord as I did that night on my knees. It was so cool then because I got to do something to symbolize my coming back to the Lord I took a coffee mug and I dumped the coffee out of it, the coffee was cold and icky and I grabbed another cup and poured hot fresh coffee into it. Crazy, you say? Well for me it was symbolization..the old was being thrown away and the new was being put in its place. This is the year 2008, actually almost the year 2009. Times have changed, ideals have changed and those of you holding onto that old cofffee need to get rid of it. Open your hearts and your eyes and ears to change. If we want to touch people, touch hearts we need to get down to their level, we need to stop holding onto the ideals of the past and open up to ideals in the future. We need to get rid of the old wineskins and renew ourselves. Its not about all the legalism all the well can we drink alcohol, can we wear a bikini its about reaching people. Its about emptying their old cups of coffee and giving them a new cup of fresh hot coffee. Luke 5:37-39 sums it all up for me "And no one pours new wine into old wineskins if he does the fresh wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled and the skins will be ruined 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. So go ahead and blast away but I know the Lord has shown me if I want to plant seeds and share the good news I have to get rid of the old thoughts and move onto the new.