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Top 20 Posts for 2009

To Twitter, or Not to Twitter?

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That is my question for today friends.

I know, I know. I’m probably the last person that’s not joined Twitter. Or maybe not. (I still know quite a few people who haven’t!)

But, for the past few months, I’ve been thinking about taking the plunge to share tweets about my blog posts, where I’ve written new articles, what’s going on at Rightnow and Bluefish, inspirational thoughts, God thoughts, and other fun, completely random stuff.

I think I’d like joining Twitter for a lot of reasons regarding some of my hopes and dreams as a writer and more importantly to connect with you (my readers).

BUT, I fear the whole addiction thing and really whether it’s necessary for me personally or not. A while back, I told the facebook world that I’d never get on the Twitter bandwagon. (I have this issue with not wanting to do things because everyone else is). Besides, who needs facebook and Twitter?

The reality though might be that I have to get over my hesitations because I know it’s an awesome, powerful tool to connect lots of people and information. I also really enjoy seeing the tweets on some of your blogs.

I know… you still can’t believe I’m not on it yet.

What about you?

Are you on Twitter? What do you like about it?

I can’t wait to hear.


Latest article on Permission to Speak Freely

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Anne Jackson has a book releasing in 2010 called Permission to Speak Freely: Essays & Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace. We’ve been in touch here and there since we had lunch together at the RightNow conference.

Recently, Anne asked if she could publish my article An Uptown Confession (originally published on Ungrind.org) on the blog of her book.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the story (over there), and explore a little bit about her upcoming book and wildly popular blog Flowerdust.net. You can check it all out here.

I think you’ll be glad you did.

Are you a trader?

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SGT_LogoThe term “trader” has infused where I work for quite a while. In 2000, my boss Brian Mosley founded the RightNow Campaign to help 20s and 30s connect to opportunities here and abroad to put their faith into action. The mission of RightNow is simple: To help our generation trade in the pursuit of the American Dream for a world that desperately needs Christ.

Every year, we put on the Rightnow Conference and it’s coming up in less than two weeks. This year’s theme is The Mission of the Church Matters. The line up includes pastors and authors Donald Miller, Francis Chan, Mark Batterson, Kay Warren, Matt Chandler, George Barna, and more.

I’ll be working at the conference, scribbling away on my note pad to prepare to write the curriculum for our upcoming RightNow Leadership Kit we’re producing. I absolutely cannot wait to soak in what these guys have to say.

Bluefish TV, the RightNow conference, and our new site SmallGroupTrader.com all stand under the umbrella of the RightNow Campaign’s mission of trading in the pursuit of the American Dream. Every thing we produce is to help others put their faith into action.

So that’s a little background info you may or may not have wanted! Now that leads me to expound a little more on Small Group Trader.

Our name was originally called Small Group Exchange but we decided to narrow our focus more to the idea of being a trader because Small groups aren’t an end to themselves- we’re calling small groups to battle against the “me-centered” way of thinking (that we all struggle with at times) by trading it in for the the missional call of Jesus – to care for the homeless, minister to the sick, and share Christ’s love with our neighbors.

I’m super excited about this change as it gives us a more clarified mission to strive for as a ministry, calling others to live out Jesus’ command. A nice home, car, clothes, savings account, etc. are good things that God wants me to enjoy, but it’s the pursuit and striving for them that I have to question. I have to constantly ask myself: Am I living for the dream or pursuing what really matters for eternity?

As the Content Editor for Small Group Trader, I can’t wait to see where this site goes and how small groups across the country will be impacted by this mission. If you’re a small group leader, small groups or community pastor, have thoughts you want to share on leadership, or have been impacted at all by being in a small group, let me know.

Step out and share your story. Be an encouragement to others who are trying to fulfill God’s mission for their lives.

You can email me at editor [at] smallgrouptrader [dot] [com]

How are you being a trader with your time, talents, and treasures? Are you willing to give up the pursuit of the American Dream for a world that desperately needs Christ?

Have you thought about Self-Publishing?

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1067843_29644623Well, I’m at the very very beginning stages (that means everything is in my head and not on paper) of writing a book proposal- the treasured manuscript that’s required to “sell” yourself and sell your book idea to an agent/editor. Cause you know, publishers have to make money off what you write. It’s how the world goes around. And as always, it’s a competitive market.

I follow several blogs but the only person whose blog posts get sent directly to my email via google reader is CEO of Thomas Nelson, Michael Hyatt. He consistently has great posts on publishing, leadership, and other great thoughts.

Well on Tuesday he announced that Westbow press, a division of Thomas Nelson will be offering quality self-publishing services (this is a really big deal). Here’s what they say:

  1. We think there is huge growth potential in this category. Increasing numbers of people are moving from being merely consumers to being creators. They want to express themselves creatively. Just witness the phenomenal success of user-generated content sites like YouTube, Flickr, and Scribd.
  2. We want to offer a legitimate alternative to traditional publishing. Why should all the power be in the hands of publishers? If prospective authors are convinced their book should be in print and are willing to fund it, they should be able to do so without the fear that they might be ripped off.
  3. We want to find the new voices for tomorrow. Publishers aren’t omniscient. We miss numerous opportunities every year. Finding the next bestseller is like searching for a needle in a haystack. WestBow Press provides us with a kind of “farm team.” We intend to watch the sales of these titles carefully. We will offer traditional publishing contracts to those authors whose self-published books begin to gain traction.

As a writer, one who’s attended several writer’s conferences, networked with respected authors and agents, and actually works in publishing, I’ve had a slightly negative bent towards self-publishing. Traditional publishing has always been the way to go (and I still believe it’s what I want to pursue).

But West Bow Press intrigues me in regards to where we’re at today in publishing and what it will look like in the future. And I think they are on to something.

Have you heard about it? Would you ever consider self-publishing your book?

Article: An Uptown Confession

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6a00e0099410db88330120a5d95c8c970b-800wiMy article, An Uptown Confession, was published yesterday on Ungrind. Here’s a little “scoop” into the article:

I made a pretty “I have it all together” appearance a lot like my pristine surroundings that night. But I neglected to reveal any kind of imperfections on the inside. Like a plastic promise, I pretended to be what I was not.

In the last few years, my view of confession and what it means to be authentic has been transformed into a “wholly biblical” one and it’s been life changing.

Confessing our sin aids in healing the tattered and broken pieces inside us. They are the places God knows about and is helping us through, but also the areas that others need to know too.

Confessing our sin to one another helps us see we were created for community and relationships. We were created to embrace confession as a lifestyle.

Remembering, considering, and confessing sin is not an easy task. It requires humbling myself to walk backstage for a behind-the-scenes look into the dressing room of my soul — where there is no make-up or fancy dress to hide my shame, flaws, and insecurities. Even though it can be so bitter at first, in the end it is so sweet. It’s a “detergent for the soul” as the famous theologian Jonathan Edwards once said.

How has confessing your sins healed you and other relationships? What do you fear most about others taking a behind-the-scenes look into who you really are?

Marriage: Built to Last #2

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marriageI used to think I was perfect- until I got married. Okay so not perfect, but maybe close to perfect.

And it’s hard to believe in December we’ll be celebrating four years of marriage. It’s truly a gift from God and today, I respect and love my husband more than on the day I committed my life to his. He’s my best friend and soul-mate, and I couldn’t live with without him. But I’d be lying if I told you that our marriage isn’t hard work. And that it doesn’t require living intentionally and loving biblically.

Well for a while now, at Bluefish TV, we’ve been working on a small group bible study series called Marriage: Built to Last that I wrote about a few posts ago. We got the kit back from the manufacturer last week and I’m blown away by how well the stories, teaching, and spots have come together.

What I love most about what we’ve produced is the stories from real-life couples. They are transparent to the core and share about real life issues like expectations, communication, conflict, and sex and intimacy. I also say “to the core,” meaning that these couples get down to the dirty, ugly details of their marriage. Some of them expose their pride, anger, pornography, past baggage, affairs, control issues, spending habits, unhappiness and more.

I’ve never really seen such brutal honesty. But it’s so neat to see that through that authenticity, God can really work and it’s evident He has in their marriages. He can replace that pain and brokenness with joy and life and put couples on the path that leads to a marriage built to last.

Head on over to Bluefish TV and watch the trailer to get a sneak peak into the series. Thank you also to my friends Zech and Kim Lumpkin and Chase and Elizabeth Hammon for sharing your stories with couples across the country.

A love story & lemonade

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lemonade1Yesterday I went for a run around White Rock Lake and in the distance I noticed a little boy selling lemonade on the side of the running path. I felt a nudge to talk to him and share something really important that my pastor reminded me of that morning in church.

I stopped and first asked him if the lemonade was free. He said it was $.50 and that it was for a raffle at his school. I told him I didn’t have any change on me. After we talked about his school a little, I asked:

“Do you mind if I tell you something?”

His brown eyes got big and he was focused.

“No,” he replied.

“Have you ever thought about how much God loves you?”

“Yeah.”

“What do you know about Him?”

“Um… They nailed him to a cross. He didn’t like that. It was very bad… And um… the people didn’t like him because he said he was the son of God and stuff.”

“You’re exactly right. Where did you learn that?” I asked.

“At my school,” he replied.

He told me he was 9 years old. His name was Kyle and he wanted to be an architect when he grew up. I told him when I was not too many years younger than him that I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 6. I tried to explain to him that growing in a relationship with God takes time and when he gets older that he will understand even more. I explained that Jesus died for him and died for his sins (the bad things he does) so that he can have a full life.

He didn’t say anything after that. I could have been way over his head or he was just listening.

I sensed our little conversation coming to a close. I said it was nice to meet him and continued on my run.

Kyle was the cutest kid ever and he taught me something about faith.

The gospel is simple that even a 9 year old could grasp it.

Yet in its simplicity it is so incredibly profound. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again, but that fact can’t just stay there. The question is whether I will act on that truth by following him and surrendering all that I am to him because of what He’s done for me.

The love he showed on the cross might seem simple, but it wasn’t. It was “very bad” like Kyle said, in all of its forms. It was evil. All the sins of the world… he bore them. It was his blood shed on the cross that has set us free from our sins.

It’s just so amazing that Someone could love me this much. And even crazier that God sent his son to prove his love for all of us. He has given us this awesome gift of undeserved GRACE and He’s inviting all of us in to accept it. If anything in this world could lead me away from my sin (in repentance) and closer to him, it is because of his kindness and undying love.

My prayer for Kyle is that one day he will become an architect who knows the fullness of God’s love and that he will love him in return.

Archives Page for You

WordPress just announced their new code for Archives so I’ve added a page on my blog above for you to browse through any past content you’d like. Unfortunately they don’t have a categories section yet. I’m sitting at 131 posts over a span of about two years. That basically means that I’ve just now starting blogging consistently.

My confession? I’m naturally lazy at blogging. I don’t mind writing in my personal journal or for magazines, books, or of course anything that’s asked of me at work. I think I’m deadline driven and that’s the issue. But I have to say I’m enjoying it the more I do it. My greatest struggle is wondering what you appreciate content wise. What will speak to you? What will provide depth for you, and not fluff? What will help you grow and get a greater glimpse of God’s love for you?

The answer is probably that I just need to be who I am. Write what I’m passionate about and write about what God is doing in my life. And not try to be another great blogger out there who can boast a ridiculous amount of stats and comments.

So… grab a mug of coffee or tea and enjoy the archives. Comment as you feel led. The best is yet to come my reader friend…

Authentic Thoughts

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994404_love_letterI’m writing an article for an e-zine that’s due at the end of the month on being authentic so I’ve been trying to gather some thoughts on this topic. It’s actually a topic I’m extremely passionate about, but I still have a lot to learn in what it means to be authentic myself. I’m a little nervous typing very slowly to even flesh it out in this post.

I think for quite a while the church has been a place where far too many people have been afraid to expose their weaknesses, struggles, and sins for fear of embarrassment, criticism, and all out rejection from other believers. Simply because… they’ve experienced it and they want nothing to do with it (I don’t blame them). So the result has been that we continue to live our lives in isolation. We become our own island, thinking this is the best way to keep from being wounded and hurt. So we never get past those struggles. We don’t give ourselves fully to other people and we’re never truly known by anyone.

I think in the past years however that we’re seeing a tiny shift away from this where more people are embracing “authentic community” and are learning to live lives “bare naked” in front of each other where sins are confessed, prayer is genuinely happening, and healing and restoration is taking place (James 5:16). So that ultimately, God is glorified in their lives.

It’s because of the healing that God wants to give us that we’re called to live authentically. I’ve experienced this in my community group at Watermark that consists of young married couples. We’ve been doing life together for over two years now. One day I was challenged and approached by Julia who saw something in my attitude towards my husband. My behavior was wrong and she let me know about it in love. I however, thought I could hide it. It hurt so bad to hear (I had a lot of pride) but it was exactly what I needed. Her authenticity with me helped cover a multitude of other problems.

Through a process, I’m learning that I’ll never become the person God wants me to be by hiding behind my struggles and not bringing them to light. I’ll never know just how “bad” my sin is when it’s not confessed, owned up to and measured with God’s standard. I’ll never be able to move forward or be victorious without acknowledging it and asking for help and accountability from other people.

Well… these are my thoughts for now at least.

How has living in authentic community with others brought freedom in your relationship with Christ and with others?

What do you wish the church understood about the struggles people have? Do you think the church has really missed the mark when it comes to embracing people where they’re at?

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