Getting Rid of Stuff Part 2

This Saturday, we sold so much “stuff” at  a community wide yard sale on Saturday. We did this last year and sold about $400.00 worth of stuff. For some reason this year we accumulated more stuff again and ended up selling about $300 on Saturday. The funny thing is is that my Getting Rid of Stuff post from last year receives tons of hits still to this day. I’m beginning to think that we (Americans) have an issue with stuff but what is so funny to me is how one person’s trash can be another person’s treasure.

I can’t even tell you how much “junk” I think I sold. If familiarity can breed contempt when it comes to “things” than the latter would explain it. There’s just something about wearing the same old clothes day in and day, looking at the same painting or eating out of the same dishes. You grow to hate it because you’re so tired of it- it’s just too familiar. I think this explains much of my own heart. I’m often never satisfied- I want more and I need something to fill the voids. I need the next thing. A different hairstyle, lip stick shade, outfit, piece of furniture, car, and whatever else. It’s when I get back to reality and realize that I can’t take anything with me when I leave this earth, that it all gets back into perspective. God has created me to need Him- not stuff. He’s the only one that can fill my longing heart and I’m so thankful that He does anytime I call on him for help.

Maybe next year we’ll get down to selling $200.00 worth of stuff.

The Weight of the Cross

Last week, a gunman in the small town of Binghamton, New York took the lives of 13 people, including his own. The ugly darkness of evil and sin were yet again exposed to our world. And in the midst of such tragedy (around Easter), I’m compelled to look inwardly at the evil and sin in my own heart.

I often relate Easter-time to the blue-colored peeps and big chocolate bunnies hidden in grass that I found in my basket on Sunday mornings growing up. But I’m learning that Easter is everything but that. Easter is about dealing and grappling with the sin in my heart in light of the cross.

Motivated by love, Christ took on his shoulders the weight of my sin. Ever since the fall, I’ve had a major sin problem—or you could say a “thought” problem. So God, in human flesh, descended from the heavens to enter my messy world and eventually die a criminal’s death on a cross to rescue me from that sin and bondage.

Mark 7:21 says, “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery.” There it is. That sin problem disclosed again. I guess I was wrong and I’m not as perfect after all.

Christ came to heal every person’s brokenness and to restore his image within them. His wounds have healed us. Because of his resurrection, Jesus proved he wasn’t a liar or a lunatic. But that he was God. Because of his life, we now have life. And that is something worth celebrating this Easter.

Video Credit: Chad Madden: Bluefish TV

10 Things I’m Grateful God has saved me from (is saving me from)

vintage-style-cross-thumb7616236

vintage-style-cross-thumb7616236
1.) dead religion
2.) pride
3.) a life of complacency
4.) anger
5.) unbridled tongue
6.) skewed view of real love
7.) people-pleasing
8.) identity in things/money
9.) isolation
10.) selfishness

What’s your list?

Why Chick-fil-a is the best Chain Restaurant Ever

In my opinion, no greater restaurant chain exists than Chick-fil-a. I don’t eat fast food barely at all, but if I do it’s Chick-fil-a.

They’ve probably asked you the same question at the drive-in: “How may I serve you?” Just look at that question and its contrast with “Can I take your order?” like you would experience at a Wendy’s or a Taco Bell.

I’ve always been greeted with a smile at Chick-fil-a and a readiness to refill my sweet tea. This kind of service is just unmatchable. This morning, I was running behind and grabbed a chicken biscuit from them and once again, they delivered their best and helped get my morning off to a better start. On my way to work, I started thinking about Chick-fil-a and Christianity. (as I often think about random connections while driving down the interstate).

I really want to serve those I come in contact with every day and be genuine about it. To greet them with a smile, look them in the eyes, and say their name. I want to genuinely seek to meet their needs whatever they might be. And it’s my hope that when I’m gone, a lasting mark would be made and they would know when they see me again, that I am one who seeks to serve.

S. Truett Cathy, you had it right.

Tim Hawkins wrote a song about his obsession:

12-year old speaks out on abortion

Abortion. It has happened to one out of four women in the church today (yes, the church). Abortion is familiar territory in my husband’s family. Sitting on her couch one day, my relative chose to reveal the pain she still carries today 35 or so years ago. Hers was performed in the 70s when free love and free sex danced among the streets. When not much was known about abortion- just that it was a procedure.

“We [her husband] just did it not knowing what we were doing,” she told me. “I’m sick to my stomach every time I think about it. The loss is still with me knowing we have a baby in heaven.”

It felt surreal to hear about her pain– the emotional, physical, and spiritual toll it has had on her. She knows it and desires to educate others about the trauma she experienced and deals with today.

The bottom line is that God’s grace is still near. His forgiveness is real no matter what what we have done. And she knows that. But sadly, it will never take away the pain she senses every day. This video of a courageous 12 yr. old girl stirs my heart to action– especially now that I have a greater glimpse into just how deep the pain cuts.

The Greatest Gift

your-word-is-a-lamp

your-word-is-a-lampBeing a new mom, I’ve definitely been thinking about the legacy I want to leave and the kind of gifts I want to give my children. I think the greatest gift I could give to John and Jeremiah is to be a wife and mother who is consistently in God’s Word. Here’s why:

1.) God’s Word penetrates the heart- changing us. While the places you go, the people you meet, and the books you read do that too, it is His word that  is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Through the Holy Spirit, God’s word speaks to us, showing us how to walk and revealing the love story of Christ.

2.) God’s Word helps us see our sin, leading us to confession. Jonathan Edwards said, “Confession is the detergent of the soul.” While we must be careful not to be legalistic or ritualistic about confessing our offenses to God, a daily acknowledgment of our sin is critical so that it doesn’t harbor day after day. God’s word is like a mirror showing me who I really am. Helping me see the sin I don’t always see.

3.) God’s Word encourages us to be all that we can for Christ and His glory. While worship, church, prayer, and fellowship with others do that, it is His word that gives us the greater hope and perseverance to continue on in this difficult life. To glorify him with my heart, body, soul, and mind. His Word is my number one fan, helping me to press on and reminding me that I’m not crazy!

4.) God’s Word Challenges me to Selflessness and to Serving others. When I see that I am nothing a part from Christ, and that only he can make me self-less, I’m encouraged all the more to be the person I need to be for my family. I long to serve them through my actions and words. To build my house, and not tear it down with my  hands.

Growing up, my Mom was a woman who meditated on and loved the Bible. That was the greatest gift she gave to me… and to my whole family.

How has His word been a gift in your life?

Recap: Interviewing Christian Authors

img_8971

img_8971img_8972img_8977This past weekend, I had the opportunity along with Marc McCartney to interview some really gifted writers at the Christian book expo here in Dallas. The questions in our interviews focused on small group ministry and what it looks like to put our faith into action. Each author answered the questions with their particular message and passion in mind. The interviews will go on SmallGroupExchange.com and RightNow.org as free video training.

On Friday, our line-up was Andy Crouch (see 1st photo), Alex & Brett Harris (2nd photo), Max Lucado (3rd photo), Sue Edwards, and Dawn Herzog Jewell. On Saturday, we interviewed JI Packer, Kevin Leman, Jimmy Dorrell, Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Steven Arterburn, and Bill and Kathy Peel.

I helped with the Friday portion. It was great to hear from Andy Crouch about his passion in creating culture rather than criticizing it. He has some great insight in his book Culture Making: Recovering our Creative Calling.

I got to personally interview Alex and Brett Harris. You may initially know them from their brother, Josh Harris (Author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye). These guys were exactly what I thought they would be. Full of passion for this generation of teenagers and mature beyond their years. Their book Do Hard Things and the conferences they are putting on are encouraging teens to live above culture’s expectations. It was also neat to hear that the person with the greatest impact in their life has been their parents. I definitely figured that!

Max Lucado was a joy to meet as well. When he walked in the room, he had a smile on his face and was genuinely interested in who we were and what we were doing. He talked about how God can use ordinary people for extraordinary purposes and he helped define what “missionary” means in our culture today. He remembered all of our names at the end. I think every Christian on the planet knows who Max Lucado is so it was definitely an honor for him to offer his wisdom to us.

I also loved meeting Dawn Herzog Jewell, author of Escaping the Devil’s Bedroom: Sex Trafficking, Global Prostitution, and the Gospel’s Transforming Power. She answered questions as to how people can get involved in the heavy topic of sex trafficking and how God gave her the passion to write on the topic and inform others.

I’m really excited that each of these authors will be on SmallGroupExchange.com and Rightnow.org.

Time with Max Lucado, Randy Alcorn, Andy Crouch, and more

cast-1

cast-1On Friday, I’ve been given the opportunity to assist in interviewing Max Lucado, Randy Alcorn, Alex and Brett Harris, Andy Crouch, Sue Edwards, and Dawn Herzog Jewell at the Christian book expo here in Dallas. We’re shooting the interviews in a private room which makes it all the more exciting. The day will probably be crazy and really fast paced but I hope to interject some good questions and take some pictures. We’ll be asking questions specifically related to who they are, what they’re doing, and how it relates to small groups and twenty and thirty-somethings.

Max Lucado and Randy Alcorn specifically have impacted me through their writing when I was in high school. I was given Lucado’s book Just Like Jesus from a friend and it radically changed my view towards what it means to look like Christ. He is a master-storyteller. In college, Alcorn’s fiction book The Ishbane Conspiracy, couldn’t be put down by mom, sister, or I. It reminded me a lot about the C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters in that Satan is real and will do anything he can to destroy us even in the tiniest every day things.

The Harris boys are doing great things in their ministry with their blog TheRebelution.com and their book Do Hard Things is influencing teens and young adults everywhere. I am so proud of them.

As for Andy Crouch, Sue Edwards, and Dawn Herzog Jewell, I look forward to learning even more about them.

A Day at the Park

john1

On the days I’m at work, Jeremiah and John get to have “Daddy day-care” together. When daddy’s present, John gets thrown high up in the air, gut laughs after daddy blows on his belly and tickles his armpits and feet over and over again, and loves looking up at the birdies and breathing in the air on their walks together.

Yesterday, they went to one of our favorite parks a few blocks down from our apartment. And here is their beautiful creation. John is mastering his poses.

john1john3john5john6john7johnsepa

Video: You’re Beautiful

No matter how eloquently I try to describe the beauty of the Lord through words, they would never do justice. One thing I know for sure is that as the years pass by, the more I realize just how badly in need I am for a Savior. As I’ve drawn closer to him in these 20 years of being a Christ-follower (since I was 6!), the peculiar thing is that the more I see my sin and ugliness.

But because of his beauty, perfection, and holiness I continue to see who I really am– absolutely nothing apart from him. I’m a sinner saved by grace, nothing added. Nothing taken away. But yet I am everything because of him alone and what he does through me.

It’s truly the place we all must come to grips with- that a life lived a part from Christ is really no life at all.

The video below was produced by a very gifted guy at our church and captures just a glimpse of the perfection and beauty of God. The song put to the video is “You’re Beautiful” by Phil Wickham.

Page 30 of 38« First...1020«2829303132»...Last »