Category Archives: Church

People of the Day


Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.  The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
~Romans 13:11-14

Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.  While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.  For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of dayWe are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.  For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.  But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.  
~1 Thessalonians 5:1-8

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.  Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!  But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.  Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.
~2 Peter 3:8-15a

Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.  But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.  For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will
~the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:42-44)

Open the Eyes of My Heart 

Life Together


I found the perfect spot in the library, away from all the bustle. I was thirty-one with two little boys at home and badly needing a day away to think.  I can’t quite remember if my second relapse had hit me yet, but I knew I was in much need of rest.  I found the perfect spot next to an enormous glass window overlooking the pond.  While sitting on a little couch tucked under the stairwell, I asked the Father to please guide me to do the right thing. “Cause, I desperately want to do the right thing.”  I took out my journal, my pencil, my Bible, and Bonhoeffer’s book, Life Together.

The book had been on the shelf for years, but I hadn’t ever read it, thinking it was too “theological” for me to enjoy.  It’s not a very big book but, as I found, it is chock full of truth and wisdom for the church body to discern what living this life together “should” be like.  It’s a book that radically changed the way I understood I am to “be” in the body.  Practical spiritual wisdom for everyday life together.

God was faithful to guide me.  I understood the admonishment from scripture, “as much as it depends upon you, be at peace with one another.”  With tears streaming down my face, I wrote out the apology, understanding a heart-rending-deep-cleansing had been done.

God made it clear to me what the next step would be.  The apology was sent and now it was time to hope for reconciliation.  It was time to release the situation in order that Christ might deal…

“…spiritual love proves itself in that everything it says and does commends Christ. It will not seek to move others by all too personal, direct influence, by impure interference in the life of another. It will not take pleasure in pious, human fervor and excitement. It will rather meet the other person with the clear Word of God and be ready to leave him alone with this Word for a long time, willing to release him again in order that Christ may deal with him.”
~D. Bonhoeffer, Life Together

It might be time to read that little — powerful — book once again.

You Found Me…HOW?!?


Recent search term:

having freckles means you can speak with God

(in your best Meredith Grey voice)

Yeah, seriously.
It’s good for a giggle,
I suppose.

I went to church this past Sunday and heard a fantastic sermon on favoritism in the Body.
Jesus is against it,
in case you didn’t know…

In Christ’s family there can be no division into
Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female.
Among us you are all equal.
~Galatians 3:28

Within the Body, NO DIVISIONS!!!

NO racism:

no division into Jew or non-Jew.

NO social or class standing:

 no division into slave or free.

NO chauvenism or feminism:

no division into male or female.

NO favoritism because — get this, it’s really good — we are ALL His favorite.

Every last one of us.
With or withOUT freckles!
(I’m letting that one sink in… )

It’s truth.
He loves me with my freckles.
He loves you without freckles.

You get to speak to Him NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE…

In Christ’s family we are all equal.
It’s an awesome thing to know we are all sons of God according to His promise.
Each of us stands equally as we are clothed in His righteousness.

No matter how you look…

No matter how much money you make…

And no matter your gender…

IN Christ, He listens to you.
In Christ, you’ve got God’s ear.

Speak to Him.
He loves you THE MOST!

You’re His favorite.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ
Have clothed yourselves with Christ.

There is neither Jew nor Greek,
There is neither slave nor free man,
There is neither male nor female;
For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

And if you belong to Christ,
Then you are Abraham’s descendants,
Heirs according to promise.

~Galatians 3:26-29

To hear the complete sermon:
No Favoritism Here

Forgive Us


It is our fault.

Christians should be the most loving, caring, forgiving, gracious, merciful, and compassionate people on the earth. 

If we truly believe in Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God, the Messiah (Christ) who came to forgive the sins of the world and save us as His own…

…then we are to live as He preached. 

Jesus preached Love. 

It’s our fault if, when people think of Christians, they do not think of Love. 

I watched a show on Shalom TV last night:  Repentance.  It struck me hard.  It is a film documenting a movement of repentance in Germany which acknowledges 2,000 years of anti-Semitic Church history that culminated in the Holocaust.  It features Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.

After reading Night by Elie Wiesel years ago, I embarked on a study of his writings.  Seeing his name in the description peaked my interest.  Although I’m only 49 years old and have never been an anti-Semite, I felt compelled to ask God for forgiveness for my ancestors  since I do have some German blood running through my veins.

I don’t really believe it works that way, that I can seek forgiveness for my ancestors.  I do believe we will all stand individually and give an account for the deeds done in the flesh.  However, I feel a deep grief over the 2000 years of Church history.  I feel we have smeared Christ’s name by hateful acts of prejudice toward His people.  And then, I think of all the other people we seem to snub, push aside, act as though we are better than…!!!

What’s wrong with us? 
Do we really believe the words of Christ?
How is it we can be so hateful toward our fellow man and call ourselves Christians?

Christ came to save the lost,
To bind up the wounds of the broken,
To release the chains of the prisoner.

I could get on my soapbox and wax loooong about what we’ve done as Christians, but my point:

We need to apologize.

We need to apologize for the ugly distortion we have taught as Christ followers.

We need to apologize for the evil we’ve done in Christ’s name.

We need to love as He taught us to love the world.

ALL people.

We would not be here, we would not have any of our Christian teachings, if God did not choose the Jewish people through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  They are the People of the Book.  They have kept the sacred text indisputably incorrupt (proven through the Dead Sea Scrolls) for thousands of years.  Our Savior came through this people…and look what we have done in His name…

Please.  Please, accept this heartfelt statement of repentance from one lone girl deep in the heart of Texas.

This act of contrition is not for the Jewish people only, but for all people who have seen and heard an ugly word or action done in the name of Christ.

Please, forgive us.
If you do not see us as a loving people, we are to blame.

It is our fault.
Our Savior didn’t teach us to act this way.

Do You Stink?


Once upon a time, I was told that I stink.

It was humiliating, to say the least.

You see, I knew I didn’t

I had showered. 
I had on clean clothes. 
I was freshly sprayed with my favorite perfume.

But, to this person, I stunk.

And the memory of being told such a thing still bites.

Well, please forgive me if reading this post bites you…

… … … … … … … … … … … … … … …

 God uses us in the world to spread the Truth about Christ:

Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.

When we teach the Truth we smell goooooooood.  But, not everyone appreciates this perfume.  In some nostrils, it’s more like death:

But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.

To some, our teaching is malodorous. 
To others, it is life-giving. 
If the words you teach are true, faithful, loving, just, and gracious…
you can know you are spraying sweet perfume throughout the world.

Even if someone tells you, you stink. 
It might just be they don’t recognize words of life.

How can you tell the difference? 
How do you know if your words about Christ smell good? 
Or if you’re just stinking up the atmosphere?

And who is adequate for such a task as this?

You see, we are not like the many huckster who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.

What’s the motivation?
When you speak, are you speaking for yourself?
Are you trying to manipulate with your words?
Is it for your own gain?
Is it all about you?

Remember, God is watching.
He knows if you are sincere.
He knows if you are speaking with His Son’s authority.

What kind of perfume are you spraying?

(scriptures taken from 2 Corinthians 2)



What would happen if Christ followers did as Jesus taught?

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth–eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves.  Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.  Your eye is a lamp for your body. A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul.  But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. If the light you think you have is really darkness, how deep that darkness will be!  No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” ~Matthew 6:19-24

How enslaved are we to our things? 
What do we spend our time thinking about?
If our thoughts are not on the Lord, where are they? 

I decided to ask these questions of myself.  What do I spend most of my day thinking about?  Where do I find my thoughts when the world becomes quiet?  This scripture tells me that my treasure is in that place.  The place where my thoughts wander.

So then, the next question:  Were my thoughts on God?

If not…then what?
Is that place truly my God, or…my god?
I cannot serve two masters.

Do I imagine something to buy…?
What I might want to eat…?
How I’d like to entertain myself…?
What my next project will be…?
Or was it someone with whom I’m invested: my kids, my husband, my friends…?

If any one of those things is not God, and His kingdom, have I just recognized an idol in my life?

Where my thoughts wander is where I’ll put my treasure.
If my treasure is truly the Kingdom of heaven, won’t my money follow?
And if my money is going to things, food, or entertainment, does it follow that my god is my stomach…my desires? 

Doesn’t it follow that my heart must not be on heavenly things?

Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where moth and rust do NOT destroy…
where theives do NOT break in and steal.

What does that mean?
Do I give all my money (after my responsibilities) to the church?
Is Jesus asking for us to not have any materialistic desires?

I think it means we give our money to the things Jesus was concerned about…
His kingdom (Luke 4:18-19).

Anyone needing Jesus.
Anyone who hasn’t heard the Good News of the Gospel.

Would we have a problem with elder care, health care, orphans, or poverty if the people of God would truly care about the things God cares about…???

But He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what GOD is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously–take God seriously.
~Micah 6:8 (The Message)

Live justly,
With mercy,
And walk humbly before God.

Thinking it through…

Are We Plastic People?


My 30th high school reunion was this past weekend.  I didn’t go.

Popularity is so important at that stage in life. 
I wasn’t popular.
But, my friends were.

El was nominated for most talented (she should have gotten it!).
Cat was Prom Queen.
And Sand? Well, she was nominated year after year from Class Favorite to Most Beautiful and every possibility in between!

I was their friend.

I was really only interested in seeing them (and a couple of old boyfriends), but knew if I went to the reunion they would be much too busy to really visit. And…life hasn’t been so pleasant the past few years. I find it difficult not to tell the truth, so it’s best if I stay away from places where no one is expecting reality.

However, thankfully, my three friends wanted to get together.

I wouldn’t return El’s calls — shame does that to a person — so she came to find me on Saturday afternoon. She drove to the house where I lived last time she came to town and found me, literally, in the middle of my mess, trying to sort out my life. Yet, as gracious and wonderful as I’ve always known her to be, this time she came in and sat with me as I began to unfold parts of my story…tears flowing…

She listened.
She loved me.
And she asked me to come to Cat’s house for a get-together…

On Monday evening we met at Cat’s new home.
We had a lovely dinner and talked waaaaaaaaaaay past midnight,
catching up on thirty years of time spent apart.

It’s Wednesday and I can’t quit thinking about that evening. What has made our friendship last…even after not talking with Sand for thirty years? El and I talk about every five years. Cat and I have had intermittent visits. Why do we keep seeking out one another?

I’m probably the most dysfunctional of us all.
Well, to be perfectly honest, I shouldn’t even say “the most.”
I AM the dysfunctional one!
But. They love me. I don’t get it, but they do.

It’s really weird. It hasn’t been a constant time of sharing over the years, but whenever we have a chance it’s like we’ve never parted. We’re those four girls rooming together on choir tour, talking waaaaaay past “lights out!” Them sharing their wonderful lives (from my perspective) and me, still needing to be heard.

And finally, feeling heard…

I don’t want to be plastic.
It’s good to have friends.

The Pygmalion Effect


I don’t feel proud…anymore.  I may look it (been told that my whole life), but I don’t feel it.  I think the proud look comes from charm school.  😯

You laugh? 
I’m serious.  😐

I can’t remember how old we were.  I think I was eleven and my sister was twelve.  I believe it was before junior high…?  No, I was not a debutante, but my mom did want us to learn how to sit, stand, and walk properly. I remember learning introductions, table settings, and proper gift-giving etiquette. Actually, I didn’t mind charm school. It was only a couple of weeks during the summer and I was very much a girly-girl. But, my sister…I think she hated it.

And yes, this was the old “Pygmalion effect” at its best. High expectations for high achievement. It worked. My sister and I are very high achievers. Another glimpse into our performance-oriented upbringing. Another way to measure ourselves from the outside.

Of course, these things aren’t wrong as far as making a good first impression goes or when needing to be on stage.  But to live life this way…to believe the outside is more important than taking care of the inside…again…self-righteousness…duty before devotion…

Some say (how’s that for being vague?)… Some say growing up in a performance-based religion is the root of many nervous/depressive conditions.  A toxic faith poisons the spirit. 

“All of us would like to enjoy a healthy spiritual life. But the sad truth is that many of us, and many churches today, are barren because of hazardous additives. We have believed a different gospel—one laced with legalism, performance-based religion and salvation by works—when Christ alone is our only source of life.

Jesus Himself referred to these toxins as “the leaven of the Pharisees” (Luke 12:1). He told us that the Pharisees’ brand of religion, which looked good on the outside, was deadly—and contagious.

Have you been infected? You can take your own pH test by examining these…characteristics of a religious spirit.

~A religious spirit views God as a cold, harsh, distant taskmaster rather than an approachable, loving Father. When we base our relationship with God on our ability to perform spiritual duties, we deny the power of grace. God does not love us because we pray, read our Bibles, attend church or witness, yet millions of Christians think God is mad if they don’t perform these and other duties perfectly. As a result they struggle to find true intimacy with Jesus.

~A religious spirit places emphasis on doing outward things to show others that God accepts him. We deceive ourselves into believing that we can win God’s approval through a religious dress code, certain spiritual disciplines, particular music styles or even doctrinal positions.

~A religious spirit develops traditions and formulas to accomplish spiritual goals. We trust in our liturgies, denominational policies or man-made programs to obtain results that only God alone can give.

~A religious spirit becomes joyless, cynical and hypercritical. This can turn a home or a church completely sour. Then, whenever genuine joy and love are expressed, this becomes a threat to those who have lost the simplicity of true faith.

~A religious spirit becomes prideful and isolated, thinking that his righteousness is special and that he cannot associate with other believers who have different standards. Churches that allow these attitudes become elitist—and dangerously vulnerable to deception or cult-like practices.

~A religious spirit develops a harsh, judgmental attitude toward sinners, yet those who ingest this poison typically struggle with sinful habits that they cannot admit to anyone else. Religious people rarely interact with nonbelievers because they don’t want their own superior morals to be tainted by them.

~A religious spirit persecutes those who disagree with his self-righteous views and becomes angry whenever the message of grace threatens to undermine his religiosity. An angry religious person will use gossip and slander to assassinate other peoples’ character and may even use violence to prove his point. Jesus, in fact, warned His disciples: “There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he’s doing God a favor” (John 16:2, The Message).”  ~J. Lee Grady

Still working on peeling back the layers of legalism…

A Safe Place


It’s Thursday.  That means Celebrate Recovery Step Study Group.


Don’t get me wrong.  I love going.  It is the highlight of my week.  I’m part of an amazing group of women who have chosen to vulnerably share their lives with me.  And vice versa.  We can talk about the deepest stuff we’re enduring and no one tries to “fix” anybody.  Mind you, we pray for one another, but we leave the work of the Holy Spirit to the Holy Spirit. 

Following the guidelines from scripture, we bear one another’s burdens, confess our sins to each other, and pray for one another.

And we do the deep, deep, deeeeeeeeep work of looking at our lives.  Inside and out.

We’re on the fourth step of the twelve-step program: 
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Which corresponds to the fourth principle in Celebrate Recovery:  Openly examine and confess my faults to God, to myself, and to another person whom I trust. “Happy are the pure in heart”

It’s the dreaded step.  The hardest one for most.  To actually look at all the events of your life and come to grips with what you have done, and what’s been done to you.  To get all the hurts out on paper, leaving nothing behind.  It’s tough stuff.

It means getting completely honest with yourself.  And to be perfectly clear, not many people want to do that.  It’s much easier to blame others than to look at yourself.  It’s much easier to stay in denial and pretend we’re victims, rather than realize how we may have victimized.

To take responsibility for my own part.

It doesn’t sound like it would be the highlight of my week.  But it is.  It is the most freeing time.  To be in a group of people who are doing the hard work of the body.  Sticking with one another through the toughest stuff.  Not walking away but coming alongside.  To encourage and build up each other through His Spirit working among us.  

To share without judgment. 
To be loved even when we’re unlovely.
To give compassion when most of us have only felt condemnation.

The church lived out.

Yaaaaay!!  It’s Thursday. 

If you could use a safe place to work out your crud, you might want to look for a Celebrate Recovery group.  It’s not just for the addict.  It’s for the Body.