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Then BOOM! Just Like That…

We work, we plan, we pray, we play, and then…BOOM! just like that, life changes. You don’t foresee it. Never planned for it. And certainly have no real idea what to do with it. You just receive it from the hand of God. That’s where we are at right now.

Our troubles are light and momentary. My husband and I really believe that. Which makes hardship bearable, but not pleasant. It makes you hopeful because the One whose hand dealt it out, is a good hand – a trustworthy hand that our names are written on. So we rest or at least strive to rest.

My husband was pretty healthy (rarely got sick and had no known diseases), hard-working, leading, teaching, and doing. Then BOOM! just like that he’s in the hospital with so many things wrong with him the doctors don’t know what to do.

He gets out after 8 days with a pharmacy full of meds to live and a life vest on to make sure if he goes into sudden cardiac death that he has a chance to be revived so we can make it to the hospital. We thought life would return back to it’s normal rhythm quickly. Then BOOM! just like that his eyesight gets worse (from strokes and diabetes), we see he cannot drive for long periods of time (his job), he can’t look at a computer screen for long periods of time (computer guy by trade), and he can only do so much before being completely exhausted.

What is the next step?

Frankly, we do not know for certain. So we take it one day at a time, praying, planning,  and working on what we can moment by moment, coming to God for what we need.

As I was thinking today about our family, church ministry, and neighborhood ministry, it is striking how much and how fast that is changing.

He is finishing out his term as a shepherd in our church…BOOM! huge change.

New next door neighbors. The kind that broke into a boarded up house,smoking crack, acting crazy (some believing themselves to be aliens from another planet), causing us to be more vigilant than usual. BOOM! change.

My husband is home way more. I do most of the driving. Doctors appointments and blood draws are constant. We have “older” children….need I say more? BOOM! major change.

How do I, as a wife, mother, servant, neighbor, friend, adorn the gospel in such a way that Christ is made much of in the midst of several major changes at once?  When his limitations and my limitations are so clear? When weakness and need are all that seems to exist at this moment and time?

I remember.

Remember my God who has no limits.

Remember my God who did not spare his own son but willingly gave him up.

Remember that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness.

Remember that an eternal weight of glory awaits.

Remember that I have been born again to a living hope.

Remember that the Holy Spirit is keeping an eternal inheritance for me in heaven.

Remember that though all things in this life can be taken away, nothing and nobody can touch what is mine in Christ.

Remember that every good and perfect gift comes from my God who does not change.

Then, BOOM! live!

Love (Philos) my husband.

Intentionally develop affection and friendship and intimacy in every way I can as unto the Lord.

Drive him to appointments gladly for the Lord.

Pray for him consistently.

Hold him tight as often as possible.

Help him serve others in our church and in our hood. (Even if it doesn’t look like it has in the past).

Encourage him as a father.

Love (Philos) my children.

Cultivate faithful tenderness in my words to them.

Spend time laughing with them.

Work alongside them.

Correct them with the Word.

Confess sin to them.

Bring them in on some of our plans.

Keep teaching them even when I think they aren’t hearing it.

Serve my church in whatever way possible.

Keep our table open.

Pray earnestly.

Come alongside the mission and vision whenever and wherever we possibly can-together.

Submit.

Forgive.

Forebear.

Hope all things.

Believe all things.

Keep lovin’ our neighbors.

Visits have been a little less frequent, but we are committed to neighboring with gospel intentionality. With my husband’s new limitations and frequency at home we can possibly do more together!

I must live as one who has received this from the very hand of God-because I have. Our limits and weakness are set by him and with them we must be content and find our happiness and worth in him alone!

It is a fight of faith to rest in His goodness- so we fight. We rest in His strength and boast in our weakness to make much of Him!

 

 

 

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Posted by on June 21, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Perfect Courtesy, Meet My Hood

Sunday we were challenged from Titus 3to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. All because of the goodness and loving kindness of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

So, perfect courtesy, meet my hood….

“I’m moving this afternoon”, she said as I opened the door. We knew it was coming. This woman lives in the drug house next door. Everyone has been evicted. There are rumors that the house will be boarded up soon. The realization that this could be it with her sink in at her words. One more ride. One more conversation. One more chance.

I thought to myself, as hard as we have worked to love, honor, and care for this particular neighbor; we do not seem to have had much of an effect on her life. We pray over her and proclaim the gospel in faith that the Holy Spirit would use it to enlighten her darkened mind and transfer her from the domain of darkness into his marvelous light. We invite her in and feed her, encourage her to dress and bathe,and take her to get her medication every week. And…nothing.

God has not used us to bring about reconciliation in her relationship to God, herself, others, and the rest of creation through Jesus. God doesn’t need me or my family to do that. ( We do want to be found faithful when our gracious master returns, though.)He may use someone else, or another gospel-centered church. But God has used her to change us.

Our sense of urgency to proclaim God’s truth has increased significantly. We see that time here on earth is limited and our time with people is limited. Another friend and neighbor recently died. My own husband was on the brink of death recently and is still at risk for sudden cardiac death. The truth that it is appointed for man to die once and then face judgement is in our face.  This particular neighbor is still not in her right mind and is addicted to drugs- her life is always hanging in the balance. There is nothing on any of our calendars that marks the day of our death. God has marked it. Our only hope is that God really did make him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  Because of this we keep speaking, living, and loving.

Our compassion has grown over the past year. Our eyes were opened up more to the reality of broken and sick minds-people held hostage mentally. Our hearts are more knit toward them and we have an increasing desire to see them cared for and taught the word of God. Through her God brought forth clarity on the biblical truth that only the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit can break the bonds that enslave that mind.

Conviction over sin is growing. We have been confronted with ways we fall short of treating all people with honor and dignity. I’ve rolled my eyes more than once,laughed at her expense a time or two, and felt irritated at her knock from time to time. Jesus isn’t like that with me. I cast myself on his mercy and am grateful that I am covered in his righteousness.

Through this woman we are being taught to treat all people with dignity and honor in the name of Jesus whether they respond to it or not, because she has given us daily – even hourly practice.

She has been God’s kindness to us in training our children how to care about people who cannot pay you back, are not thankful, and are so different from you it hurts when you remember you bear the same image and at the same time reflects back to you what your heart really looks like to God apart from the life transforming power of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.

For the last time, at least for now, I gave her a ride, I prayed over her, I pleaded with her to believe the gospel, poured a cup of coffee, and sent her on with some left overs. Her social worker will come and take her out of the neighborhood. Permanently or not, I don’t know. But I pray that God will lavish his grace on her,that her captive mind will be set free, and that she will find herself among God’s people wherever she goes who will treat her the way he has treated them- in the words of John Calvin with a “gratuitous grace.”

…Of course, I could be having the same conversation with her tomorrow, because this whole moving thing could all be in her head.

Either way, I pray that God keep teaching me and my family to show perfect courtesy to all people because of the mercy he has shown us in his first appearing and in light of his glorious future appearing.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Sweet little girl,I Like, Really Believe This

Last week I was teaching about Jesus healing the woman bleeding and bringing a dead little girl to life. I love it! I get excited at the prospect of having the privilge of teaching that Jesus is the Messiah- the One promised to save his people from their sin. I love teaching through a passage like this where God the Son displays his power over sickness, sin, and death. When I have to work through it to teach to little ones, I have to ruminate in it, and consider its implications in my own life. It is a beautiful gift given to me to be able to do this. And last week was special. For the first time the k- 2nd grade group asked lots of questions, not your standard raise the hand because I’ve just been waiting this whole time to tell you something, but questions about what it means to believe in Jesus, why get baptized and what is baptism(not sure where that one came from that day), how do we know it’s true, and so on.

Then one little girl raised her hand and asked,” Have you seen God and were you there when Jesus was here because, like, you REALLY believe this?” The question was genuine and filled with excitement.

I was struck by how she expressed it and rejoiced that I know this is true and that I was able to communicate it in that way.

It set me into self examination this whole week. I do really believe this. I believe the Bible to be an accurate,God-breathed, living and active, historical document. I believe what it says. And though I have not seen Jesus in physical form, I believe I will see him face to face someday. I have tasted forgiveness and life. His spirit testifies with my spirit it is true. I believe scripture that says,……

1 Corinthians 15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

But do I? Do I, like, really believe this?

The Jesus who simply took a little girls hand who was dead and said, “little girl get up”, is still raising the dead to life. He is still making those dead in sin alive to God through the proclaiming of his gospel. We speak it in his name and people wake up and follow Jesus!

If I believe this my lips would flap more.

I’d parent in faith, not fear. If this is true then I can faithfully rebuke, correct, train, and teach the bible to my teenager boldly. I can bring the death and resurrection of Jesus and call him to repent, to believe, to trust in his saving work and follow him. I have hope because I can’t make them follow Jesus but God’s living and active word can bring them to the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us. If I believe, I won’t give up on the most difficult of my children, nor will I coast by with my easiest. I believe in the one who raises people to life and who healed a woman instantly when in faith she touched the hem of his robe. So I need to parent hard, parent long, parent in hope and reap a harvest at home.

If I really believe, I’ll look at the woman next door to me who is both manipulative and straight up outta her mind walking around the street topless and sometimes bottomless,who rarely knows what day or time it is and is sent home to come back when we are actually awake- with hope and compassion. I’ll let her sit at the table with us even though our noses burn with the strong smell of urine and my house wreaks of it well after she’s gone,simply because she was created in the image of God and Jesus saves! He has power over sickness(even of the mind), sin, and death! If he can speak the world into existence, say Lazarus come out and he does, days after he’s been rotting in a tomb, touched lepers and they became clean, and turn a persecutor of the church into who we believe to be the greatest of the Apostles – the one who says , “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation”- he can put this image bearer next door to me in her right mind, resurrect her dead heart to rise forth and follow him. I am free to love her and speak God’s word to her in faith.

If I believe, I will keep calling the children and families in my neighborhood to Jesus,and keep driving my big old van down the street each Wednesday to gather children to church, and bring them on Sundays to be knit to Gods people and hear the gospel again and again in faith.

I can love my brother’s and sister’s in Christ and faithfully build into my church in faith that we are being built into our head, Jesus, together.

Sweet little Girl, I like, really believe this!

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Word-Soaked Mamas

I love this illustration. It is so helpful to me and I hope helpful for any mama’s reading this.

Mama’s, I know that as one who is in Christ you want your babies to know Jesus, you want them to love him, you want them to follow him. You pray and beg God to intervene and save your little ones or your not so little ones. But, how are you going to lead them to him?

I think of the story from the life of Timothy from the Bible. He is a young elder who has been discipled by Paul the great apostle. Two letters are written to him from Paul. And this stands out to me in the second letter:

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

We get a glimpse into Timothy’s childhood. It is revealed that he learned these things from his mother and grandmother and it lead him to faith in Jesus.

Mama’s, do you know God’s word like that? Does it drip off your tongue when you are lying down, when you sit at the table, and when you walk by the way….or drive through the Mickey D’s drive thru to get that big beautiful 1 dollar coffee on a rough day?

Does God’s word guard your heart and control your tongue when your beloved teenager is having a real struggle with his attitude and you for real just want to punch him in the gut with your words or worse, wish you could wring his neck with your hands?

Does God’s word keep you in perfect peace because it stays your mind on God as you face an arduous day filled with unexpected drama and heartache after a sleepless night with a fussy baby or sick toddler?

Does God’s word transform your mind and heart as you look at your house that looks totally trashed by mid morning?

It will only be that way if we actually pick our Bible’s up, or open up that app, or listen to the Bible read to us from our device as we fold that 15th load of laundry. It will be that way if we make every effort to be workman who need not be ashamed studying God’s word in faith that this is how the Holy Spirit works in us conforming us to the image of Jesus.

In being saturated in the word, we saturate our children in the word, and in that, we lead them to the Living Word.

So Mama’s, don’t let lack of sleep, a busy schedule, and bad day keep you from your source of life to be able to bring eternal life to your children. We cannot feed our children and lead them to eternal life and live in light of eternal truth if we are not feeding ourselves.

I know it’s hard. I know what a sleepless night or several looks like and feels like. I know that life is busy and messy. But, time filled with God’s word is worth the sacrifice. God’s word is living and active, it is what God the Holy Spirit uses to cast light on our own sin and bring conviction so that we can confess, repent, and return to God in it. It is what encourages us and spurs us on to growth in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is what nourishes us and gives us strength to obey. It instructs us as to how to live and what to obey and what to forsake. And it spotlights Jesus and leads to us him over and over and over again.

So ladies, it’s worth rubbing the sleep out of our eyes and opening up our Bibles, or our Bible app, or listening to Max McLean read to us. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t love to hear Max McLean or James Earl Jones read the Bible?https://i1.wp.com/girlspotblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/bibleapp.jpg

It may take laying your Bible open on the kitchen counter to the spot you are reading in. It may mean you walk while you read, or listen while you shower.

Instructing your children may mean sacrificing extra curricular activities. It may mean doing what my husband does rounding up 6 crabby kids and a crabby wife bright and early in the morning to sit around the table to read God’s word and pray together. It’s not always fun and you won’t always feel like it, but you know that in the word Jesus is found, life is given, and you are able to interpret the world around you from God’s view. It is so worth it.

Mama’s, too often my words are dripping with sarcasm, criticism, and complaining. I’m banking on 1 John 1:9 – totally banking on it! Remembering, and knowing, and experiencing 1 John 1:9 makes me want God through his word more. And you know what? I really am seeing it transform my mind, my heart, and my words.

Mama’s, get intentionally word-soaked.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Risky Business

Hebrews13:12-13 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.

This passage flashed through my mind several times when reading David Platt’s book, Counter Culture: Following Christ in an Anti-Christian Age.

Following Christ-real gospel life, is risky business.Counter Culture, Softcover edition  -     By: David Platt

God’s people are blood bought. We have been given new life in his name. And this is given apart from any good work or good thing in and of ourselves. It is an utter and complete work of sovereign grace in our lives. As Colossians puts it, we have died with him and have been raised with him and are new creations. Ephesians tells us we were dead and now we are alive. It says we were children of wrath -children of disobedience and now we are children of obedience.

This means we have been graciously given new affections and a brand new allegiance. We no longer walk according to the course of this world and the principles of this age. In the power of the Spirit we align our lives fully and completely with the will and way of God. This is a miracle we cannot manufacture in ourselves, but a gift graciously and lavishly given to us by God through his Son by the work of his Spirit. And it came at great cost to his Son and will cost us in this life.

That is what this book is all about. The risk or the cost of following Christ our Savior rather than the course of this world. Platt says it like this, “…risk is what this book is all about. This book is about encouraging and equipping followers of Christ to counter the culture around us, even when that inevitably and inescapably means cost in the culture around us.”

If our lives are in line with the gospel, they will look totally different from the world. We will look more like Jesus, and the world hated Jesus and it still hates Jesus. So it will hate us too.

Platt breaks his book up into 10 chapters and they are all incredibly gospel-centered and word-driven. In fact, each chapter is labeled, the Gospel and…..

The Gospel and Culture.

The Gospel and Abortion.

The Gospel and Poverty.

The Gospel and Orphans and Widows.

The Gospel and Sex Slavery.

The Gospel and Marriage.

The gospel and Sexual Morality.

The Gospel and Ethnicity.

The Gospel and Refugees.

The Gospel and Religious Liberty.

These chapters are filled with the glorious good news of the person and saving work of Jesus and filled with scripture giving us God’s view on each of these things.

He ends each chapter with how to pray to God,how to participate with God, and what truth to proclaim from God’s word in regard to these things. It is theology with hands and feet.

This book is a rich equipping tool and a very clear call to follow Jesus whatever it costs. And it is guaranteed to cost us something. Aligning our thinking, affections, actions, and words with the gospel-with God’s word is going to put us outside the camp with Jesus.

I think this will happen in three areas in particular here in America. Whatever church and people hold tightly to biblical views in sexuality, marriage, and abortion, and faithfully proclaim truth in these areas, will suffer just as God says we will. Only the true church will stand because it will be too costly in our personal lives to boldly proclaim the truth in these areas and live them out loud in our society.

We may be applauded for our views on sex slavery, refugees, and ethnicity-what holds us back in these areas is that it will cost us our idols of comfort, money,and the American dream, but it most likely will not bring on persecution. The three I mentioned above are the real hot buttons in our society that have far reaching consequences. But we must not waver because we are not of this world and this is no longer our kingdom. We are citizens of another kingdom-one that shall not be shaken and never ends.

This book did 3 things for me.

1.Built clearer conviction in all 10 areas he deals with based on God’s word,

2. Stirred me to pray deeply with groanings that I cannot explain, for myself, my family, my church, and this nation.

3.Has become a tool in engaging my children, brothers and sisters in Christ, and neighbors in discussions on these subjects.

This is a must read for those who claim to follow Christ in an age that is increasingly anti-Christian.

For me, it has become a much needed parenting tool in instructing my children as to what God says about these very real issues in our time and culture, and helps me in encouraging them to live boldly in light of the gospel.

May we be found faithful because we see the glory in bearing the shame of being counted too much like Jesus-the one who bought us with his own blood.

Following Christ is risky business. Proclaiming the gospel and living God’s truth leads to risking, as Platt put it,”family, future,relationships, career, and comfort in this world.” But it’s not near as risky as gaining a world that is passing away quickly and losing out on eternal joy with our eternal savior in his eternal kingdom.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Loose Lips and Devoted Life

Imagine lips being loosed and boldly proclaiming Jesus the Christ crucified for sin-your sin, bearing it in your place. You hear that you must repent. You must turn from your evil ways. You must be saved and Jesus is the only one who can do it and you just killed him. An unjustified death at your hands. You are taken through history. You are shown without apology that Jesus is the Messiah. He is the promised One. He laid His life down on His own initiative for your sake to bring those far away and screaming “crucify Him!” near to God.

Imagine there are people from all over the world gathered in your city and much to your shock there are people speaking in the native tongue of all these tribes, tongues, and nations that surround you that shouldn’t be able to speak like that.
Imagine that you are cut to the quick and all you can do is repent and follow Jesus the one who was promised and you crucified. You’ve heard reports that he appeared to many. You doubted, but no more. You were standing there with your sin, your treason, and your Messiah-killing straight up in your face. You cannot escape what the Holy Spirit came to to do: convict, convince and empower you to follow Jesus.

This isn’t just an emotional and mental response. This is beyond you. You were dead, but now you are alive. You were blind, but now you can see. You were rescued and your whole mind, heart, affections, and allegiances changed in one fell swoop.

And so the Church was born.

You became a people, both Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, young and old. There was extreme devotion. You know, the radical, inconceivable, odd, and utterly faithful kind of devotion. You were compelled to devote yourself to the Apostles teaching. You and your people, this new community couldn’t help yourselves; you hung onto every word. You examined and talked and praised and longed and loved and held tightly to every word. And, together, you believed it, trusted it, and did what that teaching demanded. And you did it freely and gladly whatever it cost. You were entirely devoted to each other. Rich, poor, young , old, Jew, foreigner, slave, free man, male, female, it didn’t matter; you were of one heart and of one mind, fully, completely following Jesus because of what He had done and His promise to return. You were one new man. Nobody had anything he kept to himself. You shared everything. It was incredible. There were no needs among this new man, this new community of Jesus followers. You went from house to house eating together and sitting under teaching together. Those outside of that community were in awe. It was crazy. They saw your deep devotion to this Jesus, to his teachings, and to each other ,so they marveled at the kind of love and devotion they witnessed, and they began to repent and believe as well. You looked around and it seemed like this thing could not be contained. Together you prayed day and night. You all knew you were utterly dependent on the grace of God poured out on you through His crucified and risen Son and through the helper who was promised, God the Holy Spirit who seemed to be opening mouth after mouth in gospel proclamation and warning, and opening heart after heart to believe and be saved and added to this deeply devoted community.

The Church was wild and untamed because the Holy Spirit blew wherever He wished causing people to be born again to a living hope.
The Church was marked by deep and abiding devotion to the Apostles teaching, to one another (radical self-sacrificing love), and to prayer.

Jesus followers were following Jesus together in real and tangible ways. This was not a mere emotional or mental assent. This was the result of the dead made alive, of the old made new, of those far off brought near to God and near to one another.
It was not without cost though. You saw emboldened, gospel-proclaiming friends stoned. You saw family members dragged off and flogged. Several in your community were in prison. Yet, people’s souls were being added, and those flogged, imprisoned, and stoned were rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for the Lord Jesus who was crucified and raised. This was deep devotion not born of man but of God.

But wait,you don’t have to imagine. This is not dream. This is recorded for us. The Holy Spirit was promised. As Jesus ascended into heaven He told his disciples that He would be with them to the end of the age and that they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, and Judea, and Samaria and throughout the whole earth.

God the Spirit is still loosening the lips of people to speak the good news and warn people to repent and follow the crucified and risen Jesus. And through that proclamation hearts are still being cut to the quick and producing deeply devoted Jesus followers.
This, my friends, is what gives me confidence to keep speaking the truth. I cannot stop proclaiming the truth to my children. I know what the Gospel promises to produce. I have no power to save them-the gospel does. This is why I will keep telling it when I sit on the porch, walk around the neighborhood, or sit at the table over coffee. It’s why I am unfazed by the gangster rap blaring and people twerking in the yard, beer in hand. I ain’t got the power, but the gospel has the power. It’s why I want to connect my neighbors to the church. It is why serving a meal, teaching some math, playing some educational games, and playing tag with the kids in CTKC’s Wednesday children’s ministry is good, but not enough. It is why we proclaim the gospel week in and week out. It is why I stick with my church when things aren’t going my way, because I am hearing the gospel proclaimed and taught week after week. I trust that God will make a name for Himself as He faithfully builds His Church. It won’t be stopped. It can’t be stopped. Not the true Church, anyway. The institutionalized Church, the people who play church as long as it is safe and comfortable, and easy and inclusive; that won’t last. But the Spirit-born, deeply-devoted people of God will. Because they belong to God and He will do it. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. And people from every tribe, tongue, and nation will continue to be added to it. Why? Because He said so.

So, there is no way I am going to keep my mouth shut, my door closed, and my table empty when there are stories like the above in the Bible. No way! He has created a whole new man and He isn’t done. There are men, women, and children in Kenosha who are His and He is going to use His deeply-devoted people to call them out. I don’t see it vaguely. These are not faceless, nameless sheep. They are the men next door, the lady across the street, the whole street a block or two away swarming with children that I play with, listen to them sing , tell their stories, and watch their dance routines. They are the people I cry with, and laugh with, and drink really sickening sweetened coffee with. These are the children who come to church with me every Wednesday evening: faces, names, real souls. Some of these faces may have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life. I know they will hear their shepherd’s voice when he calls, and he just might call them through me. And it won’t be a vague calling. It will be a deep, abiding, and radical, life-transforming, devoted call to Jesus, the crucified and risen Savior.

No need to imagine it. Live it. Because the same Holy Spirit alive and active then, is alive and active now. The one new man He was building then, He is building now. And He is still doing it through the preaching of repentance and faith in the crucified and risen Jesus.

He is still loosening lips and freeing hearts and making them deeply and radically devoted to Him.

 

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Words:What’s the Big Deal?

Sitting around the dining room table late one night , which is the place many conversations happen, words became the topic of the night.

What’s the big deal about this word?

What’s the big deal about that word?

Do your words really matter?

When you reach parenting children in the teen years you think that the late nights are over …. you are wrong. Dead wrong.

If you think, dear sister, that later in life parenting is going to be easy because you are no longer elbow deep in diaper changing and you no longer spend half your days disciplining a toddler, you are wrong. Dead wrong.

If you think that if you are faithful and parent well now in the little years means you will breeze through parenting later….well, it definitely builds a firm and lasting foundation that is a fruit of faithfulness (it’s a good fruit that you should desire),but there is no breezing through it. Sorry!

You will be in this sort of delightful, crazy, sanctifying, bitter-sweet parenting haze. But, don’t worry, God’s word gives clarity!

I have great kids who are also sinners. They are young. They are human. They live in a confusing world.

Parenting can get a little wild.

You need Jesus.

You need gospel.

You need God’s word close at hand, embedded deep in your heart,and to have it flowing out into your life screaming, “This is life, this is truth, this is the only way.”

So words, what’s the big deal?

Instead of getting into a list of words and why we can or cannot say them, we zeroed in on, do words matter to God ? And what do words accomplish? What is their purpose?

Words expose.

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

The lips of the wise spread knowledge;not so the hearts of fools Proverbs 15:7

 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.  For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.  If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.  Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.  So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,and set on fire by hell.For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,  but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?  Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. James 4:1-12

What we say tells a lot about us. Words do not just slip out. Words reveal our hearts. Words expose us for who we are.

Words are judged.

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matthew 12:36-37

This is a reality. God isn’t playing around. He isn’t joking. He never says later,”Now, now, I’m not really going to judge your words, I was just trying to freak you out.” This should drive us to Jesus. This should make people who are born by the Spirit and made new creations,cling tightly to the finished work of Jesus on the cross,and confess and repent quickly and consistently. It should have a purifying effect as we are being molded and shaped into the image of Jesus. We should see our words reflecting hearts that are being transformed by the renewing of our mind in Christ.

Words have an effect.

 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

A soft answer turns away wrath,but a harsh word stirs up anger Proverbs 15:1

A gentle tongue is a tree of life ,but perverseness in it breaks the spirit Proverbs 15:4

 Our words are clearly meant to influence and affect those around us.

We should be asking what effect do my words have?

How are they influencing others to think and live?

Was what I said useful?

Did my words give clarity to a situation?

Who or what do my words point to?

Remember that all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.

If my words just benefit me and help me feel a certain way or be satisfied with the way I express myself, then did I really use my words in the way God has intended?

So, we did not give our teenagers a bunch of “good” words and “bad” words.

Here’s the barometer we asked them to use.

Do my words reflect the fruit of the Spirit?

When I speak am I seeing growth in patience? Love? Kindness?

Are my words faithful?

Do they reflect self-control?

Is joy being expressed?

Are my words gentle/useful?

Are they words that bring or reflect peace?

Then conviction came raining down.

I had to take a good hard look at myself. My words can be loose-careless. My words can be hurtful. My words can be unloving. They have often had a tone of impatience and a sense of agitation. My words at times have been too many.

Motherhood is sanctifying.

The gospel -the good news that Jesus died to save His people from their sins is precious.

My words matter.

Our words are a big deal.

Our Savior is a bigger deal.

His grace is greater than our sin. Hallelujah!

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you,Oh Lord!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2017 in Uncategorized