Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's Not Just a Game

One of my brother's teenage friends just came in my room and asked me if a specific pick up line would work on a girl.

"A specific girl, or just any girl," I asked.

"Oh, any girl..." he said with a determination in his voice.

Nice.  I thought to myself.

First I told him the pick up line was completely cheesy and it would never work on me.  Then I thought about it and spoke the truth.

"But...girls are stupid and any girl you send that to will be eating out of your hand in less than 2 seconds."

He grinned and said he knew that would happen and that was the object of his plan anyways.

If you know me, you've heard this rant before.  Regardless, I feel like this is something everyone needs to hear, (mostly because I am an egocentric person probably, but oh well.)

GIRLS:  First of all you are stupid.  Second, it's not your fault you're stupid. Third, you are worth more.  Allow me to explain:
       Point one: I say you are stupid for very true reasons.  I've seen this happen in high school to beautiful popular girls, also in college from the sorority girls right down to the computer nerds, and now I've seen it happen to women in their 40's at night clubs.  The truth is your easy.  You are way way way to easy.  I'm not asking you to put on a front and "play hard to get,"  because that would still be "playing."  I want you to actually be hard to get because you deserve more, and better.  The lower we set the standards for men, the lower the effort they exert.  Example:  All a man has to do to win your affection is show you attention, tell you that you are pretty and ask for your number.  I know you are tempted to argue, but watch your heart, emotions, and actions the next time a guy walks up to you and 1. shows you attention, 2. pays you a compliment, and 3. makes a move forward.  Guarantee you the emotions will fly.  Why?  Because that's the heart of a woman and men (who aren't as stupid as you think) have figured that out and now use that to their advantage.  (See A Woman's Heart.)  This makes you "stupid" to put it bluntly, because you ask for a man to pursue you forever, you ask for a lifelong romance, a real strong man to lead you, a smart man, a steady man, etc.  Yet you fall for the player of players who knows the three tricks that disguise him as something he's not, yet still make your heart fall for him falsely.  (Study Proverbs 4:23.)

       Points two and three:  Why is it not your fault that you are stupid?  Because somewhere down the line, you never had it engraved in your head that you are valuable and worth fighting for.  Does your heart know that?  Yes. Which is why you fall for the compliment, the attention, and the pursuit (value.)  On the other hand, does your brain understand your value? No.  Or else you would see right through this player player and understand that you deserve a lot more than a compliment and an introduction to lure you into a man's presence.  Its up to you to take the journey of figuring out where you first heard this lie, (See What is Identity, and read: Lies Young Women Believe, Captivating, and Strong Women Soft Hearts.)  After you locate the lie, extinguish it with the Word of God.  When you study the Word and God's character, you understand how he designed you and what worth you have to him.  Daily entering into his presence and reminding yourself that can help you overcome the trap Satan throws at you through men.  God and only God can affirm your value.  I have linked a few blog posts to help you get started, but this is really a commitment you must make for yourself personally with the Lord.  (Read: Made in His Image, You're Beautiful, and God's Love For You.)

I close my lecture to the girls by saying this:  Don't give a guy your heart because he took three seconds out of his day to look at you.  The fact is, you aren't the first girl he's laid eyes on, and you won't be the last.  I care about your heart and God does far more than we can even imagine.  It's the most intimate part of you, and it doesn't deserve to be spread around like an epidemic to little boys who don't know the care and love it truly deserves.  "Above all else, guard your heart...for from it everything flows."  That's a pretty big command, but I see it as the most essential in preserving your womanhood.

(To be continued..)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Transform Your Mind, Christian

Romans 12:2
"Be transformed by the renewing of your mind..."

One of my friends posted this as her status a few days ago:
"My identity is inescapable. My destiny is an enormous desire of my heart. I long for what God has for me. I'll long for it more and more, as the time approaches. At just the right time, God will have all the pieces in place. He will send my leader to walk me into what He has called me to."


We have got to stop living like the world!

I'm not talking about drinking, cussing, sex, smoking or drugs.  Yes, those are bad and yes we are told not to do them.  But quit judging people for these things and look at your heart compared to God's!

For one big huge thing: STOP WORSHIPING MONEY!!
You do not have to base your life around the comfort of a fat income.  The Bible teaches all over to trust God FIRST, then he will provide absolutely everything you need..and THEN some!  Don't you know those O.T. stories by heart yet?  How many times did people get called into crazy scary things?  How many times did God come through for them?
God never that means that stuff still applies to us and still happens today!

That's not loving your neighbor, that's not thinking of other people's feelings.  That's not trusting God.  It's not being patient.  It's not focusing on the Lord, his will, or his Word.

You agree, yet how many of you can raise your hand and say you are in college right now to get a fancy job and find a mate?

How many of you can raise your hand and say you already did that?

Where was God let in on any of these plans?

Oh good, you prayed at the ceremony.  That's all the power he probably wants anyways...much less deserves. -_-

I only rant because I too have been guilty of these things. The truth is, God has called us to a much higher standard, and if we want His best for our life, we've got to let go and start trusting him.


You will never reach your destiny if you keep it in your hands.

Check out these lyrics from Kasey Musgrave's song, Merry Go Round:

Tiny little boxes in a row,
Ain't want you want it's what you know,
Just happy in the shoes you're wearin'.

Same checks we're always cashin',
To buy a little more distraction.

We often get so sucked into tradition and culture and everything else that we forget to ask God what he really wants for us.  We assume, thus missing out on some of life's greatest blessings.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lessons from Alan Watts

God puts passions into our hearts for a reason.

Satan has used the "love of money" to distract us from these passions, thus leading us into a life of slavery.  Slavery to money, slavery to our jobs, slavery to sin.
By doing this he wins.

He keeps us away from our families, away from our hearts, away from God's original design.

He distracts us from our purpose by danging security and money in front of our face [despite the fact that both are false and fleeting.]

But what matters in eternity.

God, God's men and the God's word last forever.

Nothing else.

How are you spending your life?

Are you satisfied?

Do you worship God through your occupation...
or do you worship money through it?

Perhaps God is calling your heart to do something else.
Something scary.
Something that doesn't promise money.'s what you're passionate about.

It's what you were born to do.

It's your destiny.

Will you do it?

Will you trust him?

Or are you too scared?

Would you rather just sit back and take the "safe" road.

...take life into your own hands.

Never mind his plans...yours are better.

More convenient.

Less humiliating.


Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight."

I'm not challenging you to be stupid.  I'm not challenging you to worship Satan.  I'm challenging to really, really look deep inside your soul and ask God what he created you to do.  Once you figure that out, ask yourself if you're doing it, and if not, why?
Perhaps you too have become a slave to society.

What would you do if no one was looking?

What would you do if your full trust was in God instead of money?

Paint, read, write, parent, dance, farm...?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Born To Fly

"But how do you wait for heaven,
and who has that much time?
And how do you keep your feet on the ground
when you know, you were born to fly."

I'm so excited and proud right now. One of my sheep has found her heart story.  Her God song.  Her calling.  Her place.  Her American Honey.

A few months back I had lots of posts about my heart, God, and jumping where he wanted me.  Certain close friends also got a 78 page book about this.  My point in all these ramblings was that God showed me what it's all about.  It's not about the money, society's view, or the popular choice.  It's not even about the easy choice.  It's about finding your God given desires and destiny and living straight from your heart by doing those matter what other people think or say!

Gosh this has been such a big thing this year.  I have relocated and changed my whole outlook on life because this Spring I learned what faith was.  I learned how amazing of an adventure God has planned for each and every one of our lives.

We all have an adventurous story and a boring story. Every one of us stand before a road of two paths...especially people my age--college and life decision making time!  We stand at the break in the woods.  We can turn one direction and dive head first into the dark and mysterious unknown, letting nothing but our faith in God lead us.  Every minute of every day is a surprise and there are absolutely no plans and no promises.  Trust in God with everything and he will provide above and beyond for you, leaving you breathless and excited.  

BUT, we also have the choice to turn in the opposite direction.  This is the common, easy, simple direction.  Most people have labeled it the "Duh" choice.  Why?  Because everyone else does it.  Our parents did it, and so did their parents, and so did their parents.  This choice leads us into a safe, convenient, comfortable life.  The biggest risk you'll ever take on this path is deciding to wear plaid underpants to bed instead of white ones.  You'll have all your appointments, housing preferences, finances, etc planned out for the next 1-5 years easily.  The big surprise will be a medical bill from a small accident that involved hanging pictures around the house.  Yes this choice is safe and easy, but deep down you'll always be miserable, hoping for something more.

Of course, I guess this is in essence, the Christian life.  Trust God and let go, or hang on for dear life and keep everything in your "control."  

I posted "Born to Fly" because it is my friend's heart song.  Tonight she kept saying this phrase, "I just don't know what it is about this song...or what it's supposed to mean..."

Sister, I'll tell ya exactly what it means.  It means God has put you at the end of a ledge and is giving you a great big option of choosing his way or their way. This song pulls on the strings of your heart because it says just that.  How do you keep your feet on the ground when you know you were born to fly?

How do you choose the everyday mundane lifestyle when you know God has something way better out there for you?

You don't.

You follow your heart and enter the promised land.  If God tells you to go, you go.  If he tells you to stay you stay.  

When the Lord speaks to you, you'll know it.  His voice is unmistakable.  At the same time, right after you hear his voice you should beware of your stupid thinking.  Over analyzing and thinking through God's command will leave you doubting, worried, and troubled over making this huge leap of faith.

Psalm 37:4
"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Matthew 6:33
"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all this will be added to you as well."

Matthew 22:37
"Love the Lord  your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment..."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Woman's Heart

" the heart of every woman you will find that she wants three things: to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty...most of our addictions as women flare up when we feel that we are not loved or sought after."
--from the book Captivating

 Psalm 45:11 "The King is enthralled by your beauty."

How many of you have ever felt unloved?  Are there any women in your life whom you look at instantly sense their dire need of attention?  Are they..or you..addicted to a secret sin?  Perhaps it's not because they are crazy.  Not because they want to be annoying, clingy, witchy, etc.  Perhaps it is because they have not once in their life felt loved and wanted.

Often times we are all too quick to judge the quirkiness of others.  At the same time, we are much to slow to diagnose the problems of our own addictions.

I've read Captivating, by John and Staci Elderedge five times in my life.  I am now starting and round six.  I love it.  It is and forever will be, my most favorite book.  It has changed and shaped my life over and over again.  Each time I read it I learn something new about women, myself, and God.  Did I mention I never reread books?

As I am reading it tonight...I can't help but stop and think of all the women in the world who feel unloved.  I think the truth is that most of these women are loved, but do they feel it?  That sounds like something very small and trivial, and of course it is something we (women) all downplay to excessive degrees.  In fact, if you were to ask most women if they felt unloved, I bet the majority wouldn't even admit it.  Why?  Because we are STRONG,  INDEPENDENT, Rosie the Rivoter type of women who wouldn't dare confess a need or a want, much less one that depends on a man.

I've asked a few married women in my life if they felt like their husband was leading them spiritually.  In both cases the women teared up and shook their head no, admitting to a lifetime of pain.  Now I sit and think of how many women--young, old, married, widowed, single--who walk around this life feeling unloved.  There must be millions!  What do they do?  How do they cope?  Superficial relationships with men?  Do some cover up the pain with cosmetics? Others might fill the void with food, alcohol or illegal substances even.  Then there are the select few that turn to the Lord and lean on him for their strength and fulfillment.  That of course works, but I know there still must be painful nights when those women need a strong pair of shoulders to lean upon and call "daddy" or "husband."

Please don't take this post as a bashing on the men in our lives.  There are many things women fail at too, and I would never put down men just to be mean.  I know 90% of the men I've met try very hard to be who they need to be for their women...I think they just don't know exactly what they need to do.  Anyhow, the point of my post is to point out the issue so that women and maybe even a few men, can understand more about the heart of a woman.  Once we understand a woman's heart, then we understand her hurts, and when we understand someone's hurts we understand their annoying habits.  Put all this together and you have a recipe that can only add up to help, healing, and freedom.

Think about it.  Every woman wants to be pursued by a man.  When we are little it's daddy, and when we grow older it's a man...but not just any man.  It's the man we can call husband.  I think many young women would argue that it doesn't have to be a husband that pursues them, but when you break it all down, it truly is.  Think of Jennifer Aniston's role in "He's Just Not That Into You."  She lives with a man she has dated for 7 years.  They love each other and are very faithful to one another, yet her heart aches and aches because he refused to marry her.  Why?  Because we are women and we were designed to be married, to be someone's helper, and to be the wife of a specific man God picked out for us.  Don't buy what I'm sellin'?  Read Genesis 2-4.

The heart of a woman screams commitment by a steady, faithful, forever man.  Daddy to husband, nothing in between or temporary.  Yet when we live too long without being pursued by one or the other we tend to get lost in the temporary pain-numbers many call "losers", or "bozos."  Ahh...this must be why we date.

Woa.  Did I just say that?   Can't wait to hear the controversial comments on that line. :)

Anyhow, I have a friend who loves his kids a whole lot.  He always says he's "taking them on an adventure." What adventure are ya'll going on today?  I'll ask him when I know he has a day off.  Oh, the zoo...a museum...mountain climbing...a strange restaurant.  He always replies with some fascinating answer and a jam-packed agenda for the day.

I love, love, love this action-packed form of fathering he has goin' for him. I told him the other day something he never even realized.  By keeping those kids in the middle of an adventure, you are doing them a huge favor.  When they grow up and become teenagers they won't have to rebel and look for adrenaline and excitement, because they will know in their hearts that their whole life has been an exciting adventure.  Why? Because Daddy showed them so.  He taught them how to live life to the fullest without sneaking out, experimenting with drugs, or doing harmful things to their body.

A woman wants to be a part of an adventure...with a forever man.

Life--with all it's surprises, demands and gifts--is definitely an adventure.  Facing the hard stuff head on is always a well-worth it challenge that definitely counts as adventure.  So men, lead us through it instead of running.  Women, trust that he will get you to the other side, hang on, and love every minute of the adrenaline-packed adventure.  I promise you, you won't be bored.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord..."
Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Unity starts with "U"

“I plead with Eudia and I plead with Syntche to agree with each other in the Lord.”
Philippians 1:2

In the Bible, Paul reminds us over and over again to have unity in the body of Christ.  This verse is one example of his heart on the issue.  He pleads with two women who are arguing.  He begs them to stop so that peace may fill the body again. 

This is just one tiny little fight, yet Paul (and GOD) made it a point to include it in the Holy Word of God for our instruction.  If this small issue was such a concern to the Lord, then what must he think of the fighting in the body that goes on now?  Church of Christ and Baptists can’t worship together.  Catholics and Pentecostals refuse to break bread together.  Everyone stick with your denomination and don’t wonder into anything else or you will be shunned.

Hmm…this doesn’t seem right to me.  Aren’t we supposed to all be in search of TRUTH that comes from the Word of God?  Ephesians 4:4-6 says, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”


Not several, not two, not hundreds. 

We are to be all one body of believers who function, act, and worship together in oneness.  Unity.

So you probably agree with me up to this point, right?  Well, what are you going to do about it?  How does this concern you personally?

“If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
Romans 12:18

As far as it concerns YOU.  Be at peace with all men.

Who do you judge for going to a different church?

Why is it a competition to see how many people we can fit in our pews versus how many are in the pews across the street??

That’s not love.  That’s not unity.  That’s business and numbers, jealousy and dissention.  Satan wins when we fight over numbers and people rather than fighting for each other and working toward the common goal of complete fellowship with God and ALL his people.

You have been brainwashed by society, and now you need to let the Word of God wash over your mind and cleanse it (Romans 12:2.)

Perhaps you don’t go to church because you are fed up with the fighting, the hypocrisy, and the judgment (much like my last few posts.)  Well in that case you need to know something very important.

There is no perfect church.

There are no perfect people.  No perfect worship service, nor pastor, nor doctrine.

We’re all broken and we’re all doing our best, yet we fall desperately short, including me.  Hebrews 10:25 tells us to not give up meeting together with other believers.  The book of Acts displays what the church should look like, and that is a body of people meeting together regularly to lift each other up closer to the Lord.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to encourage one another daily.  That means we all need a TIGHT group of close Christians to lift up and to lift us up.  Note: the verse says “daily.” 

Yes, that means it is a lifestyle.  Not a once a week social event.  Do you realize how much happens in a week?  What if Sunday you see Sally and she’s on top of the world in love with Jesus, but Wednesday she finds out her husband is having an affair and her kids are failing classes in school. 

Is she supposed to wait until Sunday to ask for prayer and encouragement?  Are you supposed to wait until the Sunday meeting to hold her hand as she cries and walk her through the situation at hand?

NO.  O course not, because by the next Sunday she will have done what we all seem to do oh so terribly well: stuff in down deep, smile, and keep going.  By doing that she gets no healing, no encouragement, and no help.  Satan wins again and the church keeps a squeaky clean image.  Everything’s fine.

Yet on the inside our hearts are breaking and our pews are slowly murdering us. 

We weren’t meant to live this way.  We were meant to live in community with other believers…despite the well known fact that THEY TO ARE HUMAN, and they too will hurt us and disappoint us, leaving us bruised and broken at times.  But they will also pick us up when we need it too.

How do we start this revolution?

One person at a time.  Be the Christian you want others to be.
Help people the way you want to be helped.


“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:32

Do not hold others to impossibly high standards and you won’t be held to the same judgment.  (Matthew 7:2.)

Love in spite of everything.  Love cancels out fears. (1 John 4:18.)  Love never fails.  Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13)

Have you been loving your neighbor lately?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Functioning as a Body

Christians don't know how to help Christians.

This is my new soap box topic.  I have talked to a few different friends about this lately.  They all agree.  These are strong, solid, God-seeking Christians I'm talking about.  They admit that they don't feel comfortable opening up at their churches and asking for support or forgiveness for sins...yet this is what the Bible asks of us.

Why do they feel this way?

Because an open moment with church family often turns into a gossip scandal or a hateful glare down the end of someone else's nose.

Then there are those who think they are helping when they offer advice from their own pocket book. "It's a shame you got caught up in that mess.  You know what the Bible teaches about those kinds of sins..I'll pray for God to help you."

But that isn't really helpful at all.  It's actually a nice way of judging and throwing the person off as someone else's problem, namely, God's.  However, the Bible teaches over and over again that we are to be the BODY of Christ.  His hands, his feet, his love.  The power to heal, raise up, forgive and anoint lies within us.  Jesus gave us that power when he sent us the gift of the Holy Spirit.  In fact, he said it is BETTER that we have the Holy Spirit because of all the power it bestows upon us.

So when people come in a vulnerable moment asking for prayer and help...there is a whole heck of a lot more we can and should be doing besides just throwing a verse at 'em and saying "I'll pray for you."  

No, we are called to walk them through the healing process.  Connect on their level.  Get to the root of the problem.  Why do you act this way?  What led you into that sin?  Where did the pain start?  What do you need to heal from?  How can I walk with you towards the comforting arms of Christ?

The book Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands really takes this idea and breaks it down into detailed steps.  I recommend reading it if you want to be a Christian that truly helps others.

It's more than just listening.  It's understanding.

It's moving closer to that person not only in spite of their sin, but in order to help walk them through it.  Ephesians 4:16, Romans 12:4, and Colossians 2:19 all speak of the role of the BODY.  We go through stuff together..not as individuals.

Ephesians 4:16
"From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

"Builds itself up in love."  In love.  

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast.
Love is not proud.
Love is not rude.
Love is not self-seeking.
Love is not easily angered.

Love keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil.
Love rejoices in truth.





Love never fails.  Love never gives up.

Where would you be if God gave up on you?  Where would you be if you were surrounded by a body of believers who walked with you through the sickness of your soul as well as the joy of your deliverance.

Forgive us world, for we aren't perfect, and we haven't done our job.  Forgive us church, for we aren't moving and breathing as we ought.  Lord, give us a second chance.

Psalm 34:18
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Monday, September 10, 2012

Another Beer and Jesus Post

So obviously my posts have been about the raw vulnerability of Jesus and how most of our churches miss that completely.  I've shared my thoughts about comparing bars to churches, and yesterday I hopped in my truck to hear this song for the first time.  It's called, "If I Could Have a Beer with Jesus."  The thought of having a beer with Jesus brings tears to my eyes.  I can't imagine the level of intimacy our talk would have.  Yeah, I talk to him throughout each day, and every morning before I leave my room, but He also wants the most intimate places of our hearts, the most excellent part of our day.  I don't drink every day, but like I said previously, sharing a beer with someone is a very special thing, and I think time with Jesus is about just that.

If I could have a beer with Jesus...I would tell him everything that was on my heart.

If I could have a beer with Jesus
Heaven knows I’d sip it nice and slow
I’d try to pick a place that ain’t too crowded
Or gladly go wherever he wants to go

You can bet I’d order up a couple tall ones
Tell the waitress put ‘em on my tab
I’d be sure to let him do the talkin’
Careful when I got the chance to ask

How’d you turn the other cheek
To save a sorry soul like me
Do you hear the prayers I send
What happens when life ends
And when you think you’re comin’ back again
I’d tell everyone, but no one would believe it
If I could have a beer with Jesus

If I could have a beer with Jesus
I’d put my whole paycheck in that jukebox
Fill it up with nothing but the good stuff
Sit somewhere we couldn’t see a clock

Ask him how’d you turn the other cheek
To save a sorry soul like me
Have you been there from the start
How’d you change a sinner’s heart
And is heaven really just beyond the stars
I’d tell everyone, but no one would believe it
If I could have a beer with Jesus

He can probably only stay, for just a couple rounds
But I hope and pray he’s stayin’ till we shut the whole place down

Ask him how’d you turn the other cheek
To save a sorry soul like me
What’s on the other side?
Is mom and daddy alright?
And if it ain’t no trouble tell them I said hi
I’d tell everyone but no one would believe it
If I could have a beer with Jesus
I’d tell everyone but no one would believe it
If I could have a beer with Jesus

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart..."
Proverbs 3:5

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bars, Jesus and Beer 2

I turned 21 at the beginning of the summer, and I have learned a wealth of information from sitting and working in the bars.  I’ve also learned the power of a beer.  First, I shall speak of the almighty beer.

My first six-pack of age, I split with my older cousin.  We had always been close, but never anything more than surface level for the most part. 

As soon as we popped the first top, all vulnerability sprung loose and the tears began to flow.  She spoke from her heart and for the first time in her life, she realized that I wasn’t just a Christian, I was a human, and I loved people and their problems.  She realized that we were more alike than we thought, and that mistakes mean nothing in God’s eyes.

It doesn’t always work with liquor, but something about beer connects people.  It says, “Hey, there is no judgment here.  We’re just two people drinking beer.  Everything we say is one hundred percent accepted and connected.” 

That’s the power of beer.

It never fails.  Every single time I have a beer with someone, I learn a little bit about their deepest fears and greatest hopes.  Many times I don’t even have to mention Jesus before they start pouring out their beliefs and desires for the Lord.  They tell me the gifts they have that they don’t know how to use, and how their mother cut them deep right after Sunday morning church.

I think there is something magical underneath that old metal top.  It’s like the Holy Spirit fills the gap at the top of every bottle, just to ensure genuine honest conversation.  Quite honestly, I think they should put a warning label on each bottle.  Or maybe even use it as an advertising campaign. 

Want to really get to know your friends, try a crisp, refreshing bottle of Bud Light.  Guaranteed to bring spiritual revelation and human connections every time!

Then try putting this powerful little Jesus Juice bottle in a BAR!

Bars are what churches are supposed to be.  They are full of people who know they are broken.  They are full of people who are searching and hungry, not perfect.  Everyone is vulnerable and ready to be comforted.  
When you walk into a bar, you feel a weird way.  You feel loved by everyone inside.  As you pass through the doorway, people everywhere turn to see who you are.  They look at you, smile, nod their head in approval, and sometimes even holler out.  Then you get to the back where your friends are… 

“HEEEYYYY Buudddyyyyy!!!  WHAT’S UPPPPP???” They yell out with big fat grins and huge plans for you.  Then your best friend throws his arm around your neck and pulls you up a seat.  He tells you to wait right there while he buys you a fresh beer (on his tab of course.) 

While you are waiting for him, the other three guys at the table introduce themselves and instantly let you in on the running joke of the night.  They tell you how to play along and assume you are going to be their best buddy for the whole night, if not longer.

No one ever feels judged in bars.  No one ever feels judged with beer.  Put the two and you have the most awesome, vulnerable mission field ever heard of!

Story after story after story people pour out when they don’t feel judged.  I hear grown men say they wish they could be better fathers.  I hear women say they wish their mother’s understood.  Coworkers admit their deepest fears and everyone spills their opinion about the Jesus guy.

A lot of times when religion comes up, I hear hurt broken people.  They aren’t even angry at the church because they at least know they are sinners.  Yet the church people are angry because they don’t accept the fact that they too are sinners.  The openness sinners display towards everything, leaves room for a casual heart-felt conversation in the Spirit.

The bar and beer take away the judgment and stress of these conversations, while an understanding companion brings healing and love.  Tell me why this doesn’t happen more often in other places? ...especially church.

I always get the surprised face and excited comment, “You are so understanding for a Christian!  You don’t argue or judge.  That is so different.”

Tell me something people.  What’s wrong with this picture?

Again, I think Jesus would have been in a bar.

"..I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners."
Mark 2:17

(Please note, I'm not justifying drunkedness because that is obviously against the Bible's teachings, and I do have my views on drinking responsibily and biblically..this is just a post to share with you my perspective on bars vs. churches, and how the atmospheres of both should be flip-flopped.  Remember, this post is not labeled "to drink or not to drink."  That is not the topic here.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bars, Jesus and Beer

I wrote this post about a week ago.  I felt strongly when I wrote it, but then got scared as I thought about posting it.  People will think I'm nuts.  I will totally be judged for posting this.  I can't let anyone see this God...  Then two days later my friend messaged me this video.  It was complete confirmation that I needed to share this on my blog.  The next few posts will be the essay I wrote last week. Comments welcomed.

Us Christians have it all wrong, ya know?

I’ve spent my summer really listening to people.  Teenagers, old folk, twenty-somethings.  They all tell me the same thing.  They are sick of religion and they have tattoos to prove it.  At the same time, they crave the raw, real relationship their Father gives them.  They want love.  They want the Lord.  They want renewed strength from Jesus.  They long for a glimpse of his hair and a feel of his robe.  They want all this with everything they have in them, but they have all come to the conclusion that church is not the way.
At all.

And I get it now, they’re right.  Really, really, right.

At church people feel judged.  They scrounge around for hours looking for some form of 90’s button up apparel that makes them look like their grandparents dressed them.  They comb their hair over and straighten their back, closing their teeth and hiding their crap.

Then they panic, sweat, and breathe heavy as they try to walk through the front doors of the church, the holy dwelling place of God’s people.

What will they think of me?  What will they say?  Will they accept me?  Am I dressed too formal?  Crap.  Why is he wearing jeans??!

Many of these people walk out in the middle of the sermon, never to return again.  Others barely make it to the pew before some smart Christian slips a lip.

Others suck it up, die on the inside, and resolve to thinking that’s all there is.  They hide their sin, week in and week out, and live sad lives wishing there was someone, anyone, who understood.

Funny.  When I think about it, people reacted the opposite way to Jesus.

They fled to his garments.  They wanted just a touch of his hand, a glimpse of his eyes, and a piece of his healing powers.  They wanted to watch him cast out demons, raise the dead, and heal the blind.  They clung to his love and powers like none other.  They DESIRED him.  They didn’t feel uncomfortable, judged, or stressed.  In fact, they came just as they were…dirty, beaten, and bleeding.  Addictions, imperfections, and shortcomings were widely welcomed.  They knew he wouldn’t care.  And you know what, he never turned a judgmental eye, never turned them away, never thought twice about their character or hair style.

"The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters,
but a man of understanding draws them out."
Proverbs 20:5

"While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and 'sinners' were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.

When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the 'sinners' and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners'?"  

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Mark 2:15-17

Monday, August 20, 2012

Something New.

Many of you have been asking why I haven't posted in a few months.  My answer to that is: "The book will be published at a later date."  God is doing great things in our nation right now, and I am amazed as I watch his hand at work.  Welcome back bloggers.  Here is my new post:

I’m living somewhere new now.

I’m living someone new now too.

It’s funny ya know, how you can be so sure of your life, when at that very second…God throws you into the curve ball of the abyss.  THEN you fully understand, that you will never fully understand

The past few months have been the greatest and craziest adventure of my life.  I’ve finally learned to trust God and dance like no one is watching.

I’ve lived my deepest dreams and faced some of my biggest fears.
I’ve laughed in the face of Satan and sat on the swing of an angel.

I’ve been held and rocked by God through it all, learning and laughing at his big jokes.
Hippies, hipsters, and nomads have kept my company and taught me many ways of the world.  When I say ways of the world, I mean ways of Jesus that we call the world.  Like the way your heart beats fast when you look at the mountains.  The way your hair falls free when you dip into the unknown, and the way your life begins when you finally let go.

Life with Jesus is just so much more beautiful.

Life with the Holy Spirit, that much more.

God is my hero, my provider, my minister.  He leads me through the green, the brown, and the blue.
Sometimes I stop and see who I have become.  It makes me giggle with joy.  Other times I shake my head in disbelief, asking God what the purpose is.  Either way, I am constantly reminded of Romans 8:28 and that brings me comfort.

You can’t put him in a box!

You can’t predict anything!

You can never be sure of your plans!
He is king!

He is Jehovah! Now and forever!  His plans are supreme!  Bite into them!! J

"See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you."
Isaiah 42:9

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Where is Your Faith?

2 Corinthians 5:7
"We live by faith, not by sight."

I think far too often we miss out on God's goodness and blessings simply because we don't believe he can.  I myself have doubted some of the biggest movements of God in my life, and if I wouldn't have eventually taken the faith jump, I doubt I would be as close to God as I am.

People hate change, we hate our fears, and we hate stuff we can't understand.  

Ironically, that is everything God is.  He is constantly moving and active, ready to do the next big work in our lives (if we will let him.)  His name cancels out fear and so he lovingly desires to walk us through our fears to bring us closer to him and help us overcome fear with love.  And finally, his mysterious majesty is what makes him so beautiful, so powerful, and so wonderful to gaze upon.  Deuteronomy 29:29 says there are some things about God that we simply will never understand, and I think that's beautiful!  Wouldn't you be easily bored with a God you fully understand all the time?

The great thing about God is you will never figure him out, and you will eventually learn he has no set way of doing things.  Fallen humans and society give us rules, guidelines, and orderly social structures, not God.  God never said we have to do things exactly as our older siblings or best friends.  He never said life was going to be easy and without challenge.  Our God is not a boring God!

He begs us to close our eyes and blindly jump with him wherever he calls us.  He desperately longs to take us on the adventure of a lifetime!  In fact, that's what we agree to when we sign over our life to him through salvation.  Sadly, most of us quickly die out on all that crazy adventure stuff and settle for the much easier, less-risky, day-to-day routine that society and Satan are promoting.

Safe and predictable is fine, but that requires no risk, no heart, no vulnerability...No Faith.

If you are a Christian this should make you sick to your stomach.  Why?  Because you are missing the entire point of your salvation.  Salvation was never meant to be fire insurance.  It was always meant to be a commitment of laying down "me" and picking up the unknown adventure of faith, hope and love.

In America I think we have mastered the art of half-doing all of those, and faking that effort itself.  
"If the good Lord is willin' I'll get that new job I applied for!"  These words are often spoken, but is there any real risk in applying for that job, or was it something that person did for his own desires?  Did God boldly call this person to move from one job to the next, or are they tired of the people they are working with?  Has this person stopped to fall on their knees and seek God's will for them in the work place?  Or are they half-heartedly taking God into consideration.  Perhaps we shouldn't claim such things if our heart isn't 100% behind the statement.

I'm with C.B. Matthews on this one, American Christians have mastered the art of being fake, and it makes me sick to my stomach.  Not only am I sick for God, because he deserves much more than one tenth of our devotion, but I am sick for the fakers, because they think they are living a full life and they aren't.  They're safe and happy attending church once or twice a week, smiling and shaking hands with their neighbors and fellow citizens, but where's the Faith??

They don't even realize what kind of adventures they are missing out on by clinging to the idol of comfort and security.  God doesn't call us to that!  He calls us to "GO" and "WALK" and "DO" and "TRUST."  In fact, Bob Goff just wrote a book called "Love Does."  I love his tweets because they cut right to the point.  Faith without works is dead.

But wait, works without faith is dead too.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fake Christianity: Book Review

Do you ever look at the American churches and want to vomit?  I do.  I get sick of seeing people live, breathe and die in a church without ever really dancing with God.  It hurts me to think that they are missing the entire point of our faith.  They do all the rituals, but they have missed the life-changing passion of a relationship with Christ.

In the book "Fake Christianity" author C.B. Matthews discusses this very topic and gives practical advice on how each individual can make a difference.  Matthews uses a direct, punch-ya-in-the-face approach which gives the book a raw passion that breaks through to reality.  Although very convicting, this book is full of truth and spiritual correction.

I was given the book by a close friend who personally knows the author.  The book was so enticing I finished it in one day and discussed the book with my friend shortly after.

Towards the beginning of the book he makes the point that most Christians care more about serving others than serving Christ. I love this quote from the book: "Are you more concerned with watching your nightly television shows instead of spending time with God or doing work for Him?  Are you so wrapped up in life and everything that has to be done that you never have a family devotional with your family?  Do you ever spend time in God's word or in prayer to Him for more than just superficial reasons?"

If  you are looking for a pleasant read that will make you feel good about your walk with Christ, you need to look elsewhere.  This book is challenging and perpetrating to the heart, however this is exactly what American Christians need.  Matthews says nothing that is out of line with scripture, nor does he come across as judgmental or prideful.  He is simply sharing the truth of the Bible with a generation of believers who have overlooked the tougher parts of the faith.

In seven chapters Matthews covers topics such as lies, emotions, actions, and spiritual warfare.  He discusses the fundamentals of walking with Christ and challenges the reader to implement these practices in every day life.  One of my favorite chapters included specific advice for youth, parents, and grandparents.  I had never seen that done in a book before and I thought it was quite powerful, despite the fact that I fit none of these categories really.

C.B. Matthews is director of a small campus ministry in Colorado where he lives with his wife and three children.  Matthews holds a Bachelor's in Psychology and a Master's in Family and Marriage Counseling.  He also attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

For a convicting read that will sprout humility and growth, I recommend this book.  I feel that it is appropriate for believers of all ages and I will say that it is a fairly quick read.  You can order "Fake Christianity" online at WestBow Press or (links embedded.)

Article first published as Book Review: Fake Christianity C.B. Matthews on Blogcritics.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Vow: Book Review

In February of this year I posted an article called "Sacred Secrets Behind the Vow," in which I posted my review of the movie and my anticipation to read the book afterwards.  In that post I mentioned a Fox News article that interviewed the real life couple from The Vow.  In that interview the couple mentioned that their story had been nothing short of an act of God, and they gave all due credit to him, despite the layout of the Hollywood film.

Lucky for me, I have a dear friend who bought me the book for my birthday, and in three days I finished the entire thing and fell much further in love with the couple's story.  As I had suspected, the couple was much more grounded in faith than the movie mentions.  In fact, the book is categorized as Religion/ Christian Life/ Inspirational.  It's a Christian book.

Praise God that this story has made its way into the mainstream literature and film industries.  Spread the word that Jesus is King! 

The story in the book is told from the husband's point of view, Kim Carpenter, which I think makes it all the more powerful.  First, he starts out by explaining how Kim and his wife, Krickitt met each other.  (You have to read this because it will definitely surprise you.)  Their meet-cute displays nothing less than God's sovereignty.  God knows who you will marry, when you will meet them and how.  You don't have to go looking for a mate, because God already picked them out.  Even in the oddest of places and the farthest of cities, if God wants you to be together, it will happen.  Remember that.

After walking through the dating process, engagement, and wedding, Carpenter goes on to explain what happened in the first three months of their married life, and how those events changed their lives forever.  A devastating car wreck left Kim and Krickitt in critical conditions soon after their big wedding day.  While Kim was injured badly, he healed much easier than Krickitt, who had to spend many months in therapy and rehabilitation.  Kim describes his struggles, faith, persistence, and endurance as he fights for his wife, juggles medical bills, and helps coach Krickitt back to normal.

Finally the book shares the story of Kim and Krickitt's second courtship, engagement, and wedding, and how the media quickly became another huge entity in their lives.  The book ends with the present day story; filming the movie with Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, raising kids, and growing closer to God and one another every day.

Throughout the story Kim continuously gives praise and thanks to God, the real author of the story.  I was surprised to find out that the story took place almost 14 years ago, and yet God is still using it for his glory. In fact, the couple published their first book of this story in the year 2000.  It is twelve years later and they just published an updated version--how beautiful!  

Kim and Krickitt's story is one of God-honoring perseverance and commitment.  It shows us the true depths of promising to love someone forever and hold on to that love as long as both shall live.  It models the metaphor of Christ and his love for the church, and the beautiful shower of grace and forgiveness that comes with that.  The Vow is not just a love story, it's a God-story.

For a quick read, a heart-warming story and a faith-filled adventure, I highly recommend this book.  I also suggest watching the movie too and making your own comparison between the two.  Both are fantastic and both are God-inspired.  If you've read the book or plan on doing so, comment your thoughts below!

Article first published as <a href=''>Book Review: The Vow: The True Events that Inspired the Movie</i> by Kim Carpenter, Krickitt Carpenter, with Dana Wilkerson (</a> on Blogcritics.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

More Than Happily Ever After

Here's another post inspired by Gary Thomas' book Sacred Influence.  In the ninth chapter you will find this paragraph:

"For some women, marriage is the ultimate life goal--once attained, what's to try for?  When you stop trying to please your man, eventually, by degrees, you lose him; or at the least, you lose the intimacy that leads to influence.  You become someone other than the person he married, and the two of you begin to drift apart."

I agree, and I'd take the first like a step farther.  I would say most women think marriage is the ultimate goal, especially single women.  For proof of this, look at what our brains feast on--

happily ever after...

You see the three dots at the end of that statement?  That line always follows the wedding of the princess, and the three dots give us a signal that the rest doesn't matter.  The important thing is that she won the guy and got a ring on her finger, after that who cares right?

Wrong.  Just like our marriage to Christ through salvation is not the end but the beginning, so is your marriage to your husband.  Don't go too far to think that your life won't begin until marriage, just think realistically.  In married life, life still happens.  You still have crazy roller-coaster days.  You still have nights that you can't sleep.  You still get stressed out with work, and you still want to be alone at times.  Part of marriage is learning to take these challenges head on and love another person through the difficulties anyway.  

As single women, we have got to get our heads out of the sky when it comes to fantasizing about marriage.  It will be fun don't get me wrong, but it will be hard too.  We have to prepare ourselves for a life-long journey of patience, trust, and forgiveness.  This journey starts at salvation, and is taken to a new level with marriage.  

How many people have you seen get saved at a camp or rededication service who get extremely emotional and excited about what God is doing, they make big promises and buy fancy Bibles, all in celebration of this new lifestyle they are choosing, only to fall off the face of the earth a few months later?  Why did this happen?  Because they were caught up in the fluff and not prepared for the real stuff.  Life is tough sometimes.  

King Solomon says we all go through different seasons of life.  "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.." (Ecclesiastes 3)  Godly wisdom tells us to expect all things, and Jesus was very straightforward when he told us the life of a Christian was full of persecution, trials, and tribulations.  So why wouldn't you expect that?  Why wouldn't you definitely expect that in a union of two sinful souls, namely a marriage?

So what can you start doing now to prepare for life?  Maybe it's time to realize it's not all about you, it never was, and it never will be.  Life is about God, plain and simple.  This is the hardest thing a human can accept, but the most rewarding when he does.  Don't let pride and fantasy get in your way, count the costs before you build your house (Luke 14:28.)

Marriage, much like salvation, is something we will always have to work towards.  We are constantly trying to improve our relationships both with God and men, that is what our calling is (Matthew 22:37-40)!  Philippians 2:12-13 tells us we must do this with our salvation: "Therefore, my dear friends, as yu ohave always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

Work out your salvation.

You have to work at it.  That's why without a daily quiet time Christians perish.  That's why life without a community causes us to wilt.  Those kind of actions are active, they are passive, and it's just like telling the devil he can roll over on us while we raise our white flags.  That's cowardly and childish.  Anything worth having is worth fighting for--daily.  It's like Noah says in the movie The Notebook:

"So it's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be really hard. We're gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, for ever, you and me, every day."

The same guy that uttered those words spent the last part of his life trying to win the heart of his wife--every single day.  Despite her memory loss, Noah spent each day reminding Allie of the love they once shared and how much he wanted to take care of her and be with her forever and ever.  That's what marriage is about, and that's the stubborn intensity we must approach it with.  

2 Corinthians 2:11 
" order that Satan might not outwit us.  For we are not unaware of his schemes."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Forsaking God: Like a Postcard from Paris

Last November I did a short series on my "Holiday Theory," which goes to say that Satan seems to tempt us more when we are off-schedule, on-break, and relaxed.  Although I forgot to mention it in the previous post, the theory applies for Summer break as well.  We all seem to stumble a bit at the beginning of a break, and since it is June, I thought I would offer some encouragement on getting back up and "finishing the race." (2 Tim 4:7)

My inspiration?  A country song of course, The Band Perry's hit song, Postcard From Paris.  The song describes the story of a girl who meets a guy while hanging out with her boyfriend.  Because this guy happens to be "the real deal," she realizes that she is "ruined" from dating any other guy.  This "ruining" is caused by the true love she tasted, therefore everything else is just artificial--like a postcard from Paris when you've seen the real thing. 

As I have murmured the lyrics to myself over and over again, I have seemed to catch a greater glimpse of God's grace and the unfailing love he deserves from me.  As a human, I stumble and fall constantly.  Just when I think I have a firm grip on my spiritual life, I mess up--even though I have been warned of this pitfall (1 Cor 10:12.)  The interesting thing about falling is that the closer I walk with God, the more quickly my heart aches when I bring him dishonor.  I think this is because I realize that the sin-causing idols in my life are absolutely garbage compared to the loving relationship I have with my Father.

Before I walked with God I was miserable and I didn't know it.  Now that I walk with God I feel more misery from messing up than ever.  Why? Because I've tasted and I've seen fresh, pure love from the faucet of all love--therefore no idol, no man, no drink, no drug, no object, can ever begin to come close to the real thing.  It's all artificial sweetener.  

John talks about this type of relationship in his letter to the church of Ephesus in the book of Revelation:

"Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love."

It is interesting that John says this, because the beginning of the letter is full of gratitude and encouragement for how well the church has done.  "Yet," John says, "I hold this against you."  Why is forsaking your first love of Christ such a big deal?  Because the Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8), and that the first and greatest commandment we are given is to love him with all of our hearts, minds, and strength (Matthew 22:37.)

When we stumble we turn our backs on God for some quick taste of artificial love; an unfulfilled gratification of our fleshly lust.  Fortunately, if you walk closely with God at all, you know that this taste of ignorance is disgusting compared to what you have been raised with.  This leaves your idols quickly looking like:

"... a postcard from Paris
when you've seen the real thing.
Like finding out your diamond
is from her old promise ring,
a call back from the fortune teller
she read your cards upside down...

The meanest thing you ever did was come around.
Now I am ruined."

How delightful it is to know that God has utterly and completely ruined us from enjoying any kind of fake love after having tasted and seen his goodness.  1 John 4:19 reminds us that "we love him because he first loved us."  That, in essence, is the most powerful love drug there is.  Don't forsake God for an will let you down every time and it's not worth it. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sacred Influence: Book Review

Do you feel like you have no idea how to relate with your husband, despite 30 years of marriage?  Is there a communication gap missing between you and your spouse?  Do you sometimes feel up in arms about how to encourage your man spiritually?  Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands by Gary Thomas is a book filled with wisdom in these areas.  I'd call the book a mix between Love and Respect and Preparing to Be His Help-Meet (I still can't decide if I like that one or not) with a dash more biblical research and doctrine.

In Sacred Influence, Thomas gives advice to Christian women on everything from sex to exhortation in dealing with their husbands.  Sixteen chapters are split up into three main parts of the book.  The first part focuses on the reality that in order for a wife to influence her husband she must first influence herself, and that comes from focusing on God constantly.

The second part instructs wives on how to create a "climate for change."  In this section Thomas instructs women on the deepest parts of a man's heart and all of his insecurities.  Through these lenses, wives can better understand and relate to their husbands.  Finally, in the third section, Thomas focuses each chapter on specific marital issues that Christian wives come across and what the best biblical option is for these women.

Gary Thomas is most well-known for his best-selling book, Sacred Marriage, and the seminars he travels around and teaches based off of that book.  The subtitle and focus of Sacred  Marriage is "What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us More Holy Than to Make us Happy."  This was Thomas' first major book and many other books, including Sacred Influence, were written as a supplement to Sacred Marriage.  

Husband to one and father to three, Thomas lives in Houston where he runs marathons and writes for Second Baptist Church.  He has been wildly successful in authoring many books, and still finds time to love his family even more.  In fact, his wife, Lisa wrote the forward to Sacred Influence.  

As you have seen the last few posts from this week, I have been inspired by this book.  Full of wisdom and biblical truth, Sacred Influence is a good read for any wife or wife to be if they desire to love and support their husband as best as they can.  Although I recommend it for both single and married women, I would at least limit the age to women out of high school with a more mature mind frame in this area.  

I look forward to soon reading the ever-popular, Sacred Marriage and Thomas's latest piece, Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul.  Gary Thomas is a wise and inspiring author.  Stay tuned for more book reviews!  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...