Monday, October 17, 2011

A Stumbling Block or Stepping Stone?

Many of you know who I'm talking about when I mention John the Baptist.  But for those of you who don't... let me give you a quick run down:

John was Jesus's cousin.  He told people that soon, the Son of God would be on the scene.  Basically, he prepared the way for Christ... but I don't know how prepared he was for his own precarious future!  You see, in a nutshell, John was letting people know that King Herod had an affair and married his brothers wife, Herodias (after she divorced King Herod's brother).  That didn't set too well with the King and was especially embarrassing for his new wife, Herodias.

It's not a pretty picture and it doesn't end well for John.  The beginning of John's most difficult trial began when he was thrown into prison.

So why did I remind you of this historical fact?  What does it have to do with the here and now?

Keep reading.

Imagine what you would feel like if you were in John's position. There you sit.  The man who proclaimed to the world that the Son of God was coming.  Jesus comes.  Heals people left and right.Casts out demons.  Miracles have become a daily occurrence...and there you sit in a dark, musty, dungeon at the mercy of a King who was known for his cruelty.  What would you think?  How would you be feeling?  Could it be that you would begin to wonder about this "Son of God" named Jesus?  Seems like He would save the very man that prepared the way for the Messiah!?

So, John's world is now his prison cell.  His pain, his hurts, his confusion ...whatever emotions he may have had...threatened to overwhelm him.  Imagine being left alone in that environment.  His world was no bigger than the dank dungeon he sat in and as time passed, he began to doubt..question...wonder.  "Is Jesus really who He says He is?

Then John asked the disciples who came to visit him if they would ask Jesus if  He really was " the one...or if they should be looking for someone else"?  I mean, supernatural occurrences and amazing wonders had resulted in healings for countless people... what about John?  Where was John's miracle that he so desperately needed?  Didn't Jesus care about him?

The disciples asked Jesus that question.  Know what Jesus said?

Yes, many people are being healed.

 "The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor."  Matthew 11:5

So, John may have thought ... "What about me?"  "What am I - chopped liver?"  (Okay...maybe he didn't say the part about the liver).

But Jesus asked the disciples to tell John one more very important thing. And the message that Jesus wanted John to get - is the same message He wants us to have.

 "Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of Me."

What does that mean?  Most versions say something along the lines of:  "Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me."

But in the Greek, the word for "not offended" is a word whose primary meaning has to do with stumbling.
That is why I like the version:

Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of Me.

What an awesome thing to say...Jesus is acknowledging in those few words, that life is going to be different for everyone.  The way God chooses to work will be unique to each individual.  Some people will experience His miraculous works in one way, others will experience His miraculous grace in a whole different light.  But people, being people, will compare.  "Hey, God did this for so and so... why isn't He doing the same thing for me?"

Because God loves the entire world, full of people who are unique and varied.  Everybody responds differently to God's work and consequently God needs to work differently in peoples lives.  He sees the big picture.  We don't.

That is why it is so important that we listen to the last message John received from Christ.

"Blessed is ANYONE who does not stumble on account of ME."

It's true that many people get disgruntled with Jesus when He doesn't do things the way they think He ought to. Fortunately, there are other people who think differently. The question can be asked. Is Jesus...

A Stumbling Block or Stepping Stone?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

People Pleasers -vs- People Lovers

Yep. That's me... a people pleaser. The thing is, I really do love people as well. Unfortunately, sometimes my people pleaser self over-rides my love of others.

Boy, I hate to say that. It's embarrassing to admit.

I'll back up a bit.

The other day, I finally came to the conclusion that I need to confront somebody that I really like. I consider this person my friend. She is very sensitive and thoughtful. It's fun talking with her. She's a good listener, but also asks thought provoking questions and interacts with me. When I talk with her it actually involves two way communication. What a thought!

Unfortunately, something important was missing from my house and she is one of only a few people that could have taken it.

When I discovered the missing item from my house, I assumed I had made a mistake. Perhaps I misplaced it or something.

I racked my brain trying to create a scenario that would explain the loss.

No go.


Unfortunately, after looking back at several red flags and discovering that other people were experiencing similar things from my friend, I realized I was going to have to confront the situation. Actually, I suppose one reason I'm having such a hard time with this is because in my heart, I know I'm not confronting a situation as much as I am confronting a person. A person I consider a friend. And the item that was stolen was not just any item. It was medication I needed for my health. The person in question knew it was necessary to prevent me from a serious health issue.

I hate confrontation. I don't even like to say the word. Even typing it isn't easy. Does that say anything about me?

But why was the idea so repulsive to me? Why was I so afraid of it? Why? I mean, seriously, it is really scary for me. It bothered me that I was so afraid to confront this situation that I was willing to ignore it altogether and turn my head like so many other people over the years have done.

If I am a true friend to her I will not allow her to yet again "get away" with something.
So why was I having such a difficult time?

Later that day, I saw a sign. It said:

"Contrary to what you may think, people - pleasers don't confront: people - lovers do"

As soon as I read that, my heart sank with a knowing feeling. I was allowing the people-pleasing side of me to overshadow my love of people when it came to my having to deal with confrontation.

Time for me to grow up and keep my focus on loving people instead of trying to please them.

Can anybody relate to ...

People Pleasers -vs- People Lovers?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hit the Reset Button!

How can we be in control of things that we aren't in control of?

Okay. That question was just a little bit confusing.

What I meant was, how can we be happy and feel like we are actually contributing to society and the world around us in a meaningful way, when all we are doing is ...

Working. Going to the store. Running errands. You know.

Life Stuff.

Hey, it may not qualify as "important" - but you certainly can't shrug it aside. Let's face it,
like it or not - a lot of things fall into that category.

Remember, in the last post, how we talked about taking the question:

What time is it?

And asking ourselves, instead:

How should I spend my time?

It was great. But what about...

The boring times?
The empty times?
The running around like a chicken-with-it's-head-cut off times?

What about the times you feel like strangling somebody?

You fill in the blank.

Do words like... frustrated, irritated, stressed out, ticked off, impatient and annoyed - ever describe how you feel when you are just doing something because it had to be done?

You wouldn't go to work if you didn't have to.

You wouldn't go to school if you didn't have to.

You wouldn't go to the store if you didn't have to.

You wouldn't do a lot of things, if you didn't have to!

But you do.


Because you have to!


So what do we do when that happens? Follow through with our thoughts? Uh. I'm thinking that may not always be a good idea...for obvious reasons.

The truth of the matter is, we aren't in control of the world around us - but we can control how we respond to it.

We have an incredible opportunity to actually reflect God's light in this world. To represent Him. We can be an example of His love right here! Right now! In the ...

Check out stand
Walmart (or)
Home Depot

Anywhere where there are people.

Doesn't the Bible say something about...

Working as unto the Lord?
Loving your neighbor?
Loving your enemy?

Of course it does. That and so much more! Excuse me, but if we as Christians, actually applied God's teachings in our everyday lives instead of compartmentalizing our faith and turning it into an exclusive Sunday club, we would be so much more appealing to society - don't you think?

Please don't misunderstand me. Their are many incredible people who love the Lord and are amazing witnesses of His love - but if we step up to the plate, we can increase the number of people who fall into that category... not only that - we will be so much happier!

"Oh great", you may be thinking to yourself. This article is for Christians. I'm not a Christian.

No. These principals apply to everyone. As a Christian, I believe God gives me the power to more easily love people who are difficult to love - if I am choosing to walk in His Spirit - but if that is not where you are at, it's not where you are at. The principals are still true.

When I ask myself how to spend my time it's like setting the "reset" button. Almost every time, my perspective changes. It's absolutely amazing how our thoughts can affect our thinking which affects our emotions and ... voila ... suddenly the things we have to do are not as pressuring as they were a couple of minutes earlier.

Our actions become guided by a deliberate thought process of our making - instead of us feeling controlled by the tyranny of the urgent.

Every time you think about how you are doing, whatever it is that you are have deliberately chosen to:

Hit the Reset Button !

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Making Love . . . A Verb.

Is this a Mothers Day article? Well, yes and no. It's not specifically meant for Mothers Day ... but you know what? If you were to sit down and watch this video with your wife, it could be the best Mothers Day gift you could give her. (Munching on her favorite chocolates or desert, while watching the video, would be a great add on).

It's easy to give a gift, but chances are good that what your wife really your time.

Sit down together and watch this video.

It's never been easier to fall in love and never been harder to stay in love. Is it even possible for two people to be happy together forever? Yes. Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus gave us the foundation for enduring love. In this message, Andy Stanley reveals the simple, yet powerful, principle.

Staying in Love

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Time For A . . . Time Budget.

We are probably all very familiar with the importance of a financial budget. I'm not saying we all have one - but we are at least familiar with the concept.

A little while ago, the subject of time came up. And, of course, I think one of peoples' most often asked questions is:

What time is it?

That question is characteristic of a society that is obsessed with the clock. We are fast paced, driven and uptight.

As comedian, Brian Regan says:

How long does it take to toast a pop tart? A minute? If you want them dark? But people need something even faster, so they go for the microwave method. Listen, if you need to zap fry your pop tarts before you go out the may need to loosen up your schedule.

Fear not, people, it's just a joke. I personally like pop tarts. That's not the point. I have simply noticed that instead of controlling time, we tend to let time control us.

Hey, if you need to know the time - you need to know the time. I'm not suggesting you hit the delete button on that question. But I would suggest that you ask yourself something else.


more important
more useful
and subsequently
more meaningful!

The question I am referring to actually has two angles to it. Right now, however, I just want to focus on the first facet:

1) How should I spend my time?

If your days are driving you crazy with their constant pulls on your time and you are forever looking at your watch...

Or if you are always asking somebody else what time it is so that you can meet the demands of this life in a "timely fashion"...

Maybe you should ask yourself what types of things are included in your busy schedule?

In other words, How do you spend your time?

Are you spending it on something that is important or is it just another project, task or endeavor that must be completed?

I am not saying those things don't need to be taken care of - it just doesn't automatically mean it is an important activity.

Urgent. Yes.
Important. Not necessarily.

Lots of things are "must do's". How about going to work? But, chances are, it's just a means to an end.

It is good to identify what is really important.

Our husbands.
Our wives.
Our kids.

Those things tend to get neglected - yet when you get to the end of your life, you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that -in this world- those were the very things you will have wished you spent more time on.

So, today...right now...we can look at our schedules and ask ourselves...

Is it time to refocus and readjust my time?

A Financial Budget is good, but I'm thinking it's...

Time for a ...Time Budget!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An Eternity of . . . Combined Experience !

You know how when you are a teenager, everything is about you? Yes, there are always exceptions and I don't mean to put anybody down...but it's true that when people are younger they tend to feel like life revolves around them. Perfectly understandable. As a matter of fact, I don't think the idea that we are the center of the universe is limited to teenagers.

But it is true that as people get older and mature, they eventually come to the realization that they are not alone in the universe. They begin to reach out to others for support. How many times, for example, have you seen businesses advertise the fact that they have X amount of years of combined experience?

Why do they do that? The answer is obvious. The longer an establishment has been around, the more experience they have, the more likely it is that people will want to do business with them.
Many times, industries will focus on the combined experience of all their partners as opposed to focusing solely on one person or business.

That is an example of people recognizing that their time and experience, when combined with other people, is much more valuable.

All that to make this comment:

When you travel this life alone, though you are doing the best you can with what you have, you can only do so much. Wouldn't it be wise to cast your lot with God? When we work with Him, our time is so much more significant. He increases our value and worth. Life has meaning again. True meaning. Whenever things look bleak or uncertain... we have the ability to go to Him.

Think about it. We are talking about...

An Eternity . . . of Combined Experience!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Healthy People Don't Need A Doctor...

You know what I like about Jesus? He really liked people who were nothing like Him. As a matter of fact, the "religious" people of the day were the people Jesus tended to actually avoid. What did He call them... a brood of vipers? We don't hear that terminology today - but it was strong language at that time.

Why do you suppose that was? Do you honestly think He thinks differently today?

Jesus is God in the flesh. He came to the earth in human form so that He could relate to us. He wanted to communicate with us. Yes, He loves all people, but...

Let me ask you a question. Do you find it easy to talk to people who are know it alls? Are arrogant, prideful people eager to hear anything you have to say?

No. If they deign to speak to you at all it is usually in the context of them imparting some type of information.

I'm not trying to say that some people are better than others and I'm sure Jesus doesn't feel that way at all. He died for the sins of the world - not a few select favorites.

Jesus wants to communicate with us. He, however, recognizes that we are all in different places in our life. There are times that we will listen and times we won't. When we are in our prime, feeling good about ourselves and our ability to work in the world around us, we tend to be unable to see beyond ourselves. Why should we? The world we have established around us is just fine, thank you very much.

But when that world starts to fall apart - and it always eventually does - God begins to look pretty good. What worked in the past, well, isn't working any more. We get sick inside.

Problem is, we've always been sick. We just didn't know it. Reminds me of cancer. In the earliest stage it isn't even detected. When a person is in stage 1, 2 and sometimes even stage 3 they do whatever they can do. Diet becomes more important. We may go to the medical community for help. Perhaps chemotherapy and radiation will be paths we choose to take. But at some point in time when things go from bad to worse...people finally look to God.


Why wait that long?

One reason is because it isn't until then that they recognize that the sickness that threatens to kill them is more than they can handle.

Remember the religious people of Jesus's day - the Pharisee's? They were always complaining about Jesus. Sure, He healed people...but he also had the audacity to ask Matthew - a tax collector - to follow Him. Hey, tax collectors were considered to be such bad people that they were a category all to themselves. There were the sinners...and the tax collectors.

Of course, the scribes and Pharisees didn't approve of Jesus having anything to do with "those people". In Luke 5:27-31 it says:

Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi (we know him as Matthew) sitting at his tax collector's booth. "Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him.

So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.

Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi's fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them.

But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus' disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with such scum? [fn]"

Jesus answered them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor - sick people do."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Out of the Mouth of Babes...

For the last two or three weeks I have been feeling exhausted. I've not only felt physically drained, but also emotionally spent and spiritually burned out. When that happens I can't even think straight.

Trying to blog becomes next to impossible at times like that.

For that matter, doing anything that requires a creative mind turns into a gargantuan effort that is so daunting, the very thought of attempting it is overwhelming.

I highly doubt I am the only one who has experienced burnout, fatigue or weariness to the degree that I want to stop the world and get off!

Ever been there?

I thought so.

I couple of weeks ago, I listened to a message by a man named Jeff Henderson that was incredibly encouraging. He was talking about the importance of rest and yet contended that most of us, though we may acknowledge that reality in our heads...don't really take it to heart. Not enough to actually do something about it.

I think that is because we don't really understand the value of rest. Not really...or we would take it seriously. We tend to think of rest as a privilege - not a necessity.

Hey, let me tell you something that I heard. It was so interesting.

A couple of studies were given a while ago. One group of people consisted of parents who were each asked to answer the same question. The other group was comprised of kids who responded to the same question that the parents were give.

The question?

What would your kids most want from you if they could be granted one wish?

Know what the parents thought the answer would be?

Most of them thought their kids would want them to spend more time with them. You know the old quality time -vs- quantity time issue that we adults have been arguing about for years now?

Nope, that wasn't it.

You know what the wish was that was held by the vast majority of kids?

They wished their parents weren't so tired and stressed out all the time!

Wow. We think we are so smart. True, we have had many experiences and learned various skills that have propelled us forward.

But, as the medical community has been saying for years and years ... we need our rest. They have espoused the importance of "eight hours of sleep a night". But for some reason, it takes a child to open our eyes to the importance of that reality.

A child's perspective is not hindered by the experiences of life that can distract us.


Out of the mouth of babes...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Christian Merry Go Round!

We live in a world of darkness, but the darkness seems to be increasing.

My strong suggestion?

Don't focus on the darkness, live in the Light!

Easy words. Don't you wish it was as easy to live them as it is to say them? The amazing thing is that if we actually applied God's word, if we truly believed in His goodness, if we embraced His promises because we trusted Him fully and would be easy to live those easy words.

That's a lot of if's.

So how do we turn those "ifs" into do-able reality?

I've got good news and I've got bad news.

The bad news?

We can't do anything.

If you are honest, you'll recognize this truth. You'll know it because you've experienced it. "Been there, done that." I know there have been countless cycles that I have gone through. They usually go something like this:

I eventually recognize I have a problem.
I go to God in prayer and with all my heart tell Him how sorry I am.
I really mean it.
I tell Him I'm not going to "do that" again.
I resist the devil, pull myself up by my ever-loving bootstraps.
I apply God's promises.

For a while, it works.
For a while, I feel like I have overcome the problem.
For a while.


It comes back.

Sound familiar?

Sounds like a Christian Merry-Go-Round! I know I am tempted to say, after who knows how many "revolutions" (revelations?) ... Stop! I want to get off!

Do you know how many Christians eventually do stop?

A lot.


Because "living in the Light" isn't as easy as we thought. Matter of fact, we notice that we are not the only ones having a hard time. Look at all the hypocrites in the churches!

It's embarrassing. We certainly don't want to be associated with them!

People begin looking for reasons to get off the Christian Merry Go Round. And we are a crafty people.

Crafty, impatient, judgmental, unwilling and undisciplined...people.

That's the bad news.

Fortunately for us, there is also some really good news!

Take your focus off of the things you are doing wrong.

"But, but", you say... "it's wrong!"

I know. And neither you or I will ever be able to correct our wrongs...

As long as our focus is on the "wrongs" and not on Jesus.

Remember James 4:7? It doesn't just say to resist the devil. The first thing is says is to submit to God.


Because we can't resist the devil. Something that is easy to forget is the fact that when we do "wrong" things or even think "wrong" things...those things are not of God. They are either from Satan or they are inspired by him. Try as we might, we are not strong enough to permanently resist evil.

When we refrain from focusing on the darkness and instead submit to God, then yes, living in the Light will be as easy as breathing.

If we submit to God first, keeping our focus on Him and not on us trying to please Him, then He will empower us to correct those "wrongs". We will no longer desire to get off of the...

Christian Merry Go Round!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Sherman Tank of Praise...

What do we do when we look at the world around us and see bizarre activity? I'll be honest with you. I think, when all of our ducks are lined up in a row, it's easy to say "Just go to God in prayer".

We hear that, but when the rubber meets the road, it is often easier said than done.

I hate admitting that, but I know...for's true. I also know that turning to God at all times and putting our trust in Him is really my only intelligent option.

What? But Shay, did you hear about the earthquakes, tsunami's and other severe weather warnings looming on the horizon? Are you up on what's going on with the dollar? You need to stock up on food, emergency supplies, invest in precious metals, make yourself aware of surrounding world events. Don't act like an ostrich who puts its head in the sand when they are overwhelmed.

I understand. I really do. As a matter of fact, I have become so aware of so many things that I do feel like putting my head in the sand as I feel waves of futility coming over me.

I mean, taking stock of potential threats and calmly acting on that information is something I have no problem with. But I look at mine and my husbands situation. We barely make enough money to take care of our normal living expenses which we are very minimal.

I feel like a Christian walking through a minefield.

If you feel overwhelmed as you look at world events, I understand. A period of time passed in which I felt crushed and defeated as I was deluged with information and inundated with advice that, though I appreciated it, was...I realized... more than my little brain could take in. I feel like there is so much to do with not enough time to do it in.

I like the visual image that our pastor gave us last Sunday. He was speaking of the importance of praise and depending on God for everything...even when you feel... especially when you feel... overwhelmed. My ears, naturally, perked up when I heard that.

Thank you Pastor!

What I got from what he said is that instead of seeing ourselves as unprotected people walking through a minefield of potential bombs (or disasters) we need to think of ourselves as a "Christian in a Sherman Tank of Praise...plowing ahead steadily and surely". That is a visual that somebody relayed to the pastor many years ago and it has been very helpful to him.

Well, it's helpful to me as well, to see myself in...

"A Sherman Tank of Praise"

Friday, March 18, 2011

Access Withheld.

I am so glad you are you. Can you imagine what this world would be like if we were all a bunch of clones? God created us as unique individuals with an enormous variety of giftings and talents.

Not one of us "has it all". That's why we need each other so much.

Unfortunately, part of the population of people are under the misconception that they are unimportant, insignificant or somehow unnecessary. The rest of the populace seems to think they are an island and have chosen, for reasons they can't or don't want to share, to refrain from interacting with the undesirables of this world.


The next generation needs us. They need access to our life experiences. Our successes and our failures.

That may be contrary to our natural tendency to focus on taking care of ourselves and our needs or desires.'s important.

You guys, I have come across so many people that are very different from each other and almost pride themselves in that fact. But honestly, when are we going to stop focusing the majority of our attention on ourselves?

Hey, I have spent way too much focusing on me. I mean, it's important to a degree. Certainly it is understandable.

But we are needed. God wants to use us. He wants to work in us and through us. We make things difficult when we deny people access to ourselves.

Know what else happens when we do that?

We also deny ourselves the ability to grow.

Perhaps certain people simply don't fit into our "comfort zone" we exclude them and deny them access to our very important selves!

It's time to look forward and focus on people outside of us.

Reminds me of driving. When I was learning to drive, I was taught to keep my eyes on the road ahead of me. If I placed too much attention on the car I was sitting in or on off road "sight seeing" I would risk loosing control of my car.

Believe it or not, we loose control of ourselves when our focus is turned inward. In addition to that, we send the clear message to the next generation that says...

Access Withheld.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


"You know something,'re a snob!"

I'm a what?!

Obviously I was more than a little surprised by her blunt statement.

Was she correct in her assessment of me? No. You could have knocked me over with a feather, I was so stunned.

How could she possibly say something like that!?

I spoke with her and discovered she had misinterpreted some actions of mine and made an incorrect assumption based on what she thought was fact. After a short discussion, she acknowledged she had made a mistake and we became friends. End of story.

The point I wanted to make is that many times people - myself included - send the wrong message to others by our actions. Yes, Veronica gave me a message. But I had also given her a message with my body language. It was completely unintentional.

I'm really glad that what happened, however, happened. Why? Because it's a good reminder of just how important our body language is. Sometimes we can be so focused on "things" that must be accomplished, that we don't see the people in the world around us.

What are some things we do that can be easily misinterpreted?

1) Busyness: Have you ever been so caught up in what "needs to be done" that you don't notice anybody around you?

2) Shy? I know. That may be easy for some people, but for others it is excruciatingly difficult to "speak up". But sometimes we have to be willing to work on things that don't come easy to us - and I know that I, for one, am willing to try harder if I think my actions or non-actions could be misconstrued as snobbery.

3) Unwillingness to say no. Lets see. How many of us avoid eye contact with someone because we don't want to be "waylaid" and actually have to say "no" to somebody. Granted, not everybody has that problem...but some people do. For them, saying no is paramount to walking a tightrope across Niagra Falls!

4) Emotional Doldrums: Sometimes I am so consumed with my emotional world that the outside world doesn't seem to exist. Now, I know people have feelings and sorting through those emotions is not fun...but again - it's important to understand that our emotions are not just affecting us. We are potentially hurting others as well. We all need to remember that. If necessary, we should remove ourselves from others for a while if we need to deal with "stuff".

These are a few things that we need to look at - maybe you know more. One thing I know for sure, though, is that if we refuse to look at behaviors that can communicate unwanted messages to others, then we might find ourselves saying...

Me?? A Snob?! Never!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Intention Doesn't Equal Action

Everybody loves a hero. Most of us hope we would fall into the category of putting someone else before ourselves. We mean well. In our minds, our intentions have become actions. Maybe that is why people are so quick to judge other people - but refrain from judging themselves. Perhaps it's because we can't read other peoples minds. We don't know the intentions that they have.

We only know ours.

Problem. Our intentions have not really materialized into action yet. We hope we would respond in a good way. Matter of fact, we assume we will. But we won't know for sure until we are actually put into a situation that requires action.

But the reality - a reality that I don't like - is that the "Bystander Effect", as psychologists call it, affects a much larger portion of the population than we realize.

It can affect us as well.

God was aware of this appalling lack of concern toward others...a long time ago. Remember the story of the "Good Samaritan"?

God loves His children and desires to heal us on all levels. He understands very well that, as good hearted as we may be...

Intention Does Not = Action.

Click the link below to see an example of the...

Bystander Effect

Monday, March 7, 2011

Christian String Theory!

Boy, I tell ya, I just get so excited when I learn something new! For some of you, you may be aware of what I'm going to say. As a matter of fact, I was aware of it...but I hadn't made a connection between what I'm going to say as it relates to the Christian life.

Well, if you've read some earlier posts then you know I'm talking about grafting plants together. I relate it to the vine (Jesus) and (us)
the branch that is being grafted into the vine.

Of course, the first and foremost thing any Christian will want and need to do is:

Read the Bible and Pray - It is the main way you are going to receive nourishment. If you don't read the Bible for yourself on a regular basis, then you won't know when you are being deceived. It's great to listen to special Christian speakers and Preacher/Teachers, but you need to do that in addition to reading the Bible on your own. And don't let prayer scare you. It is a special way to keep your communication with God open at all times.

But there is something else you will want to know!


Did you know that after the branch is grafted into the vine, an important last step is taken to ensure the two stay together?

With the help of a string or a cut rubber band, the two plants are bound together. Since those things hold the cut sides of the pieces together it encourages them to bond together.

So, what does the string represent? How does the rubber band fit into the Christian paradigm?

I would like to share with you some thoughts that I have.

A couple of things come to mind:

1) Both the string and the cut rubber band are temporary.

I feel really fortunate as I look back to the beginning of my walk with Christ. Several pieces of string were immediately wrapped around me, which kept me very close to Christ in the initial grafting in process.

For example, I remember a guy named Tim, challenged me to read the book of Romans...20 times! He usually had people read the book of John several times, but for some reason he felt like he needed to give me the "Romans" challenge. I am very grateful for that.

Did I read it all those times? I did read it 14 times. It was a great jump start! That challenge was temporary, but other things will be so important that you will want to incorporate into the entirety of your new life.

2) Both the string and the cut rubber band are outside sources. They aren't the source of nourishment. Their purpose is to keep our physical selves bound with Christ. Of course the main sealant is the Holy Spirit, but God also uses other things to help us stay close to Him.

Church, Bible Studies, Retreats, Christian Radio, Books, Mission name a few.

As you can see, I could go on and on. General rule of thumb: If it is going to draw you closer to Christ, it is a good outside source.

I call it the...

Christian String Theory!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Am I Willing to Make the Cut?

I can see why people who work with plants, like it so much. There are so many parallels. I love that. Helps me to bring biblical principals to life so that they are more than words. Know what I mean?

There are so many correlations between Christianity and the grafting process.

Did you know that the cutting of both the scion and the rootstock is paramount if actual grafting is going to take place? How does that relate to anything beyond plant life?

How does that relate to Christianity?

Jesus is the "vine" that we "branches" must be grafted into. His "cut" went deep when He died on the cross for us.

And what about our cut? Do we have one? What is it?

In the grafting process, as I mentioned earlier, both the vine and the branch must be cut before they are grafted together. Jesus's cut is represented by His death.

Could it be that our "cut" takes place when we die to ourselves?

That's a possibility. I'd like to hear what you think.

All I know for sure is that cuts from both sources need to exist in order for necessary nutrients to flow from the vine to the branch. I'm no scientist, but commonsense tells me that nutrients from the sap of the vine won't be able to flow into the branch if the branch is not open to receive the new life.

We were open to Christ when we first became Christians. Are we still open to Him?

Speaking for myself, I have to admit that I - more often than I would care to admit - take for granted that Jesus loves me and even died that I might live.

But am I willing to die to myself, so that Christ can live freely through me?

Am I willing to make the cut?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Life Transfusion ...

You may or may not have heard of the verses in the Bible:

"It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." Gal.2:20

"I am the vine; you are the branches..." John 15:5

In other words, we are grafted into Christ. Christ is not grafted into us.

Think about it.

Hey, I'll admit that in my life...more often than not, I want Christ to be grafted into my life. I don't want to be grafted into His. I know. It sounds awful.

It's also really stupid if you take two seconds to think about it.

I mean, the reason I asked Christ into my life in the first place was because I recognized just how desolate and pathetic I was. When Jesus came in and became the central focus of my life; transformation was generated. Healing began. Changes took place from the inside out.

I was grafted into his life.

But somewhere along the way a subtle shift took place. Slowly, I took the reigns back - not completely, but practically speaking my actions were the reflection of someone who was grafting Jesus into their life instead of choosing to be grafted into Jesus.

Let that thought sink in and ask yourself if you've done the same thing.

Something tells me I'm not alone.

The good news is that I don't want that to be the case. And, technically, it isn't. Jesus never left me or gave up on me. That's just not the way He works. He keeps His promises.

But I do know that over time I began to take on the actions of a person who isn't taking the grafting process very seriously. Why is that so important?

There are many elements to grafting that are important, but the first thing to be aware of is why grafting is necessary in the first place. What does it accomplish? If you are a farmer or work with plants, you already know this.

There is nutritious sap in the vine, for example, that...when grafted together with a branch will provide a special nourishment that is essential for the newly grafted in branch to grow.

The same life which flows through the vine also flows into the branches.

When we are grafted into the vine or Jesus, His life flows into us.

I call it a ...

Life Transfusion...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Uneasy Faith?

The other day, my husband asked a thought provoking question.

The question?

Is faith really faith if there is no rest?

I like it when people say things that start the wheels turning in my mind. I know it got me to thinking anyway. Yes, there are always exceptions...but in general I think our ability to feel at peace in a situation is a definite indication that our faith is

I mean, yes, there have been times in my life that - by faith - I did something that I really believe was of God, but I never-the-less felt like I was stepping onto an invisible bridge that was the only way I could cross a treacherous chasm. Was my heart pounding in my ears? Yes. Was it beating a million times a minute? Yes. I said, there will undoubtedly be exceptions.

But I think if we are honest, we would have to conclude that - in general - the more mature our faith is...the more we will be able to use "rest" and "peacefulness" as barometers of our faith.

I don't know about you, but I find that thought very helpful. A barometer. Hmmmm...

We talk about how strong God is. We speak of His sovereign power. His love is perfect. I could go on with so many incredible attributes of God. But guess what?

If I really truly believe all those things about God, if it is firmly planted in my mind and heart, if I completely embrace who He is...then yes, I will rest in my faith.

How could I not? I have entrusted myself, my life, my circumstances...everything to God. If He is who I say He is...then why should I worry? Think about it. Is it really possible to have an...

Uneasy faith?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What if we Threw Out Christianity?!

I'm serious. Is Christianity really all that important? If you were to take out the eternal salvation aspect and the comfort at funerals of Christians, etc. What would this world be like without Christianity? Would people be relieved? Just how significant is Christianity to people in our nation? People who aren't Christians as well as most people who say they are.

What if we threw out Christianity?

Jiang Zemin is the former leader of Communist China. Former Time correspondent, David Aikman interviewed the retiring head of state in Communist China in 2002 and asked what Zemin wished for in regard to China’s future. Zemin's response shocked Aikman, and much of the world, when he replied:

“I would like for my country to become a Christian nation.” (Aikman, David. “A Report on Christianity in China: A Conversation With David Aikman.” Speech at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, September 26, 2002.)

When asked “Why?” Zemin’s response was an amazing revelation. He explained how a panel of Chinese scholars had spent twenty years studying why China continually lagged behind the West in science, industry, and culture.

“One of the things we were asked to do was look into what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because of a more powerful military. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic systems. But in the past 20 years we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. This is why the West is powerful. The Christian moral foundation of the social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.” (Quoted from Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Changing the Global Balance of Power, by David Aikman.)


There is nothing like an "objective observer" to help us see the significance of something, is there? It isn't really so unusual to do that. For example, my husband appreciates it when I encourage him...but part of him thinks I only say good things because I have to. That's not correct thinking - but it is normal to assume something like that. So when somebody says something encouraging, and that somebody isn't me, some ways it has a bigger impact on him. That is true of most people.

When I read about the Chinese actually spending 20 years researching the reason for the power and strength of the west, I was amazed. But the conclusion they came to was the most amazing eye opener to me.

What would happen if we threw out Christianity?

What do you think?

Monday, February 14, 2011

We Can Do It !

I loved learning and sharing with you, what it means to be a "Do It Church"...instead of just going to church. We learned some practical examples of how we can identify and reach out to those around us.

Obviously, as with anything, the motive behind what we do is always something we need to check. I encourage people to be a part of the "Do It Church".

But what if you, realistically, are simply not in a position to "do" anything outside of your normal schedule? If you are like many people, your life is already so crammed you feel like you're on overload! You would love to do things for people outside of your hectic schedule. For that matter, you would like to do almost anything outside of the same old rat race that threatens to consume you!

We are all in different places in our lives...and that's okay. It's better than okay. It's excellent!

It is sooooo easy, as human beings, to do things with the wrong motive. We mean well...and God, thankfully, knows it. It's just that, more often than we would like, we "compartmentalize" God.

Even though there is no way God will ever fit into a box, we try to cram Him in anyway!

There is certainly nothing wrong with going to Church, Bible study, Prayer meetings, etc. But it is so very easy for us to take God with us to those locations and leave Him there.

The good news is that just because it is easy to fall into that trap...doesn't mean we have to stay there! We can be bold for Christ right now! Hey, we should be that way anyway! At home, on the job, when we are at the store or doing errands.

So if you are bemoaning the fact that you can't do anything, stop and re-adjust your thinking!
You are exactly where God wants you! He can work in you and through you right every circumstance you find yourself in. That's exciting!

Ask yourself:

Who is the boldest Christian you know?

Why is it easier to practice "safe" Christianity?

Do you find there are times when it is just easier to say nothing at all?

Are there any situations where you could be bolder in taking advantage of existing opportunities?

In what situations could you be bolder in creating new opportunities?

This is a message I put on the "Sunday View" post...but it's worth repeating. Watch it when you have some time. Click on the "Big and Bold" link, just below. It will be time well spent!

Big and Bold

We Can Do It!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Just Okay...

Sigh...Some people are amazing writers. I admire the way they so clearly communicate what they want to say. Alas, I am not a writer. Not a "real" one.

Reminds me of singing. I love to sing. Can even hold a tune. Harmony comes fairly easily to me. But I'm not a "Singer". I don't have amazing vocals, hence...a soloist I am not.

I'm an "okay" singer. I'm an "okay" writer. Everything I do seems to be "okay" at best. Hence, the sigh at the beginning of this "okay" blog post.

Do you ever feel like that? You don't want to whine or complain...but everything seems to fall into the mediocre category?

The problem with dwelling on those thoughts is that I am focusing on what I can't do and allowing the lie that Satan wants me to believe, to enter my thinking. The lie that says that because I can't do certain things as well as other people means I am nothing but an "okay" person.

As much as I hate to admit it... I choose to think that of my own accord. Nobody twisted my arm in torture as they forced that statement from my lips. No. I do it all by my little self!

You know what good things I do have in abundance?

I have a big heart.
I try hard.
I am persistent.

None of those things will gain me any accolades. It is unlikely that I will derive a six figure income with a big heart. But it is what God gave me. He gives all His children something special. It may not be what your neighbor has, or what seems to abound in your friends.

Yes, I admit that many times I wish I were more than mediocre at certain things. But I have a question for you. Do you ever wish that you were really good at something, but instead you are...

Just okay?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Faith Conversations...

Did you know that 80% of kids who are church goers, will leave church by the time they are in their 20's?

Now I don't know how accurate that statistic is, but I do know that it is high enough to reveal that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

It's pretty simple, really. Bottom line is: Kids are not stupid. They have eyes and ears. Frankly, for the most part...if they have parents who are applying God's promises and principals to their lives, their children will be much more apt to take God seriously. He or she will see the power of God in your lives and will want to incorporate it into their own lives as they grow.

Great News!

When you do this, there is actually a 300% better chance that your kids will continue to walk with the Lord, even when they get older!

I'm not saying you have to be perfect. But it would be great if you were honest. For example, if you are upset about something and you don't deal with it well - then admit that little fact to your kids...or even grandkids. Tell them you know that is not how God would want you to react.

Goes against the grain for you to admit that you actually have faults? Well, that is something you are going to have to deal with. It's nothing short of pride...and we know that pride goes before a fall.

So now what?

A couple of things come to mind:

1) Depending on the maturity of the child you could ask them to pray with you.
That lets them know that you know you aren't perfect and need God's help. It also opens up
the door for...
2) An opportunity to pray with them about any problems they are having. (But do that
later - when the problem actually comes up).

There are so many creative things you can do.

One creative something I can share with you has to do with "Faith Conversations".

Faith Conversations are just that. Conversations about faith. Throughout the day, in a matter of fact sort of way, simply bring up principals of God's word and use it in a practical way so that both you, your kids or your grandchildren, can be reminded that God is very real in every circumstance.

Still uncertain as to what I'm talking about? If so, get a piece of paper or go on the computer and write down various traits that God speaks of in His Word.

Patience, Peace, Love, Kindness, Self-Control...the list goes on. Then see what God has to say about it.

Talk about those things, individually as they apply, throughout the day. As you do that you will teach your kids - or grandkids - how to naturally apply God's word to their lives. Oh. And don't be "preachy" sounding. Very annoying.

Your child or grandchild isn't a Christian? Afraid of "pushing your beliefs" on them? Hey, telling them how God is working in your life can be an awesome tool and a great...

Faith Conversation...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Review !

I'll be a bit on the brief side today. Alas...I don't feel too well, but I did want to give you a
quick update at least.

Last Monday I told you I would be going to a Crisis Pregnancy Center to ask them if there was anything I could do to help.

I have to say, I was really surprised. "Shelly" - the director I spoke to - was really very open. Much more than I would have expected. Turns out she has been giving and giving for so many years, that she had been experiencing a type of "disconnect" from people. What I mean by that, is that she was so accustomed to people needing things from her that she was almost afraid to form any type of relationship with anybody for fear they would be another needy person.

Don't misunderstand me. She was and continues to be extremely willing to give. Her love of all people is from God and it is very strong. She was simply acknowledging her human-ness.

I felt very honored that she would open up like that. Yes, there center always needs contributions and yes, she told me the hours they could use volunteers and that she would train them - but it seemed to me that my biggest "contribution" was to simply ask her what I could do for her.

She wasn't accustomed to that.

I wonder how many more "giving" people there are out there that are feeling alone?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

An Ingrown Church.

If you will recall, in the last post "Your I.T. Expert" made two points about the all important Ingrown Toenail.

I will devote this blog to the second point. The gist?

Don't trim your toenails too short, as you may set the stage for ingrown toenails.

Are you shaking in your boots? You know...the ones that aren't too tight? Of course not. What you are doing is wondering how I am going to weave biblical insight into a toenail!

Oh, now. I'm not going to do that!

But, remember when we learned that if our toenails are trimmed too could set the stage for an ingrown toenail?

Honestly, when I read about that, I thought of the church as the toenail...and when we "trim" the toenail - or church - too much...the church can become ingrown. The danger of a church that becomes ingrown is that their focus is placed on ministering to themselves before reaching out to the world.

So how do we "trim" a church?

First thing we need to do is get on the same page. What is the church? That may seem like a silly question, but it is viewed very differently by many people

Some people think church is simply a building where religious people meet. A location.


There is a difference between the church and a church building.

All throughout the New Testament are references to the church.

The church that is being persecuted.

Buildings aren't persecuted.

The church that speaks.

Buildings can't talk.

Great fear came upon the church.

Buildings don't get scared.

Prayer was offered to God by the church.

Buildings don't pray.

Need I continue?

I love the church. (And yes, I enjoy meeting in church buildings). The true church, however, is an incredible movement of God that spans the entire world. It consists of people who have chosen to ask Jesus into their lives and subsequently follow Him... It goes beyond buildings, beyond denominations, beyond theological differences that have nothing to do with salvation.

When we insist that the church is nothing but a building or when we limit church to a specific denomination...even when we over-emphasize theological issues that are not salvation related,
we are, in a sense, "cutting our toenails too short", and setting the stage for...

An Ingrown Church.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Your I.T. Expert ...

Aha! You thought I was referring to I.T. - as in "Information Technology". (Oh, so that's what I.T. stands for)!

No. I'm actually referring to something much closer to you. Ingrown Toenails!

Now why in the world would I want to talk about Ingrown Toenails? I'll tell you. But first:

Did you know that if you trim your toenails too short, particularly on the sides of your big toes, you may set the stage for an ingrown toenail? That's right!

And did you know that the most common cause for "I.T." is tight shoe wear or improper grooming or trimming of the nail?

Yep. I'll bet you're really glad I enlightened you on that most fascinating subject!

So. "Now", you ask, "what is she getting at"? know me well!

How do I say this so that it doesn't come out wrong? I am, after all, quite adept at putting my foot in my mouth!

Well, I guess all I want to say is that too many times, the only people we really interact with are our fellow Christians.

Don't get me wrong. I love fellowshipping with my brothers and sisters in Christ!

But I know it is easy to get an "Ingrown Toenail" -spiritually and emotionally speaking - when we are so tight in our relationships with each other, that we don't leave room for the rest of the world!

Tight shoes, if you remember, was one of the precursors to Ingrown Toenails.

Tomorrow, I will attempt to further enlighten you as to the second reason for I.T. After all, I am...

Your I.T. Expert...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Review !

Drum roll, please! Okay, if you're new to this blog you will more than likely be wondering why it is that a drum roll is required! Well, let me enlighten you. I told people that I want to be part of the "Do It" Church. Bottom line, I want to be a "Doer".

We discussed,in an earlier blog, the importance of taking note of and counting the places around you that have an exceptionally high amount of hurting people. It is described in the post entitled: "Count" and Then Prepare for "WAR" ( Walking, Asking and Responding).

A couple of weeks ago, I counted and wrote down all the places within a ten mile radius of my home that would fall into that category. I mean, I realize there are hurting people everywhere...but some places attract more hurting people than others.

Last week I told you I would tell you how I did in the "WALK" part of "WAR".

Well. I would have to give myself a "2" on the Richter scale. Am I being hard on myself? Nah.
It's just that I didn't exactly WALK anywhere. I just thought about it. Okay, and I prayed...a little.

Sounds like a potential prescription for getting nowhere fast. Alas, my name..."Shay" my nickname. Comes from my middle name, "Alacia"...pronounced "Alaysha". A roomate, a long time ago, asked me if she could call me "Shay" because she could never pronounce my real name and kept forgetting it.

What does that have to do with procrastination? All I was going to say is that one of my husbands favorite names for me was... "Procrastalaysha".

I wasn't thrilled with that name. Especially since it was a glaring verbal indictment on my character! Even was an accurate assessment!

There is good news, however! My husband hasn't called me "Procrastalaysha" for years now.
Granted, I still drag my feet more than I would like...but I have definitely improved.

So, what location did I think about going to? Well, it's a Crisis Pregnancy Center that is about one mile away from where I live.

My next step is to actually go there (as opposed to just thinking about it) and Ask them how I can help them.

I'll tell you what happens on the next...

Monday Review !

Friday, January 28, 2011

Walk Talk !

You know how there are people that talk the talk but don't walk the walk? We've all visited that place from time to time.

But doesn't it feel great when we put feet to our words?! I call it:

Walk Talk!

Okay, this is pretty exciting!

Remember a few posts ago, we talked about being a Do It Church?

Count...Then Prepare for WAR, is a post that might refresh your memory.

Count stands for ... Count. How's that for clever? WAR stands for Walk, Ask, Respond.

I told you I would give a little description or example, of each category.

"W" WALK. Actually walk to one of those of the places that you prayed about. A location that resonates in your heart. Contact them. Go there. You can do it!

"A" ASK. Ask yourself, then ask them... "How can I help?" For example, if you used to frequent bars and people know you...assuming alcohol won't be a stumbling block for can actually talk to the person in charge of the bar and ASK them if they would like to take your name and number as a person who would be willing to be a "designated driver" for someone who can't get home by themselves. How is that ministry? Let me tell you something. You never know how you are going to affect someone. You could have had a very positive influence on the bar tender. You just got to know a hurting person that needs your prayer. Don't worry about it. Just put yourself out there. Let God do the inner work.

"R" RESPOND. When you do respond...remember to respond in love. Also keep in mind that when you respond to someone, the Holy Spirit is the one who will actually work through you, and oftentimes it will be you who gets ministered to.

So what's my next step? Boy, I like you guys. You really help me. I have to be accountable when I tell you I'm going to do something. I've already shared with you the different places I counted. I will report to you Monday about the results of my next experience. The Big "W". Aarrgghh!!!

It's time to let my walking do the talking and initialize:

Walk Talk!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Love Switch...

I have something to say that is really, really difficult for me. I'm so afraid of people please hear me out. And please don't judge me. Some people may think I'm ridiculous for saying anything at all. But. Oh well.

I have a lot of love for people...but it isn't emotional. I want it to be...but I can't make myself feel the emotion of love. It's as if my "love switch" was broken a long time ago and never got repaired. For the life of me, I can't feel anything except sadness or pain of some kind.

I do experience times of happiness...just not the emotion of love that I have heard people say they feel deep in their hearts.

It's not all bad. I mean, if you were in a room with a gunman, you would eventually be glad I was with you because even though I can't feel the emotion of love...I would allow myself to take a bullet meant for you. So, I recognize that even though I can't feel anything - there is, nevertheless, a strong love that God put inside of me that I will, by faith, act on. But the emotion isn't there.

I feel very alone, but I suspect I'm not. If you feel like a part of you is "broken" please let me share with you two scriptures that continue to help me to this day.

Psa 34:18 says, The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those who are crushed in spirit.

Psa 147:3 says, He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds.

God loves us. He loves you. If you are broken in any way, He will heal you. He's actually closer to you than you would have ever imagined. And He is working. He will bind up the broken part of you. He is the best physician any one could possibly hope for.

He began the healing process with me when I asked Him into my life. The wounds were deep and He understood them like nobody else could. He started out by loving me. Then He gave me an incredibly loving husband as well as loving kids...that aren't kids anymore! He knew that I needed to be loved in a demonstrative way, before my heart could feel love.

It's not really that unusual. What is the scripture? We love Him because He first loved us. 1Jo 4:19

Maybe it won't be long before He has completed the healing of my...

Love Switch...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Status or Purpose?

You know how when you read a book, it will sometimes have an asterik next to a word so that you will know to go to the bottom of the page and read an excerpt of sorts?

Well, I know that I said I would go into detail a bit RE: The "Do It" Church. And I will. But I wanted to share something with you first.

I heard somebody say something today that really stuck with me. He said:
"Some people are more concerned with changing their status than discovering their purpose."

That is so true. We are so self focussed. Everything is about us. Me, me, me. It is certainly understandable. I mean, we grew up with ourselves. The entire view of the world is seen through our eyes. Of course it is natural that we are self centered. Sounds awful though, doesn't it?

Fortunately, God already understands all that about us. He did, after all, create us. He gets it. But He doesn't want us to continue in that state. His desire for us, as His adopted children, is to become God-Centered. When we do that, we are taking the first step to a willingness to discover the purpose He has for us.

Problem. Did I say problem? No. More like problems...plural.

In my impatience to be significant and fulfilled in life, I preempt God's purpose for me with a status or station of my own making. Obviously, different things will be important to different people. For example, some peoples status are significantly strengthened in their estimation, by:

* Relationships
* Careers
* Titles
* Money
* Power

* And more...

God wants to do something in us, for us and for others by using us. The question is...will we let Him? What is more important? Our...

Status or Purpose?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Step Into Action...

Uh...if you think going into the community and reaching out to people in need, is easy for me...think again! If it is not difficult to you, I commend you. Alas, I do not fall into that category. Yes...I love people. But loving people and having the courage to turn your love into action can be two different things.

I'm really good at some things. I think I'm best at finding reasons why I can't do something. That's why I told you that I would reach out to people - so that I would have to. I mean, if I tell somebody that I'm going to do something...I will do it.

Here is a list of words that came to my mind - from the time I said I would go out into the community, until I did:

Gargantuan, Herculean, ambitious, arduous, burdensome (Hey, I work 40 hours a week), challenging, crucial, demanding, easier said than done, exacting, formidable, laborious, no picnic, not easy, problematic, emotionally strenuous, of titanic proportion, very trying. Oh, and did I mention how much I dreaded it?

But I did it! At least... I started the process, which is... a start! It wasn't too painful. Remember when I said the first thing to do was to count the places within about a 10 mile radius of where you live? I counted them and wrote them down. It was relatively painless since I used my computer! Good ole Google search engine. Figured I could start there and add more as I see them. So what did I find?

1) One Hospital
2) Three Convalescent Homes
3) Two Tutoring Centers
4) Six Bars
5) Three Elementary Schools
6) One High School
7) One Crisis Pregnancy Center

(No Abortion Clinics within ten miles...but check that out where you live).

Oh, BTW, if you do this...remember to write down the address and phone number. If you're doing it on the computer, just copy and paste...and save the information in a file.

But don't just "file it away". Remember the rest of the acronym?

WAR ... Walk, Ask, Respond.

Tomorrow I will throw some thoughts your way, Re: Walking, Asking and Responding.

But for right now...just count and take note of the addresses and phone numbers.

I would love it if you would join me on my journey by either praying for me - or starting your own journey and sharing it with me and others. I challenge you! Just start out by taking a ...

Step Into Action...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Do Something Church !

We can all be a part of the "Do Something Church". But when we are in it "alone", it's much more difficult. What can we do about that?

The Do Something Church

Friday, January 21, 2011

Here I Go!

For anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about...just read the post entitled, Count...Then Prepare for War. War is simply an acronym. It helps me with my poor memory. The message behind it came from a message I heard from Miles McPherson at The Rock Church in San Diego.

We can talk about what we've learned. That's the easy part. But applying it is quite another story, right? Anyway, I've decided to apply this strategy in my life and give you my progress. I'll share with you my personal journey in this area.

If I do something stupid or embarrassing...I'll definitely make sure to include that! Hey, it's potential high entertainment for you! Frankly, I would love to share with you my journey and secretly hope you will be open to doing the same. Regardless, at least I can be accountable to you!

Every Monday I will post my "doings". Eventually, I would like to have a separate tag that you can click to follow me any day of the week. I admit, I haven't learned how to do that yet! I'm still a newbie at this, so bear with me...okay?

So, what am I going to do again?

First thing I'm going to do is count all the places within approximately a 10 mile radius of my home, that are locations where people are probably hurting.

I told you I'd explain things in more detail...and I will...but I have an itch to get started. So...

Here I Go!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Count First...Then Prepare for War!

Say what?! Am I suggesting you prepare for... violence?

No, of course not.

As Christians, most of us have learned all about spiritual warfare. That is, we are familiar with that phrase. But how well do we grasp the continual reality of the spiritual battles that are all around us?

Most Christians - myself included - don't mean to, but there is a tendency in all of us to simply live life and forget about what is going on around us...unless it affects us, that is.

So what can we do about that?

This has actually been gnawing on my subconscious mind for a while now. I say subconscious because in my conscious mind I try my best to avoid anything that might be unpleasant or difficult for me.

Don't worry. I won't throw out the "get out of your comfort zone" card. You, like me, have probably heard that one too many times. Oh. And I won't tell you to take your head out of the sand or anything. Besides...I like ostriches. They have those awesome eyes!

But I will share with you something that I learned! Count First...then Prepare for War!

What do I mean by that? Simple. The first thing you do is... count. Count the places within a 10 mile radius of you that have hurting people in them.

Walk to those places!

Ask them how you can help them.

Respond to them in love.

In my next post, I will tell you what I counted in my area and I will go into more detail. In the meantime...

Start Counting !

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spiritual Contractions!

Believe it or not, there is a point to this post. Hang with me.

A while ago, I was with someone who was going to give birth to a baby. As her labor progressed she was eventually dilated at a nine. Things were looking good for our heroine, but then both the intensity as well as the frequency of the contractions continued to lessen until eventually everything stopped.

But what happened? Why did the contractions stop? Is this unusual?

Well, if you are a doctor or nurse you may very well tell me that that is not uncommon.

Great. Now what? Well, in this instance, another woman who was accustomed to "taking the bull by the horn" began to coach the pregnant woman and told her to "push" at regular intervals...until the contractions returned. And they did return.

A healthy baby boy was born and two beaming parents happily welcomed a new life into this world.

Why did I tell you this story? Because it relates to us. You see, when we became Christians, many of us were sharing Christ right and left. We shared our faith at increasingly regular intervals as we allowed the Holy Spirit to work freely. Witnessing to others was a labor of love that could be likened to contractions that result in a new life being born into this world.

But then...when a bit of time goes by - perhaps when we are at a nine - something happens and we just...stop. Perhaps we begin by slowing down...but eventually we came to a standstill.

Does this sound familiar?

Tomorrow I will share with you:

Four things that can give us a jump start.
Four things that are actually "do-able".
Four things that can reactivate our...

Spiritual Contractions!

Monday, January 17, 2011

You Know Who You Are!

Whether you came to know Christ when you were younger or older, you have undoubtedly been challenged to share your faith with others. But, for many of us, that challenge takes the form of words that go through one ear and out the other! Or, like me, you might have shared on occasion, but you are embarrassed to admit that it most certainly hasn't resulted in a lifestyle change that takes advantage of countless situations where you neglected to even mention Jesus's name! But, if you...

1) Have invested the time to tell others about Christ
2) Have chosen to share your Christian faith with whoever reads your blogs
3) Or, you want to...

Then this message is one I hope you'll respond to!

Most of you have found a good church home, others are still looking...but I'm guessing that all of us are in agreement that the church today, in general, tends to focus on making us feel good or "feeding us." There is nothing wrong with that, unless that is all it does! Don't get me wrong, I've been walking with the Lord for 34 years and am a very strong supporter of the importance of gathering together. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us to refrain from "forsaking the assembling of ourselves together..."

But what was once a movement of God...has become a mere location, to many people. I am assuming that most of you understand that, because His Spirit lives in you, His Church is wherever you are. People that don't know Christ are generally the ones who assume the church is simply a location.

The problem, as I see it, is that we unwittingly take on the worlds view of the church, in the sense that we tend to compartmentalize it. I know I do. I don't mean to and I don't want to...but, it happens. "Gotta go to church, this Sunday", "Wasn't church awesome today?" or "I hope nobody caught me falling asleep in church today" are some examples of things we here or say to ourselves quite frequently. Sound familiar?

It's time to break free from that thinking. Time to be a church that is a verb instead of a noun! I'm calling on you right now, to share with other people both in person and via your blogs, what I have been hearing a handful of Christian pastors talking about.

Click on the link, below, to hear a message that is gripping and inspirational. I will spend the next few posts, "re-capping" for anyone that didn't get a chance to listen.

The Do Something Church

You want to be who God wants you to be, but you just don't think about it...or you let the thought "I'm no Billy Graham!" prevent you from doing what, in your heart of hearts, you have been told you should do...but it just doesn't come natural to you. Believe me, there are a lot of us that fall into that category! Keep following this blog. Go ahead and listen to the message in the link above. I challenge you!

You Know Who You Are!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Holy Spirit in Action!

Yesterday, I told you I had something up my sleeve.'s still there, but I want to preface what I'm excited to share with you - with something else, first.  You see, what I am about to share had a huge impact on me because of something that happened to me when I was in jail.

What?!*#  Did she say she was in jail?!   Yes, well, I wasn't going to tell you that little detail since I figured it might freak some people out and I could loose credibility in some peoples eyes.  Suffice it to was definitely not a typical experience for me.  Matter of fact, my major in college was Criminal Justice.  My goal was to be a police officer.  Never in a million years would I have pictured myself in jail.  Long story short...  I was actively involved in pro-life work, got involved with Christians in Operation Rescue,  it wasn't appreciated and I found myself eventually sharing a jail cell with one female criminal and a toilet.

I was grateful for the toilet - but more than a little disappointed to discover that my new "room mate" and I didn't speak the same language. There went all my visions of grandeur!  I mean, I had imagined myself to be a female version of the apostle Paul!  I was, after all, standing up for the rights of the unborn! The God-given right to life!   Unfortunately, the language barrier put a major damper on things.  My bubble burst and I finished my time there  considerably more humble than when I entered.

Two days before I got out, I decided...with great reluctance... to go to the "prison chapel".  I was not a happy camper as a guard escorted my lone self to the proper location.  Feeling dejected and foolish, I walked into the designated room for the bible to be studied and was met by the female chaplain.

Guess what?

She recognized me!  The bizarre thing is that she had never seen me before, nor had I ever seen or even heard of her.  But she knew I was a Christian!  When I walked in she came up to me with a twinkle in her eye that partnered with a warm and compassionate smile as she welcomed me with the words, "You're with Operation Rescue, aren't you?"

My jaw dropped and I was speechless for a few seconds.  Finally, I asked her how she knew who I was?

"Oh," she matter-of- factly stated, " every week for the past year, as the bus brings Christians from Operation Rescue to the prison, the Spirit over this entire place becomes noticeably stronger. The bible studies increase in quantity as well as quality!"

I  have no idea what that bible study was about.  All I could think of then and what continues to impact me to this day - almost 25 years later - was the miraculous power and presence of the Holy Spirit. I was witnessing...

The Holy Spirit in Action!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What's Up My Sleeve?!

Where did that expression come from, anyway?  If anybody knows, feel free to share.  Then again, I could just look it up on Google.  Everybody knows that Google Know All.  Okay, I may be sounding a little sarcastic...but I can find out a lot on that little ole search engine!

Anyway...what is up my sleeve?  Alas, I must go to event that prevents me from immediately sharing with you what I am very excited about.  But I must give you a hint.  Two purposes will be served.  

1)  It will be fun.  (And we all understand the importance of that three letter word).
2)  It will help me to be accountable.

You see, what I am excited about and am looking forward to sharing with you has to do with making an impact in this world - in your world as well - that is life changing!

Oops!  Looked at the evil clock!  Gotta go!

Until next time!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Matter of Heart...

You always wanted to know what you would be like when you grew up. Of course, when you were a teenager you thought anyone out of high school was grown up. Then you got to college and realized that an adult was 30 years old and a middle aged person was 35. Yep! That was my firm belief, anyway. Alas, when I reached that age I quickly changed my tune and sang in a different key!

My first strong clue that I was off-base was when I hit the mid-thirties without experiencing a mid life crisis. You see, as I matured I realized that middle age doesn't set in until you are 40! Yes, my knowledge of people was certainly abounding! So, I adjusted my thinking cap and waited. Time passed and passed and passed until one day I looked in the mirror and to my horror I saw the reflection of a womans face with two problems that do not belong together!

Yes, I had both wrinkles and pimples! How can this be!?! Must I yet again re-evaluate the life of a human being? Or perhaps I had ascertained life correctly - but I simply wasn't normal? I have to admit that that thought had some merit. Over the years I noticed that other people my age were getting older...but I wasn't. How could that be? Wait a daughters are normal and they are getting older.

I, therefore, decided that getting older was perfectly was the getting old part that didn't thrill me.

One day, with much consternation over the age issue, I spewed verbal vomit all over my husband as I bemoaned the condition of man - vs- age.

"I don't want to get old!" I cried.

"Don't worry" said my husband. He picked up a book and turned it over to the picture on the back cover. "Look at this picture of Chuck Smith...he's still riding a motorcycle in his 60's."

You could see the immediate look of relief that washed over my face. It was true. Chuck Smith was a man I very much admired then and continue to admire today. And there he was...on a motorcycle with a big grin on his face! My heartfelt thanks to you, Chuck! When I looked at your smiling face, I realized that the issue of age encompassed more than mere numbers. It was and continues to be...

A Matter of Heart.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fire Escape or Escape Artist?

Hey there! I've got a question for you. What do the things in the following three paragraphs have in common?

T.V. Movies, video games, serfing the net, games, sports (watching or participating) The list is endless.

Reading: You might pick up a book at the library. Purchase a good fiction or non-fiction at your favorite bookstore. Order it online on Amazon. Read online. Listen to an audio book.
Perhaps you are reading because it's required for your education. You might "bury your nose in work, reading, school" etc.

Miscellaneous Fun Activities: Shopping, Manicures/Pedicures, Arcades...

ANSWER: (Read backwards)
escape. of forms be all can They

Are any of the things I mentioned, wrong? Of course not. Not in and of themselves. But when we do anything for the sole purpose of escaping pain, then we have simply done one of two things. We have either created our own personalized fire escape...or become an escape artist.

But I'm learning to distinguish the difference between having fun and using fun as a means to escape. That's the question we all need to ask ourselves. It is sure helping me. When I realize I'm only doing something because I want to escape pain...then it gnaws on me until I deal with things head on. You might be good at confronting situations and dealing with it. If not, me, you need to ask yourself the question..."Am I doing this particular thing and using it as a...

Fire Escape or Escape Artist?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fire Escape!

Nobody likes least not when it is destructive. We definitely don't want a fire to come near us and burn us. As a matter of fact, death by fire has to be in the top ten list of ways we don't want to die. If you were caught in a building that was on fire, I'm guessing you would be headed for the nearest fire escape.

Actually, there are two fires we want to escape. I will talk more about one of them tomorrow, but today what I'm thinking of is one that most people do not like to talk about. I don't blame them. I personally hate the subject. But it's reality.

I'm speaking of Hell. Most people avoid that topic like the plague...unless, of course, they are in swearing mode. Unfortunately, though most of us recoil from even thinking about it, that Abyss is a place of torment that has been likened to fire and brimstone. It exists whether we like it or not. We cannot wish it away.

Some people feel better about it if they say that Hell is simply where God is not. The main problem I see with that thinking is that it almost makes it sound inviting...if you don't want God in your life anyway. I am certain God would not want us to fall victim to a type of thought world that would deceive us into thinking that Hell is "not so bad".

If you know how to escape that fiery torment, it is because you know that Jesus is the only one who can save you from that Fire and you have asked Him into your life. You could say He acts as the ultimate...

Fire Escape!