adventure, faith, kingdom living, leadership, sacred romance

What Size is Your Story?

I love movies.  It’s one of my favorite things to do with my family on the weekend.  Many of my children do as well, and since the youngest is heading into his tween years, we’ve been slowly introducing him to some of the great movies we’ve seen over the years.  Last night it was The Matrix.  He loved it.  I loved it for the fourth or fifth time.

We actually watched two movies yesterday, my youngest son and I.  He wanted to see Thor: Ragnarok again. That movie makes me smile because Thor seems much more human in it.

This morning on my facebook timeline, I noticed that someone posted a beautiful sunset/sunrise and then referenced yet another of my favorite movies, The Last of the Mohicans.

I love movies for the same reason I loved books as a child.  I wanted a world bigger than my own. A world that’s not so mundane, where everything is hanging in the balance, and where there is epic love and epic friendship and epic battles.

In our couple’s group tonight, we’re discussing Chapter 4 of The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge.  This chapter is called A Story Big Enough to Live In.  Like my son and me, these two authors love movies.  The authors contend that “if we’re going to find the answer to the riddle of the earth — and of our own existence — we’ll find it in story.” (p. 40) They go on to say that we “create our own storylines to bring some meaning to our experiences,” but they claim that we lose ourselves in the smallest kinds of stories.  You’ll have to pick up the book for more (I promise it’s worth the read).

I am 100% sure that my youngest son would say that his storyline involves some superhuman abilities and epic battles to save the world.

I know I created my own storyline as well as a child, also with superhuman abilities and epic battles.  Unfortunately, my story began to shrink throughout my life.  But I am dreaming again of my childhood storyline and smiling, and as I do, I find it’s getting bigger and bigger.

How about you?  What size is your storyline? Is it epic, or the smallest kind?


adventure, faith, kingdom living, leadership

New Role

In the last few weeks, I have begun serving my community through our church, Christ Community Church, in a new way. Our church has had a relationship with World Relief for several years, but had no one to take up the role of being the point person. This new role will have me developing a cadre of volunteers who are willing to welcome new refugees into our area. It is a role which fits the call of Jesus on my life which is to embody Micah 6:8.

He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly[a] with your God. Micah 6:8 NIV84

Our goal (mine and that of Christ Community Church’s Community Impact team and the beginnings of our team of volunteers) is to build relationships with refugees in the hopes that one day we will be able to share Jesus Christ with them and see them begin a personal relationship with him.

I have been super excited about this new role and have studied all that it entails. I’m daily reading and educating myself on who is a refugee, the process for identifying them and approving them for resettlement and what happens when they arrive on our soil. I’m reading leadership books and spending a lot of time planning. I am a researcher, it’s a passion of mine. I like to really understand things and dig deep. And I have done so on this issue and especially on this community partner, World Relief.

I’m excited to share with you what I have learned. Look for new blog posts over the next few days. I’m dividing the posts as it is a lot of information to digest. I will be linking to factual data, so please follow the links. I hope you will read all of them.  Feel free to share them with others who are wondering about refugees, particularly those who fear an influx of Syrian Refugees.

It is my humble prayer that God will use these posts to bring about a change of hearts and minds.

adoption, Bible Study, faith, kingdom living, leadership, parenting, spiritual warfare, worshipping

Remember I Said, “Not My Will, But Only Yours, Lord”

Our lawyer essentially said tonight there was no way we’d be taking our boys home on Sunday.

We do not know anything beyond that, but nevertheless I am here, we’re making some important contacts and I will be eagerly waiting for God’s will.

Please keep praying. This is God’s fight to win, not ours, but we can keep praying.

Daniel 10:1-19 is a great picture of continuing to pray when prayers are not answered in time. Often we do not understand why there are not immediate answers to our prayers. This may be why:

Daniel 10

Daniel’s Vision of a Man

1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war.[a] The understanding of the message came to him in a vision.

2 At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.

4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, 5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.

7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.

10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.

12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

15 While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. 16Then one who looked like a man[b] touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak. 17 How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.”

18 Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. 19 “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”

When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”

While I’m waiting, I’m going to be reading some books to pass the time.

  • A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
  • Norman Grubb, Rees Howell Intercessor
  • John Eldredge, Epic: The Story God is Telling

Your continued prayers for yesterday’s list is coveted, especially for my youngest son in the US.

Bible Study, faith, leadership

My prayer for today!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17

It’s far too easy to forget the unity God calls us to as Christians. But we must put aside our grievances, forgive and reach out in love.

faith, leadership

Trading Up

Last week I tweeted something God was teaching me:

“In the busyness of life, it’s so easy to let the “good” crowd out God’s best for us. I’d rather have the best, so I’m dropping the good.”

I’m amazed at how many times this idea has cropped up over the last 6 days. It’s been everywhere in every day since. Hopefully, I’m not stealing too much thunder from our next sermon series, but I’ve been editing the next journal and it’s filled with the same idea.

We can be so focused on the good.

Let that thought linger for a little while longer…

I wrote my tweet last Wednesday when I decided to let go of a good thing and choose something better. I had been “playing” at selling jewelry for about 2 months and decided that even playing in it was distracting me from things that were better. I let it fall out of my hands so that my hands were open and waiting for the better thing I knew was coming. And honestly, that wasn’t that hard. However, I know that letting go of the good can be very painful. I’ve had to do it in two other areas this week, both of which were painful. Who am I kidding….still are painful!

But we can’t grasp God’s best for us with hands that are full of things that are good.

“As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51)  Jesus for three years had been ministering all around Israel, just not in Jerusalem. Things were good, lots of miracles took place, his ministry had been burgeoning but Jesus let go of the good, to grasp firmly God’s best. He knows what he’s facing and he heads out anyway. Jesus couldn’t go to the cross in Jerusalem without giving up the “good” of his ministry elsewhere. And this was certainly an instance where choosing God’s best would be very costly!

Letting go of the good, to choose the best, will be costly. In fact, it may cost us everything. Jesus alluded to that when He said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and pick up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-5)

The good is good… but honestly, I’ve never only wanted the good. I’d much rather trade up for God’s best even though it costs me everything. So resolutely, I am turning towards that best.

What “good thing” do you need to let drop from your hands so that God can fill them with his best?

Bible Study, leadership, weight management


Today’s verses: Jeremiah 1:9-10 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

God gave Jeremiah the power to be his audible voice for the purpose of correcting Israel. In Jeremiah 2, the Lord lists all that is wrong in Israel. They are no longer listening to his voice, they do not remember all that he has done for them and they have allowed themselves to be polluted by the worship of false gods.

As I read this this morning, I kept visualizing a garden which has become overgrown, filled with weeds and is no longer producing the fruit it once did. Jeremiah will be like the gardener who takes over the plot and begins to prune, pull weeds and plant.

So how does my garden grow? Am I in need of a new gardener? And if so, who will I allow to prune me so that the garden of my life is a showplace for God’s glory?

If I am to be a gardener, may it always be with God’s words in my mouth and for his glory.

How does your garden grow?


How much is wise?

Recently I was blessed with a position of leadership. Thanks for that go to my LORD first and then to my leaders. I am grateful that God has been molding me into someone He could use.

That said, I’ve taken some time away from my blog while I examine this topic – How much is wise? I’ve been weighing the benefits of transparency vs the cost of it.

Is there a cost to my transparency?

How big is that cost?

What are the benefits?

Who benefits?

I haven’t decided anything yet, but am still pondering…

I do know this. When I go back to my purpose for this blog stated here and in my post on April 5:

I pray that my blog will be to you the aroma of Christ, that it will reflect the Lord’s glory as I am transformed into his likeness by his Spirit, and that through it, others will see Jesus clearly and never distorted.

and my plan to blog on what God is teaching me, then I guess I’ve answered my question.

LORD, may it always be for your glory and your purposes and never mine.

faith, leadership

I’m Choosing to Delight in Weakness

2 Cor 12:10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

For most of my adult life, I have despised my weakness. I hate to cry, I hate depending on others, I hate feeling out of control and I hate feeling powerless.  Probably, I have hated them because in elementary school and junior high that’s how I felt most of the time – weak, powerless. But the problem with despising my own weakness, is that this does not allow God’s power to be made perfect in my life.  I leave no room for his power, because I’m working so hard on my own.

In verse 9, Paul writes, “But he [Christ] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest in me.” It’s hard to imagine boasting about my weaknesses when my gut instinct is to deny, deny, deny them. But as a colleague of mine said recently in a discussion of leadership, people who know me already know what they are.

I’ve had a couple lessons that revealed my weakness and powerlessness recently and they aren’t lessons I really want to repeat. I’d rather admit now that I am weak than to wait for the more difficult lessons to come.

Yesterday afternoon, I was praying that I would learn humility the easy way without having to be humbled.

Today, I am praying for the willingness to delight in my weakness, because it is through my weakness that Christ’s power is manifested in my life and he is glorified.


What are you choosing to delight in?



adoption, faith, leadership

What’s on my nightstand now?

Or more accurately in my Kindle app queue:

Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman – The story of the Chapman family’s adoption and tragic loss.

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt – A thought-provoking and definitely challenging book asking us to follow Jesus the way he told us to – leaving behind security, money, convenience, everything for the gospel.

Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft – Mike Treneer of the Navigators recommends this as “a book for leaders who want to keep growing in their understanding of leadership, finish strongly, and lead with passion.”

Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control by Heather T. Forbes – An outstanding two-volume work on how to effectively parent children with trauma histories.

And yes, I’m reading all four at once.  Three via my Kindle app and one in actual hardcover form.