Another beheading. More Christians raped, murdered and fleeing ISIS in terror. The enemy wants us to feel powerless. Hunker down. Circle the wagons.
But Jesus always calls us to something richer and life-giving, even in the midst of death. After we’ve written a check, after we’ve gathered in our churches and prayed for our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world, after we’ve signed petitions…then what? What can we actually DO in a hands on way?
(“Best of” blog)
The door swings open and a high-energy, petite blonde walks in. “Hi, I’m Annie.”
“Hi Annie, I’m Mary.” Her smile mirrors Annie’s. “Welcome to my studio.”
“I’m friends with Emma and Ryan Glassman. I love how you photographed their wedding. You just…you do great work.”
“Thank you.” Mary glances at the Bride magazine tucked under Annie’s arm. “Your turn coming soon?”
“Yes!” she beams. “Next spring. So I’d like to talk to you about your pricing and packages.”
Mary grabs her brochure and hands it to Annie, pointing to two chairs pulled up to a coffee table full of wedding albums. “Can I get you some coffee?”
Annie looks at the chair and hesitates, “Umm before we get into this you should know…I’m gay.”
Mary knew this day might come. It just came much sooner than she expected. “I’m glad you’ve told me up front…because there’s something you should know. I’m a follower of Jesus.”
Annie’s smile fades just a bit. “Well…what does that mean?”
With earthly love, often what you experience at first is not so much love, but what author Lauren Winner calls ‘ego blast.’ You are excited that someone so great is into you! But until you come to appreciate his beauty it isn’t really love, it’s using someone for your own gain.
In the same way, in our relationship with the Lord, we first long for what he can give us–salvation from hell, relief from suffering, material provisions…Jonathan Edwards reflected that religious people find God useful, but Christians find God beautiful.–Dee Brestin, Idol Lies
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” What a relief. God never labels me a Loser. He never dismisses me. Writes me off. Withdraws from relationship.
But it is one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs to convict us all of sin. And we’ve all felt his sharp elbows in our guilty little ribs. So what is the difference here? How can we live the difference between conviction that brings a proper response to the grave reality of our sin without getting sucked out to sea in an undertow of self-condemnation and regret?
(posted yesterday at Emerge)
A farmer sits on his front porch. Just inside the screen door the phone rings. And rings. His neighbor asks, “Aren’t you going to get that?”
The farmer spits and leans back, “I bought that phone for my convenience. And right now…it’s not convenient.”
A prayer for you, your family and your service to others this week…
Father we pray your love and favor over us this week. Anoint us for all that is before us. We pray your glory and goodness over our lives and the work of our hands. We proclaim the Kingdom of Jesus over our lives, our families, and the good and beautiful work you are doing through us. This is the realm and the province of Jesus, all of it. Fill our lives with your life this week, God. Fill us all with your trueness and goodness and beauty. For your glory, for our joy. In Jesus’ name.
(Thank you for the inspiration, John Eldredge)
(“Best of” blog)
The final episode of Downton Abbey aired Monday. “Keep calm and wait for January” the Facebook icons reassure. You wouldn’t expect to find such a cool- set-must-see-TV-water-cooler-buzz show on PBS, but Masterpiece Theater has struck gold (four Emmys) with its story of Lord and Lady Grantham, their three Jane Austinesque daughters and the downstairs intrigue of butlers, valets, footmen, ladies maids and cooks. What hooks millions of viewers all over the world?
A world of daily candlelight dinners, beaded Chanel gowns, side-saddle hunts and Christmas pheasant shoots is rocked by World War I, the explosion of technology (automobiles, electricity, telephones), the rise of modern media and women’s and workers’ rights and a plot laced with secrets, theft, jealousy, midnight rendezvous, dead bodies, romance and a fairly astonishing moral clarity and commitment.
(“Best of” blog)
After months of transition, job search, selling a home, finding a home, a month of waiting for the new home sale to close, we have finally, actually, irrevocably MOVED.
What seemed so daunting and risky and unknown has become, step by step, reality. Actually, God is in the business of moving us all from HERE to THERE. And as Bill Hybels pointed out at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit last week: the essence of leadership is to lead people from HERE, the current reality, to THERE, the much preferred future.