These presentations can stand alone or be shortened and paired. For retreats you could select several topics for a “Live Free in Today’s Culture” theme. In the Columbia, SC area you may contact me about presenting a series for your group.
Take iControl: Our screens suck us in. Opportunities to connect multiply while the richness of relationships thins out. How can we intentionally nurture healthy, caring relationships in today’s digital culture?
The secret is in the power of giving our presence as a gift to others. This message probes what it meant for God to give his loving presence to his people in the Old Testament. And for Jesus to be Emmanuel, God with us. From my eBooklet Take iControl (download free) you’ll hear practical tips on how we might manage our entertainment and social networking so that it helps us give our presence to others, rather than take it away.
Escaping the Temptation to Escape: The #1 reason for giving into America’s top temptations? “To escape or get away from ‘real life.’” In the early days of my rheumatoid arthritis I escaped into too much TV and daydreams of the life I longed to live. The daydreams especially became an addiction I couldn’t lay down.
In this message you’ll discover if your distractions are really costing you. If they are softly becoming the things you love and desire more than God. You’ll learn to discern if friendships with men might be becoming emotional affairs. We’ll see how God’s Word offers real-life intimacy with Jesus. And the power to love and serve others with risk and courage, so we can live a reality far more life-giving than escape. (from Godsight)
Invitation to a “Holiday at the Sea”: Do we want too much, or too little? God created us with longings to lead us to him. Today’s culture inflates our longings into romantic, unattainable expectations that often shatter against the wall of reality. What if shattered dreams might be God’s way of saying, to paraphrase CS Lewis, “Are you fooling around with romance, nice things, ambition and entertainment like a child playing mud pies in the slum because you cannot imagine the holiday at the sea? Are Your dreams too small?”
At twenty-nine I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and began a daily struggle with pain and diminished mobility. Sharing insights from my own journey and God’s word we’ll look at our expectations and longings in the light of eternity. Are we setting ourselves up for disappointment and boredom because we are making the good things the ultimate things? The more we discover what a treasure Jesus is, the more we offer him to the world through our lives and gifts, whatever our limitations, that’s the “holiday at the sea.” (from Godsight)
All You Need is Love (or Obedience?) To listen to today’s culture, the greatest good is romantic love. To listen to our church culture we might think that the greatest good is obedience. Choosing Christ each day, that act of the will, is that what God mainly desires from us? If you choose Jesus more from the commitment of your will than the desire of your heart, isn’t that OK? Is joy too much to long for?
Living in chronic pain and limitations, I found myself so stuck. Following Jesus out of duty, praying “St. Lael’s Prayer of Resignation.” Rather than kill our hearts, this message inspires us to revive them. It takes us beyond the good of human romantic love deep into Jesus’ love for us on the cross and his love for us as his bride. We are invited to respond to a love we can hardly imagine. A love that invites our obedience but never wants us to settle for anything less than joy. (from Godsight)
Beauty and Ageing-
Do I Look OK?: Never have so many women felt like they just don’t measure up. Size 2’s, plastic surgery, newsbabes–we are surrounded by images and messages that sell us the lie: You do not look ok. Speaking as a former beauty queen who struggles with rheumatoid arthritis, I’ll take you to Scriptures that examine what beauty really is–confidence, strength, dignity, and a gentleness that is not what we think. This message shows how God unveils our true beauty and how his advice for capturing a man’s heart offers freedom from the bondage of our beauty CULTure.
But if our desire is to enjoy God, if we dream of playing a crucial role in his eternal kingdom, then the tick-tocking of the clock brings us closer to the “holiday at the sea.” Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 29 I speak from the experience of feeling old since my youth. We’ll explore the losses of aging–health, career, hobbies, loved ones–in the light of what it means to be a living soul, not just a body. You’ll consider retirement from a Biblical worldview and be inspired by a fresh look at the reality of heaven. We’re not just getting older; We’re getting closer. See more on this content in my post Ageing with Less Fear, More Anticipation
A Thinking Woman’s Journey with Christ: Did God create you as a woman who loves to think broadly and deeply? This message encourages you to own it as part of your beauty—a reflection of the Lord’s glory. In a culture that can be ambivalent about thinking women, it will challenge you to keep nurturing that beauty, confident that God can shepherd your gifts in the context of marriage and motherhood and what may seem like life’s detours. You’ll discover ways you can invest your depth into others. We’ll also explore the hidden pride that comes with learning so we can love God and minister to others with integrity. (Originally presented to the young women in the Torrey Honors Program, Biola University)
Tap Dancing on Pinterest: How do you feel the cultural pressure to perform? In your marriage? As a mom? On the job? Are you exhausted from competing with others at work and tap-dancing on Pinterest when company comes? If we find our identity in performance or approval, like Martha in the Luke 10 kitchen , we will tap dance till we drop and criticize ourselves and others for not dancing well enough. We’ll try to control Mary (and Jesus?) and get them tap-dancing as well.
But Mary offers a beautiful alternative. This message explores what it means to “choose the richer part.” To find your identity in sitting at the feet of Jesus with a heart to obey. I’ll offer specific ways to take off our dancing shoes and get out of the kitchen of performance. ( strong gospel presentation)
PostSecrets and Rembrandt: How God Redeems Our Regrets-“Write your true secret on a postcard. Decorate it. Mail it in.” The PostSecrets blog illustrates how today’s culture entices to follow our hearts apart from God–and we wind up with all these hidden stashes of regret.
In this message we’ll see the deep value of confession–how letting God and others in can be the first step of healing. How goodness brings the relief of holiness. But how the burden of relentless striving for goodness, apart from grace, can crush us as surely as binging on our pleasures. Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son and Rembrandt’s painting of his return capture our hearts and press the question: How will we live in response to God’s commands and his grace? Frozen in self-righteousness, or melted by mercy? (Strong gospel presentation) Includes a time for reflection with Rembrandt’s art and Kim Hill’s Arms of Love. More faith and culture messages that feature art, music and video clips here.
For cultural pressure points like our view of truth and sex and gender see my Worldview page
Interested in having me speak?
If you’d like more information about my availability, fees, and how I might customize an engagement for you please connect with me below. I’ll get back to you promptly.