Lavish Hospitality 16

posted in: 31days, Bible, lavish hospitality | 0

How do you get to know someone?  Thankfully in today’s technology-driven world, I think that is easier and harder.  Let me explain.

You can get to know people on social media.  This is how I love to keep track of new friends and old friends who live in different areas of the country/world.

You can get to know people by running into them at small groups or in church services.  Or playing basketball, shopping, being in a creative group together or a book club.

But, I genuinely think that the only way to truly get to know someone is to sit down with them.  Talk with them face to face.  You may not want to genuinely know everyone – but for those close friends, don’t you want to genuinely know them and sit down with them face to face as often as you can.

With my husband: I can get to know him through texts, through what he posts on facebook, but most I get to know him when we are talking to each other without distractions.  Or if we are sitting side-by-side traveling alone together.

WIth my best friends – I want to get to know them while sitting on their porches, sipping coffee together, or grabbing a quick breakfast together (without our kids).

With new people: it is hard to get to know new people at 40.  It is.  But, I have found it best to just sit down with them, have food or beverage present, and talk. Share.  Be open.

That is what God’s Word does for us.  Though we don’t have a face-to-face with God, the Word reveals God’s heart to us.  He has been hospitable in creating the Word. He was hospitable when He sent Jesus.  And He was (and still is) hospitable to us when He God-breathed the Word to be carried down to generations for us, believers today in 2017.

Quote from Noel Piper Treasuring God in Our Traditions

Lavish Hospitality 6

posted in: 31days, Books, lavish hospitality | 0

One aspect of mothering is that it is life-giving.  And as women, I think we are naturally life-givers.  Maybe not all of us have biological children, but we are all made in the image of God, and being image bearers as females, I think we are life-givers.

You can be life-givers as a wife, mom, foster mom, adoptive mom, friend, neighbor, church member, business woman, daughter, granddaughter, caregiver, single, married, widowed, divorced.

Hospitality is life-giving as well.  We can be life-giving in our homes, our cars, our work, our church, our communities.  This may look like bringing a small gift to a neighbor who has just moved in or one who is going through a rough time (a gift card or something fresh from the oven or grocery store).  This may look like welcoming your kids’ friends over to your house every Friday night – or any night of the week – just so they have a loving place to hang out.  This may look like talking to the older women sitting around you in church, the ones you don’t know, the ones who look lonely.

Whatever hospitality looks like for you – bring life to someone else.

Book quote from Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman

Big and Little Coloring Devotional

posted in: Books | 0

When we set up our new home in late this summer, I knew I wanted to have a creative area for my boys.  A place where they could have coloring books, playdough, markers, colored pencils, etc – just waiting to sit and get all their creative juices out!

Well, we set up a little Goodwill table that I found before we moved, and put some bins of creative tools around it – and they sit their every day.  I love it.  I love having pieces of paper all around the house with scribbles and drawings on them.

Another great tool I’ve found for my boys is the Big and Little Coloring Devotional.  I found out about this devo coloring book from my friend Sarah on her podcast with the author Rachel Swanson.  Then I got to be a part of the launch team.  So much fun!

It is a top flip coloring book, made for two people to be coloring at once.  So, I’ve been sitting across from my older, him coloring, me coloring.  And the neat thing about this particular coloring book is that it is based on Scripture.  So, one side will have a (younger age) coloring page with God’s truth on it, the other page will have a more detailed coloring page with a short devotional on it.  These devotionals are perfect for you to read, be encouraged, and it may be a jumping off point for you to share these truths with your child – AS. YOU. COLOR!

Such a great activity for you and your child to do together.  And Christmas is coming – its a perfect gift for any mom of littles you know – I would say even up to 10yo or so – girl or boy.  So, grab some colored pencils, crayons, or markers, and get coloring – and shepherding your soul – and your child’s!

Free of Me

posted in: Books | 0

There is such a danger in the life of a believer in focusing too much on themselves. My husband reminded me of this by sharing with me the other day that if a person is depressed, if he genuinely focuses on others, then that will help with the depression.

Sharon Miller, in her book Free of Me, gets more to the heart of the Christian Life and some dangers we, especially as women, face.  In today’s society, we like to think about ourselves, boast in our social media, make the Christian life completely about ourselves.

The truth is that it isn’t.  It is about a bigger God then ourselves. He is the Creator and over all things – we are not in charge.  And when we learn this, life will be more about the glory of Christ.

Sharon tells her own story of self-preoccupation and then goes on to share truth about areas in our lives that we tend to focus too much on ourselves and how focusing on the truth of the Bible and God we can free ourselves of this damaging trend.

God isn’t about you.

Family isn’t about you.

Appearances aren’t about you.

Possessions aren’t about you.

Friendships aren’t about you.

Your “calling” isn’t about you.

Church isn’t about you.

Love how Sharon shares from her experience, the Scriptures, and a well-rounded theology and ministry depth, knowing God and knowing herself, and knowing other women – that life is more fulfilling when you focus on others more than yourself.  Your dreams aren’t big enough.  Sacrifice looks different when you get outside of yourself.

This is both a needed book for us as women, our families, our ministries, and churches.  And it is a convicting one for our hearts as well.  Thank you Sharon.

Counseling Under the Cross

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This October marks the 500th anniversary of what marks the beginning of the Reformation: the day when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door at Wittenberg.

New Growth Press and Bob Kellemen have offered a book that highlights some areas that can help all of us in our daily lives and for those of us in the business of Christian counseling, this book will help as well.

But, I would say, after knowing the personal help this book has given me, its encouragement, and its strength, that we all need to be in the business of counseling others with the Word of God – therefore, rightly, making all of us Christian counselors.

If we use the Word in our counseling, in our friendships, in our marriages, in our parenting, then we will have stronger and truer relationships because the Word of God is sufficient.  One of the marks of the Reformation was the 5 Solas – and one of them is Scripture Alone.  (I won’t go so far as to say that we don’t need any other kind of psychological help, but I do think the Word needs to be the base for all of our counseling.)

At first glance, I thought this book was out of my league.  But, then, as I sat with the table of contents, saw the method with which Bob tackled this topic, it was really quite user friendly and applicable.  He shares personal stories and letters of Luther to illustrate how he counseled with the Word of God alone – in these four areas: reconciliation, guidance, healing, and sustaining.  He broke up each one into the theology of Luther and then how Martin Luther put those theological ideas into practice with those he was in relationship with.

If you are looking for a new counseling book, or these topics (the 4 listed above) sound interesting to you, or you want to know more about the man and preacher and reformer, Martin Luther, then I really think this book will be helpful to you.

Thank you to Litfuse and New Growth Press for this book. All thoughts are my own.

 

The Bronte Plot

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I guess sometimes it is hard on your heart to read books about people who get to travel when you don’t get to do it anymore that often (and would really love to).

But, I really enjoyed the Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay.  Christian fiction without being sappy Christian-ese throughout the book.

A love of books and travel.

A family that has real problems – but not dismissing the problems but knowing that generational sin has an impact on us and what we do with it and its impact with shape our own lives.

Doubts with life and death.

And hope.  Hope is always fitting in a Christian fiction.  Not hope that all is going to work out perfectly.  But hope in a God who does all things well.  That’s of course where our hope lies.

I think my only thing I would do different in this book is not make the conclusion about 2 pages long.  I wanted a continuation of this book based on where it ended.  I would have liked that with her Dear Mr. Knightley too.  So, I guess that’s a good thing!  How about it Katherine Reay – sequels?

Just Mercy

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When I was in high school I remember reading John Grisham books – like devouring them.  I read all of this earlier work and still really enjoy him as an author.

Just Mercy reminds me much of Grisham’s work: rivoting, makes you want to keep reading, personal, you get to know the characters.  Bryan Stevenson does an excellent work of drawing you in to his world and not just letting you sit on the sidelines.  And this is, unlike most of Grisham’s work, a true story

This book will grip you in many ways and open your eyes to life in the south, life for those who need justice (which, by the way, is all of us).  And will allow you to see Christ’s redemption for you in a new way as well.

Thank you Blogging for Books for a chance to read this book.  All opinions are my own.

Acts: The Unexplainable Church

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Last night I was at a church in the country outside of Augusta.  Friendliest church to newcomers I’ve ever been in.  I was quickly shown a seat, many people were including me in conversations, introducing themselves to me, and telling me about the oldest church building in Georgia and that they did baptisms in the creek there and still do them there.  Talk about a loving church.  A welcoming church.

The book of Acts is all about the early church, the adventurers they had in sharing the Gospel, and how the word of the Cross was shared throughout the region.

In Erica Wiggenhorn’s second Bible study, The Unexplainable Church, one covering the last half of the book, you will find thoughtful questions, great history, and spaces to write your own story – how God is leading you to obey the commands that is found in Acts.

We all have a journey in the Gospel.  Acts is filled with conversions, and beatings, joys, friendship, sorry.  And today, in the life of Christians, we find relationships, new relationships with Christ, we find our brothers and sisters in Christ being persecuted because of the name of Jesus.

When you study the book of Acts, you find yourself in God’s story.  His story is neverending.  And so thankful we get to be a part of it.

For a good study on Acts, check out this one., which is the first half of the book of Acts – and then follow it up with this one here. Here is my review of the first one. They are a great set of studies and you will know God’s story better.  Thanks SideDoor communications for this book and Moody Publishers.  All opinions are my own.

Dreamland Burning: a review

posted in: Books, World Events | 1

Earlier this week, so many of us in North America got to witness a beautiful display of God’s creativeness.  I was in the path of totality in SC, and I loved standing there, holding my almost 4 year old, seeing the moon cover the sun, shining in all of its glory, pointing directly to its Creator.

We don’t need to wait another 99 years to be in the path of totality witness the beauty of God the Creator.  We can see it every day.  In the people around us.  Whatever color we are, God created us all.

Dreamland Burning is definitely not my typical book I pick up.  But, when I have a deadline to return it to the library, I literally read 75% of it in one day.  It is so good.

Dreamland Burning is a YA fiction set in both modern day Tulsa, and in 1921 Tulsa.  It shares the story of a high school girl named Rowan (modern day) and a boy named William in 1921.  Amazingly, I didn’t get confused going back and forth, which means her writing two timelines was well-done.

Latham, the author, doesn’t make the connections of the two really cheesy or too predictable.  She uses words and names that are crucial to the story, but doesn’t use them for shock value.  She tells of the happenings, especially in 1921, in such a way that you know what’s going on but doesn’t drag out the details.

This book was captivating and I might recommend it for high school seniors, but would definitely not let them read it on their own.

Here are some thoughts: I wish books like this didn’t need to happen.  I wish my boys could grow up in a world where color really didn’t matter.  I wish my little boy could always have a little friend, named Austen, who is black, lives next door, have birthdays in the same week, and no one would ever thinks that’s odd.  I wish we didn’t pick out county that we lived in because the schools are better.  I wish churches didn’t have to exist so they could be the reconciliation – because reconciliation wouldn’t need to happen.

But, we live in a sinful world.  The only world where we will ever be free of racial injustice is heaven.  And for sure, there will be people of every race in Heaven, worshipping Jesus, because Jesus died for every race, tribe, tongue, and nation.

In the meantime, since we live in a sin-filled, broken world, we need to talk about race, the gospel of reconciliation, and how we can pursue peace.

Fitting in or Belonging (Included in Christ review)

posted in: Bible, Books | 1

There are some themes that take over the Christian conversation world from time to time.  And by that I mean so many of the books being published are about the same topic, or podcasts are interviewing people speaking on the same topic.

Right now is seems to be about friendships, belonging, community, etc.  And one of the questions or tips with figuring our my enneagram number has something to do with this.  One of the reasons I chose my enneagram number is because I have the ability to fit in anywhere, but I don’t always feel like I belong.

Belonging is a deep sense of “I’m loved no matter what” and “these people get me” verses just being able to get along, hang out, or blend in.  As someone who has been in ministry leadership for 20 years and moved around for 17 years, I’ve been rather good at that.

But fitting in is not belonging.  Belonging is sitting down and having your soul poured into for hours on end, and you don’t even have your flip flops on.

Belonging is sharing whatever is on your heart without a lull in the conversation because you don’t have to worry about what to say.  You won’t be condemned because you aren’t perfect or don’t fit the mold.  I’ve lived in areas where I’ve not fit the mold and so I’ve neither fit in or belonged – and that is so lonely.

I was listening to a podcast just yesterday and they were talking about Sabbath, resting, and loneliness.  And usually, I have found if I am lonely, it is not primarily because I am not around friends.  It is because I’ve been absent from the Word in an intimate way, slow to pray, and seeking all of my fulfillment from those who can’t fill it.

Heather Holleman writes a Bible study called Included in Christ – a study on the book of Ephesians.  She does a really good job at helping us know where we are in Christ – rooted in Him – and known by Him – and tells us that we can belong.  She helps you see your part of the story in this wonderful book of the Bible.

Some folks are very detailed and organized in their Bible study.  I’m not.  I kinda pick a book then study it in different ways: a Bible study, sermons, books, lettering, drawing, writing it out, etc.  So, this is a good one to help me along my journey in Ephesians.

If you would like to win a copy of it, just leave me a comment about anything and I’ll pick a winner soon!

Thanks to Sidedoor Communications and Moody Publishers for my copy. All thoughts are my own.

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