Happy Thanksgiving

  Together we pray, that as we come together with family and friends, may be ever aware of those for whom these holidays are hard. Perhaps if we, the reflections of Jesus on earth, reached out, in some tangible way to the lonely, broken, needy and exhausted among us this holiday season, we could truly be a light in the darkness. “To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.” Thomas Merton May gratitude to God in our lives NEVER be unresponsive. May that gratitude propel us to LOVE those around us in ways that would never be possible without the understanding of the graces given to...

A Simultaneous God

  HONEST confession alert: I would, apart from Jesus, choose COMFORTABLE every day of the week. I would chose to be COMFORTABLE. Comfortable relationships. Comfortable circumstances. Comfortable conversations. Comfortable ministries. Comfortable community. Comfortable media. Comfortable biases. Comfortable, comfortable, comfortable. But God simply will not have it. HE has heard my honest and sincere heart cries. HE has heard the burdens on my heart. HE knows the people in my life that I care deeply for and love, and HE cares more. HE could care less about COMFORTABLE. We have all the evidence we need in people who have gone before us. People like Daniel, Moses, Abraham, Esther, Ruth, Naomi, Peter, Paul, Jonah, Martha, David and Jesus. “Then God said, Take your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac – and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Genesis 22:2 •••••••• “And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:17 •••••••• “And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey, except a staff – no bread, no bag, no money in their belts.” Mark 6:7-8 HE. COULD. CARE. LESS. ABOUT. OUR. COMFORT. As I’ve grown in my walk, I’ve learned to see things more and more through HIS lens. That’s grace friends, and all part of this walk as we move towards home. Recently, I’ve found myself...

A Tale of Two Women and the Rest of Us In•between

She wore her issues like a coat. She entered my life one Christmas season. It was apparent upon meeting her that the road had been a rough one for her and her children. Her brokenness was visible. As we came into relationship and I learned more of her story, it was apparent how rough it actually had been. Circumstances led to poor choice after poor choice, but her heart longed for different, she just didn’t know what different could be. As we all know, the broken road is a hard one to walk and unlike the 30 minute television drama, life doesn’t always wrap up in an hour, or in a season for that matter. It was the night that I received the call that I realized just how shattered she was. She called from the back of the police car. She and her boyfriend were being taken to jail for physical abuse against her son. She called to ask if I could come get him. I met him at the hospital and my heart was ripped in two. The issues that led to her brokenness continue to this day. BROKEN.  She was the picture of perfection. Her life looked perfect from the outside. It screamed perfect. In all honesty, I avoided her for some time because the perfect-ness was intimidating and a bit off-putting. Perfect hair. Perfect kids. Perfect marriage. Perfect life. Perfect seasonal porch decor. PERFECT. Our lives eventually intersected and we came into relationship and I was given a peek behind the perfect curtain. As we all know, there is no REAL life that resembles perfect in...

We Remember September 11, 2001

Fifteen Years. Fifteen years ago, everything changed. Today, we remember and pray for those whose lives were forever changed that day. We pray for this broken, broken world and we simply, humbly ask, Jesus be near.  Recently I heard that if you read or listen to something new, then the next piece that you should read or listen to should be something old. It’s in the old that we find ourselves, where we’ve been and where we may be going. Today as we reflect on the events of September 11, 2001, may we pause to pray for those who lost their lives that day and in the days beyond protecting our freedom, and those they left behind. We pray too for those whom life changed that day. For those first responders who still today feel the effects of those acts of bravery. We pray God’s mercy and grace be ever theirs. Thoughts today reflect the words of wise men of old. The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality. Martin Luther King, Jr. And one that pierces the heart. Today, Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light,...

A Fast from WHAT?

Judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13 It sat in my inbox for nearly a week. The title simultaneously stirred me and scared me. I knew I NEEDED to read it. I knew simply by the title of the email that I needed some time to prepare to enter this ring. The other day, I felt like a boxer prepared to fight. I opened the email. The email with the subject header: A Fast from Judgement. This could take awhile. We are undeniably a culture of JUDGEMENT and this was a challenge to fast from judgement. I was hoping for coffee. I was convicted not only to read it, but study what the Bible really says about it and take a long, hard look inward. It doesn’t take much to see that we’re caught up in it y’all and it’s making us a hot mess. It’s destroying what Jesus died for; the heart and soul of mercy and grace. Okay. It may be just me, but my judgement comes in the form of THOUGHTS and unspoken ATTITUDES rather than vocalized social media commentary and since it’s just between ME and JESUS, it’s justified, and considered discernment, right? Uh, no. It’s still merciless. It’s conclusive without ever seeking Jesus. The unspoken thoughts and attitudes are just as relevant, destructive and sinful as ones openly expressed and for me, a fast was in order to expose the weakness of my flesh and to draw me into Jesus. Let’s be clear. There seems to be some confusion, especially in a social media obsessed,...

“Run Them In”

  Every once in awhile something just stays with you. THIS is one of those things. My son’s football career lasted all of 1 season. It simply wasn’t his jam. He liked it, sort of, but at 10 years old, his football career had begun and ended and it was on to the next thing, but in that time, something happened that has remained with me; something profound. Each evening, in the sweltering Georgia heat, the boys would begin practice by running their usual mile lap around the complex. Now, some of these boys were naturally faster than others, and they took off like Forrest Gump. Others, not so much. They lagged behind. Way behind. Running laps just wasn’t their gift. Those who ran effortlessly danced across the finish line,  squirted themselves a drink of water, and were anxiously ready for what came next. What came next was a life lesson for those who were watching.  “Boys!” an unlikely coach’s Friday Night Lights, gruff, deep voice bellowed. “If you’ve finished, then I need some of you to go out there to your teammates and run them in!  You HEAR ME? RUN THEM IN! YOU go out there and meet them where they are and encourage them!” From that command, a group of four began running in the opposite direction. They ran to meet those who lagged behind. They went to encourage. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had… Romans 15:5 I watched as those burly linebackers, fullbacks and centers eventually crossed the finish line....

Weekend Wrap•Up

ALL in ONE place!! Ditch the Labels – Susan Aken   Are YOU in the Shredder – Leah Adams   My Summer Prayer – Kelly Stanley   HE Knows MY Name – Michelle Discavage Lessons from an Encourager – Kris...

weekend wrap•up

The place to catch up on anything you missed this week! Engaging the Ugly – Sarah Jefferson   The One Mile Marker. Time to Quit!? – Patricia Holbrook   10 Most Common Misthoughts about God – Kelly Balarie   Laying Down Our Stuff – Nanette Elkins   Choosing Strength When Life Gets Hard – Jennifer...

PLEASE Ladies…

It’s only a brief mention. But it’s a brief mention in The Bible. Certainly not the mention they hoped for. Euodia and Syntyche. If they were here today, I’m sure that they would at least quietly mention that “all the work we did, and he mentions THIS!” They are considered ministry partners to Paul, who play a significant role in ministry, as do we. If you are reading through Philippians, and you blink or sneeze, you’ll miss the mention of them. It’s that brief. “Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good news. They worked with Clement and the rest of my co-workers whose names are written in the Book of Life.” Philippians 4:2-3 These stories are our stories. Euodia and Syntyche, it could be Lucy and Ethel, or you and I. What we know of them is that they BOTH have been encouraging and helpful to the Apostle Paul, engaged in active ministry. We know that they were instrumental in this new church in Macedonia. But as we all know, women have opinions and perhaps, at times a tendency, to disagree, emotionally process and sometimes cause the water to ripple. You know what I mean. The tendency to let our differences get the best of us and threaten so much more than we ever intended. That is exactly what is revealed here in Philippians. We have no idea what they were arguing about, but it was...