Monday, January 10, 2011


Fearless - by Max Lucado (Published by Thomas Nelson)

Courtesy of the Thomas Nelson "Booksneeze" program, I recently read this Max Lucado title. It immediately caught my attention. I mean, who DOESN'T want to be Fearless?!! And then there's Jesus, who told us to "Fear not" more than any other statement he made. Yet somehow, living fearlessly is much easier said than done.

In Fearless, the author desires to help us fight fears, both conscious and subconscious, that live within us and sometimes take over our lives. He addresses some of the big fears we all have: not mattering to others, disappointing God, wondering if God is really real, not knowing what's next in life, etc.

Once Lucado identifies some of our core fears, he asks us to look at what our fears are based on. Is it the fear seemingly built into our society and our every day lives? And if that's the case, why are we putting our focus there instead of the everlasting love of our Heavenly Father? Bottom line: when we choose to focus on our fears, we're allowing our faith to be diminished. We put God in a box.

The author, through the scriptures, then challenges us to focus on the Truth, on the Word of God, to overcome our fears. Even our deepest, scariest fears. Through the scriptures and his own experiences, Lucado inspires us to trust Jesus Christ for the abundant life He promised to all how seek Him first.

I loved the book and I loved the promise of living Fearless even more!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

taking a plunge

it's been way too long since my last post and i wont even try to catch up on all that's happened since then. the past year has been a bit of wild ride in my heart. me and god have had some pretty intense conversations; many of them ones i'd rather have avoided.

the crazy thing is that all this started because i asked for it! i saw 2 dear friends stumble in some pretty big ways and i kept thinking that it just as easily could've been me. so last may (memorial day weekend to be exact) i asked god to seach my heart and show me what might be there that would potentially cause me to stumble.

WHAT was i thinking?????

little did i know how faithfully god would answer those prayers. search my heart he did. and the search continues. we've made progress but there's a long way to go and i'm pretty sure it's a conversation me and god will be having for many years to come.

what i've LOVED about this time is that we ARE talking. real and authentic conversations. i've done my share of telling god off. he keeps on loving me. keeps on pursuing me. keeps on telling me how he wants to love me like nobody else ever has and like nobody ever will.

some days i'm willing to rest in his love. those days are so wonderful and magical!!

sadly, there are still plenty of days when i dont/cant/wont accept that love. days when my safe little wall between me and god stays firmly in place. i'm trying hard to figure out WHY i do that. i mean isnt it a teeny bit NUTS to avoid a love so unconditional that it will be unmatched for all of eternity???

so why? i keep coming back to fear. fear that his love wont really truly always be there. fear that i'm not good enough for that kind of love. fear that if i do completely surrender to his love that it will overwhelm me in a way i cant handle.

lies lies lies. all of that is lies and my head knows it. the heart is having a much harder time with the concept. and they're the lies i've been living with all my life and since that's more than a few years, its harder than i expected to let go.

so i keep talking to god. and he's always there. he always has something to say. he's always ready to reassure me, to love me, to embrace me - even when my wall is up and the lock is on the gate.

i'm pretty sure that my surrender will come from a teeny weeny leap of faith on my part and a HUGE dose of strength and love on his part.

ok god, stick with me. i'm getting closer and closer to taking that plunge ....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Faith of Barack Obama

The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield. Published by Thomas Nelson.

I had the opportunity to read this book recently. It's written by Stephen Mansfield, an accomplished writer and speaker, especially when it comes to historical biography. The book explores the theology of Obama and since this man may be leading our country next, I was glad to have a chance to read a fair-minded piece about who the man really is.

The book starts with Obama’s family heritage and offers perspective on how his heritage has shaped him and his beliefs. Mansfield then examines key times in Obama’s political career where allowed his faith to become part of his public life. He began talking about how it informs him in matters of leadership and policy. It discusses how Obama’s faith is one that has connected with a large core of Christians who have been born into and lived through a postmodern world.

The Faith of Barack Obama is an informative, easy and very interesting read. It speaks to the relevant issues that face the church today, no matter what candidate you support. If faith is going to be part of your vote this year, then you should read this book. It may not change your mind but it will offer a clearer picture of who Barack Obama really is.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Life and Death

my friend cindy jokes that i was on "bereavement duty" this christmas. attending 2 funerals in 7 days definitely got me thinking.

first i realized how thankful i am - like really seriously thankful - that i KNOW where i'll spend eternity and that i have a Saviour who died for ME, so that i can live eternally with Him.

i remember when my mom died; i really didnt know where she was and that was horrifyingly unsettling for me. sometimes it still haunts me a bit. my friend cindy lost her brother suddenly on NYE day this year and when she called me with the news, she cried because she had no idea where he would be spending his eternity.

so now i'm thinking about the people i love who may not have made the most important decision of their lives. i want them to decide freely to accept the gift of Salvation - and if it were up to me, they would make that decision TODAY.

i know that God gives my friends FREE WILL, just like He gave it to me. and i know i will always be beyond thankful for my big brother and my little sister and her husband. they all invested in me and "got up in my business" more than i really cared for. but had they not done so, i may not have made the decision that changed my life and my heart forever.

i'm praying that my Heavenly Father will make a clear path for me to have real conversations and that He will spur me on to not delay. thinking about it makes me a little nervous; i'm guessing my friends will feel awkward or nervous too.

what's a bit crazy is that more than being nervous, i have this sense of anticipation and even excitement. God is BIG and if He can change my heart and open my eyes to His love and His truth, then anything is possible!

besides, the God who created me and my friends loves these wonderful people more than i ever could. His love is truly unconditional, everlasting, eternal and beyond human comprehension.

i want everyone in the whole world to know that!!! for today, i'd be ecstatic if my friends would know and embrace this life-changing truth. until they do, i'll keep praying!

"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17)

Friday, December 21, 2007

No Ordinary Goal

every week i get a little dose of wisdom from they're all pretty terrific and today, i got one that i'd love to share so here goes!!

No Ordinary Girl

“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” —Luke 1:45

At our church Christmas program this last week, the little kids sang a song describing Mary as an “ordinary girl.” I know what the song meant. She wasn’t rich or famous or glamorous. Like lots of other teenage girls, she was in the engagement stage of an arranged marriage to a much older guy. That was ordinary in her culture.

But Mary was no ordinary person. She would stand out in any generation, including yours and mine. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe she was anything more than a regular, sinful human girl. But she was also a girl who was willing to believe God with her whole life. That’s not normal.

Look at the verse up there at the top. It’s a sentence that comes at the end of a paragraph in which Mary’s much older and also pregnant cousin Elizabeth is having an excited moment about this unbelievable thing that has happened to them. Notice what she praises Mary for -- not for being rich or talented or smart or pretty -- for believing that God would actually do what God said He would do.

It seems like a little thing when you say it that way, but I think it might be the biggest deal to God of all the things He asks us to do. From Genesis all the way through to Revelation, the Bible urges us to believe God. Take Him at His word. Show our belief in the choices we make, in the thoughts we think, in the words we say. God wants us to trust Him with every corner of our lives.Mary did that -- and Elizabeth was one of the first to call her “blessed.”

Another weird thing about young, pregnant Mary: She knew God’s Word. Right after the above verse, we’re treated to Mary’s famous song. The girl who said very little when the angel told her she would give birth to the Messiah now reveals how deeply she understood what was happening. The girl knew the Book.

It’s not really trusting God just to say, “Yes, I believe everything He says.” People who really believe everything God says sink hours and days and years into reading, studying, understanding what He said. If it’s really God’s mind on that paper, what could be more valuable that putting it in our own heads? Studying His Word is an act that shows we really believe Him.

Nope. Mary would stick out in any demographic. She believed God so much she actually took the time to know His Word deeply -- and to accept His Word with humility.Mary would have made a lousy rap star or self-glorifying NFL player.

She carried God’s Son in her womb and refused to make that about her (as most of us would do, at least in private). Instead, she made it all about Him. She praised Him for His loving, powerful, promise-keeping plan that just happened to include an unordinary girl.She believed. She studied. She was humble.

I want to be weird like that. You?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Seven Sacred Ways to Live Your Best Life

my friend valorie burton wrote this for her audience. i love the simple truth of these words and am thankful for her willingness to let me share her message. (

Seven Sacred Ways to Live Your Best Life
In the midst of the shopping, parties and cultural focus on gift giving, it can be tempting to miss the purpose of this holiday - to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

My message to you this week is simple. In fact, it isn't my message at all. I'd like to share seven messages that Jesus taught during his three years of public ministry. As you celebrate Christmas, and reflect on the holiday's true meaning, consider these words of wisdom that Jesus offered for living your best life.

1. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. (Matthew 6:34) Too often in life, we worry about issues that work themselves out over time. Worrying does not change anything. It is a waste of time, energy and life itself. Plan your steps, but refuse to allow fear of what might go wrong to consume you. Instead, focus on what you can do in the present moment to create the kind of future you want.

2. Do not judge and you will not be judged. (Luke 6:37) There may be people in your life right now who are doing things you don't agree with, perhaps even engaging in behavior that is destructive to them. Choose to love them and pray for them, without judgment. Choose compassion and empathy, perhaps even tough love, but reserve judgment.

3. Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. (Matthew 6:1) Do good and treat people well because it is the right thing to do, not because of the accolades or rewards you might receive from others. Make sure your motives are pure.

4. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12) Humility is freedom - freedom from the pressure to be perfect, keep up appearances, or be better than everyone else. Success is a combination of working hard and being blessed with opportunities, abilities and people who support you. None of us achieves or succeeds solely by our own power. Don't worry about taking credit or making yourself look good. Focus on serving, learning and loving, and the rewards will come.

5. Everything is possible for him who believes. (Mark 9:23) Consider your biggest dream for your life. It is not enough to say you will achieve it. You must believe it. You may not know exactly how it will become true for you. Your first step is to simply to believe it's possible. Say it out loud and often, It's possible! With God, all things are possible.

6. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) Most know this scripture as a foundational statement for the Christian faith. But there is something I find intriguing in its wording. It is the connection between loving and giving. God loved us, and therefore, he gave. When you love others, you give of yourself, sometimes in very unselfish and sacrificial ways. Saying you love someone is not enough. Give of yourself - your time, energy, affection and resources and they will truly know you love them.

7. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32) The truth sets you free in many ways. Be truthful with yourself about the issues of your life. Speak your truth in your relationships. Countless relationships fail because one person or both are unwilling to speak from their hearts. Be truthful about what you want and what you are afraid of, and you will gain the strength to step fully into the rich, abundant life you were created to live.

My challenge to you this week: Use divine wisdom to guide you in your interactions with others and the decisions you need to make. Choose to live and love fully and freely.

Journaling assignment:What have you been trying to figure out? What relationship is stuck in a rut? What dilemma are you facing? What does God's wisdom tell you is the right next step for you?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Add to Your Faith

I read this one today and loved it! What a great reminder that I already have ALL that I need to live a powerful life for His Glory ... and what better life could there be?

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. --2 Peter 2:5-7

In the passage before this one is an amazing idea. Peter told us that we have everything we need right now for “life and godliness.” We don’t have to wait. We’re not missing any pieces to be everything God wants us to be. He has made us alive and given us access to all His power. Sin can’t stop us.

Today’s passage is the first part and it starts with “make every effort.” In other words, it’s time to get to work. God gave us this “access to the divine nature,” this spiritual power, as a gift. Our effort didn’t earn it for us. We didn’t work for it. But now, Peter says, it’s time for us to work with it.

Imagine if Superman never flew. Or ran faster than a speeding bullet. Or jumped higher than the tallest building. What a waste of power!

Peter next describes how to make the best use of ours -- by adding to our faith in God the following qualities one on top of the other.

Add to your faith . . .
GOODNESS: Because I have faith in God -- because I trust Him -- I need to add goodness, the desire to do the right things and not the wrong things. That’s what a good person is like, right? We can be good people with the power God has given to us in Jesus.

KNOWLEDGE: But just wanting to do the right thing isn’t enough. I need to know the right things to do. I need knowledge of God’s standard for right and wrong. It’s all right there in the Bible in front of you (or on your computer), but it’s going to take work to get it off those pages and into your head and actions.

SELF CONTROL: Wanting to do good and then figuring out what is good -- that’s a great start. But it’s not worth as much if you can’t make yourself do it. It doesn’t take long for me to realize that doing good doesn’t come naturally. Peter says I have to work on my self-control -- overcoming my tendency to stop doing hard good things or to start doing easy bad things.

PERSERVERENCE: Self-control + time = perseverance. The 400-meter runner’s body tells him to stop. He exercises self-control for a minute or two, ignoring his body’s impulse, to complete the race. The marathon runner’s body tells him to stop. He ignores that message for hours. We can do the same in choosing to do good. That’s perseverance.

GODLINESS: Our God is good, knows the good to do, and exercises self-control in getting the good done. All the time. Godliness turns a week’s worth of good intentions into a lifelong commitment to using our power for God's good. It’s what we become known for as “imitators of God.”

BROTHERLY KINDNESS: Now it’s time for me to work to focus that goodness on other people. I’ve got two brothers. They can expect that I’ll be there for them in a way I wouldn’t necessarily be available to "just a friend." Peter says I have the power to treat everyone as a brother, to give away my time and energy and money to help those in need.

LOVE: Now we’ve reached the top of the pyramid. It’s one thing to sacrifice an afternoon to help out a brother. It’s another to sacrifice my life -- my agenda, my rights, my personal space -- to give myself away heart and soul to those God brings me into deep relationship with. This is the way God loved me in sacrificing His Son to buy me back from death. I can’t love like this without His power in me. With it, I can work toward loving that way. And it will be work.

This list isn’t just a good way to live. It’s not just some rules for Christians. Peter makes it clear: If you are in Christ, this is who you are destined to be. It’s the life you were meant for.

You have to participate in this process, though. You have to organize your life to keep building on these qualities. But God will give you the power to be this person.

Why not try it? Go ahead. Step on the gas.