Sunday, August 14, 2016
Friday, August 12, 2016
For me, growing up was hard. I grew up in a hard house. I loved to be outside. I'd spend hours out there, never alone. Jesus was there in the sun and the air and the trees and I knew it; even before I knew it was him. He was there, and that was enough. We were enough.
But he had something even better for me.
I was made to put down roots that could grow down deep and get tangled up in yours. We were made to be one tribe; a living, breathing, moving, growing thing of beauty. A family. All him, all us. No one goes it alone, nobody's left behind.
Church can hurt. It can be a cold institution, a housefull of condemnation, a place of hate. I'm so sorry. That was never the plan. Church is meant to be a whole and good body. Church is where we get back what the world tried to steal. Church is where we bind up our scrapes and get better together. We were never, ever, meant to make it on our own.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Want a passionate relationship with God? Arrange your life for it. Meet with the Word daily. Journal. Pray. Actively love others. Give. Serve.
Do these things every day, but don't expect the things themselves to be (at all times) a passionate encounter with God. Often, these practices are actually quite ordinary, and even uneventful!
When we do the thing for a little while, but feel the same, we lose heart and quit. We expected the thing we're doing to be the answer. We don’t see the change we wanted as fast as we wanted it.
But those practices aren't the answer, they're the invitation.
Daily disciplines are not intimacy; they're an invitation on our part for God to make holy space in our lives. It's in that space that he speaks and we respond. That's when we see change. That's where the magic happens.
Think of these practices like family dinner. We meet with the ones we love as often as we can to eat and talk. Not because every meal is groundbreaking, but because it's through simple, everyday choices that we communicate our love for one another without agenda. Being together is the point.
If we expect family dinner to be like a Norman Rockwell painting every night, we're going to get discouraged. The meal isn't always nutritious. The conversation isn't always on point. Sometimes it's amazing, but it can also be frustrating or strained. Sometimes we just want to be doing other things. The point is that we stop, we eat, and in the act we send a clear message, "You are my tribe. My most important ones. Even when it's boring, I want to be here with you."
Family dinner is a bedrock. It's essential. We do it so we can know one another; it makes us close, even when it doesn't feel exciting. That kind of living makes room for intimacy to expand.
Intimacy leads to spontaneous fits of giggles at inside jokes and unexpected trips out to the country to stargaze. It's what compels my husband to grab me up for a kiss in the middle of a tense conversation.
I want that kind of life, and those moments don't come pre-planned.
I don't just want dinner together every night. I want spontaneous fire. I want steady commitment that fosters good, deep, unforeseen experiences we don't get anywhere else but with each other.
So experiment with prayer, reading, giving, and serving. Keep doing the thing day in and out, but look beyond these practices to find God in every moment you’re awake. Mysteriously, he will clear out the clutter, clarify your vision, and form you into someone who looks, acts, and thinks like him. You'll start to see how he sees, and it will blow your mind.
Keep an attitude of invitation. Stay awake and open. Ask God to come take a walk with you every once in awhile; don't expect him to do all the inviting.
Live this way and you’ll get so much more than a 30 minute, hit-or-miss appointment with God.
He’ll show up in ways you expect and in ways you don’t. We don’t get to control what God does. That’s what makes it such a thrill.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Women of the Church, this is for you.
Have you ever had divine words call up out of your heart and just burn to be spoken? You might be a preacher, and we need you to preach.
Are you extremely organized, efficient, and productive? Great at managing things at home and helping your family thrive? You might have powerful gifts of administration and leadership, and we need your brilliant, God-given strategies to lead us outward as we take the Gospel to the margins of the city and the world and meet Jesus there.
Do you love teaching children and shaping their hearts with Jesus? You might be a shepherd with incredible teaching gifts, and we- men, women, children, the lost and the redeemed- need those gifts released in the church right now.
Are you most alive when your hands are in the dirt and mess of the world, helping up the least of these? We need you to bring us along with you to heal the broken.
Do you intercede constantly, heaven-fire fueling in your very bones? We need you to teach us to pray as the kingdom comes right here, right now.
Women, you are called to make disciples. You are anointed by Jesus himself to preach and live the Good News. Nothing- nothing- can hold those holy gifts back, should you agree to let Jesus take you over and pour his holy self out of you.
You do not need to keep your voice down. We need you to to speak, to serve, and to lead in the Church.
If you've never been told, if you've never been invited, consider this your invitation.
We affirm you, we invite you, and we'll walk with you as you become every single thing Jesus created you to be.
Friday, July 15, 2016
Today we say goodbye to a good friend.
Bacon and Bebo joined us when Grace was six months old; for as long as we've been a family, the boys have been a part of the pack.
They've welcomed babies home and made them their own. They've watched every movie, been on every road trip. They've attended to sick children and comforted them after bad dreams. They've photobombed nearly all our snapshots. They were partners in crime to four sneaky toddlers. They've worn tiaras, they've snuggled up for thousands of naps.
Bacon, in particular, loved the naps.
When we found out this week that Bacon had cancer, we knew we needed to let him go.
He was 12 years old, and we always knew this day would come, one way or another. But that doesn't make it easier, or the space without him smaller. Bacon was our baby that never got any bigger.
We have cried and cried.