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Are We Tired of Hating People Yet?

Are We Tired of Hating People Yet?

Yesterday was a day to remember.  A day to tell our stories & take stock, not just of that day, but of the 20 years since.  Where are we today vs where we were then.

When the article A Question for the 20th Anniversary of 9/11: Are We Tired of Hating People Yet?  popped up on my social feed it caught my eye. It is what my spirit fears most right now, the hatred and division that is swelling in our nation and very frankly in our churches.  I expect this from the world, but not from my brothers & sisters within the body of believers.

If 9/11 taught us anything it should have been how much can be lost in a very short period of time on an otherwise very ordinary sort of a day.  It taught us we are better and stronger when we come together to rescue, to heal and to rebuild. 

We continue to praise the bravery of those who jumped into action that day to aid their fellow (wo)man.  Hundreds of stories of strangers helping strangers, careing for wounded, assisting other to safety and even giving their lives to save & rescue others.  We admire self-sacrificing service to others. It makes us feel like the good in people is stronger than the bad in the world.

After all the greatest example of this was Jesus himself.  He washed his disciples’ feet and taught us what service leadership looks like.  He taught us that in his kingdom the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.  We love that verse…when it works to our favor.  But I want to challenge you to go back & read the full parable again in Matthew 20.  Are you feeling like the first hired workers?

We are living in a time where self-sacrifice is being drowned out by a battle to define freedom and individual rights. Politics and religion are being merged in this battle.  And it is dangerous for the church.  Don’t get me wrong.  If you are called to be politically active and represent Christian values in politics, we need you to follow that calling.  But realize the enemy is strong in that arena & you must gird yourself up with spiritual armor daily to keep yourself free of the temptations of influence & position.

For the rest of us, yes, vote your conscious. Yes, write letters, sign petitions and peacefully protest for issues that matter to you, but do not attach your faith to any political party.  And…here is the biggy…do not expect ANY politician or political party to “fix” it (whatever your particular it is). 

Did you ever think about the fact that the Jewish nation does not recognize Jesus as their Messiah because he did not restore the kingdom of David to its former political glory or achieve victory in battle against Israel’s enemies?  Jesus chose not to enter the political arena or raise a militia to fight the systems of the day.  Instead, Jesus lived a perfect life of grace & compassion for all people and model a different way of living. At the end of his time on earth he gave himself over to an unjust political system to be tortured and killed as the ultimate sacrifice for us.  His greatest act of love stripped him of his rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  He didn’t put up a fight or a defense to prove himself.  He sacrificed it all, willingly.

You may be thinking, yeah, but I’m not Jesus.  I’m not that brave.  Then maybe consider one last question.  In Mark 12:17 Jesus says “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  Another verse that gets quoted a lot when it fits our own agenda.  And again, when we go back & read the whole story this verse is talking about much more than money.  Jesus’ response to the challenge of the Pharisees invites His listeners to choose allegiances.  What are you choosing to render to the world & what are you rendering to God?

What about your allegiance?  Are you loyal to a party, or a person, or only to God?  Should we even identify ourselves as a Republican, Democrat or Independent or should we simply identify ourselves as a Christian void of political party? 

Where do you seek wisdom?  Do you only seek it from news media, social media, friends or influencers that think like you do or are you seeking the scriptures, spending time in prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit to establish your opinions & positions? 

What about your time & talents?  Are you consumed with being right and choosing sides or are you using your voice to encourage, offer grace, bring hope, build unity and grow God’s kingdom?  Are you investing your gifts and talents in sacrificial service of others?

I’m tired of hating people.  I’m tired of being consumed by the patterns of this world.  I’m ready to be transformed by the renewing of my mind so I can know what God’s will is. (Romans 12)

He warned us that in this world we will have troubles.  But we can take heart because He has overcome the world! (John 16)

I want to love the Lord my God with all of my heart, all of my soul, and all of my mind.  I want to love my neighbor even better than myself.  Because the scripture and my Spirit tell me everything else hangs on these two commands. (Matthew 22)

Will you join me?

After all we are better and stronger when we come together to rescue, to heal and to rebuild. 

Sweet New Year

Sweet New Year

Shanah Tovah Umetukah!

May you have a good & sweet new year!

Why am I wishing you a sweet new year in September?  Because it is Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the Jewish New Year.  If ever there was a time for all of us to celebrate this Jewish tradition it would be 2020.  Why?  Because it is a time of prayer, self-reflection & new beginnings.  Most of us can’t wait for this year to be over & start a new one.  So don’t…wait that is.

I actually know very little about Jewish traditions.  But what I do know is that they are jammed packed with beautiful symbolism, reminders & hope.  I can’t come close to touching on the full depth that Rosh Hashanah holds here in a short blog so let me simply offer up these 3 suggestions we all can do to mark the Jewish New Year.

  1. Pray – don’t over complicate it – just talk to God.  Act like you are on the phone with a friend.  It’s not about impressing God with the ‘right’ words.  It is about spending time communicating with a beloved friend.  Sharing your gratitude, fears & heartbreak with the one who loves you more than anyone.  Listen for His advice through the movement of the Spirit in your heart & in your mind.  Allow His word to speak to you by cracking open your Bible (or opening your app).  Set some time aside to break away from the world & just let God love on you by being present with Him. 
  2. Reflect – we need to periodically stop to consider where we are & how we got here before we can move forward.  As you spend time with God ask Him to remind you of who He is & reflect on how He has guided and directed you in the past when you let Him.  Remember who you are in God’s eyes.  Consider the gifts that He has given specifically to you.  Are you fully utilizing those gifts?  Have you strayed from your first love?  Have you allowed the clatter of this world to distract you from the things God has called you to do?  Where has sin crept in and put a wall up in your relationship with God?
  3. Repent, Recommit, Restart – God has promised us new mercies every morning.  After prayer & reflection it is time to lay down the hurts, the sins & the distractions at the foot of the cross and start again with a renewed commitment to who God is calling you to be. 

If you are serious about wanting a fresh start, I offer you 2 suggestions to make it more ‘real’.

  • There is a Jewish tradition of going to a place with moving water & tossing in bread to symbolize the release & cleansing of our sins.  Sometimes physically going through the motions of letting go & watching those things float away can recharge our exhausted mind & bodies and give us a fresh energy to sustain our commitments.  Try it & take someone with you when you go.
  • Share your reflections & recommitment with someone who loves you.  Not only does it help cleanse the soul to speak it externally.  It will also give you an accountability partner that will help keep you on track in the days to come.  OR if you are struggling with the process, the self-reflection, seeing the past clearly or just feel too overwhelmed to find your way forward, reach out to someone you trust.  It can be a friend, a counselor, a coach, or a pastor.  God never intended for us to navigating this world on our own.  That is why he gave us a body of believers to be a part of.

Even if you have never celebrated Rosh Hashanah before, let 2020 be the year you start.

For More information on Rosh Hashanah check out John J Parsons post of “Should Christians Celebrate Rosh Hashanah?”

Be Still

Be Still

Shelter at home orders have forced us to slow down our busy lives or at least cleared our calendars. I wonder how many of us have have simply exchanged one type of activity for another. Are we learning what it means to be still?

“Be still, and know that I am God;…” (Psalm 46:10) is a very familiar & often quoted verse. But it is also something most of us struggle with. You may not be running between meetings, practices or events right now but how are you with getting your mind to be still? Are you worried about exposure, finances, or wonder what the future is going to look like?

I believe that learning to be still to know God & to know who we are in Him is an essential spiritual discipline. But I don’t believe there is one ‘right’ way to do this. I think there are many. The discipline comes in finding what works for you and continuing to make it a priority. The video below is an awesome post that was shared by Amy Grant that explains & demonstrates one such practice that helps us.


In this time of "shelter at home" stillness for so many of us, I thought I would share a stillness practice that has been helpful to me (unedited) #BeStillAndKnow……

Posted by Amy Grant on Saturday, May 2, 2020

I would love to hear what you do to be still & connect with God. Post your favorite ways below in the comments.

If you are looking ways to refresh your spiritual life & spiritual practices join us for a “Refresh Your Soul” workshop.

Easter 2020

Easter 2020

Easter feels very different this year but the reality of the season is just as powerful today as it has been for approximately 2000 years.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  It is our understanding and perspective that changes.  May this Easter Sunday be a chance for all of us to refocus in the midst of overwhelming days.

I pray you will find this holiday:

a little quieter so you can hear His voice louder and

a little slower so you have time to be more reflective on the reality of an empty tomb.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  -1 Peter 1:3



Grant yourself a good meltdown.

Jesus offered up prayers with “loud cries and tears.” (Heb. 5:7)

Have you given yourself permission to do this yet? I’ve learned over the years that stuffing the hard emotions & fears actually allows them to grow and fester. They eventually ooze out in not so nice ways. But, if our God is who He says He is, He can handle your hard feelings. And amazingly, He wants us to bring them to Him. When you finally let go and allow yourself to feel the hard stuff and verbalize those thoughts & feelings to God, He can start to heal you by loving on you & encourage you & reminding you He’s got this!

Listen to Max Lucado speak on granting yourself a good meltdown:

Coronavirus Check-in: Grant Yourself a Good Meltdown

Grant yourself a good meltdown. Jesus offered up prayers with "loud cries and tears." (Heb. 5:7)

Posted by Max Lucado on Monday, March 23, 2020

SNAP Out Of The Spiral

SNAP Out Of The Spiral

As our world continues to rapidly change around us it is easy to start to feel overwhelmed. It is important for us to be self aware enough to have systems in place that help us to snap out of the spiral of anxiety and growing fears.

In the study guide for “The Road Back To You” authors Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile introduce the concept of SNAP. It is a quick and simple way to redirect our thinking and become more aware of God’s presence in the here & now.

Stop – for a few minutes to consciously come home to yourself and to God. Take four or five deep, prayerful breaths to ground yourself in your body and return to the present moment.

Notice – what is going on around you & in you. Are things around you calm or chaotic? How are you relating to what is going on? How are other people responding to you? Are you in a good space or using reactive behaviors? Observe what you are feeling. At this point don’t label, or analyze, simply notice.

Ask – now that you are awake to the present moment & what is happening, ask yourself a few questions that will help get you back on track if you need it.

  • What am I believing right now?
  • How does it make me feel?
  • Is it true?
  • Who would I be if I let go of that belief?

Pivot – now that you’ve become more self-aware you are freed up to make different, healthier, more spiritual choices that line up with your true self rather than defaulting to your autopilot responses.

What SNAP does is help us to interrupt our self-limiting thoughts, feelings and actions associated with our personality. It helps us to wake up to God’s presence and sovereignty in the moment. It can be done anywhere and anytime. You can devote a few quick minutes several times a day or a week long retreat to this process. It takes some practice, but it can tremendously increase your self-awareness while decreasing fear and anxiety.

Do you have a go to verse or quote for when you are feeling overwhelmed? What other actions help you overcome your fears? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’ll continue to add your input to the following Pinterest Board. Watch the list grow & come back often for encouragement.