Sunday, October 14, 2018

Replicate: Growing in the Lord


That is how God made our church.  He made it organic: an organism capable of a-sexual reproduction.  We can, should, must spawn new churches.


That is how God made Christians.  He made us organic. Like a virus eager to replicate the new DNA of the Spirit into the old man of our friends’ and neighbors’ and see them become new.


That’s just what we are terrible at doing.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Encouragement: Lessons learned

Encouragement: Lessons learned about being a mom, a teacher, a wife, and a Christian.  A post from Maidservants Of Christ
“You did it! Whooo!!!!  Great job!!”

Exclamation marks are the new early morning refrain at my house.  At the end of the summer I took a new job with VIPKid**.  I get up at about 4:40 and teach English to kids in China from 5-8.  I love it.

These kids have a lot to teach me.  One of the first lessons was a lesson in courage.  If you remember your high school Spanish class, you’ll remember that there is no stage fright to match the stage fright of speaking in a second language.  And if you think that is bad, standing in front of a classroom full of people who struggle just like you, imagine being 5 and forced to sit in front of a video camera and speak a second lanaguge to a native speaker for 25 minutes at a time.  Yikes.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Parable of the Slave

You are a slave.  

Abused, unloved, unwanted.  

The Parable of the Slave; a modern tale of freedom from sinYou have never received any benefit from your slavery -- worse, you know you got yourself into this mess. It seems that every choice since that initial stumble has only led you deeper into the darkness. The one you obey, the master, is as attractive as he is repulsive.  This is the only life you know-where every choice is wrong, every person is reduced to an animal, and every day dawns in new horror

One day there’s a rumor.  The great king is sending his son to inspect your master. He’s going to look at the whole pathetic lot of you.  And you? You’re ashamed to be seen. It’s been a long time since you were clean or healthy or well-fed; it’s been a long time since you had any choice about those things. The day comes and you stand baking in the sun, reeking of fresh sweat and old sin, one of an impossibly long line of hopeless men and women.  Far down the line you see the king’s son. If it weren’t for his clothes, he’d fit right in. Looks as ordinary as the rest of you. But in that unstained robe, it’s pretty obvious who he is.

Monday, June 18, 2018

My Most Potent Weapon Against Fear

Recently I was in church feeling all the feelings. If one more person said, "How are you handling this?" I was going to dissolve into a puddle of snot and tears.  My oldest graduated from High School that Saturday and all the love and attention I was getting was only making it worse.

I didn't even know why I was so upset.

But sitting there praying as the communion trays were passed I suddenly understood.

I was afraid. Afraid of time passing, of things changing, and losing the close relationship we've shared. I wanted to pretend it was all sadness, but in that moment of communion I knew the truth.  I was afraid.

It's not the first time (or the second) I've faced fear.  Or re-learned the hard lesson about trusting God with my unknowns.

Fear is my enemy.  Caution can be a wise friend but fear is a thief.  It steals today's happiness to be replaced with tomorrow's worries.  How can we fight this enemy?  What is my most potent weapon against that fear?

Swing over to and find out!  I have a compete guest post there and I am excited to share with you how I fight fear!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Competency: What it takes to raise a Proverbs 31 girl

If you could sum the Proverbs 31 lady up in one word what would it be?  

Competent: A real Proverbs 31 womanMy daughter drew a series of illustrations to sum her up.  There was one of her sewing with a sewing machine - a bit anachronistic but I got the idea and one of her selling the clothes she made.  There were pictures of her cooking, giving instructions, and one with her own child.

Her illustrations matched the one word in my mind.  Competent.

That lady could do stuff!  In fact, if we start considering the women of God one by one we’ll come up with lots of competent ladies.  Wise ladies (Deborah), warrior ladies (Jael), hostesses (Junia, Lydia and the mother of John Mark) poets (Hannah), dancers (Miriam), hard workers (Ruth), brave women (the auntie), and women who were steeped in the word (Huldah, Anna, Priscilla).

Competence is greatly undervalued in women.  Our culture values brashness, beauty, silliness, and ambition.  Our churches value social skill, and the roles of a wife and mother.  But when is the last time you heard someone say, “Mrs. Michelson! That lady can speak three languages and she is always down at the ESL center helping out!  How godly.” Or “Don’t you love how Mrs. Jones and her daughters spend a week each summer working with Habitats for Humanity?”

We love to encourage our girls.  We bandy about words like self-esteem and growth mindset thinking if we apply enough praise of the right type at the right moment, we’ll have strong and godly girls.  But let me suggest a different path.

Let’s teach our girls to do stuff.  And then to use their skills to honor the Lord.  Let’s teach them to clean and cook and sew and craft. Let’s teach them to garden, camp, blog and refinish upholstery.  Let’s let them go to language camp, teach them sign language, and learn a martial art.

And above all else let’s teach our girl's Bible.

When I started at Harding University they were starting a new major: “Vocational Ministry.”  It was a second major and had to be paired with a non-Bible major. The purpose was to provide Bible major level study to future deacons, elders, and vocational ministers.  But also to future Sunday School teachers, mothers and wives. I jumped at the chance. And although I didn’t have all the same classes, I got much the same education as my Bible major husband.  

The things I learned to this day effect my study, my writing, my ministry, my life.  That BIble education was priceless. I promise my teacher’s time wasn’t wasted because I am not a preacher.

Our girls need to learn Bible.  We must not for a moment imagine that their purview is simply the verses on “women’s role.”  Or the Proverbs 31 lady we mentioned before. Our girls need to memorize the books of the Bible, recite verses, memorize outlines, and learn what exegesis means.  They need wise mentors who can disciple them into strong, practical, competent followers of Jesus. And they need to start now. 4 is not too young and 12 is not too late. (Subscribe here and get a semester of free theology curriculum for tweens!)

When we look backwards to see how we want our girls to be, we are often painfully short sighted.  We look back to some idyllic and imaginary time when women all stayed home, rocked babies and waited quietly for their men to come home.  Not only is that image all wrong (those women were more than competent in their own sphere) but it simply doesn’t look back far enough. The women of the Bible were neither fainting violets, simpering idiots, nor brainless chatter boxes.  They were judges, evangelists, business women, hard workers, women of powerful wisdom.

May each one of us be about the business of teaching our girls to be the same.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Summer Devotional Series-Rainbows

Ever had a tough Sunday morning? Or like me is EVERY Sunday morning a tough one?  Could you use a little help getting your mind focused on God instead of on finding "church clothes," locating that missing shoe, or taming the kids' hair?  I have just the thing.  Every Sunday morning this summer before your first cup of coffee I will send you a short devotional (just like the one you're about to read).  Each one takes about 5 minutes to read, includes two scriptures and some practical thoughts.  Each one is designed to help you get ready to worship the Lord.  Want to join us?  Subscribe here!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Another Summer of Devotionals

This morning on my Facebook memories there was a quote from my then 12 old daughter over morning devotionals.

Me: Why do we fold our hands when we pray?
Daughter: Because the grown-ups don’t want us to do anything naughty while their eyes are closed.
Me: (Crickets chirp in the stunned silence)

I laughed, hit the share button, and remembered that summer is almost here and it's time that we start summer devos again.  

We’ve been doing this every summer since my younger daughter was four (read about our faltering start).  It’s more than just a habit, it’s a pleasure. When school is in, we study Bible as an academic subject, but when school is out, it would be easy for Bible study to fall behind.  

This summer my girls will turn 10 and 17.  And every morning, as soon as breakfast is over, even before we clear the plates and do the dishes, we recite whatever verses we are working on memorizing, read a short passage of scripture together and talk about what comes up.  Our school year Bible study focuses on learning; our summers focus on becoming.

We’ve done Daniel and worked through Colossians (both of which are available to you free online Daniel / Colossians).  This summer we are focusing on what it means to be a woman of God. We’ll be looking at Deborah, Hannah, Jael, Miriam, Huldah, Ruth and Esther.  Then turning to the New Testament we will talk about Mary, Mary and Martha, Mary Magdalene, Lydia, Phoebe, and Priscilla.

This isn’t spiritually easy ground.  We’ll discuss the ethics of violence in Jael’s story and our own ethics as we progress in Tae Keon Do.  We’ll work on when it is right to lead and when we should submit with Deborah, Huldah, and Miriam. We’ll talk about courage from the perspective of Mary and Mary Magdalene.  And what it means to be both a female evangelist with Priscilla’s story. We’ll talk about loyalty, God’s and ours with Ruth and Esther. And we are going to learn about prayer, poetry and “reversal of fortune” with Hannah and Mary.  I hope to share some insights with you as we go along.

It’s going to be a wonderful summer.  This is my last full summer to have my eldest home.  Soon after her 17th birthday, she’ll head off to the University of Wyoming.  But for these last precious days, the three of us girls will take that 10 minutes in the morning to have devotionals.  Take the chance to listen to my girls, to hear their hearts and know their minds. To recite God’s word with them and think about His story together.  Time goes so fast and for us summer devos are priceless.
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If you are looking for Bible study material for your own kids, you are welcome to use our online material on Daniel or Colossians or we have an entire semester's worth of FREE curriculum just for our subscribers!  Subscribe here!