While the Masses Are Loud

A call to see the wounded among you

Photo credit @claythomasgifford

A million years ago, when I was fifteen, I was able to visit New York City with several friends. While there, we went to the Broadway musical, “42nd Street.” I don’t remember much about the show at all, except one scene.  The scene was mimicking the hustle and bustle of the city outside, while a woman in center stage was mourning the loss of the one she loved. No one stopped. No one mourned with her. Life had to go on. It was hers to bear alone.

I remember it affecting me profoundly, most likely because I was facing some sort of teenage drama at the time, feeling no one saw my pain while they enjoyed their trip to the Big Apple. But those feelings resurface today for someone else’s pain. 

What Christians Are Forgetting About November 9

electionLike everyone else in America, I cannot wait for this election to be over. I have hoped for months that someone would eventually say, “Just kidding. It’s all a joke. Here’s the real candidates.” But, alas, the day is here, and apparently this is for real.

What I want to remind those that claim the Christian faith as we anticipate the results of this election is that:

  1. No president cannot single-handedly change the face of our nation.
  2. Our past presidents have not been the cause of our nation’s destruction.

I’m not saying they don’t have influence or power. But we still have more than they do. I apologize in advance that this post will be brimming with generalities. There isn’t much of a way around it. If the shoe fits….

This isn’t a plea to vote a certain way or even whether or not you should or shouldn’t vote.  This is a simple reminder that our government has very little to do with shaping our culture. Our culture has shaped our government. 

Party with a Purpose – Sak Saum Ministries

Fearless Key Necklace

Photo Courtesy of Sak Saum

A million miles or so from Idaho, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is a ministry dear to my heart called Sak Saum.  Sak Saum “is a ministry dedicated to the rescue, restoration, transformation and rehabilitation of vulnerable and exploited women and men” (Sak Saum). Through both a full time program, and a vocational training center, Sak Saum is fighting against human trafficking, “one person, one family, and one community at a time.”

The vocational training center teaches men and women to produce beautiful products, mostly from reclaimed fabrics, discarded coconut shells, recycled tires, cement bags, and scrap metal. Every product represents a rescue, and the materials used metaphorically represent Sak Saum’s mission to make “something beautiful from things that would normally be discarded.”

There are a couple of reasons I wanted to share about Sak Saum’s ministry with you today, because you might want to get involved. You can support this incredible ministry by:

Are You Picking A Color?

Gazing from mountainIt seems we’re all picking colors these days. Colors of skin or occupations or sexual identities. Everything seems to have a color, and everyone is fighting for theirs. Blue lives matter. Black lives matter. Rainbow lives matter.

I agree.

But the bottom line is that LIFE MATTERS. Every life matters.

When we forget this, we fight the wrong fight, start the wrong conversations, and trumpet the wrong horns. We start asking if the life pinned to the ground is more or less valuable than the life in uniform. We ask if the life in the night club is more or less valuable than the lives tucked in the beds of our home. We tell ourselves that the meth addict that just lost custody of her kids is less valuable than the stay at home mom that takes hers to church every week.

We do this because at the very core, we have forgotten the cause of our value.

When It Is NOT Well with Your Soul

Photo Credits @claythomasgifford

Photo Credits @claythomasgifford

I walked into church yesterday and ascended the bleachers to our “regular” seats, like I have been doing for the last six months. I sit down, take a deep breath, and hope that today will be a day that I can worship….that church hurts won’t overwhelm me…that I won’t spend the next hour dwelling in my personal resentment and frustration with the men who may be pacing the stage that day. The music begins. I feel numb. Numb is usual these days. I wish it wasn’t, but it just is. After a couple of songs, I hear the music beginning to a personal favorite; but as the chords progress, I know something is very wrong. Her voice is beautiful and clear. The words should be true….but they aren’t for me. Not today. “It is NOT well with my soul.”

4 Things to Remember When You Want to Defend Your Faith

4 Things to Remember When You Want to Defend Your Faith

Last weekend we got to spend a few days with Josh and Sean McDowell, as our church was the second stop on their Heroic Truth tour. If you’re not familiar with their ministry, this father/son team has dedicated their lives to helping people discover truth and effectively communicate it to others.

The way Sean opened the first session was absolutely brilliant. He simply went into character as an atheist and allowed the audience to ask him questions…

Restless: Because You Were Made for More

restlessAs we finish up Easter week and are thinking a lot about new life, I want to share some about the new life I’m seeing in myself and others after doing Restless (by Jennie Allen) together.

I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to review Jennie Allen‘s studies. They just keep getting better and better! Restless is basically an eight week study, and you’ll want your participants to get the books and do the first week of homework before they come to your first session.

Lessons from Elizabeth

Tucked in the Christmas story is perhaps one of the best outlines I’ve ever seen for women to follow in encouraging each other.

Elizabeth was old, she had been infertile her whole life, and was the wife of a priest. Six months before Mary is told she is carrying the son of God, Elizabeth’s husband is also greeted by an angel who informs him that his old, barren wife will have a son – a son whose life mission will be to prepare the way for the son of God.

There are so many applications in this story, that I find it very difficult to stay on track. We could talk about Zechariah, and his unbelief. We could talk about Elizabeth’s support of her husband. We could talk about the symbolism of Zechariah’s role, and the prayers they offered…but I’m going to focus on another aspect.

Dumb Things Christians Say – My response to the viral pastor tipping story

tipWhen I first tried to title this, I mistakenly said, “Things Dumb Christians Say.”….as much as that may be as accurate, I’ll stick with the kinder version.

You may have heard last week about the pastor that refused to tip? The story that went viral? You may have seen it on the news, or heard it on Air1, or read it online. It’s been everywhere. I first heard about it because I have a friend who is a pastor, whose last name is also “Bell.” It was quite the humorous week for him, as he received an accusatory email or two. The church office also got calls. He encouraged others to do their research before they made accusations.

However, this story really struck a nerve with me. Why? Because its not the first time I’ve heard a Christian use this same lame tipping excuse..and I just can’t hold my tongue any longer.

How Annoying People Can Help Your Prayer Life

Back in January, I read a blog post by Joan (whose husband is bi-polar) on Chosen Families that has forever changed my thoughts about when people annoy me, hurt me, or anger me.

I didn’t even realize how much it had helped me until the Lord encouraged me to share it with someone else last week.

You see, we live in a real world with real people…people that have mental illness, emotional wounds, and less than perfect social skills. Sometimes those people annoy us. Sometimes they make us angry. Sometimes they really and truly hurt us terribly. Wounded people wound people.