Category Archives: Room For Doubt 2015

Being Intentional

In case you haven’t noticed, life is accelerating….

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I heard someone mention recently how much more aggression they are seeing in traffic.

I would agree.

Cars and trucks on the main arteries that lead through our town and neighborhoods are driving increasingly fast.

Today I saw three cars run a red light at a busy intersection.

And it isn’t just on the road that we see aggression, conflict and a hardening of hearts.

So now, more than ever, we who are followers of Christ need to be about … well…following…

Not the crowd.

Not the culture.

We need to be about following His teachings.

Which is why I have taken to carrying headphones in my purse…

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and using snippets of time when I am waiting…

or during my walks (and lately my…ugh…running)

to catch some quality teachings.

While Russ and I are blessed with a good home church each Sunday, I find it helpful to add some other solid teachings with Biblical foundations and practical applications.

The following are some weekly spots I have added to my Podcast library  (spoiler alert…I think I figured out how to add links so you should be able to click on web address and go to the site…what??????)

First Christian Church       @firstdecatur.org

Eastview Christian Church       @eastviewchurch.net

Harvest Community Church in Hoffman Estates        //harvest-community.org

Grace Covenant Church        @grace360.org

I also encourage you to take advantage of leadership training opportunities within your local church and community.

You may not think you are considered a leader, but all who follow Christ ARE supposed to be leading others to Him.

Which, by default, makes us all leaders in  our area of influence <3

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Is He the greatest thing EVER???

Don’t you want everyone to know the joy and peace He has brought into your life?

Then being equipped is certainly something we want to be intentional about…

Which reminds me….

you may want to check out the Intentional Church Conference here in Decatur on April 23rd and consider investing some of your time.

The conference this year features two speakers…

Tim Harlow and J.K. Jones…

as well as break out sessions and fellowship, worship and refreshing.

One of the sessions is recommended for anyone who participated in the Room for Doubt series around here last fall.

Led by Rick Knopp, the workshop will explore the next step in reaching out to your friends and family members who are struggling with questions of doubt in their faith walk.

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@intentionalchurchconference.com 

Let’s make good use of all the resources available to us as we….

journey onward <3

 

 

 

 

5 Randoms to end the week…

Because Mary and Martha are having a tug of war in my head … which happens every year about this time…

Mary wants to sit at the feet of Jesus and meditate and ponder…

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Martha wants to get the house decorated…

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and she spends waaaaaay too much time digging through those green tubs of decorations and looking at Instagram pictures….

so this morning here are 5 quick thoughts and prayers for you as you make your way through the weekend <3

  1. We had grandparents day last week…IMG_7682and best day ever…

2. I am getting a kick out of the Elf on the Shelf pictures on social media and am thinking these young moms and dads are extremely clever. I am also a bit thankful that we had no such addition to our Christmas agenda because I definitely would have gotten involved in staging the elf to a degree that would have been unhealthy for our family.

3. I struggle with the knowledge that December 25 is not the actual birthday of Jesus and that the manger didn’t really look like a barn in the Midwest..

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and how we have managed to add so much other stuff around it. I attempt to keep it all sorted out in my mind; along with wanting to have people in and yet spend time alone with God… and not being materialistic but having fun shopping for friends of family…and how to give my people space and yet have them home… Those things and a myriad of other questions about the state of the world in general make me question if I use the pretty parts of this season to try and forget the ugly parts of the times.

4. I warned you this would be random.

5. We went and got our tree which is encased in mesh webbing and stuck in a bucket of water leaning against the empty boxes from the kitchen remodel. Martha is not liking that one little bit. Mary is wondering why we even have a tree….

So there you have it…where I am today.

Probably much like you.

In one hand I have a list of things I want to do to show my family and friends how much they mean to me.

And in the other a newspaper that daily reports on a chaotic and confusing culture and a whole lot of people talking and analyzing it like if we just get enough information and details we will all be able to make sense of this sin-filled world.

And I wonder how much more bad news we can take before we stop letting our hearts shatter and we grow cold…

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Thankfully both Mary and Martha…and you and I…know…there is only one answer ….

IMG_3656so we wait…and we ponder…and we pray…

As you sort through your own thoughts this weekend, I pray you find your balance in Jesus Christ. I pray you enjoy the traditions that make up the season for you and I pray you find quiet moments to meditate on ponder on why He came.

God bless you as we ….. journey onward <3

 

Just passing along God’s blessings …

Cause it’s like you all are right here with me…so pull up a chair and let me tell you a few things…

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Like how I love to travel and see beautiful places but how God has plunked us down in such loveliness that I can’t take a walk and not take pictures…

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And I think if this area was a vacation destination for us,  I would just think this must be the best place to live and get to see things like this on a daily basis…

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And then there is the fact that not only did we hear a great sermon this morning at our own church, I got to listen to another good one from Eastview while I walked.

I urge, encourage, beg of you…to listen to both of them…

@firstdecatur.org : Session 6 “Tolerance, Truth & the Exclusive Claims of Christ” – Brian Talty,  October 18

@eastviewchurch.net: “We Speak Powerfully in Weakness” – Mike Baker, October 11th

While the series at both churches are different, the messages tied together as only God’s Word can do.

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Because the thing that scares me the most when we enter into questions and doubts is …

What if I don’t explain it right?

What if I mess it up or am not convincing enough?

What if I can’t articulate what I believe and why I believe it in a way that persuades someone to come to Christ or ….God forbid and even worse…help keep someone from walking away from Him?

Because it matters much to HIM and thus…. to me… that all come to salvation through Jesus Christ….not because I am right, but because He is Righteous.

Because eternity is at stake for others.

Because He is patient but He will not wait forever.

So here are my two big take aways from today… and these are paraphrases and attempts to catch the quotes correctly….!!!

Pastor Brian – What is truth? Truth is what is real – what actually exists. Our beliefs are not truth – but our beliefs should line up with truth. All beliefs cannot all be “truth”. God cannot have come in many different forms to different cultures and people groups, providing conflicting information and saying,  “For you, this is the way to get to Me.” and then gone to another group and provided another way. And then send His Son, who said….”I am THE WAY…THE TRUTH….THE LIFE. All who come to the Father, must come through ME.” John 14:6    “It is not narrow minded to respond rationally to the evidence that presents TRUTH.”

Then there is the issue of how inept we can feel in CONVEYING that Truth…which turns out to be all part of the plan….

Pastor Mike – on the message of the Gospel and the paradox of weakness/strength and foolishness/wisdom in God’s Kingdom. “We are called to share the Gospel, not win an argument.”

Think about that one for a while.

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For years the tag line at the end of my emails has been a truth that is so simple and yet so hard…

For the Word of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

It is simple because I totally get it.

The Word of the Cross, the Message of the Cross…Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross…is to me, the power of God.

It has saved me. And so to me…I know its power. And I rejoice with many who know this and it is so simple.

But it is hard because there are many who do not know.

There are many who consider the Gospel and the Word of the Cross and the Message of Salvation…to be foolishness…and by definition…they are perishing.

And that is not okay with me.

And I can’t smile and say … you go ahead and believe your truth and I’ll believe mine and we will just all live and let live.

So I pray, and I study, and I ask God for opportunities…and faithfulness to LIVE what I believe…and to approach my own questions and my own struggles from the perspective of faith.

Which is why I also am so thankful for writings like this….from Brennan Manning in The Ragamuffin Gospel…page 187…

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The Word of the Cross is the power of God and the people of the Cross are works in progress who rely on the power of God.

But be blessed to know that Jesus never says to us when we come to Him….Who dat?

Rejoice that you are known and loved by Him…seek to know and love Him more. SEEK HIM…in order to KNOW and LOVE Him MORE….

Have a blessed Monday <3

 

 

 

Wait a minute…..

IMG_1906One of my favorite and most tolerable forms of exercise is walking. I prefer walking outside but since we pay a monthly fee to the Y, I will walk the track if I have a chance to go there with Russ when he is doing his routine.

His routine involves using machines and weights and well…all of that is a lot for me to remember. Not to mention that sweat and exertion factor.

So I listen to a podcast and walk.

Walking is simple…I have been doing it for many years.

And the directions are clearly marked on the walls….signs are posted for which direction traffic goes depending on the day of the week. Sunday is dealer’s choice so I get to pick if I am the first one or go with the flow if others have gotten there before me.

There are other helpful rules like don’t spit and children under 1 needed to be accompanied by an adult…I think that may be a misprint….

For courtesy purposes they also provide these guidelines…. IMG_6441 (1) IMG_6442 (1)

Since I am a walker, I always take the inside lane…IMG_6443 (1)

the lane that is INSIDE the building closest to the center of the room…leaving the outside lane…the lane next to the wall…the lane furthest from the center of the room free.

Every time I have ever been on the track with other people, they do the same thing. Runners always on the longer, wider “OUTSIDE” of the track lane…

Until last Sunday.

First a girl that was walking sooooooooo slowly meandered around what I considered to be the outside lane so I kept passing her from the inside…I am a rule follower so this was painful…

She didn’t seem to mind as she was fidgeting with her phone and seemed to be oblivious to me passing her repeatedly. Finally she left…

and then a runner came…and he ran and ran … in what to me was the inside lane. He would make a swath around me each circuit and then get back in the inside lane…

which made me begin to question…maybe all along I have been wrong.

Maybe everyone else who has been walking and running every time I have ever used the track is wrong too…maybe this guy understands the signs and we don’t.

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Maybe the “inside” lane is the lane closest to the wall and the outside lane is the one nearest the center….

I was so confused, my head was starting to hurt but I had a feeling there was a blog in there somewhere so I stopped to take a picture of the signs and then I heard the voice of reason. Or maybe it was Russ….asking me what on earth I was doing….

I told him about the runner and I pointed to the signs and I began to engage him in a philosophical discussion of this new possibility that I have been doing it wrong all this time…

With the confidence of a man who has spent many more years in a gym than I have ever dreamed of doing, he assured me that the outside lane of a track is the farthest one from the center.

Case closed. Doubt answered. Keep walking.

One of the issues we have discovered in our discussions in the Room for Doubt series is that often doubt enters in when someone else or many someone else’s sow seeds of doubt into our beliefs.

We can’t live in a bubble safely protected from anyone who doesn’t believe what we believe….and if we have honest questions we need to feel free to ask them….but I do wonder if we sometimes let other people influence us far more than we should.

The runner that threw me off looked more athletic than me. He had all the right gear, the physical appearance of someone who has much experience running on tracks and so I assumed he knew more than I did. And so I questioned something that I have known to be true…and when Russ pointed it out to me I remembered why I know which is the inside and outside lane.

Of course it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things which lane a couple of weekend exercises use at the Y.

But it matters very much if we allow challenging questions and doubts to move us into unbelief.

I affirm again what we have learned in this series…approach your questions about faith from the position of one who loves truth…not one who loves questions and doubts.

When you are seeking answers about your faith, go to the Source of your faith…or you might…you know…IMG_6181get off track <3

Have a blessed weekend!!!

Where we draw the line…

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While rumor has it that our state is in a bit of financial distress, road repair and other maintenance work is booming all over our town. There is not a path I take each day that doesn’t sport orange cones and flashing arrows alerting me to slow down, merge or just come to a complete halt.

The entire east bound side of one of the major arteries I use to get home was completely closed for several days as workers erected fancy new utility poles with ominous looking bases and plenty of complicated wiring.

Large equipment vehicles with all manner of gadgets worked for several days as I would drive out in the west bound lane in the morning hoping to remember I would need to find an alternate route home later in the day.

The equipment and technology in use were quite impressive.

But as the work seemed to be coming to completion, one morning I noticed a man in a neon yellow vest standing on the concrete median at one of the intersections.

He was holding a silver cord at arms length in front of his eyes. A weight at the bottom slowly swung into place while he viewed it against the utility pole that was being centered on the other side of the street.

A plumb line.

Good grief.

Even I know how to operate one of those.

My dad had one.

With all the smart stuff out there, they were using this old fashioned thing out of some archaic tool box????

So I googled it.

While plumb lines have been in use since ancient times, and were used to build even the pyramids, they are still very much in use today.

And they haven’t changed one bit in principle.

A string with a weight at the bottom that must comply with the law of gravity assures pinpoint accuracy of a straight line.

Whether you’re building a pyramid or a skyscraper…

Our church, along with 23 others in the area, are nearing the end of the Room for Doubt series.

It has been interesting to hear the sermons and read the material.

And it has been challenging to teach and lead discussions each week on various key areas where people tend to have questions regarding Christianity.

I found the information regarding the validity and credibility of Scripture to be the most helpful and encouraging.

People groups, cultures, generations…these change and fluctuate.

Truth does not change.

Truth is relevant and applicable in all cultures, people groups and generations.

And Truth is found in the plumb line of God’s Word to us.

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In Isaiah 28, God speaks of a plumb line…His plumb line…justice and righteousness.

His justice and His righteousness are our plumb line to help us decide if something is crooked or straight. And His justice and righteousness are recorded in His Word.

So are we holding the plumb line of God’s Word up against our questions and doubts…or have we turned it around and begun to use our questions and doubts as the plumb line for God’s Word?

Don’t be fooled.

Anything less than His standard is going to throw you off balance….no doubt about it.

<3