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September book check-in <3

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Well….here we are almost a full week into October. But I like this monthly accountability (even when it is kind of embarrassing how little I actually read…)

This was the goal for reading in September and I confess I only finished one book and got less than halfway through a second.

I finished How God Became King by N. T. Wright and it was very good. Weighty and sometimes hard to process, but very good <3

Since the book was on loan from John I restricted my pen to taking a generous amount of notes in my journal. This slowed me down and I am a slow reader anyway so that might explain the poor performance on only finishing one book.

Here are some highlights I gleaned:

  • We have sometimes misrepresented Jesus by only honing in on one aspect of Him that suits our purpose and have missed the fullness of who He is.
  • There are four main speakers in the gospels of course…Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The author uses that term as a play on words to say that we have often separated what they are saying to fit certain audiences. In doing this, he says it is like “speakers” that carry sound and if you turn one down too low or up too high you distort what is being transmitted. He explains very clearly how the four Gospels are written to an audience that never would have separated them out the way we do.
  • Wright does an incredible job of using Scripture to present the fact that Jesus Christ was bringing the Kingdom of God to earth NOW.
  • Yes, a day of total fulfillment will come, but Jesus is King of heaven and earth and His Kingdom reign is over the whole world.
  • He points out that Jesus fulfills all four points of Scripture’s prophecy of who Messiah would be and what He would bring.
  • The four points are:
  1. The Gospels as the climax of the story of Israel
  2. God as the Savior of His people
  3. The story of Jesus launching God’s renewed people
  4. Kingdom of God confronting the kingdom of “Ceasar”

In the times we are living, I found this book to be so encouraging of my faith.

It helped me by strengthening things I already believed, but also by showing me where I have gotten off-center and viewed things through a world-view instead of a biblical-view. It also helped me with the puzzling question of why we have all the accounts of Jesus’ life on earth if we only focus on a few points for the purposes of sermon texts or reasons we believe something.

I do recommend this book. It is like taking a class. Keep your Bible hand and if you are a note taker, buy your own copy so you can mark up freely!

Now for next month, here is the plan….

I took this photo on the floor to show I have significantly lowered my expectations of reading more than one book…sigh…maybe my overachiever mode will be ignited and I will surprise us all.

I was not prepared to like the Lutzer book. I thought it was going to be something entirely different than it is. I have been delightfully surprised. It is not a brash, in your face, let’s take over the world and convert everyone or shut them up kind of book.

It is a reminder of how Jesus led and lived in a world that was contrary to God. It is gracious and merciful and encouraging.

I am loving the Jude study. I have mentioned before that I recommend to everyone to follow both Jackie Hill Perry and her husband Preston Perry on Instagram and listen to what they have to say about matters of the gospel, applying God’s word to our lives and also just their perspective on issues that are trigger points for controversy in our day and age. Her teaching is pushing me to open up my Bible and do some serious STUDY and I LOVE IT!!!

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I am taking the Jude study at our church through the Women’s ministry but you can always rent or buy the video teachings through Lifeway.

Okay…that’s it for me.

What are you reading?

Are you a slow or fast reader and do you mark up your books or take notes?

Would love to know …

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Wednesday…almost the end of May…<3

Seems like a good day for randoms since my brain is flying in many directions so here we go…

<3 We are full on in the birthday season and started today with this little dude turning six.

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His brother has decided to keep growing up too, so we are staring eight years young in the face this week as well. 

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I remember being these ages. I remember our own kiddos being these ages. Surreal.

<3 As May is ending and we are officially entering summer, I am sitting back and taking stock of my goals from the past month and season and trying to focus on what I hope and dream to accomplish this summer. 

Do you goal plan? 

I am a list maker but can get sidetracked studying the HOW TO of making goals and then never really doing it. 

I found a great exhortation on a post this week that talked about perfectionism and how if you are waiting to do something perfectly it will never get done – so just dive in and do it. 

This is a truth I have been applying to my goal-planning. I bought a calendar this year with a section at the beginning of each month where I just brainstorm what I would like to have happen and then try (emphasis on TRY) to outline a few steps I can follow to actually accomplish some things. 

It’s not perfect…but it’s working. 

<3 I told you this would be random

<3 Do you have a summer study in mind? 

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I am planning to participate in the free one offered by Lifeway. And by “free” I mean the videos will be provided free and, of course, they would like you to purchase the workbook through their website. 

When you register, they send you a weekly email with a link to the video and you have until mid-August to watch them. 

It is a good one – Kelly Minter’s “No Other Gods” – which I have done before so will be revisiting with my old workbook (sorry Lifeway)

Would you like to join me? I am “planning” to use one day a week to recap and touch base on the study/video…haven’t decided the day…stay tuned.

You can register here ——> https://onlinestudy.smallgroup.com/v/NoOtherGodsOBS?ecid=PDM177769&bid=1085667250

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<3 This summer I am plan to hold a VBS for grownups again and am working on that theme. If you have participated and enjoyed these in the past…would you stop, drop and pray for me as I get my thoughts organized???

<3 Prepping the house for a new season means we have a steady stream of technical people to come spray, set up the AC, make all the stuff needed to survive summer in the Midwest doable and then we have added several maintenance issues and am I the only one that finds it difficult and somewhat disruptive to try and be available at 7:30 A.M. and share my morning space with people who are seeing the innards of our closets and such? 

It makes me grouchy…and yet…everywhere I turn the word that keeps popping up is “kindness.” 

This morning I flipped my desk calendar to May 29 and this stares back at me…

“When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule for everything she says.” Proverbs 31:26 TLB

I don’t know about you, but I need some space to operate in “kindness.” 

I feel like if people would give me ample space and time to adjust to things, I stand a better chance of meeting that description. But most days, life doesn’t give me that option. 

So I am finding the need to apply the main lesson from the Fruits of the Spirit series. 

When I feel pressed hard and “kindness” is not my go to response, I am recognizing the symptoms of struggle as they rise in my heart. Tightening of the chest…increased pulse in my temple…clenching of the jaw and fists….and instead of trying to be kind in this state….I am taking in deeper breaths and surrendering. 

Mentally I tell myself that this is the current situation and I cannot change it. But I can lean hard into God and not allow what is going on around me to steal my peace. I imagine setting up a large fence between my soul and the storm that is raging inside of me and I continue to breathe as if God, Himself, were giving me CPR. 

And you know, in the midst of that struggle, I see things from a different perspective and the Spirit operates within me to enable me to be kind. 

I am not a failure because I struggle. 

I am not a hypocrite when I choose to act on the kindness He places in me when my natural self is fighting fiercely to maintain my rights or go for the snarky laugh…or appear smarter than that which is challenging me. 

I am a child of God who is being transformed…slowly but surely…day by day. 

Ok…I’m done…

time to gather stuff and head out into the real world for the day. 

Be blessed…you are loved <3

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Top five takeaways from the Intentional Church Conference off the top of my head <3

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Top Five Takeaways from the Intentional Church Conference (for me)

This is being typed quickly because I have an appointment this morning and I can.not.be.late.

So our church held something called the annual “Intentional Church Conference” last Saturday. 

Two keynote speakers presented in the morning sessions and I jotted notes, because…that’s what I do, as my numerous journals and spiral notebooks scattered hither and yon can attest to.

I am quickly sharing the top five that jump out at me this morning and then I am outta here.

#1 “The Church is an extension of the Incarnation. We are Plan A.” – Ben Cachiaras

#2 “When the Lord looks at my church (or even just at my life) and what we are doing, does it look like what He wanted us (me) to do?” – Ben Cachiaras

#3 “Radical changes in culture require radical changes in the Church” – Ben Cachiaras

#4 We are no longer the “home team.” The Church and Christ followers are now considered the “away team” in Culture. And this is a good thing because now we can really focus on following Christ. When the early Church faced opposition, disfavor with the culture, persecution..they did not withdraw, attempt to fight the culture or crumble in despair. They went on mission.  – Ben Cachiaras

and 

#5 “Who will you be while you do what you do?” – Nancy Beach

There is more and it was good material. 

We may dig into it here on the blog tomorrow…but that is for tomorrow. 

For today I have to scoot. 

Be blessed. 

Be intentional in sharing the Good News.

Be the hope of Christ personified in your sphere of influence today <3

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