The Myth of a Personal Savior

My church family is amazing. Glorious, really. And when I say glorious, I mean that it is the fullest representation of Christ I have ever experienced. It is the body of Christ–expressing itself through a people committed to loving one another, serving one another, ministering to one another, and worshipping with Christ as our Head.

So, now that I got that out of the way…

The other day, my sister Carrington (sister, meaning my sister in the faith) made a brilliant observation. A few of us women from our church family were talking and praying together–just sharing some of the struggles we had encountered that week. As we talked, we realized that many of us had been dealing with the exact same struggles.

I watched as we ministered to one another and carried the burden for one another. Me for her and she for me. Lifted. Freed. Lightened.

It was then that she explained that what we were doing–was being the church. The modern church, she went on, incorrectly promotes the idea of a personal Savior or a personal Jesus (anyone remember a certain Depeche Mode song?)  Continue reading The Myth of a Personal Savior

My Spiritual Wish List

So, last month I told you guys that my word for the year was “receive.” It sounds simple, harmless really, but for me this little word holds a lot of meaning.

Sitting around the table eating dinner with my church family, I told a few of my sisters what my word was and they responded with a collective “Oooohhhh….” Why? Because they know. Because they know me and they know that I have trouble receiving. It makes me uncomfortable. It makes me squirm. I feel self-conscious and self-indulgent.

And this is what God has told me in the last few weeks…

The reason I have trouble receiving is because I have trouble asking.  Continue reading My Spiritual Wish List

The Acceptable Christian Sin

Today, I’m over at Ken Hagerman’s blog, Rambling with the Barba, talking about the sins that we Christians deem acceptable versus the ones we do not. Here’s a snippet:

Beyond the lingo though, I quickly learned that certain things were completely acceptable within the church culture, while others were not. When it came to the discussion of sin I realized that what I would have openly confessed was simply not okay to share.

The excited, geeked-out-for-Jesus newbie believer that I was didn’t know the difference. I knew that the Bible said to confess our sins to one another and our God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins (1 John 1:9). So I was ready to confess. I was ready to lay it all on the table–the dirt, the grime, the reeking stench of my sin. I wanted it gone. I wanted that forgiveness.

But, I watched as it was quietly, subtly, and yet systematically made clear to me that only certain sins can be confessed–at least out loud. There were the acceptable “Christian sins” and then there was the rest.

To read more, please join me over at Ken’s blog today and show some comment love. I hope to see you there.

The Email that Enraged Me and Why I Blame the Church

I received an email this week from a man stating that he and his wife were in need of some counseling and advice. He went on to say, however, that they were having trouble “gaining access to the leaders” at their own church and would I be able to direct them to some other resources.

My stomach dropped. I re-read the sentence 3 times for fear that I had read it incorrectly.

Trouble gaining access? How can this be? How is this happening within the church?

There is no door marked “leaders only.” There is no secret club of the “qualified,” no spiritual speakeasy.

The anger I felt while reading this email was palpable. Yet, I believe it angers the Lord even more to know that His people are daily made to feel that they have no power, authority, or place in the Body. To know that the people of God are made to feel ineffective, useless, and weak by other members of the Body.

There’s the rub and it is tragic.

And it is this convuluted warped thinking that enrages me almost more than anything within the church–the twisted lies we believe (often because of those in leadership) that tell us we cannot serve, cannot give, cannot impact the Kingdom, because we don’t wear the title of “leader,” or “pastor,” or carry a degree from the nearby seminary.

I’ve written this before, but I feel compelled to write it again:

You don’t need a degree or a certificate. You don’t need 3 years of off-site training or a letter from your pastor. You don’t need to attend seminars or conferences, write a book, or run a ministry.

You have everything you need.

His name is the Holy Spirit.

And it is Him, not man, that makes you approved, called, qualified, chosen, ready, equipped, sent, and full of power.

So, if you woke up today feeling powerless or desperately wanting to be used by God, know that you have everything you need. Ask of your Father. Forget what “they” have told you is or isn’t possible. The Creator of the Universe lives in you. He calls you home.

If you truly believe this, you cannot fear man. You can only set forth to please God.


Disclaimer: No, I do not know every detail abou this couple or their church. I do not know their pastor or the specifics regarding their need for counseling. Yes, I admit that there are two sides to every story and in no way am I trying to bad mouth a specific church. All that to say, this particular email struck a nerve with me and led me to write this post. 

The Mystery of Marriage

We all know the verse…

“And the two shall become one flesh.”

We’ve heard it recited at wedding ceremonies, taught from the pulpit, and thrown around at marriage conferences. It has become almost cliche. We believe this verse intellectually–two becoming one. But, we also know that this verse is referring to much more than flesh. We don’t know how, but we know it. We understand it for what it is: a mystery.

How can, and do, two people join as one? Physically we know how it is possible (In this regard, the verse is quite literal). But, how do two become one in the spiritual and emotional sense?

I had not been married very long when I was struck with the reality of this mystery. And I got scared. Continue reading The Mystery of Marriage

Women in Combat: A Debate

A little over a week ago, the Pentagon announced that under Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, they are lifting the 19-year ban on women serving in front line combat positions and potentially elite commando jobs. The decision opens up some hundreds of thousands of potential job positions for women in the military, and could come to include positions in the Navy SEALS and the Army’s Delta Force.

When I first heard the news, my reaction was twofold. First, I was a little surprised–surprised that the decision came down and curious to know if there really were thousands of women currently serving in the military who were waiting to enter the front lines.

Second, I was certain that, what some saw as progress for women, others would see as an assault on the gender roles between men and women and as an attack on the military, as a whole.

I’ve since considered both sides… Continue reading Women in Combat: A Debate

Caught in the Act

Today’s guest post is from the talented Allison Vesterfelt. If you’ve yet to check out Allison’s blog, please do. I promise you will be encouraged, challenged, and inspired. I’m honored to feature her here today and I hope you enjoy.

Have you ever been caught doing something you weren’t supposed to be doing?

I have, on more than one occasion actually, but one particular time sticks out in my mind. I was caught telling a lie to a person I loved, and when the truth was uncovered, the person I lied to was really, really angry.

On the one hand, I understood why this person was so mad. I had lied, after all, betrayed the trust we had built together. I would have been mad too, if I’m being honest. But at the same time I was frustrated with what seemed to me like righteous indignation. Was this person perfect? Had he/she never done something regretful? Was it so impossible to understand where I was coming from? I apologized, but my apology was tangled with justification. Continue reading Caught in the Act

The Bible-less Christian

My father-in-law loves the Bible. He loves reading, discussing, and sharing the words of God. Whenever I have some crazy, far-out-there, seemingly unanswerable theological question, I go to him. His eyes light up as soon as I pose my query  and he immediatly reaches for his Bible.

He pats the couch spot next to him, inviting me to come sit, so that we can read and discover together what the Lord has to say. I cherish these moments.

My father-in-law is also known to ask his hundreds (yes, hundreds) of disciples that if all of the Bibles in the world were burned up tomorrow–in one massive, heaping bonfire–how much, if any, of the scriptures would we be able to recite and remember?


Okay, so now that you’re all convicted and squirmy, allow me continue… Continue reading The Bible-less Christian

My Imperfect Jesus

Today, I’m over at Grace Biskie’s blog, Gabbing with Grace. I admit, I’m a little embarrassed that I’ve yet to introduce you to Grace. If you don’t already know her, you’re missing out. I’m excited to be featured on her blog today.

Here’s a taste:

My Imperfect Jesus

No one told me and how could they have known. I didn’t even know to ask. When the man on the stage began speaking about a changed life, a transformed life, and a forgiving God, how could I have known?

I couldn’t of. So, I did what any longing, seeking teenager would do. I said “yes.” I said yes to this Jesus that was being preached, expecting it to change my life, but unaware of how or even why.

What I expected though, if I’m being honest, was ease. I suppose on some level, I anticipated that a life spent serving Jesus would be a pain-free life, or at the very least, an easy life.

But, I didn’t know the truth of this and no one told me then.

To read more, please join me over at Grace’s blog today. Hope to see you there.

Hello, I’m an Insecure Mom. Nice to Meet You.

I worry a lot about my kids. Well, not so much about them, as much as how I’m doing as a mom.

I am insecure in my mothering abilities. There, I said it…and no, it didn’t feel good to “get it off my chest.” It just sucked. And stung a little.

And, I worry. I worry and wonder if they are learning all the things they need to learn? Are we creating a home where they can grow to be themselves? Am I making God real to them? Are they going to grow up to passionately love Oreos instead of broccoli, just like their mom?

I wonder what God was thinking sometimes–giving me three children to care for. I mean, I did ask for all three of them, but since when does God give me everything I ask for?

And how did I end up homeschooling (at least this year) because man, I am so stinkin’ bad at it. I wonder what the next 10 years will look like and I immediately become exhausted–sorta like the way I feel when my mind tries to comprehend eternity. You know, where your brain hurts and feels like it might explode with thoughts of Forrrevvverrr….

But mostly, I think about what my kids will be like as adults? Will they be capable, full of character, in pursuit of their dreams? And will they inevitably look back and think “Man, mom really sucked sometimes. I wish she had done _____ or been more ______.” Continue reading Hello, I’m an Insecure Mom. Nice to Meet You.