I'm Pretty Sure She Didn't Say That

Monday, November 28, 2011  ::   27 important comments

Do you ever stop and think about what is coming out of your mouth?

Do you have good treasure stored up in your heart that produces good?

Or do you have evil treasure stored up in your heart that produces evil?

Did you know that out of the abundance of your heart your mouth speaks?

Do you ever ponder that one of the simplest ways you can display you live a Spirit-filled life is your language?

How do you joke? Are "mild" innuendos funny? Is "that's what she said" really funny and honestly, would she really say such things?

I'm frustrated. Can you tell?

My frustration stems from the fact that it has become "cool" for some followers of Jesus to cuss. I haven't researched it, but I bet Stuff Christians Like has a blog post about how awesome a Christian feels in their so-called freedom to use whatever language they desire.

Well, here's the thing. It ain't so cool. It's actually mocking Him. Freedom in Christ does not equal license to act, say, and do things that bring him no pleasure. Freedom in Christ allows us to live the way Jesus lived and not be constrained by the condemnation of our sin.

For those of you that God has given the responsibility to lead others...watch out. I don't know about you, but I don't want a millstone around my neck because I couldn't control my language. That would be ridiculous. Just because you feel like it is permissible does not mean that it is beneficial to those you lead.

**Disclaimer #1

I've been thinking about this blog for awhile. My kids are at the age that they listen intently even when they shouldn't. They hear how kids talk at school. They hear how Chad and I talk to each other. They hear how our friends talk. They hear how the people who have wanted to lead them talk.

And then they come talk to me about it all. And it makes me sad.  

**Disclaimer #2

I know the intent of We Encourage is encouragement, but the Bible asks us to encourage and admonish one another. My spiritual gift is prophecy, so sometimes stuff like this just comes out of me. I hope this does encourage you to stop and worship Jesus for a minute. Ask Him to show you ways you can clean up your mouth from basic words to crass jokes all the way to gossip. Be bold in admonishing fellow believers to choose to praise Jesus with their lips and not curse. Be encouraged that He is in the business of making us more like Jesus and He takes pleasure in us when we ask Him to bring His refinement to our lives! 

Moxie Memorizers

Tuesday, November 15, 2011  ::   10 important comments

I'm sure some of you have been wondering what is taking me so long to get this post up today! I know you are all chomping at the bit (that means ready to go for you non country people) to post your verses! I'm excited to watch as the memory verse comments pour in over the next few days! 

There are only three more Moxie Memorizer posts for 2011. I'm so proud of all of you who have stuck it out over this entire year AND I'm excited about the new participants who have joined us in the last couple of months. Taking scripture into our heart is an invaluable discipline that will sharpen your heart, mind, and life and allow Him to speak directly into your life with His very own words. 

On some days, reviewing old verses and learning new ones comes easy. On some days, I cannot remember a word of a new verse to save my life. But, keeping my hand to the plow and not giving up is one of the keys to success in this endeavor. THE key is memorizing scripture for the glory of God alone. This isn't a competition, or a way to show off vast biblical knowledge, or to have verses ready to rebuke an unsuspecting soul. Taking His word into our hearts is to allow him to shape our hearts into the likeness of Christ. Let's continue to surrender our motives to Him! 

As you know, I'm working through Romans 12. Verse 19 will be my focus for the next two weeks. 

Romans 12:19
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 
“It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Romans 12 is so rich. If you've never memorized an entire section or whole chapter of scripture, please consider the challenge for 2012. 

Now it's time. Post away, my friends! Feel free to share any extra thoughts you have concerning your memorizing journey. I so love to hear from you all! 

A Drag? No Way

Monday, November 14, 2011  ::   7 important comments

Sometimes I receive emails or Facebook messages from old friends telling me that they read my blog. So far, every message I've gotten from past relationships concerning my blog have been extremely positive. The messages are unexpected and encouraging.  
This weekend I got a message from someone that helped bring a youth group to Tucson for a mission trip when we were young church plant. This was how she ended the message to me:  "You do a great job of speaking truth but at the same time not making your walk with God look like a total drag." Thanks, Rita! 
I don't say any of this stuff to toot my own horn. Pride is gross. False humility is also gross. 
The reason I'm sharing this is to encourage all of us to be bold! Speak truth! But, don't be annoying and lame.  
Is that harsh? 
How many times have I heard people talk about being persecuted in work or school situations for their faith only to find out that they are super self-righteous and unrelatable? Sometimes we aren't actually being persecuted for our faith, but being shunned because we forgot to have social skills, and then blame it on our faith.  
Here are a few of my favorite passages concerning speaking truth, but not making your walk with Christ look like a total drag: 
2 Corinthians 4:1-2 (The Living Bible)
It is God himself, in his mercy, who has given us this wonderful work of telling his good news to others, and so we never give up. We do not try to trick people into believing - we are not interested in fooling anyone. We never try to get anyone to believe the Bible teaches what it doesn’t. All such shameful methods we forego. We stand in presence of God as we speak and so we tell the truth, as all who know us will agree. 
Colossians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so you may know how to answer everyone. 
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.  
Every passage speaks so clearly about the importance of being bold in sharing your relationship with Jesus with others. Also, every passage speaks so clearly about the need to show that through your relationship with Jesus you know how to love people...not being a trickster, full of grace and mercy, hope, gentleness, respect. 
I want to boldly speak truth, show people that I love Jesus, that following Him is joyful. Sometimes it is fun, adventurous, very difficult, but never a drag. 
What about you? How would you describe your walk with Jesus right now? What are you doing to keep it from becoming a drag?    

Heaviness Paired with Hope

Sunday, November 13, 2011  ::   2 important comments

The heaviness in my heart concerning recent events feels like a wet hot blanket. Because of God's great love, I'm not consumed, but I am certainly aware of the devastation of sin in our world.

I cannot watch any stories concerning Penn State about what is happening or has been happening for so many years without crying. My heart aches for all the kids whose lives were ravaged by a crazed, sinful, perverted man and system. What kind of world did they live in that allowed these things to happen? Who would choose a man and supposed friendship over saving the life of a child? How could it not occur to them to call the police? How could they go on day after day standing on the sidelines with someone they had suspicions could be hurting a child in one of the very worst ways?

When the university students first began protesting about Joe Paterno keeping his job my heart ached and my stomach turned. I get the mob mentality that comes with their age and lack of wisdom, but they so definitely missed it. Why were there no vehicles turned over or shouts and cries over the victimization of innocent children? Is football really the idol of all idols in our country? Is the firing of an old man whose lived a long, "successful", extremely lucrative life such a horrible thing? Did they not stop and realize their heroes did nothing to protect boys and understand that they could have been the victims?

Obviously, the devastation and tragedy of all of this is truly settling over their community and we are reading and hearing stories of great leaders advocating for the victims. I'm thankful for voices of rage and mourning for each child and his family. I'm glad people are humbly speaking of the hope of repentance, restoration, and the future. I'm praying that even through the horror of all of this, God will work His wonders and draw people to Himself. The sick and twisted sin of this story gives off a distinct heaviness that is extremely uncomfortable which leads to extreme gratitude for Jesus' sacrifice and his plan to redeem the world unto Himself.

I've also been contemplating another story that has made my heart heavy and hopeful.

Many of you know that through a ministry in Waco, Texas I first heard about taking gift bags into strip clubs.  If you want to read more about our ministry called Cord of Hope, you can do that here. 

The ministry in Waco is called Jesus Said Love. Through the years I've read about much of their work. They've shared several stories of a woman named Dixie who was a dancer. This week I read that Dixie had given her life to Christ, was engaged to a man who was also a new follower of Jesus, and was going to be baptized today.  I shared the story with my good friend Regan who helps me lead Cord of Hope and expressed to her how I was really overwhelmed with Dixie's story. Often I dream about how amazing it will be if/when God allows us to build lasting relationships with women in and out of the business. To hear how God was redeeming this woman's life was incredible. I prayed for her several times over the last week.

On Friday one of the founders of Jesus Said Love shared that Dixie had been killed in a car accident. Please, please take time to read this post about her life and death.

To be honest, I've wept over this story. It has touched me so deeply for so many reasons. I'm so thankful that God revealed himself to Dixie and she gave her life to him. I'm thankful that she was engaged to a man who wanted her for her, not for what she could sell to him, but because they loved each other and loved Jesus. Obviously I never talked to Dixie, but I'm sure she began to experience healing and freedom that only God can bring. I've cried over a life by human perspective seems gone way too soon.

But, I've also cried over the unbelievable freedom and healing Dixie now has in Christ. It is complete and fulfilled. She is in the overwhelming presence of Christ. The pain and wounds from her past burden her no more.

I've also cried through what God's plan could be in all of this. Could it be that more people will come to know Him through her death? Will her children give their lives to him? Will her friends? Will Jesus Said Love be able to share with more and more and more people because of the life and death of Dixie?

I know that He has a plan. I know that He loves Dixie and is enjoying having her in His presence. I know that He owes us no explanation and we may never know His plan in this. However, I'm praying that the breadth and depth of change in people's lives because of Dixie will expand His kingdom in profound ways.

Jesus has a way of taking the heaviness of my heart and reminding me that He is my hope. Without Him, this world is horrific. With Him, hope abounds more and more and more and more...

Watch Closely

Monday, November 07, 2011  ::   1 important comment

Or you'll miss it... 

Morgan* trying her hardest to do a clap pushup. Five Seconds of Awesomeness. Did you hear the landing??

*Used with Morgan's permission

Fall Frenzy

Friday, November 04, 2011  ::   3 important comments

The Mastermind 

Preparing Team Flags. 

Morgan displaying her team purple strength.

Team Orange roaring out their battle cry.

Kyle performed all of his tasks on Carah. 
All of them.

Nicky leading her cute noodle train members

Tyala leading her cute noodle train. 

Yemi's best pumpkin face.

Esther joyfully receiving a shaving cream mohawk.

Owen wishing he wasn't stuck. Jen enjoying torturing Abby. Abby reluctantly brushing her teeth.  
Serious family fun. 

Team Orange Crushing Tigers!

Purple People Fighters!

Yellow Lightening! 

Thank you, team leaders, for giving up your Saturday to play with the kids of Second Mile. You bless our families more than you know! You're such a vital part of our church! Maybe God has given you the gift of getting messy with kids??

Tori, you led and served beautifully! Thanks for loving kids and coming up with creative ways to get so messy! 

Moxie Memorizers

Tuesday, November 01, 2011  ::   17 important comments

Two more months and we will have completed a YEAR of our scripture memory journey. For some of you, that means four more verses and you will have met your goal. Some of you decided to memorize more than two verses a month...maybe you are right on schedule or maybe you need to get a move on to meet your goal. Wherever you are in this journey, I know that if you have consistently taken scripture into your heart, you are not the same as when you started. Never forget that His word is living and active!

About a month ago I felt pretty certain that I would not reach my goal. Thankfully, through His grace in increasing my memory capacity, I'm on schedule. I've already began to ask Jesus to show me how to start out 2012. Should it be scripture that focuses on worshipping Him? Should it be instructional? Should it be encouragement? Should it include vision for the future? I cannot wait to see how He will have me start the year!

But, I'm getting ahead of myself in this post....back to November.  

I'm still in Romans 12.  For the next two weeks I will be taking verses 16 and 17.

Romans 12:16-17

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.

I'm really loving this chapter. It is so rich with instruction, guidance, and wisdom. What are you memorizing? Is it coming easily or has it been difficult? Did you know that discipline is easy for some and difficult for others but no one is excused? Think about that if you are struggling. 

Stay the course, friends! You are almost there for this year! Four more verses! You can do it!! 

Post away!