Participating or Spectating

Monday, April 27, 2015  ::   5 important comments

In Chad's message on Sunday, he talked about the importance of living out our faith with community. Hebrews is full of instruction for believers to encourage one another, to be hospitable to each other, to love each other like family members. The DeSoto family is all of this and more for my family. I love all of them so much. 

For my readers who don't live in Tucson, Angela is on staff with Second Mile as our very gifted worship leader. The woman can sing like nobody's business. But her beautiful voice pales in comparison to her heart to see Jesus magnified and glorified. The Spirit of God has gifted her to lead people musically to worship him, but also in working out their faith in their everyday lives. By all good definitions, Angela is a leader. I'm blessed to call her friend and privileged to work with her in ministering to our church. 

Not too long ago during our staff meeting, Angela began to share with us how she was challenging the people she leads to use Chad's message series through Hebrews to deepen her personal bible study. I loved what she was sharing so much, so I blurted out, "Would you be willing to write a guest post about this?" But, then we never really talked about it. This week she emailed these great words to me. 
If there were anyone Angel could’ve asked to write on this topic that would feel completely inadequate, it would be me.  Couldn’t she have asked me to write a post about how to style hair? I would knock that one out of the park. However inadequate I may feel, I am willing to share my experience and hope that for someone out there it will encourage you to approach the word with refreshed resolve. 

Over the last couple of months I have had several conversations with women within Second Mile on the topic of studying the bible and daily “quiet times” (how did that name ever come about? I think it’s dumb). The concern these women were having was that it was hard to know where to start, how to connect their study time with other areas of their lives, and how it felt daunting in light of receiving so much great content on Sundays from Chad and not always digging as deep as they could there first. Beginning another study in the bible seemed overwhelming.

On Sundays we come and participate in taking in the word. We don’t allow someone to spoon-feed us. We have to be active participants to fully grab all that we can out of it. That’s why we don’t call our Sundays a service, it is a gathering and there is a call to participation that can’t be ignored. With that, if we want to really dive into the depths of the word we have to be note takers. This is not a judgment towards anyone who doesn’t do this, but I personally would only get out a fraction of what I do if I didn’t take notes – again, I am a participant, not a spectator. What then do I do with those notes? Wait until an hour before community group starts to crack open my journal again so I can conjure something up before discussion starts? No. There is so much more to dissect there. We are truly missing out if we are limiting our study of the message to only Sunday and community group. 

What I have been trying to make a discipline and have been encouraging these other women to do as well is to take the chapter we are going to study on Sunday and read it through before Chad teaches on it. I read it multiple times. Then after the teaching I read it again. I read through my notes and my questions and read the chapter once more. I cannot tell you how much I get out of the scriptures when I develop meaningful repetition.  There is light shone on areas of scripture that I otherwise would’ve overlooked until I slowed down and chewed on the scriptures this way.

One night last January, John and I awoke to our 12 year old telling us there was smoke in her room. We couldn’t find the cause, called 911, and waited outside. While waiting we could see the amount of smoke slowly increase. When the firemen arrived they went through their routines to do an initial assessment of the situation. They went into the house, came out and reassessed. They did this several times and then got on the roof and decided whether or not they would have to go through the attic. They worked intensely but strategically until they found the root cause. They didn’t go in and just start spraying water everywhere assuming they knew what was going on because they know fire. Nor did they wait outside too afraid of the unknown inside. They are trained to be strategic and planned but to also not miss anything. This is how we should approach the word daily and use the incredible teaching we have been given to plan, strategize, dig in, read again and again, and find every nugget of truth out of it that we can. Is this done all in one day? No, take the time to move throughout scripture through the week with patience, eyes to see, and ears to hear. 

The last point I want to encourage with is how much I have enjoyed pulling verses out of the chapters we are studying in the gathering to memorize for the month as I am involved with Moxie Memorizers. This has been incredibly enriching and beneficial and I look forward to continuing this approach for a while.  

What is your approach to studying the word? Do you find it easy to compartmentalize what the Sunday teachings are with what you are studying on your own? Or have you found a rhythm of going deeper throughout the week in the study offered us through Chad’s teachings? Whatever your approach I pray the word continues to be living and active and sharp in your life. 


Thank you, Angela! I pray God uses your words to push us all to know Jesus more through actively participating and engaging in his word! 

Please leave some comment love for Angela. Answer her challenging questions with your thoughts. 

I pray you experience great blessings through God's active and alive Word! 

Sweet Contentment

Tuesday, April 21, 2015  ::   12 important comments

I'm a little late to the Bob Goff party. But, from what I know about Bob after hearing him speak, meeting him a couple of times at the IF: Gathering, and reading his book, I don't think he would like me saying, "The Bob Goff party," and then I think he would tell me I'm right on time.

Many of my friends have read Love Does, and they've told me how much they enjoyed it. But, I'm not sure I would have been able to say, "I enjoyed it" if Bob hadn't wrapped it up beautifully in the end. It was an easy read concerning his style of writing. His stories made me want to turn each page. The way he strings words together creates beautifully organized whimsey. But, I have to say the actual content was getting to me, stirring me up a bit, making me ask the question I often ask myself: What in the heck am I doing with my life?!?

Jumping on planes to teach his kids about leadership and friendship, inviting John Ashcroft to be part of changing lives, starting schools in another country, freeing children from wrongful imprisonment, and so many other cool things. Bob Goff has been a busy man! Now don't get me wrong, it is apparent he is a humble leader and an excellent story teller. He would never have written these anecdotes to guilt anyone into doing anything. He simply wrote out some beautiful life experiences to challenge us all to love people like Jesus loves people.

But, I have a problem. I've written about it so many times on this blog. Reading books by people who are changing the world in huge ways, or watching a TED talk by Gary Haugen, International Justice Mission's president, or reading biographies of people like William Wilberforce creates a fuzziness in my heart, and I start to lose focus on what God has asked me to do. I even had a teary conversation with Chad about it at lunch today. I say things like, "If violence is the cause of poverty, what in the world can I do/am I doing to help break the chains of oppression??" Chad is so patient with me and my passion.

Tonight as I finished the last chapter of Love Does, my heart beat the words in my chest, "What do I do now?"

Bob Goff must have known I would ask that question, and in the second sentence of the epilogue he said he would be asking the same thing if he finished reading a book like this one. And then he told me to figure out the next step, and then do that. Do you know that is the exact same thing I heard at the IF: Gathering in February? My big picture mind and heart can so easily get lost in the forest, meanwhile, I need to remember I've been on a rigorous, beautiful hike in the trees investing in women for quite sometime. I would like to believe I've learned great things about loving people the way Jesus loves people on this hike he's mapped out for me. It's funny really. In reading/watching great work like this, my heart and mind swell with zeal, passion, and fervor for charging the hill. And then God whispers in my ear, "Keep going, don't quit, take the next step." These sweet words destroy the let down from the potential lies I tell myself I'm not doing enough. Instead, I'm given sweet contentment and direction.

"However, I consider my own life worth nothing to me, if only I can finish the 
race and complete the task the Lord Jesus given me, the task of testifying to the gospel 
of God's grace." Acts 20:24 

I've got some big direction at this point. Bob said the next step is as easy as a phone call, an email, or just showing up and then things will start happening. That's what I'm going to do. And good news! One next step is to get this book into your hands. Isn't it fun to read a book that is easy to read, yet is full of rich content? So, I'm giving a copy away. If you already have this book, but would like to win one to give to a friend, feel free to enter. (I actually purchased the second book for my pal, Andrew Ling, who so very much reminds me of Bob Goff. But Andrew has been at the Bob Goff party for awhile, so I'm giving a copy away in honor of Andrew. I think he would want you to read this good stuff.)

To enter, leave a comment about a next step God is asking of you in your journey of faith. Be specific or broad, but make sure it isn't too 'Christian-y'. I want to hear your real words from your real heart. I'll draw a winner in a week or so.

In what ways are you being challenged to put action to your love for people? What is the next step you will be taking in your faith journey? Do you plan to read this book? Do you want to win this book? Leave some comment love. 

Many blessings to you as you pour out the love of Christ on those you encounter today! 

Worn Out

Thursday, April 02, 2015  ::   8 important comments

I've been pretty out of it this week. I told Chad I felt one of three possibilities may be happening.

     1. My 'bucket' (what I pour out of to do all the stuff I do) is empty.
     2. Hormonies were making me fuzzy and weird.
     3. Residual stroke effects (Dr said it would happen) could be causing fatigue.

Or what if it was a combination of all three? Or what if it's been allergies or I'm catching a cold? Or what if I was just being a wimp?

Bleh. That's it. Just Bleh.

Do you ever feel that way? I wish I could just go, go, go sometimes but I can't. And guess what...God knows I can't, that you can't, that he didn't create us to go, go go all the time.

Come to me all who labor and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  ~Matthew 11:28 

Even youths will grow tired and weary, and young men will stumble and fall. ~Isaiah 40:30

For I will satisfy the weary soul. ~Jeremiah 31:25

My soul finds rest in God alone. ~Psalm 62:1 
Sometimes I just need rest for no explanation at all. It's difficult for me to admit, mostly because I may not have anything to show for what is zapping my energy. However, I'm continually needing to grow in the area of resting in Jesus. Reading a book that is just fun. Taking a nap in the middle of my day off. Skipping exercise for the day. Baking cookies to give to some friends. Rest.

A friend of my shared an excellent verse with me yesterday that encouraged my soul. I'm going to commit it to memory. Does anyone else need to meditate on this?

I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days. Then I went about the king's business. ~Daniel 8:27 

Yes! Exactly! Worn out and lay exhausted for a few days. But then we get up and go about King Jesus' business.

I haven't been very productive in output this week. But I'm simply taking a break, getting ready to go about the King's business.

What are you memorizing right now? What scripture is God using to speak to your heart lately? How are you feeling right now? Ready to go or needing rest? 

May your heart, mind, body, and soul find rest in Jesus!