Friday, July 23, 2010


"There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore, consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even that will be taken from him." Luke 8: 17-18

Lost. I wasn't an avid follower of this series until the fourth season. I couldn't understand what all the hype was about at first. I mean, how much could you write about being stranded on a deserted island that hadn't been written already? I'd grown up watching Gilligan's Island. Silly and quirky at best. I'd been intrigued by Tom Hanks in Cast Away, but the dialogue was less than captivating and the story line predictable. So, a few summers ago my husband brought home the first season of Lost from our local library. I only agreed to join him out of sheer boredom from watching network reruns.

After the first episode I was hooked! It drew me in. It was thrilling. It was humorous. It was mysterious. It made me think. It made me listen carefully. It made me wonder, "Who would I be? What would I do? How would I react?" It made me search for myself and for the truth in every episode. It was good storytelling. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the summer catching up on the plot and come winter I was baited for the fourth season to start. January couldn't come fast enough.

I think it was that way with following Jesus, too. I mean think about it. Jesus drew people in. He made them think. He did thrilling things. He spoke of mysterious things. He made them look at themselves. He was a good storyteller. But Jesus didn't tell stories for the sake of stories. Instead, he revealed truths of God's kingdom. And, like all good story tellers, Jesus didn't spell out the truth but made people search for it behind his words.

Nearing the end of the Lost series, more and more truths of the plot were revealed. It was imperative to listen carefully in order to piece the truth together from what was previously foreshadowed. Although the producers offered narrated "crib note" episodes prior to the new ones, the thrill of having "lived" out the story from the beginning would be (dare I say) lost.

Unlike Lost, Jesus' kingdom truths have lasting value and he warns the listener. He says if you listen and hear (understand) his truths, then you must also act on them otherwise the truths that you've learned will disappear (be taken from you). In other words, Jesus did not intend us just to hoard up his words like hidden treasure but he meant for us to share our treasure with others thereby multiplying what he has given.

There's just something about a good story. We listen and identify. We gain understanding and hope. We are ignited to act and revel in the victory.

What truths has Jesus revealed to you? What 's the Kingdom story that Jesus is trying to tell through you? Has He rescued your heart? Has he restored you somehow? Has he released you into ministry?

Story instills hope for us all. Please feel free to share what God's been doing in you and through you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


"The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene)... Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means." Luke 8: 1-3

When I was a toddler, if you asked me, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" the answer was always, "A mommy." In fact, my answer never changed throughout my childhood. I spent endless hours with my baby dolls. Dressing them. Rocking them. Singing to them. Feeding them. Changing them. Loving them. I'd talk to them as though they were real. My heart was happy just carrying them around playing "mommy." If truth be told, I played with dolls until I was in middle school. I snuck them into my purse in sixth grade (those were the years before backpacks) and secretly "checked on them" (played with them) during the bus rides to and from school.

By seventh grade, my dolls were packed away in boxes but my heart to nurture remained. So did the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" In fact, the older I became the more frequently I answered that question. By the time I graduated high school in the late 1970's, the climbing divorce rate and feminist movement played a significant role in how my answer changed.

My family landed in the pile of divorce statistics of single, working moms and latch key kids. I learned by living my family drama that my nurturing heart may have to settle for being more than "just a mom" because, as I was told, "you never know what life may hand you."

The media screamed of women's rights, equal opportunity, equal pay all around me. If a woman wanted to be a brick layer, then so be it. I scratched my head and wondered, "Why would they WANT to be a brick layer?" My heart kept asking, "What's wrong with wanting to be a mommy?"I learned it was no longer an acceptable answer to that unceasing question so I entered college seeking training for an "acceptable" career.

Jesus started his own feminist movement. To welcome women into his fold of disciples, in a man's world, was breaking barriers ages old. He not only welcomed them but honored them for their support as he and the apostles shared the Gospel from town to town. We're not told exactly what they did but we do know these women supported Jesus and the Twelve "out of their own means." In other words, in whatever way they were gifted to help they offered that as a ministry.

So, how does that fit with my story?

I celebrated my twenty-fifth college anniversary this summer. I'm all grown up with a college degree in communications and christian education but I've enjoyed being a wife and mommy the most. The experiences and friends I've gained from those years are priceless, but to have sought an "acceptable" career rather than what God created me to be was costly. It cost me and my parents a ton of cash. It cost me heartache when I couldn't find success and satisfaction in my jobs. It cost me my health when I wouldn't go where God was leading. It cost me guilt when I enjoyed serving my husband and children full time. It cost me time.

Jesus didn't call all those women into ministry demanding they change how they were. All he asked was they have a repentant heart and follow him. He didn't change who God created them to be instead he called it out of them. Who they were and what they could provide was exactly what Jesus' ministry needed. Who we are as women (homemakers or career women) and what we can give out of our own means is exactly what God needs today.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

God's Riches

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." 1 Timothy 6:17-18

The phone rang, interrupting my typical home day care scene. I left the little group of three-year old boys playing cars on the living room floor, picked up my one-year-old daughter and balanced her on my right hip and answered the phone.

"Hello," I answered cheerfully.

"Hi," my husband choked back.

"What's wrong?" I asked with eyes shut tight as if to wish away the bad news I was about to hear.

"They let me go."

The details didn't matter. The fact remained, our main source of income was gone. We were headed to a bad place and there was nothing either of us could do to stop the journey.

The economy was much like today's with few jobs and a flooded market of unemployed people. I kept the day care running by day and worked part time at night for awhile. In between job applications and interviews, my husband mowed lawns, did odd jobs, did whatever he could to bring in money.

The journey was wearisome. We wondered if it was ever going to end. On the worst days, I wondered if we'd have to give up our house. Remember, the house that God gave us? (see blog entry June 3, 2010 A Good Gift). Would I give it up? Could I give it up for the sake of my family? Would God ask me to do that? I certainly didn't want to entertain such a thought. My home was a precious gift to me; a gift that spoke to my heart and brought me great pleasure. It was home.

Two and a half years passed before my husband found steady employment. Every month the bills were paid, including the mortgage. It was a relief to know that journey had ended but much was learned of God's faithfulness and generous spirit. Not only did God provide for our every need to sustain us but he provided those things to bring us joy.

There are so many today that are on this same journey. Take heart. It will end. Know that God does provide fully, generously. His resources are limitless. Buckle up and see where God leads you on your journey.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Say The Word

"But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority." Luke 7:7b-8a

In my fourteen years of working outside of the home, only once did I encounter a boss who exuded authority. Certainly, they were individuals who held positions of authority over others but they did not gain the respect of their subordinates as persons with authority. For some, it was because they lacked the experience or education their position required. For others, it was due to poor communication skills. There were those who lacked authority because they were easily intimidated by their subordinates. And even still, those who were so prideful that they showed little respect for either their superiors or their subordinates so their authority was undermined from above and below. How any of these people gained their titles of authority remains a mystery to me even today.

The authority Jesus held was a great mystery to many "holy" people (pharisees) of His day. Maybe because Jesus threatened their position in the church? But, those outside of the Jewish faith "got it." In Luke 7:1-10 we have the story of a Roman centurion (commander) who's servant is sick. He's been watching Jesus and knows He carries the authority of Heaven that will heal his servant. So he sends his servants to ask Jesus a favor. At first glance we think his request is just simply a request for healing but when we look at how he asked Jesus for this healing we get a glimpse at the heart of this man.

We know he's humble because he prefaces his message with "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof." In other words, "You're God's son. Who am I to even ask you to enter my home?" Even though he exudes authority because of his post in the Roman guard, he knows that God's authority is even greater.

The centurion has great faith in Jesus' ability to heal his servant, "SAY THE WORD and my servant will be healed..." He aligns his request with his faith. He knows that God's authority through Jesus to heal his servant transcends place and time.

He recognizes from whom Jesus gains authority, "For I, myself am a man under authority..." What the centurion did was not only recognize Jesus' authority but he recognized that Jesus was UNDER authority. God's authority. Not only was Jesus able to restore life and health to those in need but He did so ONLY under the authority and direction of His Father. This statement stops Jesus in his tracks. Jesus turns to the crowd and commends the centurion not only for his faith in Jesus to heal his servant but for understanding where His authority came from.

This is key for those who follow Jesus because Jesus has given us the same authority that God gave Him. "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father" (John 12: 12-13).

It's important that we get this right. If we believe we're here on earth for a God-given purpose then we must check our hearts to make sure we are an example of godly authority. People will want to follow someone who is humble, who submits to authority themselves, who commends others for a job well done and who is confident, assured and bold. We need to be God's people that others turn to and say, "Say the word and it will be done." Not for ourselves or our own egos but so others will know that God has worked through us.