Tuesday, May 22, 2012

No Bull

I was the kid that was made fun of and picked on repeatedly growing up. So my insights on this topic come from not only learning how to deal with bullying but on how to overcome this issue…not only with people, but emotionally as well. One thing we all need to remember is that every bully is someone who has some sort of power, but is extremely insecure in their own life. Belittling and hurting others is the only way that they know how to have value in their own life. The second thing that we need to remember is that church and societal culture over the last 50 years has made bullying possible to the levels that it’s gotten to because of the untrue philosophy of “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. Nothing stops a bully faster than someone who stands up for themselves. And nothing makes bullying more possible than someone who doesn’t feel that they are allowed to defend themselves. Each of us has to ask ourselves this one question, “who determines our value?” Many people determine their value based on what other people think. Others determine their value on their self worth. The trouble with this is that setting our value on our own sinful nature or someone else’s sinful nature is that we devalue ourselves. It’s not until you truly understand that God created you with a purpose and regardless of what happens in your life, the value that God has given you remains constant. This same God created you with a body that protects itself, if you feel heat-you react to protect yourself. Why is it that when your body tells you that you are about to be hurt physically OR emotionally by someone, the church and society today tells you that you can’t defend yourself and hopes that someone else will fix the problem. Does this mean that if you accidentally burn yourself on the stove that you need to leave your hand sit there burning until someone else can come and protect you? Definitely not!!! The same goes for our interaction with other people. It is ok, Scripturally, to ignore somebody and walk away if they are treating you wrongly. I am sure this isn’t politically correct, but as a kid, it’s ok to punch somebody in the nose and tell them to leave me alone, as an adult, it’s ok to tell someone to “shut up and leave me alone!” Not because that’s what’s in your heart, but that’s what bullies understand. What we all need to remember, is that regardless of what society and churches teach us today about just being nice to everybody, the Bible teaches us that there is a time and a place for defending ourselves and others. There is a time and a place for taking action to protect ourselves and others. A great example of this: Was Jesus being nice when He took the time to build a whip and chase the “bullies” out of the temple? No, He was protecting His Father’s house and the people who were unable to defend themselves. Why did He do this??? He did it because He loves us. And sometimes loving people requires discipline and justice. And at the same time, He loved the same people He was chasing out of the temple. We, too, need to come to grips with the understanding that it’s ok to defend ourselves and STILL love someone and that God won’t take our “heaven card” away because we weren’t being nice. If anyone else has questions, feel free to get ahold of me at 241ink.org.

“Stupid Dyslexic Kid” who is actually succeeding in the world, regardless of what everyone told him as a kid!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Want

You know when your kids come to you with the ever-famous question “I want...” and they don’t realize what it takes to get those things?
 Are adults any different?? 
Go to almost any church in America today and you will hear these statements: “I want young people in this church, I want our church to grow, I want a good youth program, I want...I want...I want.” 
Over the last few years, my husband and I have worked with many churches and organizations who have asked us “what do we need to do to make our want a reality?” A majority of the time, when presented with a Biblical plan of action, the “I wants” turn into “I don’t want to”. 
Here are a few examples...
“We want high school students in our church!” But when the high school students came, they were told that they were too noisy and were literally locked out the church by members who didn’t want them there. {{I don’t need to expound on the fact that it was well below zero and that the kids stood outside waiting...}} 
“We want to reach young adults!” But they were unwilling to put any time, effort or money into internet ministries because “we don’t have time for that”. 
“We want everyone to be included!” But then the young families are told that if they can’t find childcare for their kids, don’t bother coming at all. 
“We want our church to grow!” But then you hear, “but don’t expect us to work anymore than Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights.” 
“We just don’t understand why young women don’t want to come to activities!” But when given options on how to reach those women then they say, “No one ever did that for us, why should we do that for them?”  
“We want the parents to stay too!” But then those parents overhear church members throughout the community talking about how those kids and parents don’t meet their expectations. 
So, what do we tell our kids??? Stop. Being. Selfish.
We tell our kids that we need to think about others before ourselves. But as you can tell by these examples, and countless other true stories, that churches have forgot that lesson. 
So instead of telling you what I think you should do, let’s just see what God has to say about it.
Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he'll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
When you happen on someone who's in trouble or needs help among your people with whom you live in this land that God, your God, is giving you, don't look the other way pretending you don't see him. Don't keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him, open your purse, lend whatever and as much as he needs. Don't count the cost. Don't listen to that selfish voice...
My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness.
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

It’s not about us. It’s about what Christ does for us. And the only way to share that love with others is by unselfishly caring for other people. 
These “I want” Christians that we’re talking about have forgotten how to be kind. Stop being mean and start caring about people in Jesus’ name. Think about how your words and actions will affect others and their eternity. 
What we need to remember is this: Our one and only focus is what Jesus is calling us to do; to humbly share the Gospel thru our actions and our words. When you do that, God will use you in ways that you would never expect.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012


One of the most heartbreaking things today is the movement to isolate our children from the world in the name of protecting them from sin. Recently, there was an article written in a rather prominent Christian magazine that was a call to action for Christians to take their kids out of all public schools in America. Why are we as Christian leaders arguing about the troubles of an institution that was left to the ravages of the lost, because of our own arrogance in thinking that we can do life “more perfect” in our own churches? As you can imagine, with a topic this hot, there was a huge amount of discussion following the article. Most of the people in this discussion have forgotten that we as Christians are called to be IN the world and not OF it. We are NOT supposed to be good examples of the “bruised and bleeding” Pharisees who acted so perfect that they would not even look at sin. Those people avoided sin to the point of walking into things. What if Jesus had this mindset, that He should not look at sin? Where would we be? I haven’t researched it yet, but I would guess that most of the people arguing the point that we should get out of public schools are the same people wondering why 94% of churches in America are in decline. Could it be that they have removed themselves from the sick and hurting of the world to the point that they have no one else to minister to?

After 25+ years of ministry, Bible college and private Christian schools, I have found that it is a whole lot easier to follow God’s word, to stay faithful to His calling and gain the support needed~IN the world, IN the public schools, IN the colleges and universities that are not infested with this pharisaical mindset.

So as not to fall into the same trap of the people complaining and discussing how to stay AWAY from the world that He has called us to lead to Him, let’s talk solutions.
In a recent survey of our community, people stated that they wanted to know more about God but no one would tell them about Him, or they didn’t know where to go to ask about God where they weren’t condemned. So my husband and I are starting a Bible study for those who genuinely want to know who God is. We take an active part in our community so that people can see what God can do for them by what He’s done for us. We make ourselves available to those who have questions about who God is and we answer those questions genuinely and without belittling them for asking. But most importantly, we are raising our 4 kids to love people as Christ loved them, teaching them how to stand up for their faith in any situation. Not just the ones that the church thinks they should be exposed to, but the situations that God provides. We do this so that they do not have to be exposed to the hypocrisy of the “perfect church mindset”, but to live with an example of Godly people sharing Christ’s love to everyone regardless of their situation or status, the way that Christ loves us. We do this so that our kids will be an example to others, just as we have been an example to them. 

And for anyone who thinks this is just someone ranting and raving, let the fruits of our ministry speak for themselves. We have seen 1,000’s believe and follow Jesus and 100’s go into the mission fields by following God’s call into the world; where the sick, the dying and the lost are, the ones God has called us to share the Gospel.