What if Jesus Picked the Apostles Like the Pope is Chosen?

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Jesus didn’t look for or choose from the most prestigious men to become apostles. They were common people, fisherman, educated, uneducated, tax collectors… not the people any of us would have picked, right? The beginning of Jesus’ mission was pretty much completed in secret. He didn’t announce to the world “Hey, I’m picking the twelve apostles… everyone look at me and wait anxiously while I make my decision…”

I’m watching all the fanfare going on while they choose the next Pope to lead the Catholic church. I can’t help but think that Jesus would have never done it this way. The Catholics are choosing from the “best of the best.” All eyes from all over the world are on the vatican. It’s just weird to me…

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Cancer Schmancer!

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A close friend of mine was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Such a terrible diagnosis and I think the shock of it made me ask some stupid questions and say some stupid unhelpful things. “What stage?” Ugh… that was my first question… how insensitive. “You had a lump a year ago why did you wait to get it checked?” What a stupid thing to say! Like she doesn’t know that?! Like she isn’t kicking herself already?!

I have rethought my stupidness and am being very cautious of what I say from now on. I am not going to tell her everything will be ok because it is an empty promise. It’s one of those cliché comments people say when they don’t know what else to say. Like “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” It’s easy to throw out these generic comments (no matter how true or not) when it’s not you with the cancer.

I am not going to traumatize her with all the stories I have of people I know who survived cancer or worse yet, people who have died of cancer. I know she will not care if someone’s treatment was so awesome they pooped rainbows after their treatment was through. Ok, if they pooped rainbows I would tell her because she’s a nurse and she would probably be interested in that one…

I am not going to minimize her situation to make her feel better. The only person I would be making feel better is me. Her fears are valid.

I am not going to spiritualize the situation for her. I will pray more and preach less. She is a Christian, she is saved… I don’t need to start telling her what lesson I think God has for her in all this. She may not know till she’s through this what God is doing for her. That’s usually how I learn the lessons in my life, after the trial.

I will listen more and talk less. If she looks like hell through this treatment I won’t tell her she looks great. She’ll know I’m lying. She has a mirror. Sometimes the right thing to say is nothing.

I wanted to ask what I can do, but I know she’s overwhelmed and will say “nothing.” I’m not a sitter, I’m a doer, so next weekend I planned a cancer party for her. It’s going to be like a baby shower, but for cancer. At a baby shower, friends gear up the new mom with stuff she’ll need for this new life she’s going to have. Diapers, clothes, strollers, etc. This cancer party will be gearing her up for the new life she’s going to start. The supplements she’ll be taking and nutritional changes will be costly, so her closest friends will be buying supplements and other costly stuff like almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, etc. My daughter is going to crochet her a few hats that she may need when chemo starts. We are making it a pot luck with friends preparing healthy cancer-friendly dishes with a list of ingredients not to use and bringing recipes for their dishes. This serves a dual purpose by her friends learning what she can and can’t eat so they don’t show up with a plate of cookies from the no-no list, and educating ourselves so that when she isn’t feeling up to cooking we can prepare meals for her that she can eat and bring them over.

I’m staying positive so I can give my friend the support she needs. An important part of her recovery will be the support of her family and her friends.

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Goal Setting

resolution

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Did anyone make resolutions this year? Gonna lose weight? Get fit? Spend more time with your family? These are some of the most popular resolutions people make. A resolution is an intention waiting for a plan. It is a wish list. If you really want to follow through with your resolutions this year, let me suggest that you get down to some good old-fashioned goal writing. Set SMART goals. “Specific, Motivational, Action-oriented, Relevant, and Time-bound (achieveable).” Here’s a few examples:

Resolution: Lose weight
Goals:
1. Eliminate fast food.
2. Eat at home.
3. Incorporate veggies into every meal.
4. For every fat-filled recipe you love, find a healthy version of it to prepare.
5. Have meatless Mondays.
etc…

Resolution: Get fit
Goals:
1. Walk 5 days a week
2. Sign up for a 5k (ask friends to sign up with you, it’s FUN!)
3. Find a workout buddy to hold each other accountable
4. Join a gym and GO!!! (set specific days and times)
5. Sign up for a month of yoga and try it out (its awesome!)

Resolution: Spend more time with my family
Goals:
1. Have family game night every week
2. Eat dinner together 3 times a week
3. Plan family activities

Resolution: Read the entire bible in a year
Goals:
1. Wake a half hour each day to read
2. Have an iPad, iPhone? Sign up for a reading plan through the YouVersion app.

I think you get the idea. Don’t just make resolutions without a plan or it will be just like every year in the past. Make this year the year that you follow through with those resolutions by setting some goals.

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Welcome to College! Your Faith is Now Under Attack!

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If you’re a Christian riding on the faith of your parents, it’s time to take your own leap of faith. In college you are likely to have a professor that is a vocal atheist that will try to pick your faith apart every chance they get. So far, I’ve had two very blatant attempts by professors to shake the foundation of my faith, and I’m a relatively new believer.

I have heard the Bible compared to mythology, believing that God exists being compared to believing that leprechaun exist, religion is a virus of your mind, we evolved from primates, and the list goes on and on… It’s a little scary that parents send their kids off to college to get an education and in the process, some professors are sending a wasteland of atheists back out into the world. In teaching them to think, they are teaching them to question the most important things that parents have tried to instill in them their whole lives!

To parents I say, don’t keep yourself in the dark about what’s going on in college. Help your student spiritually prepare for the pending attack. Talk to them about school and what they are learning in college so you can give them effective spiritual support. Pray with them and for them.

To students I say, You’re a grown-up now. If you’re going away to college, there’s no one to get you up for church on Sundays, wash your clothes, cook you dinner, wake you up for school, or any other things that you may be used to your momma doing for you. Make sure you are still attending church, praying daily, reading God’s word, maybe even finding a spiritual mentor to help you through any rough patches you encounter. God gave you that brain, so don’t let others think for you!

I guess I should be glad that I live in the USA at the place and time that I do. My faith is under attack by ridicule, eye rolls, and verbal attacks. I’m grateful it isn’t a time where I could be stoned to death, beheaded, tortured, or fed to lions or even in a country today where I could be imprisoned and even killed.

In anthropology class one day we learned everything dies. Probably pretty sad and depressing for an evolutionist, but not for a creationist…

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Chick-fil-A-holes?

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Everywhere I look, this is what I see!!! I think people feel pressured to pick a side, because it’s all everyone is talking about in social media right now.

I do have a bit of a different perspective than I’ve been seeing out there in the media in that I don’t feel pressured to pick a side. It’s all this hate back and forth that I’m having a hard time with. Let me start with a picture…

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Seriously though, think about it… what did you think his answer would be? He’s a 91 year old conservative christian man. You could have come to my house and asked me how he felt about that, and I could have told you this. It’s not exactly a shocker. The owner’s of In-N-Out are conservative Christians too. I would bet they share the same beliefs, BUT… if they were smart, they wouldn’t share it publicly in a forum that would create the firestorm that’s currently happening. There’s a ton more christian owned companies than Chick-fil-a and In-N–Out, that’s a whole lot of boycotting, amirite?!

Here’s where I have a problem with what happened…

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Satan is having a FIELD DAY with this whole controversy. All that hate and fighting going on? He is loving it… sometimes Christians can be judgemental, some more than others, but still… I want to speak to those people today and tell you this:

A sin, is a sin, is a sin, is a sin, etc. Right? Why is it that we tend to attack the sins we aren’t guilty of? I hear people say all the time “hate the sin, not the person.” I hate that phrase. You know why? Because when people say that, they are saying that about someone else’s sin, and never their own. They would never say “well, I had an affair but don’t hate me, hate the sin.” “I’m 50 lbs overweight because of my gluttony, but don’t hate me, hate the sin.” When you go out in the world finger pointing at everyone’s sins that YOU perceive, what you are telling these people is that there is no place for you in God’s kingdom, and God doesn’t want you or love you. A pastor I know took down all the NO SMOKING signs at his church because in staring at that sign one day, he thought that those big glaring signs were saying just that. “If you smoke, go away. We don’t want you here.” I know another pastor that said that in talking to another pastor one day, the pastor told him that they nearly shut down a small town grocery story for an entire day because they were boycotting the magazine they carried which had an advertisement for a strip club. He was proud of it because the grocery store had to quit carrying the magazine because of the effect the boycott had on his business. This pastor told him of the damage he had created in trying to do the right thing. That grocery store is the livelihood of people who have nothing to do with that magazine! How do you think they feel about Christians after that? You have to be careful in being so judgemental. Remember that Jesus died for everyone on this earth, no matter their color, religion AND whether or not they are gay or straight. God loves them, and in the book of John, Jesus tells us to love each other as God has loved us. Stop telling gay people that Jesus doesn’t love them!

What if everyone started attacking a sin that YOU were guilty of?  Would that empower you or enrage you? Think about your actions. Are they bringing people to Christ, or turning them off to Christ?

It’s a lot easier being the finger pointer than the finger pointee.

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Flipping The Bird

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Flipping the bird is a pet peeve of mine.  You know what I’m talking about…  Giving the finger… That one finger salute… the finger wave… flipping someone off… extending your middle finger in that obscene gesture. I don’t like it, and someone flipped me off today. I’m still a work in progress with swearing on occasion I’ll admit, but for some reason flipping the bird I find offensive.  Go figure…

I was stopped behind a student driver at a 4 way stop sign, and the poor guy sat there in front of me at that stop sign for 15 seconds trying to decide whether to go or not. (there were no other cars there!) I didn’t honk because he’s a new driver, I was cutting him some slack… he was learning. You may not think 15 seconds is a long time, but look at your watch and let 15 seconds go by.  Do it, I’ll wait…

1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7… 8… 9… 10… 11… 12… 13… 14… 15!!!

See?! It’s a long time when no one else is at the other stop signs! So I waited… and he finally went. I follow him up another block to another stop sign, and now there’s a car behind ME! Again we wait, but this time not only were there cars at the other stop sign, when I looked to the right I could see the flashing lights way down the street of an ambulance coming and I could faintly hear the siren. This time he was waiting because he HAD to. So Mr. Impatient behind me starts honking and throwing his hands up in the air behind me. I nicely point in the direction of the ambulance so Mr. Impatient can see why no one is moving. He flipped me the bird. FLIPPED ME THE BIRD!?!?!? I was still nice and just pointed a little more emphatically to the ambulance which was now close enough that he could see it. So Mr. Impatient finally saw the ambulance and just nodded his head and mouthed the word “Ohhh…” I hope he was wishing he could take it back, right?

Here’s the thing… I have a ton of bad habits. TON OF BAD HABITS! For some reason bird flipping was never one of them. I think because I grew up in the Los Angeles area when I was little I probably thought someone would shoot me if I flipped the bird, so I learned not to do that. I’m really glad of that though, you know why?

You can’t unflip a bird.

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Single. That’s all… Just Single.

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As a single christian woman, I have been to many christian singles events.  There are two things that I really hate about some of the events I have attended… It is the two “go to” topics that whoever arranged the speaker and planned the event believes that single people need to hear about. It’s the topics near and dear to their heart. Not mine. For me, these “go to” topics feel like a cop out. They say “I’m a little out of touch with the singles at church and what their needs are, so I’ll just cover this again.”

The first “go to” topic? Sex and purity in dating. I am very aware of what God wants for me in this area, and though I do think it’s important to talk about, I get sick of hearing it every time… as a single-40-something adult, I do have more pressing matters in my life than sex and dating. Is it important to me? Yes, but give it a rest already… Sex and purity is every bit as important in married peoples lives, but it’s not a “go to” topic for married people.

The second “go to” topic? Please stop having married people come and tell us how happy they are and how they waited for the right person and God brought them their spouse… blah, blah, blah… BARF!!! I don’t want to hear that marriage is work and it’s difficult and they don’t always see eye to eye, but through God they are at a place in there life where it’s pretty blissful. Ho hum… *yawn* Yes, you waited and found the right spouse when you were in your 20’s and have been married 20 years. Good for you, but I can’t relate to your situation. In your 20’s there’s a TON of single people all around you. Prospects were looking pretty darned good. When you’re 40 with 3 kids? It’s pretty slim pickings out there. We can’t relate to you.

Let me give you some new topics that maybe christian singles CAN relate to, things that we think about all the time…

1. EMBRACE your singleness!!! Jesus was single. Paul was single. I actually know a few people who have never lived alone, that go from relationship to relationship and never learn to enjoy being by themselves. I was married for 18 years, and have enjoyed (for the most part) living a single life. Sometimes we just need to know that being single is ok. Sometimes I feel left out and I really hate attending family events at church because I don’t like to go by myself. I don’t want to go to Bunco by myself. I don’t want to go to the BBQ by myself. I feel like I don’t fit in and I don’t belong.

2. How about fitness? It’s a topic near and dear to my heart, and I know to many others too. We can have a singles event that involves something health related like a hike or 5k training. A mud run. Something fun! (you know, and not talk about sex or being led my the happiest couple on earth)

3. Single parenting is probably the biggest topic I can think of. It is so hard being a single parent sometimes. Wouldn’t it be great to tackle some topics that fall under single parenting. Parenting is hard enough for married people, but some of us do it all alone.

4. Solo decision making. Where do I take my car to get fixed, and how do I know I’m not getting ripped off? It’s all on our shoulders… sometimes it’s like a millstone around my neck… am I making the right decisions? Uhh, the pressure sometimes!

5. Divorce – being re-single. As strong as I thought I was, and as well as I’ve come through this divorce, at the time I was shaken to my absolute core with the disappointment, failure and loss I felt. I felt liberated, but at the same time guilty for what I was putting my family through. It took some time to realize that wallowing in my disappointment was determining the quality of not only MY life, but my kids lives too! My ex-husband and I get along great, but we aren’t the norm. Sometimes people are so ugly to each other. They need to learn how to function as a co-parent. It’s not easy…

6. Finances. Rarely does someone come out of a divorce without being financially devastated. Except maybe Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I went from paying $1200 for Lakers playoff tickets three times a season to not letting my kids get popcorn at the movies. My entire life has downsized and it still isn’t enough! It’s a little scarey not having two incomes anymore.

7. Friendships. Singles need to find friendships with both other singles as well as married people. Maybe if I arranged to go to Bunco or a BBQ with other single friends I wouldn’t feel so left out. We have to reach out and persue friendships.

I think as a church we need to do a better job of recognizing singles and making them feel included and needed like they actually belong there. If your church isn’t able to sustain an actual singles ministry, they can at least have singles activities now and then, right? How does your church incorporate singles into church and include them in through different ministries? Think about the sub-groups within singles. You have your young singles, widowed, divorced (along with a stigma… we’re “damaged goods”) and how about the 30 year old that feels her biological clock ticking? The never been married that people always ask when they’re gonna get married? Where do we all fit in? How can we reach unsaved singles? Are you reaching out to your singles? I had to move a desk by myself and nearly broke my back doing it. I don’t have someone else to help me lift it anymore. I painted the entire inside of my house, vaulted ceilings and all, by myself… I feel blessed to be strong enough to do that stuff, but what about the one who isn’t?

But in all seriousness… If I get stuck in one more meeting where a happily married couple of 20+ years is telling their life story and preaching abstinance, I might scream and hopefully everyone will think it’s the Holy Spirit that got a rise out of me.

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