Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's All in the Context

Hello, Everyone! Sorry for being late in posting this but I have been uber sick this week. So finally I am feeling better and my head is clear enough to think so I am sitting down to write this week's blog.

This morning I was reading from 1 John chapter 1. The writings of John have always intrigued me. I don't know if it's because he tended to focus on the deeper more spiritual side of things or because he wrote the book of Revelation or if it's simply because he was the only one of the twelve disciples to die a natural death. Whatever it is, I have spent a significant amount of time in my Christian life reading the writings of John.

So when I get to verses 8-10, I find their familiar exhortations familiar and comforting but then the context struck me, and I realized that I have been missing out on the big picture.

I think just about every Christian out their has heard 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us out sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." This is an awesome and powerful verse. Plus confession in the life of a Christian is VERY important to maintaining an open and growing relationship with Christ.

What you miss by not reading it in context is the reason WHY we should confess our sins. Why is it so important? Why not pretend that we never sin or mess up? Why not just go on with life because our salvation is secure in Christ? Why confess? We find that out in verses 8 & 10...

1 John 1:8 says, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." If we try to deny that we sin or we pretend that we are the perfect Christians we are lying to ourselves--we are liars because the truth is not in us. We must confess our sins to keep us from being deceived and to keep ourselves honest.

1 John 1:10 says, "If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." If we lie about the sins we struggle with and the sins we commit then we make Christ a liar. The whole reason that God sent Jesus to die on the cross is because we are sinners, because we struggle with sin, and because we are imperfect. If we say that we are now perfect then we make God and Jesus liars. Plus God's Word is not being allowed to live and thrive in us.

It's all in the context.

All verses quoted today were in the English Standard Version (ESV).

Resources on 1 John

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Big Time Laughs

We Be Big: The Mostly True Story of How Two Kids from Calhoun County, Alabama, Became Rick and BubbaWe Be Big is the “mostly true” story of radio hosts Rick & Bubba. The book starts in their early childhoods takes you on a laugh out loud journey through their current radio careers. Like their radio show, Rick & Bubba strive to keep the book simple and funny without exaggerating too many of the details.

This book will make you want to listen to Rick and Bubba’s show. They say that if it happens in their lives it makes it on the air in their radio show. You can clearly see this in the way that they tell their stories in their book. My favorite story has to be the one about accidentally rigging the walkie talkie to broadcast on a local radio station. I could picture the dawning expression on his face as he realized that it was his voice that was coming through the radio and then sending his unknowing friend home to “tune in” while he broadcast live from his house and how proud that made him.

However, this book does more than make you laugh. It also teaches you a few lessons of faith. It wasn’t all circuses in the backyard and awesome reviews from radio listeners. Rick and Bubba also had struggles. They had to rely on God when their radio program was cut and they weren’t sure what they were going to do to provide for their families. They share those stories too. In spite of their struggles and tragedies you will be encouraged by the faithfulness of the “two sexiest fat mean alive”.

If you are looking for a funny, quick read that will encourage you even while you laugh then I suggest you pick up We Be Big by Rick Burgess & Bubba Bussey.

This book was provided to me by Thomas Nelson Publishing at no cost for review purposes.

More Rick & Bubba Stuff:

The Rick & Bubba Show

Monday, April 18, 2011

Living the Dream

Have you ever felt that you were meant for something more? Are you satisfied with where you are in life with your family, job, or career? I don't know about you but I have wondered if I will ever find my dream job.

Friday, I received my copy of Dave Ramsey's e-newsletter in my email inbox. I don't know if you are familiar with Dave Ramsey or not but around our house we affectionately call him "Uncle Dave". Anyway... I was caught by one of the first headings this month called This Way to Your Dream Job. Now stop right there for a minute. It's not that I hate what I do. I just dream of so much more than being an Administrative Assistant.

Meanwhile back at the ranch...The article is based on the book Quitters by Jon Acuff. As the article puts it, Acuff says
I think finding your dream job or what Sinek calls your “WHY” is more than a revelation or an act of discovery. I believe it’s a process of recovery.

More often than not, finding out what you love doing most is about recovering an old love or an inescapable truth that has been silenced for years, even decades. When you come to your dream job, your thing, it is rarely a first encounter. It’s usually a reunion. So instead of setting out to discover this thing you love doing, you’ve got to change your thinking and set out to recover it, maybe even rescue it.
This really ressonated with me today. It got me to thinking about the art classes that I have been taking at Saint Louis Community College and about the things I used to say like "I don't think that I would be good at being stuck behind a desk all day" or "I don't like talking on the phone" and I realized that I think God has something more for me.

I have felt God's call on my life to be in full-time ministry since I was in sixth or seventh grade. I know that God is calling me to use the gifts and talents and passions he has given me to serve Him. Now I just need to re-discover that calling in my life, and it's scary! Maybe His calling is SO much more for me than being an Administrative Assistant at the Missouri Baptist Children's Home. Yes, that's missions and ministry, but is that the ministry God has design for me. I guess we will just have to pray and see!

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'" Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

Buy Quitter by Jon Acuff

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Final Summit is Great for Historical Fiction Lovers

The Final Summit: A Quest to Find the One Principle That Will Save HumanityOverview:
The Final Summit is another great work of fiction by Andy Andrews. In The Final Summit, you will counter a cast of familiar historical figures as well as David Ponder from The Traveler's Gift. The basic premise of the book is that the world has been on a downward spiral for some time now and it’s time is nearing an end unless a solution can be found to reverse this spiral. Ponder, who is recently widowed and is now questioning his will to live, is summoned by the angel Gabriel to lead a council of the most powerful and world changing minds from the past. Members of this council include biblical figures such as King David all the way to more contemporary figures like Mister Rogers—even Amelia Earhart makes an appearance. Together these individuals must come up with an idea to reverse the downward spiral of the world. They have five chances to solve the problem, and they must do it before the sand in the world’s hour glass runs out. Will they be able to save the world? Only time will tell.

Author Andy Andrews
My Thoughts:
When I first learned that David Ponder was a returning character from another Andy Andrews book I was a little worried that I would be lost. I was pleasantly surprised that I could follow and enjoy The Final Summit without having read The Traveler's Gift. I also liked the cast of characters whom Andrews includes in his heavenly council—especially some of the lesser known individuals like Eric Erickson (never heard of him before this book but he’s real!).

I thought that the story line was interesting. The varied cast of characters from different cultures and eras provided some interesting interactions, and I had to chuckle to myself when he described some of the scenes taking place in the council chambers. In the end the solution the council decides upon isn’t all that new or radical but it still is true and holds important meaning. The best part is that this self-help answer comes to you in an easily digestible fiction form. How nice! All in all I thought The Final Summit was great. I recommend it to individuals who enjoy historical fiction and to those who are looking for uplifting and encouragement in their own lives.

This book was provided to me at no cost by Thomas Nelson Publishing for review purposes.

More Andy Andrew Books:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Heart of Worship from SURVIVING Student Ministry

Good morning, everyone! I am sure that you have all hear me talk about my husband, Jimmy, about a thousand times on here. Jimmy is an amazing man and an amazing youth minister who just happens to write two blogs--one for ministry and one for entertainment. Today, I want to share with you a link to his recent post on worship. It's called Heart of Worship.

I don't know about you, but working with teenagers we often hear complaints. "I like this but I don't like that." or "Why do we have to do things this way? Why can't we do them my way?" You name it and we (and probably you) have heard it.

A not great trend we have been noticing is that this extends to church. Jimmy's post deals with having a heart of worship no matter what the worship style but talking about what worship really is. I encourage you to read his post and to leave him a comment. It would really encourage him and it might even encourage you!

READ Heart of Worship NOW

More Resources:
Jimmy's Ministry Blog: SURVIVING Student Ministry
Jimmy's Movie Blog: the 365 Blog Challenge
Jimmy's Blogger Profile
Our Church Website

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Well Written Allegory

The Chasm: A Journey to the Edge of LifeOverview:

The Chasm by Randy Alcorn tells the story of Nick Seagrave. Nick is a traveler on the paths of life—only his life story is told through allegory. You experience epic battles, struggles, and vivid pictures of what our average life looks like in a less than average land. Along his journey Nick reflects on the good and bad times he has had in his life. He also meets many different travelers, some of them good for him and others not so much. Nick encounters a picture of Christ in the woodsman and a picture of the devil in the tempter Joshua. Will he ever get across the Chasm?

From the first pages you are drawn into Nick’s story. It’s important to know that The Chasm is a partner story to Alcorn’s Edge of Eternity. So if the book leaves you wanting to know more about Nick Seagrave you can find the information you seek there. The Chasm deals specifically in Nick’s journey to cross the chasm that separates travelers from the city of Charis. The story is extremely well written. It’s hard to put down and pretty fast paced. The book is only 110 pages long but it is truly action packed. The Chasm is written in an allegorical style so there are obvious allusions and comparisons between characters in the book and important Christian figures like the devil and Jesus. The allegory is easy to follow which is a blessing. I recommend this book to readers ninth grade and above. It will be a journey that’s hard to forget.

This book was provided to me by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing at no cost for review purposes.

Other Books by Randy Alcorn:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Girl Time

One thing that I don't get much of but I truly enjoy having is girl time. It's nice to hang out with other women of God and just laugh and have a great time. Too often our lives get to busy to build those relationships and we miss out. The Bible tells us over and over again the great benefits of having a close Godly friend--I personally think that other than your spouse your best friend should be of the same gender. It just makes things WAY less complicated! So I wanted to give a little shout out to Rebeccah and Shelby who hung out with me at the mall yesterday before I move on to talk about the benefits of having a close friend. You made my day! Thanks for being patient with me while I counted out the Jelly Bellys so that I didn't go over my calories. You're both the best!

The benefits of having a girl time with a close friend:
Number One: A Friend Sticks Closer than a Brother
"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24
If you have an awesome girlfriend, hold on to her. Do what you can to grow and nourish that friendship. You can't go around and be BFFs with everyone. That's a little of what the first part of the verse is talking about. When you have "many companions" you are letting all your acquaintances have just as much say and influence in your life as your best friend who you know and trust. This can be bad--especially if not all your friends are Christians. I also think "the friend who sticks closer than a brother" has to be a Christian who is doing their best to live their life for God otherwise they don't understand true commitment or loyalty or forgiveness that friendship really needs.

Number Two: You Can Trust a True Friends Words Even if They Hurt
"Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." Proverbs 27:6
A true friend will tell you what you need to hear even if you don't want to hear it. Your Christian friends should be challenging you to go even further in your walk with Christ. They should hold you to a high standard. Yes, sometimes it might hurt your feelings if they call you out on your non-Christian behavior or dress but they are doing it because they want to see your relationship with Christ grow. A true friend's motives can be trusted. They shouldn't just tell you what you want to hear even if they know it's wrong.

Number Three: A Friend Loves at ALL Times
"A friend loves at all times..." Proverbs 17:17a
A true friend loves you for who you are. They love you when you are doing the right thing. They love you when they are doing the wrong thing (even though they shouldn't agree and should point you back in the right direction. See #2). They aren't fickle. They don't try to pit you against your other friends. They love you as is and as unconditionally as possible. And if you are their true friend you do the same for them.

Okay, so I know there are so many other benefits to having awesome friends. I challenge you to find some and post them in the comments section.

I also want to say, congratulations to Hermione Williams on winning our first ever prize giveaway! Hermione, please email me your mailing address so I can get your prize pack out to you right away! Keep an eye out for more chances to win in the future. Thank you for everyone who participated and thank you for reading Life as a Minister's Wife!