Pragmatic Compendium

inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ

facebook fragments: 5/31/14 – 6/13/14 (fitness milestones, falling curls, FavoriteSon’s birthday & Magic Kingdom)

Saturday, May 31, 2014
2:39pm
I must admit, I was secretly hoping my personal trainer would forget our appointment today, but now that it’s over, I feel MUCH better having made it through. Today’s milestones include two one minute wall squats, the first while doing 23 bicep curls with 10lb dumbbells and the second while doing 22 hammer curls holding 12 lb dumbbells and three sets of 12 push-ups with two 2 minute forearm plank sandwiched in between the push-ups. Did the first 6 push ups wearing a 12 lb weight vest. (what a difference THAT made!) It had been a week and a day since I worked out last, with two 12-14 hour Magic Kingdom days, a four day road trip to Atlanta, and the first day of “tech week” for Pinkgirl’s show opening tomorrow night, so those 8 days weren’t exactly sedentary. Even so, it felt like my body forgot how to work out. So glad I didn’t wimp out today. Wanna feel good about having worked out? Try one of these for however long you can…5 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds… and let me know how you did so I can give you a virtual high five! ‪#‎GoodStewardofthisBody‬ ‪#‎fightthefrump‬

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10:48pm
After 6 months away, I’ll be back in the recording studio Friday night. Recording my interpretation of “Keep Making Me” by Sidewalk Prophets. Thinking about recording it in the original “guy” key. Feels too pretty singing it like a girl.

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Showed this to PinkGirl tonight.
Me: “You know what the conversation is about?”
PinkGirl, shaking head no.
Me: “premarital sex.”
PinkGirl: “To tell them not to have it?”
Me: “nope. To talk about what the kid should do if they are having sex or are thinking about having sex.”
(silence and disgusted upper lip sneer face from PinkGirl)
Me: “What would you say to them if they wanted to talk to you about that?”
PinkGirl, getting as riled up about it as I expected: “I’m. THIRT. TEEN!”
(rant continued and concluded with an impassioned, old fashioned Southern Baptist revival preaching voice): “You need JAESUS!”
‪#‎ilovemydaughter‬

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Friday, June 6, 2014, 9:09pm
I’m done asking God why I scheduled this. Now I’m asking Him “What now?” ‪#‎recording‬

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Saturday, June 7, 2014, 9:09pm
I usually drink half caf, half decaf coffee. We’re out of decaf. I’m completely good with that right now. The last 10 days have been PACKED. ‪#‎runningonautopilot‬

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Sunday, June 8, 2014, 1:24pm
Today’s 2pm matinee of PinkGirl’s latest show is your last chance to see these curls for a looooong time. After a week of rolling her hair EVERY night, I need a break! We’ve gotten home between 10:30pm and midnight every night and they take at least an hour to roll AFTER washing and drying her hair first. Then, the rollers need to stay in overnight, sometimes all day to get them to “stick.” If we want them to stay for more than 15 minutes after we take them out, she canNOT got outside in this humidity. We can’t even take them out at home and drive to the theater before they fall. She has to travel to the theater and then take them out after we get there. You know what I have to type now: ‪#‎ilovemydaughter‬.

PinkGirl Curls from the Back

PinkGirl Curls Silly Face

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(PinkGirl as Cinderella, from Into the Woods)
DSC_0030

DSC_0185

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Monday, June 9, 2014, 1:24pm
216,000+ miles on my Honda van. It’s in the shop. Check engine light. Praying it’s cheap and easy. ‪#‎ihatecarpayments‬

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014
216,000 miles & counting. We fixed the van. Quote was $839.00, ready tomorrow. It’s ready now & only cost $564. Someone once told me (24 years ago) that if you spend $1200 or less per year on a vehicle, you’re doing good. ‪#‎ihatecarpayments‬

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3rd vacuum cleaner belt snapped in the last two months. What’s the deal with that? ‪#‎arg‬

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Prayer Warrior Friends, My MIL is back in the hospital after spending all night in the ER. (She got out of the hospital Sunday afternoon a week ago after she had surgery to insert a feeding tube.) From SIL: “She tried a little beef broth – big mistake. Dehydrated and with nausea that no medicine will touch. Better this morning but we’ll be here a day or two.”

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Happy 19th Birthday to my FavoriteSon! I’m so proud to be your mom! So thankful that you are a man of God! So impressed with how well you’re doing in school and absolutely LOVE that your work as a tutor provides you with so many opportunities to reach into the lives of others and make such a positive long term impact. We are REALLY glad you decided to stay home to go to school for a while because we LOVE spending time with you. What will we do when you and your heart and your wit and your grin move away to finish college? :(
LOVE YOU!

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Thursday, June 12, 2014
1 hour, 49 minutes into the Anna & Elsa line. Thank God for Kindle. And that this line is covered. ‪#‎ilovemydaughter‬ ‪#‎peacelovedisney‬

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Friday, June 13, 2014
Thought while people watching at Magic Kingdom: What a difference if people would afford the same courtesy to the people they love as they afford to strangers. ‪#‎seepeople‬ ‪#‎edify‬ ‪#‎peacelovedisney‬

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PinkGirl’s Friend, to Gaston: “Your life just got better now that I’m here.” ‪#‎testosteronepoisoning‬

PinkGirl and JackSnoopyScuttle with Gaston

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So glad we waited until afternoon to come to Magic Kingdom. Buzz Lightyear-20 minutes, Haunted Mansion -25, Big Thunder – 20, Pirates – 15. Meet-n-Greets: Tink – 0 minutes, Merida- 25, Gaston -30. So far. ‪#‎peacelovedisney‬

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PinkGirl and JackSnoopyScuttle with Tinkerbell
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8:33pm
Been reading “Letters from a Skeptic” on Kindle while PinkGirl and her friend are riding rides at Magic Kingdom. Letters between a Christian and his atheist dad about faith in God. Just got to correspondence # 10, entitled “Why didn’t God spare your mother?” ‪#‎hardquestions‬

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11:01pm
Less than an hour stand by wait for the new Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster at Magic Kingdom. The ride was smoooooth, but fast? Not so much. Anybody know the top speed? ‪#‎peacelovedisney‬

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11:04
Love it when the actual ride is longer than the wait time! ‪#‎teacups‬, ‪#‎tomorrowlandspeedway‬ ‪#‎peacelovedisney‬

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To see more previous facebook update and compilation blog posts, CLICK HERE.

July 23, 2014 Posted by | fragments, pinterest, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

facebook fragments: 5/10/14 – 5/16/14 (friends who avoid conflict & evil teachers who assign food projects)

Sunday, May 11, 2014
I was tagged in a facebook post my my daughter:
“So, I’m watching The Little Mermaid and I caught my mommy quoting some of it. ‪#‎succes‬ ‪#‎ilovemymother‬
Happy Mother’s Day Mommy!”

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014
If you have a conflict with someone, consider attempting to resolve it, even if it means facing something you regret or are embarrassed about…unless that relationship is one that you actually don’t want in your life anymore. Avoiding conflict, and ultimately the other person, is a surefire way to allow the relationship to fade from your life.

On the flipside, if a relationship is important to you but the other person is avoiding you to avoid working through the conflict, you may have to respect their decision to transition the relationship from friend to acquaintance…or to “someone that I used to know” status.

Deep friendships don’t come often. Or easy. But when you find a friend who walks and works through hard things with you, they’re worth the trouble.

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life-is-too-short from http://gapingvoid.com/
My blog stats show that, for some reason, this is getting views today. Still true.

why I’m not your “fun” friend. issue #3: Death.

(although my husband hates that I refer to myself as “not your fun friend.” He says it makes me sound like I never like to have fun, which is not true. Seriously. It’s not true. :) )

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One hour strength training done. Milestones include two 1 minute wall squats, and 10 bosu push-ups on my toes. (But I say the push-ups don’t count because I didn’t go all the way to the floor – my form was pitiful. I’d rather do one correctly than 10 half-way) But the biggest milestone is that, at the end of the workout, I tried something I haven’t tried in over a year. I was able to stand up from a chair using only one leg (and no arms). Absolutely FLOORED that I still could do it. It took me WEEKS to get there when I tried for the first time years ago. ‪#‎fightthefrump‬ ‪#‎GoodStewardofthisBody‬

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV)

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I was told on Monday that “World Food Day” was Friday and that PinkGirl had drawn India as her country. It is now Wednesday and we still have no plan. ‪#‎readyforsummer‬ ‪#‎iamnota7thgrader‬

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In case you missed it, that was a plea for help…

- Which I got. Here’s my response to one of the suggestions:
“Thanks so much for the ideas! Thankfully, it’s not a sit down meal. And individually stuffed pastries sound waaaaay too labor intensive for us – especially when all I really want to do is throw them at the geography teacher’s head for faking World Food Day during “Mayhem” when it’s really on October 16th. Somebody else suggested Chai tea, which sounded great until I found out the recipe had to be submitted with the food.”

I ended up making this:

and posting this:
10:10pm. The 7th grade geography food project for tomorrow is in the oven. I wonder if the geography teacher feels my evil eye right now. PinkGirl made it all by herself. After dress rehearsal for her show tomorrow. And after she finished her other homework. On the bright side, while she was making it, she said “This is SO easy!” And I now know what “garam masala” is. ‪#‎ilovemydaughter‬

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Thursday, May 15, 2014
I don’t go to the library much anymore, but when I did, I didn’t borrow books, I rented them. #latefees

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Friday, May 16, 2014
That nagging feeling that I am forgetting something…

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To see more previous facebook update and compilation blog posts, CLICK HERE.

July 22, 2014 Posted by | fragments, pinterest | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

facebook fragments: 5/3/14 – 5/9/14 (stronger than yesterday, annoying prophets & philanthropy)

Saturday, May 3, 2014
Came downstairs to see PinkGirl working on a poster board sized map for a geography project due Monday. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast playing DVD.
Me: “Why are you watching that?”
PinkGirl: “I needed something to watch and not pay complete attention to.”
#ilovemydaughter

Read more >>>

May 10, 2014 Posted by | fragments, pinterest | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

facebook fragments: 04/26/14 – 05/2/14 (bringing home the mahi, strength training milestones & a new Indo board record)

Saturday, April 26, 2014
Just got a “Fish On” text from my men via the SPOT satellite GPS with latitude and longitude: 28.51040,-80.01917
Wonder how many miles off shore that is…

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If I’m plugging in their latitude/longitude into the distance calculator correctly, my guys are 32 miles offshore. This is why my only criteria for a boat purchase was twin engines.

Someone commented: “and a raft, radio and flare gun.:

My reply: “That’s boat paraphernalia. That stuff can be transferred from another boat, including the single engine money pit that was our previous boat. Which died offshore and left us hobbling back for HOURS on a tiny little kicker engine. I do love the GPS system he bought. Subscription is about $100 a year. Well worth it to know exactly where they are. And nice to know when they catch something.”

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Another “Fish On” text from the satellite GPS! This time 25 miles out. So they’re headed west, but after two catches, I’m thinking they’re still trolling #bringhomethemahi

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Just got a real text from my FavoriteSon: “In the channel. 3 mahi.” Lunch is going to be EXCELLENT tomorrow.

Read More (and see the photo)>>>

May 3, 2014 Posted by | fragments, pinterest | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

facebook fragments: 04/19/14 – 04/25/14 (Easter, epiphany blogging & getting stronger)

Saturday, April 19, 2014
I love my daughter.
No hashtag.
Just saying.

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It would appear my workout yesterday was extremely effective.
ibuprofen. stretching. water. protein. maybe epsom salt bath later.
Anything I’m missing?

Buzz and Woody Muscle Soreness Everywhere fitness

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Little Known Fact #30 on my blog: “I would rather eat a Brussel sprout than a Peep. bleh. It’s like goo with glitter on it.”
The only good peep is a dead peep.

peep murder by tire from http://chadmarcuswhyrickphotography.blogspot.com/

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Read More >>>

May 2, 2014 Posted by | fragments, pinterest | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

facebook fragments: 04/12/14 – 04/18/14 (a sea turtle, strength training & Good Friday

Saturday, April 12, 2014
My men are fishing today. There are two text messages hubs sends me from his GPS satellite messenger when they’re on the ocean. One is “All is Well” and the other is “Fish On” I’m very thankful for the four “All is Well” messages I’ve gotten so far this morning, but I would REALLY like a “Fish On” message this afternoon. #bringhomethemahi

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Catching up on my facebook compilation blog posts. All my posts from 3/15 to 3/21 on one page:
facebook fragments: 03/15/14 – 03/21/14 (spring break)

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Shared my husband’s facebook video from their fishing trip:
The guys didn’t catch any fish but they had some great company.

Read More (and see the video of the company) >>>

May 1, 2014 Posted by | fragments, pinterest | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

whatever may pass and whatever lies before me.

Sunday evening. Easter Sunday. I was sitting at the kitchen table, focused on my laptop. PinkGirl came over and turned my chair sideways so she could curl up on my lap and lay her head on my shoulder.

“Mom? How can I find joy in God?”

wow.

13 years old.

Immediately, I prayed.

“Lord, is this moment one of the reasons for everything that’s happened over the last year? Have you been preparing me for this question? Please help. Please speak through me.”

Me: “Well…for me…the way I find joy in God is to grow closer to Him. There are a few things you can do to grow closer to Him. You already know what’s first though, right?”

PinkGirl: “Pray?”

Joshua 1 9 prayerMe: “Yep. There’s lots of different ways to pray, but I think the way that brings me closest to God is practicing His presence. You remember what I told you about practicing the presence of God? How I first started doing it?”

PinkGirl: “No.”

Me: “I imagined Jesus physically with me everywhere I went – in the passenger seat of my van…”

PinkGirl: “oh yeah.”

Me: “Jesus is right here with us now.”

I pointed to the chair next to us.

“If you imagine Him sitting right here with us – not just sitting here, eavesdropping on our conversation, but actually participating in it, it changes everything. And sometimes not in a way you might expect. It won’t be all rainbows. You won’t be thanking Him and praising Him all the time. If you really do imagine Jesus with you wherever you go, you may find yourself crying and yelling at Him sometimes. Telling Him all the things you don’t think are fair, begging him to help you and heal you and protect you and getting frustrated or mad or even heartbroken when He doesn’t do what you want or expect or if He’s slower than you think He should be. But you have to be honest with God.”

PinkGirl: “He already knows anyway.”

Me: “Yeah, He does.”

We sat there for a while, talking about all the different ways to pray. We talked about honest, wide open prayer, without holding anything back. We talked about how authentic prayer helps us to grow closer to God and how growing closer to God helps us find joy in Him, no matter whether we’re happy or sad about what’s happening in our life. We talked about how happiness is temporal and based on our circumstances, but joy in God is eternal and based on who He is and our relationship with Jesus.

Me: “Prayer is when we tell God everything. But we also need to listen to Him. What’s the best way to hear from God?”

PinkGirl: “Be alone with Him?”

Me: “That’s one way. I call that abiding in Him. But that’s next. Something else comes first. The best way to hear God speak to us is to read His Word.”

PinkGirl: “I try, but I don’t understand a lot of it.”

Me: I get that. There’s a lot I don’t understand either. But here’s the thing. There’s a lot you do understand – way before you even get to the stuff you don’t understand. You understand what you learn in Bible [class], right?

PinkGirl: “yeah.”

Me: “So, see? You understand more than you think. Outside of Bible [class], what’s the last thing you read on your own?”

PinkGirl: “I don’t remember.”

Me: “You understand the scriptures in your devotion book, right?”

PinkGirl: “yeah.”

Me: “What was your last devotion about?”

(thinking)

PinkGirl: “I don’t remember.”

Me: “When do you do your devotion, in the morning or at bedtime?”

PinkGirl: “In the morning.”

Me: “After your devotion time is over, how often do you think about the scripture you read later in your day?”

PinkGirl: “none.”

Meditate on Gods Word Read BibleMe: “Just reading the Bible isn’t enough. You won’t grow in your relationship with Christ if you don’t remember what you read. You have to engage in God’s Word. That takes effort. How can you remember the scripture from your morning devotion throughout your day ? And for days after that?”

We talked about how on our own, reading the Bible isn’t something we want to do all the time and that God knows that. We talked about forgetting to read the Bible or not making time for it. We talked about how we make time for the other things we love. We talked about the first and constant thing we should do: pray and ask God to give us a desire to read His Word. We talked about the fact that we can’t just “do better” on our own. We talked about asking God to give us – to bless us – with a hunger for His Word – with a hunger for Him. We talked about setting reminders on her iPod, bands on her wrist, special jewelry, even writing notes to herself on her hand.

Me: “After reading the Bible, another good way to hear from God is to abide in Him. You called it being alone with Him. When are you ever truly alone. Quiet and still?”

PinkGirl: “When I’m in my room.”

Be still and know that I am God Psalms 46 10 Pause the noiseMe: “I mean really alone and quiet. No itouch, no iPad, no tv, no internet, no youtube, no text, no instagram, no facetime…”

PinkGirl: “oh.”

Me: “Sleeping doesn’t count.”

Me: “If you want to be closer to God, if you want to find joy in Him, you have to spend time with Him. Think of it this way. When you and PeterPanFan (her BFF) hang out together, you grow closer, don’t you think? You talk to each other, you have inside jokes, you start to think alike, finish each other’s sandwiches…even when you two are at your own houses, when you interact over the internet through text or instagram, you’re still spending time with each other even though you are miles apart. But if you were at your house and she was at her house and you weren’t interacting over the internet, you wouldn’t be able to hear her. What would happen to your friendship if you didn’t spend time together?”

(thinking)

Me: How connected can you be to God if you don’t spend time alone with Him?

(quiet. thinking)

Me: So. Prayer. Reading God’s Word and Abiding in Him. There’s something else you can do to find joy in God.”

PinkGirl: “what?”

Me: “Gratitude.”

PinkGirl: “Thanking Him?”

Me: “Actually there’s two kinds. Giving thanks for His blessings and praising Him for who He is. When you thank Him for blessings, you begin to recognize those blessings in your life more and more. And when you praise Him for who He is, no matter what your circumstances are, it helps you remember that God is sovereign and nothing happens to you that He doesn’t will or allow.”

We talked about disappointments, God’s providence and the peace that comes from trusting that all circumstances – which lead to both happiness and sadness – are God’s providence. We talked about tapestries. And praising Him, no matter what.

We talked about a lot of things. The things I’ve shared here are the things she gave me permission to share.

Afterwards, I realized.

Prayer. Reading God’s Word. Abiding in Him. Gratitude. P.R.A.G. The first four chapters of the book I was writing about how to experience a more intimate relationship with Christ. Seems so easy, just looking at them here. Not so easy. To do or to write about. If they were easy to do, every Christian would do them. If they were easy to write about…I haven’t been able to write for months. But in these precious moments with my daughter, I was able to articulate a summary in kid language.

He has been preparing me. Not only for that question at that moment.

God is Good. All the time.

(CLICK HERE for the story behind the song.)

April 22, 2014 Posted by | christian living, learning curve, music, pinterest, pragmatic communion, pragmatic parenting, praise team music, prayer, thankfulness, the search for Joy, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“churched”

The other day, someone asked me if my kids grew up “churched.”

The pause before my reply was noticeably long.

I was thinking.

What does that mean? I realize my personal background and filters contribute to my way of thinking, but no definition I could come up with made it seem like growing up “churched” would be a good thing. Merriam-Webster defines it as:

adjective: “affiliated with a church.”

Well. That’s vague.

churched.

The word has connotations. Through my personal filters, adding “ed” after the word church makes it reek of religious knowledge and practices, not relationship with Christ.

So, if growing up churched just means my kids grew up knowing the traditions of church – whatever church or religion that might be, then yes, they grew up churched. They know what a call to worship is, they can sing the doxology, they know what to do with an offering plate, they know the different ways to take communion and what an alter call is. They know what the Apostles’ creed is and they know the Lord’s prayer doesn’t end with the words “with liberty and justice for all.” They can follow the verse order of a hymn and even though they both have searchable Bible apps, they can find a scripture in a Bible with paper pages by it’s reference. In more contemporary churches, they know that a worship service usually begins with what we in our family affectionately term a “giddyup Jesus” song, and they know why this video is funny.

So, if all that means my kids grew up churched, then yes. My kids grew up “churched.”

Some might say, “Well, it’s better than nothing.”

Not necessarily.

Here’s the deal. If all that stuff is a precursor to a personal decision for Christ or an expression of a growing relationship with Him, then yes. It is better than nothing.

BUT, if all those things are part of their life instead of or apart from a growing relationship with Christ, I don’t necessarily think growing up churched is better.

It might actually be worse.

I’ve personally met so. many. people. who grew up going to church and as an adult, have not only abandoned church, but faith altogether.

A few months ago, I asked God to break my heart for what breaks His. (CLICK HERE to read that post – and if you ever think about praying that, brace yourself.)

One clear and constant answer has been the fact that so many people have turned away from faith in Christ without ever really knowing what it is.

Who He is.

Growing up churched has kept more than a few people from relationship with Christ because they think that all those things I mentioned about church is evidence of a relationship with Christ.

Not always true.

That’s what I was thinking during the extended silence that followed the “Did your kids grow up churched?” question.

But when I broke that silence, what did I say?

“uhhhhh. Well. We took them to church if that’s what you mean.”

I am so articulate sometimes.

The truth is that despite all their knowledge and understanding of religious practices, my kids never heard the gospel explained in kid language at the church we attended. Hell was too scary for kids and Jesus was a role model, not a Savior. Discussions about asking Jesus to come into your heart? The Holy Spirit as a helper after you ask Jesus to come into your heart? No. (By the grace of God and through an extended, painful revelation process, we now understand that we need to be part of a Christ-centered church.)

We went to church on Sunday mornings, did a few summers of VBS, went to some fall costume parties, some Christmas breakfasts with Santa and some Easter egg hunts. Sunday school was mostly Bible stories and crafts. VBS was a rotation of Bible stories, crafting sessions and outdoor games interspersed with music, snacks and cute videos with moral and ethical messages.

They learned that God loved them. They learned they should help people. They learned God wanted them to be “good” like Jesus. They learned that they should give joyfully.

teach children diligently Deuteronomy 6 6-7But my kids first learned about having a relationship with Christ from my husband and I. Because we knew that our faith couldn’t be theirs by force or wishes, we prayed that the Holy Spirit would draw them to Christ, and we told them about Jesus. Through our lives – our words and our actions – they saw what faith in Christ really is – a relationship. They knew Jesus loved them – no matter what – just like we loved them. We prayed with them, we did family devotions together, we were authentic with them about the lessons God was teaching us, we listened to their problems, their fears and their joys and we continuously helped them to view and navigate all three through faith in God.

By the grace of God, they both accepted Christ at a very early age. By the grace of God and equipped by the Holy Spirit, we did our best to disciple them as they grew in their faith.

We enrolled them in Christian school because we wanted them to learn as much about the Bible as they did about math, science, history, spelling and English. When they moved onto middle school and began building on that Bible knowledge and learning theology, we actively engaged them in discussions that helped them figure out and ground themselves in their own beliefs, some of those beliefs different from what were being taught at school. As my son has grown older and graduated from high school, he’s come to some beliefs that differ from his mom and/or dad. (No surprise, mom and dad don’t always agree either.)

Regardless of the tangential beliefs we each have, we share faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. All four of us depend on the Holy Spirit to equip us for the life we live, striving to follow the Father’s will.

My husband and I are confident that each of our children have their own faith in and relationship with Christ. We pray for those relationships regularly.

But “Did your kids grow up churched?” is a yes or no question. There wasn’t time to think through all that, much less say it.

Hence the blog post.

April 21, 2014 Posted by | christian living, pinterest, pragmatic communion, pragmatic parenting, praise team music, prayer, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

toxic concoction.

Doubt and Faith Toxic Concoction Mark Buchanan Your God is Too SafeI got cocky.

I thought I could logically justify my faith in God.

You’ll find some Christians who’ll tell you they can do it.

not me.

not anymore.

When someone told me my faith was illogical, irrational and unreasonable, I bristled. Or should I say, my ego bristled? I challenged them to prove it.

They couldn’t. (Their emotionally charged reasoning was circular and redundant and they completely ignored me when I poked questions into the holes in their arguments.)

But in the aftermath of those discussions, I discovered I couldn’t disprove it either.

Science and logic have limits. There are some things that can’t be understood or explained (and a definition isn’t an explanation).

Like what causes gravity.
Like human consciousness.
Like quantum entanglement (what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”).

Like God.

Doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Just means we don’t understand why. Or how.

Somewhere along the way, I forgot that God cannot be completely understood. I forgot that a God I can understand is a God I create. Confine. Any God I can completely understand is limited by time and space and the extent to which I can understand.

Any God who is limited by my understanding is not transcendent.

I was reminded – the hard way – that I don’t want a God I can understand.

It was a season of extreme paradox in my life.

My faith had never been stronger and I had never been more aware of my weakness apart from Christ.

My faith had never been stronger and I had never been more intimately and desperately dependent on the Holy Spirit.

I prayed daily for wisdom and discernment and empathy and compassion. I prayed daily for Him to continuously make me aware of opportunities to be the hands and feet and voice and ears of Christ. Watching and listening for the promptings of the Holy Spirit had never been more in the forefront of my awareness. I prayed not only for the Holy Spirit to prompt me when to speak and act, but when to be silent and still.

I prayed for Him to equip me in what I honestly knew to be beyond my capabilities.

and then.

The person who told me my faith was illogical, irrational and unreasonable asked me a simple question:

If God is sovereign, why pray?

You’d think I would have considered that question before, me being all spiritually “mature” and everything.

Turns out, I had never really thunk it through. I had dismissed it, thoughtlessly citing Biblical platitudes like “I pray because Jesus prayed.” and “I pray because the Bible tells us to pray.”

When I finally looked at the question straight on, my entire relationship with God came to a screeching halt.

I couldn’t pray.

I wanted to turn back the clock. To unthink what I was thinking. I wanted the faith of a child.

I wanted stronger faith.

Suddenly and overwhelmingly, I identified with Philip Yancey when he wrote:

“I envy, truly I envy, those people who pray in simple faith without fretting about how prayer works and how God governs this planet. For some reason I cannot avoid pondering these imponderables.”

What was so different about this question this time? It came at a critical juncture in my life. After arguing with God for months, I had finally taken the terrifying step of obedience by sharing something I believe God was revealing to me. Something I tried to ignore. Something I didn’t want to see: That I was part of a church which marginalized grace, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, prayer and relationship with Christ. That we forgot 1 Corinthians 2:2-5 and were ignoring Matthew 28:19.

I was genuinely repentant and prayed desperately for God to bring revival. Heartbroken, I asked for people to pray with me. I was blindsided by how angry people were, how fast and how much they misunderstood what I said and how vehemently they rejected not only what I was saying, but me.

I had argued with God, finally doing what I believed He was prompting me to do and I was faced with closed hearts, closed minds and slammed doors.

So I did what anyone “mature” in their faith would do. I ran into a cave and hid.

A dark cave.

“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.” He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.” He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there.

Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19:4-9

Go ahead, sing-song it with me.

“Julie and Elijah, sitting under a tree, w. h. i. n. ing.”

I prayed.

and then I couldn’t.

Because God is sovereign and God’s gonna do what God’s gonna do.

And then I prayed because I couldn’t help it.

Because a life void of intimacy with Christ and utter dependance on the Holy Spirit was vastly empty. and hopelessly dark.

Desolate.

I prayed because I couldn’t help it while at the same time believing that praying to a sovereign God who’s working a plan and doesn’t need my help was…pointless.

Not logical. Not pragmatic.

And that’s where faith is required.

And where doubt came in.

I never doubted the existence of God. I never doubted Christ or the Cross or the redeeming power of His blood. I never doubted my salvation.

I doubted the point of me.

If God is sovereign, why pray?

If God doesn’t need me, why would He even bother with me? Why did He even bother with me?

And that’s why I say I can’t logically justify my faith.

In my darkest night, when God was completely silent, when the logical, rational and reasonable foundation for my faith was beyond my sight,

I still had faith.

I still have faith.

April 10, 2014 Posted by | apologetics, books, Christ-Centered Church, christian living, pinterest, pragmatic communion, praise team music, prayer, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

four minutes with God: break my heart for what breaks Yours.

a Quote:

(Ellen and Genie were best friends when they were kids, but grew apart over the years. Until this reconnection in their early twenties, as written by Genie.)

“For the next hour I stormed the conversation with highly exaggerated accounts of my great successes…

She [Ellen] listened quietly and at one point when my voice was way up and bragging she broke in: “That’s all very interesting. I know you’ve done some fine work, but you’re probably the unhappiest looking person I’ve ever seen, Genie. What’s really the matter?

walking wounded compassionIf you have ever heard your own defense shatter, remember that sickening silence that follows the crash right now and share it with me as I sat there with an unlighted cigarette in my hand afraid to look down at the wreckage around my feet.

She was not unkind.
In fact, her expression and her voice were so kind I quickly lighted the cigarette and faked a cough while I batted away the tears that were there brimming.

After that I told her things which I had not dared admit to myself. We were very close and yet we were shouting at each other from the opposite shores of the universe…

Ellen talked about what was at the center of her life…

“All right, what is at the center of your life?”

She said, “It isn’t a ‘what.’ There’s a Person there.

“A person?”

“Jesus Christ.”

What did I reply?

“Please!”

That’s what I said and laughed but I didn’t feel at all like laughing. I laughed because I didn’t know what else to do and certainly I didn’t know what else to say.”

from The Burden Is Light by Eugenia Price

my Prayer:
Jesus, ever since I asked You to break my heart for what breaks Yours, I haven’t been the same. This lesson of compassion is not what I expected. I don’t know what I expected. Heartbreak hurts. And so does the knowledge that so many people vehemently hate or casually dismiss the Healer because of all the religious baggage that’s been heaped on top of You.

Lord, despite the heartbreak, please don’t ever let me become desensitized.

Please continue to bless me with this broken heart. Thank you for teaching me, even if empathy wasn’t the learning curve I wanted. Please continue to help me see people and to minister to them. Please help me to recognize the people who are seeking You and please equip me to extend that ministry beyond their temporal needs. Please bless me with the courage to ask the hard, uncomfortable, heartbreaking questions. Please, please tell me when to speak and what to say, when to be silent and what to pray.

the Word:
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:1-11 (ESV)

the lyric.
“Heal my heart and make it clean. Open up my eyes to the things unseen.
Show me how to love like You have loved me. Break my heart for what breaks Yours.

Everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause, as I walk from earth into eternity.”

March 18, 2014 Posted by | books, christian living, devotions, four minutes with God, pragmatic communion, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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