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We took a trip to southwestern Colorado in June of this year. It’s a place our family has gone to since the 1940’s. We spend at least one week up in the high country, about 9k feet above sea level. Our time consists of hiking and fishing, hiking and fishing, a grocery run, and hiking and fishing. It’s rare we get bored, unless a mountain shower turns into a multi-day rain event.
We look forward to it from the time we leave Colorado, a year in advance. No one wants to leave. I’ve tried to go college and seminary both up in the mountains, but the price was too expense for out-of-state tuition. I can still dream though.
One thing that I really enjoy about the native folks of the mountains is the pace of life. “Things get done when they get done” one guy told me. A lady also said that “living in the mountains is great, but you have to be ok with being poor.” I’d be good with that. We pulled up to Freemon’s Country Store about ten minutes before they were supposed to close. A man came out and told me that they were closing early for a town meeting. I thought that was great, community before profit.
My son is about to start kindergarten. Where did the time go? Unbelievable. I want to spend as much time with my family as I can, especially during the years where the kids are growing so quickly. If we are tossing McDonald’s Happy Meals in the back seat just trying to make each event on weekends and after school every day, living frantically, I’d be miserable. Our society in this area is so competitive that we can be trapped in our own schedule. My encouragement is to slow down. I’m pointing the finger at myself too. Slow down and enjoy the short time we have with our kids. They will be out on their own before we know. Take time to look at creation and ask your kids who made it. Find ways to share Jesus with your family in creative ways. I love being outside the city and asking Grady to look around. What do you see? Who made it?
Our time with our children goes fast. And as the primary disciple-makers, the parents, we GET to disciple out own kids. We, I, need to slow my pace of life down and enjoy each day.
How many times have you arrived at church or school exhausted (and irritated!) from the effort it took to get there? As moms, we want to enjoy our kids, have time to “be with” them and go beyond the mechanics; but, getting that accomplished can be a challenge. Here are a few suggestions to help you minimize the chaos to get out the door without losing your cool.
It is not easy to lead your family to develop good habits. But it does help you gain the ability to focus on what is important and not just the “crisis of the day.” By creating a morning routine, you could have time to pray for your kids before you get to your morning destination. Wouldn’t that be a great way to start the day?
Our team of 8 just returned from a short-term mission trip to Uganda. The team was involved in many different tasks, plus we spent some great time with the orphans at Restoration Gateway (a TBC Outreach Ministry Partner). I must admit, flying 8000 miles around the world, sleeping in a bunk bed, eating beans and rice or rice and beans, no hot water, limited internet access and no air conditioning is a challenge. It is not as comfortable as home. However, when our team sees the smiles of the orphans, we hear them sing and pray and enjoy the structure of a ministry that provides the basic needs of a child, the thought of not having hot water or eating beans/rice again isn’t so bad. This is where the tension of comfort enters the story.
I admit Candy & I enjoy our home. We have a modest home with the comforts most of us enjoy, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Candy has her “comfy chair” and I’m more of a “couch guy”, I love to stretch out and relax in the comfort of our home. However, the Lord has been challenging me with the things I find comfort in (not my couch! LOL) but more on a spiritual level of comfort. Tension like, am I more concerned about my spiritual comfort than my obedience to Christ? Am I more concerned about my emotional comfort or intentionally being in the messiness of other people’s lives who need Jesus? Again, please hear me when I say comfort isn’t a bad thing, I’m not giving up my couch (unless God tells me too!). However, if we strive for comfort more than we strive for obedience to Christ’s commands, then we might encounter some tension in our comfort.
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas in your life where comfort is an idol.
2. Repent of the thought that we deserve or have in some way earned the right to be comfortable.
3. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you out of your (and my) comfortable areas and seek adventurous obedience to Jesus!
4. Always check the Outreach Website for opportunities to serve locally, nationally and globally!
I would love to hear what the Lord does in your journey with Him, as you start to wander out of your comfortable areas and into a sweet obedient adventure with Jesus Christ!
Please email me at:
In recent years, the issue of tolerance has become a hot-button issue. As a college student, it was not uncommon to hear the words “that’s pretty intolerant of you” in the classroom, as if the person committed an unforgivable sin. Clearly this is something that people care about. What exactly do we mean when we say that something is tolerant or not? Why should we even care about this issue to begin with? I hope to answer these questions and more in this brief article.
What do people generally mean when they say something is tolerant or intolerant? There has been a surprising shift in the meaning of these words in our culture that you should be aware of. See which of these definitions you would place under the word tolerance; Tolerance: to allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with). Or, Tolerance: affirming that all beliefs are equally valid and correct. Which of those would you agree with? In recent years the societal definition of tolerance has changed from allowing something to exist, to affirming that the thing is true. This is a major difference! Another example would be when we criticize or rationally analyze someone’s worldview and come to the conclusion that it can’t be true. When it comes down to it, there are two different types of tolerance that I will be referring to from this point on. I borrow the words “Old Tolerance”, and “New Tolerance” from D. A. Carson’s book “The Intolerance of Tolerance”. Contrast the new tolerance I just examined with old tolerance that says, “I may or may not agree that this worldview or belief is true but I will allow you to hold that worldview or opinion, but I would love to show you why I think it’s irrational or otherwise untrue.”
Now let’s take this “new tolerance” for a test flight and see if it lands safely. Those who hold to new tolerance have some issues to address. First, this new tolerance sounds an awful lot like relativism. Relativists believe that what’s true for you is true and what’s true for me is true, so it doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you believe something because all truth is relative. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to understand that relativism is self-defeating. The biggest problem here is that they claim that all truth is relative, except for the fact that all truth is relative. Clearly every worldview cannot be true because of all the exclusive truth claims of different worldviews and religions. But lets not gratify relativism with any more explanation, (for a more in-depth analysis of why relativism is false, buy the book “Relativism” by Beckwith and Koukl). Therefore the reason I say that this new tolerance sounds a lot like relativism is because the people getting called intolerant are the ones who don’t believe that all beliefs are basically true, or who criticize or critique another’s worldview. Therefore, if new tolerance is synonymous with relativism then I believe it to be already proven false. If new tolerance were true then we would be stuck in a world of neutrality, where everyone is stuck on the fence about each other’s views. The relativistic followers of new tolerance are insisting that all people ought to tolerate (or accept as true without argument) everyone’s viewpoint, including their own. But here is the kicker; the new tolerance will tolerate (in their own meaning of the word) everyone’s viewpoint except those who agree with old tolerance. This is a clear contradiction in the beliefs of those who hold to the new definition of tolerance. Clearly they are willing to tolerate all beliefs except the ones that are contradictory to their own, which is typically their biggest complaint against those who disagree with them. To me, this is hypocrisy.
This issue is important because truth is important. Without truth we are stuck in an abstract world without a ground for morality. Indeed there may still be moral people, but they would have no true ground for it. I for one fall under the old tolerance view because old tolerance acknowledges truth. I believe in truth. I believe there must be an ultimate standard of truth otherwise we would not be able to call something right or wrong, just as we would not be able to tell what two inches was without a ruler. I am a Christian and therefore believe with Scripture that Jesus is truth (John 14:6). He alone is our standard and truth. The problem is that God expects us to meet this standard of perfection and truth but nobody in history has done that except for one person. Jesus came because God lovingly offered us a way to get back to Him. God came to us in the person of Jesus to die and pay the price for our sin of not meeting His moral standard. Jesus died to pay the price and if we are willing to trust in what Jesus did on the cross then we can trade in our human imperfection and sin for Jesus’ perfection and right standing with God. This is the essence of the Gospel that Christians believe. The world will say this is intolerant, but we must remember that Scripture tells us that the gospel will be seen as foolishness to those who are perishing. As one who sees the gospel as not only the wisdom of God but beautiful, my prayer is that the church will stand up for the gospel even if that earns them the label of intolerant.
“If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31a-32).
Have you ever wondered how it is that Scripture can bring so much comfort and so many questions, both at the same time? I am relieved that God’s truth sets me free; but how exactly does that happen? Some days as I ponder this verse, I can trust God’s sovereignty; and it fills me with such peace. But other days, I am filled with questions that seem unanswerable. Do you have questions like these?
Please don’t feel threatened by these questions. The fact that they are written above demonstrates that you’re not alone in your struggle. We are real women seeking after a real God, and the truth is that God has the answers we need. In Jeremiah 33:3 God tells us, “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and wondrous things you do not know.” In Matthew 7:7 Jesus tells us, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” With this kind of assurance, are you compelled to take another look?
When Jesus walked the hills and highways of this world, he often saw the wretched condition of the people around him: blind, crippled, sick, poor, needy, and miserable. Jesus saw them and had compassion on them; and he healed them, every one. But as Jesus approached them for the first time, it wasn’t just their physical condition that concerned him. More often than not, his question was this: “Will you be made whole?”
You see, Jesus wasn’t simply interested in physical health. In the original text, the Greek word for “whole” includes the concepts of wellness, soundness, and wholeness. I believe it’s no accident how our culture applies these descriptive words today: wellness of the body, soundness of the mind, and wholeness of the spirit. Jesus wasn’t interested in simply healing the body. He saw the condition of their mind and spirit as well – blind, crippled, sick, poor, needy, and miserable.
Jesus left the perfection of Heaven, took on the form of our flesh, and came to live among us so that he could teach us to walk in fellowship with God. He came to heal our broken spirit, cleanse our sin-stained mind, and cover our corruptible flesh with his righteousness. It’s the only way that we can be presented holy and pleasing to God.
Have you discovered this wholeness for yourself? Do you know what it is to be whole? The truth of Scripture tells us that Jesus is our portion; he is our strength; he is everything we will ever need; because he is enough. Are you living in this truth today? Or are you broken in some way – wounded in mind, broken in spirit, tarnished and spoiled in flesh?
Jesus stands before you today with his arms open wide, and with the most compelling smile on his face. He stands before you to ask you, “Will you be made whole?” Can you hear his voice? Perhaps Jesus is your Savior. Perhaps he has forgiven you of your sins. But have you allowed him to make you whole? Have you allowed him to step into your life, into your immediate circumstances, and be enough? Every minute of every day, is he everything that you ever wanted or needed?
If I’m ringing your bell, then I have an assignment for you. In a quiet and safe place, get real with God. Ask him to show you your brokenness: what caused it; how did it affect you at the time; and how does it interfere with your life today? This may take a while, so don’t rush. You may start it and come back to it again and again before you consider it complete. I encourage you to take this assignment seriously, because God can’t heal what is not surrendered to him. Be very certain what it is that you are giving up before you lay it at the foot of the cross. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself picking it up again as you walk away.
As you prayerfully approach this task, I’ve got a melody to keep you company; and I’m praying that God will bless you in your effort.