Category Archives: One Another Relationships

Faithful in Relationships (Part 2)

Relationships matter.  When I think of all we strive for — the jobs, the accomplishments, the cars, the houses, the nice yards, the clothes, the vacations, the recreation, physical fitness, the achievements for our children, and so on — I realize how easy it is to get off base about what really is important.

What does God think is important?  We are to love Him with all our heart, soul strength and mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves.

God thinks relationships are what is important.

So it makes sense that God’s sense of righteousness is tied up in relationships.

Here are some awesome passages:

  • But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”  Isa 49:16
  • If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  Ps 139 9-10
  • For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

God cannot forget us.  So firm is His interest in us, that it is like we are engraved on his hands.  We MATTER to Him.  We are on His heart.  The power of His affection for us cannot be measured.  “For love is as strong as death.”  (Song of Solomon 8:6)

So here are three things to take away from this.  If relationships are important to God, then we can know —

That He will answer prayer.  Yesterday, in our sermon (which was awesome by the way!)  we talked about how Jesus said in Mark 9:23, “Everything is possible for one who believes.”  We even learned how God is offended that we don’t believe.  Jesus rebuked his disciples, “You unbelieving generation!”  He said this because they should realize, as should we, that we are of utter importance to God.  Of course God is listening, and wants to answer our prayers.

That He will be with us.

  • Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9
  • But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. II Tim. 4:7
  • And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matt 28:20

That He will shape us into what we need to be.

  • And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.  Phil 1:6
  • God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.  Heb. 12:10
  • for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.  Phil 2:13

When we know these things, our outlook and lives are different.  Because God treats our relationship with Him as important, we start treating our relationships with others as important.

Who are your heroes, people who go to great lengths with their lives to demonstrate that relationships matter?

It was great to see the Enterprise ministry at church on Sunday.  They drove two hours to be with us.

Some of the Enterprise folk at our picnic.

I think of my friend Nancy. When Nancy’s good friends had to go back to Mexico, Nancy and her husband. Peter, got guardianship of their friends’ 16 year old daughter, Jennifer, so she could finish school in the US.  Jennifer is now a part of their family, and they are helping her to attend college.  Here’s a picture of Nancy with her birth daughter and Jennifer.


We all have many examples.  Let’s strive today to have confidence in our relationship with God, so we can pass it on.

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The Best Gift: A Network of Commitment

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.”  Mark 10:29-20

Family is great.  Most of us don’t have to leave our homes and families to follow Jesus.  In fact, following Jesus can make us better wives, sisters and daughters.  We serve our loved ones and intentionally make time for them.

But there are times when family can be an obstacle.  In our ministry right now we have more than one campus student who went home for the summer and faced family members who told them they couldn’t go to the church of their choice.  We have someone who regularly attends church except when her family is in town.

How do have wisdom about all this?

Here’s what I think the bottom line is.  Christ’s body is interdependent.  If each person doesn’t make it a priority, it can’t function effectively.

As each and every part does its job, (Christ) makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.  Eph 4:16

It reminds me of rowing.


What if some didn’t show up to row?  What if someone slacked off?  It’s hard if everyone isn’t pulling their weight.

In the same way, it’s hard when everyone doesn’t pull their weight in the ministry.  It’s hard when someone doesn’t show up to church.  It’s hard when they don’t take the commitment seriously.  Because those who are working and coming to everything, who are rowing as hard as they can, start feeling tired and discouraged.

Plus the ministry isn’t as effective.  To work, a body needs all its parts, not just some of them.

injured cat

There has to be a commitment to put Jesus before family, and that also means putting church before family.

But as Jesus points out here, it isn’t a negative thing.  It turns out to be the best thing ever.  Again, I’m not telling people to dis mom, dad or hubby.  I’m saying when you put things in the right order there are many blessings.

I have been reading this awesome article by Fred Faller on what it means to be righteous.  He talks about how God wants us to be in a state, “where all the people will be faithful to the care and protection to one another,” where, “Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm.”  Isa 32:2

God has a plan to surround us with an army of nurturers and encouragers who will love us as He loves us.

I like what Joyce Landorf Heatherly writes in her book, Balcony People, referring to our memories of affirmations,  “All around the sphere of clear air in our conscious mind runs a balcony filled with people who are not merely sitting there, but practically hanging over the rail, cheering us on.”

This is what the body of Christ is to be.  We cheer one another on, build each other up.

But if we don’t treat our sisters and brothers like they are important, the plan fails.

A single grain of wheat doesn’t produce anything unless it is planted in the ground and dies. If it dies, it will produce a lot of grain.  John 12:24

wheat field

We have to “die” for one another, sacrifice for one another, commit to one another, for the plan to work.

And then God will give us one hundred fold.  A harvest of relationships that reflect His goodness.  Relational blessings that will last into the life to come.

(Note:  This blog is about a principle, but it takes wisdom.  Get advice in sticky family situations.  I am not condemning anyone, just giving food for thought.)



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Filed under Having the Right Heart, Mark, One Another Relationships, Unity

Becoming an Armor Bearer

armore bearer

One of the most important things I am learning lately is how to be a better friend.  I have been looking for ways I can bear the burdens of my friends more.  In some ways, this is a new kind of work for me.  For the past 5 years I have been studying the Bible with mainly campus girls.  I always haven’t had time to work on friendships — or at least, that’s what I’ve told myself.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.   Gal 6:2

I’ve realized my life has been too much, “The Kat Show.” Even though I’m serving, it’s all about what I am doing.  I’m serving others, but I’m serving them on my terms.

I was convicted a week ago when Mike preached about being armor bearers for one another.  (I Samuel 14)  He asked, “Who are you being an armor bearer for?”  And I couldn’t really name anyone.  Yes, I try to encourage my friends.  I try to help them.

But who have I devoted myself to making radiant, as Christ seeks to make us radiant?  (Eph 5:27) Who have I supported to raise them up?  Who am I being a friend to on their terms, meeting their needs?  Not really anyone.

So I am contemplating ways to be a better friend to those in my life.  I am watching for what they truly need.  I am looking for the burdens they most need help with shouldering.

It’s time for the Kat Show to close down.  It’s time for things to be about others, and for me to be a supporting player in their show.

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Building Good With Others


How much should we focus on sin in one another?  I am wrestling with this.  Should we focus on it more, apply verses like Colossians 1:28:?  “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.”

Or should we focus more on the positive:  “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  ( Peter 4:8)

There is a place for both of these things.

I was talking with one of my best long time friends yesterday about how she has been working for years on not being late.   In the last week or so she finally has really been having some victories in being on time.  In discussing how others react to her lateness, or to her confession that it is a problem, she said one thing that really struck me, “People usually give me a bye. ”

I realized this is something I’ve been depending on for awhile.  I confess my sins to my friends, but know they will usually give me a bye.  They acknowledge my action or attitude is wrong and assume  I will work on it.  I do the same for them.

So how much do we give people the space to work on things themselves? How much do we call them to be intentional, hold them accountable, etc?  As we get with people, do we have an agenda of things we want to address in their character, or do we allow them to set the pace of sharing about their life and what they need to address?  Are we the driving force or are they?

Ephesians 4 has helped me a lot as I sort through this:

…as we lovingly speak the truth, we will grow up completely in our relationship to Christ, who is the head. He makes the whole body fit together and unites it through the support of every joint. As each and every part does its job, he makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.  Eph 4:15-16

If we’re not speaking the truth to one another, the church isn’t going to grow.

But the same is true for love, if we’re not loving one another, the church isn’t going to grow.  So if we speak the truth, and others don’t feel loved, it ISN’T going to work.  People have to feel loved, valued.  They can’t feel like we always just want to get on them because they aren’t doing well enough.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Eph 4:29

I broke this verse down this morning, and it is awesome!

Unwholesome talk:  primarily, of vegetable and animal substances, expresses what is of poor quality, unfit for use, putrid, rotten.  So our talk should be leavened with the truth.  It should be untainted by worldliness, selfish ambition, anger, bitterness, etc.  I think we are far too lazy with our talk, saying any old thing that strikes us.  We need to choose our words carefully, because they shape perceptions.

Let . . . come out:  We control what comes out of our mouth.  There are all kinds of things in our heart, some good, some not.  Just because we have negative feelings, doesn’t mean we have to express them, to spread them around like a bad germ.  “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”  Matt 12:35

Building:  Constructing a structure.  Our words can strengthen someone’s foundation.  They can help someone fashion rooms of new convictions, new insight, new ways to serve.

Helpful:  Literally “intrinsically good.”  So our words should only render what is GOOD in people.  We want to help build them up in a good way.

Need:  Necessity.  We are talking to meet peoples needs.  It isn’t just idle chatter.  We are shepherds.  We are taking care of people.  We are helping them to build the faith that will sustain them all the way into heaven, that will glorify God, that will grow them up into the person who reflects immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.

Benefit:  Literally “give grace.”  Our words are gifts to others.  We’re passing on the very best from God, so that others may be encouraged, that the dry places in their heart can be nourished.

So in summary, we are helping people to build their lives on a solid foundation, with solid materials.  We’re giving them the truth.  We’re stressing the good things:  love, joy, peace, patience, and so on.  We’re helping them to identify to them the rotten timbers they have — the lies, the worldliness, etc. — so that they can have the vibrant life Christ came to give.

And how much do we help people?  It depends on their maturity.

“But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”  Heb 5:14

Young Christians will need help identifying the rotten planks.  They haven’t learned to see clearly yet.  There’s a reason it says in Hebrews 3 that we encourage one another because sin is deceitful.  (Note that encouragement is a key word here.)  It’s hard to distinguish the faulty materials we use to build.  It takes practice and wisdom.

Young Christians will also need someone to provide them with the truth and good things — two by fours they can take and implement into their strong building of faith.  Actually, ALL of us need these things, but the immature need it more.

I just started watching “Build”, a new musical written by Steve Johnson.

One good point he brings out in the play is that Jesus learned much of what he would need to build the kingdom through the craft of carpentry.  Building is the same everywhere.  You have to build on a good foundation, with good materials.

Our relationships are designed to help us build in a GOOD way.  I still haven’t figured this all out, but in studying this out,  I am excited to build!




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Things I am Learning: People are Like Christmas!


1. Satan wants us comfortable.  It has really impressed me, how comfort is one of our biggest enemies. It keeps us from growing, addressing sin, and ultimately, feeling deeply joyful and vibrant.  We get dull.

Let’s FIGHT every day to ADVANCE the kingdom of God.  Just little actions do so much.  Let’s pray harder, with faith.  Let’s address our sins.  Let’s open our mouths more, think of others more, dig deeper in the Bible.  Life can be so exciting and fulfilling if we will shake off the lethargy that settles on us like a cozy blanket.

Woe to those who are at ease in Zion. . . You lie on beds adorned with ivory and lounge on your couches.  Amos 1:1,4

word of life

2. Keep offering the gospel to those we know.  Don’t just think, “I talked to them and they weren’t interested.  The door is closed.”  God is working all the time.  This might be the time they’re open.

Sharing the gospel is like a game of Marco Polo.  We keep calling out, and listening for a response.  Like the verse in Ecclesiastes, we keep casting our bread on the waters, sending our ships out to sea, knowing after many days some will return.  We keep planting seeds, KNOWING that God is making some of them grow.

“Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return.”  Ecc 11:1

“You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness.”  Ps 65:1

merry go round

3. Abiding happiness doesn’t come from answered prayer.  Our prayer life can become a merry-go-round  of focusing on what we want to happen, rejoicing when it finally comes to be, and then moving on to the next prayer “need.”  It can become a cycle of want that never ends.

Instead, we need to focus on gratitude.  We need to praise God, and just soak up being in His presence.  We need to rejoice in the moment.

Your boundary lines mark out pleasant places for me. Indeed, my inheritance is something beautiful.  Ps 16:6

Cheryl was just baptized!

Cheryl was just baptized!

4. Resurrect the lost art of friendship.  “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”  John 15:15

I realize that I’ve forgotten how to be a friend to those closest to me.  Here are things I am working on:

  1. I need to get past the shallow superficiality, sharing of banalities and GET REAL! Talk about what my life has really been like. CONFIDE.
  2. I need to believe that each friend has something for me. It isn’t just me giving to them.  I’m learning to relax, and let the relationship wash over me, meeting my needs. I’m learning that we all need connections.  Sometimes it’s enough to just listen to a friend, appreciate who they are, learn about their life. We simply need the back and forth that is a relationship. It is actually soothing.
  3. I need to reach out to friends more with my little pieces of daily news, my joys and heartbreaks. That is what a friend does.
  4.  I need to do things with my friends more – go shopping, have them over just to hang out.

young pregnant woman enjoying life outdoors in summer

5. God is SUPER excited to have children “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”  James 1:18

I hadn’t thought about it before, but when I meditated on that verse, I realized that we are God’s first true children.  Just as a farmer plants a crop, and eagerly waits for the fruit, God has eagerly waited to have offspring who can actually come into his presence and dwell with Him.  It is incredible to think we are spiritual beings, born of the Word and Spirit.  “You received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.'”  (Romans 8:15)  “In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ.”  (Eph 1:4b-5a)

Ken asked me yesterday why I had wanted to have a baby so much.  I had had a miscarriage, and after that, I would have given almost anything to have a child.  I had to think a bit, but I told him that I wanted for our unit to increase.  I had this wonderful togetherness with my husband, but I wanted it to encompass more.  There would be a wonderful togetherness of my husband AND children.

Surely it is the same with God.  The difference is that I longed for children for a short space of time.  When I got pregnant, I only had nine months of anticipation before my child was born.  God waited THOUSANDS of years for us!  Just think how fired up he is!


6. People are like candy and Christmas.  What is God’s attitude about people?  He thinks each individual is the best thing ever.   “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”  Luke 15:7

Look at how the father greeted the prodigal son in the parable in Luke:  “he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”  (Luke 15:20)  God is so excited when we come to him.

In the same way, I need to be more excited when I see people.  God thinks they are super special, and so should I!  I need to treat my time with them like it is a gift.

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Filed under Battle Against Evil, Evangelism, Gratitude, Having the Right Heart, One Another Relationships, Prayer, Self Worth, Things I Am Learning

So Great is His Compassion

"When he saw the crowd he had compassion on them. . . "

“When he saw the crowd he had compassion on them. . . “

Friday night a group of us went to an outdoor concert and movie at the park.  While we were sitting on the grass visiting and listening to music, a child on a neighboring blanket began crying because his mother had left him for a few minutes.  We looked at him and sympathized from afar.  Marge went over and tried to comfort him.  Marge does things like that a lot.  We were at lunch together Saturday, and there was a bird without a leg  She felt so bad for him that she went over and tried to give him some water.  (He flew away — he wasn’t as disabled as we thought!

Compassion builds a bridge to others across our selfishness and fears.

Without compassion, we would be nothing.  We would be treated as our sins deserve. God would have destroyed us long ago.

Death row

Death row

  • He does not treat us as our sins deserve . . Ps 103:10
  • Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  Lam 3:2

Without it, our friends and coworkers would have given up on us.

Without it, I would faint, brought low by the consequences of my own foolish acts.  I think of the people I have hurt, the prideful choices that led me in the wrong direction.

How life giving it is, that compassion is part of the nature of God!

  • And (the Lord) passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin  Ex 34:6-7
  • Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.  Lam 3:32

How wonderful it is, that compassion is not just God’s nature, it is relational.  God has compassion on us because he is invested in us, and cares, personally for each of us —

  • As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him. Ps 103:13
  • A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.  “On the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. Mal 3:16 – 17  
  • “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboyim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.  Hos 11:18
  • But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”  “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.  Is 49:15

And the very greatest thing is that the relational compassion extended to the point of saving you and me.

We use Isa 59:1-2 when we study the Bible with people to talk about how people are separated from God by their sins — “The LORD is not too weak to save or his ear too deaf to hear.  But your wrongs have separated you from your God, and your sins have made him hide his face so that he doesn’t hear you.”

Isa 53 goes on to describe what the abject condition of people without God — “Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. . . We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves.

But God’s heart is moved, and He doesn’t leave us in the misery we created for ourselves:  “He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him.”

Jesus saved us.  And in his very life, He exemplified the compassion of God  —

  • Jesus had compassion because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without shepherd  Matt 9:36
  • When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.  Matt 14:14

We are sustained by compassion. It is the milk and bread of our days.  We depend on God to do good to us, not because we deserve it, but because he is gracious.  We depend on others to forgive us in spite of our careless acts and irritable words.

Will our hearts, like God and like Jesus, be moved?  Will we get out of our self absorption to reach out to others, friends and strangers alike?  Surely we can bestow pearls of kindness as we go about our day, and not hoard what is in our heart like a grumpy dragon.


God has been good to us.  His dealings with us are defined by gentle touch of compassion.  May this be our heart as well.

I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.  Hos 11:4




Filed under Grace, One Another Relationships, Uncategorized

Five Things That are Vital

1.  Understanding how God works is vital. 

It was the best of times this past weekend -- the fruition of hard work

It was the best of times this past weekend — the fruition of hard work


I read the story of the Israelites’ struggles with the Philistines in the early chapters of I Samuel.  At one point the Israelites try to go to battle against the Philistines, and they bring the ark with them, thinking that by doing so, they will ensure that God is with them.  But they are routed, and the Philistines capture the ark.  It isn’t until later, after the Philistines return the ark, that things come together and they are moved to return to the Lord and repent.  Then God is truly with them, and they defeat the Philistines.

This story reminds me that God works through a natural progression.  Just like a seed is planted, and must go through a process to grow and bear fruit, people must go through a process to be ready to repent.  The people I am praying for, and studying the Bible with, will come to faith in the fullness of time.

This is also true for the things I am praying about.  The prayers will be answered in the fulness of time.  One thing we have prayed about for years is to have permanent leaders in Auburn.  It looks like this prayer and dream is about to come to fruition.  In many ways, I can see that this is the right time for this to come to pass.  Our financial contributions have grown so we can support a leader better now.  We have learned much in the years of struggle waiting for this to come to pass.

  • Then all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord. . . So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.. . . On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.”  (From I Sam 7)
  • You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)
  • but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:31

2. Maintaining a focal point is vital.

tightrope 1

I read a chapter of “Finding Balance from the inside out,” by Sheila Jones.  She mentioned that tightrope walkers are taught to focus on a point at the end of the rope they traverse.  Keeping their eyes on that point will help them keep their balance through the walk.

In the same way, I must keep my eyes on God.  If I allow myself to be distracted by emotion, ambition, people pleasing, worry, challenging situations, and so on, I lose sight of the one thing that will get me through.  Focusing on God gives me the right perspective for every situation.  Focusing on God gives me strength. 

  • We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”  2 Chron 20:12
  • My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.  Ps 25:15
  • the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.  John 5:19
  • I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me.  John 8:28

3. Being a good guide is vital.


In the first few chapters of I Samuel.  Israel suffered greatly because of the sin of Hophni and Phinehas, who, as priests, were their spiritual leaders.  They lost the ark to the Philistines, and thirty thousand of them were slaughtered in battle.

In the same way, my spiritual walk can affect others.  How I live matters.

And I have a responsibility to help others, to warn them about the “small” poor choices they are making with their lives.  Often these choices seem like they are no big deal.  It is so easy to think I need to give people their space.  It is easy to avoid conflict.  It is easy to procrastinate.

But I have to remember that every negative thing my friends allow in their lives is DESTRUCTIVE.  As a spiritual leader, it is my job to stand up for the purity of living that will lead to the best life for all of us.

  • Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.  I Tim 4:16
  • You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.  Titus 2:1
  • teach the older women to live in a way that honors God.. . . These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes,to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.  Titus 2:3

4. Having partners in the mission is vital.

crew boat

  We moved to Auburn because we deeply desired to be involved in helping others to have a great relationship with God.  But we would not have moved here on our own.  We wanted to join a church of like minded people — partners in the gospel.

Jake said on Sunday that being actively involved in the mission builds close relationships, and this is so true.   There is nothing like working together for someone’s salvation — studying the Bible, praying, fellowshipping, going through the ups and downs together.

I have felt at my lowest spiritually when I did not have partners in the gospel.  There’s just something special about feeling that you are putting your hands to the oars, and knowing that others are alongside you, rowing with all their heart as well.  As we pray for this ministry to grow, we pray for God to bring us workers!!! I do want everyone to know the sublime sweetness that come from having a relationship with God and being at peace with him.  But I want, I need, to have those who will be with me heart and soul in the fight.

  • Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.  Phil 1:3-5
  • Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  Matt 9:38
  • “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”  I Samuel 14:7

5. Having the right motivation is vital.

I was saved from death row.

I was saved from death row.

I can do the right thing because I am supposed to do it.  But it is much better if I do it from the heart.  Love and grace must be my motivators.

It seems like there are a thousand challenges to build this motivation!!  But it is a good fight.  I am praying to learn to be more loving.  I am fighting to rid myself of the wrong attitudes.  God is guiding me, showing me great verses, speaking through others, helping me to grow.

So I say, if it isn’t going to be done in love, don’t do it!

  • For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, ( Titus 2:11-12)
  • And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,  Phil 1:9-10
  • Clearly, Christ’s love guides us. We are convinced of the fact that one man has died for all people. Therefore, all people have died.  II Cor 5:14
  • Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.  I Tim 1:15-16

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Circle of Friends


I remember when Ken and I were a young couple, we used to watch this show called “Thirtysomething.”  And what I LOVED about that show was that the people in the show were such good friends.  They would just come over to each other’s house all the time, and drop in like they were family, and spend time together.  I longed for something like that in my life.

We all want deep sincere friendships.  But it’s harder to build those relationships than it looks like on TV.  Because I tend to be a performance oriented person, I can make interacting with people something I check off my list.  I would like my motivation always to be a genuine concern for others.  I still want the Thirtysomething dream.

  • I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.  Phil 2:20

I feel like God is helping me to make some progress.  I am beginning to see how interconnected we all are.  I feel like I will only do as well as those around me are doing.  If they are thriving, I will thrive, and if they struggle, I will struggle too. It is not just me, I am not an island.

  •  “For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.”  I Thes 3:8

So it was a victory yesterday that I was motivated to call and check on people because of this feeling of connectedness.  I just wanted to touch base with them.  I just wanted to hear their voice for a moment.  I wanted to encourage them to be at church tomorrow just so we could be together.

Slowly, people are becoming more of my treasure.  Don’t take me wrong. For years I have loved people greatly, and they are my joy.  I just want for love to be more of my motivation, instead of performance.

Here are some of the verses that have helped me in this:

  • As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.  Ps 16:3
  • I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now  Phil 1
  • But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you  Matt 5:44
  • If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.  Prov 25:21
  • Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  Luke 23:34
  • Jerusalem, Jerusalem. . .  how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.  Luke 13:34
  • And (Jesus) said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”  Luke 22:14
  • He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”  Matt 26:37-38

The truth is, it is good to be action oriented and accomplish things, but a goal orientation can obscure relationships.  I just wrote my last blog about my desire to focus on the process, not fancy New Year’s resolutions.  It’s not that I don’t want to make goals in the new year.  I do and I am.  But I know that I if I’m not careful, I will focus on these goals to the point where I’m not focusing on God, who is the true SOURCE of everything.

In closing, I would like to post a picture of a REAL LIFE Thirtysomething.  Christina Shaw, if you are reading this, it is YOU!!


This is a picture of Christina with two wonderful women she studied the Bible with and baptized, Corina and SeAnne.  Christina didn’t just study the Bible with these women, she made them a part of her life.  She exercised with them.  She had them in her house.  Their kids played together.

Like me, Christina struggles with legalism.  But she is a great example of living out her love for others.  I want to be like that more, where I take the time to just have fun and enjoy my friends!  Thank you, Christina, for helping me see how to do that.

To God be the glory always!

“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. “   I Cor 8:1

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Helping the Weak

In working with the women of the church, here is what God is teaching me —

1. That I need to be helping my sisters to have FAITH.  It is easy to get frustrated or discouraged with people, and tell them what they should be doing.  But my good friend Nancy Berry showed me that it is more effective to help people to see what God is doing and can do in their lives.  This is what they really need to get their lives on track.  And isn’t this what Hebrews 3 is all about, seeing to it that each of us doesn’t have a sinful unbelieving heart?

2. That I should practice I Thes 5:14 with my sisters — “warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”

  • The word for “idle and disruptive” is actually “disorderly.”  It is people who are out of line, who are the opposite of being in sync with God’s will, as I so often say I long to be.  In admonishing these people, I need to, as the Greek lexicon says, “exert positive pressure on someone’s logic.”  I need to help them to see that it is reasonable to be in line with God’s will, and that it is obvious they are out of line.
  • I need to encourage those who are “fainthearted” — who have an “undeveloped soul.”  Literally the word means that they have a small quantity of soul.  These people aren’t spiritually healthy.  The NIV translates it “disheartened.”  They don’t have the heart to do what is right for God.  More than anything, I need to help them have the heart to follow God.
  • The word for “help” in the phrase, “Help the weak” is actually more like be devoted to, hold fast to, support. “Weak” is someone who is without the necessary strength, who is feeble and frail.   It is very often translated “sick” in other places in the Bible.  It is the word Jesus uses when he encourages Peter, James and John to pray that they will not fall into temptation, for the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.  It is also the word Paul uses in Romans 5:6 to say that while we were weak, Christ died for us.  And it is word Paul uses when he describes the body in I Cor 12, when he says the weaker parts of the body are indispensable.    The conclusion of this for me is that first, people are in a feeble state and less able to just snap out of it than I would think, second, that I have been this weak, and third, that even those who are weak are still necessary in God’s plan. Also, a sick person needs someone who will constantly care for them and help nourish them back to help.  I should be this person.
  • Finally, if there is any doubt in my mind as to how I am treating my sisters, the verse reminds me that I need to be patient with everyone.  That about sums it up, and dispenses of all my excuses about my impatience.

To summarize, here are some things I can consider in working with my sisters:

  1. Help them to find the faith that God is working on their behalf.
  2. Help them to see if they are out of line with the teachings of the Bible.
  3. Help them to strengthen their heart, build their love for God.
  4. Be devoted to those who in poor spiritual health, nurturing them back to a better place.
  5. Everyone deserves my patience.

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Turning Down Self


So I took a personality test this week.  The test listed statements, and asked you to rate whether those statements were accurate or inaccurate about you.   Here are a couple of the statements that were inaccurate for me:

  • My thoughtfulness and charitable nature are my foundation.
  • I am frequently helping others but I forget about myself.

As I read these, I thought, really?  Some people are naturally giving?  There are people who help others all the time out of the pure goodness of their heart?  Wow.  I assumed everyone was more like me.  I care about others.  It is my goal to be giving.  But I have to make a conscious effort to put SELF aside.

Selfishness.  It is a beast most of us wrestle with often.  We face it so much, we begin to forget that it is a big deal.

But then this verse in James reminds us,  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”  James 3

Selfishness isn’t just a weakness, it is something that creates disorder and every evil practice. Probably the majority of the wrongdoing we commit over the course of our lives is rooted in selfishness.

Going back to the personality test, which statements were absolutely true for me? There were statements that were true for me that reflect my strengths of leadership and creativity.  But then there were these:

  • I am always afraid that I will do the wrong thing.
  • I worry about things all the time.
  • I spend a lot of time thinking about past mistakes.

I am an anxious person!  I thought, as a Christian, that I had this more under control.  But these phrases describe me well.

So I am selfish and I am anxious. Do both of these stem from the same place within me?  I think so.  I think that I am anxious and selfish because I do not TRUST that God is running the world, and taking care of me, in the right way.

Yesterday the kids did a craft in Sunday school where they pasted their footprints on a piece of paper with a simply worded version of  Psalms 23:3, “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”  And this is just what I need to hear.  ALL GODS PATHS ARE RIGHT.   If I am following God, I am going in the right direction.  The world around me is going in the right direction.

  • “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Phil 1:6

God is working towards an end in my life.  He is working towards an end across time, across the universe.  I need to have faith, to remember that after suffering comes restoration, to prepare myself to stand in awe at what God will do.

How can I be more compassionate?  How can I be less anxious?  I can learn to TRUST more.

I will trust more when I know better the character of God:  “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Ex 34:6

  • “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”  Romans 2:4

I will trust more when I humble myself and let God lift me up.  I do not have to find for myself the recognition I so crave.  God will take care of me and shape me into the person I was created to be.

  • Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”  James 3:13

Turning down the volume on self.  Learning to have God’s wisdom.  Learning to have God’s heart.   I love how James describes it, this is who I would like to be, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”  James 3:17

In closing, may we be inspired by the compassion of Jesus.

  • “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.”  Matt 15:32
  • “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”  Matt 9:36
  • When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matt 14:14
  • So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ “And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.  Matt 18:26-27
  • They said to Him, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him. John 20:33-34
  • Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep.” Luke 7:12-13
  • But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  Luke 10:33
  • So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.  Luke 15:20

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