The Things We Hate

Song of the month- Highly Favored One by Lindsy Morton



I hate waiting for things I’ve ordered.

I. Really. Hate. It. It’s probably why I rarely order things online. I can feel my blood boil with each passing day. Package? No Package. Package? No Package. Package? Wrong Order? Wrong house? Wrong thing for me to do if I want to remain nice.

I hate cold showers.

I think it’s just one of those “most vulnerable” moments in life. Stark naked, surrounded by cold tiles which might as well be the bricks of a prison cell when, sudsed up to glory, the water decides to run cold. Honestly, you could convince me Gremlins were real in those moments.

I hate things that look delicious but taste nasty.

Beautiful, red tomatoes that taste like bitter feet. Watermelon that feels like wet lint in your mouth. Chicken that does not  taste “just like chicken”.

I hate road blocks…not good.


My kids hate their share of things too…Like sharing things.

My seven year old hates mushrooms.

My two year old hates the word “yes”.

And we all hate how close the back of the seat is to…whoever is kicking it!

These may seem like little hates. But hate is hate and big or small it can control our whole day. Week. Month. Year. Years. Life.

I hate injustice. I hate prejudice. I hate hate.

I hate the fact that before my flat foot hits the floor in the morning, I can find a never-ending list of things on Facebook to hate as I caress my coffee cup. I hate how easy it is to hate.

It’s almost not fair to us as humans. This love of hate. We deny it, of course. We hate that kind of negative talk.  We have all sorts of good works to drum up hoping to offset the guilt of our hate. But that’s the reality show of life. We excel in hating.

It’s why at Christmas time, the Story of Christ is such a profound, unbelievable, miracle.

Really? God come to Earth? Really? Born in a Stable to a humanity that won’t even let Him reach his mid-life for a crisis? Unbelievable.

Yet, unbelievable as it is, it remains a timeless story.  At Christmas time, unlike any other time of year, we are reminded that hate was conquered.

In our current political and cultural climate, this is something we can’t set aside and come back  to meditate on later. It’s now, Church planter. It’s now, Christian.

Meditate on this- Hate was conquered in the laying down of all rights.

Do I hear the ever-prolific words of my two year old? …”No no no no no no no. No!”

“Yes, said God.  Lay down all you hold as logical, loving and valuable; and value people who will kill you instead.

…Or please tear out this verse in the Bible, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten son (to be killed), that whosoever (His enemies) believes in Him should not die, but live forever.”

The one with ALL the power, i.e. God, laid down all His rights and became a infant.

Let’s take off our Sunday school ear muffs that make that last sentence sound like a long run-on sentence spoken by Flanders on the Simpsons, and hear it fresh.

God gave up all because His enemies were more important than anything else to Him.

Right now, I’m sitting in a public place writing this. And to my side is an irate woman giving her friend (and anyone near her) and ear full of profanity and rage. Why? Why is she so upset that the whole cafe must hear? Well, someone came into her house and left poop splattered in her toilet. Lots of it.  She is giving full details. I mean much more than I’m willing to write here.  I’m trying really hard not to eavesdrop, but their conversation is just too perfect for my analogy here.

The reality is,we don’t like our rights, our comforts, and the things we love, jeopardized. And as long as we have things we want to protect or promote, we will hate things that work against what we want. Inevitably, we will begin to hate those things that threaten the things we love most.

This Lady loved her pretty bathroom. She really hates the fact that her new, nice rug had pee on it and her toilet was left for her to scrub, and her new slippers are ruined and her night’s sleep was upset. And now she probably won’t be able to get a roommate cause the whole place smells like %@#*.

Well. There it is.

Honestly, left to myself without the Gospel challenging me, I’d hate someone who’d try to steal or destroy something I loved. My children, my husband, my friends and family.

But the Christ key is not giving up loving things, but loving others more than any-thing. Hard.

Hate will terrorize us. Then it will terrorize all those around us and near to us. Like that woman’s hate was consuming her and overflowing like her toilet, onto everyone around her.

The Miracle of Christmas was not just that Mary was a Virgin or that God was Born in a stable in Bethlehem, or that God lived and walked the earth as a human. The miracle is that that baby grew up and conquered hate. When all hate was poured out on Him, He still loved.

He did not let hate terrorize Him. His compassion for others pushed Him forward in His times of greatest fear and torment. His Love was His bookmark, helping Him follow the story through to the end.

John 3:16 does not say that “God so Hated sin that he sent his only son…”

No “God so loved…” and because He so Loved, sin was conquered.

Yes,we have terrorists in our cities.  Yes, there is horror and hate ready to spring to life in this earthly garden. But there is something else that is so much more powerful.

Losing our life. In the words of Elsa, “Let it go”.

Newsflash, it’s going anyway. If not today then in about 20-70 years from today you will be gone.

When we no longer fear losing things, then we will be free to love like Christ.

Christ’s words,  “He who wants to save his life will lose it and he who loses his life will save it” (Luke 9:24) have never been so profound to me as this month when I read about the lives lost in California. Like Paris, it was Hate.

The temptation, of course, is for me to try and self-preserve.  Be less tolerant of those of different beliefs, shut borders, turn out any refugees, hide, protect, fear, push the “enemy” away.

But then the hate has won, because you cannot love what you lock out.

No, I will not be terrorized out of compassion. I will still say let’s kill with kindness. Terror will come to each of our homes at some point.  This is a fact. But if it finds no footing in fear there, it will not be able to grow roots and infect us.

I will fight one thing. I will fight Hate. Just as Christ did. It will be a lot harder for me, but I will still fight it.

I will not be terrorized out of compassion.

I will confine my hate to bad fruit, cold showers, and my late-arriving packages.



…Only because I see the new Star Wars tomorrow…And I hate that there are no Pink and Mint green Stormtroopers! Smhh…

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Song of the Month: Glory- by Common and John Legend


Christian life equation:

  If Jesus = Love


 Christian= Disciple of Jesus

Christian= Disciple of love

So why do we sometimes seem so angry?
When we represent something, whether it’s God or a chocolate chip cookie, wouldn’t it make sense to consider our curb appeal?

What if we went outside our social box and took a survey where we asked two questions of total strangers…but not strangers at our church. Strangers at a public place, even a public internet place, if that’s easier.

1.What’s the first thing that you think of when you hear the word, “Christian”?

2. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the words, “Chocolate chip cookie”?

It doesn’t matter what order you do it in.

And wait and see… I’m sure some of the answers may make us feel proud, while others might make us angry.

Now what might the answers be from someone who has never tasted a chocolate chip cookie, but only ever read about them on Facebook?

What if their only frame of reference about chocolate chip cookies was our Facebook posts? Would they come away tempted? Tantalized? Curious, at least?

…And you see where I’m going with this. What would someone unfamiliar with Christianity come to understand about us if Facebook was all they had to reference?

Would they come away thinking we are a loving group? Would they know what we DO believe in?

Or would they see an angry community? Would they feel our Judgement before God’s Love, or God’s Love before our Judgement?

Would they know more about our views on Oprah Winfrey, Obama, and Gluten, than they do about the outworking of Grace and forgiveness in our lives, marriages and friendships?

Every 100 years or so, the Church has to sit back and listen to their echo. Sometimes we have to close our mouths long enough to hear the silent cry of the ones Christ spoke about when He said, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.”

Like us, I’m sure the 1st century church had their hot topics: The freakin-dang Roman government, meat sacrificed to idols, circumcision, talkative women busting in on the previous Men’s Only club, and so on. (Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, Ephesians, Etc.)

Yet time and again, the writer of the Epistles had to draw the believers’ attention back to Christ and who He is amidst a broken humanity. The Discipler of Love didn’t focus on the Brokenness, but His own wholeness embraces rather than excludes. The Gospel became The Good News, rather than the, “Yes, but…” news the Pharisees were preaching. (ie: woman found in Adultery, Thief on the Cross, a Kiss to Judas’ Cheek.)

I know. I know. This makes us sooooo afraid! But there are always “Yes, buts” when we dip our own dirty fingers into the Grace plate. Because we spend most of our time thinking, reading, and mulling over our own weaknesses and those of a sinful humanity, we have a lot of “But what about,” phrases rolling off our lips.

But…if we are Disciples of Love and Disciples of Christ, then it follows we must be representing a beyond ‘moral’, life threatening, irrational, non-human kind of love. And to be honest, that gets everyone, myself included, a bit squirmy and uncertain about where the “Boundaries” and “Tough Love” fall into place.

As bouncing, budding, buttheads, we humans love more than anything in all the world to justify our anger….and yes of course there are many things in our world to feel justifiably angry about.

But this world needs so, so, so much more…

More of our ability to do the opposite of what they think we are going to do.

More of this supernatural, transforming kind of love that’s hiding in our salvation tool belt.

More of the kind of love Christ taught us when we first said, “Hell, ya!” (or something worse) when someone asked us if we wanted to know Jesus.

There is something powerful that happens when we lay down our life, and rather than singing “Witchy Woman” in order to get our way, we love those who offend us.

Am I just speaking a bunch of high and flighty, unrealistic ideals here, people?

Well, perhaps to a world void of the Holy Spirit, yes. But like Mulder Says to Scully in the X-Files, “We’re not alone here”. We got a secret weapon.

And if we live with our mind in this world only, we will let its human laws govern our temperaments, marriages, families, and Facebook page. Their hot topics will burn a fear into us, and we will respond according to the fear they decide we should feel. Our anger will also be governed by what others do or do not do. And it will be in that exact spot of anger, where we will become powerless to offer acceptance to those who we feel deserve our rejection.

And where is the Good News in that?

Maybe we just don’t yet understand our own salvation. Honestly, no matter how long I live as a Christian who believes in God’s grace, I still struggle with giving it when it’s most needed.
Maybe, like the early church, we’re still afraid of the kind of love Christ offered. After all, He didn’t fight like we might have expected Him to fight. And, it had Him killed. And, we very much want to live.

I wonder what would have been the Facebook posts about Christ from Christians in His day?
“The idiot Government strikes again!”
“Now’s the time to speak out!”
“How many Roman Dogs does it take to…”

Let’s listen to what Christ said:

“On the Evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”-John 20:19


When Jesus appeared to his disciples he could have said anything. But the one major thing recorded wasn’t “knock em dead” or “Speak super loudly about all you disagree with in this world” or “fight the good fight”. Strangely, it wasn’t even, “Keep yourself from sin.”

The one thing above all others, encompassing all others, was the words, “Peace be with you.”

And the one thing to Peter?
Peter, the angry, militant, political, zealous, lambasting, swordsman?

“Peter, do you love me?”…
…“Feed my sheep.”

Oh us silly toddlers really want to help out our great heavenly Father! We have so many great ideas! But like Peter with his ear slicing swordsmanship, sometimes we hit the target, without hitting the mark.

This world needs Christians to feed it with God’s peace. This world needs to know that God is love.(1 John 4:8) That concept wasn’t too simplistic and idealistic for our God when he laid down every ounce of power and all his rights and did the opposite of what was expected.

“Forgive them Father” (Luke 23:34)
“Peace be with you”
“Do you love me?”
“Feed my sheep”.

If we pass on peace to the fearful, pregnant woman, perhaps we save a baby’s life as well as the mother’s.

If we learn to pass on Peace to the nations in conflict, we build bridges instead of promoting more buildings being blown up.

If we are called to feed, we are called to wear the badge of, “Peace be with you.”

We can go on and attempt to justify all other things, like Peter, ready to cut the enemy down to size and FIGHT!
But fighting is born of fear,and a desire to take control. Peace changes the tides, and changed tides move mountains.
(Why does this last sentence sound like Yoda to me?… never mind, read it again..)

“Your Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

That’s the end game. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize and not on the enemy.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” -Gal. 5:22,23

To be Angry at God…Or Not To Be…

Photo Credit-Rachel Peterson…Thanks rad mama!                                        IMG_5313

Song of the month-The Unmaking

by Nichole Norderman

(No Spoiler alert. The back of the book I refer to here tells you more than my references do:)

I just set down a fairly popular memoir that has taken me some time to get through. Not because the author wasn’t a good writer, or because the life issues didn’t somehow connect with mine, but because initially, I just couldn’t connect with the young woman the memoir was written about. The Little Way of Ruthie Leming is the life journey, as seen through the eyes of her brother, of a young southern woman battling cancer, and the lessons she passes on to others.

As I read though, I often found myself thinking, “Ya Right! This Chick is just waaaay too perfect.” Other times I slammed it shut mumbling to myself, “I just can’t believe she didn’t go through any doubts as her cancer cells sped her right out of her kids lives and into eternity… Not one doubt about God? Not one bit of anger about all she was going to miss out on? No blame game? Self pity? Come on…”

But because I respect the author and believe his story to be credible, and I was enjoying reading about his own “Doubting Thomas” journey in the process of his sister’s cancer battle, I kept reading. That is, until I slammed it shut it again…

…For heaven sakes! Now Ruthie was looking right at her three baby girls, ranging in ages 17 down to 8 and sternly warning them in the way only a southern Mama can.

“Girls, we are NOT going to be angry at God.” Ruthie said.

“Yes Ma’am,” would have been the only acceptable response to their Mama’s command.

This time I didn’t pick the memoir up again for about two weeks…

Ruthie Leming’s words lingered in my head though. Like I’m sure they did for her daughters.

and I thought…

and I kept thinking…

Just commanding your kids not to be angry at God in times of suffering doesn’t work…does it?

It doesn’t seem to work in our churches, or with people who’ve decided God’s not worth their love or devotion…does it?

I wish making pain vanish was just that easy. As easy as simply saying, “We are NOT” and “yes Ma’am”.

I thought through the dark hours of my own soul and my questions of faith amidst it.

Yes Me. An oh so Holy, awesomely dedicated, Church Leader, Pastor’s wife,  Missionary, considered an “elite” in the Christian good works club, good tither, devoted wife and mother, rescuer of small animals, children, squirrels, baby ducks on highways and the like. A dotter of “i”s and a wonderful crosser of “t”s. Yes me, I have had many dark hours of my soul where I really wasn’t as brave as I outwardly looked.

Unfortunately, at times, I swallowed up the anger.

I didn’t tell myself, “We are NOT going to be angry at God about this.”…At least not in my first few Dark hours of the Soul. (Yes people there can be more than one if you live long and hard enough). I fell right on into that abyss like a drunk into a margarita filled, sugar topped, kiddy pool. Splash, soak, slither, sulk.

The words I recently read of Little Ruthie Lemming struck a cord in me though. They reminded me of the words I once read from one of the Great Heroes of the faith, Amy Carmichael. Amy once wrote,  “Never be tempted to ask God, ‘why?’.”

At the time I read Amy’s quote I was in my young twenties, minoring in Philosophy, full of adventure and lots of Why questions. And, in my youthful wisdom I also thought Amy C., bound in her Victorian Theology, could learn a thing or two about how one ought to talk to God.

God and I had a great relationship. We were so, so, good. I told Him EVERYTHING. I held nothing back and never, ever, would. It’s just not me. I’m not a holder backer. 

So when I hit the first hour of the dark hour of my Soul? Well I let it fly. Yup.

“Take that Amy C.”  I thought many times. “Look at all the ‘why’ questions I’m asking now! Why don’t you think I should ask God why? Why?”

13 years of unanswered “why” questions later…I know why we don’t ask ‘why’.

Amy Carmichael had to learn her wisdom through many years of unanswered questions and physical pain. She trudged over the why question in the loneliness of being an unmarried woman, who wanted desperately to be married. She buried that question in her childlessness and feelings of abandonment. By learning to not ask the question “Why God?” , she simply removed the emotion of frustration and anger from her already emotionally saturated heart. And really, did the emotions of frustration and anger ever help any of us in times of bone crushing pain?  I don’t think so.

As unrealistic as it may seem in our faithless generation, and as haunting (and slightly too simplistic for my taste) little Ruthie Leming’s words to her girls may have seemed to me, she was right.  Yes right…“We are not going to be angry at God.”

Honestly, I wish just before I had entered into my darkest hour, a wise southern Mama would have looked me square in the eyes with power, Faith, and strength and said, “We are NOT going to be angry at God about this girl! Got it?”…

“Yes Ma’am.”

After all, being angry at God is about as useless as being angry at a hummingbird for not letting us put it in our pocket, or a butterfly for not inviting us into its Chrysalis…It just isn’t logical. And neither the butterfly nor the hummingbird are hindered by our anger. In our anger, we lock ourselves away from the beautiful and miraculous. And what good is that when we are in pain? When we are afraid? When we are tempted to ask “Why”? When we are in our most desperate state to see something beautiful, we hinder it with anger and blame. Yuck.

I’m not saying that we must be Stoics amidst our pain. Or that God will be angry at us in our weak, anger infused sorrow. No, the Scripture says, “ A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not put out.” (Isaiah 42:3)  All I’ve begun to realize, through many years of questions, many good books, many bad books,  many times of anger and confusion, many encouraging friendships, many insensitive words thrown my way in times of sorrow, and many blessings…is it’s all part of it. All part of our flight of faith.  Both the turbulence and the smooth sailing show us we are in route. We are going for it!

So, To be angry at God…Or not to be? That is the question.

No. Just no.

If your going down in flames why light yourself on fire right? What’s the point? Just enjoy the last few seconds of flight till God hits the eject button and shows us the REAL show.

I’m thankful to Ruthie Leming and her powerful words to her girls. I pray they have taken them to heart. If not now, maybe one day.  “We are NOT going to be angry at God.”

Grab ahold of it church. It’s time we buckle our seat belts and soar…even amidst our trials. Can it be? Is it possible? Only if we stop looking at what we see as negative circumstances, and focus on all the miracles around us. Every day. Every second. Notice the beautiful and the miraculous.

Thought: If you’re having trouble seeing the silver lining, grab some silly putty and make your own


Dark Night of the Soul: St John of the Cross

The Little Way of Ruthie Leming- Rod Dreher

Amy Carmichaell- I Come Quietly To Meet You

Three Pick Up lines Every Church Planting Husband Needs To Use On His Wife

forrest-gump-jenny Song of the Month-

Thinking Out Loud:  Ed Sheeran

Note to Reader:

If these lines don’t work…Just try Forest Gumping it.

“I may not be a smart man Jenny, But I know what LOVE is.”

Three pick up lines every Church Planting Husband needs to use on his wife.

  1. I See you.
  2. I hear you.
  3. I understand.

First practice them like a mantra. Say them as you fall asleep, while you’re driving alone, or shaving in front of the mirror.  Then use them on her, and wait. It doesn’t really matter when you start to use them, just to do it. Preferably before you’re neck high in hot water. But I believe these lines work even then.

Men, these three handy lines are the female equivalent to us wives walking up to you, (As I’ve learn to do in my wiser, more manipulative? years.) and commenting on your incredible muscles.  It doesn’t matter if you no longer have one, drop, of muscle under your Star Wars T-shirt.  If we think you’re amazing…well then…it must be true, right?

So it is with the magic of these three lines said to us.

I see you. I hear you. I understand.

I remember when Peyton used these lines on me for the first time. Whatever I had been REALLY upset about was lost in my complete and total hysteria. When I finally pulled it together and ceased snorting herbal tea out my nose, I could see he was actually being sincere. And he won me.

You see we had just finished watching one of our favorite shows where the lead character used them on his wife of 30+ years.  The couple had gone through some very rocky times where they really didn’t think they were going to make it. The wife didn’t know if it was worth it anymore. She was in her 60s, the kids were grown, and the pain she had been through throughout the years seemed to have buried the woman she once was. Her bags were packed. She was ready to run away to Paris and paint the rest of her life away! (This is called T.V.Land temptation) Through a turn of events that only prime time T.V. can accomplish in sixty minutes, the couple managed to work through things and head into their “Golden” years together.

How did they do it? How did they navigate through one of the toughest times in their lives?

Well, the husband got some wise counsel to say two of these three lines to his wife.

1. I see you. 

2. I hear you.

Boom! He was a man of few words and these few words demonstrated to his wife the one thing she needed to know.

Translation of these lines to the wife?

1. You’re important.

2.  I won’t do this thing we call life without you anymore.

The third line every church planting husband needs to remember is just a summary of the first two.

3. I understand

Translation to the wife?

You’re not crazy for feeling this way.  I actually meant it when I said I’d treat you like Christ treats his bride.

And Ladies? Your hubbies love you. Really they do. They’re just working on memorizing their lines.

For the second time in the last six months I’ve come back from a meeting with church planters where I was the only woman in the gathering. You know what the guys wanted to talk about once they saw a women Church Planter?


They wanted to talk about you.


They wanted to know how to encourage you as their Church Planting Partner. They asked me what advice I’d have for them. How could they support their wives in their calling?

And it became very evident to me that this is not our parents’ generation of ministry husbands. These are the guys who push strollers, change diapers, let their daughters give them makeovers, and wear the pink and black baby carriers on their chest so they can be as close as a dad can be. They wear skinny jeans, use permanent marker on their body, and do not see earnings as accessories for females only.

No, this generation of Church Planters haven seen their mom’s, sisters and wives have very successful careers and know their talents. They just haven’t seen yet how that all translates into church planting…But they know there is an untapped talent in our churches. You don’t have to be the Sunday School teacher, the pot luck lady, the bible study small group leader, the Sunday morning Evangelist, Preacher or Worship leader. But you do have to be you.

So talk ladies. Not just about your fears and worries, but about your passions as well. What would you’d love to do in the church if the sky was the limit? Talk to your hubbies about what you want. (after you spend some time figuring that out…I have to refigure it out about twice a year!) And by what you want, I don’t mean what you think OTHER people want you to do or not do as a woman in Church planting. Talk about the gifts you have been given according to 1 Corinthians 7-10 and Ephesians 4:11-12.

Talk .

Then wait for those pick up lines…don’t take a sip of anything that might come out your nose though.

And Hubbies go for it.

“I see you. I hear you. I understand…”

Use those pick up lines on your wife. You’ll see they really do pick her up!

Now go Plant a Church!

Everything I Learned About Church Planting, I Learned from Silly Putty. ( And other 1980’s toys)


Yes. You heard me right. Silly Putty.

Remember it?

If not, I’ll loan you my six year old for a bit and you’ll quickly find it in every surrounding crevice and crack..including your beard if you have one…I don’t at the moment, but my husband does…

UnknownPLUS    images-1= Fun For Kids

I had actually forgotten how enjoyable that little red egg was to open. The kids on the package alone made me smile like I was six, and want to give into all my 1980’s urges.

One simple glance and episodes of Mork and Mindy ran back to back with Dukes of Hazard in my mind. Suddenly, I needed to head back to K-Mart for Bazooka gum and some Aqua-net Ozon-killing hairspray…And then it happened. Liberty took the glistening substance, (Which, by the way, looks much more like a human tongue than I remember!)  and stretched it across her body, just like I did at her age.

And it hit me…not the Silly Putty, but the thought…It hit me in full 1980’s stereo thought voice,  “Holy torpedo Batman…It’s so simple, yet so powerful!”

Silly Putty powerful?


It’s useful for…well…just being exactly what it is. 

It’s magical.

It’s incredible.

It’s so, so, very silly.

It’s so very simple…

And it’s so very much a part of my life once again.

If you pull it really fast it makes a funny snap sound.

If you press it flat and lay it across your daddy’s beard like my six year old just did, it makes worm-like imprints, causing said daddy to look funny all day long.

If you roll it in a long line you can cut it like imaginary cheese, and so.much. more!

But the best part about Liberty’s Silly Putty? It bounces me back to that delightful place where running half naked in the sprinklers is acceptable entertainment, silly string is not messy, and you can ALWAYS use your outside voice! Silly Putty lives in a powerfully simpler world where we enjoy things that cost less than a dollar with people we love.


And the analogy Here?…Where was I going with this?

Like Silly putty, no matter how you package it, there is nothing flashy or sexy about church planting. Nothing. Nada. Zip-O.

Even in Grease inspired leather pants, church planting manages to be pretty Grunge. We can fight the basic-ness of it, or we can just enjoy it for what it is with the people we love. Here are a few ground rules for enjoying your church plant…


  1. Fab. and magical things come in small, simple  packages. (ie. Little baby in a feeding trough)
  1. The more simple something is, the more we seem to enjoy it as humans. (ie. cardboard box, sunset, first kiss, praying with a friend, del taco bean and cheese burrito.)
  1. Don’t despise the day of small things. What did the day of great big, complicated things ever do for you? (Think Napoleon…now think Neapolitan ice-cream…nice?)
  1. Most amazing things look and feel weird at first…(ie. Dolphin skin, whoopee cushion).
  1. There are no rules for things that are already established as strange. (ie. Apostle Peter. Walking on water. You…yes you’re a bit weird. Admit it.)

So where do we go from here?

I was trying the other day to think why this dear ole Silly Putty had fallen out of favor with me. I’m not sure how it happened, but it seems I thought I was too mature at some point for it. Perhaps, I watched my friends enjoying more complicated toys and I thought I needed them as well. After all, I was as mature as they were wasn’t I?  So off I went to grander ideas. Realistic ideas like…you know…like…Flying Machines!

images-5Yes I was the kid that ordered one.

I remember the day my best friend Matt and I pooled all our money together to order our Flying Machine. That week I gathered all the gallon milk cartons our household of 11 had chugged down and I filled them all with water. We collected all the bread and candy we could and waited, sure that once our Flying Machine arrived, we’d fly away on the adventure of a lifetime.

One afternoon Matt placed a note in the apple tree bordering our two properties. It said the machine had arrived and he’d be over after our parents had gone to bed!!! I packed all my stuff, hid my gallons of Water behind my bedroom door and waited for his flashlight to shine through my window. Matt never came. Once he’d built the Flying Machine, he was too ashamed to come and get me. The thing hardly lifted off the ground.

It wasn’t all we had expected it to be.

The longer I am a part of God’s magnificently brokimages-4en global Church and Church Planting, the more this thought strikes me. Somewhere along the line, someone sold us ministry peeps a real-life… available only in the 80’s…FlyingMachine.

…and they trashed our authentic Silly Putty! Pooft. Gone.

They promised us this machine was so much more betterer than Silly Putty, and it an’t no scam neither.

They told us the bells and whistles were necessary for true success and off we tried to fly with no place to land. And this is where we are today as an American Church. This is why we are longing for the basics once again. Problem is, we’ve been trying to figure out how to program the big toys for so long, we are finding it hard just to enjoy the basic, simple beauty of being… The Church…

Remember just sitting with no agenda and no big plan, and enjoying God with people we love…for less than a dollar? Maybe we weren’t even in a building! (GASP)

Sounds kinda Silly doesn’t it?

No agenda? No overhead and bright lights bouncing off skinny Jeans? NO FLYING MACHINE?????

Nope…It’s really not been that impressive. It’s not been all we thought it was going to be…

Our kids are on drugs and want nothing to do with the church.

Our marriages are falling apart.

Our computer History would make a John Wayne’s bar tender blush.

The beds of our 2,000+congregations are hot with other people’s partners, and their Bibles are cold.

…and in the background a useless machine hovers just barely above ground.

Silly Putty People. That’s what we need. The basic stuff.

Remember learning how to pray into one another’s marriages? The honesty?

Remember time for family devotions?

Remember knowing the names of each child in your church community and their illnesses?

Remember sitting down to care..and be cared for?

And best of all, remember not being ashamed by the saying, “They will know you are my disciples by your love for one another”?

Remember when we were growing, with the people around us, toward a genuinely maturing 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love?

I do…I was nine and impacted for life.

It was a little Church Plant in Fountain Valley in the 1980’s. My family made up 3/4 of the 20 person congregation. I was discipled just by being at church…and It didn’t even have a sunday school! IMAGINE THAT. 

My family and I didn’t all go our separate directions once we got through the church doors…cause basically there was no other place to go. We walked into one little room and worshiped, and talked, and sung, and cried and laughed…and said our sorry…and grew…all together.

I learned how to worship by watching my burly, barefooted brother-in law raise his hands high, while tears fell down his face. I learned how to listen to a sermon, while watching my older sister take notes…We were no more perfect when we walked out the door than when we walked in, but we had a cross to lean on. Together. And we knew what we just enjoyed was awesomeness to the core.

Basically, we had just sat and enjoyed God without needing all the bells and whistles. Like my daughter sits now on the driveway with her Silly Putty.

No flying machine necessary.

Remember that church planter.

Remember that. When your sound dies, your sunday school teacher dies, and your donuts are stale cause you’re broke and you had to go dumpster diving in the morning before the service. (Shhh, what they don’t know won’t hurt them.)

Remember what really makes the church so Awesome.

When there is something as real and authentic as Silly Putty, all else seems a silly substitute.

images vs images-3

How Not To Get Punched By Families Who’ve Adopted

family photo nov.2014   Song of the month: Never Grow Up by Taylor Swift

November is Happy Adoption Month!

November is also Happy Premie Month!

This month I’d like to celebrate our Little Eden Hope Alexia Jones, who we Adopted at 1 lb 2 oz July 2013.

In honor of Our Super Girl Eden, I’d like to share a helpful list our Adoption agency shared with us. Before I adopted, I never thought about the effect my simple statements could have on those within the adoption community.  The list below identifies a few ways we can take notice of the language we use when speaking about adoption, or to families who have been made through adoption.

Words can be very powerful things. Adoption may be more popular these days, but this also means that more negative language can be thrown in the way of a child who has been adopted. Although you may not know it, some of the adoption language commonly heard today can actually have a very negative effect on adoption, as well as adopted children, adoptive families and birth parents. Whether it’s in your church, school, family or play, most everyone will come into contact with a family who has been built through adoption.

The way we speak about adoption helps others form their opinion of adoption. It can also impact how a child who’s been adopted feels about their adoption and their identity. For example, referring to your child as your “adopted son” or “adopted daughter” could make them feel as if they don’t truly belong to your family, a feeling that could greatly impact a child’s self-esteem.

It’s import to note that a child is first a child and then adopted. They are not an “adopted child” but a child who has been adopted. A parent of an adoptive child is just that. A parent. S/he is not an “adoptive parent”, but a “parent who has adopted”.

In addition, one very commonly used phrase regarding birth parents is that they “gave up” or “gave away” their child for adoption. This negative term implies that the birth parents didn’t care about their child – when, in reality, birth parents choose adoption out of nothing but love for their child. Instead of this negative language, say that a birth parent “placed their child for adoption” or that they “made an adoption plan.” This positive language more accurately reflects the situation, without painting a negative picture of birth parents.

According the U.S. Census, 1 in 25 households with children has at least one adopted child. An even greater ratio of people have certainly been touched by adoption through friends and extended families.

It’s up to those of us who have been blessed by adoption to change the conversation among our friends and families and in our schools and communities. We are responsible to educate as we’ve been educated. A good rule I learned early on when speaking to families who’ve adopted was to ask myself, “Would I want someone to ask me this question?” “Does it matter?” “Am I just wanting the Juice on this kid? Why?” “Is it healthy for the family for me to ask this question?”

Adoption is not some steamy, life-time for women soap opera story. If we were to really dig, there would be no more “juice” or “gossip” surrounding a family built through adoption, than any other family. Just like any other family, families built through adoption are real people, with real family joys, sorrows, dysfunctions and blessings. Just like all families, families built through adoption like to share some of their story while keeping other things private.

Below is a list of some commonly used negative adoption language and the positive phrases that should be used in their place:

1.Negative: Real parent (implies the parents who have adopted are not real)

Positive: Birth parent, birth mother, birth father

2.Negative: Give up/give away child for adoption

Positive: Place child for adoption, make an adoption plan

3.Negative: To keep (why didn’t they want to keep the baby?)

Positive: To parent (why couldn’t they parent the baby?)

4.Negative: Unwanted child

Positive: Child placed for adoption

5.Negative: Is adopted (Clinton is adopted)

Positive: Was adopted (Clinton was adopted)

6.Negative: Adoptive parent

Positive: Parent

7.Negative: Handicapped

Positive: Child with special needs

8.Negative: Illegitimate

Positive: Born to unmarried parents

9.Negative: Adopted child

Positive: Child who’s been adopted

10. Negative: Are they sisters/brothers? (This is confusing for a child to hear, cause they are in the same family)

Positive:  Did they have the same birthparents?

Feel free to share this post with as many people as you wish.

And Happy Adoption Month!

50 Shades Of Jones

IMG_3673 Song of the Month: Jamie Grace- Every Bit of Lovely



Recently, the huge twitterer that I am, I noticed I had a new follower. A. Real. Life. New follower! Now I have a grand total of 72. Just call me Big Stuff.  So I checked out my lovely Mr./Ms. shaunsm41922812, who my husband insists is a Bot sent out from China, and guess what?

Every one of the people s/he was following was called Andrea Jones. 50 Shades of Andrea Jones in fact. All shapes, colors and sizes…but unfortunately for me, way too many with much better butts. I know this how? Cause, well, I saw all the Andrea Joneses out there.  And Ladies, You have very nice everythings

But just so we don’t misunderstand each other here, this is me…

shmo halloween

Note: I’m fully clothed…and don’t dust much…and have a fab. fashion sense.

And unless you’ve put a ring on it, or you use water torture methods on me, that’s it. That’s all. And thank your lucky stars for that, because a little know fact about THIS Andrea Jones, is that my super power is the ability to blind people while in bathing suit.

But let’s talk about reality.

The reality is, every woman has a beauty far outreaching her profile picture. The colors she puts in her hair are only highlights to who she is, expressions of something she likes. Maybe just a bit of fun. What she wears is only one dimension of her in that particular moment, dare I say second, in time. The next moment she may feel differently and trade her high heels for sweat pants and flip flops.  Like Sting so aptly crooned, “My baby can be all four seasons in one day”. In one picture she feels beautiful. In another, she knows she’s ugly. And no matter how many times others tell her differently, at some point in the day, she will find a flaw in herself.

Still, we all know women are beautiful. Yes its true. All of you with home computers,TV,  or eyes, know this. Genesis depicts us as the crescendo of all God’s creation…His ultimate“Ta-da” (Jazz hands) moment…When Adam, who had quietly been naming everything while picking gluten free products from his teeth, suddenly stands to eye bulging attention and echoes God’s words, “Very Good!” (Flintstone translation…YABADABADO!)

If you want to sell something to women…put a woman on the ad. If you want to sell something to men, hey, put a woman on the ad. However, with all our amazingness bursting about, it can be tempting to embrace beauty to the point that we lose track of the woman. The actual, real life woman. The one with the dreams, favorite milkshake and ability to burp the alphabet backwards.

When I saw those 50 shades of “Andrea Jones” that my Chinese Bot shaunsm41922812 is following, I had to stop and take a good look at all these women who had my name.

Behind each sexy pose, or flirty wink, or questionable hashtag, I saw the innocence of my two little girls. I saw the insecurity of myself… I know each one of these Andrea Joneses, like this one,  is tempted daily to base her worth on someone else’s opinion of her. To perhaps wake up feeling like a failure for no other reason than that she is not perfect. To wonder if she really has what it takes to…you fill in the blank.

Each woman is tempted to reach with both hands for things that will make her finally feel beautiful. Maybe it’s the latest cream, plastic surgery, purse, or amazing shoes (Don’t listen to me, shoes bring healing!). Each thing a poor substitute for her actual dreams. Dreams born out of the essence of who God created her to be when she didn’t even know His name yet.   Dreams she’s had since her first step on sand, her first taste of ice cream, her first sweet, heart pumping kiss…SWEET kiss…(They still around?)… Dreams that perhaps were stolen from her by a stranger, a relative, a parent, or a “friend.”

… And now somehow she’s left feeling…ehh…taking selfies to try and prove she’s not. Digging in any crevice for some inkling of proof that she is in fact something to someone out there. Fighting. Always fighting for proof of existence…Proof that she’s the Crescendo of God’s creation…anywhere…even cyber-space…with a Bot called Shaun.

These 50 shades of Andrea Joneses, and millions out there like them, are a gift to this earth. But somehow people, this gift has been lost. And not just in cyberspace. It’s being lost in our homes, with our girls, in our churches, in our schools.


When they are little we delight in our girls. We put bows in their hair and call them “the most beautiful one”, because, well, they are.

Then they grown. Their body grows… And before they reach eight years old, we’re already talking about buying a gun. Lengthy smiles in their direction are no longer cute but caa-rrreee-pee, with a capital C. Dads starts stocking up on scarfs and turtle necks for them…especial in the summer months…worried…everyone worried… that someone might see this precious gift and try to steal her, use her for their own selfish interests, before she realizes how many layers there are to her beauty. Oh our poor girls…made to feel afraid for blooming like a flower should…

But Why? Why must beauty be dangerous?  Who made this rule? How did this invisible burka get dropped over our heads without us knowing?  Who’s trying to steal God’s Thunder huh? His Ta-da moment?

As a young Christian woman I was afraid of beauty… I saw it as dangerous, because for me it had been…Or shall I say, being a young girl walking home from school alone had been dangerous.  So dangerous, that for many years of my young life I asked the haunting question…”What did I do wrong? Why me?”  For the rest of my high school days I’d be convinced that, like so many believe, it is safer to dress down, wear no make up, hide beauty, wear the invisible Burka. Then I’d be safe. Then your beauty won’t burn you or others…Not true.

Whether a woman wears too much clothing, too little, too old fashion or too trendy is not the issue here. Over conservatism is as guilty as Porn in its over emphasis of our awesome, visual amazingness. No. Outward beauty is not what everyone is so afraid of being destroyed. (Although a Target gift card for The Fountain of Youth is a handy insurance)

Outward beauty is not what keeps Dad awake all night. It’s not why mom buries her head in her tear filled pillow…  There is something a lot more sinister at work here.  More soul devouring.  Something without an actual name, but something we all know at our core.

What was attempted to be stolen from me as a fourteen year old girl walking home from school one rainy day, was not my sexuality. It was not my beauty that anyone was after, not really.

What was attacked and threatened was my essence, as though someone saw a sunrise they thought they could steal. The attempted pollution of a beautiful young life, a life filled with ways to shine and therefore offer proof of God’s existence was attacked.  The reality is, it was God’s crowning Ta-da moment on earth that my attacker was really after…

We’ve  all seen it in the eyes of women we love, perhaps young girls we disciple or mentor. The soul sores. Every woman has that thing in her life trying to soul suck her. That enemy  trying to steal from God this most precious Beautiful gift to the earth. Like fog trying to erase the sunset, this enemy of our souls, in any way it presents itself, is just a vapor to be lifted by the heat of the sun. Poof. Gone.

And… that thing gnawing on you now? That old soul sore? The thing that makes you feel less than, not enough, too much, or desperate to be someone else, because after all, that someone else would be so much better? It’s trying to steal Gods Ta-da moment in your life! Call it for what it is.

But it can’t…not really.  My sisters, you are already God’s Jewel.  Your existence on this earth shines out God’s awesomeness. Chuck those soul sores at the Creator of Beauty and He’ll gobble them up like an over zealous Pac-Man.  Game over.

Beautiful women, you 50 shades of Andrea Joneses and beyond, you final Crown of all Creation…Listen up… your beauty is God given and it cannot be stolen, bought, traded, used to make money or secretly drooled over in dark rooms…not really.

What I’ve found out about beauty over the years is that beauty and grace seem to be first cousins. Like squeezing too tightly on a bar of soap, just when you think you can do something to finally sieze it, it springs outside your grasp.

The truth is, it’s already yours. It is part of your essence.  Nothing has to be done.  Beauty comes in resting in the Author of Beauty. The Father of your birthright is just waiting to see you, really see you. And there is so much more he has to tell you about how much you shine, shine shine!

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