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Superwoman I am Not

I consider myself to be a healthy mix of Martha Stewart, the Boy Scouts and MacGyver.

I am pretty stinkin’ organized.

I am usually pretty well prepared.

And I can improvise really well.

But then there are times when I show my true human nature.

Take this recent example as evidence enough.

My teenage son was signed up for camp. He was going to a camp we know, with a group we don’t know.

We’ve been saving up and bartering for a while to send him. Camp is expensive.

I’ve had it on the calendar for a couple of months, and even had the brochure on my nightstand (admittedly under a bunch of junk).

I’ve been in contact with the group administrator all week about the last payment, forms and who he’s traveling with.

So, when I got a call at 2:30 in the afternoon asking if we were on our way, I was confused. Really confused.

On our way where? Was there a pre-camp meeting I forgot about? Why would they be calling us about something as simple as a meeting?

That’s when it hit me. I had the wrong dates for camp on our calendar this whole time.

They were leaving now. Like RIGHT NOW.

Calmly, and collectively I told the young voiced youth pastor we’d meet them at the interstate exit in 40 minutes. 20 minutes to pack, 20 minutes to drive.

Now, you’ve got to understand. This is no normal camp. They are at the literal edge of Yellowstone sleeping in full size tepees. He needed to be prepared for mountain hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, horse back riding and white water rafting.

In 20 minutes.

I raced through the house carrying my laptop with the list I received in my email box, frantically looking for clean clothes for my teenage son who is allergic to doing laundry.

In my panic I tripped on the stairs and sent my laptop flying. Crash, Bang, Boom. Laptop’s dead.

Quick to find the other laptop, log in to my email, download the list, try this again.

Within 40 minutes of the frantic call he was on the road to Wyoming.

 

The best part? I am now 100% visible as the human I am.

I’m not perfect. I never will be.

I may have traits that make me appear to have it all together at times (although those traits seem to be disappearing as fast as my pre-children figure), but let no man be fooled, Superwoman I am not.

This is good news for my children.

Say what?

Yes. Good news.

You see, I am just proof that no matter how hard humanity strives to achieve it, perfection is unobtainable.

This is important. The moment we start to believe that we have the ability to overcome sin, human error or even consequence, we take away from the remarkable life and actions of Jesus.

If we could achieve perfection, then what was the point of Jesus?

If I could somehow follow all the rules, play the game of life just right and avoid all human contact so as to not get annoyed, why’d He even bother coming here in the first place?

There’s a reason Jesus came to this planet in the form of a living, breathing human being.

It’s stinkin’ hard to be a person.

Now imagine what He had to overcome, and somehow yet still remained perfect and sinless.

He grew up Jewish. I mean, was there any other religion with more rules?

He lived in a small town. Gossip and pettiness anyone?

He had younger siblings. No explanation needed.

He grew up doing construction. Um, construction sites are not known for their moral purity.

And the list could go on.

My point is this; God doesn’t expect us to ever achieve perfection. It’s not humanly possible.

But this culture we live in still somehow expects that Christians are to be perfect.

Perfect image. Perfect behavior. Perfect choices. Perfect lifestyle. Perfect family. Perfect children. Perfect career. Perfect lives.

It’s just plain stupid.

I want my kids to know upfront that perfection is not possible. And not only that, but that it’s dangerous to even attempt.

The moment that we believe that we can be like Jesus is the moment that we take the second bite of the apple offered up to Eve in the garden.

Adam and Eve were not made to be God. They were made to walk with God.

We were not made to be Jesus, but to walk with Him.

 

How About You?

Do you have an area you are afraid to not be perfect in?

 

Love you guys!

Esther :-)

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Let the (Refugee) Children Come to Me.

And then Jesus replied, “I am concerned about the cost of feeding this crowd. Tell those who came to return to their homes to feed themselves.”

Um, yeah, not quite.

I’m angry right now. I’ve avoided writing this post because of how angry I am.  Anger is not always the best place to write from.

But as I’ve tried to let myself simmer down, I’ve only gotten angrier.

Right now there are Tens of THOUSANDS of children waiting to be accepted into the loving arms of the adults they hoped would greet them in the land of opportunity.

Imagine this, you are dead or missing. Your child is without care, food,  and shelter.

But they have hope. They use every ounce of that hope to cross international borders in search of freedom.

But when they cross that border they are met with angry adults. Adults that want to send them back to a death sentence. To a land void of all hope. Countries where they will end up forced into sex trafficking, the drug trade or to be child soldiers against their will.

Somehow instead of seeing the spirit of hope that can renew our nation, revive our hearts and challenge our resolve, we see numbers.

Politics and immigration reform aside, I want to talk about humanity.

I don’t want to be a part of a society that turns away children who are destined to die in the streets. Period.

I’ve never been patriotic. Since I was a child I’ve always held a more global view (mostly because Jesus kind of cared more about, well, everyone).

So I’ve always had a hard time understanding how we as Americans see everyone outside our borders as enemies rather than as brothers and sisters.

 

Last week I had a garage sale. I hate garage sales.

But in the middle of my sale something awesome happened.

I met a family who had just moved to Minnesota from Honduras. Their 4 year old son and my 6 year old son were playing and getting along great, no language barrier to be seen.

I had been chatting with the dad about the local schools and his uneasiness in sending his son to the public schools he didn’t feel would meet his high parental standards.

This is the kind of family we want in our country.

If our argument is that immigrants will be a burden to us as a society, I think we should look in the mirror.

When did we start seeing ourselves as better than every other person on this planet?

Our ego is astonishing and disgusting at the same time.

Jesus crossed all cultural boundaries. He just didn’t care. He could see the man made walls that we created, and tore down every brick.

When Jesus tried talked to the Samaritan woman at the well, his disciples were taken back. Samaritans were icky. They did things differently.

He didn’t care.

He spent time with Gentiles, tax collector’s, prostitutes, lepers and more.

He just didn’t care.

Hell, He really, really pissed off a bunch of people. To the point of them wanting him dead for how much he loved people!

In the US I hear the same people who want to tighten immigration (including refugee children at our borders), claim they want to return this nation to that which follows Christianity.

Well I have news for you. Christianity is actually a religion based on following the actions and life of a man named Jesus Christ.

You see, Jesus Christ was a bit of a radical. Well, more of an extreme radical.

What made Him extreme was His constant need for including EVERYONE.

ALL. THE. TIME.

When He fed the 4,000 or the 5,000, He didn’t have them fill out a questionnaire ahead of time to ensure all those in attendance followed His beliefs or were of the ‘right’ race, religion or creed.

He just fed them.

He didn’t question those who He healed; the lepers, the blind, the paralyzed or even the dead.

He just healed them.

Should my children ever find themselves orphaned and in need of care, food or shelter, I hope that others will not turn them away.

In the mean time, I would hope that other Jesus following people in this country will see the error in their thinking. That we would all see the power that love and acceptance have.

And then maybe, just maybe we will begin to resemble something closer to what Christ looked like to those around Him.

 

How About You?

If you look beyond the dollar, and label given to those seeking refuge, how would that change your view on immigration?

 

Love you all!

Esther :-)

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Do We Get Along? Relating to Teenagers

I’m over at Bridging the Gap today talking about relating to the teenagers in your life!

Recently my teenager was asked the question, “Do you get along with your parents?”

So she asked me, “Do we get along?” Good question!

I’ve heard many parents of adult children tell me that there was a time when they didn’t get along with their child, but that it got better into adulthood. But isn’t there a way to get along now?

Click Here To Read More!

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Jesus Was Pro Open Source

Last year Aaron Swartz, co-founder of Reddit and a gifted young man whose goal it was to open source academic journals committed suicide after being arrested and looking at 35 years in prison.

He felt that people shouldn’t have to pay to see academic research and he saw the good and potential for progress that came from giving access to the public.

To me, this sounds like Jesus.

Yes, I am actually making that leap.

At a time when status, race and gender meant everything, Jesus came in and gave access to everyone.

No longer were you required to be of Jewish heritage, or male or even from the ‘correct’ tribe.

He offered up access to God the Father to everyone. He came in like a storm and blew apart all expectations, healing people who were not considered as worthy and chatting it up with women on the fringe of society.

For the most part He did not have time to deal with the elite, they felt they had the ability to have the religious access they desired, and didn’t need Jesus anyway.

But for those who would have never been able to reach it on their own, He was there to hand it out in droves.

It seems to me sometimes that we forget this. We get all high and mighty and start to think that our personal products; our stories, our past, our salvation, are somehow not only our own, but also something we should restrict to those around us.

God gave me a story. God gave you a story. But wouldn’t it seem absurd if I said, “I’ll tell you my testimony for $15.”

Yet, that’s what we get all the time. Somehow we feel as though our testimony is something that should garner ourselves income, rather than giving it out freely to those in need around us.

Where in the Bible do you see Jesus charging $50-100 a head for access to His preaching conventions and retreats? Um, nowhere. In fact His gatherings, even those with 4,000-5,000 even came with free lunch!

What about healing? Free.

What about raising you from the dead? Free.

What about saving you from a stone holding mob? Free.

I’m not saying that we don’t all have to make a living, I know that my mortgage company likes when I have money to pay them. But should that money come from doing what God commissioned all of us to do anyway?

I think it’s a dangerous road we take when we consider our commission our job, and the source of our livelihood. Heck, even Paul made tents! (Acts 18)

I’m not saying that I couldn’t be lured into publishing a book, or making money speaking. In all honesty, for someone who has trouble with any other kind of work physically, the appeal is pretty darn strong.

But, I believe a lasting legacy does not come from how much money you make from your gifts and talents, but from how many lives you are able to enrich.
Open source is better for everyone. When we put the value on our resources as higher than the value of helping our neighbor, I believe we all lose.

 

How About You?

What you do think?

What type’s of ministry do you see as deserving a full time income, as evidenced in the Bible?

 

Love you all!

Esther :-)

God Doesn't Care What Your Title Is

God Doesn’t Care What Your Title Is

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. A day when women across the country receive carnations or chocolate in special Mother’s Day services.

I don’t mind free chocolate, but I have to wonder when they will start celebrating single women, or single men, or married couples who will not be having children, or disabled people who will not be getting married, or having children.

For this reason, I get annoyed.

Somehow the Church has gotten a little off track and put a lot of emphasis on the definition of a man and of a woman.

Yes, I’m going to be stereotypical here, but I don’t think I’m crossing any boundaries.

I believe that the definitions that we’ve created over the past few decades are getting in the way, that they are keeping the Kingdom from it’s full potential.

If you didn’t know, I used to be a single mother. During this time I felt as though I had to ‘prove’ my worth to the Church. I didn’t feel as though I had a place, rather that I was passified by ‘women’s work’ (which we all know means early Christian ed).

I knew I had a lot more to offer. I’ve always known. It’s a part of that restless feeling that Jennie Allen talks about in her book “Restless: Because I Was Made For More” (you can read about my thoughts on the subject in these articles: I Was Made For More, When Did I Stop Dreaming? and Don’t Let Them Tell You To Shut Up)

Somehow I had let the definition of a man and woman given to me by the Church speak to me in a way that excluded me, thereby removing the God given purpose given to me.

The definition that I am talking to you about is the one portrayed as a “Biblical” family of a Dad, Mom and 2.5 children. Dad works, mom stays home and may or may not homeschool and does all kinds of cute stay at home mom things.

I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that type of family, but it sure isn’t the definition of family that the Bible gives us. In fact the Bible paints so many pictures of dysfunction that we can all easily find ourselves fitting somewhere.

But what if we took every single person in the Body as being of the same value?

What if we looked at that teenager with autism and said, “you have just as much insight into the character of God as I do.”?

What if we saw the person struggling with mental illness as someone who is probably closer to God than most will ever be because of the amount that they’ve had to rely on Him in their lives?

What if we recognized that the voice of each and every person is beneficial for the whole.

That our shared collective is richer and more satisfying than the monotony we’ve tried to desperately to create?

So often I think we fool ourselves into thinking that God can only speak through those who have set themselves apart from reality, and made themselves ‘holy’ when in actuality, He has a written history of using the broken, the beaten, and the outcast.

If we marginalize those people in the Church now, patronizing them with church ‘busy’ work rather than helping them grow into the leaders that God has intended for them to be, then we are prohibiting God’s Kingdom on Earth.

I know I’ve talked about her before, but I am still in awe of the Samaritan woman in John 4. She was marginalized. She was an outcast. But despite her standing in her community she pressed on for the sake of her neighbors.

Because of her, a woman who would most likely be kept from speaking to a congregation in many churches, her community came to know that Jesus is the Messiah.

If we want that kind of revival then we must do the same and let the people speak, teach, and do what they are called to speak, teach and do.

John 4:39

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”

 

How About You?

Have you seen someone pushed to the side in the Church?

What are some ways that you can help the marginalized in your community use their voice for the Kingdom?

 

-Esther :-)

Get Out Of The Cave

Get Out Of The Cave

I’ve got to tell you, times are tough. Real tough.

Every time I go to the doctor, he tells me to reduce my stress.

Huh. Really. Is that all?

Between piles of unpaid bills, job loss, denied unemployment (oh, the anger in this one alone), insecurities, medical junk and more, reducing stress doesn’t really seem like an option.

We’ve been at it for years. The same story over and over again.

I’ve been starting to wonder what puzzle God is putting together for us, whether or not he bought it at Goodwill, and if the pieces have been chewed on by a toddler. Because this is just not fitting together very well.

Sometimes I’m really good at learning my patience lesson. Holding onto faith and striving forward.

But other times I start to wonder if I have a spiritual learning disability. Actually, if I could get a reputable diagnosis maybe I could get a spiritual para-professional to help me out!

But seriously, I’m about done.

Then last week someone (you know who you are) mentioned Elijah. In 1 Kings 19 we see him having a rough time. He seemed to be in such a deep depression that God had to have an angel wake him up to eat! This is not a problem I have. If anything I could use the angel that stops me from depression eating.

Elijah’s depression led him to a cave.

I have a cave. It’s my bedroom. It’s dark, and quiet and there aren’t people trying to kill me. Okay well that last part was more Elijah’s problem than mine, but you get the point.

God said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

“Um, not dying.” <shrug>

But God asked again, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

“Um, not dying.” <shrugs again>

At this point God doesn’t seem to have time for Elijah’s pity party. He just starts listing the things He needs him to do.

Get up and get to work.

<Deep Sigh>

The cave is safe. The cave is quiet. But there isn’t any work getting done in the cave.

God never promised a life without hardship, in fact He almost guarantees a life full of it!

So why should it be any surprise that God doesn’t have a lot of time for pity parties?

 

My husband and I have seen a lot. We’ve experienced a lot. We’ve dealt with a lot.

But you know what? So has the rest of the world.

The only difference is that other people are watching us. People know that we put our faith and hope in Christ, because we’ve told them so.

So how we react to those crappy life situations matters.

When we are treated unfairly, our reaction matters.

When we struggle to find work, our reaction matters.

When we grieve medical things, our reaction matters.

When the tensions rise, our reaction matters.

So what should we do?

Get out of the cave and persevere in the struggle. Because if we give up hope when it seems all is lost, what reason will those around us have to keep it?

To (paraphrase) a quote of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from Daniel 3:16-18, “Even if you throw us in the fire our God can save us…and even if He doesn’t we still believe.”

They had to be thrown into that furnace before God saved them, and they still had unwavering faith.

Unwavering!

I think I should be able to handle a few bumps in my first world road.

 

How About You?

Have you ever felt like all hope was lost?

How did you get it back?

 

-Esther :-)

Defend the Oppressed

Defend The Oppressed

Do you know any Facebook rabble rousers (I’m like a 90 year old woman on the inside)?

You know, the people who put stuff out there to see what people think, but just secretly love a good controversy?

I’ve got a couple on my Facebook feed, but I rarely give input.

But every once in a while I feel the need to interject. Sometimes as I watch the conversation, I don’t see smarter heads prevailing.

It’s not that I think I’m smarter or better than others, but come on, sometimes you just are. (slight note of humor)

This particular post asked a question about thoughts on gay marriage, and more provokingly a triple (not sure if that’s the right terminology) marriage.

The comments that followed included the following;

“disgusting”

“Yeeeccchhhh”

and the worst for last,

“First we gave them the right to vote. Then we let them were men’s clothes. Then we allowed them to take mans jobs. Then we let them in the government. Now were going to set back and let them love each other. Reminds me a lot of Sodom & Gomorah.”

Seriously, someone actually typed that. Wow.

I want you to look at a word with me; oppressed. It means to treat a person in a cruel or unfair way, or to burden spiritually or mentally.

I’m going to wager that if these poor women saw their wedding go viral on social media and realized the vile hate that people were posting about them as human beings that they’d well, feel pretty beaten down mentally.

But the problem that I see happening over and over again in my community, and more specifically, in the nearby faith communities is a rush to judgement and then a rush to exclusion and hatred as a bi-product of that judgement.

I’ve even seen Christians who would never purchase anything from a Muslim business because it would be supporting Islam. But I don’t readily see them asking every person they encounter what their religious affiliation is or whether or not they are homosexual before working with them.

Why?

Because they really only care about the things they see on the outside.

I live in a community with the second highest population of Somali refugees in the world.

These people have stories. They are oppressed. They have lost it all in the aftermath of war. They have been beaten down, and have suffered more than I can ever imagine.

Yet, when some of my Christian neighbors look at them and all they see is an enemy. They don’t know how, or what or when but somehow these Muslim people are going to try and take over our community. And don’t even get me started on how much tax payer money we are pouring into these people! (note tones of extreme sarcasm)

Let me tell you  a story.

This man was traveling and was beaten, robbed and left for dead.

His countrymen passed him and intentionally ignored his situation, not bothering to do anything to help him.

When all hope seemed lost a man from a neighboring enemy country came by.

Rather than leave a child of God dead on the side of the road, he decided to treat the beaten man as though he were precious. He chose to see the man, his enemy, as precious.

He took incredible care of him up and brought him somewhere safe. He promised to pay for whatever costs there would be in taking care of this man, despite the cultural climate of hatred.

Obviously I’m talking about the Good Samaritan, but do people even realize what this means? I am not going to extrapolate the context and meaning for you, let me break it down like this; get off you butts and put your reputation on the line to save the oppressed.

How about this one:

A woman was caught in an affair.

The religious leaders were ready to kill her. Literally kill her.

Jesus (basically) said this, “let the sinless have the first shot at her.”

Realizing that no one is sinless they all left.

The woman, grateful that Jesus had saved her, listened to His next instruction, “go and sin no more.”

Here’s what I want to point out; Jesus made himself relevant to this woman before ever uttering a single word to her.

He didn’t sit and talk with her to make sure she understood and would be ‘good enough’ for saving first. No, first he saved her life. He stood up for her in the presence of those who oppressed her, the religious.

That should be us people!! In church, on the street, on social media, we should be standing up for the oppressed.

When people post or say nasty anti-gay or racist comments, we should be there sticking up for these people, the oppressed.

Isaiah 1:17

…Defend the oppressed…

How About You?

What oppressed people do you see regularly that you’ve been walking past instead of caring for like the Samaritan?

Have you ever found yourself ready to stone someone with your words?

 

Love y’all!

Esther :-)

Maker of All Things New

The Maker of All Things New

God has many names. Each name refers to a specific characteristic.

Some of my favorites are:

Yahweh – I AM who I AM

Jehovah-Jireh – The Lord provides (because of this 80′s praise song) (Oh my goodness the crazy memories!)

El Shaddai – God is sufficient (because of this Amy Grant song!!) (HILARIOUS!)

Each of us has a particular favorite because of what it means to us. Someone without an earthly family might desperately need and cling to Abba.

Someone who has suffered addiction might survive day to day with Palet the Deliverer.

Last week I talked about Jesus (read it here )and how he lived His life on this earth, not just for the 3 years of His ministry, but for the entirety of His life.

But there are still all these other characteristics that people can find meaning in.

Even as a small child I found beauty in creation, not just the physical things that we see, but the building blocks and laws that they live by.

Even the music that we listen to has science behind it, and that alone is beautiful in its own right!

The Bible gives and people often use the word Elohim to describe God the Creator. It’s used right off the bat in Genesis 1.

But for all of those things; science, math, life and the universe, they are really somewhat done. I mean, yes, new life is created every day but nothing about it is new.

Something that I think I’ve overlooked is a different name, Jehovah Hoseenu (Palet in Greek) – The Lord Our Maker.

This name is different. Elohim creates something out of nothing, He is a designer or architect. Jehovah Hoseenu on the other hand is more of a found objects artist. He takes the garbage and leftovers of our lives and turns them into something that is not just better, but beautiful!

Check out these found object artworks: (click on them to see more)

Famous Portraits Recreated from Recycled materials and found Objects by Jane Perkins  (4)

insects and animals made from scrap metal and bike parts edouard martinet (15)

Rusted Bicycle Chain – Addiction

Old Bottle Cap – Lies

Broken Button – Abuse

Old Pen Spring – Hate

Jehovah Hoseenu takes what is cast aside. He gives it new life, creating something more beautiful than before.

While I absolutely love gravity, the numbers 2 & 4, and green grass, they are not as personal.

Jehovah Hoseenu reaches inside of me.

He takes that piece of hurt that’s been left over.

He takes that insecurity I’ve held on to.

He takes that fear that has often overwhelmed me.

And then He does something amazing. He makes it new. He crafts it all into a masterpiece worthy of the Louvre.

But most of all, for me, He shows me that I’m not a lost cause. I don’t need to rot and rust alone on the trash heap. I can be remade, and He will not only be proud of what I become, but He’ll give me the opportunity to show others what He has done with me.

I may not be there yet. None of us are really. But as I look into the lives of people around me, the people willing to let Him work in them, I can see the beauty taking shape.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,

the new creation has come:

the old has gone the new is here!

How About You?

Where have you seen beauty from the junk in your life or in the lives around you?

 

-Esther :-)

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He Came To Live Among

I grew up in a very Catholic community. My mother had shifted from Catholicism to being a part of the ‘Jesus People’ movement of the late 70’s and early 80’s.

I remember visiting Catholic churches with large crucifixes containing the image of Jesus dying on the cross. My mother would explain that we looked to an empty cross, a symbol that Christ concurred death and paid the price for our salvation.

A large part of this movement left believers longing for the day that Christ would return. I myself have cried in vain during periods of depression, begging God to just come now and end this living hell.

But recently, I’ve been having those views challenged. Up until now I’ve spent my days longing for His return, hoping that my children will not have to spend their whole lives in this infernal place.

The challenge comes from the book ‘Flesh’ by Hugh Halter. In it he takes a look at what the incarnation of Christ really meant.

For me, rather than daydreaming about eternal chocolate sundaes and worship, I’ve been introduced to the idea of bringing that celestial location down to terra firma. And even more challenging, raising my children to do the same.

Let’s face it, this world can suck. Big time.

But am I not also a part of its current state?

It can be so easy for us as Christians to focus intently on Jesus’ 3 years of ‘ministry’. But what about the rest of His time on this planet?

Sure the Bible doesn’t say a ton about those years, other than to say that he grew in wisdom and knowledge. But I’m pretty sure he was not secluded from any other living being.

As an adult, I can see times in my life where I have been called to a certain ministry. Does that mean that once engaged in that ministry the entirety of my previous years are no longer worth anything?

Uh, no.

Before I became involved in women’s ministries I was involved in children’s ministry. I’ve also spent time ministering to teen parents and teens in general.

My point is that Jesus did not just start ministering to people at the age of 30. From what we know of his character I would venture to guess he did not intentionally avoid helping someone in the same way that you or I do.

The only reason we separate His time in ministry is because of how much it differed to the ministry we are able to provide to those around us. Like say, turning water into wine.

If I’m going to emulate Christ, I need to not only try to emulate the part of Him that we view as ‘God’, but also the part of Him that was ‘man’.

As a man, Jesus worked. He was a laborer and with a laborer husband I can only imagine how much harder that would have been 2000 years ago.

So. Where am I going here. (yes, a statement, not a question. Just because)

Our current church culture has people looking for fame. There is a lot of stinkin’ vanity in the church. A lot.

As a blogger, I could totally get sucked into this. I have actually (obviously to no avail, but still, my heart was in the wrong place).

There are all these books and blogs and speakers trying to help Christian leaders build a platform. To become known in the Christian community. To be the most popular kid on the block.

Why?

I love when Halter says in his book Flesh, “Everyone wants to have influence. We count Facebook fans, Google circles, and Twitter followers. We measure Sunday church attendance and yearly budget numbers, all the while thinking we are creating our own wave. The multitude that followed Jesus was more than willing to speed up His influence and make Him the leader they wanted. But Jesus knew that real influence could be gained only as people were made into disciples one by one.”

Wow.

Talk about convicting!

This is what matters. This is all that is important.

Jesus the Savior is important, don’t get me wrong. But the other 90% of Jesus’ life was spent as Jesus the friend. Jesus, the neighbor. Jesus, the guy that buys figs at that stand down the street.

And since I’m 99.99% sure that I’m not going to be able to take that Savior position, I should probably focus on the other part of Jesus that I can attain. The part that I’m pretty sure He wants me to fill.

 

I’ve only just scratched the surface of Halter’s book ‘Flesh’, you have GOT to get ahold of a copy and read it for yourself. Everyone can use a good challenge!

Flesh

 

How About You?

What part of Jesus are you trying to live out?

 

Have a great Easter!

Esther :-)

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Don’t Let Them Tell You To Shut Up

If you’ve ever met my husband you could use any of the following words to describe him; sweet, nice, kind, relaxed, patient and much more.

The fact that he puts up with me should tell you all you need to know about his character!

But let me give you more of a background.

When my husband was young a traveling evangelist told him that he would be a great leader. My husband quickly wrote off the prophetic word because of his life experience.

As a kid my hubby unknowingly suffered from some eye problems that prevented him from being able to read well. His teachers, even in elementary school actually used the word ‘stupid’ when talking to him.

All of this difficulty left him with little to no self worth.

I mean sure he could chant the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” like every other good church kid, but in his heart he never truly believed it.

My husband has a heart for people. A big one. And something he has always wanted to do was combine his love for bikes with his love for people.

He found a way to do this last year as an outreach from our church and has now moved into starting a non-profit to further extend his reach to help a larger community of people.

Over the past year I have watched as my husband has taken on new roles, learned new things and has really started to overcome a lifetime of negative self-worth.

I could see the hold that those nasty childhood comments held on his life losing their grip.

 

Like the rest of the world we require a day job to pay our bills. But those jobs have been difficult to find. Our current pattern has been find a job, business slows, lose the job.

So when we found a position at a company that was starting to expand, we became pretty hopeful.

Very shortly into the position however, it became apparent that something wasn’t right. The owner of the company seemed to have trouble with his temper, and would often lose his cool on his employees for things out of their control.

My hubby is a pretty understanding dude, and for a long time has been able to put up with quite a bit.

But this past week he received a text from his boss saying they needed to meet. Then, there was no work for him the rest of the week.

We’re fairly perceptive people and we saw the writing on the wall; he was going to get fired.

He has never been fired. Ever! People love him, and this time, it was his downfall. My hubby’s lovable attitude pissed this guy off, big time.

We prayed and talked and rehearsed the final confrontation, but we weren’t prepared for the words that would come out of the owner’s mouth as he stood inches away from Eric’s face;

“Shut the F*** up!”

My husband quietly handed him his work clothes, took his paycheck and walked out the door.

Immediately upon hearing what was said, my blood started to boil. Had I been at the wheel of the car I would have turned it around so I could personally deliver my return message of extreme anger mixed with physical violence.

I’ve even come up with a term that I think appropriately characterizes my emotional state, “Wifezilla.”

My husband had done nothing but show this man kindness, and in return he gave him filth.

 

It wasn’t until later that day that it hit me.

Who was telling him to shut up?

I’m not the type of Christian to blame everything on Satan, I think we do ourselves enough damage that he hardly has any work to do.

But this time seems different.

Over the past year my husband has been able to gain confidence. To truly start becoming the leader and man of God that he was destined to be. He has overcome stereotypes and climbed over obstacles to get to a point where he is not only the most productive he’s ever been, he’s reaching people in a magnitude that he’s never experienced as well.

This message of hate and anger was aimed not just at him, but at his actions.

Satan hates when we overcome the obstacles in front of us to truly become the people God wants us to be.

My hubby spent his life restless, knowing he was made for more, but believing he was built for nothing.

But as those lies started to dissipate he was able to see that God gave him the desires and skills necessary for a unique place in the Kingdom of God. A place where he can feel fulfilled and closer to God with every action he takes.

Satan is going to get pissed. That’s a guarantee.

And if there’s anything that I’ve learned in this life it’s this; you should probably not take advise from Satan.

So while he’s screaming in your face to stop what you’re doing; keep going.

When he’s telling you to give up; dig your heels in.

When he’s telling you to throw in the towel; don’t give up the fight.

 

What About You?

What are you doing to piss off Satan?

Or are you giving him what he wants?

 

Esther :-)