Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Suffer Missionally

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Broken relationships.
Cancer.
Sickness.
Death.
Loss.
Tragedy.
Grief.
Loneliness.

What if Scripture tells us God is a divine multitasker and that this hurt doesn’t only affect us? What if we aren’t suffering because God is cruel but because He’s equipping us to help others in ways we couldn’t without it?

We all suffer. What separates Christ-followers from the world is the way we respond. And with hearts and ears anchored in the Gospel, we can hear the sermon suffering preaches.

Suffering tells us we’re all groaning for full redemption and that we’re not alone because no life is untouched by difficulty. The poison of sin has slithered into the DNA of every human and with it comes suffering—the proof of our brokenness.

Perhaps God walks us down roads filled with potholes and trials and grief so we can learn the streets and one day drive others down them, helping them to navigate the curves to get to the finish line.

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When the Tree Seems Dead

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One of the most encouraging things I’ve read in a long time:

“Remember, the growth of a believer is not like a mushroom, but like an oak, which increases slowly indeed but surely. Many suns, showers, and frosts, pass upon it before it comes to perfection; and in the winter, when it seems dead, it is gathering strength at the root. Be humble, watchful, and diligent in the means, and endeavor to look through all, and fix your eye upon Jesus, and all shall be well.” -John Newton

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2017: Leaning in Because Jesus is Better

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My “Jesus is Better” bracelet is tarnished and worn.

I think that’s appropriate.

It’s had to be repaired four times in the last month.

I think that’s also appropriate, because Jesus really is better than anything, including a piece of jewelry designed to remind me of that truth.

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What Bonhoeffer’s Last Letter Teaches Us About Christmas

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“The joy of God
has gone through
the poverty
of the manger
and the agony
of the cross;
that
is why
it is
invincible,
irrefutable.”
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Originally penned from a prison cell on November 29, 1942, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s final circular letter to his friends is one of the greatest things I’ve ever read.

Read it for yourself in Tony Reinke’s excellent blog The Invincible, Irrefutable Joy. I was going to include a big quote from it but don’t want to ruin it for you, so do your heart a favor and read it for yourself as you let your heart soar in worship over this sin-taking, joy-bearing, joy-giving God that has come to us.

(Another stellar blog from Reinke on Christmas and Bonhoeffer is Christmas in a Cold Prison. The last two paragraphs alone are worth the whole read.)

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God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle

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“It’s all too much,” I cried into my coffee. “I can’t do it. I’m not enough.”

Sitting in that quiet coffee shop, reality hit with force.

Every day is filled with one reminder after another that I am not sufficient. I am not enough for my small group girls; I am not enough for my best friend; I am not enough for my parents; I am not enough for counseling others; I am not enough to teach the Word of God; I am not enough for the church; I am not enough to write helpfully; I am not enough to consider marriage or parenting or anything else God calls me to.

I am not enough.

Do you feel it too?

Do you feel strained by the seemingly endless litany of tasks before you, the weight of burdens in community and ministry, and the demand to do and be it all without cracking under pressure?

During those times I’ve heard well-meaning people say, “Yeah, what you’re going through is hard, but God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

The problem with that and Mother Teresa’s famous quote—“I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much”—is that it’s not Scriptural.

And anything meant to be a comfort becomes a confine when it isn’t based on Scripture.

What if Scripture actually says God intentionally gives us more than we can handle?

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Six Quotes on Weakness

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I’ve never felt complete and total weakness more than in the last year. 

And that’s only intensified in the last three weeks.

At times, that weakness has led to introspection, waterfalls of fear, running from everyone and everything, building walls, shutting down, depression, despair, and grasping for control.

At other times, that weakness has served as a beat up taxi into which I climb and let drive me to the throne of grace and into the arms of the Strong One whose sufficiency shines against the bleakness of my lack and covers me with blankets of mercy and security.

One of the things I’ve learned? Comfort in weakness is always found at Calvary.

May the following quotes lead you there.

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Submitting Fully + Joyfully

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His eyes and tone were filled with compassion.

“You just need to submit fully,” he said to me. “And do it joyfully; not just going through the motions and saying you’re submitting when you’re not.”

I nodded and barely looked him in the eyes.

“Really, you just need to fully submit,” he said again. “It will be so good when you do.”

He was living in the victory. He was on the high ground. He was living out Hebrews 11:24-26. You could see it all over him. He was radiating the peace of God and it was beautiful. Why was I scared of it?

“I want to be where you are,” I told him. “But I’m not there.”

What kept me from being there? What was holding me back from full and joyful surrender to the authority placed over me and ultimately to the Lord?

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Redeeming the Home

Two years ago, 26 year old me was sitting in her favorite booth in Panera when she journaled the following prayer:

Lord, I really want my own house. I want to make a home and get to know my neighbors and have get togethers to reach them with love and the Gospel. I want to have a library and a cute kitchen and slumber parties with my small group girls. I want my home to be a place where people are well loved, well fed, and well treasured. A place where people feel safe, accepted, welcomed, and warm. Where they receive cookies, gratitude, encouragement, love, and the Gospel. Where they can come to relax, to be quiet, to talk, to praise, to read, to cry, to laugh, to sing.

I want a home.
A home not just for me but for my girls,
other women,
our church,
visiting missionaries,
the community.

Lord, in Your time, would You give me a home? A semi-nice one, not for luxury but so more people can squeeze in and be squeezed by Love?

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Abiding in the Flames

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How do you surrender when you want a certain outcome?

How do you submit when you don’t understand?
How do you lean in when you want to run?
How do you push on when you want to fall back?
How do you fight when you have no strength?
How do you abide in the flames?

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Worship in the Dust

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O dear friend, when thy grief presses thee to the very dust, worship there!

If that spot has come to be thy Gethsemane, then present there thy ‘strong crying and tears’ unto thy God. Remember David’s words, ‘Ye people, pour out your hearts,’ — but do not stop there, finish the quotation, — ‘Ye people, pour out your hearts before Him.’ Turn the vessel upside down; it is a good thing to empty it, for this grief may ferment into something more sour. Turn the vessel upside down, and let every drop run out; but let it be before the Lord. ‘Ye people, pour out your hearts before Him: God is a refuge for us.’

When you are bowed down beneath a heavy burden of sorrow, then take to worshipping the Lord, and especially to that kind of worshipping which lies in adoring God, and in making a full surrender of yourself to the divine will.

-Charles Spurgeon

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