Thursday, July 5, 2012

Great reminder…

One Thing I Tell My Kids Daily -

Did you know God has a Great Adventure for you?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sunday, June 3, 2012

We met at Wes and Pam’s place.  Noah was a little under weather.  Jordan was having a pyjama day.  Teri and Ray were not able to make it.  Vana was here and kept the teens on their toes with all her great questions.  It was a good day.  :)

My notes are kind of sketchy for this lesson because we kept going off on rabbit trails and having interesting discussions. 

1.  What was the basis of Paul’s confidence in the Christians in Rome?

  • Johanna – “1 they were full of goodness and knowledge and able to instruct each other”
  • Nicole – “1. they were good”
  • Vana had issue with the concept of “instruct each other”.  So we worked on that idea for a bit.  What did it mean?  And then it was asked “what happened from what we see happening here in the NT to what we have today?”  We see the people sharing their lives, their God stories… passing them down from generation to generation.  We don’t see this much any more in the greater Christian culture/religion.  We have cherry picking the verses of Scripture, but nothing personal being shared.  I offered that we moved from being families to institutions with religion.  And in the religion we stopped having encounters with God, because now we had a person as a go between… a person (“professional Christian”) who we went to with our questions and would get word for word Scripture answers, those expected “boxed answers”.  I see the need for God’s people to share more of their personal experiences with God and let go of what is expected as answers and lifestyle and choices Christians are burdened with in todays world.
  • I don’t remember exactly how we got on the concept.. but I think we were talking about how we no longer fit into the typical church going people box.  And someone threw out that we are now “Free Range Christians”.  We all had a good laugh about that. 

2.  List some of the things God has accomplished through Paul’s life.

  • Johanna – “He preached Christ from Jerusalem to Illyicum”
  • Nicole – “2. he brought lots of people to Him”

3.  What things have you seen God use your life for?

  • Johanna – “3. I don't know :\”
  • Nicole – “3. .....”
  • Pam – “the forming of this community we now find ourselves in.  I remember back in 2007 when I had been reading about home churches and Lori saying that they would be interested in being part of one.  My response was I was not going to be starting a home church!!!  And Wes pointed out that it started with a group reading a book and the it took off from there.”
  • Wes shared that being part of Teri’s journey when she finally realized that God loved her, and seeing that weight lifted off her and the revitalization Teri had with her new found freedom and revelation.  It was was such an awesome thing to be a part of.

4.  Why did Paul prefer not to minister where others had already ministered?  Was this a wise decision?

  • Johanna – “4 because he didn't want to start with someone else's teaching. Didn't Jesus say something about one sowing and another reaping? The idea of going where no one else has preached has its merits because no one gets missed. So yes”
  • Nicole – “4. ...”
  • I think it was a good decision at the time.  No one needed to have “competition” in the teaching department in a certain area.  And if they spread out, there was hope that all peoples would get to learn about Christ and the good news of freedom he brought to all people.  However, I offered that in todays world I might not have the same rule because I have experienced that so many people live under so many false teachings/understandings of who God is and what He wants for his people that many haven’t actually been told the “good news” of Christ.  They are victims, prisoners of religious teachings and still need to be set free.  People may know the name of Christ and why he came BUT they don’t KNOW him yet.

5.  What principles of evangelism from Paul’s life could you apply in your life?

  • Johanna – “5 He encourages a lot... I don't encourage people enough””
  • Nicole – “5. Yeah same as Johanna..”
  • Wes answered with this verse --
  • 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

    New International Version (NIV)

    2 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

6.  What do you think it means to “witness for Christ”?   Share your understanding and/or experiences with evangelism.  (Either you engaging in evangelism or someone trying to evangelize you.)

  • Johanna – “6 I have never really talked about God with anyone... I have tried once or twice but it never got very far. Once I got asked about creation and God and I felt very ill prepared”
  • Nicole – “6. to "witness for Christ" is telling people about the Good News”
  • I knew that most people would understand this question as telling people the good news story with the hopes of convincing them or converting them to being Christian.  Most people think of witnessing and evangelism this way.  But earlier this year I had read something about witnessing that was eye opening for me.  What is a witness?  The dictionary says – “One who can give a firsthand account of something seen, heard, or experienced.”   So I would offer that true witnessing would be sharing with others how Christ has worked in our lives, how we have seen him work in others lives.  Sharing what we have experienced, not what we know or can quote from Scripture.
  • So take time to reflect on what YOUR story with Christ is.  Seek Him.  Pay attention to what God has done or is doing in your life.  Ask not – what would Jesus do? but instead look around to see what Jesus is doing now.  :)
  • this blog post shared this thought ( --

When I’m honest and use God’s name naturally with unsaved friends, it’s sometimes the very thing that makes them initiate deeper discussions about the Lord.  Evangelism rarely consists of sharing the whole Gospel at once--something most of us fear because it's usually unnatural. The most effective and most natural way we witness is by talking about God in our everyday conversations.
"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone"  Colossians 4:6, NIV

7.  Are you reluctant to talk about God with others?

  • Johanna – “7 depends a bit on the person but I don't think so”
  • Nicole – “7. No I'm not”
  • Paul started out by saying he was reluctant to talk about God with others.  He didn’t want to be the one to bring God into the conversation.  And I think again when we first hear this question, we think of talking about God to people.  But I read the question differently.  Are you reluctant to talk about God WITH people?  And I would have to say from what I have observed of people in our community that none of us have trouble talking about God with people.  However it is different story to talk TO others about God, where you bring God up in conversation with an agenda on why you are bringing God up.  I have seen Christians do this in my past, they talk to someone with the agenda of evangelizing them or trying to convert them or convince them of something.
  • It has been my experience that quite often someone who I am with will bring God into the conversation and I always see this as an divine appointment by the Spirit and I try to be a listening ear for the person and try to figure out why this moment has been orchestrated by the Spirit and what part I am to play in the conversation.  Is it just a listening session, is it to share about the freedom and love I know of God, is it to encourage this other person?

8.  If you would like to share… do you remember who shared the gospel message with you?  Tell us about your walk with God up to this point in your life.

  • Johanna – “8 um I've kind of always known about God. I know I accepted Christ when I was 5 and got baptized a while later. I had a lot of trouble with whether or not I was saved and what kind of a "Christian" I was right up until we started coming to fellowship and talking about salvation etc.
    I've grown a lot in my walk with Christ since then mostly because I nominally proud ra place where I can ask all my questions and they get answers. And now I'm working on keeping up my relationship with God when there is no meeting of our family for that purpose. “
  • Nicole – “8. i don't really know when it happened. it's a thing in my life that has always been there. ”
  • I have had the same experience has Nicole and Johanna.  I don’t remember a time in my life without God.  In my teens, spectacular testimonies were a big thing at the church I attended.  And I questioned whether I was a Christian or not.  So when I was at Bible camp I decided to accept Christ, but I did it privately.  There were no fireworks or excited feelings.  So I figured I must have done it wrong.  So next at an evangelical meeting in our town, I went there and when the altar call came I went to the front to accept Christ.  I figured I needed to do it publically to make it real.  But guess what, still no fireworks nor an emotional response.  So after that I figured God didn’t want me.  I didn’t know why and I wandered lost (spiritually) for a long time.  I never gave up on God, I continued to go to church.  I even remember going to a prayer meeting one night at my church.  We all went to the front of the church to pray.  We stood in a circle and the pastor went around the circle and would stop in front of someone and start praying and prophesying.  I remember thinking… “do not stop in front of me!”  But he did.  I was mortified!  But what he said struck me – he told me that God had great plans for me and was going to use me for Him in a mighty way.  I was gobsmacked!  He was going to what????  Me!?  No way!  And for many many years… nothing happened.  I looked for ways for God to use me but nothing came about.  But now looking back, I wonder if maybe these past 4 years or so have been that time my pastor was speaking about.  I do feel like God has used me to help people and bring people together and grant me the privilege to have people in my life that I can share my God journey with.  For so many years I had no one to be a family in Christ with.  I am so thankful for God bringing us all together and I excited to see what else He has in store.  <3



A video that gives a whole new meaning to love being a choice… --


Sunday, June 3, 2012

I read some great posts this morning…


1.  Show me your faith apart from your works --

-  “The English term “faith” carries a range of meanings from trust and confidence to adherence to a set of religious principles. But, in Scripture, faith tends toward the former meaning: a strong trust or confidence in someone. In particular, faith is concerned with trusting or having confidence in God.”

-  “In verb form, translators often use the English term “believe.”  Today, the term “believe” is often used to indicate a mental assent or agreement.”

-  “Those who are saved trust God, and those who trust God are saved. Similarly, those who trust God will demonstrate that trust by their actions, their works.”

2.  That God kind of love  --

-  “the Samaritan’s love was not simply an emotional response, but instead it resulted in action that benefited the other individual. Jesus is saying that this is the kind of love that we should have for anyone that we meet: a love that goes beyond differences and cultural standards and generously gives and serves for the benefit of the other, that is, for the one who should be hated.”

3.  Trust and love… now what? Fellowship and discipleship…  --

-  “Trusting God results in loving God and loving others. When we love God and love others, that love will be demonstrated in our lives.  How is it demonstrated? In Scripture, two terms are used as umbrella terms to describe the “now what”: fellowship and discipleship. Not only are these two a direct response to trusting God and love, they are also related to one another.”


Good stuff!  Smile

Hmmmm, what do you think?


About 5 years ago I learned that all sins are equal, that there are no sins worse than another.  And we have discussed this together before.  We as humans like to think that someone else’s sin is much worse than ours.  The other day I came across a guy’s blog who says that not all sins are equal.  You can read his thoughts here –

What do you think?

Christian Ethics

from Dave Black’s blog:

the basics of Christian ethics:

  • Be committed to truth and mutual respect.

  • Watch your words and guard your tone.

  • Be ready with a positive solution.

  • Make sure you're using the right weapons. This involves the Word, kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness.

Remember: When we attack the person rather than the problem, we are setting ourselves up for disaster. Make sure your weapons don't cause you to sin.


This post shares an experience that showcases what Dave Black wrote about Christian ethics:

You can read the story here (, and it starts under the heading “The Meeting with the Militant Homosexual Organization” (starts part way down the page).  It is a very touching story and it has given me a great lesson on how to love people.  This part of the story really taught me –

“I then said, "To be candid, I don't think I am the one with the agenda. You asked me to meet. You have stated it is your desire to change my mind. You are planning on picketing the church I pastor to convince our people that we are homophobic. My only agenda is to get to know you and to love you. If you ask me what I believe about homosexuality, which you did earlier in our meeting, I will tell you. But it is beyond my ability to convince you that what I am saying is true. Only God can convince you that what feels so right to you is in reality disapproved of by Him. I am simply called by Heavenly Father to love you where you are and that is precisely what I intend to do." ”

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lesson 12 --- LET IT SHINE

Last lesson for this book!  Smile


Go ahead and read Romans 15 and 16.  This lesson’s questions focus mostly on Romans 15:14-21.

**  If you want, share about how the positive example of a another believer encouraged you.

1.  What was the basis of Paul’s confidence in the Christians in Rome?

2.  List some of the things God has accomplished through Paul’s life.

3.  What things have you seen God use your life for?

4.  Why did Paul prefer not to minister where others had already ministered?  Was this a wise decision?

5.  What principles of evangelism from Paul’s life could you apply in your life?

6.  What do you think it means to “witness for Christ”?   Share your understanding and/or experiences with evangelism.  (Either you engaging in evangelism or someone trying to evangelize you.)

7.  Are you reluctant to talk about God with others?

8.  If you would like to share… do you remember who shared the gospel message with you?  Tell us about your walk with God up to this point in your life.




More bible passages on evangelism:

Matthew 5:13-16

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


Matthew 28:18-20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


Acts 1:8

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


2 Corinthians 2:14-17

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.


1 Thessalonians 2:8

8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.


1 Peter 3:15,16

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Just for a giggle today....

This is a very good read i think you will all enjoy it luv mom/lynda 
Subject: Fw: Shirley & Marcy

Subject:  Shirley & Marcy

> > 
> > A good email. This is a good one......
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > Shirley & Marcy
> > 
> > A mother was concerned about her kindergarten son walking to school.
> > He didn't want his mother to walk with him.
> > She wanted to give him the feeling that he had some independence but yet
> > know that he was safe.
> > So she had an idea of how to handle it.
> > She asked a neighbor if she would please follow him to school in the mornings, staying at a distance,
> > So he probably wouldn't notice her. She said that since she was up early with her toddler anyway,
>  it would be a good way for them to get some exercise as well, so she agreed.
> > The next school day, the neighbor and her little girl set out following behind Timmy as he walked to school with another  neighbor girl he knew.
> > She did this for the whole week. As the two walked and chatted, kicking stones and twigs,
> > Timmy 's little friend noticed the same lady was following them as she seemed to do every day  all    week.
> > Finally she said to Timmy ,
> > 'Have you noticed that lady following us to school all week?
> Do you know her?'
> > Timmy nonchalantly replied, 'Yeah, I know who she is.'
> > The little girl said, 'Well, who is she?'
> > 'That's just Shirley Goodnest ,' Timmy replied, 'and her
> daughter Marcy .'
> > 
> > ' Shirley Goodnest ? Who is she and why is she following us?
> > 'Well,' Timmy explained, 'every night my Mum makes me say the
> 23rd Psalm
> > with my prayers, 'cuz she worries about me so much.
> > And in the Psalm, it says, ' Shirley Goodnest (surely goodness
> ) and Marcy
> > (mercy) shall follow me all the days of my life', so I guess
> I'll just
> > have
> > to get used to it!'
> > 
> > The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine
> upon you,
> > and
> > be gracious unto you; the Lord lift His countenance upon you,
> and give you
> > peace.
> > 
> > May Shirley Goodnest and Marcy be with you today and always
> > 
> > I know you smiled!
> > I sure did, Pass this on
> > And brighten someone's day!
> > 
> > Please pray that Shirley & Marcy go with everyone you love

Love people, not projects.

I think this blog post will fit in with this week’s lesson as well.  I will post the new lesson tomorrow.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012



We spent the weekend at Paul and Lori’s.  We dragged our new ‘baby house’ there to give it a test run for the weekend.  Plus there was Josh’s 17th birthday party and their garden to plant.  It was really nice to get away for the weekend.

100_4736  100_4740  100_4747  100_4754  100_4767  100_4770


This week we tackled lesson 11, the definition of acceptance, and Deanna opened up about some of her reservations about acceptance, feeling loved, being judged, feeling unloved and more.  It was a really great afternoon.  And after all that we tackled a large platter of bbq ribs.  :)

Here are the few notes I took this week:

-  read Romans 14 and discussed

-  Paul shared how he sees the word “righteous” now… “it is how God sees me, not anything I do or how I view myself”

-  We discussed the idea of pleasing God.  Lori had said that we cannot please God, and Jordan raised his eyebrow in question to that statement.  He had a hard time swallowing that we cannot please God.  So we discussed back and forth and I think what we came up with was that without Christ, we cannot please God.  (If somebody has more memory about how this discussion went, please chime in in the comments section.  Thanks.)

-  Paul shared (I think to do with the above discussion) that, “I don’t do things to gain God’s love, I do things because I love God.”

-  Wes said we needed to continue to read into chapter 15 because it pertained and wrapped up what was being taught in chapter 14.

Lesson 11 questions:

1.  What issues caused division amongst the believers in Rome?

  • Johanna – “1 Eating/not eating certain foods, What was clean/unclean, which days are holy, etc.”
  • Nicole – “1. ditto Johanna”
  • Lori – “judging others”
  • Josh – “difference of opinion”
  • Jordan – “eating”
  • Jordan – “petty arguments”
  • Paul – “Holy days”
  • Paul – “disputable matters”
  • Wes – “wrestling with Jewish law”
  • Lori – “are you doing it right?  are you doing it like me?”

2.  How did Paul counsel the Roman believers to deal with these issues?

  • Johanna – “2 Respect each others boundaries, Don't deliberately do things that go against what your fellow believers believe.”
  • Wes – (in his best New York gangster voice) – “forget about it!”
  • Pam – “meet people where they are in their journey with God.  If they say that today is holy, then take the time to celebrate the holy day with them.”

3.  What is the key point Paul made in this passage?

  • Pam – “accept one another for where each is on their journey with God”
  • Jordan – “don not judge others or do things to make them stumble”
  • Johanna – “3 If someone believes that Certain things are holy or unholy we should respect that and not cause a fight over it, in the interest of keeping the church together”

AND it was about this time that we followed a rabbit trail in our discussions and did not get back to the questions but yet when we read the last few questions out loud we saw that we had answered them in our own way throughout our rabbit trail. 

I don’t have much for notes at this part of the discussions but we did start the rabbit trail with the question – what does acceptance mean?  Does it mean that I approve of all a person chooses?  Can I accept a person but not approve of their choices?  What does acceptance look like?

Wes came up with this statement – “When an issue/choice/topic destroys the relationship between people, acceptance has left and judgement has taken its place.”  So from that we can see that acceptance preserves the relationship.  We can accept a person for who they are, and have relationship with that person, but it does not mean we agree to all their choices, opinions or actions.

From here we had a very revealing discussion that seemed to revolve mostly around Deanna but was very informative to everyone there. 

This morning Vana posted a poem, I am sure that was inspired by our conversations yesterday. (


So many people
Have entered my life
Some having consoled me
With some, came strife

But each person
That I have met
Taught me something
On that, you can bet

They have taught me
Compassion, peace
Tolerance and restraint
Giving me a new lease

I may not agree with
All the things that are said
Each person will state
Their pleasures or dread

The best I can do
At any given spell
Is to listen openly
At what they may tell.

If it is discussed with love
Acceptance and grace
Then there is nothing
That anyone can't face.

A community is safe
Where one is not judged
No matter what the situation
An inkblot or smudge

People that have entered
As I look on my past
Teaching me lessons
That I hope will last.


And then this morning I listened to the latest podcast from The God Journey.  It fit right in with our latest lesson and discussions yesterday.  It is called “With You, God Is Pleased!”  Here is a description from their website:

“Both the cruelty of the world and the conformity demands of religion teach us to live inside a shell of our own self protection and only present to others the illusion we think they want to see. Shame and fear combine to make us feel lost and isolated in the world, unable to be who God simply made us to be. Wayne and Brad find themselves talking about how God is not waiting for us to crawl out of our brokenness before initiating relationship with us, but that the Incarnation itself testifies to his desire to crawl into our shell with us, and as he wins us into his affection, to invite us out of it without fearing how others might respond. He has always been pleased with his creation and seeking to win it back into his wholeness.”

I encourage you to listen to it.  (

Here are a couple of things I wrote down while listening:

  • what will the power of acceptance do in a person’s life?
  • Yesterday Deanna had shared that in our community we talk a lot about love and being happy and it irritates her.  I don’t remember where we went with that discussion but in this podcast Wayne shares an experience about being in Russia, in a room full of believers, and they are all talking in Russian and he cannot understand and feels left out.  As I was listening to Wayne share this experience I thought of Deanna’s statement yesterday about how all this “love” talk irritated her and wondered if it was like Wayne in that room… she is part of the community but doesn’t feel like she belongs, like she is left out and doesn’t understand, and does not feel like she has experienced this love we are talking about all the time.
  • In the podcast, this thought was shared – that our interactions with others either leave us like we they have been “life giving” or leave us with the feeling we have been shut down.  I think this tied in with what Wes said about acceptance or judgement.

And that is all I have for you at the moment.  Loved our discussions yesterday.  I am appreciative of Vana’s role right now, she is able to ask questions and “poke” my kids in a way that would not be well received from me.  And I have seen Deanna open up with Vana that has been great to see.  Thanks Vana!

Time to take on the day.  I am off to town to take mom for her Mg infusion today.  TTYL

Friday, May 25, 2012


Lesson 11

We did not get around to discussing lesson 11 this past Sunday, so I won’t post the last lesson of the series till next week.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

perfect love

Perfect love is perfect self-forgetfulness. Hence where there is love in a home, unselfishness is the law. Each forgets self and lives for others. ~ J.R. Miller

Sunday, May 20, 2012

This picture made me think of Paul this morning.

He (Christ) must increase, but I must decrease. JHN 3:30 ESV
God, more of Jesus, less of me.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

Considering prayer for my next topic....

after reading these tidbits from Ann Voskamp's blog....

 If one’s not praying regularly, it’s only because something else is regularly loved more than God.

 Prayer becomes what we live when we want to get hold of God, not just get a hold of what we want.

And real prayer isn’t about changing God’s mind but about finding God’s heart — and letting His heart change my mind.

Without prayer, we have nothing in common with God. Without prayer — we have no fellowship, no relationship, no worship. But when we enter into prayer, He enters into our thoughts and then we have much in common and the conversation never ends and we have our heart’s real desire — communion with Christ.

I'm praying about it ....

Preparation, Spontaneity, and the Work of the Spirit when we Gather

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Good morning boys and girls! 

Happy 17th Birthday Joshua! 

How has everyone been?  Life has been hectic here!  I can’t believe it is Thursday already!  I guess I had better get the next lesson posted.  There are only two left, so next week will be the last one.  Any ideas on what we should study next?

I didn’t take notes last week.  We met at Vana’s back yard and had some great discussion but I didn’t take any notes.  Sad smile

So I guess we shall just move on to the next lesson.  Lesson 11 – accepting one another.



1.  What issues caused division amongst the believers in Rome?

2.  How did Paul counsel the Roman believers to deal with these issues?

3.  What is the key point Paul made in this passage?

4.  When should Christians defer to a fellow believers beliefs?

5.  Explain why it is more important to maintain unity than to maintain our personal rights.

6.  How can believers handle controversial issues in a way that builds up the church rather than harms it?

7.  How can believers show love and acceptance to one another, in spite of differing opinions on certain issues?  How can you avoid causing fellow believers to stumble in their faith?


  • Matthew 7:1-5
  • Romans 15:7
  • 1 Corinthians 4:5
  • Galatians 2:6
  • James 4:12

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

People who follow Jesus are no longer typical

"People who follow Jesus, though, are no longer typical - God is constantly inviting them into a life that moves away from typical. Even if they have normal jobs, live in normal houses, and drive normal cars, they're just not the same anymore."
Bob Goff in Love Does

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How do you know you need Jesus?



I just finished reading this post:

saving the rich  -

The article starts out like this:

Over the past few years of writing and talking to people about grace, God’s sovereignty, His choosing, and the adversity He brings us to and through, a question has laced itself through my journey.

How do you know that you need Jesus?

Read more:
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives

Saturday, May 12, 2012

my notes from our May 6th discussions


  • “each member belongs to all the others”
  • “let him use it in proportion to his faith”
  • “burning coals on his head”?  what does this mean?  My bible study notes said that it was an Egyptian custom for someone who was repentant to walk around with a pan of burning coals on their head and this could be referencing that custom.  The important thing to focus on is that the person come to repentance.
  • “do not conform to the pattern of the world”  ---  conforming is different than doing, meaning you could participate in a ‘worldly thing’ without conforming yourself to those ways.
  • it says “YOUR mind”, not to make sure that others around you do not participate and conform.
  • “distributing to the needs of the Saints” = all of us… we are saints  :)


  • “serving God while your heart is still beating” – Josh
  • “putting your self-preferring nature to death” – Wes
  • “not giving dead sacrifices which would be like going through the motions, only doing a checklist with no love, obedience, etc” – Lori
  • we are taught the lie that it is not a “sacrifice” unless it hurts BUT Jesus said his burden is light, His yoke easy.
  • my study notes say – “Sacrifice was important, but even in the OT God made it clear that obedience from the HEART was much more important.”


  • “getting into His pattern allows you to see His ways and what He is doing.” – Wes
  • Instead of asking “what would Jesus do?”, look around and ask, “what is Jesus doing?”


  • “denominations” – Lori
  • “arrogance, etc” – Vana
  • we are not taught we are THE body… His Body
  • you have to interact with all the other parts
  • “you must participate and experience functioning as The Body… and once you do it is a Holy Wow moment!
  • teaching (words) are not enough
  • when we think of the body we think limbs, and eyes and ears BUT what about looking smaller… the cells that make up the body that have just a single task???
  • continuing with the thought of we are one body, Jordan came up with this analogy – “when there is pain in the body, all parts of the body are notified and do what they can to react to the pain and to help take care of the hurting part.”
  • “it has been the practice of Christians to always keep ‘machine’ alive (the building, the programs, the religion) instead of working as a Body.” – Wes
  • referring to the Body of Christ, Lori asked – “if one had never seen nor participated as a Body, could we still function as the Body?  Would we still know it when we saw it?  Perhaps the capacity to function as the Body would be there but the development would be determined by the programming that we knew.”


  • “your love must be sincere” – Vana
  • “don’t LOOK for work…. seek God and where He is leading you at this time.
  • “it is hard to live in harmony because there is always that ONE!” – Josh…. which then led into a discussion of what harmony is or isn’t
  • what is the definition of harmony?  the dictionary says being in agreement of feelings or opinion.  There was a strong dislike of this definition in the room :)
  • peace and harmony… verse 18 says, “as far as it depends on you”
  • you can’t change others, only yourself
  • Then we got into a big discussion about world peace and involvement in politics.  Josh said he believes that world peace is impossible and that he has no plans to get involved in politics to make his voice heard on different topics.  After this statement we had some great and passionate discussions on our views about this.
  • how can we participate?  put away our selfish ways and look to what is good for the whole (others) and thus become “living sacrifices”.
  • loving our enemies… who is our enemy?  anyone who goes against our self preferring nature???
  • we then discussed harmony in music… how we all the notes are different, make thier own sound but when they come together for a purpose… a song… then they are in harmony.  So when WE come together with all our differences under one purpose (Christ) we are in harmony with each other.
  • “being kind creates harmony” –Noah
  • Josh shared that we need to respect each others opinions BUT he feels if you disagree with anothers opinion then you don’t respect it.
  • Lori shared – “even though there is disagreement, you can still live in peace”
  • Wes shared – “how to create harmony?  when I serve, I put myself last”  (living sacrifice)
  • Vana wrote a poem Monday morning about our harmony discussions -
  • And later in the week I listened to a podcast where the idea of harmony was mentioned towards the end of the podcast --


  • Paul started singing the Beatles song “Let it Be”  :)   “
  • “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
    Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
    And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
    Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
    Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
    Whisper words of wisdom, let it be”

  • Jordan said he usually tries to find a way to fix it.
  • Deanna said it depended on what kind of trouble she was in, which then led to what does trouble mean.  We usually think of trouble as in we have done something wrong that is punishable.
  • We discussed how our first reaction to trouble is usually fear or panic.
  • our reaction to trouble shows us our reaction to God… is God a safe place or a judge?
  • I shared that my hope with my kids is that we have such a relationship that when they find themselves in trouble, that don’t think – “man my mom is going to kill me” but instead “man I am in trouble, I need my mom!”
  • Paul asked the question – “have you ever made the decision to go and confess what have done wrong the moment you find yourself in trouble?”  showing a repentant heart.


  • because we are so IMPATIENT!!!


  • “learn from our mistakes” – Josh
  • “helps my relationship with Him” – Jordan
  • “builds character” – Wes
  • “we go to God more and we learn He is not a wrathful God.  It improves our relationship with God.” – Lori


  • “good sense of humor” – Josh
  • “good with kids” – Jordan
  • “serving others, encouraging others” – Pam
  • “a good talker” – Paul


  • “what does it mean to serve God with part of your heart?”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lesson 10 --- TRUE LOVE


READ Romans 13.













  1. JOHN 15:9-13
  3. GALATIANS 5:13,14
  4. EPHESIANS 5:1,2
  5. COLOSSIANS 3:12-14
  6. 1 PETER 1:22
  7. 1 JOHN 3:11-23
  8. 1 JOHN 4:7,8

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"It took nearly 150 years filled with terrible family problems to change Jacob into Israel, into a man who learned to trust Me in the struggles of life."


Robin Sampson posted on Facebook:

"It took nearly 150 years filled with terrible family problems to change Jacob into Israel, into a man who learned to trust Me in the struggles of life." 66 Love Letters

66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb

I am reading Larry Crabb’s magnum opus, 66 Love Letters: A Conversation with God That Invites You into His Story. ...

I love the comment a lady posted after this FB post:

66 love letters (947x471)

Redeemed performed by Big Daddy Weave


Robin Sampson posted on Facebook this morning:

The Pharisees read the Bible daily and memorized large portions it, but when the Lamb of God stood right in front of them they didn’t recognize Him.
We have a tendency to judge our Christian walk by how much time we spend reading the Bible and feel guilty for not studying it every day.
Down deep we often believe God is upset because we are not reading it more. This is a performance-based legalistic view of Bible reading that leads more to guilt and even resentment instead of love, joy and peace.Read more at

More thoughts on “community”


from Dave Black’s April 29 entry (

5:58 PM Last Sunday, while driving in Dallas, I noticed time and again several Catholic churches that had the word "community" in their marques. Good for them. That is precisely the way I would translate the Greek word ekklesia. How can the church be the church? A good place to start is by paring away all the non-essentials and the verbiage that clutters and confuses. The basic meaning of ekklesia is a group of people that come together and have something in common, as opposed to a group of people that have come together and have nothing permanently in common (this latter idea is usually behind the Greek word ochlos, which is translated "crowd"). The great danger in most of our churches is that we confuse the physical plant with the church. The church is a people! So let the church be the church! What is the basis of this kind of human relationship? The New Testament teaches that the church is Christ's very own Body. Amazing but true: Because we are united with Him, we are united with everyone who follows Him in obedience and love. What a high view of the "church" we must have and teach! The  church, this Christian "community," is God's laboratory in which we work out our functions as members of His Body. The Bible doesn't say we are to create this community. Jesus has already made it. But we are maintain it, we are to express it, and we are to extend it. This is such a unique concept that I wish our churches could express this concept better in our names. "Wake Forest Community Church" would be redundant: Wake Forest Community Community! Oh, may our churches become the communities of faith God intends for them to be!

Some thoughts from Jon who wrote the post about “the Word of God” that I mentioned last week. This is his follow up to that post.


Why I Love The Bible

OK, I wrote some bizarre stuff that likely worried some of you in a recent post called: Stop Calling The Bible The Word Of God.
I want to clear the air and confirm that I love the Bible.

click the link below to read the whole post:

Sunday April 29 2012 (only a week late in posting) :o)


We met at Wes and Pam’s.

We discussed Susan’s question – (

-  we came up with these Scripture passages that spoke to Susan’s question:

  1. Ephesians 1:4-6, 11
  2. 1 Timothy 2: 3-4
  3. Titus 3:4-5
  4. Gospel of John
  5. Romans 2:9 and 10:12

-  All Israel will be saved?  What does this mean? 

  1. Romans 11:25-26
  2. all Israel = all believers, both Jews and Gentiles

We also discussed Susan’s other question/comment on the blog – ( – “all who were appointed for eternal life”

-  Paul says, “their appointed time to believe”

-  Romans talks about, “who knows the mind of God”


Not sure what verse we were discussing (I guess this is what happens when you don’t look at your notes for a week!), but I have the question written down – “bound all men over to disobedience???”  What does this mean?

-  bound = imprisoned = committed them

-  Lori said – “God gave us all freewill and knew beforehand we would be disobedient”


-  Romans 11:25 – Fullness of the Gentiles


Questions from this past week’s lesson ( and the notes I took as we discussed:

1.  Why did some people think that God must have rejected the Israelites?

if anyone rejected… it was the Israelites rejecting God BUT we always blame God as if He must responsible.

2.  What does God’s answer to Elijah show us?

there is a remnant chosen by GRACE.

3.  How do people try to earn God’s grace?

so many ways!

Susan wrote: “3. I wish people would quit bashing daily Bible reading. I don't know whether to feel guilty when I don't read it every day or to feel guilty when I do!”

* Susan, we say chose the no guilt route.  Do what you need to do and don’t worry about what other s are saying.  Smile 

*  Teri said that she comes and gathers with us because it makes her feel less guilty (for not meeting the checklist in her mind). 

*  The Truth will set you free!

*  My yoke is easy, my burden is light!

*  We read the article  - Stop Calling The Bible The Word Of God

*  So when someone asks you if you are in the Word each day, say yes.  I am in the Word and the Word is in me.  Yes, I am with Christ.

*  Christ = the Word  (John 1)

4.  Why are some people open to the Good News and others are closed?

because God gives them over to their hardened heart

Discussed “religion”

Paul was saying we all had a religion that we follow, a belief system.  I said I had no religion, that religion was man made.

Does belief system = religion?

What is the definition of religion?  “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.” according to

Is religion an individual thing or a group thing?

In the book of James, he shared the one “religion” that was good – “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

It was asked, do we (meaning all of us gathered this Sunday) have a religion, a repeated practice?

My answer would be no.


5.  Why can we be confident that God’s grace is for all who will receive it?

As Nicole said… because God said so!  Smile

There was also some discussion about the unforgivable sin.

6.  How are some people misled about the true way of salvation?

Some answers:

- religion

-  men messed them up

-  God said – “I am the good shepherd not go find a good shepherd!”


7.  In what different things do people put their hope for salvation?

We all loved Johanna’s response:

themselves (scary right?) in works (still no) in their pastor (aaaaah) in what they do with their possessions (important but not that important)

8.  Why is it important that we not take our salvation for granted?

-  because we forget then we forget that God loves us

-  we get complacent

-  it then gives Satan a foothold

-  creates doubt


We discussed how words mess us up.  We can’t be sure someone truly understands us by the words we use because they have different meanings to each of us.  Words like – religion, law, love, rules, church, etc.

Paul joked that because words mess us up no wonder that quote tells us to go out and share the good news, only use words if you have to.  Or maybe better would be… please don’t use words.  LOL


So here are some new truths we know… maybe we should get t-shirts made up that say…

I am in the Word!

The Word is within me!

I have no religion!

I am a saint!


How to be a Jew

Watch / listen beginning about 23:12 - 24:35

Yale lecturer describes how people "became Jewish". She uses the "c" word ... community which I thought was very interesting.

Thursday, May 3, 2012















JOB 36:15   He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity.

PSALM 22:24   For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.

PSALM 107:41   But he raises up the needy out of affliction
and makes their families like flocks.

ISAIAH 49:13   Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted.

ROMANS 5:3-5   3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

2 CORINTHIANS 1:6   If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

COLOSSIANS 1:11   May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,

JAMES 5:10   As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

1 PETER 4:13   But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

REVELATION 1:9   I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


We already know and have experienced what this author is writing about but I figured I would share his thoughts anyway.  It neat to see when others have come to know and experience what you know as truth in your own life.

Why Are Campouts Great? Community ---

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A question about salvation for gentiles

Did God always plan to offer salvation to the gentiles (non Jews)? I just finished reading Acts. There are references to the fact that when the Jews turned their backs on the salvation message, it was offered to the gentiles. Acts 28:26-28 Acts 13:44-48 Any thoughts or scripture?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My answers to lesson 7

I decided to write out my answers for lesson 7 but it seems I am too wordy because I wasn’t allowed to post it in the comments section.  So instead I will post my answers here.

(I didn’t get them all done because Wes was rushing me out the door.)

1.  What is wrong with trying to be saved in your own way?
If you are trying to saved in your own way, then you are not working with God.  It is your self-preferring nature that you are serving, trying to show that you don't need God, that you can do things on your own.  Kind of like a two year old, they are always saying "I do it!".  We humans are like those self determined toddlers telling God, I will do it.  I don't want to owe you, I don't want to do things your way, I am doing just fine on my own.  But in time, if we are watching and wise, we will see, just like those two year olds as they get older and wiser with more experience, that maybe God is okay, that God is right.  His ways are good, and freeing and make our life better. 

2.  What part do our thoughts and our words have in our response to salvation?
Who we are starts with our thoughts, our inner most being.  So to become something different it has to start with our thoughts. And so we are told here in Romans that in our heart (our thoughts, our beliefs) and with our mouth we confess what we believe, and from that our salvation will arrive.  The key part to note as well here is that the Holy Spirit will come to us and speak to our heart (our thoughts) and when that happens we choose to open ourselves to Him or close the door of hearts to Him.  I have always liked this verse: 
Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

3.  What promise is given to people who believe and confess that Jesus is Lord?
I am going to guess that this question is referring to verse 11 which says that those who believe will not be put to shame.  That those who call on the Lord will be saved.  My study notes say - "Paul is not saying Christians will never be put to shame or be disappointed.  There will be times when people will let us down and when circumstances will take a turn for the worse.  Paul is saying that God will keep His side of the bargain -- those who call on Him will be saved.  God will never fail to provide righteousness to those who believe." 

4.  How does God’s righteousness motivate us to godly behavior?
I would say that God's righteousness is him telling us that we are now "right" with Him, that we are not guilty, we will not be burdened with trying to be good, that we have been adopted into His family and are heirs... that all of this this would make us so glad that our cups would be overflowing with gratefulness which then leads us to do good things for others, living out all the one anotherings that we are told about in the NT.

5.  What does this passage teach about the way the good news is spread, understood, and accepted?
The good news is spread by people, every day average people, living their lives with their Savior and when they do this people will notice.  They will notice that His people are different, peculiar even.  And they will become curious and then they will inquire as to why His people are different.  And at that moment, hopefully everything has lined up (they have seen the new creation, the Holy Spirit has spoken to their heart and now His child will share the good news of love and freedom and salvation from the world.  Now these verses speak specifically to preaching and being sent.  What does that look like?  We know the work of the missionaries who go out their neighbourhoods and communities to do this work.  But is that the only way of preaching and being sent?  I read this today from David Black's blog:

" In Tuesday’s chapel I met a whole bunch of wonderful kingdom people. They are our students who are being deployed this year to some foreign country in order to "reach out and touch someone" with the love of Christ. As we laid hands on them and prayed over them, I was haunted by the idea that God is not so much commissioning them as He is commissioning all of us to be fulltime missionaries in this world.  Cook a meal and take it to an unsaved neighbor and you have just gone on a "mission trip." Can you rake leaves? Use that "talent" to draw others to the Savior. Jesus wants to use all of us in evangelism. Don't get me wrong. I am grateful for each and every one of these students and their commitment to global evangelization. I just wish more of us were like them. Rumor has it that people with the most toys win. Don't believe it. No amount of things can satisfy. The American Dream is a huge downer. Much better to live for Jesus by serving others. Plug in wherever God has put you. Do it now. The time is short. The night is coming. Isn't it about time we got back to the Bible’s way of loving people toward the cross? Let's all step up the plate. " 

You have probably heard me say one my favorite quotes when it comes to this topic: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel, and, if necessary, use words."

6.  What aspects of God’s character are shown through his plan of salvation?

7.  How are you encouraged by God’s plan to save the world?

8.  Why is it difficult for us to follow Jesus?
Number one would be because following Jesus's ways goes against what is naturally in us, our self preferring nature.  He wants us to love our enemies, turn the other cheek, go the extra mile.... "but what about me???"  we scream.  Without Him and His people this is an impossible hurdle to overcome.  Number two would be that those who say they represent Him, a.k.a. Christians, have done a terrible job of being His ambassadors.  Like Ghandi said, "I like your Christ, but your Christians are so unlike Your Christ."  And Number three would be that it is hard to follow what we cannot see in the physical.  We relate to Christ in the spiritual but our physical side is so much more strong of a "sense" that it can be very difficult us to operate in the spiritual. 

9.  What can we learn from Israel’s response to God’s plan of salvation?

10.  How can you guard against trying to earn God’s approval and acceptance?

11.  Why is it important to tell others about your faith in Jesus Christ?

Lesson 8 --- Called by God


READ Romans chapter 11.


1.  Why did some people think that God must have rejected the Israelites?

2.  What does God’s answer to Elijah show us?

3.  How do people try to earn God’s grace?

4.  Why are some people open to the Good News and others are closed?

5.  Why can we be confident that God’s grace is for all who will receive it?

6.  How are some people misled about the true way of salvation?

7.  In what different things do people put their hope for salvation?

8.  Why is it important that we not take our salvation for granted?


For more Bible passages on the way God chooses to save see:

  • Deuteronomy 9:4,5
  • Romans 2:4
  • Romans 8:28,29
  • Ephesians 1:4-6 and 11
  • Ephesians 2:8-9
  • 1 Timothy 2:3-4
  • Titus 3:4-5


Jason Gray cracks me up in it, kinda geeky but looks like fun.:)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Good Morning!

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom 15:5-6)

or from The Message:

May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we'll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!

Saturday, April 21, 2012