How I Almost Quit Christianity

HOW I ALMOST QUIT CHRISTIANITY

“If my only reference was the comments or actions of professed Christians, heaven is not a place I’d want to be….What started with my disdain for others’ bad behavior ended with repentance for my own…as Pastor Tullian Tchividjian stated, “A preacher who doesn’t believe he’s that bad will attract people who don’t think they’re that bad. And that’s bad…” Taking lightly the depths of my own depravity takes lightly the depths of God’s abundant grace…I’m a Christian. I have thorns. I need grace!” READ THE REST HERE…

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God Restores: Video Testimony

restore to you the years

I will restore the years… ~Joel 2:25

Today I’m sharing a videoed testimony of God’s all-encompassing grace throughout my life (begins after a 3-minute intro). When I didn’t care to live, God was determined to save. In my hatred and rejection, He pursued, and in my open rebellion, He forgave. He continues to prove to me, over and over, that He is able to bring such beauty from such pain and bring such glory to His name. God is still redeeming, still delivering, still restoring. Even in the ugliest circumstances of your life and even with the worst choices you can make, know that God Restores!

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restoreth my soul

God Restores!

Related BLOG POST: Gone In 60 Seconds

The Two Halves of Life

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I’m greatly enjoying a book by Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, which holds the premise that life’s “necessary suffering” is not an obstacle to be surmounted, but a pathway to be journeyed, a pathway to the second half of life. In the first half of life, we are driven by our ego, our need to achieve, to build something for ourselves, to discover and be discovered. I would summarize, however, that in the second half, we are more propelled by empathy because we have tasted defeat. In the second half, we embrace a deep desire to join others in their joys and sufferings, a desire to see justice, but only through a lens of grace, a desire to be certain of less, tentative of more, and ever decreasing in our resistance to change.

As I absorb the many delineations of first vs. second-half-of-life relating, I see my old self as having operated out of many of the first-half-of-life issues, such as searching for and finding my identity. It’s with some apprehension that I proclaim I’m now fully embracing the second half of life, only because I know my ego would love nothing more than to convince me I’m better than “those people,” those still journeying through the first half of life. But, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the first half of life. In fact, we need the first half of life if the second half will ever be sustainable. We need the roots of our tree; we need motivation, achievements, suffering, winning, and especially failing. So, I haven’t become too entangled in the notion that I’m not right where I believe I am and right where I believe I should be. The second half of life has also come with a firm sense of acceptance, both of self and others, of our individual and collective experiences, a sense of belief in that thing called intuition, which the first half of life threatened to consume. I see second-half-of-life indicators in my life and the lives of some around me. I see it when a friend questions why she’s okay with the fact that human beings will sleep outside tonight, or when I question why I allowed the slightest bit of my initial outrage to wane after seeing impoverished children eating dirt cookies for sustenance. I see the second half of life emerging when a friend said that for her, getting older has meant accepting the parts of her that have been beneficial to others but detrimental to her and acknowledging that without being bitter about it. I see it in my life when I realize I still have anger for some of my first-half-of-life experiences, for the loss, for what was willfully destroyed and stolen, but that my anger isn’t vindictive; it’s redemptive. I see second-half-of-life living in a friend who recently prayed to become like a child, not for the purpose of shirking adult responsibilities, but for the purpose of loving with reckless abandon, for the purpose of wholeheartedly living out the beliefs we’ve collected throughout the first half of life.

I believe that in this second half of life, we begin to feel a righteous indignation for societal wrongs that we know we may never completely correct or even address in our lifetime, but we find it worth our tears, our anger, our voice, anyhow. In this half of life, I’d rather regret standing up at the wrong time than regret not standing up at all. I think it’s an impossible ideal to live life without regrets, but I’m rather determined to pursue life with such purpose that I prefer my regrets. All of these issues are merely foundational, though, merely questioning whether one is living from the first or second half of life. The book further discusses the unintentional, upward fall into the second half, and I look forward to the other directions it will carry my mind.
falling upward

The Two Halves of Life

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Distance Makes No Difference

distant from god

Distance Makes No Difference

“If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room,

I would not fear a million enemies.

Yet, distance makes no difference.

He is praying for me.”

I’ve tweeted, blogged, and posted this quote on Facebook numerous times; I pass it, daily, on my living room wall. I know what it means for me, but during family worship, I asked our kids what the preceding quote meant to them. I was floored by the following responses:

3-year old twins: *incoherent sentences verbalized in the direction of the wall (something about Jesus praying)*

Middle Son: It means that God is praying for us. (side note: I continue to be blown away that Jesus intercedes for us, whether through prayer or being the atonement sacrifice for our sins.)

Eldest Son: It means that even though we don’t see Jesus right there, He’s praying for us, and it also can mean that even if we’re spiritually distant from Him, He’s still praying for us.

That’s when I was blown away all over again! The Word says He is able to save to the uttermost — that’s at all times, in all cases, to all depths, from any distance — those who draw near to God through Him, since He ever-lives to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:25). Thankfully, the bible also tells us we can’t even come to Him unless the Father draws us (John 6:44), and it’s God who works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). So, even the drawing near unto God part is handled by Christ Jesus, the one who died, was raised, is seated at the right hand of God interceding for us (Romans 8:34). Whether we are drawing near to God or becoming distant from Him, the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings we cannot utter. He searches our hearts and intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27). Whether near or far, in seeming physical proximity or spiritual intimacy, distance makes no difference, God is for us, and if He is for us, none can be against us. Distance makes no difference, He is praying.

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He Is Praying.