Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers

Being Soul Hungry

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:35

Eating is all something that we have to do every day. I was curious because I was looking for statistics on how much of our lifetime we spend eating and I found this American Time Use Survey has most Americans eating a little over an hour a day, which equals to over 400 hours spent eating every year or over 2,000 hours when you stretch that out over five years. Crazy isn’t it? Now I mean, I love food as much as the next person, but imagine all the things I could do if I didn’t have to stop to take time to eat? It would be a crazy amount of time back.

So when Jesus says we’ll never have to be hungry again, it’s a relatable analogy. Because he’s not talking about literal hunger and thirst. He didn’t come to feed our physical bodies. He came to feed our spiritual selves, to keep us from being soul hungry. Because how many people out there are searching for something to fill the emptiness inside of them, the hunger for something that means something? They turn to all sorts of substitutes – alcohol, drugs, false gods, more money – the list goes on and on. But those things can’t fill our soul hunger. They may feel like they do for a little while, but it’s only temporary. It’s not lasting.

But Jesus, he offers that lasting soul filling, the bread and water that your soul can eat and never be hungry again. It’s amazing. We were designed to be his and without him in our life, we will never find completeness. With him we can have everlasting life, the bread of life.

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Vocation (AKA What Is Your Calling?)

I was reading another blog post (as I am apt to do – I love exploring the vast internet) and what I was reading was just striking me just so, so I wanted to write about it. There are two parts from the article (found here) that really just struck me as I was reading it, so I’ll break it down and just talk about those two parts. It’s fun, the way I’ve been reading stuff lately and I just feel so inspired and fired up to write about it.

The first part is this:

The first is that Christian parents and certainly Christian churches need to teach students that God calls people to be more than full-time pastors or missionaries to Zimbabwe.

For the longest time when I was growing up, I thought I wanted to be a teacher (in a Lutheran school). I think, in part, because my dad used to be a teacher. The rest of the motivation I’m not sure that I remember, but it was what I answered when I was asked, “Well, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

And so when I realized that I no longer wanted to be a teacher, and I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to be, I struggled with it a lot. There was definitely an emphasis in the schools I went to that to serve God you must be a teacher or a pastor, that those were the superior ways to serve God. And don’t get me wrong, those are great ways to serve God. But they aren’t the only ways to serve God. Growing up, I know I heard the message that you can glorify God in all things, but I also heard the subtle message that the best way to do so was through being a teacher or a pastor (if you were a man).

In fact, even after I started college, I was still struggling with this fact. It actually took a conversation with a friend of mine, who is now a pastor (but who was just a seminary student at the time), on the way home from church to have it really set in the idea of the doctrine of vocation (which is how Martin Luther referred to it).

Basically, it’s the idea that God calls some to be teachers and pastors, yes, but God calls people to all walks and occupations in life. And it’s totally backed up in scripture (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-30). We need more than just pastors and teachers, we need the lay people of the church too. And understanding this, truly understanding this, blew my mind wide open. Because I had a heart that wanted to serve God but Satan was tricking me into believing that I couldn’t serve God right where I was at, that I needed special credentials to serve him. But that’s not true. I can serve Him right where I am. Being a stay at home mom, taking care of my household and raising my son, I am still an important part of the body of Christ. Just as important as a pastor or a teacher, just as the sense of hearing is as important as the sense of sight, theu’re just different.

Which kind of leads to the second part I wanted to highlight:

Christianity is not something that is compartmentalized when one is singing a worship song, having a quiet time or sharing a Four Spiritual Laws tract with a friend. Christianity is an entire worldview which impacts — and often transforms — every aspect of one’s life.

It goes without saying that if you realize that you in your everyday normal job realize this, you live your life differently. Because when you live your life to the glory of God, it looks different to the rest of the world. Suddenly you’re no longer showing up just to punch the clock at your nine to five job and get a paycheck. You’re showing up because your job with your gifts and talents is part of what God has set before you to do and by doing so, you are striving to glorify Him.

I was actually having a conversation sort of about this earlier. Because I was saying to someone, when you truly believe what the Bible says, you’re going to live it out, it’s going to impact your whole life. You don’t just show up once a week and punch your church card. No, you do your best to live it day in and day out, because Christianity isn’t some fad. It isn’t something you “do” on Sunday mornings. No, Christianity is your life. And yes, you will not live it perfectly all the time because we’re sinful human beings, which is why we need a Savior. But when you are trying to live for Him, it is different, and that’s a guarantee.

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I think this speaks for itself. If you have any decisions you need to make, turn first to God’s word. Have a great Thursday!

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What Would You Do?

I was reading this blog post here and I thought that I had my own take on it, felt compelled to write my own take on it at any rate.

Because how do we react when someone different comes into our church? Like honestly, how do we react? There’s the Sunday school answer, which is that we welcome them lovingly with open arms, but do we really?

At the church I go to now, we have quite a few homeless people that come in occasionally. And to be honest, when I was first confronted with these people it made me uncomfortable. Everyone was like me in the church I grew up in. Well not exactly like me. I mean some people were older or younger, but for the most part, we all came from the same background. Nobody stuck out. Nobody failed to fit in.

But here – it’s not like that. Here I’ve been confronted by the fact that I’m not always the most welcoming person. And it is not easy to write that and put it out on my blog for the whole world to see, but I’m trying to be honest. I’m trying to tell you the truth. Christians aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect and I never want to put up the face that pretends to be. Often I do because that’s what I feel is expected of me. But it’s not helpful. But what is helpful is talking about our struggles as Christians.

So yes, I don’t always know what to say or how to approach that person who enters our church who is different from me. What I used to do was just make myself so busy talking to the people I already knew that I didn’t have time to say hello to the people I didn’t know. It’s funny, most people think I’m really outgoing and sociable, because the truth is, I have no issue getting up and speaking in front of 500 people I don’t know. That doesn’t bother me. But for some reason, speaking one on one with people I don’t know makes me a bit afraid. I don’t know what to say.

But I’ve been trying. And I don’t always do a good job of it. Sometimes I think I use Dom as an excuse not to talk to new people – I’m too busy taking care of him. Not that sometimes that isn’t completely true (some things just can’t wait) but other times, I do think I use it as an excuse. Like I said, I’m Christian but I’m not perfect.

But honestly, those people are just as loved by God as the people who are like me. And they deserve to know it. We talk about the love of God a lot, but I think most of the time we do a really poor job of showing that love to other people. I mean, the love of Christ compels us to love our neighbors, but to be honest, I don’t always do so well in that department.

So I guess I’m putting this out there as a challenge to myself – now that I’ve written this down and made it public, I need to follow through with it. I need to walk the talk as well as talking the talk. It’s scary to me, just a little bit, but I really do want to do it. I want those people to know they are just as loved as everybody else.

What do you think? Do you find it easy to talk to new people in your church or does it intimidate you? Do you have any strategies that might make it easier for me to talk to new people at church? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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By Faith

2 Corinthians 5:7

For we live by faith, not by sight.

What a short verse but what a powerful statement about Christianity. Faith – that is the be all and end all. If any verse is relevant today (I mean they all are) but we are thousands of years removed from when Jesus came to die for us. We don’t personally know his physical self. We can’t touch the wounds in his hands and side the way Doubting Thomas did.

Which is why we need faith. Because let’s face it, we would be lost if we had to rely on things we can see. Because when I look at the world I see tons of problems and frankly it’s a little depressing – human trafficking, hunger, child abuse – the list goes on. But when I look to the Bible I see hope. Hope through the faith that I have that he will take me to heaven to be with him someday. And that is a truly beautiful thing.

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God’s Timing

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Do you ever try and put God on your schedule? I know I have many times. From the little stuff to the big stuff, I know I have told God too many times that waiting isn’t good enough for me. That I want what I want and I want it now (reminiscient of the spoiled kid from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Or how many times do I think “If only that had happened sooner.”

I’m sure we wish for these things. Like the couple who tries to get pregnant and it takes them years before they do. Or the college grad who looks for a job for months before he finds one.

And it can go the reverse too. The couple who gets pregnant unexpectedly who always wanted kids but thinks “How in the world can we make this work right now?” Or when someone you love dies and you think “It’s too soon.”

And don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s wrong to pray to God for specific things to happen – in fact, he encourages us to pray in everything. But along with that is the fact that we need to be satisfied in Him. Not only in what he gives us but in when he gives it to us.

Because truly He is perfect. And that means His timing is as well. So next time you’re tempted to think He’s done something too soon or that His timing is way too late, just remember that in His infinite wisdom He picked this time. After all, the Jews in the Old Testament must have said to themselves at times, “Gee, why doesn’t God just send the Messiah right now?” But He didn’t because He knew the best time for Him to come. And He knows the best time for all things in your life to happen.

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10 Things for Tuesday – 9/4/12

Okay, so one thing that I do is that I love to share other people’s articles and content. Why? Because there are a lot of great things out there. So periodically, I’ll do what I’m doing today, which is leave you a list of things I recommend reading (or watching). Just a few notes because I’m just going to leave the links and not add any of my extra commentary (for the most part), leaving a link here does not mean I agree with everything on the site – I just think the particular link is interesting whether or not I agree with it. If you want to discuss any one in particular, leave a comment and I’ll happily discuss it with you and what I think about it.

1. Thank God for the Taco

2. Teach Your ‘Water Baby’ to Swim

3. Teach Your Kids to do Their Own Laundry

4. 10 ways to raise kids who love to read

5. Should Getting Married Before 25 Be Illegal? 

6. Stay Married . . . Get Happy (Part 1)

7. God uses goofy people too!!

8. 10 Wonderful Short Films Based on Famous Short Stories (If you only have time to watch one of these, make it the “Harrison Bergeron” one)

9. Nice Girl’s Don’t Ask

10. 13+ Things a Burglar Won’t Tell You

Happy reading (and watching)!

Melissa

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Yes – AMEN!

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV, 1984)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have a hard time trusting that God will follow through on his promises. It’s not that I don’t believe him, but that I’m human and I don’t have the concept in my head of what it’s like to follow through on every single promise. After all, humans don’t follow through on every single one of their promises.

It’s hard sometimes, for example, that God will provide like he promises. When you look in your bank account and there’s next to nothing there and you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it can be scary to trust God to provide. But he does.

Or when you’re going through a rough situation, it can be tough to believe that God will work it out for our good like he promises. Partially because what God deems good may not be the same as what we deem good, but partially because we think nothing good can come out of something so horrible.

And even salvation can be hard to wrap your head around. Why would God want to save someone like me? But God has promised to save us. And he will.

Will God provide for us? Yes – AMEN!

Will God work things out for our good?  Yes – AMEN!

Will God save us and give us eternal life? Yes – AMEN!

I’ll throw my standard disclaimer on the end here that I’m not a theologian, I’m just a woman, writing my thoughts on God’s word in the Bible.

Melissa

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Book Review: Chazown by Craig Groeschel

So, I used to review books for my other blog, but with the shifting focus here, I decided why not just combine the two? Then it can be the best of both worlds – plus I know some people do well with having multiple blogs, but I think I have come to realize that I do best when I put my energy and focus into just one blog. But I love reviewing books, so I’m bringing that over here.

Name of the book: Chazown: Define Your Vision, Pursue Your Passion, Live Your Life on Purpose

Author: Craig Groeschel

Summary: (from Goodreads) “Chazown (pronounced khaw-ZONE) from the Hebrew, meaning a dream, revelation, or vision.

You were born with your own Chazown. Do you know what it is?

You’re invited on a most unusual odyssey—to find, name, and live out your personal Chazown. It’s a journey you’ll never forget because it’s impossible to return unchanged.

Practical, fresh, and biblically sound, Chazown is a one-of-a-kind life planning experience. Perhaps for the first time, you’ll clearly understand what you’ve always suspected:

I have been created and put on earth for a unique and important purpose.
And God intends for me to know it and live it with passion and fulfillment for His glory.

Craig Groeschel will help you get under the surface of your life to discover your life purpose in three often overlooked areas: your core values, your spiritual gifts, and your past experiences. He’ll help you turn it into a highly motivating credo—complete with short-term goals, action steps, and a supportive network to make your big dream a reality.

And then Craig will show you how to apply your own chazown to five critical areas of your life: your relationship with God, your relationships with people, your finances, your health and fitness, and your work.

Are you living someone else’s dream for your life, or no dream at all? Get ready for Chazown.

For resources, visit The Chazown Experience at www.chazown.com

Rating: 5

Reason for Rating: I really like this book for a number of reason. The first reason is that it really makes you think. And the best part about the thinking is that it makes you think about a general concept that we all sort of talk about (God has a plan for your life) in a more concrete way (what is God’s plan for your life?). I think sometimes we often assume we can’t know God’s plan or purpose for our life so we don’t think critically about the spiritual gifts or the core values that God has given us. This book will encourage you and help you to think about how those things work together. The second thing is that it’s concrete. In the sections it asks you specific questions that apply to the concept being talked about. For example, it asks you to identify your spiritual gifts when it talks about them. In this way it’s a good book because I think it’s easy to read books that might fall under the sort of “self help” category but then you’re like, okay, that’s fine and dandy, but how do I do that? What does that look like practically? How do I start? Groeschel can cut a lot of that out because he’s provided specific pointed questions for you to think about. I also think it’s a really great book for small Bible studies. We’ve been studying this book in my Bible study (as I mentioned earlier) and it’s been working really well for that. The questions in the back definitely get us having long thought out discussions. Lastly, I can honestly say since I read this book, I really have been giving more thought to how can I be purposeful about serving and my life. This has been especially helpful since becoming a mom and has helped me to try and maintain some perspective. 

Find Chazown on Amazon

Find Chazown on Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a copy of this for free to provide my honest thoughts about the book. I was under no obligation to review it positively.

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 “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.” – Matthew 28:19, NIV 1984 version

I had such a fun and refreshing weekend, which I am sure I will write about later, because I still need to process through and figure out what I want to say, but I will write a little bit about this verse. Not a lot, because I’m not an expert, but a little, because I love Jesus and it would be a mistake of me to write this blog without ever mentioning him because he is such a huge part of my life.

So anyways, this is the verse I wanted to pick to share for you today. If I was in any way design talented, I would make a beautiful background with it to give to you for your computer, but I’m not and I won’t pretend to be. Anyways, I think this verse has been on my mind or at least in the back of my mind lately for the implications of this verse. If we live like this verse is true, we should live our lives as a witness to Christ. Now I don’t necessarily mean shoving Christ down the throats of people you know, but if you love Christ, your life is different because I think you can have this sense of peace and joy and contentment that can’t be found anywhere else and when people see that they will get curious.

This verse too is also part of the reason why I believe in infant baptism and why Nick and I had Dominic baptized at just two weeks old. It’s such an amazing thing to think how God can use just His word and the water and make someone a part of his family. Isn’t that so neat?

Anyways, I don’t have anything else to say. I hope you had a good weekend because I had an awesome one. I’m off to go to church, but I will write more tomorrow – about what I don’t know, but you’ll probably hear about my weekend a few days from now. Or at the very least, sometime within the next week.

Melissa

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