The day my nine year old was picked up by the police: When people think you have it all together

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“I don’t want to live here anymore.”

“I.want.a.NEW.family.”

Stomping her feet- right there in the middle of her bedroom, surrounded by all who love her; she had made up her mind- it was time to leave.

And what do you do when something like that happens?

Because when you’ve grown up being tossed around from foster home to foster home- from institution to institution when things get hard; of course you want to leave.

So, she left. And I followed- all secret agent like. Parking behind trees and in peoples driveways. It’s true. I simply hid out as I watched my little girl skip around town- thinking all was right with the world; thinking she had won.


Some days, I want to skip around town- thinking all is right with the world, thinking I have won. But the truth is: I’m a broken mess.


I followed her for an hour before the city police finally came and picked her up and drove her home. All the while I thought, “And people think we have it all together.”

This is the truth, friends.

None of us have it all together.

I have sat with mommas who have tried to take their lives; mommas who I thought had it all together. I have sat with women whose marriage I envied; only to find they were nearing divorce. I have wished upon stars for your picture perfect child to influence my not-so picture perfect child; only to find your child is no-so picture perfect after all. I have hoped and dreamed for the homes of many- only to see those homes be taken by the bank or cause a divorce over finances.

My nine year old just wanted a new family. And when the police picked her up? Well, she didn’t care one bit. She told him she ran away because she didn’t want to do her math problems and she wanted a new family. Well, in orphan world- police take you from families to make you safe. She thought he would just snatch her up and move her to a math-less world. So, when he said, “Next time, I’m taking you to juvie.” She wasn’t too impressed.

So, how do we: moms, dads, sons, daughters, co-workers, bloggers, foodies, grandmothers, men and women– how do we show the love and grace of Jesus in a true and genuine way? Because as Ann Voskamp sweetly reminds us:

“Aren’t we all really like Peter– cowards and liars and deniers and absolute messes? I am.”

I am.


And when one runs away or one hits another child, or one does something unthinkable, I simply am reminded. We all need Jesus. A suit, tie, and seminary degree, all packaged with a big smile aren’t going to change the fact that I am a broken mess and so desperately in need of a savior.

And hopefully? By leaving all of that religious, “I’ve got it all together” facade aside, this desperation can speak loud into the lives of my children. That life is hard, and days can be crazy. But Jesus is loving, and grace filled- no matter what.

Then, when we break at the feet of Jesus,  we’re just a bit like my nine year old- who, hours later– even hours after being toted home in a patrol car- finally broken, collapsed in my arms and said,

“I’m sorry mom and I love you.”

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“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” 1 John 3:1a

Lavished by the King- and so desperately in need of Him–

Right along side of you, friend.
Kati

Similar Post: Do things that make the white guy in Walmart say, Da** girl; how many baby daddies have you had?


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Care to hear a story of yet another homeless man? Living the book of James: week 3

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We ended last week with James 1:26-27 and are starting this week with James 2:1-12

Monday night: read James 2:1-12  (thru to the end of 12)

Tuesday night: read James 2:1-12 AGAIN and then go back and read James 2:1-4 (thru to the end of 4)

When I originally wrote this study, it was for Jr. Highers. This is a lot easier text to go through with a bunch of public school Jr. Highers- struggling to figure out who they are in the mist of several different social groups at school. It’s a little harder to address with adults.

Maybe it’s even a little more important?

Vs 3-4 says: If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet”, you have  discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts.

You see, we picture this scenario to go like this…

A nice looking, clean, “rich” person walks into a room and we offer him a chair. THEN a poor man walks into the room, he stinks and is not dressed well. Do we offer him a chair or just ignore him? Of course we offer him the same type of chair at the same table. We would never separate him from the others… that would hurt his feelings. I mean good grief most of us are not totally mean.

As an adult, I believe this scripture goes a little deeper within the heart here. I think it has several applications for different stages of life. For some, it is a matter of just not loving poor people outwardly. For others, it’s a heart issue. And me? I don’t have either one of them figured out. I simply know this. Jesus loves the poor. He loves them just as much as He loves you and I.

Yes, we know He loves the poor child in the other countries we support monthly, and He loves the hard working momma in Uganda, but listen when I tell you this: He loves the man sitting on the corner begging for change. Many of us would probably argue, “How do we even know if that person is poor; he may have a mansion just around the corner.” The beauty of that crazy God story? It doesn’t matter what we think he has, it matters what God says our love should do, love unconditionally.

Here are a few ways you can love poor/homeless people:

Stop and pray with them. This is one of my children’s favorite ones. Especially when a person is in an area that is applicable to stopping, such as a Wal-Mart parking lot. Stop, ask their name. Ask their story. Grab their dirty hand and pray with them. When you leave, don’t stop praying.

Take them home. Yes, I know it’s a scary step. And as much as I want to say, It will be OK, just put them up in your guest room. That is not safe. Let’s be honest, God calls us to love. There’s a smart way to do that. If you choose to take in a hurting stranger, especially one you have never met, I suggest having a garage, tent, or storage building you can give them. Let them earn your trust over time if they stay. Don’t give them your home, especially if you have young children.

Feel uncomfortable doing this? Why not take them to the local shelter for the night? They are equipped for this situation. You can read about one of our homeless friends, Mr Floyd, by clicking here.

Ask them. Ask them what their need is. One man we met, his sign said “Needing cash for gas to get home.” We took him to go get gas. Did he ask us for cash after filling his pump? Yup, he sure did. Did we give it to him? Nope. But we smiled real big and hugged him goodbye. I know he probably stopped and held the same sign for years, every time he needed gas. But it’s not about him, is it? Another man had just been released from jail and had a free rehabilitation place to stay across the country. He only had to get there. He needed a bus ticket. His letter, addressed to him in jail, was from the place he said, stating the things he told us. At that point, we only had one choice, help him.

Ask them to go eat with you. Several times, the sign will read “Hungry, need money for food.” Don’t want to just fork out money? Take them to lunch. We have offered this to several people, several. Only one has accepted; his name was Willy.

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 We met him on our vacation to San Antonio, TX a few years back. While walking the river walk, he asked us if we could spare a dollar. We invited him to dinner. He walked with us, several blocks to the hub of town telling us all about the city. As we passed other homeless people, he would call them by name, saying, “Hello, Roger…”. When we passed some of them homeless men, Willy would warn us to move over. “This guy is no good, you kids move away from him.” Our oldest daughter, Alli who was nine at the time,  was totally enamored by his ‘homeless man knowledge’ =) His shoes were too small, and he smelled real bad but he had a smile that was worth gold. There might not have been any teeth, but there was joy. =)

When we asked him what he wanted, he said, a hamburger. “Oh, I’d love me a good hamburger”, he said. Well, have you ever been to the river walk on a Friday night? Yes, it’s packed with people and apparently, they all love a good burger. After waiting several minutes at one restaurant, we decided to move over to another. A fancy Mexican restaurant, they had immediate seating and hamburgers.

The staff was very rude to us and the table next to us asked to be moved. But we laughed, worked with Willy on reading our names, and talked about life. Willy’s belly was full. And us? We.were.full.


Taking them to lunch too big of a step for you right now? I had a friend tell me once they buy up lots of gift cards and store them in their purse. When they see someone but don’t have time to stop, they give them a small gift card. Do the people sell that for drugs or beer? Possibly. But again,

It is not our job to determine how they use Grace, it’s our privilege to share it.

Wednesday:

Thursday: read James 2:5-12 (thru to the end of 12)

Question: what do you think about vs5?

Notice how he says “those who are poor in the eyes of the world

You see, we put a value on people based on what they look like or by what they own. If they don’t look a certain way, they are poor. If they don’t have a certain amount of money, they are poor.

God puts a value on people by where their faith lies. 

God says, you can have a great style, a nice house, tons of friends and money but if your faith does not dwell/reside in God, you are poor. And the people we think are poor, God considers rich.

Notice James says at the end of that verse … he promised those who love him. The poor person has to love God, obviously. BUT it is much easier for a poor person to have faith in God; not only because they don’t have money to depend on but also the little things like not typically having friends or family.  God is their source of strength in times of loneliness, heartache, and financial crisis. Again, if they love God.

Who or what do we truly depend on in times of loneliness or heartache? Our family? Our spouse? Our credit card? Our savings?

Oh friends, being alone. The desert. There is a relationship in those places we will never understand.

He says in vs 5 that He has chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and inherit the kingdom He has promised those who love him. But we say, well, I love God. Do we? We love God by loving people, not only believing in Him. We learned that a few weeks ago. We have to love all people. It is a hard thing to do, trust me, I know but God knows when we are trying. When we are trying that is being faithful to Him. It is when we just don’t even try that we are lying to ourselves in saying that we love God.

My friend Tony says it best,

Love is an action.

Friday read James 2:5-12

Yesterday we touched a little on ‘you love God by loving people’ check out vs 8. It says, if you keep the royal law (which is the law of love) found in scripture “love your neighbor as yourself”, you are doing right.  You see, friends. It all comes down to the same song, love others like you love yourself. This is everyone. Your parents, your friends, your boss, people who are real mean to you, people who are totally skanky. We are called to love them all. Sometimes we feel like it is our job to not love them or to be mean to them because they are always mean to us. Nope. Jesus says revenge is his. Our job is to love them and trust faithfully that the Lord is going to bring justice. And believe me; He does a much better job of it than we do!

We think that we have all these “rights” but think about this:

God is the shepherd of our lives. Think of a shepherd, what does he do? He takes care of his flock. The sheep have no rights; they cannot do anything for that shepherd or to that shepherd. But guess what! The shepherd is always faithful to care for the sheep’s needs. He protects them, feeds them, and dedicates his life to them FULLY.  If we are the sheep, what rights do we have, especially the right to determine who to love and not love. {my, oh, my I am right there with you!}

This weekend, let’s focus on not being the judge of people’s status. Let’s try our hardest to love everyone equal. Treat everyone with equal respect.  Remember, God does not judge us at all by what our money can buy or by how our clothes look. He judges our heart and our faithfulness. We cannot be a fair judge of those things, only He can because only He knows our hearts. Therefore, we have no business judging others. I cannot tell you how happy I am knowing that only God can judge my worth because I know that I will just never measure up to everyone’s standards!

vs 13.  … if you have been merciful.

 Mercy, Grace, and Peace to you!

Lovingly,
Kati


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Living the book of James: week two of a simple study

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Busy weekend, friends? I’m right there with you.

Remember last week, when I mentioned I first did this study years ago with my Jr. High Sunday school class? Well, one of those junior highers moved in with us this weekend. Yup, he traveled from the precious place we once called home- a state away, and joined us to live life together. However, he is no longer a junior higher, he is now a man.

You just never know what tomorrow brings.

Grab a few minutes this afternoon and let’s dig in, simply.

May you be challenged and loved as you walk the scriptures this week.

I’m right there with you.

 


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Week 2
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Written by James, brother of Jesus.

We ended last week with James 1:21-25 and are Starting this week with James 1:26-27

Monday: read James 1:26-27 (thru to vs. 27)

Tuesday: read James 1:26-27 again.

Vs 26 says… if anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Question:

Do we consider ourselves to be religious? Now days we use that term like it is bad. For example, we might say “Well, they are just religious.” because they like a certain type of praise music in the church or maybe they like a “type of church” better than the other. That is what we have made religion to mean… what it actually means is our OUTWARD acts of being a Christian.

Someone should be able to look at us and say “wow, that person is so different” NOT because we are rude toward non-Christians or because we go around judging other peoples sin, but because we are so incredibly nice to people, forgiving, happy, and carefree of life’s worries. {aka living by the fruit oh.so.hard}

Gandhi says it best. “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Oh, friends. What does our Christ look like?

Continuing in vs. 26: How about our tongue? Do we keep a tight rein on it?

Tomorrow: Lets focus on displaying our OUTWARD acts of being a Christian. Lets watch our tongue, think before we speak, (remember last week… quick to listen and slow to speak). Vs. 26  doesn’t just mean bad language; this means all talk. Mommas, talking bad about one friend to another friend is wrong, it is a sin. It is a sin that is so VERY EASY to fix! We have to just train our mouths to not speak mean things.

When we choose to love God more than we love talking bad about people it makes us a more beautiful person.

Remember who we are. we are a wife, a mother, a friend, a mother in law, perhaps even a grandmother. Let’s work together hard now on using kind words to others and about others; trust me, it pays off. Are you sick of having friends who back stab you? Then quit being a backstabber. We only attract the type of friends we ourselves are– or the type of friends who want to become someone like who we are–

Not because we are so good, oh we are not. But because the grace and goodness of that sweet Jesus. That crazy Jesus love.

Wednesday: Write it down! Feel like talking about someone? Mad at someone, been hurt? Start a journal. Lets write our feelings down. When we write out our thoughts, without even knowing it, we are giving all our worries and cares to God–he will take care of us. Then, it is so amazing to look back and see his goodness in each step.

Thursday: read James 1: 26-27 again

  1. 27: the religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: look after orphans and widows in their troubled times and keep yourselves from being polluted by the world.

Is our religion one that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless?  James gives us the exact definition of a religion which God accepts as pure and faultless.

do.we.know.an.orphan?

how.about.a.widow?

not do we know of one, do we know even one?

what are our hands, our feet, our words, our lives too busy doing?

Oh friends, mine is busy doing the laundry, are you there with me? There are always things to be done, but which are eternal?

Friday night: read James 1:26-27 again

Question:

Do we find ourselves taking better care of us rather than others?

How are we doing with keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world?

The world says, “Oh, you deserve a break.” “Take a rest.” “This is too much for you.” 

Jesus says,  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” no matter the context, it still says the same. He is our strength.

This weekend, lets focus on taking better care of others rather than ourselves.  I think we will find, it is not just pleasing to God but it also makes us feel much better, as a person.

Even if we feel the person we are serving does not deserve it remember, we sure didn’t deserve what Christ did for us but he did it anyway. AND remember we are doing it because we love God. I can’t tell you how often I have to say that to myself… “This is because I love you God, because I know this person doesn’t appreciate what I am doing, but you do.”

He sees you.

Our mission? To become a servant of all.

Becoming with you,

Kati

Joel Osteen Is a Poser. This is okay to say if you’re a brother or sister in Christ, right?

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Every day I am overwhelmed by the vastness of people needed to share the goodness of a loving Jesus. While pondering this thought the other day, this story from a few years back came to mind. May we be encouraged to leave the “who is called and who is not called” to the greatness of God and worry solely on who God has called us to be. Individually.


{notice the dialog of this post. It is a conversation I had with another believer a few years back.  The negative views in this post about Joel Osteen are not mine. I am only passing along what was said in a conversation. }


A friend of mine wrote a quick post on Facebook a few weeks back:

she wrote: “I thought it was cool to see Joel Osteen on The Voice!”

A friend of hers replied to her post: (We will call the friend, The Other Gentleman.)

The Other Gentleman: “Joel Osteen is a poser. Stating Mormons are Christians is heresy. He has said that. He is a feel good phony that paints a false picture of Christianity. He shys away from calling anything a sin. He is far from bold. He is Lukewarm at best. He is also a health and wealth guy who hardly ever quotes scripture. He is a great example of how TV evangelism hurts more than it helps the cause.”


To which I took part in a bit of a debate. ICK! I usually do not do that. It must have been a moment of weakness– or did it hit me on a personal level? Perhaps both.

Can you imagine my heart? It’s little self was about to flutter off into the air!

Here is my reply: (we will call myself, myself. )

Myself: “Joel doesn’t quote scripture often, I will agree. However, he is also one of the only pastors who does not take a salary.”

“Mark 9: 39-41  “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me,  for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.


People are loving Jesus and feeling hope– Joel isn’t their holy spirit, God is big and can convict and teach their hearts if they are open to him through this teaching. People are closer to the heart of the King sitting in a health and wealth church than no church. And I for one am highly against health and wealth, but it’s not about us and our opinions, is it? It’s about not being a Pharisee and thinking our way– our thinking–our convictions– are the only way.”

Other Gentleman: “He doesn’t take a salary because he has made millions on book sales. It’s still using God to get rich. The love of money is the root of all evil. Would Jesus be a millionaire? Would he sell his ideas? No he offered free salvation. Also in regards to hope, hope and feel good messages have their place. However one can’t truly know the grace of God or experience true spiritual freedom without first coming to terms with what they were saved from. I wonder how many people at his church never are convicted of sin because sin is a bad word to Joel. Finally, I know more about the bible than Joel. He has no formal training. How can you trust ignorance with you salvation?”

Myself: Well, we sell His ideas, we wear and sell His crosses on t-shirts and and necklaces. christian book stores gross millions per year. Most people spend more time shopping for Jesus “stuff” and looking up feel good scriptures per year than talking to people about the gift of grace.

“Be careful friend, who are you to say you are better than someone? More equipped? We serve the same God and he is who qualifies us. What would you have done to Paul? Or better yet, the adulteress woman go Jesus told to go and do the same? What about the man with all the demons who went into the city, telling everyone what Jesus had done? Was he qualified? Was his story, “God forgives sins” or “GOD is REAL and can do anything!”
How can you downgrade Joel Osteen’s Gathering if you say yourself, “I do not know how many people in his church are ever convicted” you don’t know so your only choice is to pray for them. Do you doubt what our big God can do? He can use an ass to speak, the murderer David to rule and share his own heart, can’t he use Joel? Yes he is rich, and I also subscribe to the “would Jesus be a millionaire” rant– however, who will reach the rich if we are all poor? Who will help the poor if we are all poor? What does he do with his money? Do you have a garage? Do you park your car in it? Someone in Africa or South America would say “How can YOU be a Christian, you have a house for your car and we don’t even have a home.”A Christian there would say to you: “The scriptures say, Even the son of man had no place to lay his head how do you have not only a home for yourself but also your car?” Who determines the point of being rich? Above all, judging is a huge sin, talking bad about others is a sin. If we have a problem with someone, especially a brother… We are told to go to them and try to work it out, then take a friend, then go before the church. Not call them terrible names and say they are not doing the work of God– what right do we have? I Wonder what Joel is doing right now? Do you think he is spending time on Facebook or do you think he is perhaps talking with others about Jesus? Finally, How can we trust someone of ignorance with our salvation, you ask? We don’t. We trust in the giver of salvation and that is what he teaches- trust in God. That big good God who uses broken, poser people like you and I to share his incredible, crazy, unbelievable without faith,  story.”


Other Gentleman: “Ok, in regards to Paul, he never held back his views. Paul said women shouldn’t be allowed to speak in church. He also destroyed the charismatic movement and Pentecostal movements with his rules for speaking in tongues. Also Paul knew the Bible. He was a Pharisee before conversion. Devout. I never said I was a better person than anyone. I just said I am far more biblically versed than Joel. I also never said people can’t be forgiven. However, one must confront their sins to be saved. Without that you can never be a new creation. Read the book of James. Or study the Pauline Epistles. He confronts sin. We have free will. God can’t convict someone unless they are open to the conviction. When someone is telling you God is going to make u rich and wealthy you aren’t open to conviction. If u don’t trust your pastor then y go to church? Kind of a waste of time. Also I am.pretty sure all modern denominations would.be classified as false teachers by bible. Also I am not a pastor. I am not held to the same standard. Even James acknowledges that. God doesn’t pick and choose who to save. To say that praying will make God soften a heart is similar to the Catholic church praying people into heaven. God gives us free will. You cant pick and choose what to accept in the Bible. If one part is a lie it is all destroyed. The problem today is denominations. They mold God into their image of him.”


{by then, it was time to stop.}

Myself: “When you open the doors of your church be sure to invite me. The book of James, one of my favorites glad we share that love. Grace and peace to you!”

Other Gentleman: “Also in regards to being rich. Hardly any church takes care of the needy. It is more.important to pay pastors full time salaries for three hours of work and have big sound systems. Because that’s exactly what Jesus would do. I dare you to find one church who gives 80% of their tithes to the poor. That is the standard for a good charity. I give large amounts to charity every month. I doubt you know anyone who gives a higher portion than I do to charity. If the church gave as I give we would wipe out poverty overnight. Also I don’t give expecting riches, like the Osteens, charismatics and Pentecostals teach. Helping poor people isn’t like buying a heavenly lotto ticket.”

Myself: “Be careful, friend of what you boast about.

  
Matthew 6:2-4  “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.


It is none of our business what another gives. I was simply stating, you do not know what he does with his riches. As far as debate on Facebook, I am done with that. Being right is not what it’s about and we could go on and on all day long, running in circles wasting time. I would gladly have a cup of coffee with you– don’t know where you are in the world, but if you’re close I’d love a chat, face to face to sharpen one another. Outside of that, I’m finished. hmmm, I’d probably even Skype. ; ) May you love people like crazy– even the ones who you think are posers, liars, and false witnesses… oooohh Christ’s bride, scary thing to talk about. Good day!”

Other Gentleman: I didn’t announce it until you challenged my generosity. Also, I don’t want a reward. Heaven is my reward. If that isn’t enough to motivate the church then nothing will. Also, it is my business how those who claim to be called of God tarnish his name. The same reason Jesus attacked the money changers.

Are you tired yet? Man, I am just after reading it all again. I didn’t do much fixing of punctuation, that is taken right off our Facebook conversation.

If I could sit with this man, I would say to him a many great things. =) The biggest one would be, who are we to talk bad about Joel? Did you know, my father. The same father who left when I was a young girl, didn’t see him again, until I was married with two children– The same man who was an alcoholic and abusive– talks about Jesus now, has a relationship with Jesus because of Joel’s ministry. I would have told this man about how my dad meets with a bunch of his friends, many of them old drinking buddies, in his garage each Sunday morning for “church.” They sit around talking about God and how big and good He is all because Joel is sharing love through the TV. They sit and watch Joel’s message right there in their garage. They are getting it. All because Joel shared it differently. Differently than all the other preachers he had come in contact with. I would have laughed with this man as I told him one of my dads friends name is, “goob” I’m pretty sure, that’s what they call him, anyway. =)   { I’m so proud of you, Dad! }

 

This is the truth, friends–

relationship is personal.
The story of God– is relational.
The love of Jesus– is personal.
Showing that love– is personal.

To have a conversation like this– it has to be personal.

Paul reminds us:“If I speak in human or angelic tongues,but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

It isn’t about Joel, your pastor, myself, or you. It’s about the cross.

May we love everyone, all the time, no matter what. May we take the problems we have with others to them and love them with our correction, all the while being humbled by the errors they find in us. May we speak the truth in love always. Remembering, God does not need us to defend Him–


We are not at war with other people, especially Christians, defending our faith.

Encouragement in the form of relationship, talking, spurring one another on, yes! Downgrading, tearing apart, no.

It’s all about the love, baby! The love. God is so good.

Feeling ornery today! ;) I think I’ll open this one up for comments. What are your thoughts on this, friends? How do you handle things like this– do you engage in cyber debate, relational debate, or no debate at all? Do you feel it best to not touch the subject? Or perhaps offer advice lovingly?

Pondering this still,

Kati

*For the record, I personally think Jesus would look a lot more dirty and be bent low with the broken way more than Joel. However, at that point– I must go back to square one. Complexed by the truth that it takes all kinds of people to reach all kinds of people and thankful that it isn’t my job to decide who should do what.


Some of you have asked how to receive posts in your email: it’s simple. On the lower right hand side of the screen there should be a “follow” button. Click and enter your email. It’s totally safe.

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Um, yeah… is there an ad below here? A creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video, perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = / And I didn’t choose what it will advertise. Sorry about that.

As soon as I heard about Robin Williams, I thought of this:

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Robin Williams.

Yup, you know what I’m talking about.

As soon as I heard about what happened, I thought. Yup- I’ve been there.

Have you?

I mean, I’ve never pulled the trigger but I’ve sat with those who have, in one way or another. Those who tried to take their own lives and failed– only to feel like they can’t even get that right.

I’ve held the gun– thought about the funeral. I’ve even thought of all those people who would miss me if I were gone. I’ve cried the tears of feeling unwanted when there was no reason to feel that way but I’ve also cried the tears of feeling unwanted when there was a reason to feel that way. And there have been more than one. For me. And maybe for even you.

One time, when we were kicked out of the church – when we needed the church most, only to find it was merely a business, hiding behind the mask of Jesus? Yes. When we struggled through those terrible, hard; HARD days– I heard that man of mine say,

Man, this. THIS is the reason people commit suicide.”

I’ve told you before- I’m nobody special.

As soon as I heard about Mr. Williams, I thought of this post by Ann.


What the Church & Christians Need to Know About Suicide & Mental Health– from the heart of Ann Voskamp @ a holy experience.

 

Dear Church,

Cancer can be deadly and so can depression.

So can the dark and the shame and the crush of a thousand skeletons, a thousand millstones, a thousand internal infernos.

We could tell you what we know.

That — depression is like a room engulfed in flames and you can’t breathe for the sooty smoke smothering you limp — and suicide is deciding there is no way but to  jump straight out of the burning building.

That when the unseen scorch on the inside finally sears intolerably hot –  you think a desperate lunge from the flames and the land of the living seems the lesser of two unbearables.

That’s what you’re thinking — that if you’d do yourself in, you’d be doing everyone a favor.

I had planned mine for a Friday…” FINISH READING HERE




All my love and hope for you to stay strong,

Kati

why shackin’ up with people might not be such a bad idea.

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I met her Monday.

Monday. The day I finally let down my guard and allowed you to tip toe into my world. The day I finally shared what all God was doing. The day I trusted you with my secrets.

Because after all. People like to see a persons plans fail. Not many like to see or help them succeed. I believe the old saying goes, “They’ll pay a quarter to watch you smile, a dollar to watch you cry.”

But this isn’t about succeeding, is it?

Driving past our new future homestead, on our way to someone’s home to take out their garbage, we saw the neighbor, Ms. Rachel*.

By chance, my man and oldest daughter had met her earlier in the day, they mowed the empty lot next to her home. They never told her we would be moving in, next door to her– next month, Lord willing.

Stopping by to say hello, Daniel introduces me to her. She’s only lived there for two months.  She tells my sweet man about a leak, asks if he can help. We talk about food from her country, her small business here in America, and then it turns to where we live. To which my man says, “Well, you know, Ms.Rachel*, we are going to be your new neighbors.”

Puzzled, and talking so super cute with her accent, “You a gonna do what?”

Yes- we are going to be your neighbors, right across the road. We are going to use it for the community.”

We went on to tell her of our plans. Once a week, nonprofit, donation based cafe’ downstairs with healthy, homegrown food– special teas and coffee. We told her about the evening soup kitchen. Where people can come and eat homegrown food, enjoy special drinks, yummy coffee. Talk about Jesus, life, hardships, and just live together. We told her about the community garden we’ve been blessed to already start. We talked about the lifegroup currently meeting at our home, studying the book of ACTS and the early church. How they gathered together, sharing everything, nobody in need. Everyone a family. We told her about the community clothing SHARE we plan to have open twice per week. Where people can come and donate time, earning vouchers to shop for good, clean, clothes, toys, and housewares.

Then she says it.

You a gotta be kidding me…. ohhhhh you a gotta be kidding me. I just a sitting in my living room saying, ‘Oh God, today I fasted, something good is gonna happen… oh God, today I fasted, something good has to happen.’ You are my good news! The Lord has answer my prayers– I a prayed someone would come to that home who would use it for Jesus. “

“Oh, this is a gooood day. A gooood day. “

She grabs my face with her worn hands and kisses my cheeks.

“The Lord has answered my prayers. We a gonna do a lot of good stuff together. We are gonna use your home, AND my home. Oh, I’m a so excited.”

Little did she know, meeting her- had answered my prayers.

Funny how God works.

Not moments later, a man pulled up. Talked with my man. He had heard, through the little community grapevine, what we were doing.

He offered his city lot to use for an additional community garden.

His vacant. totally ready to plant a garden. city lot. The city lot directly across from the home we’re purchasing for the purpose of doing life together with the community. He offered it free of charge to be used for the purpose of loving people. Loving people through food, through working the ground, through talking about life, through living. Together.

He [that amazing. always knocking my socks off God.]

He had provided. again.

Not only had He provided like-minded friends to start together.

sold our house.

provided another home several thousand dollars less than asking price.

even given us an additional fridge for the cafe’ and a neighbor had randomly given us a deep freeze, unaware of what the Lord was doing.

The list goes on, and on, and on.

And He still knew I still needed a little something- something like a random neighbor saying, I’ve been praying for this sort of thing to happen.

Because when you do this sort of thing, friends. Something like offer your home for community use, take on a home bigger than you would choose to buy if not for this purpose, with human hopes it all works outwhen you share hopes and dreams of simply walking this Jesus walk differently, a little more like the way you read about in scripture- where people lived together, dreamed together, held each other accountable, and helped each other no matter what. Where there were no TV’s or smart phones to steal our attention… back “then” as my kids always say. When you start talking like that?

People think you’re crazy. YOU start to think you’re crazy.

So, tomorrow, I’m going to need another reminder, I’m sure. Because I’m human. And the ways of the Lord are scary. And saying you’re following the “way of the Lord” alone sounds and feels all pious. But He just reminds me again and again.

This. is what you’ve been called to at this moment. Don’t hide your lamp stand. Tell others the good news of what I am doing.

So, we told Ms. Rachel*. And she said, “We’ll use your home, and my home.” The man stopped and said, “You can use my city lot.”

And God says, “See? There are other crazy people out there, my darling.”

Do not be afraid.

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“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Do you ever feel crazy?

Friends. We serve the God who silenced the hearts of Kings. The God who created the ground we walk on. He will give you boldness to stand strong and love big. It’s scary. But He’s bigger than your fears.

Sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes it just starts with a prayer or sharing ideas with friends. Most times? It means putting the bible study down and just getting dirty– applying the words we’ve read time.and.time.again. Sometimes, it’s getting out of the boat and sinking time.and.time.again. Oh my, oh my, I’ve almost sunk to the depths of the sea several times. I’ve done a lot of things wrong, assumed wrong things, and handled loving people wrong, many times.

But that Jesus of ours? He loves us all the same. He looks on us and has big plans for our little steps of love.

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should: how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” Ephesians 3:18


May we have the courage to show this love to everyone
- no matter how crazy it makes us seem, no matter how many times we fail, no matter how scary.

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We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” – Mother Teresa

Much love,
Kati

*Ms. Rachel’s name was changed for this story.


 

Some of you have asked how to receive posts in your email: it’s simple. On the lower right hand side of the screen there should be a “follow” button. Click and enter your email. It’s totally safe.

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Um, yeah… is there an ad below here? A creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video, perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = / And I didn’t choose what it will advertise. Sorry about that.

 

Surrounded by millions, sitting alone

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You may remember my little going off of Facebook thing? You know, where I sat down one day and spilled all of my secrets of social media addiction? Yeah that’s the one.

Well, a little update here? It has been wonderful times a million.

Because you see, there are lots of wonderful little things going on in my little world and the people who know are the people who care about me. And I celebrated a birthday in the most simple of ways. Because I’ve been sick some days and people around me loved me for real life. We’ve taken road trips, attended important things; even buried a cat. And I witnessed it all! (because usually I would have been too worried about my 600+ friends witnessing it all that I would have missed it by taking a picture to share or updating my status.) Side note: Oh man, i love status updates. It’s like  news all wrapped up in a wonderful package.  Oh, oh! and I miss you people so much! Send me a snail mail, email? I’ll reply, really I will.

I digress. Annnndddd, I’m lame. (…pssttt, it’s true though, go ahead and send that letter)  ; )

This video?

Yup, it’s amazing. Soak.it.up.

Social Media is WONDERFUL.

 

But so are Oreos.

Too much of anything is just too much. And.I.had.to.put.the.cookie.down. as far as social media is concerned.

Shout out to Oreo fans everywhere committed to living a more simple life with a little less social media!

All my love,
Kati