Tuesday, June 23, 2009


So, I'm one of those people who collects quotes that strike me as cool or thought-provoking or interesting. Maybe I'm a bit strange because I have this file on my computer that I put them all in so I can find them later . . . but it's getting a little large so I miss some good ones. Anyways, in some reading I was doing recently, I came across a quote that made me think.

Many of those who think they are dissatisfied with Christianity are really dissatisfied with something else - their own grasp of Christianity. For most of us, we have scraped the surface and nothing more, yet we mistakenly believe our superficial encounter represents the gospel in its totality. (Alister McGrath)

As I've been thinking about this for the last few days, I've really begun to dwell on the truth in this. There is so much to learn and discover and encounter as a follower of Christ, yet we so often get to a certain point in our journeys and just stop there. We don't keep learning and growing, and then we get bored. And we wonder why?

I wonder if maybe in those times when we feel ourselves starting to get bored in our walk with Christ we need to be intentional about doing something or getting involved in something that will stretch our understanding - that will help us to grow. We don't have to stay where we are. We don't have to become dissatisfied with the small bit of Christianity we understand. There is so much to learn and begin to understand that we can be kept busy and satisfied and learning and growing for all of our lives.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

why do we allow a defeated foe so much power in our life?

So the question in my head for the last while has been this:
Why do we allow Satan, an already defeated foe, so much power in our lives?
It came up in a sermon at church and in a couple of other places. And, of course, me being me, hasn't stopped thinking about.
And in that process, I've realized how much power we, as disciples of Christ, allow Satan to have in our lives. Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection defeated Satan! Satan knows that his time on earth is limited, as is his power, so he uses every possible means to try to defeat us. And we let him defeat us. But, the truth of the matter is that he is already defeated!!! We do not have to allow him any power. And we have the power on our side to defeat him in our own lives as well.
I read a quote the other day that put this all in perspective for me:
We may be at war with a very powerful enemy, but we who are in Christ are at
peace with a far more powerful God.
Isn't that Good News?!?!? Yes, Satan may be powerful, but Christ is even more powerful!!!
We may not be able to defeat Satan by our own strength and power, but we have a power within us that can defeat Satan. We do not have to live in the defeat he desires for us to live in! We are free!
But, when we have allowed Satan to have so much power and control in our lives for so long, how do we change this? How do we stop believing his lies and start believing the truth? It starts with knowing the truth. We need to go to God and His Word with the lies that Satan tells us and learn the truth to defeat those lies. When we declare the truth of God's Word (out loud) to Satan and his lies, he flees from us. This is what Scripture is talking about in James 5 where it talks about resisting the devil and him fleeing from us. When we refuse to allow Satan's lies to work because we know the truth, Satan flees.
Is this always easy? No. But, I promise it's worth it. As we learn the lies that Satan uses against us and then learn the truth that defeats those lies and then use that truth the next time Satan comes against us we will begin to experience, at least in small doses, the freedom that God desires for us to live in. God does not want us to live in defeat! He wants us to live in freedom and victory! And He offers it to us!
We serve a powerful God. Satan is defeated and we do not have to allow him to have power in our lives.
Why do we allow Satan, an already defeated foe, so much power in our lives?
Maybe because we've forgotten the truth contained in this simple statement:
We may be at war with a very powerful enemy, but we who are in Christ are at peace with a far more powerful God.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Mentoring . . . not something that I heard talked about a lot in my life until this past year or so. And when I did hear about it, it was something I always just assumed was for those people who didn't have good relationships with a solid Christian family. Then I started a leadership development course through my church this year and there was an emphasis on mentoring - both in that we were strongly encouraged to have a mentor and that we spent a number of weeks discussing the idea.

When I was first presented with the idea of having a mentor, I could give a whole list of reasons why I didn't need one:
  • I can talk to my mom about pretty much anything
  • I'm a private person and I share details of my life with only a select few people
  • I've grown up in the church and I seem to do a pretty good job at figuring things out on my own, so I won't have much to share or talk about with a mentor
But, for some reason, I found myself talking with another friend in the program who had someone in mind who could possibly be a good mentor for me, and when she offered to put us in touch with one another I said yes. Then I almost made myself late the first time we were to meet just to talk and see if we wanted to go forward from there with this whole mentoring thing, because I was second guessing my decision.

Well, after that initial meeting where we really did seem to connect in a cool way, we did decide to continue meeting and it became something that I actually did look forward to. As much as I have a great relationship with my mom and can (and do) talk to her about pretty much everything, ti was good to have someone outside of my family that I could talk to about stuff that came up and about what I was learning. All of my previous excuses for not having a mentor were thrown out pretty quickly. And, honestly, as good a relationship as I have with my mom, there are times when she says something and I don't really listen (OK, now that I've just admitted that to her since I know she reads these things), but when someone whose not family whose input and wisdom in your life you have come to appreciate says the same thing, you listen and take it a bit more seriously.

And so now I sit here, knowing the value of a mentor, and I'm writing this story of my journey with mentoring in the past year, because I think a mentor is something we all need in our lives. It may be in a more formal mentoring relationship, or it may be a more casual thing, but I think every person needs mentors in their lives . . . and needs to be mentoring others as well. You don't have to be some really wise person to be a mentor, you just have to be someone who with a little more life experience who is willing to walk alongside someone else. And when you're looking for a mentor . . . the person should be someone who you can see yourself being comfortable to share with and who you respect.

One last thing I've learned about mentoring . . . you have to ask! If you are looking for a mentor, don't be afraid to ask. That's the way most mentoring relationships happen . . . the person looking for a mentor asks someone if they would be willing to mentor them. It takes guts to do that, but it's worth it! It goes the other way too - sometimes someone may approach you and ask if they can mentor you. But, I'm seeing that most often it is the other way around - the person who is looking for a mentor does the asking.

So, who are your mentors? Currently? In the past?
Who are you mentoring? Who have you mentored?

Remember, there's no formula for mentoring. It's a relationship. And it may get messy at times, but it's worth it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

out of our element and into His

"Until He has us out of our element - and into His - we will never see His glory. We will always be deaf to what He was trying to say."

I was challenged when I read this quote . . . and even more so as I thought back through my life into the times when God did teach me something significant. I can see it in my own life, and have heard friends say similar things, the times when I have really grown and listened to God have been the times when I have been taken out of what is comfortable to me and put into the place where God wanted me. Regardless of whether I thought this was what I wanted at the time, I can look back now and see that it was what God wanted, and it was time of growth in my life . . . and ultimately, it was preparation for what was to come in the future.

Think about it, when we're in the place that we're comfortable in and life is going on as normal it can become quite easy to just go through life, and God becomes nothing more than just a part of our lives, whether we do that intentionally or not. But, when God comes along and makes it clear that He has something to teach us by changing something - either by a move, a job change, or some other circumstance - we are all of a sudden listening pretty carefully. No longer is life that same "normal" that it was and we want to know why, so we listen.

I think we also often resist when God tries to change things to move us out of our element and into His. We've grown comfortable where we're at and we really don't want something to change it. But, we need to be willing in these times to allow God to move us so that we can experience what He has for us.

"Until He has us out our element - and into His - we will never see His glory. We will always be deaf to what He was trying to say."