Discipline and Missions

The word God gave me this year is discipline

I am flat out bad at it. I feel constrained by schedules and when I don't accomplish tasks on the days I plan I chastise myself. But then I don't plan my time and so I have a stack of things that need mended or a messy room I need to work on and I just don't do it until I can't put it off any longer.

I don't want to live that way. I don't want my kids to live that way. And guess what? It is harder to live in true community without it.

If I don't regularly go to the store or library or coffe shop or for a walk around the neighborhoodat about this same time each week or day I won't have multiple opportunities to develop community with my neighbors or those who work at the places I frequent. And without community it is difficult to show folks the love of God and have opportunities to share the solution to all our deepest needs — Christ.

I long to live my life that way. It isn't complicated, but it does require planning and discipline. It requires me to step out of my personal bubble to be intentional about caring for the people and the city I live in.

What do you need to do so you can share the good news?

 

Angela

A Prayer for Ferguson and Our Nation

As a foreword…today I will be a guest on My Journey of Faith blogtalk radio show. It begins at 1:30 PM Central. I would love to have you join me.

 

Sometimes unthinkable things happen all around and there is nothing you can do to stop it. A tornado hits, a hurricane blows, or a flood rises and there is a crisis no human can avert.

Other times unthinkable things happen when sinful flesh rubs against sinful flesh. Guns blaze, knives slice, and wounds centuries old break open and spill out.

Inevitably people safe from harm’s way philosophize. People not splattered in blood claim they know why or what or how. Anger boils and rolls because perceived wrongs or perhaps true injustice. There is no telling because the voices of those stained with the blood of the dead cannot be heard over the din of history or philosophy.

I have never feared those in authority over me because those in authority in my life have never abused their authority. Maybe the pale color of my skin prevents me from fearing the abuse of power. But I am not African-American or male.

However my heart aches for those caught in the crossfire of a war that isn’t against flesh and blood. It is a war of ideas. The idea that every person – no matter what gender, what color of skin, or even whom they are sexually attracted to – is important and valuable. They matter because each are created in God’s image.

That means the policeman who shot a gun and a young man walking down a street they both are God’s image bearers. They both are significant. They both deserve justice. It means that each business being looted deserves restitution. Each man, woman, and child ought to feel safe around authority – be it parents, police, or teachers. No one ought to live in fear of walking out his or her door.

My heart longs for stories of reconciliation like the stories Catherine Claire Larson tells in her book As We Forgive. Where we as a nation can reconcile our past and look forward to a future unencumbered by racial divides and tensions. Where forgiveness and grace runs deep and those in authority truly seek justice, wisdom, and equality.

I do not have the answers because the problems are complex and complicated. But I do pray that we as a nation will seek forgiveness, offer grace, and genuinely reach across racial boundaries to learn to live side-by-side in grace and equality.

Angela

God Did It – A Conference, A Call, and You

In case you didn't know, last week I spoke at The M.O.M. Initiative's Better Together Conference. Here are some pictures of the conference.

 

I flew on a plane to Jacksonville, Florida and met with 22 authors and speakers who shared break-out sessions and keynotes to several hundred women.

It was a sweet time of fellowship, encouragement, and change.

 

Can I tell you something? You can do it too…you can have a group of moms who come together to comfort, encourage, and share the journey of motherhood together.

You can reach out to those who don't know Jesus and walk the wonderfully difficult journey of motherhood together…

How? This book can help….

Remember God's call to mentor is for all women…

Titus 2:3-5 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

 

Father God, help give me eyes to see mentoring opportunities. Give me wisdom to encourage and walk alongside other women. Give me opportunities to mentor women who do not know You that they may become Your child and teach their children to know You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Is God calling you?

 

Angela

Infertility, the Church, and Science

There are two statements I heard from godly people when I struggled with infertility.

“Fertility treatments are wrong…” said by someone who did not research these treatments.

Or…”I look at fertility treatments like I do blood pressure medicine. If you need it take it…”

Inside Explosion. Explosion of the Star. Space Theme Illustration.

Neither answer understands the procedures nor the moral and ethical considerations of such treatments.

Two statements from women facing infertility stand out to me as well.

“How can I love a God who is able to give me the desires of my heart, but won’t?”

And…”I did it all right. I waited to have sex before marriage and so did my husband. Why can’t we have kids?”

This is why I long for a church to take some time to research, understand, and help guide couples facing infertility.

There are scientific options that are both making fertility treatments better and potentially more ethically/morally/spiritually dangerous. Where will a Christian couple turn when they need guidance to difficult questions if the church is not willing to step up?

Pastors I challenge you before you counsel a couple facing infertility to do your research.

Couples I challenge you to prayerfully research fertility treatments and adoption to allow God to direct you.

Here are some questions you must ask before embarking specifically on in-vitro fertilization, but other fertility treatments as well.

Since life begins at conception:

1. What must we as a couple do to protect/give the best chance at life any babies created during IVF?
2. Is our relationship healthy to last throughout fertility treatments and raising of the children created? For example if we have embryos frozen will we remain married long enough to bring them all home?
3. Who will make choices regarding our babies in the freezer should one or both of us (my spouse and myself) die?
4. Will we allow genetic testing of our embryos? Is it worth the risk to the embryo? Would the test results change our devotion to giving each child created a chance for life?
5. How much money can we devote to fertility treatments? Once a life is created we are financially responsible for maintaining that life to the best of our and science’s understanding.

Those of you struggling with infertility I pray God’s peace, wisdom, and comfort will be upon you as you navigate the journey of infertility.

And church, please help those hurting and struggling. Research and think deeply before you speak. It is ok to admit you don’t know.

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Angela