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Archive for September, 2010

I usually don’t write things like this, but it has been very heavy on my heart.

All the Single Ladies,

I talk to so many of you about the desires of your hearts. Our God hears the prayers of your heart too. I want you to know, He hasn’t abandoned you. He hasn’t left you. He’s not too far away to see your tears. He hasn’t closed His ears to your cries. He cares about the longing of your heart, because He put them there.

I want you to know, there is nothing wrong with you. I believe the Lord would say to you today,
“You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” (S of S 4:7)
The reason your husband hasn’t come into your life isn’t because you are less of a woman. You’re going to make a great wife. Live by this and this promise,
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

You may never know why he isn’t here yet, but I promise you can trust the One who does knows everything.
“All your days were ordained for you before even one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

He loves you more than anyone ever can; therefore, your heart is safe with Him. He longs to be with you more than you long to be with the one you will love. Like the sun waits all night to burst into the sky at dawn, that’s the way the Lord longs to hear from you each day….waits for you to come to Him.
“Behold, He comes, leaping of the mountains, bounding over the hills…and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.’” S of S 2:8,10-11

I don’t have any wise words. I’ve haven’t got any cliques to write to you. All I can say is even writing these words I can remember the pain and the longing for my husband. And while I know nothing I can say will make the pain go away, I know that when you trust Jesus; He will hold you secure. Jesus knows what it’s like to be separated from the one He loves the most. He calls you “His Bride.”

Ps 40:1
“I waited patiently for the Lord, and He turned to me and He heard my cry.”

One day He’s coming back for His Bride, and “He will wipe away every tear from your eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And on that day, our hearts will feast on the worth, significance, and love for which our hearts have longed.

“Love never ends…For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, but these three; the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:8,12-13

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” Psalm 31:24
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Go Bucks!

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Sep 26, 2010
Family, friends and politics, not theology, shape faith by USA Today


“Jews are the most popular religious group in America.”

“Aunt Susan trumps theology”

“Most people change their religion to fit their politics. They don’t change their politics to fit their religion.”

These are just three of the most provocative quotes from political scientists Robert Putnam of Harvard and David Campbell of Notre Dame who presented their new book, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us this weekend at the Religion Newswriters Conference in Denver.

The professors argue that America is simultaneously religiously devout, diverse and tolerant, based on comprehensive surveys they conducted.As Campbell pointed out, the real observation to ponder today is not that a Florida pastor grabbed global headlines for a claim he would burn a pile of Qurans but “that it doesn’t happen all the time.”

They found that on the ultimate religious tolerance questions — who is saved — Americans overwhelmingly believe “a good person who is of another religion (than your own) can go to heaven. The group that scored lowest, evangelicals, were still greatly in favor of a wide and generous grace with 83% saying yes to this.

But did they really mean non-Christians, or was this Methodists saying, sure, Lutherans are saved, too? They asked again,adding “even if they are not Christian” and 54% of evangelical protestants on up to 98% of Mormons agreed.The two experts attribute this to “Aunt Susan,” your pals and your neighbors. These are the good, kind, moral people you know and care about — who don’t happen to have the same religion as you.Americans may know well the Christian truth claim that Christ is the only way to salvation, but they just can’t picture the next life without people they cared about in this life.

The new work stands on two surveys of the same 3,108 people, conducted in English and Spanish, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation in 2006 and 1,909 (62% of the original survey subjects were reinterviewed again in 2007.Their comprehensive analysis comes just as the culture war, often split along lines of religious claims as well as politics, race, gender and ethnicity, rev up for the mid-term elections. I’ve plucked just a few highlights out of their presentation but there’s much more to return to in coming weeks.

Personal salvation is not the only focus of their massive new book. Rather it is faith, community and politics and their intersection — familiar ground for Putnam who wrote the much talked about book looking at the decline of communal civic life, Bowling Alone. They trace the history of American religiosity, the peak years of church attendance (60% went weekly in 1959) to modern times with the rise of the nones (people who claim no religious identity) to 17% of Americans, who, says Putnam, seem to strongly base their opposition to religion on its role as a political influence.

If you synthesize people’s congregational ties with their political views, the God Gap comes clear: “More and more people are either churched and conservative or unchurched and progressive” and, says Putnam, “God has nothing to do with it.”

He said,

I could not believe that people would hazard their souls over their reaction to George W. Bush.

Yet they found that religious identity was clearly affected by the search for a political comfort zone, leading Putnam to say,

Most people change their religion to fit their politics. They don’t change their politics to fit their religion.

Yet we are all able to fly the same flag. How does this work? Again, it’s the gentling influence of our greatly diverse world in which it is very unlikely all our family friends and neighbors share the same religious perspective.

We like each other, by and large, it turns out. Campbell and Putnam asked people their how positively or negatively they viewed faiths other than their own and found, “Jews are the most popular religious groups in America.”

Presented on a thermometer scale of viewed warmly or coldly, Jews were on top with a reading of 59, Catholics were almost parallel and mainline Protestants were slightly behind.Dropping below the mean score of 55 into cold territory were Evangelical Protestants at nearly 54, followed by the nonreligious. Way down in the chilly 40s were Mormons, Buddhists and Muslims — the three non-Abrahamic traditions.

But the authors conclude in the book that

… The coolness with which religious groups view each other does not match the negativity that those on opposite side of the political spectrum feel toward each other… In other words, in spite of religion’s capacity to sow division, religious conflict in America is muted.”

And, says Campbell, the overwhelming majority of Americans say religious diversity has been good for America.

Very few Americans are true believers why say only one religion is true and all others are not. Campbell and Putnam call them “the intolerant 10%.”

Why are the vast majority of Americans willing to say there are basic truth in many faiths? Because we are enmeshed in social ties of family and friendship, says Campbell.

As Putnam says,

Aunt Susan trumps theology. She doesn’t win against the Bible for everyone but she’s pretty powerful.

Do you find that your religious community matches up with your political views? Which one shaped the other? Do you think you will see loved one and good friends, even those whose politics you don’t like, again in heaven?

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Rain, Rain, GO AWAY…or stay ☺.

I find the rain today, minus the flash flood I found myself in this morning, lovely. It reminds me of Ohio. I am, however, very glad that it doesn’t rain as much here as there. Sunshine makes me happy. So this rainy day in the Texas Panhandle has me got me in a very contemplative researching kind of mood.

How many of you use the website Google.com?

I know I use it, every day. This rainy day has me thinking, I’m wondering what could be learned about humanity based on what they question and long to know more about. So I decided to do some random Googling. I asked my wonderful friend, Google, what the top Googled topics and phrases are. In case you haven’t tried, you can indeed ask Google about itself. Cool.

Here are my findings. The Huffingtonpost wrote a blog about what the top trending topics that were searched on Google in 2009.

Here they are! (along with my commentary)

1. Michael Jackson- controversial celebrity
2. Facebook- Social networking site
3.Tuenti – Madrid invite only, private- social networking site
4.Twitter – micro blogging , also voted as the most popular word of 2009
5. Sanahka- Latin game
6. New Moon – popular books and movies-Twilight saga
7. Lady Gaga- controversial celebrity
8. Windows 7 – Microsoft’s new operating system
9. Dantri – a Vietnamese website
10 Torpodo Gratis- free twitter-like messaging service

I could draw many conclusions from these; they definitely weren’t the topics I suspected for sure! Four of the top ten are social networking sites. Two were controversial celebrities. And one book/movie that took over the world with its epic teen age love story.

The conclusion I made: 7 of the top 10 most searched topics are people’s attempts at observing the stories, lifes, and loves of other people (Michael Jackson, Facebook, Tuenti, Twitter, New Moon, Lady Gaga, Torpodo Gratis). What is our world’s obsession with the lives of others? (Previous blogs: The Most Passionate Love Story of All Time ; Why Women Love Twilight ; Commentary on Lady Gaga’s Meat Dress)

I believe it proves that humanity is on a quest. A quest to quench a thirst inside of each person in this world. We use the means of obsessively observing the lives of other’s to see who in this world has been able to figure it out, whose been able to answer this question that’s driving us nuts. What is the real reason we are here? We are all born with an innate knowledge that there has to me something more to this life then what we can see. There has to be a deeper meaning than just existence. There has to be a grander story then just what we know. And we are all peering into the each other’s lives trying to find out if they know something we don’t, if they have found the answer to the longing for more.

Interestingly, I think the answer to all of this can be summed up in the other thing I learned on Google today. I learned what the top two most searched phrases searched on Google.

As of August 18, 2010, the most searched phrase is “Who is God?” Followed closely by the second most searched phrase, “What is love?”

WOW.

Jesus is the answer to every searching heart.

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Read this—> 1 John 4:8-11

“God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

KR:)

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This is a blog post by Ryan Richardson, a member of the North Leadership Team. I thought it was incredibly inspiring, and fitting to post it along with the recent posts on my blog. If you like what you read, please visit Ryan’s blog, “Thoughts by a Panhandle Pilgrim.”


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Cause

Serving and loving Amarillo.
On the surface level, it is not an overly complex statement. From Washington west and sixth south (give or take a few blocks depending on where exactly you are) Amarillo is a quiet, conservative center for the Texas panhandle. With an economy -relatively- untouched by the recession (as a waiter, I happen to know that isn’t entirely true), a quaint (if remarkably flat) view, an overabundance of coffee shops, and the general wave-at-everybody mentality Amarillo looks, sounds, and even feels like the perfect suburban town in the Midwest. The word average would fit almost perfectly if it weren’t for the amazing people and community that we all seem to find here. Nothing you can really target to complain or complement otherwise.

But let’s dive, just for a moment, beyond the surface. Let’s travel to northeast Amarillo… an area most of the town doesn’t go to, and may not even realize exists. And what you find is that the statement “Serving and loving Amarillo” may not be as simple as we have all chalked it up to be. I won’t go into exact statistics and details as most of you have been to the recent North sermon about statistics of poverty, teen pregnancy, the refugees who call this ‘quaint Midwest town’ there home, but in general that is exactly what you find. The quaint, quiet, conservative town disappears, and what you find looks a lot more like Juarez, Mexico with various Oriental signs spread throughout, instead of the nice, relaxing atmosphere of Roaster’s that so many college students have become accustomed to.

Yesterday (Tuesday) a small group of Northerners made our way past the boundaries of the Amarillo most of us know and love to a little place called Faith City Ministries located on 2nd street between Buchanan and Taylor. A building that’s actually surprisingly easy to miss… in point of fact, one of our group actually did miss it as it was her first time there. But within that building, people take the statement ‘serving and loving Amarillo’ to new levels. In that small unnoticed building the poor and homeless of Amarillo can find a warm meal, clothes, chapel services where the Gospel is proclaimed, and for a few hours each day a place where they are welcomed… where they are loved… and where the society that so regularly shuns them falls away.

I’ve spent time there sporadically over the years, watching the interns (former homeless or former prison inmates themselves who have found the Good News of Jesus Christ) go through the program to be taught skills to acquire jobs. And to be helped back onto their feet in a world that constantly wants to see them fall back down. And so it was yesterday, my first time there in over a year, that I find a place that’s quite different than the last time I was there. There are a new round of interns in the place, including a new intern director- a really happy, friendly, and driven guy named Lynn. But one of the most impressive things: the homeless themselves. It’s hard to catch, but I noticed that they have become some of the most selfless people I have seen in awhile. (perhaps they always were, and I just never had the eyes to see) Over the course of the meal, I put my waiting skills to use carrying drinks and food out to them and keeping those drinks full (a little funny, I never thought I’d use those talents for anything else…. ever). But over the course of the meal, I had some of the people, unable to put a meal before themselves, eat maybe half of their plates that Faith City had provided them and then happily look for others around them who had finished theirs and ask me to take their half eaten plates to those who had none left.

You can also see amazing things in the interns themselves. Men who have fallen into dark places, and are even now in hard times laugh and joke with each other, expressing what can only be described as joy with each other even in the midst of trial and hardship. And you see loving men and women who have escaped the boundaries of the Amarillo we are all so comfortable with to love the ones that the world and society has shunned.
Serving and loving Amarillo… Makes you think doesn’t it?

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P.S. Every Tuesday and Thursday from 12ish to 1ish we will be heading out there to serve lunch. Feel free to join, and contact me if you have any questions.

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Last Week’s “I Love My City” sermon, “Overcoming Opposition

Last Sunday night was the VMA’s. While I didn’t watch it on Sunday night because something more important was on TV (the Dallas Cowboys), I found time yesterday to watch some of it. David and I don’t have a TV or the internet (we catch a little TV at his parents’ house or the gym), but you would have to be more disconnected then us to NOT hear about Lady Gaga. Up until Thursday, her dress at the VMA’s was the most talked about thing on Twitter.

The last time I meandered through Barnes and Noble I saw the magazine cover where she posed wearing barely anything, and what she was wearing was a raw meat bikini. It caught every passerby’s attention. And Sunday night at the VMA’s, she furthered her statement by wearing a dress made of raw meat.

Now, you may be wondering why in the world I’m even writing about it. Honestly, its really bothering me. She said to Ellen Degeneres after the VMA’s that she wore the dress because,
“If we don’t stand up for our rights and what we believe in, pretty soon we will have as much rights as the meat on our bones.”
She followed her statement by grabbing a picture of herself in the meat bikini exclaiming,
“And, I am not a piece of meat.”

Lady Gaga’s apparel statement is shocking. I don’t really feel like its fair to say that she does a great job backing up what she’s trying to say, but she is being very offensive. Because of the offensiveness of her statement, the world applauds. I think what they are really applauding is her confidence to be so countercultural in a world where everyone wants to comfortably fit in.

This week I asked the ladies in my community group what keeps us as women in our broken city from really fearlessly displaying the Gospel to the people around us. One girl spoke up and said, “I think it is apathy.”

Apathy is “an absence of emotion or enthusiasm or interest; a state of indifference, or the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation, and passion; absence of interest or concern to emotional, social, or physical life.”

I think she nailed it. To some Christians, Jesus is just a Sunday morning character. It’s hard not to feel indifferent or apathetic about Jesus if He is not very important to you. Other Christians are so afraid that radical love for Jesus and others will offend people, so they suppress all of the concern that they should have for the lost and hurting in the world and become numb. Our fear of being rejected by people we are supposed to love surpasses our love for them. Honestly, we just care about ourselves too much to make a statement. Living lives of radical, passionate love for our Savior and for the people around us could truly change this world. Certainly, God never intended for apathy to be our mark in this world. Neither did He intended for our lives to be just about our own comfort and gain. Yet, so often that’s just the statement we are making.

In Luke 10, Jesus tells about a man who came across another man who was dying on a road. These men were sworn enemies; their races were killing each other.
The STORY: Instead of responding as every other person did; He went to him, bound His wounds, poured oil on him, gave him wine, set him on his own animal, took care of him, bought him a place to stay, gave him money, paid all his medical expenses, and promised to come back for him. This is statement of love was so countercultural; he could have been shunned by his own people for his display. It was offensive to love like this.

The truth is, we were once enemies of Jesus. Humanity had rejected God, and yet He came into the world proclaiming radical love and life. He didn’t apathetically love us, but loved us to His own great expense. He was killed for it. Why would Jesus love and die for a people who rejected and hated Him? Radical love, and this countercultural love was so beautiful and powerful that it split history in two.

People are longing for something radical. They are longing for it so much that they will cheer and applaud for a meat dress. Yet, when we look a little deeper, we see that Lady Gaga’s little stunt is just a cheap substitute for what the world really needs—radical, countercultural love. The world needs Jesus, and a people who love and represent him. Let’s be that people.

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If you haven’t read my recent posts(“A Woman of the City” & “It Cost Me Everything“) , I’ve been writing a series that I am calling “ A Woman of the City” coinciding with a series being preached by David called “I Love My City.” You can catch up on recent posts here. I am also teaching a woman’s community group for ladies attending West Texas A&M or in the Amarillo Area, please email me at davidandkateritchie@yahoo.com if you want to be involved!

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Last Week: A Woman of the City
Last Week’s “I Love My City” Sermon!

Feelings are real, but love is so much more. Ribbons and bows aside, telling a brilliant story (like how I fell in love with my husband or my city) may tug at heart strings, but leave you with a romanticized view of live and love. Have you ever heard about the adventure and love of someone else, and then coveted their life? Maybe you even bitterly wondered why your life is so hard? What fairytales don’t tell you is that love and lives full of adventure never come without great cost. But you won’t hear that in a story.

Jesus talked about the cost every chance He could, why do we skip over those parts? Maybe in our culture of comfort and contentment, it’s just too uncomfortable. We think “living for Christ” happen without effort. And when life gets tough, we get mad and bitter. We asked for it to be easy. But that’s not what He promised.

I’ve always been jealous of the disciples. What passion, what love, what adventure! Walking and talking with Jesus. Doing something grand and amazing and meaningful with their lives. Starting the biggest revolution in the history of mankind. But I’ve recently been painfully aware of what it must have cost the disciples to, “Come follow me.” When Jesus called Peter to follow Him, Luke 5 says,
“And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.”

I always skip that part, but the fact remains: they left everything. And for what? An amazing and adventurous life doing what they were made to do!? Yes. But that was spending 3 years of their life with Jesus with “nowhere to lay their head” (Luke 9:57-62). Following a leader to His horrible murder. Only to be hated, reviled, hunted down, and most of them martyred (as mentioned in Hebrews 11:36-40). I forget the cost they paid.

If you read this blog, you probably know my story. I truly have a romantic love story. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall desperately in love. Boy comes and sweeps girl off her feet and carries her away to the land of Texas. When I read it, I still get butterflies. I love sharing my love story with people because it’s full of passion, love, and adventure. It’s a beautiful love story, and an amazing representation of how God reveals His love for us- that we hear His voice, experience His love, see His face, and go to the place He has prepared one day.

As my love story unfolded I was certain of three things:
1. God was calling me to surrender my life to Him.
2. David was the man that God created and called me to love (then and forever).
3. God was calling me to move to Texas.

When I married David, I married the most amazing man in the world and acquired the purpose God had for me in Texas. But it cost a lot. It cost me sharing my life with my family and friends. It cost me the security of my job, my church, and my name in my community. It cost me the life I had known and built for myself. It cost me titles and respect that I had worked hard for. It cost me relationships with people who thought I was crazy. It cost me goals, hopes, dreams of how I had always imagined my future. Following the voice of Jesus cost me everything.

Let me be very clear about something; love always costs everything. Whether its loving Jesus, your spouse, people around you that you’re called to love, or your city; you can never truly love without sacrifice. True love will cost you who you think you are, every bit of pride you have, and ultimately everything you think you have control over.

Love is no easy task.

Culture and society show us such a fake version of love. Friends, don’t be fooled. It has all of us running around getting what we can get from each other. Fake love is always self-serving, using another to feel special and significant. It’s counterfeit, and it’s no wonder many people think love doesn’t exist. Fake love causes only pain. If there’s no sacrifice, no fight, and no cost to the love we are sharing, what kind of love are we representing when we “share the love of Christ?” Not one people are interested in.

True love turns heads. Loving Jesus is going to cost you everything. Living the life of adventure that He calls you to, will not be easy. And truly loving anyone in this life will be the same. But, I have good news, IT IS WORTH IT!
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3 final thoughts:

1. Jesus is calling you. He is asking for you to give Him your life, your heart, and your love.

2. Jesus is making you a promise. If you answer His call it will be hard, but it will be a life full of real adventure and love. It will be a life where you are truly satisfied. And one day there will be no more pain and suffering. One day you will be with Him and family and friends for eternity, and He will wipe every tear from your eyes. If today, you will answer His call for your life.

3. Jesus is offering you the purest, most satisfying love imaginable. He counted a great cost for you. Jesus left His comfort, His Father, His power, His control and dominion as God, and became a man. Not so He could fulfill some selfish desire, use you, or live a life of comfort, but so that He could die a terrible death. He did it so that every wrong thing we have ever done, every sense of shame we have ever felt, and every terrible crime ever committed against us could be erased. He didn’t do it because he had to; he did because he loves you. You cost Him more than you could ever repay. You were worth the cost.

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Do you realize what it cost for Jesus to love you?

Are you paying any price for love?

Philippians 3:7-9
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”

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I walked to work today. It’s beautiful out, and I used the time to pray. Passing cars saw my mouth moving and my hands flying, but I don’t care. There are just those days were it seems like God’s beauty is everywhere, and I can’t help but say something about it.

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As the sun peels back petals,
Every time I hear your name
I dance.

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Walked right by Big Tex on my way.

In other news, if you ordered a “Jesus Loves Strippers” tshirt to support my CAUSE, your shirt is in! Find me at North or comment here or email me! 🙂 AND if you send me pictures of you wearing your shirts, I’ll be sure to post them on here. 🙂

Me wearing mine!! The new ones are in 'boyfriend' material!! EXTRA soft.

And finally, I’ve recently come across some incredible new blogs! 🙂 You are going to want to check these out for sure.

The first one is by my pastor, Jimmy Evans. He pastors my church, Trinity Fellowship Church, and has an amazing marriage ministry and television show, Marriage Today. He is also the author of many influential marriage books.


Check out Pastor Jimmy Evan’s new blog HERE.

I’ve also started reading what is, in my opinion, the most incredible blog for young women that I have found. It is my an awesome chic by the name of Fabienne Harford. Here is her “About Me:”

“I love Jesus. and I love the Church. and I love that I get to teach and write for my church. I work for the get Trained ministry at The Austin Stone Community Church. and I love tv marathons on rainy days. and I love writing. and I love the Austin Film Festival. and I love coffee shops with good friends.”

Her blog is called “thoughts from fabs,” and you can check it out HERE!

That’s all from me for now, it’s back to work. I’m working on a second blog in my “A Woman of the City” series. It will post on Sunday! Have a great week. 🙂

KR:)

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