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Archive for April, 2011

And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband.’ – Hosea 2:16

The little teahouse where I work was buzzing with women and wedding chatter this week. Nearly ever table of women sipping tea and eating scones was having the same conversation. It was all about the Royal Wedding.

Women were talking about the details as if it was their own wedding. Two older women told me of their 4am plans to drink tea, wear their best jewelry and hats with their pajamas, and watch the wedding on live television. (They invited me to come over too.) Another woman heard my name was “Kate,” and asked me if I planned to marry a prince on Friday morning. Of course I told her, I had already married a prince. ☺

Today, millions of people all over the world watched this global phenomenon. The Royal wedding is something so much more to us than William and Kate. This wedding intrigues and excites something deep all of us. A common girl falls in love with a prince. That prince chooses her to become something special, a bride, a princess, and a queen.

Stories and fairytales for generations in cultures all over the world have used this Royal Wedding plot to capture audiences. It’s not just “The Wedding of the Century.” It’s something deeper. It’s Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. It’s the Notebook and the Princess Bride. It’s Cupid and Psyche, Ruth and Boaz, and Edward and Bella. Well, maybe not that last couple, but you get the point. It’s the oldest story in our hearts. It transcends time, culture, and it speaks an eternal language to every heart.

Our hearts are captivated by the story of the Royal Wedding, because engrained on every human heart is a desire for the same story to be fulfilled in us. It’s the story of all time. The Bible in Ecclesiastes says, “Eternity is written on the hearts of men.” And whether you know it or not, the Royal Wedding has been written on your heart since before you were born. You don’t have to tell yourself to love this story. You don’t have to be taught to wish you were Princess Kate. This story was handcrafted into your heart by your Creator. The Royal Wedding is the story of the universe. It’s your story. It’s my story. It’s the story of humanity.

In the beginning we decided to worship ourselves, and suddenly people became common. We stepped out of perfection. We chose to know good and evil, and we chose evil. From then on every generation was cursed by sin and selfishness.

But then a King came to save us because of His great love. Jesus humbled Himself and became common. And He took our sin and shame and ugliness, and He died in our place to rescue us. Because of His sacrifice for us we are made clean, made special, a part of a royal lineage; His royal blood that was spilled makes us clean. One day the King is coming back for His Bride, for those who accept His gift of love. It is going to be a Royal Wedding. He is coming to make all things new.

We are all longing to be something significant and special, but deep down inside of us we know that things in this world have gone wrong. Hurt, pain, shame, and sin are the things that are common to every one of us. But the King is offering you freedom from what common and the opportunity for true and lasting love. He is offering the chance to be a queen. This Royal Wedding, this common girl becoming a queen, resonates deep inside of every person it is a depiction of the Gospel of Jesus Christ written on every human heart. This Royal Wedding is why you were born and why you are alive and the hope that you can have in life. Jesus loves you. And all of history is a Cinderella story.

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Have you accepted the love of Christ, or are you satisfied pretending like you don’t need Him?

If you have accepted Christ, do you live your life as one so valiantly loved? Or are you OK being defined by what is common? (hurt, pain, shame, sin) Do you see the big picture, or are you fixated on the momentary?

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Great Verses to study about this topic:

Ephesians 2:4-10
Ephesians 5:25-32
Revelation 19:6-8

Podcast about this topic: “The Story of the Universe”

Other blogs I’ve written about this topic:

What Google Says About You
The Most Passionate Love Story Of All Time
Why Women Love Twilight
Commentary on Lady Gaga’s Meat Dress

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A wonderful Easter blog for you by Justin Holcomb.

http://justinholcomb.com/2011/04/20/save-jesus-ignore-easter/

Happy Resurrection Day!

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Lately I’ve been, busy at best. Busy seasons are always really hard for me. They are hard because I’m a first-born, goal-oriented, achieving person. They are hard because I love to spend quality time communicating with people I love. They are hard because I am what I like to call a “patient” person and what my husband has named “Doopy.” I love to stop and smell the roses, and I love to accomplish my list.

Get the picture yet? I thrive on everything except busy.

But don’t worry friends! I am about to share with you some golden advice!

10 Ways To Stay Sane When You Are Busy:

1. Take notes.

Your poor little short term memory bank can only hold so much. And when it’s brinking on full, you need to write things down. It will save you time and stress later.

2. Make lists.

I love lists! They make me feel accomplished and keep me on task.

3. Don’t put anything on the list that you can do in 2 minutes or under.

These are the things you need to do NOW. This is rule by Michael Hyatt. Don’t procrastinate or wonder “Where do I start?”. Start with those things right away.

4. Do the same things, at the same times, on the same days, on the same month.

This is a time management tip my husband taught me when we got married, and it changed my life. Being a “Doopy”, I love to be free to do what comes to my mind with all my energy, creativity, and passion. But the weakness of my free spirit is many unfinished projects. I would start the laundry, do the dishes, and burn dinner all at once. And be very, very overwhelmed.

Get a weekly planner.
Fill in everything that is fixed.
Now add in your fixed responsibilities (for me: blogging, laundry, cleaning, days i cook, my community group…etc.) in blocked times.
Leave wiggle room.
Block of times for even recreational things. (like working out, coffee with younger women, family time, phone calls).
Fill in all your weeks to look the same.
DO NOT, budge your schedule. (if you coffees fill up, start on the following week.)
Make exceptions only when necessary, but be prepared to take something else out.

This keeps you from the frustration of always feeling like you are doing laundry, running errands…etc. It also creates times for your relationships that matter.

5. Prioritize.

Figure out what your roles are in life and place them in the order of importance. Here are mine:
-Daughter of God
-Wife
-Sister/Daughter
-Friend
-Pastor
-Writer
Now make sure that your time spent is relative to the importance of your role.

6. Drop the urgent to tend to the important.

This is another David Ritchie quote. I love him! Sometimes when you are busy, balls need to drop. And you need to be OK with that. Drop the ball on the urgent, blaring things in your life to give attention to the things that are the most important.

7. Podcast, Music, and Text messages.

These are all things I love that I can do on the go. They keep me connected, happy, and communicating with people I love.

8. Reward yourself.

Think of a creative way to reward yourself after you’ve accomplished a lot. I love to go outside and take a short walk for 20 minutes. I feel refreshed and ready to go again.

9. Ride the wave.

When are you the most productive? When are you worthless even when you are working hard? Now ride the wave. I’m most productive in the mornings. I get the most done during the day between 6am-11am. I try accomplish the most then. I’m worthless after 8pm. I’m good to hang out and have fun, but not very productive. So I schedule my life accordingly.

10. Get fuel.

Don’t run on empty in life. Spend time talking with God. Don’t journal to Him in the same place you are working or writing your list. In fact, leave your list in the other room. Don’t even pray about it, if you can help it. Just give Him your heart, your day, your life, and your joy. You will feel a whole lot better all day long!

What are some of your busy tips??

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I know this person who is utterly offended by the Gospel. At surface level when we talk, she smiles understandingly, nods, and even listens. But when I push a deeper understanding, when I push the concepts deeper, she always gets offended and either gracefully retreats or harshly engages in argument. It never fails.

I am, of course, talking about myself.

If we are honest with ourselves the Gospel of Jesus Christ should offend us. Why? Because it is offensive. The Bible even calls its message offensive in Galatians 5.

Does the Gospel offend you? If you are not offended by it, I think you should evaluate what it is you believe. Maybe you believe in the gospel of being a good or accepting person. Maybe you believe the gospel of not doing bad things. Maybe you believe the gospel where it’s all about you.

Why the Gospel of Jesus Christ offends: (According to Galatians 5)

1. Grace.
People love the idea of forgiveness and grace. The gospel is all about forgiveness and centered in the concept of grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9
“For by grace you have been saved(B) through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

We all love forgiveness and grace, but the Gospel becomes offensive to some when we believe we have done everything right. The Gospel offends “good church people,” when forgiveness and grace is extended to all people, especially the people who have hurt them personally.

You see, the grace of the Gospel is a great equalizer. It dethrones the high and mighty. It dethrones the religious. We all need God’s grace.
It’s very easy to believe in a gospel where your moral efforts and good works are the center. You can feel good about yourself, because you are better than someone else. But faith in yourself is not faith in Jesus Christ.

The Bibles says, “No one is righteous, not one.”

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about Jesus doing the greatest work that we could never do, taking the punishment of the all sin and taking the punishment of our good works done with the bad intentions of self-worship.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ should offend your moral, selfish heart. Grace gets you out of control and off the throne. Grace turns a heart to worship Jesus.

2. Grace.

Some people love the idea of forgiveness and grace, but become offended by the Gospel because of its claims of sin and human depravity. The Bible is clear that some “individual rights or choices” are wrong and deserving of punishment. It shines the light on our hearts of selfishness, greed, and pride. The Gospel offends those who believe that they get to decide what is right and wrong for his or her self, because ultimately, we don’t like to have our wills crossed. Let’s face it, we feel like we deserve to live our lives how we want. Some people are offended by something that claims that they need grace. They are offended because if they say they need grace, they must admit that they live their life for their own gain. They must admit that they need Jesus.

The Gospel says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” The Gospel says that everyone sins, that every heart is selfish and prideful. Grace is again the great equalizer. Jesus loves us all so much, that He took the punishment we deserve so that we can experience His grace, His forgiveness, and His love. That is, if we will put our faith in Him instead of ourselves.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ should offend your sinful, selfish heart. Grace gets you out of control and off the throne. Grace turns a heart to worship Jesus.

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The older I get, the more I understand how much I need Jesus. Whether I think I am proud and significant because of my own good works or just wanting to justify my selfishness and sin, I need the grace of God every day. Every day of my life, I have to draw my significance, love, and joy from something that lasts. Every day of my life, I have to remember that Jesus loved me so much that He died for me. That through faith, I have received a grace I don’t deserve from someone who loves me more than I can even comprehend.

His grace is so amazing.

Every day of my life, I have to preach the Gospel to myself.

What Gospel do you believe?

KR:)

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Rob Bell

The world has been the stage of a great Christian debate. I always hate it when Christians decide to air their dirty laundry and disagreements in front of a world with a host of problems. But there is a part of me that thinks its good for Christians to think and to not be afraid to ask the hard questions about our faith.

Rob Bell has been a hot topic all over the world, because of his controversial book, Love Wins. There was much speculation about the book before it came out. There was much debate after it came out. The point of argument, does hell exist? Rob Bell a megachurch pastor that subscribes to a theology called universalism. Universalism is

“a : a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved
b : the principles and practices of a liberal Christian denomination founded in the 18th century originally to uphold belief in universal salvation and now united with Unitarianism”

Now if you know me, you know I am pretty opinionated. I am very opinionated about this topic. In fact, I’ve written several blogs that I haven’t yet posted in response to this controversy. I want to first respond with this video. I’ve read a lot of different responses about Love Wins, some I agree with and some I disagree with. This video is by far what I believe to be the best. Please take a few minutes to watch it!

Read more about Pastor David Platt.

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July 3, 2008

Oh, the magical question.
How do I know if I am ready to get married?

I talk and counsel many young women. Most of them would consider themselves in the “waiting” period before marriage. These women are different and our conversations vary, but almost all share one common question: “When it will be my turn to be a bride?”.

I think one of the most unsaid, honest thoughts that most single women share but rarely admit is, “Why did it happen for another so young…so quick…so easy.” And I think if we are all honest here, that quiet thought leads to a few others. And I’m going to just say what so many of you are wondering,

“What does she have that I don’t? What do I need do/learn/change, so I can get married too?” Phew! Doesn’t it feel good to know you aren’t the only one who has ever scampered down that bunny trail? Believe me, you’re not.

Most single women believe that when they are “ready” to be a wife, then they will get married. Somehow when I get good enough suddenly God will deem His stamp of approval and send Mr. Right along. I think it’s time to change the way we think about the wait before marriage.

What does this mindset reveal about your heart?
It reveals that, while you may subscribe to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in some areas of your life, you have not allow the Gospel to become central in the area of love and marriage.

Day and night, every heart in every person cries out, “Am I worth something?” “Am I valuable?” So often I see single women who truly believe that being desired by a man and the experience of romance will fill their heart with the value they are looking for. This is what makes women think they are is something wrong with them if they don’t have that guy. This is what makes us think we need to fix whatever flaw that is.

The problem is that this means that redemption/creation/essence of your value as a person comes from your future husband and your hard work. This sounds a lot like a religion where you work hard for a god that can never save you, doesn’t it?

Ladies, Jesus Christ isn’t just for your Sunday mornings. He came to redeem every area of your life. He came to redeem your value.

Ephesians 2:8-10
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

How to have Gospel-Centered waiting:

1. Stop worshipping the created, worship the Creator.
God created marriage. It’s important to Him, but it a creation made by a Creator. Really evaluate whether you are worshipping the creation or the Creator. God created marriage as a picture through which we can experience His love and redemption and display His love and redemption to the world. Marriage was never meant to be worshipped. It was not created to be the thing you receive your value as a person. If you do, you will crush your future husband with expectation. If you do, you will not love God or him well.

2. Be filled with the ultimate value and love and acceptance from God in Heaven.
Only God can give you value, and He has so much to give you. This will satisfy your heart and help your future marriage. Marriage comes, like all seasons of life, when God chooses. You have no way of figuring that out. So breathe, relax, wait well, and trust.

3. Spend yourself serving God.
When you are filled with value and love through Jesus Christ, waiting is really just trusting the good God who gives you love. It’s much easier. It’s about faith instead of works. So you can spend your waiting well, instead of being filled with anxiety. Spend your waiting worshiping and serving God in ministry. You will never have more time, energy, or focus than this season in your life. And who knows, serving Jesus in a ministry or church might just be a better place to find a husband than the local bar.

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Social justice has become a culture fad. It’s cool to care about the poor and needy, especially if you get to wear fashionable shoes to prove that you do. If you hear a little sharpness to my literary voice, it’s because I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated because somewhere we, yes even me, have figured out a way to make helping the helpless about us. Marketers have figured this out, that’s why commercials and advertisements are all selling us products that help us look like we helped someone. Now I’m not bashing your Tom’s or your TWLOHA shirts or your Gap Red gear, because I own all three of those products. But sometimes I have to wonder if a good thing has gone wrong.

Today, I read a sad article about Madonna on The Daily Beast. It talks about how Madonna’s efforts to build and fund a girls’ school in one of the poorest countries in the world, Malawi, have fallen through after millions of dollars had been raised. Fingers are being pointed, and it looks like the most obvious deterrent to the project is the ridiculous spending founders of Kabbalah Centre International, who are spending through the organization through which Madonna is partnered.
*Madonna converted to Kabbalah, a mystical religion in 1996.

There are so many things, on so many levels, that upset me about this situation. One thing that the article fails to talk emphasize is the poor children who will not be fed, clothed, sheltered, and educated because of the demise of this project. It’s heart-breaking, and they truly are the victims of the selfishness of the squander of this money.

But there is another unsung victim in this story, one that will probably never really be talked about- Madonna. No matter what her motivation was for this project, utmost compassion for the girls of Malawi or popular opinion of others, her work is ruined. But not just her work, but her hope. Her religion failed her.

In 1996 she convert to Kabbalah to help overcome some person issues. She was looking for answers. She was looking for hope. Dare I say, she was looking for God, for something bigger than herself. And through her religion she worked to help other needy souls, but in the end her religion failed.

Religion always fails. Religion fails because religion is always about how we can work our way to God, achieve peace, become whole…. The problem is this: religion puts the emphasis on our work, and we make ourselves the center. Religion either becomes all about us through self-focus, like the founders of Kabbalah Centre International. Or Religion becomes all about us by our own work and efforts, and we become hopeless and wore out and eventually let down by our own efforts, like Madonna.

All the religions of the world are about people working to get to god or something or someone. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is different. The Gospel is about some One who did all the work and came down to us. The Gospel is not how we can be religious or work for God, it’s not even about how much we can love God. The Gospel is about a God that loved us so much that He came and rescued us. It’s not all about us; it’s about receiving Jesus and His love! It doesn’t leave you spent and hopeless, it’s being filled with a love that you could never deserve through the free gift of grace. Jesus is my life. And I freely make Him the center of my life because I’m so grateful for the love He has given me. My faith is in Jesus, and He never fails.

Maybe for you, maybe for all of us, this should be taken a little deeper. Bypass all your works, bypass whatever religion you say you are, ask yourself a really hard question. Is your religion, is your Christianity, all about you and what you can get? Or is it grateful worship of the God who gave everything for you?

Have questions about the difference between religion and the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Please comment!

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