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Archive for May, 2011

In world of feminism, many women would disagree with the message of this article. Why should women be told to restrict what they can or cannot wear? Isn’t this old-fashioned? I remember being 16 years old, and my 10 year old brother telling me that my outfit was too “showy” to go out in. At first his comments kinda ruffled by independent feathers a bit, but deep down inside there was something very securing about him looking out for me.

 

The older I’ve gotten, the more independence I’ve gained, and probably the more “christian feminist” I’ve gotten; the more I’ve realized that gender equality doesn’t always mean gender sameness. Men and women are equal, but they are also very different.

 

I truly believe that women have a uniquely different role than men on this earth. A women created in the image of God, we have the role (like men) to be image bearers of our Creator. But women have a unique ability to truly reflect the beauty of our God. We are allure, invite, and reflect the redemptive beauty of God. This isn’t our only job on this earth, but it’s certainly important and not shared by the opposite sex.

 

But we take advantage of it. Often I think we choose to use our beauty in a way that isn’t redemptive and doesn’t reflect our Savior. We choose to use beauty to gain significance and to reflect a different kind of invitation. This isn’t the Gospel. This isn’t the intention it was created for, and ironically enough it usually causes us much pain, obsession, worry, and heartache.

 

What does your beauty reflect?

 

Here’s a great article I read this week on how to know how to dress.

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Wanna be wise in a world gone wild? Mary Kassian has some great biblical advice for you on womanhood, dating, gender, marriage, and relationships.

in her blog,  What Not to Wear.

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Tornadoes have devastated the heart of our country this week. The last several days have shown us some of the most violent storms our nation has ever seen.

Eight hours from where I live Amarillo, in a place called Joplin, Missouri, a tornado touched down Sunday night. It is speculated that this tornado is the most dangerous and deadly tornado in the history of our country. Over a hundred lives are confirmed dead, but there are still nearly 1,500 people missing in this town of 45,000 people.

In moments like these so many of us ask, “Is there anything I can do to help?”. The need in the city is simple, these people need funds to rebuild their lives and regain their health.

North is connected very personally to Mystery Church in Joplin. Mystery Church is an Acts 29 church, and one of the pastors of the church used to live in Amarillo and is a dear friend to one of the pastors at North. This church is one of the few left standing in the aftermath of this deadly tornado, and they are and will be a huge part of the rebuilding of this city. They are meeting the physical and spiritual needs of Joplin in this most crucial time.

The Red Cross and other relief organizations are telling those who want to help to hold off coming to Joplin. Even these organizations are saying the best way people can help is through giving money.

If you are looking for a way to help these families dealing with loss and tragedy, I urge you to give. Mystery Church is a trusted church that is working directly with the city. I urge you to consider giving to them and helping them meet the needs of this community. Tuesday night, North took up an offering for Mystery Church. I’m sure it won’t even make a dent in the need, but every little bit goes directly towards helping people.

If you would like to give to Mystery Church, you can through paypal by clicking on this link.

Follow Mystery Church on Twitter, @mysterychurch .

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David and I are frequent costumers of Hastings Entertainment. Hastings is a locally owned, Amarillo-based, “Blockbuster” like company. They rent and sell movies, as well as books, music, and a variety of other random items. Because we don’t have a television or the Internet, we have found it very convenient to rent movies from Hastings to watch on our laptop.

Last week, David and I were scouring the store looking for some obscure movie that we were in the mood to watch. I was going through the aisles quickly reading titles, when I stumbled into some titles that didn’t make sense to me. (I should have stopped there). I picked up one of the DVDs to look at the front cover, and the racy picture made it all make sense. (I won’t describe the picture, but it was vulgar)

Still confused I back up to take a look and realized that an additional section had been squeeze on the normal aisle, ironically next to the rental “kids and family” section. I further investigated to find that another section just like it had been added to the “buy” aisle as well. Now I don’t know how long Hastings in Canyon, Texas, has been renting and selling pornography, but I venture to bet it hasn’t been very long (seeing as how I rent movies from there at least once a week).

Two young men were working the check out counter that day. I bet now they wish they would have seen me coming, because I don’t have a problem asking uncomfortable questions. I asked how long they have been renting and selling pornography. I was answered by them looking at one another uncomfortably, a shrug of the shoulder, and uncomfortable laughter as I walked away.

Here’s the deal. Hastings is a local Amarillo business. If the fact that pornography has been added to their stores and placed accessible for anyone to browse through bothers you, as much as it bothers me, we truly have an opportunity to affect culture. This is OUR culture and not some global “walmart” business.

Sunday, May 15, I wrote a complaint to Hastings. They promptly responded on the 17th, but there response didn’t address anything that I had brought up. The good thing about this is that my complaint was heard. The bad thing about this is that I’m one person, and too small to make a difference. You can help. Together we can really be heard.

If you feel like I feel about this, here’s what I’m asking you to do.
1. Write a complaint.
2. Post it on a complaint website that I found connected to Hastings. Here’s the Link!
3. Make sure you save your post.
4. Copy that same complaint, and email it to Customer Service at Hastings.
service@gohastings.com
5. If you would like your complaint to be made known to the president of Hastings:

John Marmaduke, President & CEO
Hastings Entertainment, Inc.
PO Box 35350
Amarillo, TX. 79120-5350

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
I have also attached my complaint letter, if you would like to read it.

Pornography Rent and Sale

To Whom It May Concern:
My husband and I are frequent customers of the Hastings in Canyon, Texas. We buy and rent movies bi-weekly. A visit to Hastings each week has become a part of our weekly routine.

Recently, while searching for a particular movie, I suddenly found myself in the middle of your pornography rental section. I was taken back by the titles, pictures on the front covers, and by the fact that I had never before seen this section in your store. After a few minutes of investigation, I found that your store has also begun selling pornography as well.

I asked a store clerk how long you have been renting and selling pornography in your store. The young man shrugged his shoulders and nervously laughed as I walked away.

There are a lot of reasons that I am disturbed by this reason development.

1. The pornography section is mixed in with all the other sections. Fully accessible for any person of any age to thumb through while browsing your movie selections.

2. I realize your “Blockbuster” type industry is a struggling one in the day and age of Netflix and the internet. I’m disappointed that instead of your company becoming more innovative and competitive, you have chosen the route of “more sex sells.” Not only is this outdated, it truly hurts your reputation as a local and trusted company in the Amarillo area.

3. As a woman, I am personally offended. Pornography is not only offensive to me, but degrading to my gender and our sexuality. Women can choose to not be exposed to this kind of degradation with online pornography, by choosing to not watch it or download it. But when we are forced to be surrounded by it in a place that we frequent and shop, I find that particular business to responsible for it. It is discrimination and the abuse of our gender. Ultimately, by doing this you have ruined the trust you have built as a local business.

If you continue to carry pornography, I will be left with no other choice than to not come to your store any longer.

Thank you for your consideration,

Kate

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

This is such an important issue for Amarillo and the surrounding area. If you intend to do this, please do it promptly. Together we can be heard on this issue! Thanks!
KR

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Have questions about the “End Times”? Listen to this awesome podcast.
“Taboo: End Times” (if the podcast isnt the first one up, scroll down to September 15, 2009)

There has been tons of chatter around the world about whether or not Jesus will come back tomorrow, May 21st. There has been a group of people come out and say that they believe they have “crack a Biblical code”, which predicts the end of the world.

As a pastor, my husband, has been questioned numerous times on this issue this week. In response to the impending question, I would like to post a letter that he wrote responding to a concerned person.

Dear Friend,

The simple answer is two-fold. Firstly, the May 21 date for Jesus’ return is unlikely. Secondly, if Jesus does return on May 21 (or before then for that matter), it is not a cause for fear or anxiety, but rather celebration.

Regarding the first point, the reason why the May 21 date is unlikely comes directly from the words of Jesus Christ: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only….Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Mt. 24:36, 44).

In other words Jesus doesn’t even know the day that he is coming back. This special knowledge is reserved for God the Father alone (a point which is reiterated again in Acts 1:6-7). I heard Rick Warren once wisely say, “I’ve stopped trying to figure out that which Jesus doesn’t even know.” Personally, I think such particular predictions concerning the end times tend to distract Christians from their mission and divide the body of Christ over unknowable doctrine.

But there is such a thing as good doctrine of end times. And that takes me to the second point of why, even if May 21 is the date, Jesus’ return is cause for celebration. Many Christians have many different opinions about the last days. The only thing way can say for certain is that Jesus is definitely coming back, and that his return is really good news. But no matter where you land in eschatology (the big theological word for the doctrine of end times), a good eschatology will do three things: it will motivate the Christian for personal holiness, it will motivate the Church to its evangelistic mission, and it will cause every believer to rejoice in the hope that soon Jesus will return.

Let the knowledge of Christ stir these three things within you. I would encourage you to read a few hopeful passages like Revelation 21-22 to stir your hope for Christ’s return. Both of Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians are great reads as well. I will be praying that this note makes it easier for you to lay down your anxiety and take up you hope.

By Grace Alone,

Pastor David A. Ritchie

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David and I would like to tell you our little secret….

This coming Christmas, we will be having our first baby!

We are very excited and amazed by this miracle of life. And we felt like it was an appropriate time to let you in on our excitement. I am 10 weeks pregnant, and almost through my first trimester and hopefully morning sickness!

It’s amazing to us what a miracle this little life is already, and how through the two of us something new can be created. What a perfect picture of the Gospel of Jesus. Everything on this earth is passing on to death, even David and me! But by the grace of God, something is being created new right now through me and David! Truly every created thing in this world, points to the reality of our Creator and the redemption of Jesus Christ!!

Romans 1:20
“For His (God’s) invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”

This, my friends, is what you can have in Jesus Christ. You can be born into life, eternal life. A not just a different version of yourself, but you can be a completely new person.

2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

I’m sure you will hear more about this in upcoming posts. If you are like me, love “A Baby Story,” and want to follow the progress of our pregnancy, check out the new page at the top called “Our Bump” for photos and progress each week!

Love you all!
KR

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No Christian can truly say that they are not around unsaved people. The fact is you spend most of your life all around them. They are right outside your front door. We need to live missional lives, because let’s face our mission has been given to us. And that mission is the greatest in the whole world.

If you are wondering what your calling in life is, it is very simple. Join the mission. Sharing the love of Jesus Christ with the whole world is the greatest thing you could ever do. Start with the people you live beside.

10 Ways to be a Missional Neighbor:

1. Meet your neighbors
.
So many Americans have no idea who their neighbors are! This is absurd. You lay your head down each night across the street or around the corner from families; it’s time you knew who they were. Find a way to meet them.

2. Be available.
This could be as easy as being outside more. This could be as difficult as some awkward conversations. Whatever that looks like to you, don’t be a family that just goes inside and closes the door. Talk, be outside, offer your expertise, and know the neighborhood children and elderly. Show people that you are available to them.

3. Take Walks.
Experience entertainment and quality time surrounded by your neighbors. Use this as an opportunity to pray for open doors in their lives and salvation.

4. Random Kindness.
One thing that I’ve found to work is random good deeds. Each week I take in my elderly neighbors’ trashcan and help them unload groceries. It takes a few minutes out of my day, but has produced relationship between our families.

5. Invite them to church.
Holidays are especially great times to invite people to church. Invites to church are also great ways to start conversations about religious beliefs.

6. Take opportunities to talk.
It’s hard to talk to people you don’t know well, but make at least a weekly effort to talk to neighbors when you see them out and about. Remember their names. Whether you like it or not, these are people a part of your community of life.

7. Organize a function.
A blockparty. A cookout. A park competition. A fundraiser for a cause.

8. Neighborhood watch.
One brilliant way is just to take notice and care for your neighbors. Notice if something seems different. Notice if something goes wrong on their house. One nice thing is to dig out their drive way when its covered in snow. Check in if something feels wrong or different. I kept tabs on my neighbor’s elderly live-in parent, and was able to know when he passed away.

9. Have a gospel-centered marriage and family.
This is something you can do inside the home that shines on the outside. Truly healthy, gospel-centered marriages are hard to find. When they are found, people take notice. How you live inside your house will be noticeable on the outside. It matters. And it will make a difference.

10. Step out and share.
People are sometimes intimidated to share their faith. They think people will be turned off or offended by it. In my experience, most of the time people are neither. People are usually interested when I share what I believe. They may not say much or make any kind of spiritual decision, but they know what I believe and ask questions later. So many people share their beliefs, but for some reasons Christians feel like they can’t. Don’t be intimidated to just say what you believe. People are always more interested than I think they will be.

Here is an awesome video on Missional Living.

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One of the first things we teach our children is to say, “Thank you”. But do we carry thankfulness into adulthood? I think adults are often the ones who need to be reminded to be thankful.

I’m always amazed in my travels in third-world countries how thankful people are that have to little, deal with so much tragedy, and have so much hardship. I always jealously observe their sweet trust and dependency on Jesus Christ for their every need. The Lord has truly been challenging me in the area in the last two weeks. I have so much to be thankful in this season of life, but I’ve been struggling to not focus on my cares and worries. I’ve found that it is often in my most blessed times in life that I loose sight of being thankful. Isn’t that sad?

Philippians 4:4-9
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.(H) The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and(P) the God of peace will be with you.”

Need help getting on the thankful track? Here are some things I’ve been doing to help.

10 Formational Practices to Foster a Thankful Heart:

1. Forget your feelings.
Now obviously I’m not talking about all your feelings. I’m talking about the ups and downs that can take over our day (the Facebook status feelings). They are fleeting. They are folly. And if you just wait it out for a minute, those feelings will change. Don’t put any weight on those. Let them come and go, but don’t let them determine how you truly feel about your day. Don’t wait to “feel” thankful, “be” thankful.

2. Say out loud…or write it out.
I was talking to my sweet friend Beth the other day about my need to be more thankful. She pulled a little notebook out of her purse and handed it to me. “Write down 1000 little reasons your thankful,” she said. It’s been great! When you aren’t feeling very thankful, write down the reasons you are or tell someone about all the things that make you thankful.

3. Leave the negative behind.
Don’t let yourself be negative. Even in bad situations, look for how God could be “working out the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Choose to be and see the positive.

4. Fight the battle in your mind.
Thankfulness is a state of mind. So what state is your mind in? Are you purely reactionary to life? Are you a glass is half-empty kind of person? Don’t let yourself dwell on fear, worry, anxiety, and what you don’t have. You do not have to dwell on everything thought in your head. My husband’s definition of the word “prudence” is “a humble awareness of God.” I love that. Look at all the promises of a prudent person in Proverbs. You will be amazed. Have a prudent state of mind.

5. Don’t compare.
Women deal with a lot of comparison, for a plethora of reason. We compare everything. There are so many things sinful about comparing yourself to another person. No matter what or why you compare, it will lead you to a heart without thankfulness. Ask yourself why you compare. Ask yourself what you compare. Ask yourself if you seek something more than you seek God. Be thankful for what and who the Lord has given you. Get rid of the sin of comparison.

6. Fear and anxiety.
I have heard it said that a reality where fear and anxiety exist is a reality where a good God does not exist. Fear and anxiety are not just stealing your thankful heart. They, like comparison, are sinful acts. How many times does Jesus say, “Fear not?”. Remind yourself of the God of faithfulness and steadfast love that you serve, and fear not. Remind yourself of all the ways that God has been good to you.

7. Get rid of expectations.
The first way to get rid of expectations is to not live in slavery to the expectations of others. There are some who feel like a failure if they let down the expectation of people who matter to us. Pleasing everyone is impossible. You will fail. This will hinder your thankfulness to God.

The second way to live in the slavery of expectations is to constantly expect your way to be perfect. You live under the slavery of something you can never accomplish, and in order to make your stay steady and perfect you expect those closest to you to play their perfect parts too. This leads to a world of hurt and self focus. This leads to a heart that cannot be thankful.

8. Stay in the present.
I think the easiest way that we get distracted from how thankful we should be is by living in either the past or the future. Neither of these realities are real, therefore we cannot be thankful. God’s reality is now. We can only experience Him now. And it is only in Him that we can see why we are thankful.

9. See what Jesus has done.
The very One that I am the most thankful for is Jesus Christ. His love, sacrifice, and faithfulness to me is the ultimate reason for live and thankfulness. He is the reason that I live. He is the reason for thankfulness. And “every good and perfect gift comes from Him.” He is goodness. Preach the gospel to yourself every day. Do everything you do for the sake of the gospel. Share the gospel every chance you get. If you do this, you will be thankful.

10. Take off the weight that Another has carried for you.
So often we drag around stuff that has been carried by another- sin, pasts, worry, fears, hardship, condemnation, suffering…etc. Why do we carry that stuff around? We carry weight because we put our hope in things we think won’t change, but always do change. Maybe its your health, family, friends, financial security, spouse, job, talent…etc. you name it. You put all your hope in that thing you think will never change, but then it does change. Your faith, hope, and thankfulness gets challenged and a weight is placed on your shoulders. You were never meant to carry that weight. Jesus carried the weight of failure. Put your hope in the One that never changes. You will be so thankful you did.

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