(This post was originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on July 13, 2019. You can find it here.)
It’s startling how quickly anointing can become annoyance in ministry life.
The king groaned and closed his window to shut out the jubilant roars. Responsibility weighed heavy on his shoulders, and now heaps of ingratitude from those people—God’s people!—nearly drove him to his knees. Nearly. Here he had been faithfully serving (for the most part) a nation of unruly souls with no one to lean on but the God who seemed bent on taking away his crown.
There you are, in the middle of a quite ordinary day, going about your business. Cue the bad news.
Palms start sweating, heartbeats thunder, thoughts race like they’re competing in a derby.
Whether it’s a regular occurrence or a rare one, we all have meltdowns; the perfect storm of circumstances and emotions is simply part of the human condition, though the darkness dances when we lose our footing. Panic, rage, despair, and confusion crash over us, knocking the air from our lungs. Some people lash out, others retreat. Amid the tempest, though, we aren’t without resources. The cross speaks a better word, even when the winds howl and the churning waters rise. Haven’t you heard? Jesus has a habit of calming storms.
Imagine a lioness convinced she’s a worm. Then imagine a lioness convinced she’s a king. One a spineless slave, the other a self-appointed tyrant. Which mindset could do her family more harm? Which is a greater assault on the created order of things?
The enemy has pulled quite a number on women. “Hush, you silly chits,” he whispers with shame lacing his words so that they land like daggers. “You don’t actually matter. Everyone knows you’re just pretending to be worthwhile. They can all see right through your pathetic attempts to do anything really meaningful. Pipe down before you reveal how ridiculous you truly are.”
July sizzles in like a firecracker, smelling of coconut sunscreen and leaving the creamy taste of homemade ice cream on your tongue. Flags pop up everywhere; smoke from cookouts, bonfires, and sparklers softens the landscape to a dreamy mist. This is the season of the hot dog in its full glory, of icy beverages, of late nights and lightning bugs and sandcastles. If you blink, you could miss a million beautiful surprises from the hand of a good Father. Awaken to the dazzling days of summertime.
Name calling has been a thing for a long, long time. We accept what others say about us, and even our own self-given identities evolve.
We’re about a week into our study in John’s gospel, and already massive truths have come crashing over my head. This topic of names, for instance. John earned the nickname ‘son of thunder’ because of the story (which I find hilarious) in Luke 9:51-56. In case you’re wondering, ‘son of thunder’ means kind of the opposite of ‘all-around nice guy.’ But this isn’t the only title you’ll find attached to his lapel. What did John call himself as he penned his gospel? ‘The disciple whom Jesus loved.’
Any well-traveled girl will tell you the importance of smart packing. As we jump into John’s gospel, we’ll need to make room for treasures we find along the way, little surprises to make a good journey even better.
(This post was edited for and originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on June 24, 2019. You can find it here.)
While working with a program that prepared couples for long-term missions, I began to notice a deeply troubling disparity in the expectations and the definitions of spiritual excellence for males and females. Husbands were loaded up with classes, mentoring, books, and accountability groups – but a monthly meeting was too much to ask of their wives.
Both inside and outside the world of full-time ministry, studying the finer points of our faith is a mainly masculine enterprise. Aren’t women busy enough without diving deep into the Word? Let Pinterest catechize them. But when half the Church is spiritually deficient, the entire body walks with a limp.
This has been my ongoing and super complex inner dialogue since trying a new workout a couple of days ago. The program was apparently so effective it targeted muscles I was previously oblivious of owning. Funny, right, that my body is closer to health right now, while I’m in the throes of recovery, than it was back when I felt the painlessness of normalcy?
You brave soul. Good for you! We can tackle this beautiful book together. How?
For each chapter, there’s a corresponding schedule, a plan to keep us on track. Sermons are linked for easy online access, or you can print the whole thing out if you enjoy manually checking off calendar squares as much as I do. As we wade deeper in, I’ll post chapter summaries of favorite quotes, questions, resources, and aha moments.