Through the Years of Tears I Have Come, by Christine Hoover

It is a delight to introduce Christine Hoover who blogs over at Grace Covers Me. Christine has graciously allowed me to share her post about her son.

Christine: Ten years ago I was crying different tears over this boy. They were bitter, desperate, pleading tears that soaked and salted my entire life. Like a broken faucet, I couldn’t restrain their constant dripping. I cried throughout worship at church, unable to sing the words and mean them. I cried while driving the car with my son in the backseat and another in my womb. I cried in my bed, clinging to my husband, broken at the sight of his tears mirroring my own. Always, I cried after interacting with other people’s children whose affront to me was simply being typical, everyday kids who were hitting all their milestones.

If you’ve cried similar tears for your children you’ll want to click here and read the rest of Christine’s story where she shares how God helped and healed not only her son, but also her own heart.

Author Christine Hoover: The grace of Christ upended my legalistic life over a decade ago and ever since, I’ve been passionate about exploring and sharing about how that grace impacts every inch of life. In addition to my blog and books, I regularly contribute to Desiring God, Flourish (an online resource for ministry wives), and For The Church. My work has also appeared on The Gospel Coalition, New Churches, Christianity Today, and Outreach.

Keep calm and carry on while parenting

I came across this article on parenting, and I knew I should share it. It is one of the few parenting articles out there that actually delivers what it promises.

It not only sheds light on the FACT that every parent has, at some point, lost their cool, but it also provides 12 helpful suggestions on preventing and/or recovering from a melt down. (Just to clarify – a parent-meltdown, not a child’s.)

It also gives suggestions on what to do after the storm has passed. I highly recommend that you hop on over to Focus on the Family and read:

12 ways to keep calm and carry on when your kids are trying your patience

It’s Personal welcomes Andrea Thom, from Touching Godliness

It is my pleasure to welcome Andrea Thom to It’s Personal. Andrea is a great friend of mine who speaks hard truth with grace. Her blog, Touching Godliness, is a place you can steal some rest and time with the Word and discern how theological Truth can touch your everyday moments and transform you.

Is she a fool whose FEET bring freedom to those stuck in the mire of their own folly?

Is she a fool whose TIME prioritizes the friendless, weeps with the unpopular, and banters with the simple?

Is she a fool whose TALENTS find use in stays so lonely, that no visible gain is rewarded for the effort?

Is she a fool whose HANDS become those that feed the lame, whose LIPS shout the untold story to the blind, whose EMBRACE preaches to souls lying forgotten in broken bodies?

Is she a fool whose EARS are tuned to eternity’s chorus, whose HEART delights in Truth for her pain?

Is she a fool whose MIND is so rich with the words of Christ that it shapes every utterance?

Whose PHYSIQUE is so laced with the integrity of Christ, that it becomes entirely forgettable?

Whose BEHAVIOUR spills out the compassion of Christ, such that little else can describe her?

Is she a fool whose LIFE is so hidden in Christ, that no ambition is too rooted, no ability too revered, no relationship too important, and no hobby too pleasing, to be forfeit for His sake, regardless of the discomfort?

Is she a fool who at the moment of death, delights rather than distresses, at the thought of finally beholding His GLORY?

Indeed, she is not a fool, when on that great and glorious day, He exclaims, “Well done, my GOOD and FAITHFUL daughter! Receive the REWARD and PRAISE you have earned in the city gates!”

For Christ’s CHARACTER has become so deeply embedded into her own, that she has become quite undistinguishable from Christ Himself.

Harvest Dayton~The Weekend Visitor

Mandy Harris is a beautiful woman of God. She and her husband Dale are stepping out in faith to plant a Harvest Bible Chapel in Dayton, Ohio.

I had the privilege of meeting up with Mandy and Dale a few weeks ago, and I am so glad she decided to share her heart on It’s Personal. 

God has put the word value on my heart. All of us place different values on things. Often times, we find objects to be less valuable than the store would claim, so we wait for a discount. We determine how far we are willing to drive to a destination based on the value of gas it will take to get there. We even put value on our time, saving some hours for television, reading, or other pursuits. I don’t think anyone would disagree that we place some sort of value on everything.

What God put on my heart is how little value we tend to put on building His kingdom. Many of us give or tithe to church, but is there ever a time when building his kingdom is worth more? And if it is, is it as valuable as a T.V., or a vacation, or even a car? Are you willing to spend more on a vacation than you are building a new church? Are you willing to spend more time and gas driving to work then to church? Do you value your time in the word as much as you value watching your favorite show or athletic event? And do you value serving God as much as you value serving yourself or your family? This definitely convicted me today and I thought it was valuable enough to share.

Matthew 6:21
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

Won’t you pray for Harvest Dayton? Visit the Harvest Dayton website here or email Pastor Dale (dale@harvestbiblechapeldayton.com) and encourage him through your commitment to pray. Harvest Dayton launches November 2014.

The Next Billy Graham Might Be Drunk Right Now by Dr. Russell Moore

Whenever I start to get discouraged about the future of the church, I remember a conversation I had a few years ago with evangelical theologian Carl F. H. Henry on what would turn out to be his last visit to Southern Seminary before his death.
Several of us were lamenting the miserable shape of the church, about so much doctrinal vacuity, vapid preaching, non-existent discipleship. We asked Dr. Henry if he saw any hope in the coming generation of evangelicals.
And I will never forget his reply.
“Why, you speak as though Christianity were genetic,” he said. “Of course, there is hope for the next generation of evangelicals. But the leaders of the next generation might not be coming from the current evangelical establishment. They are probably still pagans.”
“Who knew that Saul of Tarsus was to be the great apostle to the Gentiles?” he asked us. “Who knew that God would raise up a C.S. Lewis, a Charles Colson? They were unbelievers who, once saved by the grace of God, were mighty warriors for the faith.”
Of course, the same principle applied to Henry himself. Who knew that God would raise up a newspaperman from a nominally Lutheran family to defend the Scriptures for generations of conservative evangelicals?

The next Jonathan Edwards might be the man driving in front of you with the Darwin Fish bumper decal. The next Charles Wesley might be a misogynist, profanity-spewing hip-hop artist right now. The next Billy Graham might be passed out drunk in a fraternity house right now. The next Charles Spurgeon might be making posters for a Gay Pride March right now. The next Mother Teresa might be managing an abortion clinic right now.

But the Spirit of God can turn all that around. And seems to delight to do so. The new birth doesn’t just transform lives, creating repentance and faith; it also provides new leadership to the church, and fulfills Jesus’ promise to gift his church with everything needed for her onward march through space and time (Eph. 4:8-16).
After all, while Phillip was leading the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ, Saul of Tarsus was still a murderer.
Most of the church in any generation comes along through the slow, patient discipleship of the next generation. But just to keep us from thinking Christianity is evolutionary and “natural” (or, to use Dr. Henry’s term “genetic”), Jesus shocks his church with leadership that seems to come like a Big Bang out of nowhere.
Whenever I’m tempted to despair about the shape of American Christianity, I’m reminded that Jesus never promised the triumph of the American church; he promised the triumph of the church. Most of the church, in heaven and on earth, isn’t American. Maybe the hope of the American church is right now in Nigeria or Laos or Indonesia.

Jesus will be King, and his church will flourish. And he’ll do it in the way he chooses, by exalting the humble and humbling the exalted, and by transforming cowards and thieves and murderers into the cornerstones of his New City.

So relax.

And, be kind to that atheist in front of you on the highway, the one who just shot you an obscene gesture. He might be the one who evangelizes your grandchildren.

 

Dr. Moore is the Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice-President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church, where he ministers weekly at the congregation’s Fegenbush location. Moore is the author of several books, including The Kingdom of Christ, Adopted for Life, and Tempted and Tried.
Used with permission

Getting Rid of the Prosperity Gospel, by Marsha Jago

A wee one awakened me and I can’t get back to sleep. I can’t stop thinking about what an interesting ride the last year and a half has been…

By all conventional standards my life should feel out of control. Because of multiple environmental IgE allergies coming to crisis point and a few bad food intolerances, almost all of what I would have previously eaten has been removed as an option for me. I can’t eat anything that comes in a package/can/jar of any kind without feeling AWFUL. I have had to go old school and can my own tomatoes and apple sauce so that I can ensure there is no mold contamination, and then make my own tomato paste, ketchup, barbecue sauce etc. I can’t even drink orange juice or take communion without having allergy symptoms. I can’t eat any grains except rice, which has me mostly “paleo” but then I am so intolerant of soy that even the soy in chicken feed (which gets into egg yolks) has meant that I can’t eat eggs — a major staple in the paleo diet. Nuts and dried fruit are generally out too because of mold contamination. My diet has been so reduced that I literally find myself praying that God will bring me food I can eat to get me through the day. And he always does, just as he promised in Matthew 6.

And in the last while I feel like I have lost all my well-loved control of our finances. I have felt too needed (and busy!) at home to return to work after my mat leave, and within the first 6 weeks of my unpaid leave we have had: $1000 in car repairs, an unexpected $1300 tax bill upon reassessment of the last tax year, a broken 6-year-old furnace and a night without heat in -30 weather, an unexpected $450 utility bill, and now as of Tuesday a 6-year-old convection oven that doesn’t work and will cost $550 to repair.

WOW!

Control is an illusion, my friends!

My life doesn’t feel out of control, it feels like I am firmly enveloped in the love and care of a close and intimate God incarnate who is walking through all of this with me and shepherding me.

I can see that He is active in the details, bringing organic farmers into my life who happen to raise chickens with a very rare soy-free diet and have adequate supply to bring me 8 dozen soy-free eggs on the day that my oven broke so this breastfeeding mama will not starve and will have some quick/easy/hearty meal options. I know that in the grand scheme of things we will be okay financially and I needed to get rid of the last vestiges of “prosperity gospel” thinking that says if you are faithful with your money you will be blessed financially. There are no guarantees that the circumstances of this life will be easy whether you walk with God or not (case in point: Dietrich Bonhoeffer), just a guarantee that He will meet you and lead you through it all if you let him.

IMG_8447Marsha is a wife, mama, and Registered Nurse who is learning to follow Jesus as her Shepherd in the everyday ups and downs of life, and feels called to be open and honest along the way about her triumphs, disasters and lessons learned.

Post script: The night after writing this I stood in front of our stove and asked the Lord to fix our stove for less than the quote of $550 we had received. The next day my brother-in-law (an electrical engineer whom I hadn’t even thought of as an option) came over with his circuit testers and tools. He took the back off my stove, wiggled a few wires that supply power to the offending circuit board, decided it was too big a project to tackle just before lunch and put it back together. When he did so it was fixed! Praise the Lord!

To Moms of One or Two Children, by Sarah Short

How do you do it? 

I’ve never counted, but I imagine the number of times I’ve been asked that question by Moms with one or two children is somewhere in the hundreds. I have five children, and judging by the look on the tired and weary faces that pose the question, that number seems simply impossible.How do you do it? 

Those are five loaded words. I suppose because the “it” behind that question is different for everyone.

How do you care for five little people?
How do you operate on little sleep?
How do you keep them safe?
How do you find time to do the laundry?
How do you afford them?
How do you keep from losing your ever-loving mind?

Mommas of one and two children – I understand every one of these questions. And, I understand just where you’re coming from.There are some things I want you to know about me. About children. About this journey through motherhood that we’re both on.

If no one has ever told you…
Read full article here, (and I highly recommend it!).
imageSarah lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, Jason, her four boys and her baby girl. She is really disorganized, she doesn’t make her bed, and she yells at her kids too much. She don’t garden, sew, craft, or read – so you’ll rarely find anything about those topics on her blog. She doesn’t do so many things, so when you read her stories, look at her photos, and bookmark her recipes, she hopes you’ll see a girl who shares what she does well, but is hopelessly flawed in many other ways.
Despite all that, she is loved – forever loved – by a God so big and beautiful that He came down to earth just to know her. She lives for Jesus – and her heart belongs to Him.