Make Jesus Lord

I love hearing from God.  I like it when He gives me words of encouragement to give to friends via text, a phone call, or in person.  My favorite is when it comes out of the blue.  When I haven’t talked to the friend in a minute and God tells me to reach out and give them a particular message.  It’s my favorite scenario because without fail, even though the message seems out of the blue to me, it’s right on topic and right on time for the friend who hears it.

I love hearing from God.  Most of the time.

I don’t particularly like hearing from God when the message He asks me to share feels like sandpaper. You know, the kind of message that doesn’t quite line up with the idea we have of God that we sometimes worship instead of worshiping Him as the King of kings and Lord of lords that He is.

I’ve been reading through the Old Testament (one of my goals for the year is to read through the Bible) and somewhere between 1 Samuel and 1 Kings, God started to speak a message to be shared.  I’m not sure how God talks to other people, but when He gives me revelation it’s as though He has downloaded the information in such a way that I can see the forest and the individual trees at the same time.  Unfortunately, I am not God and I am not able to convey information the same way.

Oftentimes, when I share a message – especially a sandpaper message – I get distracted by the message and trip over my own words trying to explain what God meant like He needs an interpreter or a public defender.  He doesn’t. And I know this, but it doesn’t make the delivery any easier.

So, here I am trying to share a sandpaper message as plainly as I can.

American doesn’t need to focus on being great again.  As a nation, the United States needs to focus on making Jesus Lord.  I asked God, “Oh, like Make Jesus Lord Again, instead of Make America Great Again?”  I wasn’t trying to be cute with Him, but I did think it was a clever presumption.  He said that saying that America needed to make Jesus Lord again implied that He was Lord at some point.  Ouch.

He brought me back to 2 Samuel when the people of Israel are pleading with God to have a king rule over them.  Samuel makes it very clear to them what life will be like with a king ruling over Israel and he implores them to instead turn to God and allow Him to be their King.  But they do not heed his warning and instead continue to make their case for having an earthly king.

It’s easy to shake one’s head when reading the history of the Israelites and completely overlook the fact that we too put too many expectations on and hopes in human leaders.  Humanity cannot cure what ails humanity, namely our sinful nature.  Only God can do that.  And yet, we place unrealistic expectations on one another, including our local, state, and national leaders.

And here’s the thing, the United States of America is not a Christian nation.  It is a nation that has Christians living within its borders, but it isn’t a Christian nation the way the nation of Israel was a nation of the twelve tribes of Israel.  I know this.  But still, as believers, as followers of Christ, we have the power to intercede on behalf of believers and non-believers alike.

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

I have tried to write this post over the past couple of months but stopped for fear that people might interpret it as being an indictment of a controversy within the current administration.  Unfortunately, the controversies seem to come and go so quickly, I had to post this out of obedience and let go of the possibility that someone could misinterpret this as being related to the most current controversy at the time of making the post public.

I usually like to tie my posts up in a nice bow, wrapping everything all together, even if it’s just with a quote.  But I don’t have a bow for this post.  While we live in a great country, it is not perfect.  Not the government, not the citizens.  I pray that we, as followers of Christ, would lead the charge in knocking down the altars we’ve set up for the idols of country, political party, and politicians.  Our hope is in Christ alone.

Social Media and the Connected Educator

I don’t post very often, but when I do, it’s about my faith, my experiences with all things health and wholeness, and my life as a mom.  But today, I am posting about a part of my life I rarely talk about – being a teacher.

In order to renew our teaching certificates, every five years teachers in South Carolina have to take a technology course.  I hold my National Board certificate so I have ten years to renew my certificate and don’t have to go through the normal process to do so.  But I’m still required to take a technology course every five years.  Unfortunately, it’s been well over five years since I last took a tech course so I jumped at the chance to take one this semester.

There were two course offerings that seemed interesting and I asked God to help me choose one that would actually be worth the time investment.  The Connected Educator focuses on Social Media for Educators and since I try to use social media for ministry and life I knew I would use whatever I learned.

Honestly, I was just looking to possibly get some hacks on how to effectively use the platforms I’m already using.  Instead, I learned some pros and cons regarding educators using social media (both professionally and personally) and best of all my passion for teaching and my interest in blogging was reignited.  Totally worth the time investment!

I have big plans to flip my classroom – an idea I toyed with years ago but just couldn’t see how to implement it – thanks to EdPuzzle.  I’ll be able to record my lessons using my SMART Board over the summer (at least through the first quarter) and using EdPuzzle my students will be able to work through the lesson, having to answer questions during the recording in order to advance through it.  I am so stoked to be able to use technology in order to flip my classroom.

Oh, and as infrequently as I blog, I’ll be adding a new blog dedicated to my experiences as a teacher.   Specifically, I’ll be focusing on what flipping my class will look like and the differentiation I’m hoping to do within my classroom because of it.  As soon as I work out what the name of the new blog will be I’ll link to it here.

Have you taken any course or attended a workshop that has reignited your passion?  If so, what was it focused on?

Refresh Summit South

I originally wrote this while I was reading “Do Over” by Jon Acuff.  It was in response to the Day 5 assignment.  Good to know that three years later that I am consistent about not posting consistently – even drafts.

Motivating Place
Where is the most motivating place you’ve ever visited? Refresh!!!

So technically Refresh isn’t a place, it’s…

I find myself at a loss for words when I attempt to describe Refresh Summit ’14 in fewer than four sentences.  I’ve been struggling to blog post about it for almost a year now. Mainly because I keep writing too much. Like an epistle too much. Seriously, I could write a blog series about the two days I spent in a B&B cabin with 39 other women in the mountains of Tennessee.   I would describe it as “overnight camp” for women.

I never got to go to away camp and it was everything I imagined summer camp would be like.  S’mores and all.  Except there were no crazy antics involving paddling to the boys’ side of the lake or weird girl clique issues.  Obviously, all of the camp ideas I had was based on the 1980’s movies I watched growing up.  Even without all the cheesiness of an 80’s movie, I got all of the things I wanted out of an away camp experience at Refresh.

And a lot that I didn’t know I could get out worshipping God, fellowshipping, exercising, and eating really good food.  What I can say succinctly about Refresh is that it’s the most uplifting and motivating experience I’ve had in the last several years.

Where’s the most motivating place you’ve ever visited?

Want to attend Refresh Summit South 2018?  Registration is now open!

#Goals: February Update

Am I the only one who thinks that February ended way too quickly?  I know that there are fewer days in February, but even if the “missing” two or three days were added to the month, it would have still flown by.  Way.  Too.  Quickly.

Maybe it was the fact that the harsh winter we were expecting here in South Carolina never really came.  Or perhaps it’s the fact that spring sprang just two weeks into February.  I’ve already had and recovered from my spring allergy induced cold.  And it’s only March 1st.

Regardless of how quickly March 1st came, the close of February brings an update on my goals for 2018.

  1. Read the Bible in its entirety
  2. Finish the planner God told me to create
  3. Read (something other than the Bible) 3 days a week
  4. Blog more regularly (1st Quarter – Once a month, 2nd – Twice, and so on)
  5. Post on Instagram more regularly (4 times a day)
  6. Figure out why my endocrine system seems to dislike me
  7. Continue to adjust my diet to see what works best for my body (see above)
  8. Take a 20 minutes bath once a week
  9. Lead two sessions of The Wellness Revelation

Progres made in February:

  1. Bible – In addition to Genesis and Job (finished in January), I have now completed Exodus and Leviticus.  I am one day behind in my Bible reading plan.
  2. Planner – I actually took two days off in February to finish it!  I’ve never done anything like that before.  I went to the local library and sequestered myself in a study room and knocked out huge portions of the planner.  And while I didn’t finish it, I am ready to meet with a local printer about moving forward.
  3. Reading – I’ve totally fallen off this goal.  I’m jumping back on it this weekend.
  4. Blog – I’m writing this at midnight again, but this time it’s March 2nd.  But in my defense, February 28th totally snuck up on me.
  5. Instagram – I took a long break but plan on a deluge of posting this weekend.
  6. Endocrine system – I made a commitment to getting a hormone imbalance analysis completed in March.  And now that March is here I should probably look into getting it done.
  7. Diet – I didn’t make any major adjustments or changes.  I’m listening to my body and acknowledging when things don’t agree with it. I see you, dairy.
  8. Baths – I didn’t keep up with weekly baths, but took at least two.
  9. All things Revelation Wellness – I am taking the month of March off from teaching classes.  I will be using RevWell TV to exercise my body and soul.  I will be intentionally leaning into God, asking Him to lay out a clear path for me regarding leading The Wellness Revelation.

I’m looking forward to March.  To being obedient when God tells me to write.  Even if it’s midnight and I’m pooped and I’m teaching an early morning RevFit class.  Because obedience feels so much better than putting things off.  Obedience is full of peace and contentment.

What is one thing you know God has called you to do but you’ve put off?  Is there a small step you can take in obedience?

(Total transparency – It is not a good idea to wait until midnight to post because I completely forgot to hit publish.  #facepalm)

#Goals

 

Psalms 20_4It’s so cliche.  Talking about goals in January.  But, here I am, doing just that.  As January draws to a close I thought I would share some of my goals for 2018 so I can have them listed in one place, and also for a little accountability.  Not that I expect you to keep up with my goals or ask me how I’m doing (you’re totally welcome to do so), but there’s something about sharing a goal with others that creates a sense of accountability.

So here they are – what I can remember, at least – in no particular order:

  1. Read the Bible in its entirety
  2. Finish the planner God told me to create
  3. Read (something other than the Bible) 3 days a week
  4. Blog more regularly (1st Quarter – Once a month, 2nd – Twice, and so on)
  5. Post on Instagram more regularly (4 times a day)
  6. Figure out why my endocrine system seems to dislike me
  7. Continue to adjust my diet to see what works best for my body (see above)
  8. Take a 20 minutes bath once a week
  9. Lead two sessions of The Wellness Revelation

That list is longer than it seemed in my head.  I’m not stressing though.  I’ve already made progress on most of the goals.

  1. Bible – I have finished Genesis and Job, and I’m current on my Bible reading plan
  2. Planner – I am taking two days in February to finish it
  3. Reading – I was reading a chapter every day but scaled it back to three times a week
  4. Blog – I’m writing and posting this before midnight
  5. Instagram – I’ve had a couple of hiccups but have posted on average 4 times a day
  6. Endocrine system – In March I’ll be getting an analysis of hormone imbalances
  7. Diet – I’m leaning towards an anti-inflammatory diet.  The whole Keto thing…I don’t know, but I have a feeling it would trigger hormone issues rather than solve them.
  8. Baths – So far I’ve kept up with the weekly baths.
  9. The Wellness Revelation – I was going to lead my first session starting in February, but I need to nail down the days and times.

So, how about you?  Are you more of a resolution, ONE WORD, or a list of goals kind of a person?

Move In Love

“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Revelation Wellness®Instructor Training Retreat
Photo by Raint Photography

Every move we make – every thought and decision – is rooted in either fear or love.  And it’s way too easy to root our physical movements, namely our workouts, in fear.  It’s kind of our go to motivation when it comes to fitness, isn’t it?  My good friend, and MOMENT’em sister, Kasey Schuler posted about body shame this week using a BINGO card and she reminded me just how true this is.  Out of fear of having to fill a row or two on the imaginary Body Shame Bingo card we’ll put in extra sweat equity.

Here’s the thing.  I am so over moving because I’m afraid.  I spent the better part of my 20’s doing that.  Working out for hours in hopes of gaining/keeping the attention of a man.  In my late 20’s I met and married a man who God used to help me overcome much of that fear and insecurity.  But if I’m honest, I started getting caught up in it again the summer I got pregnant with the twins.  I was the fittest I had been in my adult life but there was always another goal to reach.  And those goals weren’t rooted in love, gratitude, joy, or freedom.

I was caught up in a side of the fitness industry that insists that the only way to be successful is to be a “product of the product”.  So I thought I needed to continuously improve my physique.  I look back at the pictures from the summer of 2013, shake my head as I remember where my heart was and wish I could have simply enjoyed the health God had blessed me with.

It’s funny, because this summer I wore a bikini for the first time knowing I wasn’t “beach ready” and was totally okay with it.  Too much has happened over the years for me to point to one thing that shifted my motivation from fear to love.  But I’ll tell you this much, my body was broken for my twins and it will never be the same.  So when I move, I choose to do so as an outpouring of gratitude that I can move at all.

In a couple of weeks I’ll start teaching early morning Revelation Fitness® classes because I’m on a mission to help others move in love instead of fear.  To move as a “get to” instead of a “have to”.  If you live in the Columbia area I would love for you to join us!  If you’re not local to our new Irmo class, check out live classes here.  Can’t find one, or live classes just aren’t your thing?  You can stream videos via RevWell TV.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18

Open Letter To The Church: Sin Is Sin, So Why The Double Standard?

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning and clicked on an article a friend shared.  It was about this pastor Rob Bell and the apparent backlash he endured when he, according to the article “asked some questions about reconciling eternal punishment with a loving God, and he examined matters of life and faith that had become foregone conclusions to most believers.”  I haven’t read Love Wins so I can’t speak to what questions Bell asked within its pages.

While I was reading the article, I felt the Spirit of God stirring within me.  Setting off red flags and sounding warning alarms.  At first I shrugged off His warnings, assuming I just didn’t like the author’s voice.  But as I continued to read I couldn’t ignore the warnings any longer and I had to admit that something was just off – theologically speaking.

I nodded in agreement with several sentiments, mainly those pointing out that Christians have the tendency to label and ostracize people they don’t agree with rather than having tough conversations.  It’s so much easier to just write someone off than to wade into the uncomfortable.  But it felt like the author, in a way, was doing the same thing with the Christians who “abandoned” Bell.  He labeled them intolerant and went on to explain why Bell was a brave theologian asking the tough questions.

But never once did the author call out the elephant in the room.  Bell wasn’t simply innocently asking questions.  He was preaching universalism, which is the belief that everyone will be saved because of God’s unconditional love.  Um, nope.  I finished the article, taking away that God was reminding me of the importance of guarding my heart.  I figured it was a teachable moment and that was that.

But God pressed deeper into my heart as I was preparing to shower.  He does this on the regular.  I’m fairly certain it’s because it’s one of the few opportunities for me to be free of distractions.  As I was about to get into the shower He asked a seemingly random question, “Why did everyone commend Lysa Terkeurst’s strength and faith while so many of those same people commended Glennon Doyle Martin’s bravery for being true to herself?”

I hadn’t given much thought to either situations in quite some time, and certainly not that morning.  If you’re not familiar with either of these women, Lysa is a Biblical teacher and speaker, and Glennon is a Christian mommy blogger and author.  Lysa recently announced that she is leaving her husband because of his ongoing infidelity and refusal to put his vows before the desires of his flesh.  Back in August of 2016 Glennon announced that she was leaving her husband of 14 years for her close friend – a female friend.

When God asked me that seemingly random question, I did what I often do with His questions that seem to come out of left field.  I confessed my confusion.  So He asked me, “Why would people grieve with someone who has suffered at the hands of an adulterer when they cheered on an adulterer just a few short months ago?”  The only thing I could think of was that the people who  spoke out in support of Glennon weren’t supporting the adultery, but her decision to live the “lifestyle” that honored her true self.  God immediately pointed out that it’s not our call, especially not for those of us who wave the flag of Christianity.  We don’t get to decide which adulterous act is acceptable and which is not.  He drove His point home by telling me, “Anyone could have come to Art Terkeurst’s defense with the same statement – he was making a decision to honor his true self.”  Ouch.

 

“God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?” – James 4:12 (NLT)

 

But here’s the truth God reminded me of – just as we are not to judge, we are also not to pardon either.  The Judgement Seat isn’t ours to sit in.  At.  All.

So, if we are not called to judge others, what are we called to do?  First, God calls us to love one another.  And by “one another” He is saying that His followers must love one another. (John 13:34-35)  We get into trouble when we love according to the world’s standard instead of God’s.  In love, we will tell someone to follow his heart, to do what she thinks is best, to be true to himself.  Unless we are simultaneously pointing people to the Truth, we are co-signing their self-indulgent ways.  We are telling them it is okay to idolize self.  God calls us to love people in truth, and to speak the truth over people in love.  Tim Keller put it so succinctly I won’t bother trying to paraphrase his words.

 

“Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws.  Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it.  God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us.  The merciful commitment strengthen us to see the truth about yourselves and repent.  The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.”

 

Here’s the thing, you and I can’t do this with people we don’t know.  I mean, we can try to on a superficial surface level kind of way.  But that doesn’t do anyone any good.  Unfortunately, all things social media invite us to start and join conversations that are meant to be had on a very personal level.  It may be safer for us to “talk” to someone through a screen, but God doesn’t call us to safe.

He calls us to have authentic relationship with our fellow believers, even though relationships are messy and uncomfortable.  But we are messy and broken people.  We may be saved but we are still wrapped in flesh.  And flesh rubbing against flesh is anything but comfortable.

Should people who walk away from the straight and narrow road be ostracized, or commended for being true to their true self?  Neither.  God encourages us to confront our brothers and sisters, first on a one-on-one level, then with another believer, and a group of believers if needed.  Waving goodbye to someone or wishing them the best as they walk away from The Way is not what God calls us to do. (Matthew 18:15-17)