Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Daily Bread is NOT Daily Bling

Ben Witherington is an Asbury professor for whom I have the utmost respect. I read his blog daily, and find much thought-provoking material there. Today he had an interesting post, which you should read in its entirety. Since I do not have permission to repost it here, I will post only a snippet. I hope it will whet your appetite and motivate you to click over and read the rest.

Enjoy! and let me know what you think.


The Lord’s prayer is very basic, and as part of the Sermon on the Mount it reinforces the values of sticking to the basics. If you have decent food, shelter, and clothing, you should not be longing for more, and more and more, nor should you be worrying about such things. It is noteworthy that in the Lord’s prayer we are encouraged to pray for daily bread. ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain’ says the Scriptures. Christians are called in this culture to de-enculturate themselves and live a life of unfettered simplicity. In most cases, it is precisely because so many Christians have bought the lie that it is o.k. to live well beyond their means, participating in ‘debtor nation’, that they find themselves in so much economic trouble now. Tear up most all your credit cards, pay off your bills, and start living frugally. God is not a venture capitalist who rewards Christians behaving badly.

Sorry prosperity preachers, your well just dried up. This bulletin just in--- believing God for a financial miracle after you have lived in a financially irresponsible way is treating God as if he were an overly indulgent parent who would continue spoiling an already spoiled brat. And God is not going to honor that sort of flawed belief system, especially not when he has a compelling concern for the genuinely least, last, and lost in this world.

Quick Update

Yes, yes, I know. Blog drought.

January 31 through February 8 I was attending a seminary class. I intended to share some of what I learned here. However, when I got back things got busy again.

February 15 I stayed up all night with the Junior High students at church for a lock-in. They were GREAT! Unfortunately, I came home with a sinus infection. I finally gave in and saw a doctor on Thursday. Good thing I did because on Friday . . .

February 20-22 I went with a group of students to Gatlinburg, TN for Encounter 2009 Revolution! This is the North Alabama Conference-sponsored student ministry event.

So here it is March 10 that I haven't blogged since before I left for my class. Here's yet another attempt to do better.

Hope springs eternal..... right? ..... right?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Toes Just Touched the Water


The current is strong what I've heard
It'll whisk you down the stream
But I never seem to have the time
So my toes just touch the water
My toes just touch the water

Daydreams on the bank again
I was swimming with the fish
And I thought this time it may be true
But my toes just touched the water
My toes just touched the water
My toes just touched the water

Walked a mile just ot find the edge
Some place low enough to step right in
Now I'm here and I can't begin to move

That spoiled sun up over there
Always has to have its way
But I know that the river is here to shelter me
But my toes just touch the water
My toes just touch the water
My toes just touch the water

Sometimes a song make me think in ways the artist probably never intended, like Toes on Norah Jones' abum Feels Like Home. Most people hear it in the context of love, but I thought about spirituality.

The current--the Holy Spirit--is strong. While we wouldn't say, at least out loud, that being swept away is bad, we just want to stick our toes into religion. We want to remain, for the most part, safe and dry on the shore. Time! Time is our excuse! We are so busy that we cannot find the time for greater discipleship. What little time "extra" time we have it needed elsewhere more urgently, right? We deserve to sleep in on Sunday morning, don't we? We are supposed to spend time with our spouse and children, aren't we? It's just unfortunate that Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings are the only time we can do that. Yes, we'd like to start a daily Bible study and meditative prayer time, but how would we ever get to school or work on time?

But is time really the culprit? Do we not make time for the things we really want to do--our favorite television program, or favorite sport or hobby, or the latest popular book?

We daydream--imagining the life of faith we wish we had. We even plan how we're going to become that person some day . . . at some point in the future. We'll start on New Year's Day! Or next week! Or as soon as school is out, or tests are over, or this project at work is finished . . . .

Or we spent a vast amount of time looking for a way to just "try on" spirituality. We just need the right Bible study or Sunday school class . . . one where the teacher's voice doesn't grate on our nerves, or the curriculum isn't boring. We have to find just the right worship service, that isn't too loud, or too long, or too traditional. Yet, even if we find this perfect spot to wade into faith, we are unable or unwilling to fully engage with our minds, hearts and souls. We stand looking at the river of blessing flow past us, barely tasting its refreshing water.

Time isn't the culprit! Fear is! Of what are we so afraid? Are we afraid of what God will sweep us away from--our weaknesses, our addictions, our shortcomings with which we are so comfortable? Or are we afraid of what He might sweep us toward? What is God swept us toward a mission trip instead of another vacation? What is He swept us toward contributing to a food mission or clothes closet remodel instead of another mp3 player? What if He had the audacity to draw us toward Him instead of popularity at work, school, or community?

In our minds, we know that God is our rock, our shelter, our strong tower. And yet, we will not jump in. We will not jump into the arms of the One who gave Himself for us, into His river of blessing, into His will for our lives. So when the harsh heat of life beats down upon us, we feel vulnerable and weak, because only our toes are in the water. Only when we are totally immersed in Him will we find fulfillment!

So what about you? Have your toes only touched the water?

Merciful and Loving Creator, sweep us away!

Monday, January 26, 2009

One Word

I received this by email, but many that I would want to respond read my blog, either directly from the blog or when it announces it on Facebook. So I'm moving it here.

USE ONLY ONE WORD (unless specified) Not as easy as you might think! Now forward, change theanswers to suit you and pass it on. It's really hard toonly use one word answers. Be sure to send back to theperson you received it from!

Where is your cell phone? cough
Your significant other? work
Your hair? curly
Your mother? deceased
Your father? home
Your favorite thing? . . . internet
Your dream last night? . . . memorable
Your favorite drink? soda
Your dream/goal? Elder
What room are you in? den
Your hobby? sleep
Your fear? heights
Where do you want to be in 6 years? graduated
Where were you last night? home
Something that you aren't? . . . plain
Muffins? . . . berry
Wish list item? assistant/clone
Last thing you did? taught
What are you wearing? casual
TV? on
Your pets? spoiled
Friends? wonderful
Your life? abundant
Your mood? Monday
Missing Someone? yes
Drinking? no
Smoking? no
Your car? Suzuki
Something you're not wearing? earrings
Your favorite store? Hobby Lobby
Your favorite color? green
When is the last time you cried? . . . Sunday
Who will resend this? Denise
Where do you go to over and over? lunch
Five people who email me regularly? Denise, Teresa, Bishop, Stephanie, Carmen
My favorite place to eat? Lucky Chinese
Favorite place I'd like to be at right now? nature
Four people I think will respond: Denise, Suzanne, Catherine, Kristy

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Why is the Ox and Donkey ALWAYS in the Nativity Scene?

I know you've been dying for the answer to that question, right??


Yeah, me either. But now that Fred Sanders has addressed it, I realize it's a question worth asking . . . perhaps one I should have been asking. The answer is quite interesting! So, for your Christmas morning . . .

Ox and Ass at Christ's Manger

The picture is Giotto's Nativity from the Scrovegni chapel, painted around 1300.

Here's wishing you a VERY Merry Christmas! May the Prince of Peace be born anew in your heart this day!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Survey

Get kissed under the mistletoe or in the snow?

Santa or Rudolph? Rudolph (Abominable snowman wasn't a choice)

Stocking or presents? Presents

Egg nog or hot cider? Cider

Angel or star? Angel

Decorating the tree or putting lights on the outside? Tree (We don't do outside lights since I got stuck on the roof that year.)

Warm cozy fires or sleigh rides? Fire

Family time or friend time? Family (If I MUST choose)

Expensive presents or presents that come from the heart?
From the Heart
(Or expensive presents that come from the heart)

Snow ball fight or snowman? Snowball Fight

Coal or present? Hmm... maybe you should ask my husband. I say Present!

Open presents quick or slow? Quick (but you don't rip the paper. But I NEED to know what's in all the boxes, then I can go back and enjoy them.)

Caroling or christmas stories? THE Christmas Story!

Snowy days or ice days? Snow (If it's going to be cold, there should be snow)
Red or Green? Green
I won't tag anyone. I'll just let those who want take the survey, too. :-)