Theology Made Simple for Summer

Five things that drift –

A vacationer on a tube down a lazy river

A swimmer body-surfing in the sea, inching further down the shore each time

My mid-section

An entire civilization

A soul without a habit of daily realignment with God’s Word, sound doctrine, and mature supports.

Five statements that should not create debate, but do –

The world and humanity are clearly the design and creation of a higher mind.

Human life has value no matter how small, old, diseased, disabled, poor, or far from God. Continue Reading →

Traveling with Jesus Sometimes Leaves Me Seasick

Wow.

I get it now.

Ever have a moment like that?

Just, wow.

 

For years,

more than I care to number,

I encountered wave after wave after relentless wave of trial. Continue Reading →

Once Upon a Time, A Boy Kissed a Girl and She Saw Stars

Maybe you’re living a quiet, simple life and there are moments when you wonder if that’s enough. You don’t feel particularly important, accomplished, or noticed as you care for your family, serve at your church, or show up for your job. Let me tell you, I work daily with people who fail to do these things and you have no idea the value of a simple life, well-lived, until you’ve seen the fallout from the hundreds that fall apart. Be encouraged by this post I first wrote in 2014 about George and Shirley Sherman.

In 1960, a boy kissed a girl in a small town in the smallest state and she saw stars.

One cold Saturday, fifty-four years later, he said good-bye as she took her place among the stars who wait with Jesus for the rest of us.

Seated at the funeral of this woman I didn’t know (there to support my father), was like being privileged to glimpse our future arrival in heaven when all our works will be judged. Continue Reading →

There’s Something Seriously Wrong with My Church

Visitors to the church I attend may not notice it immediately but something’s wrong with my church.

I’m not sure how they can avoid seeing it since it’s so apparent to those of us sitting in the pews every week. Something’s very wrong with us.

Oh, it’s not just one something. It must be many things or some systemic problem because like a twisted version of the blind men and the elephant, each of us describes the brokenness of our little congregation in a slightly different fashion.

It’s the music, the pastor, the prayer, the lack of . . ., the abundance of . . ., the pewsitters, it’s them, it’s her, it’s him, it’s me. Continue Reading →

Dear World, You Make Me So Uncomfortable!

Dear World,

I have a confession to make.

Many of you people make me uncomfortable.

It’s true. But, I try hard to hide it for a million reasons.

Reason one: I don’t see Jesus ever being uncomfortable – ever. Read the gospels. He walked through this world like He owned it. (Okay, He did, but still.)

I don’t ever see Him dodge a situation, or stumble over words, or mumble an answer. He just related to other people. All kinds. Sinners and would-be saints. He loved them AND He said hard things to them without ever skipping a beat. That, alone, is enough reason to want to be like Him.

Since I represent Him, I figure I shouldn’t be uncomfortable either, but I’m still in process of becoming like Him.

So, sometimes, I am living and speaking from the new growth part of my soul; but other times, I’m sticking up a cardboard likeness of Jesus between myself and others hoping that will hold up until I can figure out what He would say or do in this situation. It’s not really working for me or the others in my conversations, so I must find a way of not doing that.

Reason two: It’s not okay to be uncomfortable in these times. We’re all supposed to know what to say to everyone all the time. If you don’t know what to say, hesitate a heartbeat too long, it’s a signal that you are suspect (of whatever is worst to be at any given time).

It’s especially bad from someone who works with words for a living. Of all people, I ought to have the patter down. But, you know, I just don’t.

And, it’s not for lack of trying. My goodness, I’m in my Bible every day. I watch the news (more than one station). I view Ted Talks and read writers who think differently than I do as well as heroes of my faith.

I’m honestly trying to be open to people who think and live in ways that I don’t, but still represent the bold truth of the Bible. I have to tell you, one thing I’m truly looking forward to in Heaven is a long, long nap.

I study people who articulate well the truth I live, and try to do what they do. But, it’s a lot harder in the lunchroom at work than it is from a stage surrounded by people who already agree with what you’re saying.

I listen hard to people who reject this truth and try to love them with my ears, with my attention, with my attempts at empathy, knowing full well that we may connect while I listen, but the moment I open my mouth to voice what I believe, they’re just as likely to feel that all my listening was a sham, a smokescreen, a baited hook, (and are they that wrong? for I am, after all, a fisher of men – make that men and women. Make that humans. Make that . . . never mind. You know what I’m trying to say.)

But, it’s not about catching fish to eat them, but about fishing people out of the drink, so they can be safe on deck when the storm comes because you want to be in Jesus’ boat as the lightning strikes.

You get this, right? I mean, I didn’t expect this struggle. I was always the kid in class with my hand up, the one who volunteered for the speaking parts, the girl most likely to have something to say,

but more and more I’m resembling a bad mime doing an imitation of a fish drowning in water. (Wonder if that’s the symbol I should have on my rear bumper? I mean, truth in advertising, right?)

Reason three: (Okay you knew there was a third because there’s nothing a Christian loves more than truth that comes in threes.) This reason is hard to say because you’re not likely to believe it, but it’s about the fact that I really love you.

You don’t believe that because there are so many things on which we don’t agree. And in these times, to disagree apparently means we must wish each other dead or into non-existence, but that’s not where I’m coming from, as ancient and archaic and retro as that makes me.

I love you and want you to live. I want you to live forever, in fact, but the only way I know for you to do that is through Jesus Christ and with Jesus comes this narrow road, hard truths, and transformation from the way we are to the way He is and that means change – not just for you, I’m changing, too, but I already know His love so it’s a different story, isn’t it? (When I get nervous, I forget to punctuate, I know, but bear with me.)

I think, for all our sakes, I’m going to have to just move this cardboard Jesus-poster I’ve been lugging around, own up to my own humanity, and start entering conversations like this: 

“Hey, it makes me wildly uncomfortable to engage in this conversation, because I know just from listening to you that my views aren’t likely to make us friends, but I feel like I’m being dishonest under this cover of silence.”

Or, if I have more time and some Holy Spirit gumption:

“Look, I want us to be at peace. I respect you and the boldness with which you share your views. I’m not looking to judge you or add to the challenges in your life, but you and I see things differently. I hold to ancient truths that have been shared by Bible-believing Jesus-followers for centuries, and I’m not ashamed of them. I’ve been quiet because I don’t want to hurt you (and I admit, I don’t want you to hurt me), but while times are changing, these truths have not. I’ve been building a closet of silence for my own protection, if I’m honest. But for your sake, it’s important for me to come out as a Jesus-loving, Bible believing, modern-day sinner saved by grace. You may choose not to share my views and I will still love you and want to live in peace. You may not feel the same about me.”

Or, you know, maybe I’ll come up with a shorter version.

Either way. This silence isn’t working for me. And there will come a day when you’ll realize my silence was no kindness to you, either.

Thank you for listening. I hope you’re still around after I start talking,

Love, The Jesus-follower in your life.

“If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9

Why I’ve Started Cutting Holes in Rooftops

There’s so much I don’t know. Even more that I can’t control.

I gasp across the entrance to home,

head throbbing,

thoughts spinning,

soul swirling with other people’s problems,

hoping for a momentary reprieve before I face my own.

The troubles of this world are so powerful some days, and I’m not a stupid person. Continue Reading →

Is God Waiting for You over by the Sink?

I expend an awful lot of energy trying not to be human. Is this ever a problem for you?

There is always so much to do. I mean, it’s right there in front of us all, isn’t it? Jobs, goals, ministries, visions, dreams, passions, callings.

These glorious God-ordained pursuits stand in constant tension with other concerns looming in front of us: dirty dishes, the bathroom scale, a nagging cough, a spouse’s worries, the postponed date with a friend.

But, those common, every day, mundane items on our attention list have little sparkle. No one is likely to give a testimony about how seeing me wash my own dishes spoke to them about the nature of Jesus Christ, or about how knowing that I watch what I eat gave them a glimpse of heaven. Continue Reading →

2017 Reader Survey

I write this blog to express my heart for God and to serve you, all of your faithful readers.

Every few years, I like to find out more about who you are and what you need from a Christian blogger. It will help me improve my writing and this website if you’ll take just a moment to complete this survey. It’s anonymous to allow you to feel free to share your heart!

Thank you for taking time to let me in on more about you and thank you for your faithful, kind support.

Mercy and grace, Lori

The Day My Dad was Almost a Burglar

Have you ever felt great frustration because your hard work and service weren’t producing the expected results?

My daughter was babysitting on the other end of town one night when she called to let me know she’d locked her keys in her car – BOTH sets!

I suggested she call the road service, but she thought of my father. As the local fire chief, Dad kept a variety of tools in his car trunk specifically for getting into locked vehicles in case of emergencies. She called, and he agreed to come. “I know right where you’re babysitting. I’m on my way over,” he said.

Twenty minutes later, I received a text from her. “Mom, I called Papa to ask where he was, and he said he’s working on my car – except, he’s not. What do I do?” Continue Reading →

Why Shouldn’t Christians Suffer?

Why shouldn’t Christians suffer for our faith?

Humans are willing to suffer for all kinds of reasons, some of which seem trivial or even foolish to others.  Like camping out overnight in a parking lot to snag concert tickets or swallowing goldfish to set world records.

Other types of suffering are more understandable and endured by many.

Even amateur athletes train through injuries, grueling conditioning workouts, long-hours, and self-denial to achieve at the level to which they aspire. Adventurers leave family behind, invest hard-earned savings, and endure inconveniences, discomfort, and unpredictable conditions to experience mountain-tops or breathtaking views. Continue Reading →