I know I’m not alone when I say readjusting to real life after a great vacation is tricky business. Going from the Florida coast back to Indiana has been less than glamorous. In less than 24 hours we traded palm trees and white sand for broken mowers and the discovery of hornets living in my daughter’s bedroom wall. *shudder*
Though things could certainly be worse, all this ridiculousness has left me with a need to be encouraged. Thankfully I have great family and friends to keep my eyes pointed toward Jesus when things aren’t going according to plan. I also have the encouragement of several blogs I read. That’s what I hope to leave you with today–encouragement, not only from my words, but from being introduced to another blog, which is always full of hope.
I recently wrote a guest blog post for an inspirational blogger named Karen Friday. She and her husband pastor a church in Tennessee and have been in ministry for over thirty years. It’s an honor to be featured on her blog (Karen Girl Friday), so today I’m going to link you to my blog post on her site. Check out “Empowered Kids — Everyday Life with the Holy Spirit” and then browse her other posts too, and I promise you’ll leave encouraged!
This week, a dear friend I met on Twitter (yes, I discovered it is possible to meet dear friends on Twitter!) featured an interview with me on her blog. The interview focuses on the Holy Spirit and also covers some info you may not know about me, as well as my writing journey, and hopes and prayers for my new book, Power Up.
In place of a new post, please hop over to Melissa McLaughlin’s blog, Truthful Grace, to check out the interview! (Or find it at https://melissamclaughlin.org/ ). And while you’re there, peruse her other super-inspiring posts and consider signing up to receive her blog updates. She’s truly one of the kindness, most genuine, Jesus-loving souls around; you won’t regret it. 🙂
Praying that this week the Lord gives you a supernatural sense of peace, encouragement, hope, and vision. And in case you need this reminder from Jeremiah 29:11… “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”
You attend a baseball game … or … you practice hard and play
on the team like Babe Ruth.
You watch your kids play … or … you grab a water gun and
You sit and take it while your kid talks back … or … you
open your mouth to utilize a teachable moment and some healthy discipline.
You sit quietly during the meeting without sharing your idea
… or … you speak up and save the company thousands with your great idea.
Which side of the or
do you want to be on? We can live life passively, or we can live life actively.
I used to live extremely passively. Never speaking up, never
testing my limits, never really expecting all that much from myself. It was
safe. I like safe. Ask anyone who’s close to me and they’ll confirm.
I think my 30’s have been good for me. I’ve done my best to
leave my safe, insecure 20’s in the dust and have branched out more than I ever
dreamed possible. And with that I’ve seen the fruit that bears from active
living—excitement, passion, fulfillment, and hope. I know now I’d never feel
fulfilled going back to my passive, predictable lifestyle.
Is the passive vs. active phenomenon any different when it comes to our faith? Absolutely not!
I used to be passive in my faith. Go to church, say my
bedtime prayers (if I didn’t fall asleep first), read the Bible (once in a
while), be a good person. No risks, nothing uncomfortable.
Then one year we moved and began attending a new church, and
I found myself challenged. It was uncomfortable. I tried resisting and holding
onto my passive, church-going ways. But I loved the church and couldn’t remain
passive for long. Everyone around me seemed inspired to go out and love others
in a Jesus-reflecting, radical way. I was impressed. They cared for the needy,
did life together, and prayed for each other, on the spot.
“How are you?”
“Oh okay, just fighting a headache this morning.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Can I pray for you right now?”
“That would be great, thanks!”
Sometimes the headache (or whatever it was) was healed/changed. Often it wasn’t. But these people weren’t deterred from praying, because sometimes…SOMETIMES, the power of God broke through and changed everything.
Fast forward over a decade. The things my family and I learned
at the Vineyard Church were game-changers. So much that we uprooted our family
and moved to Valparaiso, IN to help plant another Vineyard church and
experience God in new ways.
We learned the importance of listening as God speaks to us
through his Holy Spirit. We learned never to stop praying, and never to stop
expecting God to move. We learned to partner with him as he seeks to advance
his Kingdom here on earth.
We experienced first-hand that an active faith is life-giving and exciting, while a passive faith is ho-hum and dull.
Now, what I’m not trying to say is that everyone needs to be running around in the streets loving on and praying with everyone they meet. (I mean, maybe some people roll that way, but not this girl.) We don’t always have to be chasing and doing. We do always need to be following the Holy Spirit’s lead.
We should strive to embrace the fact that God is real,
alive, and wants to move in us and through us. Knowing this is the case, we
should endeavor to tune our ears to the Spirit’s voice and be ready and willing
to do whatever God asks of us.
Maybe his voice will tell us to pray with a stranger in the
middle of Wal-Mart or befriend a person sitting alone.
Maybe his voice will tell us to move to a new state or take
a new job when it seems illogical.
Maybe his voice will tell us to just be still and know how
much we are loved by him.
Every day is an adventure when we let the Holy Spirit guide our lives and actively follow where he’s going.
And guess what? You’re invited! As my old church used to put
it, “Everybody gets to play!”
You don’t have to be a pastor or go through any special
training to live your faith out loud. All you have to do is be a willing
follower of Jesus. He’s ready and waiting to guide and speak to you.
The Holy Spirit speaks to and through kids, too!
There’s no age requirement for partnering with the Holy
Spirit. No “must be 18 or older to call.” No permission slip for minors.
Kids do what’s modeled (well, often, anyway). Let them see
you living out your faith so they’ll be inspired to do the same.
In my upcoming book, Power Up (releasing from https://elklakepublishinginc.com this spring!), my goal is to demonstrate to kids what life can be like when they decide to listen to the Holy Spirit and follow his lead. My prayer is for the book to inspire a new generation of Jesus-followers to trade in their passive faith for an active one.
So give it a try! Take a minute, close your eyes, and ask the Holy Spirit what he wants to say to you. Trust me, once you embrace an active faith, you won’t want to turn back. Leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts and experiences on the matter!
Disclaimer: By no means do I have this “all figured out.” It’s much easier to live passively and I frequently fail to demonstrate to my kids the excitement of following the Spirit, but all I can do is keep trying. Thankfully, there’s grace for me. And for you, too. 🙂
Do you ever wonder if there’s more to life? If what
you’re experiencing is really all there is to experience? You’re not alone. I’m
excited to share this post today to hopefully bring you some encouragement, and
also share what’s been going on with me in my writing journey. Let’s jump in!
The way I see it, there are three types of people in the world.
1.The first type of people are not Christians. They don’t know God, or if they do know him, they certainly don’t understand him, which is why they have not yet accepted him.
2. The second type of people are Christians. They have accepted God and Jesus and they try to go to church regularly and be good people.
3. The third type of people are also Christians. They have accepted God and Jesus, and have opened their lives to the workings of the Holy Spirit. They do their best to love others with the love God has shown them, and they seek and listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Think for a second…are you a 1, 2, or 3? I’d venture
to guess that most people who care to read this blog identify with 2 or 3. And
if you’re a 1 and you’re still reading this – thank you! I’m so glad you are!
Lots of people identify with number 2. I’d say that’s
where the majority of American Christians have landed. It’s a great place to
be, but if you stay at number 2 for too long, you may begin to get restless.
You may find yourself wondering if there’s something that you’re missing; more
to the puzzle than what you’re seeing.
Let me just say this: if you’re a Christian, and you
find Christianity boring, there is more
to it! It doesn’t have to be a dull life filled with potlucks and polite
greetings (I’m a fan of both of those things, by the way).
The Holy Spirit is the piece of the puzzle that so
many people are missing, but they don’t even realize it yet. All Christians have access to the Holy
Spirit, but we have to choose to let him actively work in us and through us. We
have to choose to seek him out and listen to him when he speaks to us (and he
will speak to us!).
Holy Spirit is what turns a hum-drum Christian life into a daily adventure. It
brings the spiritual realm alive. And when we realize that the King of Kings
has issued us a personal invitation to work with him, up close and personally,
each and every day, it’s sort of mind blowing, don’t you think?
Have you ever been walking through Target or Walmart
and felt a nudge from God himself to pray for a stranger passing by? That’s the
Holy Spirit, and it will rock your comfortable world. Have you ever felt like
God was showing you something about another person and asking you to pray for
them during your own personal prayer time, when you otherwise wouldn’t have known
what was going on with them? That’s the
Holy Spirit. He’s like Jesus without a body, living inside us, in constant
communication with us. Or as constant as we’ll allow and recognize anyway.
I’m telling you, it’s an adventure!
If it sounds a little scary or unpredictable, be
assured – it totally is. But it’s also incredible and life changing, and with
practice, it starts to feel more normal. And
anyway…lives aren’t changed inside comfort zones.
Some may think the Holy Spirit is only for adults, but
that couldn’t be further from the truth!
As a mother of three kids ages ten and under, I can
say with confidence that many children’s church programs don’t expect enough
from kids. Our family has visited quite a few churches, and I can see that it’s
becoming more and more common to provide lots of entertainment, water down the
lesson to include a feel-good moral, and send kids on their way. (Let me
interrupt myself to say I’m not intending to criticize – leading kids’ church
is hard work and I have great admiration for those to do so.) I’m sure the
leaders have good reasons for going this route, but from my view, this is
producing a culture of “church kids.” Church kids are great, don’t get me
wrong! But I want more for my own.
want to raise Jesus kids. Spirit kids. Kids who know they have the power of the
living God himself living inside of them, accessible at the drop of a dime.
Guiding them, encouraging them, and inspiring them to love the world
And that’s why I wrote Power Up, a novel targeted to kids age 8-12. It’s a book where readers will follow an eleven-year-old girl
named Lexi on a journey of transforming from a “church kid” to a “Spirit kid.”
It’s an entertaining, messy, grace-filled journey of doubt and trust and
You see, two years ago I was looking for Christian
fiction books for my daughter. Everything I found was floofy (aka non-substantive).
“Be a good kid and say your prayers while living your otherwise secular life”
type stuff. All well and good, but my kids wanted something meatier. Something
that painted a picture of what an active Christian life could look like. Something
that inspired them to greater depths. And I couldn’t find it.
So I wrote it. Power
Up is scheduled to release from Elk Lake Publishing around May 2019.
If you believe it’s a worthy goal to help 8-12 year
olds transition from “church kids” to “Spirit kids,” would you pray with me?
Pray that Power Up will make it into
the hands of those who need it most. Pray that eyes are opened and lives are
changed. Pray that God is glorified and the Spirit empowered. And pray that I
can handle all that is asked of me when it comes to marketing and such, as it’s
a bit overwhelming to think about for this introvert. Thanks for joining me on
this journey – it’s so good to have you along. Your support and encouragement
means the world to me.
Now let’s revisit the beginning of this post real
quick. The Christian’s journey should always be evolving and growing. Are you a
Christian? If not, ask yourself why not and then seek answers. Email me if you have
questions that you can’t get answered and I’ll do my best to help.
Are you a God and Jesus Christian? Then think – do you
want to grant the Holy Spirit access to your daily life? I promise, you won’t
Are you a God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit filled
Christian? Then what can you do to open the door even a little wider for the
Spirit? Give him the wheel even more fully. (This is where I am, by the way. I
can always give the Spirit more control over my life.)
My prayer for you today is that you’ll take a next
step. A baby step. Whatever size step you can handle right now. Give your life
to God, let the Holy Spirit lead, and let the adventure unfold. And don’t
forget to enjoy the ride.
for reading! To receive more encouragement straight to your inbox, please sign
up with your email in the box provided!
I’ve always thought of myself as a peacekeeper. Don’t make waves, don’t rock the boat, try to keep everyone happy and steady. And I’ve been pretty satisfied with that version of myself over the years.
Honestly, having been to church since I was born, I don’t typically come across brand new concepts in church. I mean, there are definitely always new growth points for me, but it’s rare that something is an entirely new idea.
We are called to be peaceMAKERS, not peaceKEEPERS.
To the untrained ear (like mine for the past 30+ years), they sound very much the same and are often used interchangeably. The only problem with this is they are not actually synonymous like I (and maybe some of you) previously thought.
You see, to KEEP the peace implies we’re careful about what we say and often careful not to speak up at all in the face of something we may disagree with. We wouldn’t want to make any waves after all. We wouldn’t want to do anything that might cause another person to feel strong emotions. That wouldn’t be peaceful, would it?
While we absolutely should be careful with our words and let wisdom be our guide, telling us when to speak up and when to keep our mouths shut, sometimes we need to make a few waves in order to ultimately MAKE peace.
It’s what the role of a peacemaker is all about:
Making, not just keeping, the peace.
Imagine being married for many years to a spouse that drives you crazy. (Some may have to try harder than others…haha.) Maybe it’s due to little things that add up, or maybe it’s big things we’re too afraid to address.
To keep the peace is simple, if not easy. Keep quiet, keep plugging away at life, all the while building resentment and bitterness toward our spouse on the inside.
To make the peace is not as simple. It may involve a not-so-peaceful period of arguments and hard work as we thoroughly address our issues in order to come out on the other side where true peace resides.
Sometimes we must upset the superficial peace in order to ultimately attain genuine, lasting peace.
Do you know how often the Bible talks about the importance of peacekeeping?
Zero. Zero times.
Our call from God is to make peace, not merely keep it.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9
Are you up for the challenge of peacemaking? Personally, I’m still deciding. Only kidding! Mostly… 🙂
Nobody said it would be easy. It will take courage. It will take initiative. It will take practice. But I believe in us. We can do it… with a little help.
I believe the Holy Spirit will guide and help us as we get up out of our comfy cozy comfort zones of peacekeeping in order to pursue peacemaking.
It won’t be easy, but how sweet to be called children of God. If that doesn’t motivate us, what will?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Had you ever considered the difference between peacemaking and peacekeeping before?
While you’re here, head on over to the “subscribe” button – I’d love to give you the latest updates straight to your email!