The night we fought about Chicken-Tractor, Fung-sway

Communication….  Its hard.  With all this texting and tweeting you would think talking might come smoothly and naturally.  But nope.  And don’t try to pretend like you are such a expert.  We all want to be heard but the listening is the part that hooks us.

We work at it, read a book, implement some practices.  We all have the best intentions, so don’t be discouraged and give up.  Its just we struggle, Im not alone and neither are you.

But really, that my be the lesson in itself.  Its really not about me and truth be told, its not about you either.  All the conversations we are having out loud and in our heads don’t serve us much if they don’t either, honour the King or proclaimed His glory.

So the Trucker decided we should get some chickens and left me in charge of the rest.  I wanted to brain storm and plan out or little Hen Hostile together, but we just couldn’t seem to connect on the topic so with a will and a way I pushed forward and ran his toes right over with my Chicken tractor….  All for the lack of listening and articulating.

And how may others have been mowed down at the cost of productivity?  In our Churches and in our Schools.  We decide and we do.  We take over and sacrifice team work and delegating, just to save the meeting and the talking.  But how can we ever be known?  How will we ever know the Father if we can’t stop and sit at His feet and do our half of the communicating?

But that takes faith to be ready to obey.  Sometimes we only want marching orders, but not all the steps we are to take along the way.  I know its true for me.  I put off prayer till Im ready to surrender and then Ill bring it to the Lord.  But that will never stretch my faith, I will never grow that way.  It is the process of figuring out the procedure that propels us forward and into faithfulness.  When we are willing to obey we are willing to communicate.  When we are ready to admit “Its not my will, but Yours” That is when we Talk our Walk.  

Because sometimes the walking is the easy part, everyone can fake a good walk but to surrender our stillness, is the practice of patience and perseverance.  Some times I confuse Busyness with Holiness and I forget to stop and Pray.

I sacrificed doing life together for the sake of getting the work done and I had to repent over a Chicken Tractor.  What a stilly thing to have lost patience on. Here in my wanting to have it done and over and my way, I missed a chance to create and build and grow and dream with the one who I Love.

How much more do we miss our chance to operated with the Lover of our Souls when we don’t stop and pray.  When we miss what is truly important.  When we Martha our way right out of communion with Christ.

Stop and Slow and Savour and let the words sink in.  Some times marriage looks like staying in a hard conversation, 2 hours after the conversation has started.  Communication isn’t easy, that we know, but if I listen twice as much as I talk. If we take the time to allow our words to sink in and give grace and creativity a chance to grow.  We will Grow to.

Patience is tied to good communication and good communication always comes from a heart that is humble and ready to serve and sacrifice.  When we are truly ready to communicate we are truly ready to compromise.  That is the place were conflict flees.  That is the language of Love, living out Faithfulness to give Flourishing.  That is a conversation that Honours God.

 

Look In

I have been seeking and searching, pruning and purging.  Trying to skinny down the “must do’s” so I can fully focused on the one thing that is most important, today and every day.  Serving where the Lore has placed me.

My vision has been some what scattered.  My community, my church, neighbours, family, friends.  I feel like my heart is breaking in every direction and I can’t possibly be in service to all at once.  I feel inspired, overwhelmed, torn and then defeated.  And each time I pray the Lord say “Look In”

“Look in to your home, Jenny.  That is the greatest task I will ever give you, and you are being romanced by the dream of ministry….  Is not your family ministry anouf?” 

We all know it is but the needs of the many seem to outweigh the needs of the few in my mind.  So I commit to this, and volunteer for that.  I will just serve at this function and bring a meal every time there is call to help.  I think if they are all good things then I must be doing well to never say no.  I love to be creative and serve.  But at what cost?

This is not my encouragement to step back and do nothing.  It is my commitment to step up and do the right thing.  

1  pray pray pray and listen listen listen.  Not if I should serve…  I don’t need to ask God if He wants me to teach Sunday school or bring food to those in need.  Its a no brainer, YES!  But that doesn’t mean I must do it all, every time.  I must Pray and ask “will this yes make my number one task you are calling me to (my kids and husband) be neglected or dishonoured?”  My priorities must be prayed over.  There will be time I can serve and still be fully present to my family, so go serve. But there are times I go way over my capabilities and my kids get my leftovers and the trucker is neglected. So those are the time I must say no.

2 be okay with God filling the gap.  Because He can!  He has not called me to success and productivity, He has called me to rest in Him.  He has not asked me to feed the 5,000, He only asked for my 5 loves and 2 fish, and He provides the rest.  I can server faithfully and wholeheartedly when I remember that the success or failure of any ministry is not dependant on me getting it all done or figured out.  The gospel will move forward with or without me.  I am only invited to ride along, with my meagre offering, to join in the adventure when my kids allow and my husband is on board.

3 stop stressing about it.  God has made His will clear.  Go and make disciples of all nations. A wise friend recently told me, as we were talking about programs to get our kids involved in.  Sports, music, sunday school, day camp, VBS, homeschool Co-op, swimming lessons, the list goes on and we as moms antagonize, about what to do, what not to do.  She reminded me that all theses things are good things.  They all get a easy Yes!  But you can’t say yes to them all at once.  Likewise I can’t serve on the Church committee, plan events, volunteer at the ski club, lead a bible study, teach Sunday school, run wilderness play group and still expect to have relationships that foster flourishing and love with my family, let alone have any friends.

4 be nice… What is the easiest way to fulfill the great commission?  Love your neighbour as yourself.  What if we were just all in the zone of caring for our families and being nice to our neighbours, to our friends.  What if my Faith was make by kindness and generosity and not with productivity?

Now Im not picking those of you out there managing the non-profit or running the car-pool.  I don’t aim to live isolated and saying no to every service opportunity that comes my way.  But I do intent for my yes to be my yes and my no my no.

If my family ends up with the leftovers then I am out of my depth and that is the space where Jesus has prevision for my limitations.  If I can include my kids (not just drag them along) if it doen’t suck every hour out of my evening when, I could be culitavating my friendship and love with my husband. Then count me in!  But when it stretching me so thin you can see right through me, its time to step back.

As I have been more consistent about praying over my limitation before I commit. I see I have begun to commit to much less. But my family and I flourish much more.  My kids get my best offering and my husband doen’t watch me struggle to juggle and balance.  We have more energy as a family to just be nice and kind and generous.  The Gospel is still fufilled but Im not pretending Im responsible for the feast.  I just offer my loves and fishes and God dose the rest.

The Lord has called me to look in.  To look into my own home and see my children as worthy converts, to be witness to the love of Christ in mommy.  To look into my friend group and community and see where I really could serve from my heart and from my home.

Each day I walk out to the pasture to feed the calves and I look into our yard and I thank God He has asked me to “Look in” and has given me a congregation of family and friends to minister to, with my Husband and my kids.

Don’t feel Im telling you to quit what the Lord has in your heart just because it takes you away form your kitchen sink and own back your.  We are all called differently and in accordance to our gifting and abilities.  Serve with all your heart where ever you are.  But if your heart is being tugged, just as mine was, to “Look In”. Don’t be afraid to make a change and pray pray pray for His leading.  You will always be in ministry as long as you are nice and marked with the Love of Christ flowing out on those in your path.

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Book Review: Loving the Little Years by. Rachel Jankovic

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This is the perfect gift for any mom with littles at home!!  It is super short, so if you are a mom with kiddies running underfoot, there is a real chance you might actually get through it.  More a collection short essays, each chapter was packed full of tips, tricks and wise Godly encouragement for moms in the trenches!

I just finished it and have already tried out a few of her ideas and can see my kids responding to the conversation we are having around the topics of discipline, kindness, and controlling our emotions.  I plan to read it again right away. Thats how much great information was packing in this perfectly concise book for moms like you and me!

If you are a mom of littles or if you know a mom buy this book. It is a game changer!!  She is real about the struggle but firm about the rooting in faith it requires to do this mom thing with grace and calm.  I felt like the whole vibe of the book was a deep cleansing breath and my mind is more clear to deal with the sour cream that secretly got dipped into in the fridge door, or the planters that seem to keep up rooting themselves.

Whether is a sibling squabble, or my own ridiculous expectations of myself. Rachel has a wise word of calm, to move past each little rain shower, so you don’t get left standing out in a thunder storm.  She knows how you feel, right around 4:40 when your trying to get dinner on the go, your pre schooler wants to take on a complex art project and the baby is boy-cotting wearing a diaper.  This stuff works and Rachel has your back!

Book Review: Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

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Amazing!!!  Will read it again for sure.  Or I should clarify; listen to it again.

This book spoke my heart and soul, and everything I long to offer my children.  It took me back to my own childhood and my dad first fostering that relationship with the forest near our house.  He would take my brother and I on magical outings to adventure playgrounds and picking berries on the edges of farmers fields.  We would fill buckets and our bellies and mom would bake pies from our spoils!

We would walk along the Fraser River and throw handfuls of tiny rocks, for what felt like hours. Mesmerized by the sparkle it would make on the water.  I was given great freedom to ride my horse up behind our hobby farm where I would often see black bears and deer.  I had a view of the whole valley and could watch summer storms coming from miles away.

The little girl down the road and I spent hours “down the gully” at the end out our country road.  Clambering down the sandy banks into a whole different world of sun filter light, streaming through the trees. We would carry our shoes and cross the creek till we found our latest hid out and would build forts and have hours of unsupervised play wile we swatted bugs and collected rocks.  Later in life we would be each others back packing partners as we hiked the “West Coast Trail” and even up to Alaska to climb the “Golden Staircase”.

My work has taken me into some wild mountains and my farming roots have kept me close to the Land and the Dirt we have come from.

Who would I be without my connection to Nature and the Creator who has meant for me to dwell within it?

Richard Louv, (though not speaking from a Specifically Christian Perspective) Is asking that very question.

“What will happen to future generations and to the environment if we as parents fail to foster a love for the natural world in our Childerns hearts and minds?”

Time in nature is deeply important to Child development and Richard give essay upon essay as to how and why we need to be allowing our children to explore, experience, touch, see, smell, and play in nature.

I Love this book!!! I would recommend it to anyone looking for encouragement to get their kids out in nature. Or if you are looking for some practical advice on how to do that, in our ever changing world, where cation is king.  It affirms everything I was already feeling in my heart.  I purchased it on audio and would suggest that, as some portions were slightly dry.  (only because they didn’t really address the life stage I am in currently)  But still beneficial to listen to wile I cooked supper or washed the floors.

Seriously get this book and get your kids outside!! They will push their own limits and lear there own capabilitite and limitation.  It will stimulate their senses and help them to understand their value as a first fruit of Gods creation.

To be Spiritual is to be Amazed, and to be in Nature is amazing.  I always feel close to my Creator when I connect with His creation and it is my prayer that I will be able to offer that same opportunity to my children as well. This book gave me great advice, as to how I can put this dream into action!

Full Stop

We took a spring camping trip for Easter Week this April.  Up to a hot spring and Provincial Park, just south of the Yukon Border.  There is no cell service, no corner store, no mini golf, nothing you don’t bring with you.  Just the hot springs a little play ground for the kids and Gods vast wilderness.

Lately I have heard of the idea of a “Full Stop”.  Just putting down what is overwhelming you and taking a step back for a moment, a hour, a day, even a season.  I hear of woman having a “Year-of-Nope” and, though I love the idea, I can’t see it working for me. But Full Stop, thats perfect.

Wether its simply ending a school lesson with my kiddos before the waterworks begin or  taking a year off a committee a minister or a commitment.  The Full Stop is what I need to practice.

Ecclesiastes 1:8-9                                                                                                                                                                      All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.  What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Now this is not a self care concept exclusively, though it may help avoid burn out or screaming at your kids and husband.

No this can have much deeper gospel implications.  You see when I allow myself to step away from whatever it is I am obsessing over, or anxiously trying to control or even just cope with.  I leave space for the Lord to fill the gap.  I relinquish control and I rest in Gods prevision.  Because the truth is there are tons of great things to say yes to.  But with every Yes there is a resounding NO somewhere in my life.

When I have blindly said yes and not fully come to a stop to reflected on my choices.  I miss the bigger picture and sometimes I have closed doors I haven’t even considered, because I can only walk through one at a time.

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My family and I were lucky anouf to take an extended Full Stop, away from any commitments or connectivity and I came home refreshed and refocused.  I felt the weight of the No I have been saying lift a bit. When I took a step back and rested and took the time to pray over Gods leading and My own longings and struggles. I heard His voice because space had been prepared, for Him to speak and for me to simply be still.  So for now, I am newly resolved to listen to Gods leading, and stay focused on the Yes He is calling me to.

Also I am reassured that what has been, will be again.  What I mean to say is, just because you say no to a opportunity today doesn’t mean you will never have that chance again.  Good things don’t just come around once if they are your calling.  It may take a wile but God is always wooing us into His grand plan, to redeem His children back to Himself.  He will always have a role for you to play and a mission for you to sink into when the time is right.  But until that time is here, I am practicing prudence and choosing  my Yes more wisely.  This is the only chance we get at today and tomorrow will have many opportunities of its own.

So Fully Stop and rest in Gods goodness and generosity.  Wile you take a break He will hold down the fort, and give you room to lean in and hear His calling afresh.

Proverbs 8:12                                                                                                                                                          I wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.

Have Faith, But be Faithful

I first learned about “Girl Power” when I was 3 years old.  My earliest memory was standing on the pier in Vancouver waving by-by to Daddy wile he rode away on a B.C. Ferry to the Island for what would be his last stay at Rehab.  He had a drinking and anger problem, and he loved my mom and us kids furosicousialy, so he was dealing with his issues.  My dad has been clean and sober for coming on 30 years.  He is a great dad and always has been.  But thats not the point of this story.

I still remember the feeling of confusion, “where is daddy going?” I remember wondering if he was coming back, and I will never forget how my mom stood looking out to sea wile her hair was teased by the ocean breeze.  The sun was setting pink and orange and she was beautiful, she looked like she could carry the world.  I didn’t know if we would see daddy again but I knew as long as we still had mom everything was going to be ok.

That was the moment I first saw Girl Power.  And my admiration for strong woman grew. Dads faviriot catch phrase was, “I like my tea weak and my women strong.”  I fell in love with Ma Ingauls from “Little House on the Prairie” and Michaela Quinn from “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman”  I wanted to be like them, strong, lovely, gracious and wise.  I wanted to have a voice and help the marginalized, I was going to make a difference.  My father encouraged me to be who I wanted to be, the concept of blue and pink jobs never entered my mind.  My mom was a leader in church with children ministry and contributed in spiritual conversations.  My value as a woman and my value in Christ was never questioned.  I was a image bearer and equal partner in the Great Commission.

When I graduated and left home, everything changed.

I was introduced to a extremely chauvinistic work environment and what you might call old school church structures.  I learned that I was just a little girl in a mans world and I didn’t have a voice or a opinion or equal opportunities.

Men with authority, in both the church and the work place spoke opinions and partial truth into my theology and by the time I had absorbed the teaching and terrible advice I had lost my holding to the Love of a Heavenly Father and was surrendered to a Dictating Man upstairs who taught Church was for men and if I wanted to participate there were always undesirable jobs for woman to do.

My Faith was solid, but my theology was flawed and far from functional.

But thats not the point of this story either.  It is to say for too many years I have struggled with certain teachings about woman and our place in the church.  I have not questioned the truth of the words.  But rather the Love behind them seemed like limitations on my service oppoturinities.  And I am not going to say more then that because in recent years I have plainly just gotten tired of the same old conversations and refuse to have them anymore.  I believe all scripture is God breathed and for our benefit and I will leave it there.  So here is the point to all this.

Recentally I felt compelled to pray into this area of unrest in my heart and the Lord convicted me deeply,

Our conversation went a little like this…

God: You say you believe woman can’t be elders or pastors but you don’t accept that this is a direction of Love…

Jen: Because I don’t understand how it is Loving?  Im my knowledge of you I know you do all things out of Love but I just fail to recognize the Love in this one….

God: You would see it if you did these jobs.  You just have to trust Me.  You don’t have to justify it, just to accept it graciously.

Jen: You know I don’t want to struggle with this concept.  I don’t go looking for things to dought….

God: But you know the world is always going to encourage your worldly reactions and perspectives…

Jen: But faith is complicated.  How could we ever expect anyone to become a Christian if the answer is “You will never fully understand…”  “Just have faith….”

God: But faith is the whole point Jenny.  If you had nothing to exercise your faith on in the easy times, what would give you any hope in the hard times?  Knowledge doesn’t convict a heart to trust when it is scared.  Having exercised faith is how you will know to remain in my prevision when things get rough.  This is how I teach you to trust My Good will.

Jen: I guess I hadn’t thought of it that way…

You see I have missed the blessing of Christ growing my faith for all these years.  I had all the experiences to resent the teaching of truth and love in regards to those 2 little limitations in Church Structure.  But I also had all the resolve to accept what the Bible tells us is pure truth.  But I have wrestled with this teaching for many years, and defeated, I accepted the Doctrine but not recognized the Love in my impression of what I saw as a Limitation.

It really wasn’t about woman and church and that Law…  It was about my willingness to have Faith and Obey when I didn’t like the taste in my mouth.

And how helpful has that been over the years!  In my marriage, the trucker and I love each other deeply,  but we are both still self centred and flawed.  I have practiced my resolve to honour my heavenly Father so therefore, I had a idea how to honer my husband even when its hard.  When the Lord has asked hard things of me, like no more babies, or embracing hard friendships and letting others go.  Moving north or selling our home to buy land and be homeless with winter coming on….  I can step out with action because God has given me practice is walking around in the dark parts of faith.  The places you know you are meant to dwell but you can’t nessarially see the the whole path ahead.

With time spent exercising obedience and faith, in the face of little understanding you can trust even the scariest situation.  No, I am not overly brave and I still struggle, but I was encouraged at the promise of God leaning in and building my faith all these years.  My head was in the right place but my heart just couldn’t reconcile.  And now to look back and simply see the truth never change but I did and God never withheld His love and guiding hand,  I just needed to wrestle through long enough to see it.

This is a celebration of Gods goodness to the faithful.

Be strong and courageous do not be afraid!  The Lord your God is with you and He is growing you and you will see the fruits if you can just stay in the fight!  

Jars of Clay

Jars of clay are weak, they are fragile and break easily.  They were not designed to withstand long drops or bumpy rides.  Not without some kind of internal force keeping them together, holding them steady and stable.  So we conclude that they were intended to contain things.  Their function is simple, its humble structure would display no beauty alone and empty, but its purpose is held inside, with a great fragrance of destiny meant to be shared, between the vessel and its precious cargo.

Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians and used clay jars as an example of how we are to reflect the function and purpose of this simple age old technology.

2 Corinthians 4:1-2a

Therefor, since though Gods Mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception nor do we distort the Word of God.  On the country   by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every mans conscious in the set to become the best, the brightest, the perfect performer we envision we shall become in the future.  We may not have obtained the required resources within ourselves at this time.  Under qualified and under funded with the merger means of our world view for the task at hand.  Regardless!  It is because of Gods great mercifully plan to use imperfect saints to sow seeds in perfect sinners.  Christ chose us for HIs great work, to accomplish great things for His Name sake.

Just like Satan in the garden “He didn’t really say you couldn’t eat form this tree…” manipulation.  Its the truth we believe the lies of this fallen world, that are pulling us down with it. Into a pit of self drought, self pity, and questioning our purpose and worthiness of a calling to victory.  A victory we have already been given at the cross.

Its simple, so present it as your simple truth.  As we live each day with this goal in mind to live, speak, and demonstrate the Truth, our lives and the lives around us will become more fulfilled, more fruitful, and spilling over the shallow sides of our clay jar.

2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.

You are a vessel simple and empty, so am I, and its the same old garbage in and garbage out.  But you have a better option; you have the capacity to be filled with power, might, passion, grace, beauty and a wonderful God who is generous in all ways.  All these things will radiate out from your jar as you focus on the giver of life and hope and wisdom.

Remember Gideon, and his megre army, they hid a lamp in their clay jars, and as the 300 approached the enemy camp, outnumbered 450 to 1 they broke the weak bonds of their jars, shouted the name of the Lord and victory was won.  Cause no one can stand against the light of the light maker.  The powerful become powerless when they stand against the One who created the rage of the ocean and the tower strength of the cedar trees.

Cause why shine like a candle stick when you can shine like a electric star?  For the maker of the stars has a light he is ready to see you radiate to the darkest corners of this world.  To the lonely places in our schools and in our care homes.  The integrity we are to infect throughout our work place and with in our business community.  The joy we are to infuse into our Sunday school children and our preschoolers in our homes for those few, short, tender years.  Like a sunflower reaching for the sky we can stand tall and allow the precious life changing cargo we carry within our hearts to shine upon a dark world.

1 Kings 17:16

For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

And you remember the story of the obedient widow with starvation looming for her and her son.  But according to the direction she was given, she complied to the leading of the Lord, through the direction of His prophet.  Her jar stayed full and her life was saved.  It is life or death.  Is your jar empty…  are you starving for purpose and direction…  Are you floundering around in the dark looking for the light that the end of the tunnel…

Take hope, embrace your weakness as a clay jar and become filled with soothing, essential, power to be poured out like a healing balm on a hurting world.  Like a spring that will never run dry, accessible to you is the unending, refreshing and sustaining waters that will quench your driest thirst and sooth your aching soul.

Jeremiah 18:4

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

You must see our role in the death of Christ.  Each burden of our sinful ways we insist on carrying around with us.  From day to day we pack around the burdens we have grown accustom to, but that is not what we are destin for.  We are to be filled, not flattened under the heavy burden that is waiting to be lifted.  Lifted and placed at the foot of a battered cross, so that when we surrender our weakness and temptations at His feet we can open our hearts to be filled.  Filled like the custom vessel we are destine to be and to capture the vision of a future with no more cumbersome load, slowing us down from our given purpose.  No more bitterness or anxiety or rebellion, but peace and comfort in its place.  The place contentment is meant to dwell.  The place made by the master potter who formed us from dirt into clay jars made for His love. Labelled with His calling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith, Works and why I had it all Wrong.

James 2:14-26 
14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can [a]that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, [b]be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is [c]dead, being by itself.

18 But someone [d]may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that [e]God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and [f]as a result of the works, faith was [g]perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Faith:   A strong belief in God or in the doctrine of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather then proof

Spiritual Apprehension:  the act or power of perceiving or comprehending the working of the Holy Spirit

Faith is born in us.  It is a living breathing part of our person when put in the context of salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  There is something super natural and deeply spiritual about committing your Destiny to the Deity of Christ.  Salvation is not of this world.  Salvation saves us from the sin of this world, and when you really think about it, it can’t be explained away as simply rules and religion.  It is so much more, because all Joy and Flourishing is on the line.

But James tells us Faith has a counterpart called Works.  Oh the conversations that have sprouted form this passage.  Maybe you have had one that sounded like this.  “Im not sure if so-and-so is a christian, I know there is a understanding there and even a commitment at some point but I just don’t see the fruit of it coming out in works….”  I know I have

Works: activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.

You see I don’t think I had ever really looked super close at this portion of James because I didn’t wantt to uncover something that would make me question my or a loved ones faith.   But here I am digging deep with a little fear and a lot of hope.

You see my definition of Works sounded a little like this; missional, serving, giving all your money to the poor, overseas calling, busy busy busy in the church….

But as I was studying I felt the Lord whisper to me, “You have missed the link between faith and works and in that link is where our salvation really lays.”   

You see Gods Work in our Hearts transforms us from the inside.  Biting your tong can be a work of faith that no one will recognize.  If I realize the vastness of Works, I will have more hope and less obligation to do all the things I Should be Working at and leave more time and energy for the growth of work in my walk to cultivate a more genuine Love offering.  The work I was made for.

Why have Faith if it dosen’t change you.  What is the purpose of that?  Faith and Works is not about productivity.  Its not a trick, slid in to insure the Christian is in-slaved to Christ. Rather it is the blessing and the gift of the Holy Spirit Working out the roots of sin and selfcenterness in your soul.

Think about your life, if you can see no change in your heart, if your outlook is never challenged, if you aren’t becoming more compassionate for the children of God.  That is when you need to ask yourself “Is my faith dead?’If it is not evidentially growing, your faith may have never truly taken root.

The marks of the Christian life is Love Compassion, Grace, Thankfulness, Joy, Humility, Servant-heartedness….. These are the products of God Working out the sin, shame, guilt, self-centredness, pride, vanity, materialism, and every foot hold of the devil.  THIS IS WORKS!!

Works is not what I am doing,  It is what Faith is doing in me.  We must have Faith, But be Faithful.  That is the space where works are born from.

As sin is worked out and love is given room to grow, that is when your behaviours will reflect the faith in you.  If the work of compassion is kneaded into your heart, the result will be seen, played out in how you spend your time and your money.  But we can not measure Works from the outside.  So often we serve out of”obligation and the things we should do.”  And though that my get the job done and many may be blessed it is not a reflection of the Heart change.  It is not a testimony of all things made new.  It is a testimony of guilt and fear.

When we take the pressure off for Christians to perform for their place in heaven. We open the doors for the Spirit to flow as we serve from our passions.  When your heart is set on the things of Christ, it will break for His children and in the breaking will come the truest offer of work for a weary world to be ministered by.

The beauty of works is it blesses us first, so we can then pass the blessing on to the rest of Gods Children.

 

 

Easter Story Eggs: a Christ centred acitivity for you, and your Kids.

Easter in Northern BC is usually grey patchy snow, and frozen puddles.  We try and plan to have a camp fire each year after sunday service but it is, of corse weather dependant.  After feeling cooped up for much of the winter spending a long day packed inside, dose not feel like much of a celebration to me.  So we bundle up and dig out and the roasting sticks from the shed, for a humble feast of hots dogs usually accompanied by chile and chips.

After a tasty feed and once the children have lost interest in breaking frozen puddles with whatever rocks or sticks aren’t still under snow.  A few of us gather them up for a walk, wile some stay behind to hide eggs.  Living on a acreage makes it easy to spread them about the yard for a exciting hunt!

So in with the chocolate eggs I hide my collection of Easter Story Eggs.  It is a collection of eggs filled with short pomes that tell the Easter story.  Accompanying each pome is a element that gives a tangible reminder of the happenings of that first easter week so long ago.

I am excited to share this idea with you, and help get a tradition started with your little ones!! Its so easy and it will help keep the focus on the reason we gather at Easter.  It won’t take over your day or scare away your family that “thinks your going to overboard with that religion stuff”  Its just a simple reminder for us all that Jesus came to serve and save and that is why we celebrate!

You will need:
* 1 dozen refillable plastic easter eggs
* A copy of the free printable below
* A Sharpie
* The element to accompany the pome for each egg
* A empty egg carton (to store your eggs in to use again next year)

Step one: Print and cut out Pomes

Step two: Gather your elements

Step three: Fill your eggs. (I used matching colours for the egg with the pome and its accompanying element)

Step four: Use your sharpie to number the eggs

Step five: Hide your easter Story eggs for your little ones to find and open them together as a family.

My end game with this activity is;

A chance for grandparents and other family members to gather, and share their faith with my kids. Having many voices, speaking the Word of Truth into my kids lives will help to set a firm foundation in their hearts and minds.

Also some day when my kids have questions and topics they need to discuss with a trusted adult they might not want to talk to me about it. But helping them establish positive and like minded voices in their lives at a young age will help them to discern who they can bring their struggles and fears to in the future.

But this also serves as a simple and casual platform to share the gospel message with friends and family in our lives who wouldn’t otherwise include Christ in their Easter celebrations.

Access the Free Printable below, for a copy of the pomes to insert in your eggs. As well the  directions to make your own Easter Story Eggs!

easter-story-eggs-pdf

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Book Review & Recommendation

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Present over Perfect By. Shauna Niequist

A wonderful collection of short essays about simplifying life, with the intention of returning to your roots.  Rediscover the woman you were when life was simple and your passions were building and your vision was clear.  The woman who knew what she was doing for her future and for the kingdom of God.

It was a easy ready and felt refreshing like a morning breeze off a cool lake.  It felt uplifting and relevant, as Shauna bore all. in her confession of seeking worthing in pleasing others and struggling to balance love, life, work and motherhood.

Shauna is a city dweller with a metro pace to getting life done.  I can’t relate to the hustle of the city or the push of book deadlines.  I don’t have a consuming job outside the home. But what spoke to me was the “need to be perceived as the girl who could always come through for you”  Im a “get S*** done” kinda girl myself.  I hate to say no, and easily over commit myself.  With the best of intentions that cause my little family to receive the leftover and rung out portions of me.

It is a encouragement to declutter your priorities, in your heart first, and then your mind. So you can get to making space in your marriage, your home, your job, and your friendship to connect with the further you may have lost track of. Somewhere along the way in the business of reaching for our dreams we can push what we really are longing for aside in the hustle to walk through all the open doors and even some closed ones.

Shauna extends a invitation to look honestly at all your hard work and really consider what your saying yes to.  Because every yes has a resounding no somewhere in your life.  Its a chance to chase the Dreams of your Youth, wile retaining the maturity of your present outlook.  Just clearing away the clutter and breathing deep.

Because frantic isn’t on the menu.  Its to be Present with the people in your now, so they can see your hope for the future.

If “balancing your priorities” or “enjoying the moment” is a struggle for you.  If you worry “you are missing your best years with the business of life”. Then I recommend Present over Perfect!