As Jesus explained, the right things have to die so the right things can live--we die to selfishness, greed, power, accumulation, prestige, and self-preservation, giving life to community, generosity, compassion, mercy, brotherhood, kindness, and love. The gospel will die in the toxic soil of self.
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I don't want my kids safe and comfortable. I want them BRAVE. ... I don't want to be the reason my kids choose safety over courage. I hope I never hear them say, 'Mom will freak out,' or 'My parents will never agree to this.' May my fear not bind their purpose here. Scared moms raise scared kids. Brave moms raise brave kids. Real disciples raise real disciples.
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I think they'd barely recognize us as brothers and sisters. If we told them, church is on Sundays, and we have an awesome band... if the found out 1/6th of the earth's population claimed to be Christians, I'm not sure they could reconcile the suffering happening on our watch while we're living in excess... But listen, early church, we have a monthly event called 'Mocha chicks', we have choir practice every Wednesday, we organize retreats with door prizes, we're raising $3 million for an outdoor amphitheater, we have catchy t-shirts, we don't smoke or say the f-word, we go to bible study every semester... the local church would be the heartbeat of the city.
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A worthy life means showing up when showing up is the only thing to do. Goodness bears itself out in millions of ordinary ways across the globe, for the rich and poor, the famous and unknown, in enormous measures and tiny, holy moments. It may involve a career and it may not. It may include traditional components and it may not.
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If a fast doesn't include any sacrifices, then it's not a fast. The discomfort is where the magic happens. Life zips along, unchecked and automatic. We default to our lifestyles, enjoying our privileges tra la la, but a fast interrupts that rote trajectory. Jesus gets a fresh platform in the empty space where indulgence resided.
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Our stories affect one another whether we know it or not. Sometimes obedience isn't for us at all, but for another. We don't know how God holds the kingdom in balance or why he moves a chess piece at a crucial time; we might never see the results of his sovereignty [...] I might just be one shade of one color of one strand, but I'm a part of an elaborate tapestry that goes beyond my perception.
Our only hope to speak with kindness, to lead with patience, and to not threaten our children with homicide is to ensure our spiritual reserves are not bone-dry. Moms are the middle of the flow chart; the arrows of exertion flow constantly out from us, but when no arrows of strength, grace, and peace are flowing in, the whole mechanism is in danger. Goodness in equals goodness out.
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I see a strategy for fracturing humanity well in play: just keep people separated and let them reinforce invented boundaries in their imaginations. Because when people come together and really listen to each other, doing the hard work of human kindness, virtually every barrier is breached.
It is immature and lazy to imagine we know everything there is to know about someone before we know that someone. We don't know their stories, their histories, their real live human feelings. We don't know their favorite movies and best memories and what makes them afraid. It is unfair to take one fact, one thing they've said or we heard they said, or one thing they wrote, or someone else's experience, or a group they identify with and make a character sketch. If people did that to us, the picture would be so woefully incomplete, we wouldn't even recognize our own description.
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