Friday, October 28, 2011


Today I am joining The Gypsy Mama for her 5 Minute Friday. The purpose is to write unscripted, unedited, and purely for the joy of it for five minutes. The theme this morning is relevance. So here it goes...

The Lord blessed me this year with a group of 10 women to do life with. Wednesday nights are our time.  We laugh together, cry together, study God's Word together. Lately, as it always seems with those fresh out of college, we wonder, "Do we matter?"

Is what we are doing right now relevant? I have heard it said that my generation is marked more than previous generations by a desire to be relevant in our jobs. We want what we do to count for something with someone else.

 Money isn't the end game. We all feel that the job we work now is not what we want to do long term, what God hard-wired us to do. We crave purpose and to be used for something bigger than ourselves.

But the good news is....we are significant and relevant because we belong to the King of Kings. He knows the plans He has for us, and He alone will direct them. (Isaiah and Proverbs) That makes the interim period have relevance, as well.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Remember the Alamo

There is a legend in Texas of a line drawn in the sand by Col. William B. Travis on March 5, 1836. As the legend goes, Santa Anna and the Mexican army waited outside the Alamo, planning ways to breach its walls and kill the men desperately fighting inside. Travis knew there was little hope but decided to give his men a chance to run.

With his sword, Travis drew a line in the sand. "We must die," he began. "Our business is not to make a fruitless effort to save our lives, but to choose the manner of our death." All but one man crossed over that line, ready to make a final stand, ready to die. According to Travis, by crossing the line, they committed to "remain in this fort…resist every assault, and to sell our lives as dearly as possible."

The men who fought valiently at the Alamo died the morning after their decision when Santa Anna breached the walls and slaughtered every last man. But their sacrifice did not die. To this day, Texans remember the Alamo, remember the sacrifice, the brutal fight, and the purpose behind it - freedom.

We all draw lines in the sand. We all have a point of no return. Often, that line indicates a separation between right and wrong. The line does not allow for a gray area.

Just like Travis allowed his men to choose death or escape, so, too, Jesus Christ gives us the option to follow Him. Most people don't like the line in the sand. They want to earn eternal life on their own terms, with no set standards or holy God holding them accountable for what they don't feel like doing. The line in the sand is not popular, but it is immovable. 
In John 14:6, Jesus draws His own line in the sand: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Crossing this line means following Him into battle, obeying His commands, being willing to die, understanding His sacrifice on the cross. It is not a guarantee of a happy ending, but it is a guarantee of a life of worth and significance with a Commander and Chief who only has your best at heart.

He isn't a dictator. His death on the cross and resurrection afforded us a choice. The line in the sand at the Alamo represented an option for men to choose to be courageous and live and die in such a way that mattered. That is what choosing to follow Christ is all about.

Do you have the courage to cross the line? Will you trust Him enough to follow Him no matter what? If you don't understand what crossing this line looks like, check out the tab at the top of this page called "know Jesus." I have never met anyone who regretted the decision.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The X Factor

© X factor and Fox
"You don't have to necessarily have the best voice. You may not be the best looking person, but there is something about you that makes you a star." Simon Cowell

Goodbye, American Idol, and, hello, X Factor USA. This is a show open to all and won by one. As Simon said, it does not necessarily measure a person by their talent but by their inherent "it" factor that could make the next Lady Gaga or Jay- Z. 

I wasn't a fan of American Idol, but I love the X Factor. Why? Maybe I connect with these artists who work thankless jobs so that they can provide for their family but still have a small piece of time to display their talent. Maybe I understand desiring something more or believing in a person's ability to achieve a dream, no matter how far-fetched. Regardless, I cry as they are eliminated and cheer when they are pushed through.

Last night as I watched the eliminations, I noticed a startling truth: As human beings we will stand before the Lord someday and He will ask why He should allow us into heaven. Unlike these talented contestants, we won't be able to compete for a spot or be accepted on pure talent or past successes. The Lord will be looking for each person's "it" factor, that something that makes that person qualified above and beyond their talent. 

© X factor and Fox
Unfortunately, this "x" factor is not something we come by naturally. It is not something we can earn. In Acts 16, the apostle Paul and Silas are thrown into prison. In the middle of the night, there is an earthquake and the prison doors open. The guard believes all the prisoners escaped, but Paul tells him that everyone is still present and accounted for. The man falls on his face and asks, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” In verse 31, Paul tells him, "“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." That is the "x" factor that qualifies us for heaven.

When we make the decision to follow Jesus, to believe He is the only Son of God who died on the cross and rose from the grave for us, it changes the way we live. Our "it" factor becomes a reflection of the God we serve and not a selfish pursuing of riches or talent. It doesn't diminish the gifts God gave us, but it does change our motivation in how we use them. Then, our "x" factor is the result of belonging to Christ, and our emotions and acceptance do not rise or fall based on the judgements of man but on the character of the Lord.

"But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Don't judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'" My final judgement before the Just Judge will be a reflection of who I am, not what I have done. For that, I am so thankful.

Do you have the X factor?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shattering the Superhero Myth

As a kid, my favorite superhero was Superman. He could soar over the clouds, into outer space, jump off buildings, and with one graceful swoop, rescuing those in trouble. Not only that, throw in the laser eye thing and other-worldly strength, and I was sold. Glowing green rock was pretty rare in my life, so I figured I was home free. The bruises on my knees from jumping off the couch, however, proved I had other weaknesses to tackle before I could jump off buildings.

And then there are all those Marvel superheros that we love to watch on the big screen - Iron Man, Wolverine, Spiderman, Hulk, etc. Though I've never read the comics, I've always enjoyed watching these heroes in action. There is something attractive and appealing about someone who can outsmart the hardships of life, save humanity, and still get the girl (or guy in my case) at the end.

Unfortunately, too many people buy into the marvel of the Marvel superheroes. We seek to embody this ideal image of strong, powerful, handsome/beautiful people. We can conquer the boardroom, be the top of our class, sell the most records, become an A-list actor, live in the biggest house on the block, or drive the fanciest car. We are superheroes in our own right. Or maybe you have heard this line: "You are your own god. You don't need anyone else. Only you can save yourself." This mantra preached in most -ism's today (feminism was pushed heavily in my department in college).

If we are honest with ourselves, despite our outward belief that we can be these superheroes, we know there is something missing. Listen to this song by Krystal Harris called "Supergirl."

© Krystal Harris. Shared from
In case you missed it, the chorus says, "I'm supergirl/ And I'm here/ To save the world/ And I wanna know/ Who's gonna save me?/ I'm supergirl/ And I'm here to/ Save the world/ And I wanna know/ Why I feel so alone?/ Seems like a dream / But there's one thing missing /Nobody's here with me (Here with me)/ To share in all that/ I've been given I need someone /That's strong enough for me."

This song perfectly identifies our attitudes. We claim to be our own superheroes, strong enough to take on the world, but we can't save ourselves. No matter how hard we try, no matter what we do, it's never enough to satisfy our own loneliness when we go home at the end of the day and crawl into bed. Nothing satisfies. 

I admit, I have a strength complex. I think I can handle things on my own. I want to step in and fix the problems affecting my family and friends. I want to be supergirl. The Lord may have given me an ability to handle some things well, but at the end of the day, I am weak and completely fall short of being able to rescue myself, or anyone else for that matter. My bruises show my humanity, my weakness. Luckily, I know the ultimate Superhero.

The Apostle Paul recognized his inability to save himself. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "And He (Jesus) has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

What a relief! The Lord empowers me to be strong. He is my superhero. Don't get me wrong. He isn't a genie. He doesn't always grant my wishes or rescue me from the troubles of this world. That's how I grow as a person. I don't have any strength or ability besides what He chooses to give me. His power is perfected in my weakness. His strength is sufficient for what I face today and tomorrow and the rest of my life. He is the ultimate Marvel hero. May I marvel in Him alone!

Since I have a thing for superheroes, I would love to know...Who is your favorite superhero?