Clinging to the comfort and hope of the gospel, I’m free from demanding that my friends love me perfectly. I don’t need their perfect ministry because I have the perfect ministry of Christ. And as I humbly receive from him, I’m able to humbly receive the imperfect love of others as tangible instruments of God’s grace to me.
Submission has become an ugly word; a synonym for domestic violence; a moniker for smothering women in the church. It’s become a hated word because the relationship between authority and submitter has been portrayed as superior to inferior.
It’s hard to listen when I realize the world can look so different from another point of view. I feel in over my head. Conversations about race can make white people uncomfortable, but love for our neighbor requires us to listen.
. . . the noble desire that longs to help, to fix, and to rescue is the same desire that Satan can use in ministry to weaken us. He uses it to halt our prayers to the true savior; to bring instability to our faithfulness by making our faithfulness seem to rest on us, not Jesus.
We serve because God tells us to worship him this way, not because we want people to know how awesome our gifts are. We serve because Jesus first served, not because it’s easy.
No matter who you are or what stage of life you’re in, there are people in your life who are just difficult. People who take more than they give. People who endlessly repeat the same poor decisions that affect your life negatively. People whose personalities are drastically different than your own.
Sometimes church staff members don’t seem to care as much as for each other as they seem to care about the flock for which they co-labor.
It's no shock when I'm impatient with my husband. He's slow and methodical. He doesn't do anything in a hurry. He’s the opposite of me in this way and I love it about him. It's clear I needed to marry a man who measures my temperament with his steadiness. This characteristic of my husband is a means of grace from God to help me grow.
It also drives me nuts.
The kind of thinking that attempts to bear the burdens of others as Christ instead of with Christ makes a ministry with foundations not in Jesus, but in the one who has put himself/herself in Jesus’ place. Such a ministry is thinking far too highly of itself (Rom 12:3).
We see in Matthew’s gospel account that Jesus’ ministry is bookended with disciple-making initiatives: “Come and be disciples. . .Go and make disciples” (Matt 4:19, 28:18-20). The refusal to focus on the baton pass is to reject your identity as a disciple of Jesus.
Certain that true community and growth were only possible through unflinching vulnerability, I committed to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I shared all the gory details of my past and present struggles, heaping burdens upon willing listeners while remaining a safe distance from their attempts to speak truth into my life.
Dying to self is painful, but dying in miserable sin is way worse.
As children of God, we hurt each other constantly, thinking the pain and retribution we inflict on one another has nothing to do with him. But we are wrong, it’s never just between us.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Mothers are something to be celebrated, no doubt. Among the greatest blessings in my life are the amazing parents with whom God graced me. But Mother’s Day has been a major source of grief for me, flamboyantly flaunting all that I longed for and couldn’t have.