Movie Massacre: Will You Check Out or Reach Out?

How are you responding to the news that a lone gunman. who dropped out of medical school, just savagely murdered 12 young people and wounded 38 in a Colorado opening of a batman movie? Those are the stats right now when I’m writing; probably worse by the time you read this.

When I asked one uninformed friend how she was feeling, she commented, “Oh, I didn’t know. That’s why people don’t watch the news any more. It’s too terrible.” Another friend lives an hour away from the theater but can’t turn on the news because they have guests in the house with two children in elementary school, and their guests don’t allow their kids to be exposed to news broadcasts. These kids are already extremely fearful. My friend texted me, asking if I could provide a “secret” online source. Of course, we want to be age-appropriate in what kids see, but these kids will hear about this from their friends. And when they do, they may want to process it with mom and dad, but they may not, since mom and dad don’t seem able to deal with the real world.

I get it. Part of me wants to burrow down, pull the covers over my head, and not get out of bed too.  I was raised by people who “sheltered” me from everything, insisting that I wasn’t old enough or mature enough to “handle it.” But I heard bits here and there, and my imagination ran wild. The scene I conjured up in my head was always worse than the real thing. I grew up terrified of everything, and only because Jesus rescued me have I learned to function in a fallen, and sometimes harsh, world. Sure, I still get scared sometimes. But Jesus whispers, “Fear not. I am here. I will help you.” and He has.

And an important part of being an ambassador for Christ , and certainly a vital part of parenting, is not to shelter those we love, but to help them see reality through biblical eyes, nurtured by a tender relationship with our dear Jesus. Wise Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 7:2-4, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.” Chew on that for awhile.

Bottom line. Twenty-seven mass murderers have struck since Columbine. We will undoubtedly see more. We grieve and ponder and ask God, “Why?” It’s heart-wrenching. But it propels me to call my kids, and hold my grandchildren a bit closer. It propels me to declare to my neighbor that Jesus can provide them with a peace that passes all understanding. It sobers me to spend my days making a real difference in this insane world, and to look with great anticipation at the new one Jesus will bring. I want to reach out with comfort and good news. Let the world know there are more of us than them.               Don’t check out. Reach out. This world needs you, and so do I. Let’s wrap our arms around the wounded and raise up generations of people who will do the same, equipped for the realities of this world and forging ahead in it anyway.

 

 

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Kudos To Teachers Who Might Need a Fix

I’ve never sniffed or shot up cocaine, and I won’t, but I’ve heard about its pleasurable effects. But it couldn’t be any better than the way I feel right now as I remember the women students who taught the Bible in my Women Teaching Women course this afternoon. I’ve watched them metamorphasize from first day timid deer-in-the headlights students to solid Bible teachers today. A mother of four teen girls, an African American with a melodious voice, an islander from Saipan, and a millennial graphic designer. What a contrast and what beautiful words they declared as women in Christ!

I remember their puzzled looks and questions the first weeks of class as we worked through the process: exegetical, theological, then homiletical big ideas, structure and flow, word choice, introductions, conclusions and transitions, abstract to concrete, the use of vivid word pictures and stories, moving across the bridge from an ancient world to the world where women live today, outlines written in complete sentences to reflect full ideas that lead to biblical world views and life change, words that speak to women in contemporary language, saying it with passion and punch. Much to contemplate, synthesize, and apply.

Then their first creation, an experiment in art and design with words from God’s Word and their own attempt to put it all into practice. Nerves, thirst, hearts’ pumping, connecting, awakenings. Speaking afraid and seeing the listener’s responses. Trying again; experiencing progress. I just might be a Bible teacher. Yes, I think I am. Yes, they hear me. They are touched, and moved, and changed. Yes, it’s really me up here.

The mother of four teen girls challenged us to stop using the word love so carelessly and to exhibit a lifestyle of biblical agape love and sacrifice (1John:3:16-18). The African American single shared her journey from seclusion to community (Hebrews 10:23-25). The Saipanese exhorted us to leave behind insecurity and to glorify God through our unique design as women (Esther 2:12,13). For the last message, the millennial called us to choose and value friendship in marriage instead of settling for romance (Song of Solomon 5:16). Each one captivated us, motivated us, and challenged us to live sold out Christian lives. I found myself lost in pure joy as I watched each one use their unique voice to declare biblical truths.

I suppose cocaine must be exhilarating, but I doubt any addict every experienced more pure joy than I did this afternoon. To see baby steps turn into solid skill is glorious. It’s knowing that although my name and investment will be forgotten, except possibly in a brief think-back moment, they will go on to energize women for Jesus. It’s my way of investing in a future that I will not see from this side of earth anyway. It’s my way of sending my love for Jesus on ahead. I trust they will pass it on, and some of my students will become addicts like me. I’ll take teaching over cocaine any day.

If you’ve thought about teaching and you believe God may have designed you for it, check it out. If you teach now, kudos my friends.  Keep teaching. You won’t get paid enough to sustain a cocaine habit, but you won’t need one. You’ll get high on spiritual cocaine–and its free.  Pass this on to teachers you know and thank them for their investment. They just might need a fix.

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Perfection or nothing? You get nothing

In church, relationships, spiritual life, and politics, if you insist on perfection or nothing, you get nothing. I learned this valuable lesson as a young mother from Edith Schaeffer, the wife of the late Francis Schaeffer. She told a story about her daughter-in-law who fumed every time her husband was late for a meal. She meticulously planned and prepared delicious meals for her family, investing time, creativity and energy because she knew that this together would bond and strengthen their family. Continue reading

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GCB: Why are we silent?

Watching a whole episode of ABC’s GCB, based on the book Good Christian B*tches, is like sitting through an hour of offensive blond jokes–only GCB is not funny. It mocks Christian women, stereotyping them as calculating, over-sexed, hypocritical, egotistical, silly and shallow. I had to watch because I’m not comfortable offering an opinion based on second hand knowledge. But I won’t watch again. Continue reading

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The Hunger Games Call to Adults

 Suppose you are a teen and adults plunged you into a situation where you are forced to kill other teens or die yourself? What would you do? Could you find a way not to sin by outsmarting these adults. That’s the desperate dilemma put forth in Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games. Continue reading

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Where Have the Women Gone?

Twelve years ago, George Barna described women as the backbone of the Church, but his recent research reveals that the backbone shows signs of decay and collapse.  Between 1991 and 2011 there has been a 20 percent decrease in the percentage of adult women attending church services in any given week, a 29 percent drop in the number of adult women attending Sunday school classes, and the number of women who volunteer during the course of a week has plummeted 31 percent. The proportion of American women who are unchurched has nearly doubled in the past twenty years, rising by 94 percent. Barna concludes, “Women of faith, increasingly disgruntled and feeling unfulfilled by their church experiences, are leaving churches in massive numbers.” Continue reading

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Female Body Hatred; WWJS

The before and after picture…the sagging skin under her chin has disappeared..the television spokesman promises the transformation in less than an hour.  Be honest. Have you ever been tempted? I must admit I’d love to wake up missing that flapping flesh under my chin that just won’t tighten up no matter how many neck extensions I do. But going under the knife…I don’t think so. Maybe you are too young for skin under your chin to stretch and sag. Do you think you might be tempted when it does? Millions of women let a surgeon cut on them to enhance their appearance, and some are believers. It’s expensive. It can be dangerous. Why do they do it? Continue reading

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The Cleavage Gap

 I was teaching a class of high-octane Christian women leaders on how to work with men in ministry. When the topic of appropriate attire surfaced, I could hardly keep from breaking out in laughter at the irony. Before me were women bemoaning the provocative way women dress these days, but four, yes, four, of them were showing enough cleavage to distract any man in our midst. I don’t get the disconnect, the gap. Please know that I love these women dearly, and my intent is not to cause any sister to slink away in shame, but I love our brothers too. Continue reading

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Ready to Live to One Hundred?

My husband and I recently attended a seminar on how to prepare for retirement. Neither of us want to retire any time soon, but with economic conditions what they are, we hear over and over to sock money away for the future. What I remember most about the seminar was an astounding statistic. Our instructor told us that insurance tables predict that a healthy baby girl born today is projected to live as long as one hundred and twenty years! Continue reading

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How Will Technology Change Ministry?

 The digital age is here to stay, regardless of how much whining goes on about the loss of face-to-face relationships or meaningful dinner conversations.  We are moving from a print era to a digital era, with accompanying losses and gains. We stand, like the last of the Mohicans, overlooking a time that soon will be no more, as we move into the unknown. Exciting and terrifying! Continue reading

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