All Things in Christ and Contentment: a wrapup

We wrapped up our time in Philippians last Friday. I’m sad to be walking away from this study, but grateful for how my understanding of the book has deepened and shaped the way I view life. There is so much value in soaking in the Scripture. A friend asked me a question over the weekend and I practically handed her a sermon from Philippians. One of my friends commented that she had listened to the book every single morning of the study; she can probably quote much more of it than she realizes.

This last section of the book is probably the least talked about overall, but contains one of the most mis-used verses in the Bible. We know that I mean Philippians 4:13, but let’s look at surrounding context.

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly because once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it. I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me. Still, you did well by partnering with me in my hardship. Philippians 4:10-14

 

I’ve grown leery of pulling one verse, any verse, out of its passage and discussing it without filling in context. If we do that we can make a verse mean anything, regardless of what the author actually intended.

How to Navigate the Election Season

After the primaries in the last presidential election, I wrote a political post and it still is the most-read piece I’ve ever written. I had to turn off comments because keyboard activists aren’t always guided by civility. You will notice I did not link to it here.

We’re gearing up for another heated presidential race. Tempers will rise; voices will follow. Already arguments are stirring and logos are circulating. There are passionate feelings on all sides of every single issue.

If you’re anything like me, you feel like you don’t actually belong anywhere. Neither major party in any way reflects my beliefs or how I feel like my beliefs should be lived out. It’s easy to sink into despair before the action even gets underway. And if I start there, where will I end up? How can I continue to respect and love well people with whom I disagree? How can I remain hopeful when there are constant announcements and ceaseless whispers that everything good is ending?

The Podcast Relaunches

Running your own race means learning to follow Jesus, to know God and commune with Him in your specific context. The who you are will become like Jesus. That doesn’t change your gender, hair color, height, or body shape. Your physical geography might not change (or it might). You might still get up and change diapers or persuade juries or see patients, just like you did before. But your heart will change. Your mind will change. The way you see life will change. Your character will change.

How do we do this? How do we become disciples? What does it look like to follow Jesus? I’m constantly asking myself these questions and decided to explore them on the podcast.

The podcast has been on a hiatus since late last year and after many conversations and hours of work, it’s relaunching as “Becoming Disciples.” Our calling as believers is to go and make disciples. It’s a calling for everyone. And what better way to explore what it means to become a disciple- to learn to walk with God, to know Him- than to talk about it, read about it, and share with you about it.

The trailer is up now! Find the podcast in iTunes or Stitcher or Spotify. I love hearing from you and the main way to get in touch with me is on Instagram. I will be using my normal instagram account for the podcast as well.

Thanks for all your support of the podcast. You all are the best!

 

How To Start Running Your Own Race

We’ve talked about our calling to specific lives in the context of a universal calling. We’ve discussed things that keep us from running our own race. But how do we start running our race? If we’re going to leave behind comparison and competing, where do we go?

Tools: 

When we want to become skilled in a service industry or become a doctor or lawyer, the first thing we do is start studying. We go to school. We attend workshops. But we don’t do this with life outside of our very specific jobs. (And really, so many of us don’t have very specific jobs.) We believe that God is remaking our humanity and apparently think we don’t have any responsibility in cooperating with His work. Of course when I write that out, it seems crazy. But I did it for years. I seemed to expect that automatically ideas would come to me in the dark hours of the night. Now, occasionally they do; but it’s because I’m putting in a lot of work behind the scenes and my brain is already moving.

Reading Plans for the New Year and the December Dilemma

I have a  December Dilemma. (Yes, I just gave it that name.) I really want to reread the Harry Potter series this month. I read it the first time in December of 2015 and I would love to read them again. But you don’t read Harry Potter a few pages at a time, here and there, when you have a chance. You read Harry Potter in a pick up the book after the kids are in bed and go to sleep when you finish the final sentence type of manner. That’s the appropriate way to read Harry Potter. Which means I have to either get a babysitter, ignore my life, or lose a week of sleep while I read the series. Will I do this? I haven’t decided yet.

That’s not how I typically read. It doesn’t work in my season of life and honestly, hasn’t worked since I was a child. Adults just have too many responsibilities to do that. So I read in snatches. I read in the bathroom. I take a book in the car. I read before I go to sleep. I read a few pages at quiet time. I read during commercials of tv shows (that’s not a joke, friends). Do I have time to read a paragraph? Then it’s reading time. I read in the tiniest moments because reading matters.

Read Your Whole Bible: A Call for Bible Literacy

This past week I had an enlightening conversation with a friend who reminded me that a lot of believers have probably never read the entire Bible. (This, sadly, forces me to admit that I still look at other people through the lens of my own life and interests instead of seeking out their stories.)

I took a poll on Instagram and it was split almost 50-50 with people having read and not read the whole Bible. The vast majority of people who had not read it all wanted to though. The feedback overwhelmingly went the route of falling behind on a reading plan and getting discouraged. (Also, I shared some things that help me in reading the whole Bible and saved them in highlights under, you guessed it, “whole Bible.”)

Reading the Bible is not a race. I’d like to take a microphone and announce it to the world. I’d like to interrupt conversations among believers and point this out. I’d like to stick a bookmark into your Bible that reminds you of that every single time you read. Reading the Bible is not a race. It’s not a competition. It’s not a time to feel bad that you don’t know more than you do or that someone else knows more than you. You will never know it all. No one will.