Sometimes I Self Abuse

Posted by on Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 in Blog | 1 comment

It’s not often but every once in a while I find myself engaged in negative self-talk. Oh, let’s be honest, it’s more like self abuse. It looks something like: Who do you think you are preaching to others? You’re a sinner. You don’t even love people better this year than you did last year. You take your work too seriously. You do know others don’t really care. It’s insignificant. On and on it goes. Blah Blah Blah. For several days. I know scripture so quoting it to me won’t help. “My dear Jackie, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) Truth is, sometimes I start to loose heart, thinking it is useless. I start walking off the playing field ready to take the bench. Is this just sin? Or is it spiritual warfare? Or simply raging hormones? I suspect it’s a cocktail of them all. That’s where I was when a man called my husband with an invite for a drink and conversation. We joined him and his wife to learn that his church had been in a discussion about the role of women for the past year. They had spent a great deal of time in study, learning the 42 reasons the word “authority” in 1 Timothy 2 means this or that. The 62 reasons head cover means this or that. (Yes, I’m being a bit sarcastic.) He proceeded to share how my new book, Lime Green, which he recently read, was crucial in his understanding on the issue. Not because Lime Green is all that theological but because it was from a woman’s voice sharing what it’s like being a woman leader in the conservative faith community. For him, the book was the linchpin to the discussion. The next day I received a text, “Pray for me, I’m about to meet with my pastor about hosting a church wide discussion on Lime Green.” Nancy (not her real name) had asked her pastor to read the book, which he did, and now Nancy was meeting with him to hear his perspective. He disagreed and agreed. Consideration for a discussion is in the making. Another woman emailed to say she saw Lime Green on her pastor’s desk. Another woman came up during Wine, Women & Jesus and said she’d bought the book in hopes her church leadership would read it too. To top it off a senior pastor asked if I could direct him to resources on the role of women since they were in the process of writing their church’s bylaws. Yes, yes I can. At Wine, Women &...

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Boiling Passion: A Movement of the Spirit

Posted by on Friday, Sep 18, 2015 in Blog | 1 comment

There have been several times in life when God boldly spoke to me about the work he had for me to do. There was the time I heard over and over and over again. PREACH THE WORD. PREACH THE WORD, PREACH THE WORD. Yes, loud like that. Not audibly, but loud in the bowls of my soul. (He keep speaking 2 Timothy 4:2) So I put a stake in the ground. I would preach.  I would let go of other things and focus on preaching his Word. You could say that was God hemming me in. (Psalm 139) “Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.” (2 Tim. 4:2) The next time was when God let me know I would be preaching from the pulpit. I distinctly remember when he brought it up. It literally made me gasp. I didn’t want to do it. I was hoping it wasn’t him speaking, that I had misheard or something. But no. It was him. And he was clear.  There was a movement of his Spirit to elevate his women and girls and my preaching from the pulpit was a small part of that movement. It’s been almost a decade since that last “call” and I’m hearing God boldly speak again. It happens in multiple ways, it’s like he keeps saying the same thing to me from different directions, just in case I want to dismiss it or ignore it. He won’t let me. For example, I was listening to Eugene Cho speak on women and he read from Exodus 3 and my spirit was quickened. I heard the Spirit whisper, “set my women (and men) free from bondage.” He’s been speaking for several years but now he’s heating things up. He’s asking me to be all in. Go the mile. Put a stake in the ground. How do I know? Because my insides are boiling again. It’s this passion thing that wakes me up, pushes me during the day, it almost makes me feel like I can’t stop until his work is done – whatever and whenever that is. Exodus 3. God hears the cry of his people. He sees their oppression. Set them free. Set them free. Set them free. Lime Green is the beginning of what he’s wanting to talk about to his Church. Men and women are in bondage to the spoken and unspoken messages about manhood and womanhood. It’s keeping us from being unapologetically who God made us to be and it’s keeping the Blessed Alliance (men and women) from working together for God’s Kingdom. One of the things I hear God...

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Did My Mothering Matter?

Posted by on Monday, Mar 9, 2015 in Blog | 3 comments

The idea of being pursued can conger up all kinds of images and emotions. The emotions range from fearful of an obsessed psychopath (think Fatal Attraction – The Boy Next Store) to being prized, wanted, chosen – valuable. Why do you and I desire being prized, wanted, and chosen – to matter – whether in a romantic way, in a friendship, by a parent, or in our work environment? We feel worthy when we are pursued. I suspect it has something to do with our beginnings. In the beginning, our creation meant we mattered. We were worthy – simply because God said so. He created us as his image bearers. So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” (Genesis 1:27-28 NLT) One of the ways we image God is through community. It is in community with God and each other that we experience full human flourishing. In the beginning we were wanted, chosen, prized. By the Triune God and by each other. And we were also given worthy work – significance. Under God we were to run the world he created. N.T. Wright says it like this, “God made humans so that he could look after his world through this particular creature. Creation was supposed to be brought into flourishing harmony, to a fruitful fulfillment, through the work of humans.” But then there’s the fall. Things go haywire. And we’ve been searching for worth and value and importance and significance in all the wrong places ever since. But God’s love for us didn’t stop at the fall. He set out on a historical pursuit. So often we say things like, “Then I found Jesus,” but the truth is, God’s been searching for us since the fall. When Adam and Eve hid from His presence (Genesis 3:9), the Lord called: “Where are you?” He knew where they were. So what’s he doing? He’s pursuing them. Calling them back to him. Where are you? The mystery in history is NOT that we are on a search for God, but rather that God is on a search for us – He’s pursuing us. Where are you? He freed his people from bondage. Exodus 3: 7-8: God heard his people’s cry. Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of...

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Fear Can Make Us Wiggle

Posted by on Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

This next week I’m teaching on the toxic topic of fear. I’ve been thinking a lot about my own fears. Most of my fears include the issue of pain – I don’t want to feel pain. It’s not fun. When I feel pain I tend to go into self -preservation mode. That’s led me to think about what it means to  self-preserve. I must confess over the last several years  I have  been an on and off again  self-preserver. Fear makes us  (me) wiggle when God has us (me) dangling. And isn’t that exactly what we see in Genesis 12:10-13? “Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” Got to love that man self-preserving. Self-preservation. It happens. We see it when fear strikes. What if I loss my job, or how will this impact the kids, or what about my house, or what if it takes my life, or what if my daughter gets hit by a car, or what if … Fear paralyzes us and we make moves to get away from it, solve it. We wiggle.   We ignore, hide, and go inward. We put our heads in the sand and hope it goes away. We take up alliances … usually with those who can win or benefit us the most. We become less vulnerable, less willing to share our inner selves with others. We become suspicious and distrust others. We set up rules. We become controlling. We … We do this because we want all things to be good and wonderful. We don’t like to encounter difficulty, pain, suffering or discomfort. It’s not fun. I know I don’t like it. It’s hard … and I’m not a fan of hard. I wonder if self-preservation is a natural response … a God-given way to protect ourselves? Or, is it part of the fall … a way I respond that’s not of God at all? This is an important distinction because it lets me know if I need to embrace it (if it’s healthy) … or if I need to fight it (if it’s destructive). I was at lunch with Sally (not her real name) recently. Sally is wise. We talked extensively about how we...

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A Chance To Cleanse

Posted by on Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Today I head for a weekend conference at one of my favorite retreat centers, Laity Lodge. I’m looking forward to practicing what Tony Campolo taught on cleansing before...

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