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September 29, 2020

“So, can you be here on Monday?” 

One part of my brain was struggling to absorb the information being thrown at me over the phone: “cardiac muscle compromised”, “partial hospitalization program”, “abnormal blood counts”, “dangerously low body weight”, while simultaneously trying to remember what day of the week it was and what would have to happen before I could relocate myself and my two youngest girls 180 miles north for God-only-knew-how-long. 

I found my voice and inquired, “Is Tuesday a possibility?” 

“Well, we normally do intake interviews on Mondays, but since this is Friday, we could arrange for a Tuesday arrival. Will you be the only family member accompanying your daughter?” 

“No. My youngest will also be coming with us.” 

“Fine. There are apartments directly across the street from our facility where you can stay for half of the normal monthly rent. 

Surely she didn’t think we would be there an entire MONTH. I swallowed hard. “Do you rent by the week?” 

“The minimum stay would be tw...

September 23, 2020

Sometimes when I get out of the habit of being in the Word everyday, I think a new journal or new Bible will help me want to read again. I do actually think this works sometimes. In high school, I would take notes on hot pink paper, because I figured if I had to take notes, I might as well do it in a cute way. Sometimes buying new highlighters or a new tool can be helpful. But if our heart isn’t in the right place - nothing we purchase will fix our desire. 

I want to walk through some Bible verses together that can help us understand the importance of desiring God. 

Psalm 9:3

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; 

In the morning I lay my requests before you

And wait expectantly.”

He calls us to wait expectantly for His voice. I think many times we would like to skip over that word “wait” - but that’s what the psalmist said - not, “instantly God will speak to us” - but “wait expectantly” - expect that He will speak to you. 

Psalm 10:4 

“In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;

In all h...

September 15, 2020

Check. Check. Check.

I get such joy from a to-do list. I always have. As a young person, I made the most itemized lists just so I had the most joy by getting to check off lots of items. Reading my Bible every day was one of those items.

I didn’t worry about what the Bible meant when I read it. Someone else would tell me. I just needed to do it each day to be “good” and “godly.” It was pure productivity that drove me to the Word each day, but as I grew older, I began to realize just how complicated the world was. Suddenly, I had to really learn to grasp God’s Word for myself.

Then it became an intellectual exercise. How much could I learn? How much more did I know than the next person? How could I share all I knew? I dug into commentaries and books, and I soaked it all up like a sponge. All the while not changing my heart or my mind but filling both with knowledge.

These weren’t bad instincts, of course. They’re even good things to seek, but I found myself at a crossroads when I sat in a ho...

September 8, 2020

At some point today, if you’ve scrolled through social media, you’ve seen someone share their perfect set up for their quiet time. There’s probably a candle, a cute mug of coffee or tea, a few accessories, those really good pens, and the perfect bible page. The picture looks quiet, peaceful, and perfect for spending time with God. You have things to do, kids running around, or whatever life has to offer so you think you can’t have this time with God. This is all lies. God isn’t waiting for you to have the perfect time for Him. In fact, that’s an idolatry in itself.

We worry more about the look and feel of our atmosphere than the quality of time we put into our relationship with God himself. 

To have a relationship with someone means that you know them, not just know about them. We each know about a lot of people. Denzel, Justin, Taylor, Paul, etc. There are plenty of people that we know about but that doesn’t mean we know them. Do you have their phone number? Can you email them and get a...

September 1, 2020

I’ve always loved the mountains. Growing up in Florida it was a special adventure to vacation each summer to some mountainous location. The first view of those mighty peaks invoked a sense of awe and wonder, reminding me how small I was in comparison. And while beauty abounds, there is also a cautious approach to mountainous terrain, knowing it is not to be trifled with. Still, anyone who has hiked to a summit knows the risk, but also the reward — the breathtaking view and immense satisfaction. 

Mountains- A Biblical Theme

Given the awesome wonder of mountains, it is not surprising they are a theme found throughout the Bible. The Bible speaks on mountains in various ways, from seeing them as a place where God dwells to a reminder of God’s almighty sovereign reign (Psalm 99:9, Psalm 104:13-15). We know the mountains were made by God and at His command they would crumble to the sea (Psalm 97:5). So it is not that the mountains are immovable but rather how they point us to the One who is. W...

August 25, 2020

Have you ever perceived something to be true…like really true, but then you come face to face with that “something" and its turns out to be a false reality? I love Brussels sprouts, especially the way my wife makes them. Mustard, brown sugar, butter and baked in the oven. It’s so good!! All the Brussels sprout haters out there are probably already done with this post, but hang with me for a bit. My kids really didn’t like them either. Green vegetables might as well have a sign on them that reads “don’t eat me for fear of death.” I can’t begin to tell you of all the heated times of family fellowship that have been had around our dinner table because of the “green food” on their plates. One night by an act of God, our oldest actually tried one. The funniest thing was his face of shock when he actually liked them. The oldest giving his stamp of approval was all it took for the rest of our children to love Brussel sprouts too. The perception of hate quickly turned into one of love, and now...

August 18, 2020

I love art museums.

I love the ornate gold frames, the giant white walls, the sculptures from different eras, and the masterpieces from bygone years. I love the winding hallways, the gorgeous natural light, the echoing of footsteps on marble floors, and the hours it takes to take it all in.

I love people watching at art museums, too.

I love noticing the couples holding hands as they wander, the school children running through doorways evading their chaperones, the old woman asking the attendant questions, and the stranger sketching on a nearby bench.

But what I love most is the awe and wonder of art museums. 

I love the gathering of strangers to marvel at the creation of someone else. I love the general hush of the room (save those two students laughing as they breeze by) and the way you can get lost from exhibit to exhibit.

And when I find myself at art museums, my favorite thing is to stand close. 

If I wait long enough, I can usually stand close enough to a piece of art to where nothing el...

August 11, 2020

Snacking from a snack plate on my sofa, I sit in the stagnant warm air in my bottom floor apartment in Bend, Oregon. A snack plate is a reminder to me of the lack of routine going on around here. It feels as if it has been summer for 9 years. The high today will be 93. And tomorrow, 100.

How much longer of this season of summer can I take?

I long for cooler days. The crunch of Autumn beneath my feet as the crisp air nips our cheeks.

In the midst of a global shut-in - it can feel as if we will never feel the next season quite like we did before, doesn’t it? How will we spread cheer in the winter with masks on our faces? 

I take a sip of my cold coffee, and I’m quickly reminded that our seasons on earth echo the seasons the Lord has given us. If you look for it, there is a poetic nature in each quarter; a sanctification process exposing our truest self. Seasons are an outstanding representation of transformation. We embody this and we see our surroundings following that order as well.

In the...

August 4, 2020

I was talking to someone the other day about how I knew God is a God of breakthrough. She asked, “how can we know He will come through?”

I’ve struggled with this too.

Sometimes we have to shift our perspective. Our perspective tends to be: 

What is the outcome going to be?

When will this trial end?

When will I see a breakthrough? 

But it is helpful to shift our perspective instead to:

What is God doing right now?

What has He done before?

How am I seeing Him move today? 

I started writing down in my Growth Roots journal every time I see God at work in my life. When I feel anxious or don’t believe He’ll come through, I go back and read the list, or sometimes I’ll make a list again. 

Look back at your journey with God - what has He done? Did He give you that child you prayed for endlessly? Did He bring light to your depression? Did He provide an escape to a situation that you thought was inescapable? Did He answer your sorrow with joy? Did He provide relief to your stress? Did He lead you safely thr...

July 28, 2020

“I’m so scared, Mommy” she said, as she looked up at me with her big dark eyes, squeezing my hand tightly as the waves crashed and roared near us as we walked along the beach. 

What my toddler didn’t realize in that moment was that her simple statement echoed the deep cry of my own heart, and the perspective of so many of us as the covid-19 pandemic began to become our reality. 

Almost overnight, everywhere I turned I began to hear words like uncertain. Unprecedented. Crisis. Difficulty.

These words constantly rolled around my mind and my heart, just like the waves that pound the shore near the community where we live and serve in Baja, Mexico.

Desperate. Loss. Illness. Challenging times. Death.

Like so many others, our family’s daily routine suddenly shifted as we began to shelter in place. I watched the evening news, read daily virus updates and statistics, listened to the podcasts and projections of experts, let the opinions of social media in… and almost without even realizing it, I too...

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Our mission is to be on fire in our pursuit of Jesus. That no matter what season we’re in, we wouldn’t lose our ambition for growth, that we would leave every year more in love with God than we started, and that within our community we would champion each other on in our walks with the Lord.