Pretty on the outside

I am trying something new on this blog. Periodically I like to try to push myself to write more here and let people see into who I am, what I am doing and where God has brought me from and leading me to. What I thought I would start doing is stretching my writing skills a bit by using prompts. Not the normal prompts you would see in English class in high school, but actually visual prompts inspired by Unsplash. Unsplash provides 10 photographs every 10 days either on their site or through e-mail that can be used for whatever you want (creative commons license zero). The photographs are beautiful and professional.

My plan, then is to take one photograph from the e-mail I receive and write a blog post about something that comes to me when looking at one of those pictures.

So here is the first picture I chose from the most recent e-mail:



So, why this picture?

I know nothing about this picture other than what I see, but that is exactly what I want to talk about.

Last week I led my first small group of the year with 7 Sophomore boys. I wanted to get to know them some, but also help them feel more comfortable in the group so we played a boardgame called The Resistance. The idea of the game is that you have spies and you have resistance members. The spies want to make a majority of the missions fail while the members of the resistance want the majority to pass. Each round a new leader elects people to go on this mission based on their role and thoughts about who is a spy and who isn’t.

Essentially if you are a spy you lie and try to get everyone else to believe that you are a part of the resistance. So why the heck would I have my small group play this? Why would I encourage them to lie? Well the answer is pretty simple, I wanted to illustrate that often you present your outside as different from your inside. I wanted my small group to understand that in that group they were free to reveal what is inside with no worries of judgement. They didn’t have to worry about being caught, or being judged or secrets travelling around the school. They were safe.

That brings me back to the picture. I have no idea what is going on the inside of these buildings, but because of what is on the outside I would assume they look just as nice on the inside as they do the outside. Is that true? I have no idea. Too often we make our outsides looks like these buildings when in reality we are a mess on the inside. We worry too much about presenting ourselves in the best way, but slowly we are corroding from the inside out. Eventually what is on the inside will begin to affect the outside if we never take care of it. We need to spend time with the One who can help us maintain a proper inside and have a group of people who can walk along side of us no matter how gross we really are.

Who have you learned the truth from?

About a month ago I wrote a blog titled “Who are you today? ” based on some bus bench graffiti in Kandern that I saw. Within a week or so I came across another “wh” question, this time in Andy Flannagan’s devotional book,  “God 360°.” Andy asked “Who have you learned the truth from?”
Take a second right now, pause and really think about this question. Who, in your life has taught you the truth? Was it your parents, a sibling, another family member? A teacher perhaps? A coach, a babysitter, a Sunday school teacher, or pastor? Who taught you truth? Who has helped you see clearer what really is going on in the world? Who helped open your eyes?
In the devotional Andy suggests to make a list of ten of those people, contact them and tell them how much you appreciate them for what they did. It may not be easy to find some of them, but I promise it will be worth it. I haven’t quite contacted all 10 of mine, but I plan on doing that this week.
I want to take this one step further though. My question is, who are you sharing the truth with? Make another list of ten people and if you can’t quite make it to ten, find some more people to invest in. If you share with over ten, awesome, find some more anyway!

Will you join me in answering these questions and will you share some stories about how your contacts or search for new people went? I would love to hear them!

Eight Things I’m Gonna Say

Yesterday my sister Kim sent me a link to an article on Relevant Magazine’s website. The article was title “Eight Things Christians Don’t Want to Say.” and I liked it, a lot. The whole idea was that Christians are afraid to tell the whole truth, even to their closest friends. We are afraid of something, afraid that our “friends” might judge us, people might shun us, kick us out of church or at minimum give us that nasty stare that we all have seen before. I have always been annoyed by this fact, but what have I done about it, not a whole lot. Well, now it all changes. I’m going to take the 8 things from the article and discuss them here. I will put the list the author talks about, but if you want more information check out the article.

1. “I haven’t read my Bible in, like, three months.”

3 months doesn’t happen to me often, but there are definitely times where a week, two weeks and maybe even a month will go by without taking time to read the Bible for personal growth.

2. “Totally fell asleep during that prayer.”

Oh, my gosh this has happened to me more times than I can count. What happens more often though is I will start praying, my brain will stray to some random topic, I’ll realize that and then go back to praying and then the cycle repeats itself multiple times.

3. “Has anyone ever read the book of Zephaniah?”

I have read the whole Bible, but could I tell you where that one verse is, or who wrote each book or any other detail like that? Probably not.

4. “Church was really, really boring today.”

Ummm, yeah that definitely happens. Sometimes it is the topic (parenting and/or marriage since they don’t apply) and sometimes it is the mood I am in.

5. “I loved The DaVinci Code.”

The DaVinci Code was good (book, not movie), but I didn’t love it. I do love other books though that discuss things like murder and things like that. My favorite author, David Baldacci, writes mostly about CIA, FBI and other acronym organizations. Do I let it change my actions throughout the day or change my beliefs about killing people? Nope, sure don’t!

6. “Have you guys been to that new bar?”

This one I have never had a major problem with, in fact my Bible study used to take trips to wine tastings and when asked how we knew each other we gladly told them Bible study and then proceeded to drink responsibly.

7. “I’m probably going to forget to pray about that.”

This was my favorite one, because I am glad I am not the only person who sucks at this. I have told so many people that I will pray for them and then promptly forget. I have tried to stop this by praying immediately, out loud or silently, but that doesn’t always happen either. If you ask me for prayer, ask me to pray for you right then, that will probably guarantee you a prayer.

8. “I have no idea what any of this means.”

I can honestly say this statement about a lot of Christian books and some books/verses in the Bible. I have never studied the Bible in school or anything and I’m not the best with big words or old-school language so that’s probably why I struggle, but nonetheless I often read and reread the same verse/paragraph several times.

Well, there is some truth for you! I hope I don’t get any of those nasty stares.