To Christians Who Love The Donald, Cheer On Hillary or Are Feeling The Bern.

Christians disagree. I know that may be a newsflash for some, but tis true. We don’t always hold hands around a camp fire and sing 80’s choruses.  

Sometimes the banters are
  •       mild: seriously? What is UP with the new carpeting?
  •            medium: Why are we switching from hymn books and a choir to jeans and a band?
  •            moderate: Are we going to decide to minister only within our walls or are we going to love the community and the outsider?
  •             just awful: Who are you voting for?
All levels of banter may cause stress in us-humans.  Depending on your personality, the new carpeting in the hallway could be enough to pull out the sword of your tongue and slice your opponent up nicely.  For others, it takes getting to the just-awful stage before your weapon is wielded.

One thing I know for sure: People like Comebacks. 

Not comebacks like a Comeback-Kid. More of a quick-witted-reprimand-comeback from a hard topic debate point.

"...and then I said this to them..." 

"... Ooooh that's good... How did they respond?"

“…well, they had nothing to say, I clearly was right…” (and humble, apparently)

For the non-quick-witted person, you think of your Comeback when you arrive home an hour later: MAN! I shoulda said THIS! UGH… I might just text them that thought!

We tend to view the "other side" as our enemy and their opposite view is complete persecution to our existence. Bless our hearts.

Reminder: God is still in charge and is not panicking about: carpet, choir robes, jeans or Donald Trump.

Jesus had something to say about all of this: Love our enemies and pray for them.

This doesn’t mean we are silent on issues we find important (and culture-changing).  Everyone has opinions and convictions that can (and need) to be heard in a manner worthy of our new name. 

And as hard as it is to hold my own sharp, brattish, frustrated tongue, I know we can have a wise, convicting, and necessary exchange about hot topics without losing our ever-lovin-minds. (I too have a hard time living by this code.)

Truth be told: we need opinions! We need to hear each other. There are points that need to be discussed within Churches that need not remain silent.  Some bodies of believers are changing Cultures for the better and I believe most of that happened through open, honest, level-headed dialogue. 

Now about the political climate: I. Am. Stumped. (Don’t get that confused with Trumped)

Personally, I am baffled by the current situation in politics. I have so many thoughts, questions and nervousness that I need to talk about or I am going to burst.

But I am certain: I have opinions, you have opinions and somehow we can navigate these waters civilly.

So as a reminder to us all: If Donald-Lovers or Hillary-Cheerers are driving you absolutely nuts or you may not be feeling the Bern at all, lets live out the words in Romans: Bless and Do Not Curse.

And at the end of the day, may we all remember, we have been given a Kingdom mandate: Love God, Love Others.

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MultiSite Church Is Changing My Kids

In August my family and I took the plunge with our Church and became One Church in Multiple Locations.  We have been a part of the newest campus of Mount Ararat for the last six months.

 I can rattle off to you the incredible ways multisite Churches are affective in reaching communities with the gospel.  I can tell you story after story of how people are reached with the gospel because of these spunky little campus-plants. 

However, there is one aspect I wasn’t aware would take place: Our new Campus launch has greatly impacted my kids.  

And by greatly, I mean WE LOVE IT. Its producing something in them that I did not foresee.

1                  ONE: They are becoming Initiative-Seekers.  They are learning to see what needs to be done, step up and do it. 
                                Chairs need to be set up? On it!
                                Carpets rolled out? I got it!
                                Tableclothes put on? Lemme help!

                    TWO: They are learning that waking up at 5AM to get to the high school to help set up Church is a good thing. (A weekly Starbucks Chai is also a nice incentive.)

3                 THREE: Mulit-Site has made them appreciate a small church feel.  There are about 400 people at our new campus… and my kids feel like Norm entering Cheers every single Sunday. They love feeling valued and wanted. And as their Mama, I love that.

4                 FOUR: There is something special and unique about our Church meeting in a High School. Our kids are learning that The Church truly is a group of people, not a building. 

5                 FIVE: Community Ownership is forming in the hearts of my kids. At the local Christmas parade, the High School Marching Bands of all the local high schools marched through the main streets of Fredericksburg while we sipped our Hot Cocoa.  Upon site of our Campus High School Marching Band, my youngest squealed: “Look Mama! It’s our Church Band!"They feel ownership of all of Colonial Forge High School and its peeps.

Being a part of a Multi-Site Church makes you scrappy!  Our Multi-Site Campus people are early to rise, late to leave, quick to serve and consistent to cheer (LOUDLY) when a guest arrives for the very first time. You take nothing for granted and every WIN is overly celebrated.

I stand back on Sunday morning and watch our Set-Up-Tear-Down-Ninjas (young, old and in between) working like maniacs to get our High School ready and I realize: we are a part of something exciting. 

Because of the vision & pioneering attitude of Multi-Site-Men-And-Women, this next generation coming up behind us knows that The Church will do whatever it takes to reach people with the the love of Jesus. Love our neighbors, hand out hot chocolate, serve our community, get up early, stay later, hug a grieving parent, high five a toddler, hang pipe and drape, take out the trash, rock a baby, set up tables, tear down chairs, unload trailers, etc…

I am grateful beyond grateful that my kids are bearing witness to hundreds of men and women who are an example of service within this Multi-Site movement.  

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Teenagers, You Have Followers Beyond Instagram

Teenagers, Youth, Young-Ones, Students, Millennials…whatever this generation is called right now… this letter is to you.

You matter in the plan of discipleship in the life of my children.  You more-than-matter.  You are a strategic part of guiding their hearts towards Christ… with the hope that they will love Jesus and love others well.

You see, we are counting on you and are so very thankful for you and the role you play. We are holding your potential influence in high regard.  You are more than your title may explain. 

“Student Volunteer” should be renamed: Weekly Engager who escorts my child’s imagination, learning and understanding to the feet of Jesus where she learns a little bit more about her role in God’s greater story and plan.

I have two beautiful, life-loving girls who are watching you and want to be like you.  They are watching how you interact with other teens, your temperament with your parents, your relationship with school and work… but most importantly, they are watching what you do with Jesus and how well you love others.

Some might say this is way too much pressure to put upon a teenager… but here is what I know: teenagers grow to be leaders and leaders have followers.

And, sweet friend, there is no waiting to be a leader: you are leading now.  How do I know this?  Because my daughter is following you. 

As her mother, my most sincere wish and request I have of you… invest well in our girls.

You aren’t in this alone, when the time comes that you don’t know the choice to make or the way to lead my girl, ask me. We don’t expect perfection at all.  That’s the beauty of grace.  Our daughter will get to watch the One who helps you when this life is hard.

She will get to see just how Jesus carries you during all the seasons of this life: wise, unwise, good, bad, hard and lovely.

I am so thankful for this partnership with you. You have NO idea. Especially during the Tween years for my girls. They will soon be eye-rolling me while following you so closely they could trip on your shadow.

I love that we will both be able to speak influence over their hearts.  And I appreciate that in the coming years, your voice will be cooler to their ears than my voice.

We will stand with each other during times of uncertainty. You are holding our parental arms up by loving on our girls. We will most certainly walk this life with you and hold your arms up also during difficult seasons.

This life is hard. We need you.  We need you to take our energetic-girls for a hot chocolate at Starbucks (Tall Size but at the Kids Cup Temperature), to cheer them on at a basketball game (whistle extra loud… it will not embarrass them AT ALL) and to give them a thumbs-up from across the room to show them they are seen and valued.

That’s community. That’s the Body of Christ. 

You are loved. You are valued. You are needed as we grow our girls into young women.

Multiple-voices speaking truth over their lives… can you imagine the impact of that beautiful-layered-discipleship?

We want to also be these things for you. We know that being a teenager is not an easy task in this world. We understand because we are walking the teenager-road with our son.  We have seen the value in others investing in him and reminding him: you are valuable, you have a purpose, you have a story that will be used for God’s glory and the good of His people.

You will mess up. We will mess up. Thank goodness for the grace of Jesus that covers up our mess ups. During your major milestones, our family of five will cheer you on, squeal loudly, make tacky signs and celebrate BIG as God’s plans unfold for your life. We can also be the ones holding the softest Kleenex, providing a sturdy shoulder and offering the yummiest of chocolates during the sad and hard times of your journey.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for investing in our girls. Thank you for seeing the value of your leadership over their lives. Thank you for being a part of the young women they will become. We absolutely, whole-heartedly adore you. 

I fully believe and am confident in this fact: your investment will be experienced for generations.  Our girls will one day become women… and possibly wives and Moms and working-women. 

You are helping to impact entire generations by investing in our girls now. 

For that, we deeply, with full gratitude, say thank you.

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