Thursday, May 6, 2021

What is Bible Engagement?

What is Bible Engagement? What makes Bible Engagement so important? When I was a young girl in my 20’s in college, I would treat the Bible as if it was a Russian roulette game. I would take my Bible and flip it open and randomly read whatever popped up on the page. In my mind I had this idea that somehow that was what God wanted me to hear. I don’t know what made me think that this was a good way to engage the Bible. It wasn’t very helpful. We must remember the Bible is more descriptive than it is prescriptive, since over 70% of the Bible is in narrative. What does the Bible say about Bible Engagement? Psalm 78:1-4 describes for us why Bible Engagement is so important. “Oh, My People, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a Parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past-stories we have heard, and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation of the glorious deeds of our LORD about His power and His mighty wonders.” Psalm 78:1-4 Bible Engagement includes: 1. LISTENING to GOD and HIS INSTRUCTIONS 2. RESPONDING to WHAT GOD SAYS 3. RECEIVING FROM GOD HIDDEN LESSONS FROM THE PAST 4. SHARING THE STORIES to the NEXT GENERATION 5. PRAISING GOD for HIS POWER and WONDER Bible Engagement is intentional, it is personal, it is generational, it is educational and worshipful. Why do we want to engage the Bible? “And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light from the power of Satan to God. They will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.” Acts 26:17-18 Bible Engagement shows us how to rescue… a. Opens our eyes and allows us to see darkness. b. Shows us how to move toward the light. c. Opens our eyes and allows us to see the power of Satan. d. Show us how to move into the righteousness of God. e. Opens our eyes to see our sin. f. Shows us the forgiveness of sin is available. g. Shows us that we have a place among the people of God. We cannot know that we are set apart by faith if we have not heard! When we engage the Bible, it enables us to put on our new self because the knowledge we are gaining about Him changes us. Be in the Word. Be with Jesus. Be transformed! Shalom y’all! 😉 I am starting a new series on Bible Engagement! I would love your feedback. What would you like to see in the series? What aspects of Bible engagement was most helpful to you and why? What aspects of Bible Engagement was frustrating for you and caused you to struggle? What would be helpful in your pursuit of getting into the Word of God and why? Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback! ;)

Sunday, May 2, 2021

You Lack Nothing

You do not lack any spiritual gift as you wait for Christ Jesus! Sit on that for a moment. You do not lack! You have spiritual gifts in Jesus. You do not lack any spiritual gift! Do you ever feel inadequate?  Do you ever think, I do not have the ability? I know in my life God has a habit of putting me in situations where I think, "Uhm, no clue! I do not know what to do!" But I have gotten in the habit of praying in the moment, "Help!" 

My step-dad has always said, "You have a hot line to Jesus!" He is correct in that I cry out for help alot! But, the reality is that it is no hotter than the next person who cries out. We all have a holy hotline to Jesus. If we ask Him for the words, knowledge, or spiritual gift for that moment, He will answer! We just need to ask. When I do this, I am often amazed and sometimes flat out confounded because He is so generous to listen and help me. Please do not get me wrong in thinking this is like genie magic because that is not what I am saying. This is about seeking to live, speak, and serve with words that build up and give honor to restore, refresh, reconcile, and redeem. It is not about getting what I want when I want it. It is a blessing when I get it right and it is a blessing when another does so in return. 

When was the last time you enjoyed this kind of conversational beauty? Would you consider today praying in the moment, "Father, please help me to speak and serve in Your Spiritual gifting and not in my own?" Then walk in obedience as the Spirit leads you in all truth for that moment. 

"I always thank my God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in Him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed" (1 Corinthians 1:4-7).

Beloved, you do not lack!

Friday, April 30, 2021

What makes a continuous open door to family?

I have not been able to stop asking GOD to make me a generous person because I have seen that God is so generous. I looked up the original Hebrew pictographs to see what it would have meant and again I love the beauty of a word. Generous would have meant that my life will be the continous entrance or door to family or in to the house of family. WOW! Ponder the beauty of that! When I open myself up to give freely of all I am or all I have it is like opening up myself to someone to come inside my family home not just inside, but be "in". No wonder generosity was so crucial in hospitality. No wonder why it is so crucial today.

Sometimes, I just don't want to be generous of attitude. Have you ever been there? Sometimes, I don't want to be giving. But, what I have found is that when I give all. You know know that spirit of welcome that just brings joy deep down so that even your toes want to bounce. I know the blessing of my home being full because generosity builds family. Not just the bloodline kind, but the I am safe and secure with you and know I am loved simply because I am me, kind.

What we have to recognize is that this isn't the entrance into just any family, but the family of God. God is generous toward us so that we can be generous toward others. He models the open door policy so that we too will have an open door.

So, I am praying. No, I am begging. Father, please make me, my Greg, my kids, my ministry partners, and my friends generous. Let us continously be the entrance to being in Your family, O God! In Jesus name amen.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

ALL NATIONS BY ALL MEANS. NARION 2021

NARION ONLINE CONNECTIOThe first time I signed up for an ION event I was struggling with how to be a better communicator with the Bible. My seminary training was amazing! I love it, but I found that I was communicating in a way that was not speaking to the heart language of my people. I was teaching the Bible to women in Omaha, in a homeless shelter, at speaking engagements, and at church. I discovered through struggle that when I used Bible stories my people caught what I taught on levels I never anticipated or thought to share. I had women come up to me and say, "For the first time, I actually understand what is being shared about the Bible. It is like you were able to read my heart!" We all know that I was not reading their heart. I am not clairvoyant! LOL! But, I accidentally tapped into the reality that STORY speaks to the person where they are at. The room can be filled with different ages, stages, educational levels, backgrounds, and cultures when a story is told and every person in the room can learn and hear from GOD directly. IT IS SO POWERFUL AND SO BEAUTIFUL! 

I knew immediately that I had found my tribe! So, I went on to get my doctorate in Biblical storytelling. My dissertation was on how to use Bible stories to disciple the homeless. I did my research practice right here in Omaha at the Open Door Mission. During my research, I had one man that used to draw profanity on his paper. His first paper had this statement, "I will never listen to this madman, Jesus!" Through the process of six weeks of telling the group Bible stories and using simple questions to allow them to discover the truth on their own, the man stopped drawing inappropriate art and started processing what he was discovering. I had no way of knowing who each sheet belonged to because there were no names in my research documents for security purposes. But because he drew on his paper I knew which one was his. I have to admit that I wondered how I was going to present those documents to my panel during my dissertation phase! Oh my!

Two weeks after I finished my research, the young man came up to me weeping and asked if he could talk to me. I was astounded as he shared his story of pain and suffering. He shared about his anger and how he wanted to lash out because of his pain. BUT... when he started hearing how Jesus loved him and desired to have a relationship with him as he processed through the Bible stories. He realized that he needed Jesus. This young man shared with me that he decided to follow Jesus and that he wanted me to know that he was getting baptized the following Sunday. 

I never once told this young man what to believe. I never told him what to do. I never told him to get baptized. All I did was share the Bible stories faithfully and asked questions so that he could listen and hear from God directly. God met him and ministered to his pain. I share this in hopes that you might consider attending this conference to learn how to communicate the Bible in a way that will speak to the heart language of the people you serve. 

Our team has gathered leaders from all over the world that are deep in the process of learning and serving just like you and me! COME JOIN US FOR THIS ONLINE CONNECTION! 

WE DO HAVE EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION! 

Mark your calendar for NARION 2021!
Join us as we seek, through God's power, to reach ALL NATIONS by ALL MEANS!

Do you desire to reach all nations by all means with the gospel?
Are you looking for a network with which to collaborate?
Do you long for community that seeks to educate through simple, organic, and reproducible methods?
Are you seeking to reach the oral majority in your community?

​If so, the NARION 2021 is the online connection for you!

Online Connection Dates: October 15 - 16, 2021*

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Exposed

Mom and I are sitting in the quiet morning hour reading and talking and I had to share this verse with her because it is so powerful. "But everything exposed by the light becomes visible and everything that is illuminated becomes light" (Ephesians 5:13). In verse 9-10, it says that the fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. We are challenged to have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Why? Because we want to be illuminated so that we become light. To shine light on something means that it is exposed. Nothing is hidden. It is revealed. 

Recently, a dear friend was at our house as we were preparing for a dinner for a few friends. She could hear in my tone something was wrong so she asked, "Are you mad?" She illuminated to me in that moment that my tone was communicating something I did not intend. Honestly, I was in alot of pain. I deal with chronic pain from an injury and sometimes when I push too hard as I keep moving through the pain to get things done rather than just listen to my body and rest. Her kind question illuminated or exposed my tone which caused me to stop, pay attention to my voice, and body. This helped me to move back into the goodness of light. I apologized to her and my dear Greg and said, "I am so sorry. I am in pain. Please forgive me for my tone. I am not mad. You are hearing me pushing when I should stop. Let's get some tea and rest." Of course both of them were gracious and then concerned. We made tea and sat for a bit. This allowed my body to catch up with me. And helped them to know my heart.

I realize to some illumination is scary because they are hiding untruth and ungodliness. This verse promises a movement to become light. The light is truth and truth always sets us free. This is why we worked so hard as parents to not let our children lie to us. I would tell Mikayla and Grant, "Tell me the truth and it will go well, but lie and you will regret it." They always feared it meant discipline, but the truth is I knew they would regret not being in an honest relationship with me and their dad. The only way true healing can take place is if we get into the light and let things be exposed. The release brings freedom and removes all separation built up from darkness. 

Here is the process.
1. Darkness is exposed.
2. Illumination reveals.
3. Light living brings freedom.

Our former darkness becomes the very way God uses us to bring light to others. 

I know it hurts to have light shone on us in a dark area of the heart and mind. But, remember, just as physical light hurts our eyes initially when we are in darkness, but it only takes a few seconds to adjust. It is also true in exposing our darkness to the light. It might feel intense the first few seconds, but then it brings great illumination that makes you want stand and bask in the light.

Would you please consider asking God to expose the darkness so that you might be illuminated and become light? I know do! I want to only walk in the light in every area of my life. 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Two Types of Partnerships are revealed at the Tomb of the Risen LORD

A few thoughts occur to me as I reflect on Easter Day. Why are we so willing to participate in lies or believe a lie instead of truth? Why are we so willing to be deceived by our governing authorities rather than live in freedom? Why are we willing to be a partner in spreading those lies? I recently discovered that to partner with someone based on the Greek definition means to have fellowship in communication, distribution, and communion. Wozer! This really makes you think about the who you partner with and the what of what you do and say. As you listen to the Easter story consider those that chose to partner in the lies. When the Roman soldiers told the religious leaders what happened, the religious leaders told them we will give you money to go tell a lie. And as if that wasn't bad enough the religious leaders said to not be afraid because if the governor doesn't believe, we will pay him off, too. Oh my! They were willing to place themselves at the table of those who deceive. I always wondered how they trusted anyone since they so willingly went around supporting a lie. What a horrible way to live.

Now for the beautiful and positive side of partnership. While Jesus was dead in the tomb the two Mary's demonstrated the beauty of their fellowship with Jesus. They planned to go care for His body as soon as Sabbath ended. Because of their partnership with Jesus, they were allowed the privilege of being surprised by God! Have you ever been surprised by God? I can testify it is amazing. I find He does this for me daily as I seek fellowship that falls in the communion level. This means we are willing to sit and eat together. This is where life gives way to life. I love that these two women were allowed to see the angel casually perched on a rock. Oh how I wonder what his expression was like or the delight he felt waiting for this auspicious moment when he had the privilege to say, "I know you have come to see Jesus, but He is not here!  He is risen!" I don't know which is better, to be the one being surprised or to be the giver of the surprise! Both are amazing! Both are born in the gift of partnership. Both are willing to say, "Yes! I will sit and dine with You and listen to what You have to say so that I might be Your instrument to communicate and distribute Your truth." Beloved, in Greek that is KOINONIA! Koinonia is partnership. It relates. The two women did not disappoint! They ran immediately to go tell the others! They now get to be the wondrous giver of the truth! He is risen! 

So on this Easter Sunday two thousand years later I wonder, who do you partner with in your heart and life? What do you partner your mind and does it give life or take life? Does it build up or tear down?

As for me and my house we invite you to come and see, "He is risen!" He is risen, indeed! Join us in celebrating our risen Savior! 

Shalom y'all!

Click on the link to discover the two types of partnerships that took place surrounding Jesus' death:

Easter Sunday: The day Jesus rises from the grave

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Put them to Shame

Inside a possible Tomb of Jesus

Here's the deal. You cannot stop God! His plans will not be thwarted. You can lie. You can steal. You can kill. You can do cover up! But HIS WILL, WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED! GOD'S silence does not mean He is not at work. GOD'S silence means you better get ready because something is about to happen. Are you ready?

Saturday was a very sad day indeed. Yet, if the disciples took the time to remember, Jesus told them over and over I will rise from the grave on the third day. Sometimes, we hear something; we acknowledge it; we might even nod our heads, but we do not get it until it happens. And then we have a major "aha" moment. The irony of this day is that the enemies of Jesus believed it enough to try to cover it up. They were willing to lie and spread rumors to cause confusion. This is where the difference of true belief is revealed. The religious leaders belief did not lead to obedience to do God's will. Their belief lead them to do the will of Satan. Remember, Satan is the one that comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). While they plotted, the disciples grieved and prayed, but there were a few that prepared to go to the Tomb. Soon their grief will turn to dancing. 

In Revelations 1:18 we are told that Jesus holds the keys of death and Hades (hell). And in Colossians 2:15 we are told that Jesus disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to shame by triumphing over them. There is alot of discussion through church tradition on what did Jesus do when He was dead. Some speculate that He went to Hades and took the keys of hell. Honestly, Scripture does not say specifically. We do know He holds the keys and He is triumphant. We do not know the how and when it took place. However, since God is the Most High God we can know for certain that He was the one in control. He has planned from the moment of creation to be in an everlasting relationship with us. We should be humbled at the lengths He would go to show us. 

Which one are you? Will you put them to shame by believing that Jesus triumphed over death? 

Listen to the story on this link:

Easter Week Saturday: Remember the time Jesus was in the tomb