He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. - Colossians 1:15-16

Monday, December 31, 2007

Reach Out Anyway


Dearest Julie,

Oh I can relate and understand so much of what you've said. I too am alone this New Years Eve. I wish I could say it's the first time...but instead I pray it's the last time.

But I've been doing this a lot longer than you are even old…and I pray that I might have some words that God will use to comfort you and help keep you going and growing in Him. Never, never give up…put your hope in Jesus alone.

I wish you lived near me…I know that you would love our church…and would feel at home. In turn…the body of Christ at Kindred Community Church would reach out to you. So if you are ever in southern California…you have an official invitation.

When I didn’t receive the invitation that I had hoped for to spend Christmas with friends…I didn’t wait to see if I would be alone. Instead I reached out to a loving Christian family that I am blessed by God to know. For several years the Apple family had invited me to Christmas and Thanksgiving. But I had always declined…because I felt guilty about not seeing my mom on a holiday. She has Alzheimer’s and only a couple of people see her…and it’s important to be there with her.

But this year I couldn’t bear to be alone at Christmas. Even though I felt hurt…the pain of spending Christmas alone motivated me to reach out and ask, “Could I spend Christmas with you?”. I knew the answer before I even asked…because this family embodies walking in the love of Christ like few I know. The warm and loving answer was, “We’d love to have you”.

I’m so glad I asked…because it was lovely day…and I really enjoyed the people and time I spent with them. Be it a drive to see Krista Beth’s horse…or meeting Carrie, a friend of the Apple’s I had heard so much about…to having the most delicious dinner prepared by Vicki…or watching Fredo the cat try his best to capture the helicopter flying around the room…the day was wonderful. My favorite time of the day was in the evening sitting on the sofa by the Christmas tree…and chatting with Doreen. We just talked about stuff…God stuff and people stuff. I even asked Doreen to be in prayer for me regarding my single status…to which she agreed. And yes…I did go and spend the morning with my mom on Christmas day too.

I guess the point is that I reached out and asked. Doreen likely would have extended an invitation even if I hadn’t asked. But rather than be depressed to think I would be alone at Christmas I made sure I asked.

This same family, the Apple family, I can remember a day almost three years ago when I didn’t know them. For two years we had officially been a church…but met at the Elk’s Lodge in Santa Ana, until such time as God provided a church home for us. When we finally moved into our church property…this is when we grew even more as a church family. Ministry opportunities and needs where there…and I felt God pushing me, “Susan…you need to get involved and serve in one of the ministries.”

So when sign up time came…I signed up to work the coffee ministry one Sunday a month. I didn’t know any of the people I would be working with so I felt pretty uncomfortable. But you know what I told myself? “Susan, right now you don’t know these people, but before long you’ll know them and they’ll be your friends.” Little did I know how right I was. That Sunday I began working with Doreen and Charles…under the command of Coffee Captain Mike. People that I didn’t know…before long became most precious to me…and I thank God for them daily. Now each year when it comes time for sign up…we do so under the specification that we must work as a team. That experience helped to work in other areas too.

Because I took that step even though I knew I would feel uncomfortable for time…I got to know Charles and Doreen’s adopted daughters Ramona and Lisa. One of my favorite things to do each Sunday morning is to go and give Ramona and Lisa a hug and kiss and remind them that they are my “favorite Kindred girls”. When I ask them…“Have I ever told you I love you?”…I get a resounding yes! There is nothing as sweet as sitting there early on Sunday morning…before everyone arrives…with my arms around these precious girls as we listen to the worship team and sing along. Ramona gives some of the best hugs…and I would have missed out on that…if I hadn’t risked feeling uncomfortable for a season.

Julie…reach out and take some risks. You’ll feel uncomfortable for a while…and that’s okay. Don’t wait till the last minute and hope that you might be invited or included. Reach out to others. I can guarantee you that there others that feel like you do…and you can reach out to them.

Recently I attended a Christmas concert at church on a Sunday night. I didn’t want to sit alone…so I sat with some friends. Maybe it was because it was Christmas time that I was feeling particularly lonely. I just wanted to have someone put their arms around me and hold me close. But no one was reaching out to me and I felt all the more lonely. I looked over and sitting next me was a lady whose husband had been out of town for the week. I figured she was probably a little bit lonely too…so I reached over and put my arm around her as we sang the last Christmas hymn. Later she came and told me thank you. She had been alone all week…and just needed a hug. So God use my hurt and loneliness to reach out to someone else.

Let Him use you Julie to reach out to others who are hurting and lonely and just need a little love. You know what it's like when it’s missing. Never forget that feeling and make sure that you are reaching out to others. People don’t always wear their hurt on their sleeves…and likely won’t share with you “Gee wiz…I’m lonely”. God has given you this experience so you can know what it’s like to be lonely and hurting. Don’t turn inward…instead you need to reach out to others.

I’m sure that you are well aware of God’s admonition that we are not to forsake the assembling of one another. We need that interaction with one another and time of corporate worship. We need to be serving the needs of those in the body of Christ. If you are part of a church body…you are able to contribute and help meet other’s needs. Remember…God has specially gifted you…and he has a place where he wants you to be a part of. If you can’t get to church because you are snowed in or too sick…that’s one thing. But if you are healthy and able…you need to find a place where you fit in, in the body of Christ. Julie…maybe you are a hand or an arm in the body Christ…but whatever you are…if you are not where God has called you…that body is missing that hand or arm.

Julie…I must confess I would rather die than to go through another year alone. It's so very, very hard. But unless the Lord calls me home...or He returns that may be a reality next year as well.

But I ain’t going to let Satan win. He wants to keep me discouraged, lonely and depressed…and thus render me ineffective in the body of Christ. He wants to make me doubt God’s goodness, love and care for me. Instead of having me say…“God…I don’t like this…but please don’t waste what I’m going through…at least use it to help others…and please answer my prayers for a husband.” It’s a choice that I have to make daily.

Satan knows that being single and lonely is my biggest area of vulnerability. He likes use it to make me doubt God…and sometimes I believed his lies. But I don’t want to waste anymore time. I don’t want the lessons I’ve learned in the pain to be lost and wasted when I instead I can take steps and reach out to others.

Sometimes you will be rejected when you reach out. You’ll act out of love for others…and it may be rejected or you will be used and it won’t be reciprocated. But keep reaching out. You’ll be amazed at what God will bring into your life just from obeying and taking some risks.

As far being alone…recently I spent some time with someone who doesn’t exactly hold me high esteem and it was reflected in their actions toward me. That’s when I discovered there ain’t no loneliness like be with someone who doesn’t care. That loneliness is worse than being alone. I’d rather wait a little while longer for the man whom God will bring. Someone who will love and treasure me for who I am.

Julie that’s my prayer for both you and me. That next New Year’s Eve…instead of writing pieces about being alone and lonely on New Year’s Eve…we’ll be writing a praise report on how faithful God was. That He heard our cries…and that according to His perfect timing and plan…He brought each of us the husband whom He perfectly fit for us. That we will be filled with joy and gratitude for His mercy and grace poured out upon us. But I also pray that we will never, ever forget what it feels like to be alone, lonely and unloved. That it will motivate us as we reach out to other in our lives.

There are some things that I want to leave behind this year Julie…and not take with me to 2008. One of those things is unforgiveness. If I think I’ve forgiven someone an offense…but I keenly remember it every time I see them and feel that wound again…I haven’t forgiven them in full. I’m the one being tortured…not them. But if I was the one that offended and caused hurt…wouldn’t I be most grateful for forgiveness. To know that person doesn’t hold it against me any longer. That when I talk to them we are in the present…in the here and now…and they are not thinking back to a time when I hurt them. Wouldn’t I want that?

Sometimes forgiveness must be given to people who should know better and act better because of who they are. Just because you forgave them…doesn’t mean that what they did is now okay. It’s just saying I’m letting it go and not going to hold it against you any longer. As I write this…I’m speaking to myself as much as you.

Can you imagine Jesus paying the penalty for our sins and forgiving us…but then when we meet him face to face…Him being cold or wanting to avoid us and not be with us because we hurt Him? No…Jesus has forgiven us in full. He asks us to do the same. It’s hard to do…but don’t do it on your own strength…do it by the power of the Holy Spirit within you.

So Julie…I’m praying for God to heal up any emotional wounds you bear...that you will be able to let them go and start lighter because you released of your burdens…and are starting fresh in 2008.

Blessings to you dear one…and praying that God will answer both our prayer for a husband in 2008.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

No Room


It wasn’t a fiery sermon preached from the pulpit, but instead a verse from the precious Christmas hymn, "Away in a Manger". The words stopped in my throat…and I could only whisper them…mouth the words as tears filled my eyes.

“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed”

Those words brought me up short and I realized I had gotten it all wrong. It was Christmas and I hadn’t made room for Jesus.

Oh there was time to decorate and attend Christmas festivities. I made time to make a list and check it twice…and shop for just the right gifts. I slipped in some Christmas concerts and even a party on the sparkling waters of Newport Beach.

But I didn’t make time for my Savior.

I enjoyed Christmas lights…but didn’t delight in the Light of the world.

Oh I attended church and Bible study and even prayed. But I didn’t seek special time to spend with Jesus…to thank Him for what He has done for me. In all the hustle and bustle of the season…I didn’t share the Good News of Gospel with someone who is overwhelmed or hurting or alone for the first time.

I didn’t spend time reading the story of Jesus’ most miraculous birth as God became man. He who is fully God and fully man…this One who was born to die. Willing to submit Himself unto the Father’s plan…in order to redeem me, buy me back and save me from my sin.

Everything I have…everything I am comes from Him. And I didn’t give Him the one thing I can offer…my time.

When I look at the gifts I received and the things I most treasure from this Christmas…it was time spent with friends…just chatting. Sometimes about important things…more often than not…it was just about stuff. Nothing earth shaking…but just time spent caring for one another.

If that’s what I enjoyed the most…why would I think my Lord and Savior wouldn’t love that too?

What I missed the most…was spending time with friends...talking and catching up…or getting away for a while from the hustle and bustle and demands that never end. Focusing on another…listening and carrying their burdens for a while.

Jesus gave His life so that I might live…He bore the penalty for my sins upon His body. He gave His all…and didn’t even give Him my time.

My foolish investment of time and energy made what is so precious…devoid of real meaning. If only I had focused on Christ…how might the rest of time and relationships have been during this season? Christ centered, peaceful, joyful, walking in love, mindful of the real reason behind the celebration. Walking in manner worthy of my high calling…and aiming to please my Savior…to bring Him joy.

When I really love someone…don’t I find great joy and happiness in pleasing them and making them happy? Won’t it be more so when I please Jesus?

Oh Jesus…I’m sorry I made no room for You this Christmas. Jesus I ask You, please don’t let me do this again…to walk so foolishly. May I be ever mindful of the treasure You are…and hold onto You and value You…and never let You go.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Bell




The Bell is courtesy of Jay Hoyt...thanks for sharing!

Isn’t That Just Like Him?


As I was shutting the door this morning…I whispered, “God, Your word tells me that You are near to the brokenhearted. Oh God…You must be so very close to me right now. I just wish I could feel it.” With that plea uttered to my Savior…I locked the door and walked to my car.

As I put my things in the back seat I looked down to find a paper that looked old and tattered with a piece of dirty tape adhered to the back of the paper. I was going to close the door…but something prompted me to stop. I opened the door wide and picked up the paper. I didn’t recognize it…until I turned it over.

There…low and behold…was God reaching down to me in the form of my Believing God statement of faith.

I couldn’t tell you how many years ago I typed up that card. Was it two or three years ago…maybe more? I hadn’t seen that card since I first read Beth Moore’s book Believing God. That was my introduction to her. I liked her…but would later find that God would use Beth’s Bible teaching to touch me deeply.

I held the card in my hand…not quite comprehending how it got there. I didn’t need to read to the card to know what it said…because I know it well. But I read it out loud anyway…just to remind myself.

God is who He says He is.
God can do what He says He can do.
I am who God says I am.
I can do all things through Christ
God’s word is alive and active in me.

I’m Believing God

On a very low, low day…when I wondered…how can I go on…Jesus was the lifter of my head. He showed me that He sees and that He cares. He not only wipes every tear from my eyes…but He holds each tear in a bottle…as if it’s most precious to Him. Why He cares for me…I don’t know…but He does.

I don’t know if that paper was in my Bible and slipped out…or if it was dislodged from a recent trip to the car wash. But I know it was God, in His perfecting timing, taking the time to remind me in personal and powerful way…that I need to Believe God…and keep believing Him.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lazy Faith


On today’s faith venture in Believing God…I’m seeing a clear picture that I have lazy faith.
I thank God that He trusts me enough to reveal these things…that means He trusts me to want to change them. Now I fully admit I can’t change it on my own. But even knowing that is good…because before I thought it was a goal achieved through my own effort and self will. Now I know that I am weak and unable to do anything on my own…must less exercise faith.

I can see in the past that God, in His mercy, answered prayers of mine when I had little or no faith. He didn’t do it because I exercised great faith and trusted in Him. He did it out of mercy and because He knew I was a new Christian or young in my faith.

But I grew lazy…not wanting to strive or to pray without ceasing…but still get God to answer my prayers. I could have my proverbial cake and eat it too. When I do that…I’m acting worse then an unbeliever.

But God is not satisfied in leaving me young and immature in my faith. He wants me to grow…in faith and in my knowledge of Him. He wants me to participate. To believe Him…to keep believing…even when my circumstances would say otherwise.

I think I have been more satisfied with justifying my unbelief and lack of faith then in believing God. I’ve been more content with complaining about what I don’t have then to thank God for what I do have. Perturbed that I have to keep praying to God instead of falling down on my knees in humble adoration and gratitude that I can even come before the throne. More likely to doubt God then to know with confidence that He is more than able to accomplish what concerns me today.

God tells us in His word that we are to ask, seek and knock.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 6:7-8

This is an ongoing and continuous command…I am to keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking. I can keep doing that because I know with confidence that my God is able to answer my prayers and He is a good God who cares for me. When I ask, seek and knock…I must be willing to submit to His will.

Where ever did I get the notion that faith should be easy? For Pete’s sakes I’m in a spiritual battle. What enemy has ever made their opponent’s victory easy? Anything good is worth fighting for.

Shouldn’t I remember most importantly that God is prize? Yes…I can come to Him in prayer…present my requests in faith, with thanksgiving and know that He is able to handle my every need or concern with ease. But the real prize…the thing that is most important…is not that He will answer my prayers…but that He desires to have a relationship with me. God Almighty…Creator of heaven and earth…Father, Son and Holy Spirit…wants to know me.

Dear Father…I have so failed in my faith. I have missed the mark and did not comprehend that You are the prize. Jesus…help me to grow strong in my faith…by exercising my faith muscles with daily and continuous workouts. May I be mindful I am in a spiritual battle…and strive for victory no matter what the cost. I come to You in Christ alone. Amen!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Old Woman Sight Walking Faith is Dead


Not sure how much of an inkling I had at some of the ugly stuff that would be revealed as I delve into my faith…in my study of Believing God.

I never wanted to do therapy…because I figure I’ve already lived the bad stuff…I don’t want to waste even one more moment of my life dwelling on it. But I’m starting to see the importance of examining the outworking of my faith compared to what God says it should be…and what pleases Him.

Boy oh boy…am I coming up short! And folks…it ain’t pretty. As the days and weeks go by in this study…I hope to better understand why my faith is so weak. But right now all I’m seeing is my failure of faith.

God makes it very clear in His word…that He desires for us to have faith and to believe Him. He even rewards our faith. Reading Hebrews 11….the Hall of Faith…I am in awe of what these people endured and how they maintained their focus on God and His promises. They didn’t waver with doubt and unbelief…nor were they concerned on how God would accomplish what He had promised. Instead they stood steadfast and resolute in believing their God.

Faith, trust and believing God is a way to glorify and honor Him…it pleases Him. Can you imagine a child who is fearful and concerned about how her parent will provide and take care of her? That surely wouldn’t speak too well of that parent now would it? But in this instance…my lack of faith and trust…doesn’t speak well of me.

I find it kind of amazing that God delights and rewards those who believe and trust Him in faith. But when I look at a parent…don’t they delight in doing good things for their child? Don’t they take great pleasure in bringing happiness and joy to their child? How much more so God?

When I look at Abraham…I marvel at his great faith. I ask myself…if God called me to sacrifice my only child….would I obey? If I obeyed…would I be quick to do so and not question God?

Am I going to believe God…and who He says He is? Trust what He says He will do? Or am I going to believe my circumstances…and only what I can see? I’m quite adept at sight walking faith. But God wants me to walk by faith…and I’ve failed that test miserably.

It’s easy to believe what’s in front of me and what I can see. It requires effort, faith and work to know God’s word…and His character as revealed in the Bible. In a different context the Bible tells me that I am to deny myself, pick up my cross and follow Jesus. Since doubt and unbelief is so ingrained in me…wouldn’t I be denying myself and following Jesus when I choose to believe Him by faith? So often…I think of denying myself in terms of denying certain pleasures…but perhaps that command encompasses even more than that.

As I look at my faith…and my poor track record…I realize that I’m not able to achieve this on my own…that God will have to give me the faith to believe Him. The Holy Spirit is going to be doing double duty…bringing to mind the scriptures I’ve studied…to help keep me walking by faith.

Sight walking faith has bigger consequences than just loosing out on blessings in this world. It also affects my prayer life. When I doubt my God…do I bring everything to Him by prayer and petition…and present my request to Him? Am I faithful to bring unbelieving friends and family before the throne of God and beseech Him for mercy and for their salvation? How many people are praying for them…for their hurts and needs? How many cry out to God for their salvation? Shouldn’t my voice be lifted up to God in heaven…that He would save their souls? What will I be feeling in heaven when the books are closed and people that I could have prayed for aren’t there?

Am I willing to deny myself…my doubt and unbelief…and trust God in faith? Am I willing to turn away from sight walking faith…and walk by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit within me?

Oh Lord…please help me. You know how I have failed, time and time again. You are going to have to give me the faith…because I am frail and weak in my faith…and unable to believe on my own. Help me to believe You and trust You. Help me to walk by faith. Thank you Jesus…that I am a new creation in You.

To quote Clarence Thomas’ grandfather Meyer Anderson, “Old Man Can’t is dead, I know, I buried him myself.”

Old Woman Sight Walking Faith is dead…I know because she was crucified with Christ. She was born again…and is now called Walking by Faith.

God…would you consider adding a verse Hebrews 11? Something like this, “By faith Susan…”


Believing God Is Hard Work


As I start again the Beth Moore study Believing God…I’m finding that I’m going to be challenging some strongholds of doubt and unbelief in my life. Some of the ugly places…the things that I don’t think that I should have as a Christian.

There are times I wonder if I’m an aberration in the body of Christ? Am I the only one who struggles with doubt and unbelief?

Things like struggling with prayer. Do my prayers make a difference…or am I just wasting God’s time? After all…His will is going to happen anyway…shouldn’t I just submit instead?

No I shouldn’t surrender to the enemy’s lies that my prayers don’t matter. That’s what the person who most hates me in the whole entire world wants me to believe. He doesn’t want me to see and know that God loves me, cares about me and wants me to come to Him in faith, believing that He is good and entrusting Him with my concerns…and even the desires of my heart.

Satan wants me to doubt God. Doubt His goodness and doubt His character. He wants me to remain ignorant of God’s word. Or if I know what He says…to at least not believe it. Not believe that it applies to me personally. That what God promises in His word to His people…applies to me Susan.

When I don’t believe in a good God…one who loves me…it makes it harder to take my requests to Him in prayer. Why would I trust something that is most precious to me…to Someone who doesn’t loves me?

Satan likes to remind me daily…hourly…of how God has failed me…delayed…just plain not answered the prayer that is most important to me. He takes me on a tour of my life…to see how God has allegedly failed me. How He has turned His back on me…and just doesn’t care. He doesn’t love me…and I’m not worth it. That is the path of doubt and unbelief that the enemy likes to take me down.

While doing my first day’s homework…God reminded me that believing Him is work…it takes effort. It’s a choice I need to make daily…hourly…minute by minute. It takes no effort to believe the lies I’m being fed by Satan. But it takes effort to know God and His Word…to raise my shield of faith. It’s is work and takes faith to believe God…even when the evidence around me would say otherwise.

Now if I’m believing God…I will instead say that God’s delay in answering my prayer in giving me the desires of my heart…is because He is in the process of growing and preparing me…and working on the man whom I will marry. That God has a perfect timing and plan for me that He put in place from before the foundations of the world. That He is able to make a marriage which seems late in coming…perfect in His time. That it will be rich and full…and well worth the wait. That I will one day say…now I understand why You waited God.

Believing God is work…and I have an enemy who wants me to doubt God. He can not steal away my salvation…but he can make my life so miserable that I don’t even want to live anymore. Why would I allow him that victory?

But I can see most clearly that I don’t have the power and ability to have the faith I need on my own. If I’m going to get through this study…if I’m going to believe God, trust Him, take my requests to Him…and in confidence know that He will answer according to His perfect plan and timing…then He will have to give me the faith to believe.

So God…that is my first prayer…please give me the faith to believe You. I can’t do it on my own. So if You want me to believe…have faith…a powerful faith that brings down strongholds and exposes the lies of the enemy…then You will have to give it to me…fill me with faith. As Your word says…I can come confidently before Your throne with my requests…because I come to You in Christ Jesus my Lord.

Faith please…please give me the faith to believe God.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Message


Last week I attended a Christmas dinner at church and heard a message from author, Karen Kingsbury. I thought I was going to hear a message that would help me feel the Christmas spirit…and keep my eyes focused on Jesus as so many things are vying for my attention during this busy season.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong. The message was more personal and specific to me and my week and the emotions that followed.

While I was sitting in church with friends and family, partaking of beautiful music and listening to a talented woman of God…my heart and mind were elsewhere.

Earlier in the week I had attend a Christmas function. In the course of the evening I found that my feelings were hurt and I felt disrespected. I hoped and prayed that it was not intentional…but even that thought didn’t take the sting out the wound.

I found myself preoccupied over the next couple of days. But when Karen started on her three point message on how make sure the Christmas seasons is a good one…I knew God was speaking to me. I think I stopped listening after her first point…because I had my assignment from God.

Karen’s first point was that you need to mend broken relationships. I know that’s true….and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve failed do that and can look back and see the emotional carnage that resulted when failed to forgive.

I had my marching orders to mend a relationship…but asked God…what should I do? Should I call or write…and what should I say? What if he gets mad or thinks I’m being a “you know what” or just an overly emotional girl?

“Susan…you’re not responsible for his response. I’ve called you to reach out and mend the relationship. You remember the scripture don’t you…the one where I tell you that if you have something against a brother that you are to leave and go and be reconciled. Susan…you can’t afford to wallow in hurt which will lead to unforgiveness…that’s a sin. You need to forgive…but first go and share what you are feeling. Give this man the opportunity to apologize and make things right. If it was you…would want someone to give you an opportunity to apologize? Think about it…what kind of a witness is bitterness and anger to unbelievers in your life? If you are going to act like that…how are you any different then them?”

Okay God I will…but please give the words to say.

When I got home from church…I sat down to type an email. Yeah…I know it’s probably the chicken way out…but I express myself better in writing. Since it had occurred a few days earlier…I wasn’t acting in anger…and I could take the time to not only express what I was feeling but explain why. I hope…I think it was done in love. Kind and caring…albeit direct. It was with fear and trembling that I hit the send button…and then I waited.

While I hoped for a response right away…either via email or phone call…I wasn’t surprised that it didn’t come. When tempted to be nervous because of a lack of response…I re-read the email…and honestly felt it was fair and balanced.

God then reminded me…He called me to obey Him and reach out to mend a relationship. I was not responsible for the person’s response back.

I’m grateful to God that He did use that letter to bring attention to a hurt…and that it was responded to with kindness and caring. When next we met face to face…an apology was forthcoming. I was so thankful and relieved. I was kind of scared not knowing how my email would be taken. But I also had a peace from God…knowing that I had done what He called me to do.

I pray that I will have an ear to hear God when He speaks…and the will to obey Him. Thank You Lord for continuing to grow me.

The Truth Project


As a Christian, do you ever find yourself at loss for words or uncertain on how to answer questions about your faith? Does it keep you from sharing your faith and the Gospel message because you fear being asked questions that you don’t know how to answer? You just don’t want to look stupid. Do you ever get into a debate that gets a little heated…and you back down because it’s getting into territory that you are unfamiliar with?

There is an excellent tool that is put out by Focus on the Family that will help equip you in your Christian faith. It’s called the Truth Project. We at Kindred Community Church are in the process of going through this teaching series in our small groups.

It’s helping us to think Biblically and contrast it to how the world thinks…in different areas. The topics include: Veritology, Philosophy & Ethics, Anthropology, Theology, Science, History, Sociology, Unio Mystica, The State, The American Experiment, Labor, and Community & Involvement.

Do you have a child heading off to high school or college…and you’ve tired to root and ground them in the word of God…but you are concerned what havoc a very secular and godless education will do to their faith? You’ve seen it in your friend’s children…they were raised in the church all their life. They come home at Christmas during their freshman year...and are saying Christianity may be alright for you…but I don’t believe it anymore…I’ve grown past that now. Wouldn’t you like to inoculate them?

How about equipping them to better understand their own faith…and see in a very straightforward manner the attacks their faith will take. Attacks that are either veiled and subtle or blatant and unapologetic.

To see how your church or Bible study group can go through this series go to The Truth Project.

Isn’t about time you felt knowledgeable about your faith so that you step out in faith and share the Good News of the Gospel? Or have that ongoing debate with the unbeliever at work…knowing and trusting that God will bring to fruition the seeds that are being planted? Wouldn’t you like to have peek at the enemy’s game plan? Do you ever wonder how that brother-in-law of your can be so deceived and blinded to the truth of God and the word of God? Or how about dad…you’ve been praying for him for years to come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Wouldn’t you like to better know what lies the enemy is using so you can use the word of God strategically?

It’s time to get equipped…The Truth Project.


Not Something I’m Proud Of


As a Christian…I know that God hates pride and just as Jesus was humble and submitted Himself to God the Father…He too desires the same from me.

If you were to follow me around…I’m not sure that pride is one of the first faults you would identify…but make no mistake it’s there.

Tonight as we continued in Revelation 12…we studied about the battle between God and His angles and Satan. We went back to Isaiah 14, where Satan first rose up to usurp God and put himself upon the throne.

13 You said in your heart,
"I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.

14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High."

Make no mistake…God does not share His throne. If I’m trying to put myself on the throne…I’m trying to push God off.

Before God had created the earth and placed the crown of His creation, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden…Satan, a created, being thought too highly of himself.. He became prideful of his beauty, wisdom and splendor…all of which God had given him. Instead of thanking God for those gifts and seeking to please God and bring Him glory through humble submission and use of them, he instead sought to raise himself up and put himself on God’s throne.

Satan wanted God’s throne…but instead he was thrown out of heaven and banished to the earth. Ever since his chief aim has been to bring to ruin the apple of God’s eye…man. He stands before God and is the accuser of the brethren. If he can’t keep us from heaven…he seeks to make our life miserable so that we will curse and deny God. He wants to ruin our testimony and render us useless to God…as we stand before Him with our shame and failures ever before us. But thankfully we have a huge God…who is able to forgive, redeem, and cleanse us from our sins. Thankfully He is also able to use even our failures for good and for His glory and furtherance of His kingdom.

While pondering Satan and what led to his downfall…it struck me that while many of his attacks are quite obvious…his most effective tool may be to lure us to follow his path to destruction…pride. It can be subtle…who doesn’t want to take pride in their work or doing a good job? Come on…what’s wrong with that? But where does that lead? Am I mindful that God gave me that job and the gifts to perform the job well? Or am I starting to believe that it's all about me? Am I willing to obey and submit to God’s will even when it differs from my plan? Or will I scheme and manipulate to get my way? Will I seek to put others down so I can raise myself up? Am I boastful and proud? Do I seek to promote myself…or do I encourage and help others?

As one who suffered the pain of rejection early in life…and falling short in oh so many ways…there will always be a scar and pain and doubt that I will ever be good enough. Because of that I am particularly vulnerable to seeking the praise of man. Because there was pain and hurt…trusting God may require a willful act and will likely not come naturally. It will require effort to not trust my feelings…to instead believe and follow God and the truth of His word. It will require faith and trust in God…even when I may not see the fruits of that trust that God is indeed a good God.

Pride…it’s ever so tempting…but trust, obedience and submission is the key. Will I put myself first…or God first? One has eternal rewards…and the other ends in destruction.

Oh Lord…help to me not go down the path of Satan. May I be mindful that all that I have and all that I am comes from You. May I humbly obey and submit myself, my plans and my future to You and Your glory. Amen!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Heaven to Earth


“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9


The thing I love most about this picture is the reminder...that Jesus came here to earth.

God incarnate lay His glory aside, so that He might take my sin upon Himself, pay the penalty for my sins, so that I might be forgiven. Because He lived a sinless perfect live, His righteousness was credited to my account. My sin debt has been paid in full. I have been saved, by grace, through faith...Praise God!



Proclaim Your Love

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Trustworthy Guide

Not too long ago I found myself shifting uncomfortably in my seat as a new class member in my Bible Study Fellowship group spoke. She shared that she found the lessons so challenging that she was able to answer them only when she started her lesson by praying. Praying for God to give her wisdom and guide her as she studied the passage and answered the questions.

Since I’ve been in BSF for so many years…the answers usually come easy…perhaps too easy. As a result I may fail to begin my lesson in prayer…and my first thought is not always…let me pray to God for wisdom in answering this question.

When my new classmate said that she has to begin her lesson in prayer…I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit…a nudge…a reminder. I should not be presumptuous, but instead come humbly before the Lord and ask for His guidance, wisdom and discernment.

I can tell I’m off track…when I’m completing my lesson and I come to a question that is difficult and I get frustrated. Instead of excited that God is going to show me something new…I start stressing. The frustration factor is multiplied when I’m doing my lesson late in the week, rather than daily.

Tonight I had a tough question…what does Matthew 11:11 mean?

“I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” – Matthew 11:11

And I had no idea what the answer was. At first…I thought I’d go on and come back and complete it later. Soon I had to leave for church. I chatted with folks at the prayer meeting to get their consensus. I listened…but it still didn’t connect.

When I got home…a visit to Bible Gateway afforded me the opportunity to read the passage in several different versions. The snag with Bible Study Fellowship is that you can’t use commentaries to help you answer your question. You must only use the Bible. You can also look up definitions in the dictionary…but that’s it. After reading the passages…I asked God for wisdom and stepped away from the computer.

As I did so…God brought to mind the passage in Matthew 20:26 which states that if we are to be great in God’s kingdom…we are to be a servant of all. That seemed to answer most of the question…but I was still uncertain what God meant when he said we would be “great”. After all how could we greater than John the Baptist?

Will I was off to my second tool…Webster’s online dictionary to look up the word “great”. There were several definitions that seemed to fit: remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness”, “superior in character or quality”, or “used as a generalized term of approval”.

While not 100% sure of my answer...I believe that Matthew 11:11 tells us that if we serve others, consider others more valuable than ourselves and serve them…then we will be considered great in God’s kingdom. Effective in carrying out God’s work and that work will be approved by God.

Jesus himself came to serve others. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." – Mark 10:45

If Jesus…the Son of God served…how much more should I serve others?

I look forward to hearing the other woman think this passage means, as well as our leader Terri…and of course the lesson’s notes.

Even if my answer varies…I still learned a valuable lesson that when I seek to know God and His word, I need to go to Him in prayer first. For He will be faithful to answer that prayer.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Rudy…Guilty as Charged?


AHA, the evidence is over whelming against this criminal your honor. It is obvious he is guilty, he has been caught red-pawed. I suggest you throw the catnip at him.

But your honor, the video has also proven that this guilty party had an accomplice. Your honor, if you'll notice the camera followed the progression of this crime thereby suggesting that the camera operator was highly involved in aiding, abetting, and allowing this crime to take place. Rather than doing anything at all to stop this crime from taking place, the camera operator allowed it to progress. It is my contention that the camera operator was videoing this crime as a trophy, and to keep a record of this "Christmas decoration destroying gangs" exploits. Your honor, I suggest you also throw the catnip at the accomplice.

I rest my case.

The Honorable Michael Paddison presiding...making his first guest appearance on Susan's Blog


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mystery Solved!



Each night when I come home…I find an assortment of ornaments scattered too and fro. Make no mistake…I had a prime suspect in mind. But tonight….I have proof positive that little Rudy is having a holly jolly Christmas while I’m away a work.




Monday, December 03, 2007

One I’ve Never Met



How is it,
That I can miss a man I’ve never met?

How is it,
That I still dream of a lifetime spent with one I’ve never known?


How is it,
That I desire to feel the warmth of an embrace that has never come?


How is it,
That I long to hold the hand of him that I’ve never held?


How is it,
That I miss the kiss from lips that I’ve never touched?


How is it,
That I can still hope that one day I may know him?


by Susan Bunts

December 3, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

With All the Many Miracles


God gave the bold command
To cross the Jordan and take the land
Not to worry about the giants they would face
But when the spies returned
To tell the others what they had learned
They said, “For us to win, there’s just no way.”


Still two of them trusted God,
Caleb and Joshua
They said, “Children, don’t believe what you have heard.
We know we’re out manned by far,
They’re much bigger than we are.
But let’s not forget just Who it is we serve.”


With all the many miracles
Why don’t you think it’s possible?
With all the many things we’ve seen
Why do you think it’s just a dream?
With all the things He’s done for us
Don’t you think it’s time we trust?
Remember what is possible
With all the many miracles.


Like when we were about to die,
Manna fell from the sky.
Then water came from a dry old dusty rock.
And back when Pharaoh was closing in,
God closed the sea again,
But not before we all had safely crossed.


So here you are my friend,
You face a battle you cannot win
You tell yourself, “There just no need to try”
Consider how good God’s been,
He’s been faithful time and again,
You must believe and here’s the reason why.


With all the many miracles
Why don’t you think it’s possible?
With all the many things we’ve seen
Why do you think it’s just a dream?
With all the things He’s done for us
Don’t you think it’s time we trust?
Remember what is possible
With all the many miracles.


With all the things He’s done for us
Don’t you think it’s time we trust?
Remember what is possible
With all the many miracles.


By Rodney Griffin, Greater Vision


Anybody in need of a miracle today? Anybody being challenged to keep the faith in the midst of difficult circumstances and dark days? I for one raise my hand high and say, “Yes Jesus, I believe help me with my unbelief. Please God bless me.”

Terry and David…I’m dedicating this song to both of you. You both share a love for the music of Greater Vision. When I listen to their music…my faith is built up. It’s so Biblically based and taken straight from scripture. I pray that the Lord touches your feelings and reminds you that He loves you and is at work in your circumstances. May we be ever mindful that He is faithful. Love you two…and stay strong in the Lord!.

The above song is by the Gospel trio Greater Vision…my favorite Gospel group. I first heard them when listening to Charles Stanley’s In Touch program. Greater Vision is one of their frequent guests. Usually I’ll watch the program on Saturday evening or Sunday morning before church.

Rodney Griffin is their songwriter. He writes most of their music…and it is the best. Gerald Wolfe and Jason Waldrop join Rodney to make up this wonderful Gospel trio. It is my prayer that one day…I will get to see them sing in person.

“With All the Many Miracles” is the song that has most touched me both when I first heard and even today…when I need an infusion of faith and courage to trust God even before I see His work in my circumstances…I’ll listen to this song.

When I first heard “With All the Many Miracles”…it was around the time our Bible Study Kindred Fellowship was soon to become a church, Kindred Community Church. It was a time of uncertainty. We knew God was leading and at work…but we didn’t know how He was going to work things out.

But our God is faithful…and likes to do things in a big way. He faithfully lead our church and provided what we needed according to His prefect plan and timing. Praise Him. So when my beloved Pastor Chuck Obremski was battling cancer and eventually called home to be with his Lord, this song kept me focused on God and His ability to act and move in our situation. When we were without a Pastor for two years…this song reminded me that God was at work…and that we would one day see the outworking of His plan. Which we saw when He called Pastor Philip De Courcy to the pulpit at Kindred.

Today…when I see my life, not as I had imagined or hope, I once again listen to this song…to bring me hope and knowledge that He is faithful and will provide what is needed according to His plan and in His perfect timing.

God’s timing is usually different than mine. But it is in retrospect that I see just how right His timing and plan was. So Jesus…tonight…I put my trust and hope in You to work in my life. I’ve cried out to you so many times…at this point I’m nagging. But like the woman who came to Jesus and begged for her daughter’s deliverance…I too will persist until Jesus tells me, “Susan, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.”