Small steps in faith

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What's their Story? Don't be so hasty to judge

How many times have we all been guilty of judging without truly knowing someone and their circumstances. This is a great article from Relevant

The Element of Story

Joshua Longbrake
She keeps going after the guys that you know will hurt her in the end. She gets called all sorts of names in your social circles because of this. Why does she keep making these decisions? Doesn’t she know that everyone talks about her like that? You would never act that way. How could she act that way?

And then somehow you find out that she grew up without a father. She grew not having anyone in her life to tell her certain things that you are supposed to be told by father, about boys and friends and valuing oneself. This information changes everything. Of course she’s doing the things she’s doing. She’s looking for something. Someone to value her. Cherish her. Father her in some ways. This changes everything.


Airplanes. Tight spaces. Lots of people. Long hours. People are expected to respect others and their personal space, even if there is hardly any available. And you’re sitting in your seat with your headphones on watching another Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks film because they are just so darn good together, and you say to yourself, “You’ve Got Mail! is just too good to not watch again!” But there’s this man behind you who will not talk with his inside voice. It’s as if he feels the need to tell absolutely everyone on the plane about how much he won in Vegas and how what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, or something like that. His voice keeps getting louder and louder. You can’t believe it. No one talks this loud. Ever. Who does he think he is talking like that?

Everyone is getting agitated. You can see people glaring at him. One guy looks like he’s about to get up and sack the guy from across the plane. The tension is palpable. But then you see the person sitting next to Mr. Loudy Face who is taking the brunt of his personality, and you see compassion in her eyes. You see grace. Eventually you see her give him his medication for something. It could be anything. Some chemical imbalance. Doesn’t matter. It’s not his fault. And this changes everything.


He’s 16. Driving a BMW. Has everything. Looks. Nice house. Popularity. Tons of friends. And he knows it. He’s so arrogant that you don’t want to be in the same room with him. It’s so easy to feel jealous or angry and look at him with judgment. But you know that his parents give him everything and do little real parenting, and this changes your perception. He’s an upper-class American. He’s at a huge disadvantage in some ways. How hard is it for someone of privilege to value others more than themselves? And in this you find compassion, but you don’t know why. He doesn’t deserve your compassion … but for some reason it’s there.


She’s driving so slowly. Why is she driving so slowly? Doesn’t she know there are tons of cars backed up behind her? People are trying to pass her, but can’t. Every once in a while someone will pass, and they’ll drive by her at an unnecessary speed, as if to make a point. To say something. You are in my way. People are riding her bumper. Revving their engines. Honking. But still, she drives at the same pace. When you finally pass her you look over and get a good profile view of her. Just a teenager. Staring blankly ahead, as if she has no idea that there are any other people in the world.

And as life would have it, you see her the next day at the coffee shop you frequent. She’s crying. You don’t know why. You can’t hear, but you know it’s bad. There are people sitting with her. All around her. She is devastated. And honestly, you know that you don’t need to know why. Maybe it’s a death. Disease. Doesn’t matter. You can see that whatever it is, it has caused her a world of hurt. And you find yourself thinking, If whatever it is that happened to her were to happen to me, I probably wouldn’t be in a hurry to get anywhere either.


I think there’s a reason why Jesus said, “Don’t judge, or you’ll be judged. Forgive, and you’ll be forgiven.” It’s terribly easy for me to judge people, especially those that I don’t know. Most of it probably comes out of pride or insecurities.

He’s going too slow. She’s so loud. They are in everyone’s way. She’s rich, and she knows it. If he would just have some self respect. Why does she dress like that? He’s always talking.

But everyone has a story. Everyone has a past. Everybody has been shaped by something. One parent. No parents. Economic situation. Rape. Culture. Orphaned. Pain. Struggle. Lack of pain and struggle. Death. Divorce. Privilege. Popularity. People are shaped by situations and the people that surround them.

Everyone has a story.

And when you know someone’s story, it changes everything, doesn’t it? Your friends who act certain ways, ways which would annoy you if they were a stranger, are given grace because you know them. You understand them. He acts that way because of this, and she does those things because of that. You understand. Everyone who knows them understands.

It’s the strangers, though …

When we come to the realization that everyone has a story, it changes how we treat people. When you see a man on a plane being abnormally loud, you know that he might be that way because of something in his past, and that thing most likely isn’t his fault. Or maybe it is. Either way, there’s a story, and because there’s a story, there is grace.

And if I went through every day with this mentality, would it change me? Would I act differently? Would people perceive me to be someone new? Someone different?

And what if an entire community embraced this idea?

I think it might change the world.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The first day....the last day

July 20,1994 This was the first day of kindergarten for Zach. May 30, 2007.. This is the last day of his senior year.
He started in West Carrollton at a year round school. He finishes at Springboro High School.
Part of me longs for the days when he would come home at 11:30 and watch "David the Gnome"

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day

This picture touched my heart.
For all those who risk/risked their lives to defend our country...thank you

Saturday, May 26, 2007

They're human and they have a soul

"Maybe this is the heart of the matter when it comes to communicating with non-Christians. Rather than talking down to people we're trying to influence, we'd be wise to remember that just because they don't have God, it doesn't mean they have no soul."

"Jim and Casper Go to Church"

I finished reading this book a couple of weeks ago but reread one of the chapters since my friend Adam is posting the chapters on his blog
This quote was one of my favorites. So many times we try to put ourselves on a higher wonder they don't want to hear what we have to share.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pedicures are awesome!!

I got a gift certificate to Hausfeld's last year for my birthday from my coworkers and I realized I hadn't used it yet. Last year I got a pedicure for Mother's Day and loved it so I decided to have another one today. I spend alot of time on my feet so it's definitely needed :) It's called a whirlpool pedicure. They put your feet in this bubbling soapy whirlpool and then she files,trims,etc. The best part is the foot massage. If you have ticklish feet it might bother you a little. The atmosphere is the other nice thing about this place. It's dimly lit with this background music and you sit in a deep overstuffed chair with pillows all around you. Definitely a stress reliever! The result...clean,beautiful feet with brightly painted toes. If you're a guy you might not want the painted toes but the rest of it is great!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

It's the small things in life that have an impact

Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless”
Mother Teresa

Thursday, May 17, 2007

THIS is what worship to the end!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I can't say I'm a big American Idol fan but I watch it with Kristen.
This season ,in my opinion, has been a huge farce and tonight just reinforces that.
They voted off the best voice..UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

My mother's day flowers

Come and Listen

I have never audibly heard the voice of the Lord. I do hear it in my thoughts guiding me and feel it in my heart when I'm seeking.

I thought this article was interesting esp the section on "white noise"
I really don't think God ever meant us to be this "busy" I think we do it to ourselves and in some cases it's just an ego trip to show "how important we are"

If you don't take time to listen aren't ever going to hear his voice.


Psalm 29: 3-9 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is upon many great waters.
There are several scriptures that describe the voice of the Lord. I think of the story of Elijah, in the book of 1st Kings, who was hiding under a broom tree and the Lord God brought him to a high place and set him within the cleft of the rock. At the end of the story we see that God spoke through a still small voice. In Revelation, the scripture describes the Lord’s voice as like the sound of many waters. In the book of John the scriptures tells us that we will know His voice and the voice of a stranger we will not follow.
Continuing on with Psalm 29, we see that the voice of the Lord is powerful; full of majesty, His voice breaks the cedars of Lebanon. His voice splits and breaks forth like lightning. His voice shakes the wilderness, and makes the deer bring forth their young, His voice strips bare the forests, while in His temple everyone declares Glory!
Why then is it that we sometimes have such a hard time hearing the voice of the Lord God? Have you ever heard of something called white noise? This is a noise that is always in the background and we become so use to hearing it that we soon don’t hear it any longer. We have become a society that is good at tuning things out around us. I have a clock in my family room that plays music on the hour. When I first bought the clock I listened to the melodies with delight. Lately I have noticed that the melodies come and go and I quite often don’t even realize that the clock has struck the hour. I have become dull of hearing when it comes to something that was such a delight to me. Perhaps the same is true with the voice of God. Have we become so dull of hearing that we have tuned out his voice? According to the Bible He speaks in many different ways. God wants to communicate to us this we know. He also wants us to sharpen our spiritual hearing skills so that we can be in tune with the Holy Spirit when He speaks.
Many things distract us and pull us away. We live in a noisy world. We have become so adapted to noise that there are some people who cannot stand silence. They need to have some sort of noise around them at all times, even at bedtime the TV or radio needs to be on.

Sometimes, I long for the good old days of sitting on a hillside on my grandfather’s farm with nothing but the drone of a busy bee, or the flitter of a passing butterfly. I long for the times of sitting on the front porch with my grandfather, listening to his voice as he shared his boyhood days with me. I have never forgotten those times of just relaxing with the ones I loved. The same can be true with our Heavenly Father, as we sit and listen for His voice. He longs to share things with us that we will never forget. When’s the last time you took a walk barefoot in the grass or just sat and watched the clouds go by? Too busy you say? Maybe that’s your problem. Why not readjust your receiver, get rid of the static and interference? Whether it is for the first time or after a long time you will hear the Lord’s Voice, calling you to come and listen to what He has to tell you.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I guess I am one of a kind :)

href="" style="text-decoration: none;">Logo
There is
person with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Monday, May 07, 2007

"They like Jesus But Not The Church"

I think this quote by Henri Nouwen summarizes what Dan Kimball is trying to get across in this book:
"When we say, "I love Jesus but I hate the Church" we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church."
We live in a time when so many people are disillusioned with the Church. In this book Dan Kimball addresses the issues that have kept many people from connecting to the church. So many of us are stuck in our little bubbles not knowing how to reach out to non Christians..many of those who fall in the 18 to 30 age group. Many of them see churches based on what they hear in the media..and what little contact they may have had may be a negative view
Some of the content he deals with very well in his chapters"

1 The church is an organized religion with a political agenda

2 The church is judgmental and negative

3 The church is dominated by males and oppresses females

4 The church is homophobic

5 The church arrogantly claims all other religions are wrong

6 The church is full of fundamentalists who take the Bible literally

He ends the book with how the Church can respond... I love the visual pictures he includes using the well-known Bridge illustration..showing man on one side and God on the other and Jesus as the bridge. Unfortunately there is another gap and that is "the Christian subculture and the mis perceptions of Christianity" You're not going to bridge that gap without building relationships and trust.

I think what I liked the most in this book is the many interviews/quotes from the people he has met and the honesty in their views of Christianity.

This book definitely made me look at my own life and where I can do a better job reaching out and bridging friendships with those who "like Jesus" but don't really know Him.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Being humble

Last night we had a discussion about Philippians 2. Being humble. Thinking of others.
I think God is smacking me in the face with home,at work,3rd Place,Apex, and now house church.
The verse that kept going over and over in my head when I looked at it was verse 6.." Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God"
I tend to look at things in the context of "fairness""If I do this....I deserve this or this is what should happen" which isn't what God teaches us.
Of all the people on earth He deserved to be treated higher than any of us and He was treated the opposite. He put himself lower than others...He came to serve not to be served.
He didn't go around demanding to be treated a certain way because of who He was. I run into that attitude so much at work with the spectrum of people I deal with and I need to have a better attitude about it.
The other interesting thing I learned has to do with verse 10 "so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow,in heaven,on earth,and under the earth... When the bible talks of Jesus..every knee shall bow not heads...God/Holy Spirit...that's when heads are bowed.
I never knew there was a distinction.
As a side note..I'm reading a book called "They Like Jesus But Not The Church" by Dan Kimball. This book is a total eye opener to how nonchristians and esp the age group of 18 to 30 view the church. I will write a post on it when I'm done.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

She's baaaack !

It took 12 hrs of driving for Darrell and a minivan but Kristen is now home for the summer. The nest if full again...until August :(