Fresh Start. Again.


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It’s a quiet start to 2017 on this frontier. Just me, my laptop on a nice little breakfast tray in bed, “A Year in the Life” of Gilmore Girls, my pj’s… and my thoughts.

I ended 2016 doing something that, for me, was hard and looked impossible. I was discouraged before I began, yet beyond surprised with the results. In fact, the results were so good, it’s inspired me to do something that looks intimidating and impossible this year just to see how it turns out!

What did I do? I lost weight.

With no back story, that statement is no big deal. If I went into the entire ugly ordeal, one might better understand why this is so huge for me. To summarize: since I was 19, I’ve had an awful thyroid, to the point where I actually had doctors tell me, “You won’t ever lose weight again. Just deal with it.” Two international moves and three kids later, I had convinced myself they were correct. I have watched the scale teeter but ultimately stay put for more than 10 years.

In September, I was depressed and annoyed with my metabolism. I vented to my sister and she told me about a book she thought I should read. I read it. It changed my life. Three months later, I’m down nearly 20 pounds and a crazy amount of inches that I wish I had documented!

I did what I thought was impossible. I lost weight. I look in the mirror and smile for the first time in about 12 years. I asked my daughter to take my picture this morning and – get this – I did not delete it! I’m telling you, if I can do this, I can now do anything.

It feels as if I’ve jumped a giant hurdle. It’s been inspiring. I was so adamantly opposed to dieting and I dreaded the idea of “healthy eating” because that has always equaled “vegetables,” “ew,” and way too much math. But, it’s not been like that – at all. It got me thinking: if that wasn’t so bad, maybe some of the other things that I’ve been wanting, needing, to do won’t be so bad either.

The biggest on my list has to do with my writing.

I have wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. Just this week, I pulled out the first book I ever wrote. I was 11. I wrote a mystery, in near-perfect cursive, in a pink, spiral-bound notebook, complete with an illustrated cover, a table of contents, and little pictures on the chapter headings. I even did a dedication and an “about the author” at the end. So embarrassing! Yet, my 6 year old adores it!

I would really like to do more than just blog and hang onto a “book” from my childhood. I write for our missions magazine, but that’s really about it. I have projects in my mind and unfinished works on my hard drive. I have an underlined, circled, and dog-eared copy of the Christian Writer’s Guide on my end table. And I have done nothing with any of it.

I’m terrified of rejection. Writing is so much a part of me, I get nauseous thinking of someone tearing my heart apart and analyzing it from their own point of view, which might differ from mine, not understanding my POV or writing style and slashing hours of work to pieces. It sounds more appalling than exhilarating! So, I stall. I don’t write. I make excuses and find other things to do with my time, all the while knowing that this is something God has asked me to do and I need to do it.

In February, I do something super hard for me. I get on a plane, alone, and fly to Houston for a one-day conference with Beth Moore specifically on writing, teaching, and speaking as a ministry. I get sick on planes. I miss my family. I’ve never been to Houston. Totally, completely, and utterly out of my comfort zone. I am sick to my stomach thinking about this trip, yet every time I re-read the description of the event, I float because I remember I got in. I’m going.

My immediate “hard things” of 2017, then, are: finishing losing this horrid weight and find the “me” that’s been literally buried for almost 15 years, fly to Houston and attend a crazy huge conference on my own, and begin writing more diligently and actually sending manuscripts off to… somebody.

I enter 2017 hopeful yet filled with total fear and trepidation. I know what God has asked of me in previous years and once again, I feel like I’m standing on a precipice. He’s pushing me towards the edge and I know that very soon, I’m going to be asked to leap, not knowing if I’m jumping to the other side or to a ledge I haven’t even seen yet. For now, I prep. And wait.

What officially tipped my vote.


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January of 2010, in the middle of the Peruvian jungle, I had an OBGYN tell me that what was in my uterus was “not a baby.” She couldn’t tell me what it was; she could only tell me what it was not. When I pushed her on the subject, she answered with, “Well, it’s not cancer, no. If it stays there for a few more weeks and continues to grow, then you might end up with a baby. But right now I can’t tell you what it is.”

I walked out of that office and cried because I knew in my heart of hearts that what had blipped on that little screen in the tiny, hot, jungle office was not “nothing”. It was my first child. A little one that grew into the beautiful six year old she is today.

My friend who came with me explained afterwards that the doctors in the jungle see so many unwanted pregnancies and know of so many abortions that they can no longer bring themselves to call an unborn baby “a child.” They have to distance themselves from truth in order to justify all the illegal abortions in the city.

This campaign season has been horrid. I have struggled back and forth on what I’m going to do with my vote. I love the U.S. and I have always taken great pride in voting. I couldn’t wait to turn 18 and cast my first vote! I was literally in tears a week ago when I talked with my husband because I feel so hopeless about this election and had no idea what I was going to do. I am a firm believer that you cannot complain about our government if you choose not to vote. I just couldn’t figure out for myself who in the world I was going to vote for.

I didn’t think the debates would sway me one way or the other. I mostly just want to jump through the TV screen and slap a hand over Mr. Trump’s mouth and make him JUST STOP TALKING! For the love of anything good and lovely, JUST STOP TALKING!! But alas, we haven’t figured out that kind of technology yet so my husband had to endure my narrative each debate night.

This week, though, something actually was said that finally persuaded me. The topic? Abortion*. Finally {finally!!!} Mr. Trump said things I can firmly stand behind and agree with 100%. But, what really tipped me over was the response from Mrs. Clinton.

She talked extensively about her desire to continue funding Planned Parenthood and how they do such great things for women, but then she talked about the medical needs of late-term abortions. She talked about how it saves women’s lives to abort their babies at the last second. And then beyond that, she talked about how sometimes parents get awful news about the health of their child and instead of giving them a quality of life that would never be any good, they decide to end the pregnancy.

Remember when Mr. Trump mocked a reporter who had special needs? He then said he didn’t realize he was special needs, but there was a big fiasco anyway about it all. As well there should have been! What he did reminded me a 12 year old bully – someone so wrapped up in themselves that he didn’t even notice that someone had a disability. He didn’t like the question, so his initial response was to just mock the person submitting it. It was dumb, it was immature, it was uncalled for. It happened once.

Mrs. Clinton said Wednesday night that she is okay with terminating a pregnancy when there are disabilities present that would alter their quality of life. So, right before a child is born, a parent has the option of killing it simply because they have some sort of disability. Wait, wait, wait… how is that okay?

I’ve been pregnant three times. I’ve watched my babies wiggle, grow, suck their thumbs, wave, hiccup, and bounce. I’ve seen my children move to be closer to my husband’s voice. I’ve watched them change positions and have an all-out trampoline fest in utero.

Babies develop a sense of taste, hearing, and sight before being born. They begin to recognize voices and sounds. And most importantly: they feel pain. 

If a pregnant woman is murdered and the baby dies, the murderer is charged with double homicide. Yet, moments before giving birth, a mom can choose to “terminate the pregnancy” with no repercussions. What hypocrisy!

While we stand and judge Mr. Trump for a lapse in judgment, we applaud Mrs. Clinton for her stand for “women’s rights.” It makes no sense whatsoever. Mr. Trump mocked a man one time. Mrs. Clinton advocates making sure men similar to that reporter are never even born.

She talks about “quality of life.” I personally know families with children who have major disabilities. One girl is completely non-verbal and always has been. Yet, these children are some of the happiest children you will ever meet. They have had experiences with travel and life that most of us can only dream about! The girl who is non-verbal was told she would only live a few years. She is now 19 and so happy, you can’t help but smile when you meet her. According to Mrs. Clinton, she should’ve never even been born. And we’re okay with this?

No, I am not satisfied with my options this election year. To be honest, I think Mr. Trump has shot himself in the foot enough times that there’s no way he’ll be elected at this point. But, I refuse to allow my vote to go to a woman (the irony there slays me) who advocates late-term murder of viable, beautiful children. This is a slippery slope that will lead to so much more if we allow this kind of sinful thinking to continue to develop in our nation.

Pray about whom you will be voting for. Don’t just vote for one because you truly dislike the idea of the other. Research and see what each party stands for and pray for Godly direction. I can’t tell you what to do with your vote anymore than you can persuade me what to do with mine. I can only tell you that for me, this issue pushed me towards Mr. Trump. I’m not proud of that – there’s certainly others I prefer – but it is what it is. He is not supposed to be our spiritual leader; he is supposed to be our President. The choice is ours. Let us choose wisely.

*The clip I am referring to can be accessed here.

Stop the Sliding.


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Have you ever watched an Intervention reality show? You know the ones: a family member or close friend confronts, usually with the help of a professional, someone with a major addiction problem. There’s tears, anger, and usually resolution (it is, after all, “reality” TV).

When you watch, do you find yourself thinking that the one doing the intervention dislikes the other person? Or do they love them? They love them, right? Their love drives their deep desire to intervene in order to save their loved one. In fact, if they didn’t love that person, they would not go to the extremes of intervening because they wouldn’t care.

“Reality TV” always showcases best case scenarios, though. In real, real life, there are times when interventions and therapy don’t work. When a person that is deeply loved and cared for simply will not make the choice to change their lifestyle, be rid of their addiction, and be who they were created to be. Then, their loved ones need to make a choice: continue enabling them and getting run over, or – let them go. They reach the point where they must simply let them run with their choices, their lifestyle, their issues, until they hit a final wall and have sense knocked back into them the hard way. There comes a time when even intervening becomes useless and the loved ones have to release them to their desires.

Worst case scenario. It would be devastating, right? Yet, you wouldn’t say that the loved one doesn’t care for the addict. No – you would argue that because of their great love, they had to let them go to learn on their own when they have exhausted all their efforts, done all they could do, and can’t do any more.

We learned this from God. He talks about this exact same thing in Romans 1. Paul is talking about how sinful the world had become. People had turned their backs on God and were worshiping created things rather than the Creator. They abandoned the natural and chased after the unnatural. They didn’t want God, didn’t seek God, didn’t love God. So, God: “gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts…, gave them over to shameful lusts…, and gave them over to a depraved mind.” He let them go.

The United States was originally founded on Christian principles – there is absolutely no denying that, no way around it, no way to distort history about it. Was it perfect? No. But, it was Bible-based. Over time, however, society has progressively turned away from those Christian principles. Now, in 2016, we’re unrecognizable as a Christian society. Slow, yet deliberate changes in the culture until we are a different people.

I grew up in Vermont and was a teen when the civil union law was put into place. I remember our church, which was the biggest building in the surrounding community, being used for a political rally to oppose the law. It was not a religious event; it was purely political. In fact, most churches refused to get involved. They were against law, absolutely, but they were afraid to be vocal about it. The rally was mostly attended by community folks who were also opposed. The Christian community was unsure if they should “get involved” in politics.

We know how that “opposition” ended. Civil unions in Vermont were merely the beginning. Today, gay marriage is legal nationwide.

A few years ago, a law was put into place that enabled people to change their gender on their birth certificate. There was, to my knowledge, no real outcry from the Christian community. However, this past Sunday, we had a petition in our church in order to oppose the bathroom law allowing people to use whatever bathroom they want based on how they “identify” themselves. All of a sudden, people being able to change their gender affects us and we are now vocal about it. But… is it too late?

Christians nationwide are asking the question, “How did we get here?” They are crying out that God is going to judge us.

You know, I think we’re past that point. I firmly believe we are living what Romans 1 described: God has let us go.

Paul talks about trading truth for a lie. Thinking they’re wise, but are really fools. Men with men and women with women committing shameful acts. Look at this list: “gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.” I’m not sure you can look at that list and not identify the U.S. with it.

We have a serious problem. See, we are slowly dehumanizing ourselves and doing what Paul says – worshiping (putting above God) the creature rather than the Creator. We are taking away gender. We are taking away the value of life by allowing abortions, euthanasia, and assisted suicide. We care for animals – endangered, abandoned animals – more than unborn children. This is a slippery slope and we are plummeting fast.

Two years in a row, endangered animals have made the headlines. Cecil the Lion in 2015 and now Harambe the Gorilla just this week. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals. In fact, if you look at my papers when I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a monkey trainer. Don’t ask why a little girl from Vermont dreamed of training monkeys; I never said I was a logical child. The truth remains – I love animals and mean them no ill will.

However, both of these animals have taken over the headlines, dominating above humans. Last year, Cecil was the major headline, taking predominance over the abhorring Planned Parenthood videos. While that poor dentist is basically unable to live life as he once knew it, Planned Parenthood continues their atrocities, essentially fully-funded.

This year, the Gorilla has taken over the headlines, filling our Facebook feeds with links to petitions and news stories about people protesting his death. The real issue, however, was not that the Gorilla was shot, even though this is definitely sad. There are so many other underlying issues that are so much more important – and we’re ignoring all of them and focusing on the death of a primate.

I have a small boy. Two of them, actually. They are curious, devious, and fast. I don’t doubt that it takes milliseconds for a child to escape his parents’ confines on their little hands. I do, however, take issue with:

  1. the fact that it did not take him mere seconds to climb the fence, run across the separating space, and fall into the moat. This was a couple minutes of nobody interceding. And I mean nobody. None of the many bystanders (because they claim it was “very crowded” which is why she lost him) and none of his parents or guardians, whomever was there watching him.
  2. the fact that he climbed the gate to begin with. Wasn’t he told not to? Did his mom let him play on gates previously making him think that it was okay to begin with? In which case, his mom was disobeying the zoo rules, too. See, even adults have developed this horrible case of disobedience – thinking rules are merely “suggestions” and they’ll comply when it “makes sense” to them. No! Rules are there for our protection… and apparently to keep gorillas from being shot when we disobey.
  3. the fact that we are more concerned with what the zoo officials did than simply making sure that this child is okay. I can’t even watch the video of the gorilla slamming him through the water without my stomach churning in horror. The boy was not being protected; he was being used to show the gorilla’s power and scare off the screaming humans above him. It is a miracle the boy survived as long as he did and will live to tell his story. I’m sincerely glad the boy is all right, but I don’t think he should’ve ever been near the edge of that enclosure to begin with.

Our value on human life is slowly going downhill. It’s beginning now with prioritizing lions, gorillas, and abandoned dogs (Sarah McLachlan, anyone?) over babies, the elderly, and those with terminal illnesses. Our own President – a father of two beautiful girls – can’t even call an unborn child a “child” but chooses instead to call it “a fetus.” It’s much easier to dispose of a “fetus” than “a beautiful baby girl.” We have a woman running for President of our country — a woman who has a child of her own and a beautiful grandbaby– who advocates abortion at any time during a pregnancy. At any time they can rip a baby – with a beating heart, who can hear and see, who feels pain – limb from limb and throw them in the trash can. At. Any. Time.

Oh, but shooting a gorilla that was going to crush a little boy’s skull is way out of line.

Remember, Jesus didn’t die for gorillas, lions, and dogs who have no soul. He died for the babies that aren’t even being given the chance to take their first breath.

What we are seeing today is the beginning of another downward spiral. Just like when the Christian community didn’t stand up to the civil unions in one State (one of the smallest, mind you) because it didn’t affect every State yet – and now we have people unsure of what bathroom to use – we will eventually have dogs with more rights and better healthcare than our children. It begins here and will continue to spiral unless…

…Unless we finally stand up and take a stand.

I don’t mean a boycott because oh good grief, that never works anyway (I’m pretty sure all that Disney boycotting when we were kids was absolutely pointless). I mean we do what we were supposed to do all along: Not be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes. If Paul could stand up and defend his faith in the times of Nero, then we can do the same today.

We need to make it clear that we believe in the grace of Jesus Christ – and what that can mean to our society, if they would do the same. We can help people find the identity that they feel they have lost. We can help people find purpose so assisted suicide in their last days is not needed. We can give the elderly hope of a beautiful eternal life. We can share love, hope, and purpose with the pregnant teen down the street and offer her real options instead of the easy out she thinks is her only choice.

We don’t need to stand on Capital Hill with signs, marching, protesting, and making obscene “Christian” comments on Facebook to strangers. We do, however, need to raise our children with God being first priority so they can be the change for their generation. Jesus said people would know we are His followers by our love, not by our petitions. Love that transgender neighbor and draw Him to the saving grace of the cross by making them wonder what makes you different.

I do believe we are past waiting for judgment from God and are living in judgement, reaping the consequences of years of sin and turning our backs on God. But, even in judgment, God offers grace. Because grace is more than just an attribute; it’s Who He is. And if we are being conformed to His image, then that’s who we are, too.

We need to start now, though. God has let our society go into its depraved, senseless, foolish way of life. That simply means our lights on the hilltops need to shine that much brighter.

The Real Way to Change a Nation.


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Lately, I’ve attended a number of lectures that were focused on some of the core issues plaguing our country today. While a lot of their information was accurate, they lacked any real substance or any solutions to the problem. What I mostly hear over and over is that we need to pray for our government, pray for our elected leaders, and pray that they would make laws and changes that would be God-honoring and nation-changing.

I don’t think that’s how it works, though.

We don’t expect our unsaved friends to live Godly lives. We are not surprised when they get pregnant out of marriage, live with their boyfriends, claim to be “bisexual”, and don’t attend church. They don’t know Jesus as their Savior; we can’t expect them to live like they do.

So why do we expect our government to be Godly?

The majority of our governing officials do not know the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior. They are rich men and women who had great connections and wielded a lot of power and achieved some of the highest positions in the nation. This does not mean that they hold to Christian values and principles or that they have even attended a church service in their lifetime. It just means that they had the ability to get the right number of votes to get into office. That’s it.

While they do have a civic duty to uphold our Constitution and pass laws and legislation that are for the good of the people, they are under no obligation to do so along Biblical standards. And why would they? If they don’t have the Holy Spirit to guide them, and if true wisdom comes only from God (as it states in Proverbs), then the wisdom they are using is fallible and not from God. Period.

Yet we put so much stake and hope into these men and women and get so angry when they go against Christian principles and guidelines as if they honestly should know better – yet we know they can’t know any better if they don’t know God for themselves! So, what are we so surprised about?!

This election is lost. The state of our nation is hitting an all-time low. There is a good chance that God has given America its supply of chances and we have now entered judgment – the time when God just lets people go and do as they wish so they can see the consequences of continually not choosing Him (Rom. 1-2). If this is the case, then we can expect a blinded nation who thinks wrong is right and right is wrong. A nation with a distorted, humanistic view of God. A nation wondering where God is while simultaneously pushing Him out of every corner of their lives except the {empty} church building.

Is there hope then?

I believe there is, but it’s not going to happen immediately. I believe hope lies in the next generation. Just like we are always only one generation away from losing our children and them having zero knowledge of God, we are also one generation away from revival.

But it does not start from the top down on a national scale. It starts with individuals. With children. But only if we’re willing to work on it. And herein lies the issue.

Believers today are so busy making sure their children have “opportunities,” scholarships, and education that anything to do with church and God is put on the back burner. We want to develop our child’s potential and “church” doesn’t fit in that mold. Our children are also so used to entertainment and gimmicks that we turn church into a circus hoping to entertain them and in so doing keep them coming – forgetting that God is not concerned with entertaining us, but with changing us.

Until we are more concerned with our children’s spiritual well-being than scholastic potential, we won’t see the next generation grow up to be God-fearing, society-changing individuals.

Think about this: the men that we are seeing duke it out on TV, calling each other names, being blatant bullies, and basically demeaning the highest position in the world – where did they learn that? They had to grow up seeing others disrespected in order to find it okay to do themselves. They had to see an example of name-calling and bullying in order to make it so commonplace in their lives.

So, if we don’t want those traits developed in our children, then we teach them the opposite at home. We connect them with a church family that exemplifies the character traits we want to see in our own children. We use what is happening on TV as talking points and teachable moments instead of being afraid of it and angry that it’s happening. While we might like to expect more of people in their position, we really can’t if they don’t know Jesus as their Savior; they are simply incapable of it. So quit expecting it and getting angry that it’s not happening and just use it to teach your kids what not to do – and why.

But, teaching can’t be limited to the home. My husband and I are intentional with our children, teaching them about God and doing all we can at home. Yet we know it’s not enough. Simply having our oldest in a Christian school has done amazing things for her young spiritual life – teaching things we had forgotten and reinforcing truths we began at home. Then, we have her in church – every opportunity we can get – and we talk with her all week long about what she’s learning. Her spiritual growth has been phenomenal this year and we know that it’s because it’s the community of believers who speak into her life, not because of how amazing her home life is. We are not meant to do this alone, no matter how awesome we think are at it.

Parents need to see the benefit of getting their kids into church, though! Making church activities and programs a priority in their own lives and that of their children instead of putting it on the back burner to sports, vacations, and even family time. Understanding that developing their spiritual life is the most important, most beneficial thing they can do for their children; everything else is temporary and secondary. Remember Scripture: what does it profit to gain the whole world and lose your soul?

If we want to change our nation, reverse anti-God policies that have been instituted, the change does not, cannot, and will not begin at the top and work its way down because the change has nothing to do with laws (don’t forget the Pharisees) and everything to do with the heart. Individuals change a nation; government does not.

We need to quit placing our hopes, dreams, frustrations, and anger on politicians and start building into our children’s lives. Start reaching out to our neighbors with the true, full Gospel of Christ, no matter which politician’s sign they plant in their front yard this year. Show that our hope, joy, peace, and contentment does not rest in our how well and wise our government is or who wins the election. We need to be resting in the One Who says He controls who is in charge and holds their times in His hands.

When we ourselves begin to grasp the complexity and fullness of the Gospel, we become compelled to share it with others. Our job is not to convict of sin, change people’s minds, or convince a community to obey new laws. Our job is to present Jesus Christ and Him crucified and let the Holy Spirit do His job on the rest of it.

Changing a nation begins with individuals, not government. Changing the future means building into our children what really matters. Get out and vote, yes, but leave the results in God’s capable hands, tuck your head down, and get back to work sowing the seeds of the Gospel, starting at home.


Be Radical.


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Everyone knew his name. It was a name they feared, though, not a name they were excited to hear. He was an imposing man who caused children to hide behind their mama’s skirts in fear and men to keep their heads close to their work and avoid eye contact when he walked by. His every request was granted by the government, making him a man to be respected – and hated. He was highly religious, but had no relationship with the true God, though he was convinced otherwise. He felt he had one goal in life: to help God wipe out every Christian in existence. And he had the blessing of the government to do so. Imagine the fear of dads who heard the sound of boots on the path outside and then the pounding on their door as soldiers came, by his orders, door to door to take Christians off to prison, never to be seen or heard from again. Families must have had contingency plans in place for their children for when, not if – but when, the knock finally sounded on their door. It was only a matter of time. He led a small army in their quest of ridding the kingdom of Christians. They were at his beck and call and he held their coats while they carried out the murders. His silent, approving gaze was enough to instill resiliency in the cause in the hearts of his followers, and fear and trembling in the hearts of the hunted. No one was safe. No city was far enough away to escape his reach. He was coming for them; it was just a matter of time.

Then, the very One he was persecuting intervened. With a flash of lightening-bright light, this murderer was transformed. Not only was he converted into the very belief system he had been trying to destroy, he became a champion of it. Not only did he understand now what he had been trying to wipe out, he became a chief teacher. His letters were not just an encouragement to the early church; they are now the foundation upon which we live our very Christian lives hundreds of years later.

Paul is an ancient picture of a modern day terrorist.

Yes, he was Jewish, not Muslim. But, his goal was the same: wipe out every Christian in existence. His hatred was just as pure, just as evil. He was just as feared – and revered. He was just as radical in his thinking.

Yet, God chose to save him. And not just save him, but to use him more than possibly any other Christian in history. His writings make up the bulk of our New Testament and have shaped the Christian way of life ever since. He was inspired by God to write letters we never could have fathomed.

Here we sit, hundreds of years later, being confronted by another enemy of Christianity. He has many names – Boko Haram, Al Queida, Hamas, ISIS. Yet the goal is the same: rid the world of every Jew, every Christian, everyone in opposition to the Islamic faith.

We are scared of them. We look at every bearded man or lady in a burka with great suspicion. They don’t dare ride on airplanes or carry back packs in public anymore. However, fear is exactly what the radicals are going for. If they can get us to live in fear, they will have done half their job.

Whenever a huge event like the attacks in Paris happen, we scream, “Death to the terrorists! Bring them to justice!” We cower and hide in fear. We may post our solidarity all over Facebook in hopes of telling the terrorists that they have not scared us, but in reality, we are taking fewer trips to sight-see in the Middle East and working less at befriending our Muslim neighbor. We don’t want them to think we are scared, so all over social media we make it sound like they have done nothing to frighten us – but, we silently praise the security guard for more thoroughly searching the Arabic man with a turban in the airport and we subtly pull our children off the playground when a mom in a burka shows up with her kids.

Instead of praying for these men and women, we shun them. We fear them. Worse yet – we ignore them. We pretend we don’t see them and we certainly don’t befriend them.

After all – they hate us and want us dead, right? We’re just staying out of their way.

But, let’s think this through: for one thing – just like there are those who believe in radical Islam, there are those of us who are radical Christians. What if there were more radical Christians than there are radical Muslims? What would that look like?

  • They pray three times per day, no matter where they are or what they’re doing. It’s repetitive, but it makes them stop and focus.
    • We are commanded to not just pray three times a day – but to pray continuously. We are not given prayers to memorize; we are told to pray about everything, with thanksgiving. We are told to pray for our enemies – their salvation, not their death.
  • They take serious time each year to fast and offer sacrifices.
    • We are told to fast regularly. For us, sacrifices are no longer necessary because Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice. We remember this by taking the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis.
  • They are commanded to proselytize and make sure all convert to Islam. They are not ashamed of their faith and how they are commanded to dress.
    • We have been commanded to make disciples – not just converts. All nations, all people are to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we are to be the vehicle that tells them.
    • We hide our faith and do our very best to blend in with everyone else so we don’t appear strange. Our clothing styles and way of life mirror the world because stepping out and being different draws attention and makes us uncomfortable. We believe we can make more converts if we blend in. What if we did the opposite? What if we did what we are commanded to and NOT be conformed to this world? What if we didn’t care so much about outward appearances and quit blending in so strongly that people have no clue we’re Christians?
  • Their ultimate goal is to give their life for their faith because that means instant, guaranteed paradise.
    • Our ultimate goal should be to spend our lives for others, making sure everyone knows the Gospel, including our neighbors, family, and those across the globe. Martyrdom is feared and avoided. Though being martyred has absolutely no bearing on our salvation and eternal destiny, it certainly should not be something we are afraid of.
  • They are not afraid to let people know where they stand, even when it’s offensive.
    • We were warned that we would be an offense to others because Jesus was an offense to the world. So, we hide that we attend church, carry small Bibles that are inconspicuous if we pull them out in public, and avoid controversial topics so people don’t suspect that we might be “religious.”

What if we lived radically?

What if we did the unpopular thing and prayed for the terrorists? We claim prayer is the biggest, best weapon for fighting disease, depression, divorce – yet we don’t utilize prayer for the biggest worldwide battle in our time.

Many terrorists are coming to faith in Christ because Jesus is appearing to them in dreams and pursuing them even when they don’t think they need to be pursued. They are hearing about Christ through those they have captured who are not afraid to continue to preach because the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be chained. What if we just prayed for them on a regular basis? What if we stormed the gates of heaven and implored the God of the universe to fight this terrorist battle for us?

What if, among the terrorists today, there is another Apostle Paul? God did it once; He could certainly do it again.

What if we were just as radical in our Christianity as they are in their Islam?

If they can do so much damage by being radical, imagine the amount of good we could do by being radical?

The most feared man who once walked the streets of Jerusalem terrorizing Christians became one of the most revered, respected apostles of Jesus Christ to ever walk this earth.

We know the early church met often to worship and pray together. I wonder how many people were praying for him? We have no reason to think they didn’t; they were pretty good at following the other instructions Jesus had given them.

Maybe we should spend more time in prayer for and befriending the Muslims in our lives and around the world and less time fearing and hating them. Let’s be radical, too, but radical the way Jesus commanded us to be. You know, simply fully living out the commands He gave us to begin with. 

Let’s change the world, one radical Christian life at a time.

Why I’m Not Excited about the Pope’s U.S. Visit.


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I turned on the news last night specifically to hear about what happened to the 717 who were trampled to death in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj. Instead, Live news was put on hold so we could watch the arrival of Pope Francis to New York City and his subsequent drive to the Cathedral in his Pope-mobile. Everything in me wanted to cry as I watched the swarms of people screaming, crying, and holding their phones up for pictures of this man. My husband demanded I change the channel and that was the end of the news for us last night.

It has been extremely difficult for me to watch in silence the events surrounding the Pope’s visit. I’ve wanted to put to words my reasons behind WHY it bothers me so much, so today, I’m going to give it my best shot.

I have no doubt that Pope Francis is a different kind of Pope. I also see that he has made great strides in making the Catholic church more appealing, especially to the next generation. He is definitely friendly, humble, and strikingly different than preceding Popes.

However – it’s these differences that I take issue with.

Satan is the Master Deceiver and he does his absolute best to twist absolutely everything around until all of a sudden, up is down and down is up and left is right and right is left and everyone is so confused, they can’t even figure out how to fix it anymore, so they just assume it’s now all correct and leave it. The mess gets bigger and bigger until the True Light becomes all but a pinpoint in the distance – so far away that it looks more like an illusion than the sun itself.

The Pope has been so busy trying to make the church more appealing to the younger generation that he has become a sort of god in his own mind. Catholicism in general neglects to take into account most of Scripture. It’s so sad, too, because the freedom offered in Christ is so much better than what the Pope is offering in the Catholic church. See? Satanic deception. People think they’re getting the better end of the deal and instead, they’re missing the real thing.

Some examples:

The Word of God makes it clear that only God can forgive sin. One of the best stories is in Mark 2. Friends bring a paralyzed man to Jesus. Unable to reach Him through the door of the building, they lower him through the roof. Jesus first addresses the man’s bigger issue: his sin. After forgiving his sin, Jesus listens to the religious leaders’ thoughts and says, “Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’?” He then goes on to prove that He can, in fact, forgive sin by having the paralyzed man get up, take his mat, and go home.

Compare this to the Pope. People are so desperate for him to heal them, to forgive them, to bless them and their children. They are convinced that he has the power to forgive sin and to make them get out of their wheelchairs. Yet, where is the proof? The crowd burst into applause last night when he merely touched a lady in a wheelchair in the Cathedral – yet, she didn’t even attempt to get out of her chair. Jesus didn’t have to touch the paralyzed man, or even be in the house to raise the dead girl, and it happened. He said He could heal, He said He could forgive sin – He can obviously do both because healing is way harder than just saying some words.

Can the Pope do either, I ask?

The children running to the Pope is so reminiscent of them running to Jesus. Parents bringing their children to Jesus for a blessing. The Pope is obviously a kind and gentle man, of that I do not doubt. But, has healed the children? Has he held them on his lap and told the crowd to become like a child to enter heaven? Or does he merely listen to them, pat them on the head, take a selfie, and walk off?

Thousands upon thousands of people are cheering this man as he arrives in a humble car. Can’t you hear the crowds cheering for Jesus as He arrived on a donkey? However, when Jesus arrived at the Temple, He was furious that it was a place for buying and selling and no longer a House of Prayer. The Pope praised the new grandiose new Cathedral in New York and was enthralled by the riches of the wealthy who paid for it.

The Pope had the opportunity to stand before Congress yesterday and make a worthwhile speech specifically condoning the atrocities of Planned Parenthood. The Catholics are ravenously pro-life and anti-abortion. The things Planned Parenthood has been doing are disgusting and needs to end. The Pope had the power in his hands to stop all that – and he didn’t even touch on it. 

Jesus was never afraid to touch a controversial topic. He even called the leaders in His time “hypocrites” and “broods of vipers.” He spoke the truth because “the truth will set you free.” The Pope will not speak the absolute truth because it could cost him his reputation and attendees of the Catholic church.

We are told repeatedly in Scripture not to worship another human being. In fact, we always know that someone is truly sent from the Lord because they command those that bow down to get up and NOT worship them (ie – Daniel and Peter); worship is only for the Lord God . People are worshiping the Pope this week – taking their kids out of school to meet him, crying when he passes by, cheering when he waves at them, begging him to bless their child. How can we look at that and be okay with it? Worse yet, how can we look at that and desire to be a part of it?

The Bible warns about False Teachers. Look at Jude 4: “…some godless people have wormed their way in among you, saying that God’s forgiveness allows us to live immoral lives. The fate of such people was determined long ago, for they have turned against our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” More warnings are spread throughout Scripture. We are to be on the lookout because they’ll sound great – maybe even quotable! They’ll look righteous and religious. But, if they are not preaching Christ and Him crucified – salvation through faith and grace ALONE – not of works so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:8-9), then it is a false Gospel and a false teacher, no matter how white the robes or how great the following.

The Pope may be a good guy with good intentions, but do not be deceived. He is not God. He is not God’s Son. He is not doctrinally correct. He is not building up GOD’S church; he is building the Catholic church and those are two very different things.

Watch everything he says. Compare all of it with the Word of God. If it doesn’t line up, run. The second he says he has the power to forgive sins, get out of there. Who alone can forgive sin? Jesus Christ. The Son of the Living God.

We have been warned over and over that those preaching in Jesus’ name will come and wow, will they look legit! When you begin to wonder if it’s too good to be true, open that Bible up and study it out. If he doesn’t line up, he is not for real. Satan lives to deceive and he’s doing a great job right now. Bow to no man. Worship none other than the Living God. Follow His teachings alone. Salvation by grace through faith. It is the GIFT of God, not of works, so that no man can boast. You cannot earn it, you cannot be given it by another person because we all need it. Run straight to God Himself, not the Pope.

I urge you, church, do not be deceived by flowery words and humble living. If you know Christ as Savior, then you bow to no man but the Son of Man.

Living for Vacation.


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It was a foggy morning in Lima. We had to go downtown to get E’s paperwork shortly after she was born. It took us awhile to find our parking spot and then we had to walk to the government office. I cradled my newborn, dressed warmly, covered in a blanket, up next to me as we walked. We had to cross a bridge over the busy highway, the noise of traffic drowning our voices out and making it impossible for us to talk as we crossed. In the middle of the bridge, I noticed a pile of blankets. But as we approached, I realized it wasn’t blankets – it was a woman with two small children beside her, sound asleep. They were wrapped in ponchos and asleep in spite of the constant traffic noise below. Maybe for them, the traffic was their white noise needed to put them to sleep? The woman, whom I assume was the mother, had her head bent, a large hat typical of Peruvian mountain folk atop her head, shielding her from the morning winter drizzle. Another smaller hat lay on the blanket in front of her – the typical sign of begging for a hand-out.

At first, I walked right past. The woman and children never even glanced up. But as I gazed at my warm, well-fed, beautiful newborn daughter in my arms, my heart broke in two. I could not imagine what that mom must be going through having to make her children sleep on a bridge in the cold while hoping someone – anyone – would take pity and throw them a couple of soles. My new mother’s heart couldn’t bear it. I turned around and handed her all the soles I was carrying. Our eyes met. I can still see her brown eyes looking at me when I think about it. And then… that was it. I hurried to catch up to my husband and when we returned from our appointment, they were gone.

This summer, my reading choices have really challenged my thinking. I started with One Thousand Gifts, which I’m still working on, to be honest. I moved to Killing Christians and now I’m halfway through No Longer a Slumdog. In the last book, he asks the question: “Is her life as valuable and precious as…” He’s talking about the beggar children of India – the ones in the lowest caste who have never bathed, never been loved, and know no other life than that of mere daily existence no matter the cost. Are their lives as precious and valuable as.. my daughter’s? my sons’? my husband’s?

He precedes this question by describing a scene similar to the one I just shared – a young beggar girl asking him for change and in that moment, he saw her as more than “just another beggar” and as a little girl the same age as his own daughter. It changed his view – and his way of life.

I have to say, that moment on the bridge changed me as well. I am so thankful for this moment and many, many others while living in Peru that opened my eyes to a life drastically different than my own.

Then on the other hand, Killing Christians is a book entirely devoted to modern-day martyrs for Christ. While these stories are not new to me, it did make me imagine what it would be like to be a mom – pregnant, nursing, leading around preschoolers, protecting teenagers – in a country where it’s illegal to be a Christian. How do you hide a hungry newborn? A tired toddler? A preschooler who doesn’t understand the need for quiet? How do you teach your little ones about Christ while simultaneously trying to keep them quiet in public about their faith? I mean think about it – my kids have been known to sing “Jesus Loves Me” at the top of their lungs in Walmart and they ask questions about God while out in public. How would you teach your children to be bold in their young faith yet wise in where they express it for fear of their lives? I can’t even comprehend that.

My husband and I have talked frequently this year about something a friend told us. We have this great friend who’s in his 90’s and still working and still giving to the Lord. He is full of wisdom and one of the things he has expressed to Brian frequently is, “Christians today live for their vacation. They work so hard all year long and for what? Vacation. They don’t take the time to enjoy their families and life in between their vacations – it’s like they work and scrimp and save for those couple of weeks. What’s the point?”

He’s so right. All I hear all the time from pretty much everyone I’m around is, “I can’t wait for vacation!… We’re saving for vacation…. Vacation is looking so good right now!… I can’t help you; we’ll be on vacation… I don’t do ministry in [pick a month] because we go on vacation…. We have to have our vacation time so we won’t be at church….”

I have to admit something to you: I have struggled all summer with the fact that we don’t get vacation this year. Nor did we get it last year. Or the year before. Or… hmm.. we’ve been married 10 years and we’ve never gone on “vacation” in the traditional sense. It has never bothered me. Until this year. For some reason, the constant talk from everyone about “vacation” has gotten me really down on the fact that we simply won’t get one in the foreseeable future. No Disney. No camping. No beach (my biggest disappointment). Not even a weekend away. Our ministries don’t allow for it, nor can we afford it. It’s made me horribly sad on more than one occasion this summer. I’ve even been frustrated at my husband for not “allowing” us to go on vacation, though I realize that it’s not him.. it’s our finances and what we do for a living that won’t “allow” it.

Then, I cracked open these books and my perspective has begun to change. There are families around the world who would give their left arm to live the life we get to live in the States. Families who literally cannot afford to feed their children so they sell them. Moms who don’t have enough milk to nurse their newborn so the choice is to either listen to the baby scream the scream of hunger constantly or sell the baby in hopes it will get a better life. Husbands and wives whose very lives are in danger every single day because of their faith. Who go to church at 1am and sing songs in a whisper to avoid getting beaten in the street.

And I’m complaining because I don’t get a vacation this summer? Who am I kidding? 

The sad reality is that most American Christians have no clue what life is like in other parts of the world. They literally live for their two-week summer vacation when they can “finally” spend time with their family, go on that dream trip, do whatever “vacation” means to them. Church on Sunday is in the way of “family time” and “vacation.” Ministry over the summer months? Why? It’s vacation time! No one’s going to come anyway, so why do we need to volunteer?


Yet we find ourselves wondering why the Christian faith is not being passed on and why teens and college kids quit coming to church and don’t make their faith their own. Why would they? Their parents have consistently modeled that “life” is more important than “church.” It saddens me when I hear the excuse, “We don’t want to commit because on weekends we sometimes like to just take off and go do something fun so we probably won’t be at church this summer.” Yeah. That hour and a half at church on Sunday really cuts into your down time, doesn’t it.

The church in the States needs a rude awakening that life is not all about us. Would we still even HAVE our faith if we had to live through a fraction of what people around the world have to every single day? Would we keep our faith even if meant being dirt poor and fearing for our lives? Somehow, I doubt it. Why do I say that? Because honestly, a faith that hasn’t been tested and a faith that is put on the backseat on a regular basis is not a lasting faith.

We need to quit “living for the vacation” and begin living for the Lord. Let our hearts be broken for the poor and needy. Let us remember our brothers and sisters who are fighting for their lives at this moment. Let us put Christ above absolutely everything else- including our comforts, finances, and summer vacations. Prioritize your life so that your children see that God comes first, even if it feels “inconvenient.” Give to the poor; sponsor a child; and teach your children to do the same. Go on a missions trip – take your family! Support a missionary, even if … no – especially if – it changes your finances because then you can experience what it means to sacrifice for the Lord – something those missionaries you’re supporting do daily.

Live for eternity, not the next vacation.

A Firm Foundation.


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Even though leaving high school, for me, was more than 10 years ago now, I remember it well. Hindsight is always 20/20 and looking back, I know for a fact that I was a naive know-it-all who, in reality, knew nothing at all. 

Unlike many of my peers, I went straight from Christian school to Bible school. I skipped any form of public high school/secular college completely. By the time I finished my first semester in Bible school, I knew I had so much left to learn. Even though I had grown up in church, attended Christian school the whole way up, and was actively involved in outreach programs, my first semester of Bible school was an eye-opener about how little I truly knew about God, His Word, and what it means to live for Christ.

How sad, isn’t it? To have that much influence in my young life and yet to go into the world and feel unprepared… it blows my mind even now. This isn’t to say that I didn’t have some great mentors in my life – on the contrary, I had some of the best! But, for some reason, a lot of the teaching I received remained fairly rudimentary and superficial. 

We watched “God’s Not Dead” last night for the first time. While the premise was good and I thought the movie was well-done, it begs the question: Are the young people we are raising up in the church prepared to defend their faith by the time they graduate? 

I have a purpose statement for the kid’s min at our church and it concludes with talking about wanting to give them “a firm foundation that can be built upon” when they enter youth group. Every change I’ve made this year in the different programs centers on that premise. They must have a firm foundation – anything less simply won’t stand. 

My goal is to not just raise a generation of children in the church who are good church attenders and can win Bible drills and spout off a bunch of good verses. My goal is to help them make their faith their own. Why do we believe the Bible is true? Why is important to make good choices? Why do we want to live for God? What good is the Bible in every day life? Where did the Bible even come from? 

Kids are growing up far too passive when it comes to church and God. It’s an extra-curricular – if we make it, great! If not, no big deal, we’ll come again next week. The stories are too familiar; the verses are just rote repetitions for prizes. Where is the heart in all of this? God doesn’t care how quickly we can find a verse. He cares about deeply we apply it to our lives.

The main character in “God’s Not Dead” obviously knew his material when he defended his faith. My fear is that we’re raising an entire generation of kids who wouldn’t know the first answer if someone questioned them about the core of their faith. My fear is that they will leave the safety of the church building and succumb to the culture surrounding them because their foundation won’t be strong enough and it’ll crumble under the pressure. I fear that our kids and teens have no clue – and simply don’t care – about why they believe what they believe. 

This must change. 

We must begin to bring “church” – fellowship, community, learning – back to the forefront of our families. We must lead by example and make God number one priority in all we do with our children. Baseball practice is Wednesday night? Sorry kiddo, church is more important than being able to hit a ball in third grade. Football game Sunday morning? Well kid, let’s see how well your team does without you because you need to be in church with the family. That extra-curricular is going to interfere with church attendance for a solid month? Not worth it – your spiritual well-being is eternal.

When will we stop making church optional for our children and teens and start showing them – by example – that it’s a priority? When will we stop “living for the dot” and start “living for the line”? If you don’t know the phrase, watch the video at the end by Francis Chan. He doesn’t use that phrase – that’s one that was used in cultural training that has stuck with me – but it’s the same idea. 

The fall programs at our church begin on September 7 and I just feel burdened more than ever for the kids that will attend. I don’t want them just to come, sit in class, and go home. I want to see visible change in their lives. I want them to walk away with the full-on knowledge that God is REAL – He is NOT dead – and that their lives need to reflect this truth in all they do. 

While I somehow doubt that college freshman with no Bible school under their belt will all graduate with as much knowledge as the main guy in “God’s Not Dead”, the goal has been set before us. Their faith must be their own. Their faith must have a solid foundation. Their faith must begin while they’re young. 

Here’s the video I was talking about. Take it to heart and think it through. Priorities are what our lives revolve around, so what are yours? And how are those priorities affecting the family you’re raising? 

Weighing In.


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The world is mourning the loss of an icon. Not just an icon – someone that has been given the title of, “The Funniest Man in the World.” In a day and age when comedy is relative, it’s a huge thing to be considered “funny” by the entire world. To cross those cultural divides in humor is a big thing. 

And he’s gone. 

I believe it’s the irony of how “the funniest man in the world” died that is getting to everyone. The man who could make the world laugh could find no humor in his own life… and decided to end it all. 

Unexpectedly. Quietly. Abruptly. 

I’ve been watching a few debates online about the whole situation. Did he die from depression or suicide? Is depression similar to cancer or is it the result of sin? Was there hope for him or was he lost from the get-go? Was suicide his only way of escape? Is he really “free” from it all now? 

Honestly, I don’t want to get into all that. It’s too heavy for me. I, like you, am mourning this man who was such an integral part of my growing-up years. I have caught myself crying as if I was related to him. My husband officially thinks I’m insane as I sob through news reports and cry at the thought of never seeing him again. I suppose, for me, it’s a selfish cry. He made me laugh. But, at the same time, I find myself crying because the whole situation is just so. sad

We found out recently that the county we live in is one of the saddest counties in America. Meaning, the people within the county are just plain sad. Suicides among teens has been so high over recent years that public high schools are inviting in Christian youth pastors and counselors to meet for free with the teens just to help curb the trend. Now, they’re saying on the news that a huge percentage of the U.S. population is depressed and that there is a suicide every 13 minutes

In every tragedy, I watch to see how God is going to turn it around for good and focus all eyes on Him. This is no different. I firmly believe that Robin Williams’ suicide is a wake-up call to believers worldwide. We live in a world that is increasingly hopeless. The generation in high school today is clinically depressed and suicidal, hating themselves, hating each other, and growing up with a complete void of the sanctity of life. Abortions are as easy as an over-the-counter pill. Hope is fleeting. A mere word in our nation’s vocabulary that is quickly losing its meaning.

And what are we doing? We are literally sitting around watching it happen. We are debating amongst ourselves whether depression is sinful or clinical. We are judging and scorning those that have everything, yet suffer depression. We label the teens as a hopeless generation simply because we don’t understand them – and don’t want to. 

We are hoarding our hope in a time when hope means everything to humanity. 

Have you watched the news? We’re in crisis-mode out there! People are hopeless because they turn on the news and are bombarded with hopeless situations. 

It’s time for Christians to wake up and answer the call of, “What’s the point?” Quit sugar-coating Christianity and proclaim the truth to humanity!

God created you.

God loves you!

God has a purpose for you: To bring glory to HIM. 

God has a home prepared for you in heaven – for all eternity.

He desires a personal relationship with you. He longs to walk with you through the storms of life and to not only hold your head above water, but to allow you to walk on top of the waves with Him.

You are special. You are loved. You are unique. He has written down the days of your life in His book, He has plotted the course of your journey, and He collects your tears in a bottle. He leans from heaven to listen to your prayers and He watches over you while you sleep. 

Lay your burden down at His cross and leave it there. Exchange your sadness for His hope for life. Allow Him to breathe new meaning into your existence. 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, today is the day of salvation. Share your faith with those around you. Let them laugh, scorn, mock, and reject. Your job is not to convince; your job is to share. Quit hoarding your hope. 

I mourn the loss of Mr. Williams and my heart aches for the family and friends he left behind. I just pray that this is an awakening for the rest of us that we need to share our hope – even with those who laugh the loudest – because we don’t know who needs it the most.

It’s Not About You.


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I’ve ranted on this topic before, though not very eloquently. Yet, I felt the topic needed to be revisited.

What topic is that?

Christian girls in bikinis.

It’s summer and though my bathing suit has yet to be donned, it seems Facebook has nigh unto imploded upon itself with pictures of girls in their new summer bikinis. While not unusual, it still never ceases to bother me.

I haven’t been able to put into words exactly why – nor have I been able to put Biblical backing behind it – for years. But, finally, today in church, some footing was given to my stance. I wanted to share it here, for what it’s worth.

Just recently, this issue came to the forefront in my own life as someone, a believer, that I would deem more of an acquaintance than anything posted, what I would consider to be, inappropriate pictures of herself in a bikini. They were skimpy enough that I asked my husband to not view my Facebook feed until I could get rid of them. A few days later, she ranted that if people didn’t like her pictures, they could simply unfriend her. I didn’t, knowing that that would give off the wrong impression and never open her up to a conversation about the issue, though like I said, we’re barely acquaintances, so I’m not sure that will ever happen anyway.

As I contemplated this issue, though, I began to realize that it’s much more of a discipleship issue than simply Christian morals. I firmly believe that if Christian girls were discipled better, this whole bikini issue wouldn’t be quite so blatant.

Here is the Scripture I feel makes it clear that bikinis are not acceptable if you proclaim the name of Christ:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. -1 Cor. 10:23-33

Okay, this is somewhat deep, so bear with me.

Paul is talking about meat offered to idols, yes. This was a big cultural issue back then. While in and of itself, the meat was still just fine, the fact that it had been used in a sacrifice to idols made it questionable at the very least. If someone had a strong conscience and understood that idols were not real, then it wouldn’t bother them. However, if someone had been, for example, newly saved out of idolatry, then this would be a much larger struggle and they may have difficulty eating this meat with a clear conscience. Paul is saying two things – one: Just don’t ask. If it might be questionable, don’t ask, then you don’t have to worry about it. Two – If you find out it was offered to idols, simply don’t eat it. Not for your sake; for the other person’s sake. Why? Because it’s not about you and the last thing you want to do is make someone else’s faith stumble.

So, how does this translate into our present day culture? Look at the bookend verses of 23-24 and 32-33:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others… Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

These verses explain Paul’s main point; the meat was just his primary example.

Yes, you have every right to wear a bikini. We live in a “If you have it, flaunt it,” world and girls simply love to embrace that over the summer. It’s true – you can do so. However… it’s not about you. 

Think about it: When a bikini picture is posted on Facebook or Instagram or wherever, what demographic tends to “like” it the most? Your girl friends… or the random boys? What are the majority of comments  – “Oh, what a cute bathing suit!” “What a pretty beach!” Or… “Nice body.”

If the majority of “likes” and comments are focused on your body and are coming from the opposite sex – that’s lust. And lust is sin. Therefore, you, by way of your itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-yellow-polka-dot bikini, are making guys sin. That’s a big deal, my friend. And it’s wrong.

See, it’s not about you.

If you know Jesus as Savior, then it’s about Him. You are a reflection of Him. Your job is to point people to Him. You are to imitate Him. Causing men to lust after you is simply not a reflection of Jesus Christ.

Is it permissible? Absolutely. Do you look hot? Of course! Should you do it? I would argue – no.

It bothers me that I have to hide my Facebook feed from my husband because of Christian girls posting pictures in skimpy bikinis. My husband, praise God, is devoted to me, but he finds it obnoxious, too, and has been known to report said pictures as pornography. If he’s feeling the need to do that – to Christian girls’ pictures – my question then is, how is this okay?

We need to step out from the world. Not only should our words and actions be different, our dress should be, too. My husband told me recently that girls dressed inappropriately do not make guys’ merely think about sex; they’re already there. They think she’s ready and that becomes their primary goal. Once they have sex, then they’re done. They really are NOT interested in anything else… from her. Sad, huh? How cheap we sell ourselves for a simple Facebook “like” and a Friday night date.

Remember: It’s not all about you. It’s about Him. Reflect Him well. You don’t need to dress like a nun, but you do need to cover a bit more of what your mama gave you in respect for those around you.

My version of 1 Cor. 10:33 in NLT says:

…I don’t just do what I like or what is best for me, but what is best for them so they may be saved.

It’s not about you.