God of Hosts

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

Imagine two neighboring nations. One feels slighted or insulted by the other. Retaliation. Revenge. Shows of strength. Gathering of forces. Threats escalating. Battle lines drawn up. Battle drums. War cries. Impassioned calls to arms. The two armies—with most soldiers not even knowing why they are fighting—charge each other. But before any strike is laid, God Almighty and his heavenly army swoops down from the heavens. Suddenly spears explode. Shields erupt into flame. Bows break in the archers’ hands. As both armies stop dead in their tracks with confusion and bewilderment, a voice like thunder rings out:

BE STILL! AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. I WILL BE EXALTED AMONG THE NATIONS. I WILL BE EXALTED IN THE EARTH.

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Almost Famous

Fear of man will prove to be a snare,

but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Proverbs 29:25

Deep down we all want to be accepted. We all want to belong. It’s in our nature. We are the most social creatures on the planet. Humans literally die in isolation. And because of this we all end up doing stupid stuff through junior high, high school, even into college and beyond in order to fit in. Socialization is part of self-preservation.

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Explain Like I’m Five

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

What does it mean to be a Christian? Don’t we all wonder about that sometimes? The world gives so many mixed messages out there about religion, life, politics, worldview, etc. If we only relied on what others told us about being a Christian, especially through the media, we would get utterly confused and completely lost.

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Gifted & Talented

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:10

Do you know what I think is one of the biggest detriments to the local church? The “professionalization” of ministry. (And I say this as a full-time minister.) Why is this such a problem? Because if churches can pay someone to do a task – preach, teach, lead worship, oversee administrative tasks, etc. – then other people don’t have to.

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Watch Your Mouth

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Colossians 4:6

My boys have reached the age where they are beginning to discover and understand “cuss words.” So watching movies and listening to music is really fun!

“This song has the ‘H’ word, daddy.”

“I know, but they were talking about the actual Hell, so it’s not a cuss word.”

“He just said a bad word, didn’t he?”

“Yep, now just don’t repeat it.”

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REVIEW: God Over Good, by Luke Norsworthy

God Over Good: Saving Your Faith by Losing Your Expectations of God by Luke Norsworthy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

God Over Good is an approachable, relatable, personal book about faith and doubt. I’ve been a long-time listener of Luke’s podcast, “Newsworthy with Norsworthy,” so many of the main points and the stories were familiar. But since I’m somewhat late to this (about 3 years post-publication), they still seemed fresh.

I appreciate Luke’s honesty and vulnerability, which is definitely not easy to do in writing, much less for someone with a podcast audience and an active preaching ministry. But it’s his honesty that makes it work. Luke doesn’t really sugar coat anything. He, like many of us, has been disillusioned with God and on the brink with his faith. Speaking from experience as a minister, that’s a very precarious situation to be in. It can be downright scary.

If you read this book, be prepared to have many of your assumptions challenged. Through the power of story-telling, Luke is able to get us, his readers, to lower our own defenses, question our own preconceptions and expectations we have about God, and follow him on a journey to rediscover the beauty and the mystery of God revealed in Christ.

Overall, I think this book is needed more and more among our church members and pastors. When churches go into survival mode, the demand for adherence to “secondary” beliefs becomes a harsher battle ground. I’m afraid the dominoes have started to fall for many in our congregations. It’s time for a paradigm shift of what faith actually means and looks like going into the 2020s and a post-pandemic world.

I highly recommend God Over Good and Luke’s podcast, Newsworthy with Norsworthy.



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The Why

Over the last month or so, I’ve seen several stories of victims of abuse of some kind come forward to name their abusers and describe the abuse. One thing I see pretty much every time this happens is “why did they wait so long to say anything?” I want to try to explain it.

Often, when a person is experiencing abuse of some kind, be it mental (emotional/verbal included), physical, and/or sexual, he/she will go to someone to get help. Sometimes, the person is believed and helped. More often than not, that doesn’t happen. The person will be met with inaction, blame, disbelief, or perhaps all three. All the while, the abuser is working to convince the person being abused that it’s deserved.

Here’s my personal example. Fifteen years ago, I experienced about a year of constant, severe mental abuse. I was told by the people abusing me that I deserved it. There were “consequences for my actions,” and I wouldn’t be experiencing it if I hadn’t messed up first. At the beginning, I went to a leader to get help who said “oh, I can’t get involved.” Message: you’re on your own, I’m not helping you. I remember vividly crying at an elder’s wife’s house after experiencing another “consequence.” Baffled by my emotional response, she said, “did you honestly expect it to be different?” Message: you deserve this. I told a friend what was happening and she said, “that can’t be right. He wouldn’t do that.” Message: you’re lying. Told a friend’s parent what was happening and he said, “this wouldn’t be happening if you hadn’t made the mistake first.” Message: I’m the one to blame. I deserve this.

I stopped looking for help. I stopped talking about what I was experiencing. What was the point? It seemed like every place I turned to for help turned me away. My already low self-esteem became basically non-existent. Every unkind word, every move to ostracize me- it was all deserved. I was a hypocrite and a failure. I wasn’t welcome. Because I did mess up. I did make a mistake. If they’re all saying these are the consequences, it must be true and I’m a terrible person who should be grateful for whatever kindness I receive. I’m thankful I had my parents and my (now) husband during that time or things may have gotten worse. I’m also thankful I had a good doctor who asked the hard questions and upped my medicine.

Through good friends, an amazing therapist, and my family, I now am able to say I didn’t deserve the way I was treated. Fifteen years later. While I have no desire to call out anyone by name or try to “cancel” anyone, I can understand why others would. If I thought for a moment they were doing to someone else what they did to me, I’d shine the brightest spotlight on them to bring that darkness out. I would do whatever I could to protect those who needed it (because no one should be treated the way I was, let alone a teenager). Maybe that’s why people wait so long. They’re content to accept what happened to them as long as it’s not happening to someone else. Or maybe it’s taken 10 or more years to find their voice and accept and understand that what happened to them wasn’t deserved. It wasn’t. It takes time to get over that, to unlearn the lies you believed to be truth. So, after all that time and all that work, maybe they want to use that new-found voice to say “what you did to me was wrong” and work hard to ensure their abusers aren’t in a position to hurt someone else. Because, like I was told so often during that awful year: your actions have consequences.

Ew, Feet!

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”

John 13:14

Most of us hate feet. We hate having other people’s feet close to us. We hate other people touching our feet. We don’t even like looking at pictures of feet. So, can you imagine having to sit down around a meal with a bunch of guys who have been walking along dirt roads in sandals all day – and YOU have to wash them?

Ew, David!

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7 Mind-Blowing Truths About Jesus

There are those who claim all the divinity-stuff about Jesus – you know, the miracles, the resurrection, the “God in the flesh” stuff – was made up after the fact. They want us to believe Jesus was just a good teacher whose stories got blown out of proportion and became the stuff of legend and mythology. But I think it’s pretty clear from very early on Jesus’ disciples believed him to be the Messiah, the Son of God. They understood (post-resurrection) who Jesus really was and is. This is the message about Jesus they ended up carrying to the ends of the earth.

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Ya Dead Mon?

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12 | NIV

The bobsled barrels down the winding course, more grueling than anything they had encountered on their unlikely journey. The team of four is making great time. They’ve proven they could go from pretenders to contenders. The crowd is stunned. Just as they near the end of the course, a bolt on the sled’s steering system shakes loose, sending the whole sled into an unrecoverable fishtail. They ricochet between a couple walls. Next thing they know, the whole crew find themselves sliding on their helmets, upside down for another several dozen yards. The crowd stands in shocked silence, only broken when the team leader, Derice, calls out to his teammate, “Hey Sanka, ya dead mon?”

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