RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: March 2013

All’s Quiet

My blogging has been close to nonexistent over the past few weeks, and will continue to be so for the next two. With an April 1 deadline for the book manuscript I am focusing all my writing energy on the book. The good news is it’s so close to being done! The better news is that God is faithful to sustain me during some stressful days. The best news is that no matter how the book turns out, I have been loved and adopted by God through the finished work of His Son.

So I’ll be back in April!

On Avoiding the Hosannas of the Multitude

'Georgius Whitefield' photo (c) 2011, Skara kommun - license:
When I received word that B&H had agreed to publish the book I’m working on I was in Ethiopia with my sister-in-law, meeting my precious niece. I avoided thinking about the book and the work to be done for as long as possible. Then after I returned to Nashville I listened to this message from the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference, in which Jenny Salt spoke on Paul’s humility in 2 Cor. 12 and shared a quote from George Whitefield that I haven’t stopped thinking about since.

See, the book manuscript is due in 19 days. Up until now I haven’t had time to think much about marketing and promotion and critics and all the “other stuff” that comes along with publishing a book. Just writing the book has been more than enough to occupy my thoughts and prayers. But now that I’m wrapping things up, I’m starting to struggle with my fears.

Fears like:

What if (insert popular book reviewer) doesn’t like it?

What if I get it wrong?

What if no one reads it?

And then, even worse, are these fears:

What if critics do like it?

What if lots of people read it?

I know myself. I know my heart and my pride and my hunger for the praise of man.

Shortly after his conversion, George Whitefield prayed these words:

O Heavenly Father, for Thy dear Son’s sake, keep me from climbing. Let me hate preferment. For Thine infinite mercies’ sake, let me love a low contemptible life, and never think to compound matters between the happiness of this world and the next.

Later as he became more famous for his evangelism and preaching he wrote the following:

The tide of popularity began to run very high. In a short time I could no longer walk on foot as usual, but was constrained to go in a coach from place to place, to avoid the hosannas of the multitude. They grew quite extravagant in their applauses, and had it not been for my compassionate High Priest, popularity would have destroyed me. I used to plead with Him to take me by the hand and lead me unhurt through this fiery furnace. He heard my request and gave me to see the vanity of all commendations but His own.

This may all be moot. The book may not be read, the critics may not like it and that will be okay. Or maybe they will and it will be read.

Rather than praying for God to take away the commendation (which would be fine), I pray He would change my value system. May he “give me to see the vanity of all commendations but His own.”

May He use my life for His own glory, may I proclaim Christ and may I desire only His exaltation.

Sometimes the best way to defeat pride is just to put it all out there and ask for help. Would you maybe pray the above for me also? Thank you so much.

Music Monday – My Heart is Filled With Thankfulness

It’s another Music Monday, and today I’m featuring a song from Keith and Kristen Getty’s hymns album. I love the simple thankfulness of this song–for blessings past, present and future. This could be a joyful, beautiful processional.

Fuel for the Body

'Letters (0108)' photo (c) 2012, Jason Dean - license:
Sunday after our church service my husband and I were talking to our friend Kyle about the importance and power of testimonies, and since then I’ve been thinking a lot on this topic.

When we have baptism services in our church body, each person being baptized first reads their testimony before the congregation. These services have become something I eagerly anticipate and I always go with tissues in hand. Standing in the waters of baptism, proclaiming the grace of God and His power to save has brought grown men to cry, so I of course have no chance at all. I cry at commercials. And even though I’ve seen Toy Story 3 twenty or thirty times, I still have to leave the room at the end so I don’t weep. But I digress.

Anyway, my pastor is always quick to point out that the same gospel power that frees the former drug-addicted stripper frees the former AWANA jewel-winning, legalistic teenager. And it’s breathtaking every time.

Sharing the story of how God “redeemed your life from the pit” is not just for the teller or for the unbeliever in the congregation–it’s also the fuel that encourages the church on its mission. When I hear how God used a college roommate or a neighbor or a parent to draw to Himself an unrepentant sinner, I am encouraged to go out and proclaim the good news. When we see the dots connected of how many people–maybe 1, maybe 30–shared the gospel with an unbeliever before they were drawn to repentance, I am reminded of God’s sovereignty and am therefore freed to proclaim without worrying about the results.

I love that one of the questions my husband asks when we have friends in our home is, “How did you become a Christian?” I imagine this was the first question the early church members asked one another. It’s so miraculous. How did God do it in your life?

So the purpose of this post is two-fold:

1. I think we should be asking friends and family members and strangers, “How did you become a Christian?” And then we can rejoice together, praising God for His grace. In turn, we can share our own stories, knowing the same Savior who died for my sins of pride and selfishness and self-righteousness, died for your sins as well.

2. Bringing it back to the wedding, I firmly believe this is a perfect opportunity to praise God by sharing your stories of how He saved you both. Whether it’s through a video, or through your pastor sharing it in his message during the ceremony, or through a message in your programs–think and pray about how you might proclaim His excellencies through sharing what He has done in your lives. This has multiple benefits: He will be praised, you will be grateful, unbelievers will hear the gospel and believers will be filled with encouragement to make disciples.

Music Monday – Gungor’s “Crags and Clay”

The book is due in one month, so I have been writing as much as possible, which means the blog is suffering from neglect. I’m hoping to have another new post up today or tomorrow, but in the meantime here is another song I think would be beautiful as a wedding processional.

This song is based on Psalm 139 and draws attention and praise to the Creator of all life. The lyrics are listed below the video, and the song is by the band Gungor.



“Crags And Clay”

Standing up from crags and clay
The peaks of earth
In full display
They break the lines
That break the sky
That’s full of life
Full of life

The chaos of creation’s dance
A tapestry, a symphony
Of life himself
Of love herself
It’s written in our very skin

All praises to the one who made it all
Who made it all
All praises to the one who made it all
And finds it beautiful

Soil is spilling life to life
Stars are born
To fill the night
The ocean’s score
The majesty
Of sculpted shore

All praises…
Fearfully and wonderfully and beautifully made