It’s 2020. Does anyone really care about Jesus anymore?

The Lighthouse by the Crabb Family is one of my favorite songs. I’d listened to my husband sing it for twenty years but last week it took on a whole new meaning.

         Everybody all around us….they say tear that old lighthouse down

         The ships don’t come this way anymore. There’s no use in it hanging ‘round…

My heart began to weep inside.

That’s where we are in this country. The nation formed UNDER GOD. They say they Bible is archaic; Jesus was a mere man, if not a myth. No one believes like that anymore and if you do, you’re wrong.

Christians are a hate group. Christians are ignorant. Christians are intolerant. The claims against Christianity abound.

Many Christians back up. Humans have an inherent need to be accepted. They aren’t tearing the Lighthouse down, but they are standing by silently as it is dismantled.

Do you not remember?

       But my mind goes back to that stormy night…where just in time I saw the Light

Does the praise of men mean more to you than that day of salvation?

This is my featured song for July in my Media picks. If you haven’t heard it before, listen to it. Jesus was YOUR Lighthouse. Jesus is THE Lighthouse. And yet, our world thinks the flashlight it created works better.

I’ve shamelessly plugged one of my new books as well. Surfing, Dancing Seeds of Glory is a metaphor for life. Seeds are all born different and lead different lives but in the end they all have the same opportunity: to surf down the river of life and dance on streets on gold! The book was designed to open communication about salvation and the promise of Heaven. It is a children’s book that was designed to also use with elderly and mentally-compromised patients who need to hear the good news of Jesus.

I also am featuring a study by one of my favorite Christian authors, Elizabeth George. This is a study of Esther and I’m particularly interested in Esther because of where we are right now in this country.

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I know what Esther’s role was. Now, do I know mine? Actually, I believe I do, and I strive to meet God’s expectations for my life every day. What about you? He has raised you up for such a time as this. Are you doing what YOU are supposed to be doing?

For the movie, I realized I never featured the very first advance screening for pastors I attended. Do you Believe? came out in 2015, after the nation hungered for God’s Not Dead. I found it to be complex and heartwarming, and it set a high standard for screenings to come. If you haven’t seen it, download it today.

I hope you enjoy July’s featured media! If you decide to order a Surfing, Dancing Seeds book, let me know and I’ll send you a free bookmark that goes with the book. It contains a poem called “Take Up That Cross” on one side and salvation verses on the other. Images and ordering available on the author page.

 

Go get a blank name tag….we’re about to do some editing!

I was going to start off by apologizing for featuring a song twice but when I started looking, I discovered I’ve never featured this song. What?!!

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I’ve had this song on REPEAT all day long.

I should’ve had it on a continual loop since March!  Because I’m pretty sure that I forgot who I was for a little while. And once the devil got in my head, all I could hear was…

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Confused with what was going on around me, broken by the chaos, past regrets coming out for an encore…the whispers were drowning out the truth.

And then the grand finale. A sucker punch from left field that left me balled up tighter than a roly-poly in a toddler’s hand. I wanted to give up. Run away. Thelma and Louise my life.

But an amazing thing happens when you reach that point of utter brokenness. God intervenes. Like any good parent, sometimes He steps in even when you haven’t asked Him too.

I wasn’t quite ready for the two-by-four He smacked me with. I was still firmly in Stage 4.

You see, I have these five stages of hurt I go through. Quite like the stages of grief, my stages of hurt and predictable but intense. (My mother says it’s ’cause I wear my heart on my sleeve.)

Anyway, here are my stages:

Stage 1: Shock- It’s that initial sting where you are momentarily paralyzed as the pain starts to set in.

Stage 2: Confusion and/or Regret- Either you have no clue why this person has chosen to hurt you so deeply, so you rack your brain trying to make sense of it for hours and hours on end OR you know exactly why (and you’re actions that caused it) and you spend hours and hours trying to undo the damage.

Stage 3: Pain- it’s just sheer and utter pain. Your heart hurts, your mind hurts, your feelings hurt.

Stage 4: Anger- a human body can only take so much pain before it begins to fight back. If it were a physical pain, you’d go into fight or flight mode. Emotionally, you keep crying or you get mad. “Who does she think she is?”

Stage 5: Forgiveness

(Now, I imagine you could reach Step 5 and NOT forgive, but it’s going to leave a little pit in your stomach that will grow and grow until you have a fully formed root of bitterness. Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled…Hebrews 12:15. I’ve been down that road. Unforgiveness isn’t an option. But staying in Stage 4 was. At least I THOUGHT it was.)

Even after He gobsmacked me with a revelation that definitely soothed my soul, I wasn’t over it and I wasn’t ready to forgive. It wasn’t okay. I wasn’t okay. But it was more than just one incident that sent me over the edge. I’d walked right up to that edge, like a foolish tourist trying to get a selfie while leaning over a 1,000 ft drop. I put myself in that position.

And it was time to get back on the path.

And it was time to forgive.

Then it was time to get to work.

I put on a playlist this morning and this was the first song I heard. Oh the power! I played it again. Then again. And again. Every chain I’d allowed the devil to wrap around me broke loose.

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Did I really forget who I was in Christ?

Sometimes you can be doing and saying everything right and STILL lose sight of your identity in Christ.

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My mistakes don’t define me and it’s time I stopped living in regret. If I could go back in time, would I do things differently? Absolutely. Hey, there are things from LAST WEEK that I’d do differently as well! But I’m not going to be bound by my past actions or decisions anymore.

Those lies?

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If you don’t know the song, check it out here.

For my June movie, I did revisit a previously featured film.

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I STILL BELIEVE

We’d seen the advance pastor’s screening and loved the movie by the same producers of I Can Only Imagine. Unfortunately, the quarantine affected its theatrical release but it’s available for streaming on many platforms. Check it out!

For my June book, I chose a book I’d picked up in the bookstore several months ago but never read. It was a short read and I enjoyed it immensely. It was a sequel, but you can read them out of order. In fact, I just ordered the first book. Having had my own experience with a flesh and blood Jesus, I know this can happen so it was less fiction and more reality to me, even though it is a novel.

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I hope you are staying safe and doing well. Blog posts will resume on Mondays and Thursdays at 8 AM, and you will also notice a new author page (currently under construction) that will feature my published and upcoming books.

Have a wonderful June!

OCTOBER: MEDIA THAT MOVED ME

For my October picks, I decided to go look for NEW songs and books instead of sharing the ones I already treasure.

We can always learn and grow, and it’s great to make a little room for something (or someone) new.

(Note: The exception to this rule is holiday dinners. Families want to eat the same meal with the same sides made the same way. They do NOT like it, for example, when you try a new recipe that use Ritz crackers in place of french-fried onions for the green bean casserole. They will remind you of this as you plan the holiday grocery list for twelve more years.)

I listened to seven new Christian songs before I found THE ONE. This one came out in 2018 but if I’ve heard it before it didn’t quite move me like it did today. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I almost skipped over “I Will Fear No More” by The Afters because I used to have crippling fear, especially at night, and I’d overcome it.

But then I heard the lyrics. And I was reminded that fear is the opposite of faith.

I have a few areas of my life that could use a faith boost right now.

“You are greater than the battle raging in my mind…” Wow. I think we can all relate to that.

“Even though I’m in the storm, the storm is not in me…” How easy is it to let that storm in? It tornado-twists our minds, our stomachs, our hearts…

This incredible song reminds us that NOTHING can overpower the Lord in your life.

 

For my October movie I was privileged to attend an advance screening of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” last night.

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I’ll have to admit that I had mixed feelings about posting it on my ministry blog. Ultimately, I decided to leave it here because the page is Media that Moved ME and it did move me. But this attempt by Affirm Films falls a little short of the standard set for movies in ministry use.

For personal viewing, it’s a good movie. A little weird but I embrace the abnormal. (A few unnecessary bad words ruin its chances to be shown in schools and churches. And while it is a feel-good movie, there is no mention of Christ or salvation.)

Tom Hanks brings the kindhearted Mr. Rogers to life on the big screen as only the versatile actor can. Focusing on the transformation of  journalist Lloyd Vogel through his relationship with Rogers, the movie is based on the true life Esquire article “Can You Say…Hero?” by Tom Junod.

A funny thing happened while Lloyd was discovering the value of his life through Mr. Rogers’ eyes: I discovered mine. I’ll admit, the day had been a bit of a pity party for me. Relationships, publishing, weight loss….nothing was going the way I wanted it to and I’d just had a 45-minute therapy session with my two dogs as I told them my life had no purpose or value whatsoever. (I know… I can be a tad melodramatic at times.)

Then Mr. Rogers came to life before my eyes and in his slow, soft way, I truly believed that he thought my life had value. And if Mr. Rogers (through a man named Tom Hanks) believed in me, I could believe in myself.

It sounds crazy, but I left the movie feeling so much better about life. Thank you, Mr. Rogers, for leaving such a legacy that affects people even to this day.

MY BOOK PICK

This past month I picked up several biographies to read. I normally prefer fiction but once a year, I read non-fiction. It started when we first moved to Jackson, MS around 2010. I liked to visit a neighborhood library and they had a big non-fiction section when you first walked through the doors. I was intrigued at the glossy photos staring at me from the covers of each book. Occasionally I’d read about someone historical but mostly I stuck with pop culture. It didn’t matter that I was basically reading a novel-length TMZ article, I consider ALL non-fiction to be educational!

I read several but the one that stood out to me was “50 Things that Aren’t My Fault” by the cartoon strip Cathy’s creator, Cathy Guisewite. It doesn’t necessarily go with my normal list of inspirational books, but it was inspirational for me because I find great comfort in reading about someone’s idiosyncrasies that mirror my own. From lamenting the 19.99 monthly contribution to the local gym (it’s only called a membership when you actually GO) to becoming trapped in an obviously mislabeled sports bra, I was laughing uproariously with her and feeling a lot less alone in the world.

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Check these three out or tell me about some of your favorites this month!