This incredible passage is found in Matthew 5 and opens up one of the greatest sermons ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount. Here, Jesus is pretty early on in his ministry and with a large crowd gathered around, he takes the time to teach his disciples what it means to be a follower of Christ.
And man does He start with a bang! Rather than telling the disciples how great it’s all going to be, this whole following Jesus thing, he immediately tells them how blessed it is to be poor in spirit. What!?!?!?
Join me, Brandy, as together we look at what exactly it means to be poor in spirit and how our earthly wealth, however limited it may be, might be the very thing that’s holding us back from knowing the greatest inheritance we could ever imagine.
In this episode, we’ll explore the effects of wealth as documented in this article.
We’ll also read over through Matthew 5:1-16 and dive deep into verses 1 and 2. We’ll also take a look at Matthew 19:16-24 when Jesus instructs a young man to get rid of his possessions and follow Him.
Fear not, my friends! I don’t think Jesus is asking us all to give up everything we own and all the comforts we have in order to follow and serve Him. But He is asking us to consider our attitudes towards those things.
So, take my hand and let me guide you through this challenging beatitude that has me questioning my own attitudes and beliefs about what I own and why. Who knows, maybe this will even be the start to decluttering our homes!?
As we enter into another Presidential Election, it seemed only fitting to review our approach to politics and people as followers of Christ.
Listen to the FULL EPISODE and a SUMMER ANNOUNCEMENTHERE
I’d also like to invite you to watch a sermon presented by our pastor, Gregg Chastain at Community Church of Sandy in Sandy, Oregon. We have recently started a series on the book of Daniel. It comes at a perfect time, as we as Christians find ourselves increasingly being marginalized and asked to conform to the world.
Turn on the television and chances are good that you’ll find a show with a father who is ignorant, incapable or simply a joke. Hollywood has a knack for making a mockery of one of the most important and influential roles any man can have. And we, as consumers, have quickly adapted and assumed that the men in our lives truly are incapable of most any task and are hardly worth listening to.
It’s sad, really.
We have gone from the adage “Father knows best” to the attitude “Fathers don’t even matter.” We have relegated the role of Father as merely an afterthought. As if the contribution of sperm and a little DNA were all that men have to offer in their role as Parent.
What would happen if we actually paid heed to the wisdom of these men, who’ve provided food, shelter, and clothing to us? What would happen if we stopped to reflect on the messages they’ve sent us, often without any words at all? What would happen if we, for a brief moment, paused to listen to their silence, to hear what they hear?
This week, Matt and I sat down and shared some of the lessons our dads have each taught us. My own dad has been gone now for over 20 years, taken by a sudden heart attack in the middle of the night. We lived a couple states away at the time and the phone call I received from my mom at 3:00 a.m. is one I won’t soon forget. My dad’s death shook me to my core and honestly, nothing’s quite been the same ever since.
I only had 23 years with my dad. But those 23 years counted because he made them count. He invested in my brother and I and the boys he led in Scouts. He invested in the kids he taught at our high school and in our church’s Sunday School. He invested in his wife, my mom. He invested in his relationship with the God who saved him. And he lived that all out in front of us every day. He sometimes fell, but he was never too proud to admit his own shortcomings.
I could spend hundreds of pages writing down the lessons he taught me in those short years. He was a good, flawed, passionate man who loved God, his wife, and his kids.
Matt’s dad is still around, for which we are super grateful!
He, too, has loved God and his wife and kids well. He has shown himself to be loyal and disciplined and compassionate, a rock in the storm. And while he’s been a good model for Matt to look to, he’s also been a second dad to me. He’s shown his grace and love in a million ways over the years.
Matt and I recognize that we are exceedingly fortunate to have both been raised by godly, loving men, who were committed to their families. We understand that not everyone is that fortunate.
That being said, because we were both blessed to have a couple of good eggs for dads, we wanted to share with you some of the wisdom they shared with us.
Of course, the list could go on and on. This is just a fraction of the lessons our dads have taught us over the years. And I’m sure, as we continue to reflect on the men who helped raise and shape us and the ways they impacted our lives, more and more lessons will reveal themselves.
Driving home from dance class with my daughter tonight, we were talking about the importance of valuing people in our lives. She’s worried that she takes us, her mom, dad, and brother, for granted. She does. We all do. That’s what happens when you have someone in your life who’s just always there. They start to blend in with your surroundings. You don’t always notice the ways they add value to your life on a daily basis.
Until they’re gone.
Suddenly, those smiles, the hugs, the laughter, the sage advice, and the off-color jokes, all crystalize and you understand how valuable and sacred that love is. It all comes into super sharp focus and all you want is one more chance to say “I love you.”
As you listen to this week’s episode, I trust that you will not only be challenged by some of the lessons we’re passing on, but also that you would consider the men in your own life, whether they’re your father or a father-figure, and the ways they have shaped and molded you. Would you take the time to put into words the value they’ve added to your life? Would you share that with them?
Dads are really important. And not just because they’re the best at telling Dad Jokes. Dads have a lot to offer if we give them half a chance.
Tell your dad you love him. I know he’d like to hear it.
In this week’s episode, Matt and I talk about how and where we typically “find” our identities and where, as Christians, we should look instead. Even if you’re not a Christ follower, there are a few things that God says about who you are and what you’re made to do.
BUT FIRST, a little glimpse into one of the towns that I, Brandy and the teens stopped in on our road trip this summer, Wallace, Idaho.
Wallace’s population, in its peak in the 1940s, was well over 3,000. It is now estimated to be a mere 758. But what it lacks in people, it more than makes up for in charm and history. Established as a silver mining town, it continues to thrive as such.
I share some fun facts about Wallace and laugh uproariously while doing so. Seriously…I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair while recording. (We really ought to video these things!)
Left: The Stardust Motel still stands. The spaceship out front is part of a little diner where we had “The Best Huckleberry Milkshake.” The people inside this little diner were, hands-down, some of the nicest people we came across our entire trip. They were top notch with customer service. Right: The manhole cover that declares that very location in Wallace, Idaho to be the Center of the Universe. I mean…there’s a manhole cover that says it, so it must be true.
Please, go check out this cool, historic town. There is so much to uncover here and I only touched on a few little things. I look forward to exploring it more in years to come.
Wallace, Idaho…thank you! You promised to be a great place to visit and you delivered!
Quote at the start of this segment was taken from Psychology Today. “Examining Our Sense of Identity and Who We Are. Written by Michael J. Formica MS, MA, EdM. Posted Oct. 25, 2009. Below is a link to the entire article: Full article
Psychology defines identity as the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks and /or expression that make a person or group. It relates to self-image, self-esteem, and individuality.
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “identity crisis” as: the state of being uncertain about oneself regarding character, goals, etc, especially in adolescence.
Places we often look to for validation or in order to discover who we are:
* Social media
* Self-help instruction
* Personality quizzes and assessments
* Employment/job titles
WHAT SCRIPTURE SAYS ABOUT WHO WE ARE:
“For You formed me in my inward parts, You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works and my soul knows it very well.”
We have a RELATIONSHIP with God: “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.” – 1 John 3:1
We have an INHERITANCE: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…” – Ephesian 1:3
We have been TRANSFORMED: “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the kind intention of His will…In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace…” Ephesians 1:5 and 7
We are ACCEPTED: “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16
We are SECURE: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword?… But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, no life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor heights, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:35, 37-39
We are SIGNIFICANT: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God…” – 1 Corinthians 2:12
We have PURPOSE: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
“Woe to the one who quarrels with His Maker – an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?'” – Isaiah 45:9
A PERSONAL NOTE: After the busyness that has been my life recently, I had a health-induced rest for a couple of days. That being said, I am still working on getting a PDF made with a bunch more verses that speak to our identity in Christ. I am also still working on getting transcripts for the most recent shows. Please forgive my delay. If you happen to know of someone who might want to volunteer to do our transcripts, please have thememail me.
“Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up,
never loses faith,
is always hopeful,
and endures through every circumstance.
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge
will become useless.
But love will last forever!
Three things will last forever –
faith, hope, and love-
and the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13
I have fallen in love numerous times.
First, there was Chris, in the 2nd grade. He was a real cutie and helped me produce a play that I wrote about Martians visiting McDonald’s. It was a smashing success. Next came Steve. He was a toe-head. We played a lot of dodgeball and four-square during recess together. Then there was Bobby, Jason, Danny, Mike, JJ, Ben, Brad, Dean… you get the point.
I fell in love a lot.
If you’re new to this blog, you may not recognize that none of the above-mentioned names is that of my husband, Matt.
I fell in love with him, too.
It was all so accidental. It just seemed to happen, this constant falling in love. Some said I was boy-crazy. Maybe. Probably. But I never meant to be. I didn’t look for love, it just had a habit of whacking me upside the head and there I’d go, tripping and falling right into it.
It wasn’t until Matt came into my orbit that I began to understand that all those other times, maybe couldn’t be called love. Sure the feelings were intense and sometimes even lasted years, but there was a distinct difference that I could see nearly right away.
For the first time in my young life, I actually cared about another person as much, if not more, than I cared about myself. I wanted to see Matt succeed. I wanted to help him reach his goals and achieve his dreams. I wanted to be an active part of making his life better.
Granted, I was a dumb teenager who didn’t know how to go about any of that, so most of what I tried still had the stink of selfishness on it, but my intentions were (mostly) pure. I wasn’t only worried about how happy he could make me. I wanted to reciprocate and give back to him because I…I loved him.
My love for Matt was and continues to fail on a regular basis. I am often impatient. Sometimes I’m (gulp!) unkind. I am highly irritable. (Please tell me I’m not alone?) My love is 100% imperfect 100% of the time. I never get it right. If I even start to, I am quick to boast of how well I am loving and well….there ya go. It’s blown.
The fact is, in our broken humanity we will never get it right. Books have been written on the subjects of loving our spouse, our children, our co-workers, our neighbors, our church body, our communities, and even our enemies. We continue to seek The Solution as we strive to imperfectly love imperfect people. There isn’t one.
Or rather, there is, but it has nothing to do with what we’re capable of alone.
The Solution – what perfect love looks like – is Jesus Christ. He alone has fulfilled the very definition of love. He alone has the ability to love perfectly because He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death and then defeated it.
He can love because He is love.
We can only hint at perfect love when we have Christ in us. Apart from Him, our ability to love is nothing more than a noisy windchime, being tossed about by the storms of life.
We have a God who loves us beyond all measure. How can we know that? Because He loved us so much, He sacrificed everything in order to be in a relationship with us. Look at John 3:16 with fresh eyes. Say it out loud slowly:
“For this is how God loved the world:
He gave his one and only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him
will not perish but have eternal life.”
– John 3:16 (NLT)
That is perfect love. From a perfect God. And Jesus came to this earth to manifest that love in every tangible way.
Despite our best human efforts, we will never love anyone perfectly this side of Heaven. But with Christ in us, we can be emboldened to love freely, graciously, and extravagantly, in spite of those around us, not being swayed by our fickle emotions but standing firm in our choice to be obedient and answer the call to love God and love people.
As a follow up to last week’s discussion wherein Matt and I shared what it looked like for us to recover after an affair, it seemed only fitting to also share with you some things we have learned that made our marriage vulnerable in the first place.
It is our desire to equip and encourage married couples to not only stay faithful but to thrive while doing so. It’s true that God’s grace and power are big enough to heal a marriage, but wouldn’t it be better to just avoid that crisis in the first place?
Some common pitfalls that any marriage may stumble into:
* Pornography and an indulgent fantasy life
* Unrealistic expectations from your spouse
* Comparing your spouse to an idealized version
* Believing it could never happen in your marriage…every marriage is vulnerable!
Some practical steps to keep your marriage protected (this is NOT an exhaustive list!):
* Guard yourself against pornography and sexual triggers
* To “spice up” your sex life, look to Christian resources (a few links below)
* Understand that the person you marry isn’t a project; they may ever change (and if you’re hoping they will, it might not be time to marry them, just yet)
* See your marriage as a team effort; you’re working toward the same goal. Act like it.
* Tend to your own pasture…the grass is never greener. Trust me.
These are some of the things we talked about in this episode. Of course, we didn’t cover ideas about finding shared hobbies or interests, or how to effectively listen to your spouse or any one of a hundred other ways you can foster a loving relationship. Those, I’m sure will be covered in future episodes.
There are so many more resources available for the Christian couple. Whether you’ve got questions you’re uncomfortable asking anyone else, you want some ideas for how to put the spark back in your marriage or you simply want to know how to make your spouse feel more loved, there is a myriad of books out there.
To see Christian books only and not be worried about being bombarded with potential triggers or porn, check out Christian Book Distributors.
In this week’s Lesson from the Road, Matt takes us on a little tour comparing the book of Exodus with the book of Revelation. He shows us a few brief ways we might find ourselves looking a lot like the Israelites as they were wandering through the desert and how we’re all striving for the Promised Land.
There is no specific scripture referenced this week. How about this…read your Bible. Front to back. Chronologically. Sideways. Upside down. Just read it. Get this Book of books in your heart because this is our heritage. We ought to know it.
One thing that Matt forgot to mention is this (his 3rd time recording…thank you technology!) is a Tenth Avenue North song that captures his thoughts particularly well. The song is called “Strangers Here” and is on their album ‘The Struggle’. You can listen to the song HERE
You can purchase the album HERE
Click HERE for the full transcript
To join in the fun on Facebook, where we like to talk about road trips and bad drivers, click HERE.
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If you have questions, would like to suggest a show idea or be a guest, you can email us. We’d love to hear from you!
“Even in laughter the heart may be in pain. And the end of joy may be grief.” – Proverbs 14:13
Life is short, isn’t it?
Some days may slog on for eternity, but really, if you look back over your life, it’s gone pretty quickly. I remember when Prince was proclaiming we’re going to party like it’s 1999. And honestly, it just doesn’t seem that long ago.
But the fact is, our time here is brief. Maybe even briefer than we know.
In the past year, I have become acquainted with three separate families who have all had a child who’s been seriously injured in horrendous car accidents. These are good, Christian families with good, Christian kids. They weren’t drinking and driving. They weren’t doing anything “bad.” They were just at the wrong place, at the wrong time and life suddenly and irrevocably changed.
These young, bright, vivacious, healthy and active young people on the cusp of becoming independent have been brought to a place where they are fighting to relearn what they used to take for granted. And their parents are right there beside them, learning just how insignificant their efforts to protect their children have been.
I have watched these stories unfold as moms and dads are sharing the victories and the pain as they watch their children fight to live and then relearn how to walk. I hear their sorrow as they recall the bittersweet memories of their child on the basketball court, running and jumping with elegance and grace.
These are parents that never expected to be sitting up all night in their child’s hospital room, nurses and doctors speaking in hushed voices as the machines that are pumping life into their child hum and whir. They’re parents who, when their baby was taking their first uncertain steps, clinging to the coffee table, were making plans and sharing dreams about what their little lives would hold. They never imagined this is where they’d be 16 years later. Wondering, will my baby even live?
I spent yesterday in town running errands. Sometimes I really appreciate the time to do these simple chores on my own. I turn on a podcast or music, I pray, I people watch. It’s nice to have the time to just think.
But yesterday, my son, Evan wanted to join me. He’s 18, getting ready to venture out into life on his own before long and I was happy to have him by my side yesterday, not because I asked him for help, but because he just wanted to tag along. I figure I might as well take advantage of those moments while I can because they’re coming to an end.
We spent several hours in town, first in a local big-box store then on to get groceries. It truly wasn’t a remarkable trip except for this: the laughter that we shared.
We laughed so hard in Costco, as we sat stuck in an oversized lounge chair, sure that an employee was going to come and tell us to kindly remove ourselves from the store and never come back. We annoyed other customers who also wanted to take a seat in this, the comfiest of chairs, but we simply refused to move. We were having too much fun.
We laughed about everything. We talked about nothing. We shared a moment. That’s all it was.
My to-do list for the week is a mile long and seems to be growing by the hour. There was a part of me yesterday that really wanted to just blast through the errands and then move on to the work that’s piling up on my desk.
But then I remembered these parents whose lives are forever changed because they almost lost their child to a tragic event. And I remembered those parents I know whose children don’t even have the opportunity to relearn what once came so easily because their kids are gone. They don’t get to hear their voice or hug them close ever again.
And I embraced the moment to spend a few hours with this man-child of mine, who’s taller and stronger than me, but whom I will always and forever see as the little toddler just learning how to step out on his own. I cherished our time together to be silly, to laugh hard, to make memories and create inside jokes.
We don’t know what tomorrow or even the rest of today holds. We don’t know when our time is up when God will say, “It’s time to come home,” so we have to make the moments count.
Every chance, every day…. Be present. Say, “I love you.” Hug them hard.
Grief and pain are guaranteed. They may even be just around the corner. So hang on to the present and give thanks to the God who loves us in and through every storm life brings our way.