Posted in November 2018, Podcast Show Notes

Show Notes: “Consumer Blues Kill Holiday Cheer”

It’s that time of year again, boys and girls! The time when we pull out our credit cards and buy happiness. The more you spend the happier you are! Right?
If that doesn’t ring true to you, you’ve come to the right place! This week we are talking about how consumerism has got us down this holiday season.

Listen to the full episode here!

Ideas to make holiday cheer when your pockets are (mostly) empty:

  1. Remember the abundance you already have. Listen, this one is probably the hardest on the list because it’s so easy to start feeling like everyone else has so much more than you do. The fact is, chances are super good that if you can listen to this podcast or see this blog post, you probably have your basic needs being met. True, you may not have anything grand, but you have more than any number of other people. Again…this isn’t easy, but remember what you deserve: that’s right, death. So, yay! You’re alive and that’s pretty darn awesome!
  2. Look at Christmas through the eyes of a child. Remember when you were little and a week before Christmas break you’d look out the window while sitting in 6th period Science to see snow falling? You know that feeling you got? The anticipation and excitement of forts and snowmen to build, snowballs to throw and hot chocolate to drink all played havoc on any kid actually getting anything done in school. Let that kind of awe and wonder drive you this holiday season. If you can’t find it on your own, spend time with a little kid. Look at Christmas lights. Visit Santa.
  3. Focus on sharing moments with people rather than gifts. Take a walk in the snow. Fix up mugs of hot cocoa with marshmallows and candy canes then pile your family into the car, turn on the Christmas music and drive around to look at lights. Bake something new. Make homemade gifts…using only what you have on hand. Read Christmas stories. Watch all the Christmas movies. Take advantage of your local library. But be sure to do it all with people you love. Create memories that maybe don’t need to be shared on Instagram.
  4. Find a way to serve or give to others less fortunate than you. Let’s face it, there’s a super great chance that there are people in this world that would give anything to have as much as we have. Let’s spend some time brainstorming with our loved ones to find a way to give to someone who otherwise might get nothing. Giving truly is better than receiving.
  5. Never forget Christ in Christmas. The gift of a savior who was perfect in every way, but would lay down His life to be a sacrifice and then raise from the dead so that we could have an everlasting and intimate relationship with the God of the universe is the BEST possible gift we could ever receive.

There are any number of other ways you may find to keep your heart and head focused, not on what you lack, but on all that you have this holiday season. Please go to our Facebook group and share your ideas with others so we may all be encouraged!

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And in the meantime, Happy Holidays, guys! Let’s get this season rolling!

Posted in September 2018

Love is Love is Love is love

“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.

Deeply.

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.

Now go. Tell someone you love them. And mean it.

 

 

 

Posted in August 2018, Podcast Show Notes

Lessons from the Road to Calvary: Why the Cross Matters

Hey y’all! I’m really excited about this episode because my dad is joining me in it!

What? How can that be?

No, I haven’t figured out a way to communicate with people beyond the grave, but I am super fortunate that my dad recorded a bunch of his music over the years and I have some of it. So, at the conclusion of this episode, you will hear my dad singing a song he wrote in the ’80s. It was recorded in our garage studio, the original Throne Together Studios with his good friend, Phil.

(Shout out to Phil, who’s been a worship pastor for a lot of years and now has a ministry ministering to men and women who lead us weekly in worship. Go check him out here. He’s a cool dude.)

Anyway, this week’s episode is what it’s all about. It’s why we are so passionate about bringing you this show every week. It’s all about Jesus and the price He paid so we could come face to face with the God who made us.

Listen to the full episode!

You can also read the full transcript here.

Though only one scripture was directly referred to, many were referenced. Here are some of them:

*The Gospel accounts that relate the story from just before the crucifixion until Jesus’          ascension to heaven: Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, John 17-21

*Jesus clarifying the fulfillment of the law (“You have heard it said…”): Matthew 5:21-         22 and verses 27-30.

*Paul’s explanation of the fulfillment of the law: Galatians 3:10-29

*Grace is a complete and free gift: Ephesians 2:8-9

*God calling you the apple of His eye: Zechariah 2:8

If you have any questions or want to know more about dedicating your life to God, please get in touch with us. We would love to answer any questions we can or help put you in touch with someone close to you who can help guide you. 

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Intro Music: “The Long Road Home” Written by Brandy J. Goebel, Arrangement by James Swanson, Performed by James Page. Copyright 2018.

Outro Music: “The Man on Calvary” Written, arranged and performed by Jim Page. Copyright 2018.