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.

Posted in August 2018

A Loss for Words

Well, it’s finally happened.

I’ve run out of words.

What’s meant to be a piece relating to this week’s episode is instead going to be me saying I don’t know what to say.

Y’all…I’m exhausted! This summer has been so busy! We’re finally at that age where our kids are growing up and doing more independently and with friends and I had the weird notion that life would slow down a bit. I was wrong.

I don’t know exactly why it’s been such a whirlwind, I just know that it has.

That being said, I think I need a break.

By the time you’re reading this, I will be in Lakeside, Montana with 3 teenagers. We’re going to go look at the Youth With A Mission campus there. That’s where I went over 20 years ago and it started something new in me. Now, it’s my daughter’s turn. As she considers what she wants to do after high school, this seems like a good option.

We’ll see. All I know is, I’ve got three teenagers in the car for 4 days for a super fast road trip and I’m really, truly excited!

I’ll fill you in upon my return.

In the meantime, have an amazing finish to the summer or 2018. It’ll be gone before you know it. Make the time count.

‘kay….see you soon!

Love, B.

Posted in August 2018, Podcast Show Notes

Show Notes: “Lessons from the Road to Samaria: A Life on Mission”

This week we travel alongside Jesus as He makes a quick trip through Samaria where He meets a woman and turns her world upside down.
Listen to the full episode!
Brandy takes us to John chapter 4 and walks us through why Jesus traveling to Samaria was a strange event in the first place and then shows us the significance of what happened there. From the compassion He shows to a woman with a life full of sin to the way that Jesus saw every day as an opportunity to share His message of hope and redemption to the people He encountered, this simple story is chock-full of challenges to us and the way we interact with the world.
Scripture: John 4
At the conclusion, Brandy shares the importance of reading Show Notes. (This very page so if you’re here, congratulations!)
For a complete transcript click HERE
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Posted in August 2018, podcast

Remembering God’s Faithfulness

For years I had, on our front door, a little sticky note that read, “Remember what God has already brought you through.” It was a quick visual for me to see each and every day reminding me of God’s faithfulness so that when I stepped out of the relative safety of my home, I would carry this one simple truth with me.

It did, in fact, become such a habit to look at that it lost its punch. I got very good at quoting that little phrase but somehow forgot how to apply its truth to my daily life.

It turns out, I’m not so different from the Israelites, after all. And chances are, neither are you.

Looking through the book of Exodus you will see scores of times that those folks just plumb forgot all the awe-inspiring things God did to provide for them. He made water gush out of a rock because they were thirsty. He dropped manna from the skies so they could eat. He appeared to Moses who proceeded to glow with God’s glory for over a month.

I know some pretty cool and highly talented people, but none of them can do anything even close to that, y’all. And God did this kind of thing on a regular basis.

But somehow, it never seemed to be enough to make a lasting impression on these guys.

Take, for example, chapter 14 in the book of Exodus, the time God led the Israelites through the Red Sea over dry land. Here, the Egyptians are in hot pursuit of the Israelites. I imagine the best car chase scene you’ve ever watched in a movie but with chariots. The Israelites pulled up to the sea’s edge and must have thought it was over. I mean, it’s not like they could just swim across the sea, ya know?

So, God, being God, works through Moses, who bangs down his staff and wah-la! The sea begins to dry up and the Israelites, looking back and forth at each other, shrug their shoulders and start to walk across the dry seabed.

They cross and meanwhile, the Egyptians get swallowed up by the raging waters that are coming back to life after the Israelites pass by. Boom! Mic drop.

God did a super big thing. Surely this is the event that is going to stick in their minds for the rest of their lives and they will never again complain to God about His timing, His provision, His purpose…whatever.

In fact, in chapter 15 of Exodus, following this Main Event, the Israelites write a song of praise and sing it to God.

          “The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; this
          is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will extol Him. The
          Lord is a warrior; The Lord is His name. Who is like You among the gods, O
          Lord? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working
          wonders? You stretched out Your right hand, the earth swallowed them. In
          Your lovingkindness You have led the people who You have redeemed; in
          Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.”
-Exodus 15: 2-3, 11-13

That’s beautiful! They get it! They recognize that God is far above all other gods, that He alone saves and redeems His people and that He is worthy of praise.

Until…

Man, they didn’t even wait for the next chapter before things go south.

In verse 22, directly after they have sung this beautiful song to the Lord who saved them, they come to a place where they are thirsty and there’s no sign of water. Granted, it had been three days. I imagine that’s got to be uncomfortable in ways I’ve never personally experienced. All the same, the grumbling begins.

How quickly they seem to have forgotten what God has already brought them through. How easily they have let that miraculous event fall to the back of their memory like some far off dream.

I look at that and I want to smack those foolish Israelites up-side the head and say, “Pull it together, man! Don’t you remember what happened three ding-dang days ago?” I get so exasperated as I read of the Israelite’s wanderings. They are a tiresome lot, aren’t they?

But then…ah, you knew it was coming…I think about all the times I forget about all that God has brought me through. I forget the times when he provided money just as the cupboards were running dry. I forget about the times that doctors have been willing to treat some very serious medical conditions even though I didn’t have a penny to pay them. I forget about the healing God has brought about in broken relationships, relationships that by worldly standards should never have been redeemed.

I forget.

But still, He is faithful.

Here’s my challenge…and I mean this. I don’t want you to just read this and think what a great idea it is and then fail to do it. I want you to take a few minutes and on sticky notes or notecards or scrap paper, write out the ways that God has been faithful in your life. One word or phrase per piece of paper; enough for you to be able to glance at and be reminded of God’s faithfulness in your past.

These are little memorials, guys. That’s all they are. Little markers that you can then post around your house, your car, your office to remind you that even in the midst of this current storm, you can be sure that God is with you because He’s been with you in the past.

It’ll take no more than 15 minutes. That’s less than the time it takes to watch a dumb sitcom. What are you waiting for?

Go make a memorial so you never forget that God is faithful even when we grumble.

Love, B.

 

Posted in July 2018, Podcast Show Notes

Show Notes: “Lessons from the Road to the Promised Land”

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.

Listen to the full episode.

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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Posted in July 2018, podcast

I Can’t Drive 55 (and it’s making me crazy)

Driving down the road, they’re everywhere.

At every stoplight, merge, on or off-ramp…everywhere. And I hate them. I get so easily angered by their lack of consideration, their downright ineptitude at doing what is really, so easy. They take up more room than necessary and shouldn’t even be allowed out, in my opinion. You know who I’m talking about. You may even be one of them. (I’m sorry, by the way, if you are).

They are…slow drivers.

Gah!!! I can’t tell you how often I feel like ripping off my very own face because the person in front of me in the passing lane is going 5 miles under the speed limit. Not to mention the yahoo in the right lane who is doing the same.

Or what about the people who are turning off, either into a parking lot, a road or an exit off the highway? They’re no better when they start applying the brakes well before it’s necessary, their blinker disengaged so that I’m not even sure what their intentions are.

Seriously. I have very little patience for most people who are behind the wheel. I’ve been known to say, more than once, “No one should even be allowed to drive when I’m driving because they’re all idiots.”

Listen, I know it isn’t nice. I know I need to work on my attitude. And I’m trying. Honest.

But I imagine, my thoughts and feelings toward ‘bad’ drivers aren’t a whole lot different from Jonah’s thoughts and feelings toward the Ninevites.

Think about it. The Ninevites were described by God in Jonah 1:1 as wicked. Jonah, on the other hand, was a prophet. He had been given a job by God, to take a message of repentance and redemption to the Ninevites, his enemies. And Jonah didn’t want to do it.

It’s easy for me to look at this story and think, ‘Come on, Jonah. Get up and preach this message of salvation to people who obviously need it.’ I mean, really…why can’t he show them a little bit of love and grace?

But then I remember my attitude when I drive. (Zoinks!) If I apply the same principles, I’m no better than Jonah. Sure, I’m not preaching the gospel as I drive, but I am still representing Christ, even if it isn’t blatant.

I think it’s easy to say and do all the right things when we know that people are aware of Who we belong to. But in the safety of my own car, where I have very intentionally not put up any Christian bumper stickers, I can feel pretty confident that no one is going to call me out on my lack of patience hollering, “What would Jesus do?”

Jonah didn’t want his enemies to have what he’d been given – a path to God. Likewise, I don’t want to extend to my ‘enemies’ the grace that I’ve been given. It’s really all the same, isn’t it?

God has called us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44). He’s called us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:37-40). He has called us to do the greatest job of all, to go into ALL the world and make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20).

It’s hard, isn’t it, to want to give what we’ve been given to people we don’t think deserve it? Then again, God gave us grace and a message of repentance, hope, and redemption when we didn’t deserve it. So…who are we to say who’s worthy and who isn’t?

Who are your Ninevites? Who is it that God is calling you to share the good news with, or even just extend a little extra patience and grace? And what can you do today to start running toward the call that God has given you?

Now, excuse me while I go repent and please…don’t drive in the passing lane unless you’re passing.

-Brandy

Posted in July 2018, Podcast Show Notes

Show Notes: Minisode #2 “Lessons from the Road to…Tarshish?”

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Today, Matt takes a look at Jonah’s trip in a fish. More specifically, he talks about how Jonah ran away from God’s will for him and ended up in the fish to begin with.

Listen to the full episode here

Jonah has a whole book all his own in the Bible and you can read his story there. In my Bible, it starts on page 1421. That won’t really help you, though. Anyway, even if you’ve heard this story a bunch of times, it’s a quick little read and we highly encourage you to read it again. It will only take a few minutes, I promise!

Some points to consider and scripture to read:

* Like Jonah, we’ve been given a job to do and that’s to bring a message of hope and redemption to a lost and broken world. Even if we think the world isn’t worthy of the message (and we don’t really want them to get in on the best deal ever), we’ve been given a job and we must do it.

*Like the prophet Jeremiah, we must recognize that this life is not our own. We have been given this life for God’s purpose and pleasure. He is the navigator of our lives because he sees the map in its entirety. We just get to steer the car (be obedient).

*Jeremiah 10:23

*Isaiah 55:8-9

Read the full transcript here!

A little thing to note: Not all of life’s storms are a result of our disobedience. Any number of things simply happen to or around us because we live in a fallen and sinful world. It is, however, always best to stay obedient to God so He doesn’t have to use painful means to get our attention, which He’ll do if necessary. Because He’s a good Dad and He wants the best for us.
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Posted in July 2018

Roadside Attraction

Roadside attractions may be one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. There’s nothing better than going off the beaten path to see something that is weird, giant, a little frightening or absolutely breathtaking. You just never know what’s in store until you veer off your designated path and take a look.

We did that many moons ago. Living in the western part of Oregon, we are blessed to be only a few hours from either a snow-covered mountain, forests, rivers, and lakes galore, the high desert or an impressive, albeit cold, coast. We regularly enjoy these varied climates and environments and have a particular fondness for our coast.

Along the coastal highway on the way to a little touristy town called Seaside, there used to be a sign directing travelers to the World’s Largest Sitka Spruce. For years as we’d drive past I suggest that one of these times we ought to stop. But we never did. We’d drive past and I’d imagine the glory of what I was missing.

Finally, I was tired of imagining and made a sudden turn onto the road. It wasn’t too far into the forest, but it was impossible to miss. At roughly 700 years old, it was hands-down the largest tree I’d ever personally seen. To say it was impressive is an understatement. It was jaw-dropping. At least for me. I actually hugged it.

What once stood a proud 200 feet high, was cut down by a fierce windstorm in 2006 taking advantage of an old lightening scar from years ago. It’s 17-foot diameter stump still stands as a reminder of what was once the oldest living thing in Oregon.

And we almost missed it. Just think, all those trips we made back and forth to the coast, passing by the little dirt road that led to this ancient beauty. We were always so focused on our destination that we couldn’t be bothered to slow down and explore along the way.

Sometimes life is like that, too. We get really zeroed in on what we think is the goal and fail to notice the little things that pop up in life. We forget to go down the back roads and see what lurks behind the next turn. Maybe it’s a new friend or a hobby. Maybe it’s the beginning of a new career or ministry. Maybe it’s love. It might also be something scary. Let’s be honest, there are monsters in the forest. But maybe we need to face a few of them in order for our dependence on God to grow.

Not all the paths we go down are going to be good ones. But let’s not stay so safely on the path we’ve set before ourselves that we miss the best part of the journey. You never know what you just might find.

Photo by Milan Sietler on Unsplash
[I was unable to find any photos of the Sitka Spruce in question, either from my own collection or on the interwebs that were royalty free. Hence, you get this pretty little photo instead!]

 

Posted in July 2018, Podcast Show Notes

Minisode 1: Lessons from the Road to Damascus – Show Notes

Welcome to the first mini-episode in our little summer series called “Lessons from the Road.” We’re going to take the next eight weeks and share stories taken from the Bible as well as our own personal lives about lessons learned while on a journey.

Listen to the full episode here

Today we start with Brandy sharing the story of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus.

This story takes place in Acts 9:1-31.

To read the transcript that includes the passage, click here.

While many lessons can be gleaned from this portion of scripture, Brandy focuses on the fact that not only was Paul’s conversion from persecutor of the faith to a servant of God swift, but it was loud and proud. Paul made no apologies for his conversion to the faith. Once he met God, there was no denying Him as Lord and Savior.

Listen in on this quick minisode and see if Paul’s boldness is evident in your own life.

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Posted in July 2018, podcast

Living with Generalized Depression and Anxiety: One Christian’s Perspective

I really struggled with what to write about this week. Nothing was coming to me naturally and every time I tried to force something out on paper, it was just that, forced.  And then it occurred to me why: my anxiety is pretty high these days, which makes me want to “go ostrich” and bury my head in the sand. (Though, now that I’ve googled that particular phrase, I am well aware the way we use it is highly inaccurate. I trust you get my point.)

So…here I am. Anxious. My heart is racing. My blood pressure, I’m sure is up, though testing it seems like wasted energy. Depression levels are sinking. I’m overwhelmed, under-rested, and would rather be in bed with my favorite blanket and the remote control.

This isn’t terribly uncommon.

In fact, if you’ve ever suffered from depression or anxiety, chances are you can relate. Likewise, if you’re a Christian suffering from either of these or a whole host of other mental health issues, you’ve also been told all the reasons you shouldn’t ever be depressed or anxious.

You’ve heard it, too, I’m sure…

It seems to me, the most-oft quoted scripture I hear is Matthew 6:27, “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” This is, of course within the context of a much larger portion of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus gave his magnum opus in the preaching world.

To be sure, there is great wisdom in that verse and the ones surrounding it in regards to trusting that the God who created us will also care for our needs. I dig that. A lot.

But here’s the thing: anxiety and depression have little to do with those concerns. When someone says they suffer from anxiety, they’re probably not talking about worrying about how the bills are going to get paid. That can certainly be a part of it, don’t get me wrong.

Anxiety vs. Worrying

Anxiety, though is less about ‘worrying’ about things and more about being paralyzed to do anything about what causes normal worry. At least, for me.

Most people, when they worry about bills getting paid, they find a way to increase their earnings, through a second job or selling some goods. Likewise, most people, when their homes start to get messy and cluttered, they take a day and whip things back in to shape.

Sometimes I can do those things, too. A lot of time, though, I become completely overwhelmed and unable to see what next step to take. That leads to frustration because I know I should know the answer. You know?

Instead, I pace the house, seeing clutter and mess all around and I can’t figure out how to make it go away. I get jittery and snappish with the people around me. Even if they try to help in one way or the other, odds are their help will feel threatening and they’ll still get snapped at, anyway. (It’s a barrel of laughs, yeah?)

Christians Suffer, Too

It’s just not enough to tell Christians that they shouldn’t suffer from these issues. It’s not fair to say that because we’re Christians we shouldn’t need medication or therapy and even then, continue to battle with it on an on-going basis. To suggest, in any way, that followers of Christ are supposed to somehow be happy and content at all times, is dangerous and needs to stop.

The fact is, we live in a fallen and broken world. If you turn on the news or look at social media for five seconds, it’s pretty clear just how broken and fallen we are. It’s easy to find 100 things that cause stress on a daily basis without even trying hard.

When we look through scripture, it is riddled with people of faith who suffered greatly and wrestled with their own falling societies and cultures. Moses, Gideon, Jonah, Ruth, David, Esther, Paul, Jesus himself. They all lived in times of serious upheaval and societal pressure. Only one of those listed (and the list is quite a bit larger, just read your Bible), was perfect. I imagine Jesus, though He grieved at the knowledge of what He was being asked to do in His final hours, didn’t succumb to worry or anxious thinking.

But I do. And so do lots of other people of faith. You might even be one of them. You’re not alone.

Stop the Stigma!

The more we address this very real and growing epidemic that is ravaging the people in our churches, the less stigma there is surrounding mental health care. We are bold to pray for healing for people with cancer, but mental disease is the modern-day plague of Biblical times and we run around crying, “Unclean! Unclean!” as though depression were highly contagious. (Hint: it’s not.)

So, here I sit with this anxiety weighing me down. I’m able to stave off an anxiety attack; I’ve learned pretty well how to fight those back. But the general sense of overwhelm and lack of motivation is a very real battle I fight almost daily.

Look, I know where my Hope is. I know who I am and to whom I belong. I know that God has my present and my future safely locked in His hands and my eternity is secure. But that kind of knowledge still won’t help me get my To-Do List done.

So, if you’re feeling like I am today, let this be our plan: one foot in front of the other. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Repeat as many times as needed. Take a nap if possible. Do the next thing.

And at the end of the day, find that cozy blanket and remote. You did amazing.

Love, B.