Posted in January 2019, podcast

Twenty-fineteen: Everything’s Going to be Fine

Listen to the full episode here!

As we say goodbye to 2018, Matt and I reflect on some of what we learned over the Christmas holiday.

I learned that I’m a judgey, selfish, child who needs to learn to be thankful I get to sit at the feet of a Savior who loves me despite myself. (Yay for self-reflection.)

Matt is reminded of the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made simply by setting aside His Godhood to become a man in order to be with His people.

Clearly, we had different things going on.

After that conversation, we move into looking ahead to the new year and ways we hope to grow spiritually as we continue to seek after God.

Listen to the full episode here!

Special Announcement:
We will be taking the month of January off. Previously published episodes will be re-released during this time.

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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

Show Notes: “Lessons from the Road to Moriah”

What would you do if God asked you to make the ultimate sacrifice?

Find out how Abraham answered God’s call even when it meant literally sacrificing his own son. Did Abraham’s faith waver? Did he challenge God and suggest another way?

Listen here

Click the link above to hear Abraham’s response.

You can also read the full transcript to follow along or share with a friend who might not be able to listen.

Scripture reference: Genesis 22

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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 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 June 2018, Podcast Show Notes

Finding A Healthy Church

In this week’s episode, we tackle part 2: What a healthy church looks like. To kick it off, we give a brief overview of the churches we grew up in and a glance at some of the churches we’ve attended throughout our marriage. From congregations of thousands to a mere 35 or so, we’ve experienced a pretty wide range.

Listen to the full episode here

Brandy’s upbringing found her in an eclectic mix of people, with a church full of hippies and suits and ties, while Matt grew up in a rather conservative church in a conservative town.

But how do you know if the church that you’re considering attending is healthy? What are some hallmarks to look for as you consider returning to or attending church for the first time?

Join us as we talk about the importance of God’s word being honored and taught, the value of authenticity of believers and the very real need that we all have to find a place where we can serve others.

We also talk briefly about overcoming when you’ve been hurt by the church. We recognize that there are some wounds that are incredibly deep, but also encourage our listeners to seek counsel in order for those wounds to heal.

Scriptures we reference:
2 Timothy 3:16
John 1:1-5
Acts 2:42-47

Read the full transcript here

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Intro and Outro Music: “The Long Road Home to You” Written by Brandy J. Goebel; Arrangement by James Swanson; Performed by James Page; Copyright 2018

Posted in May 2018, podcast

A Beautiful Sacrifice

Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘sacrifice’ as,
“an act of offering to a deity something precious or
[the] destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else.”

When Mabel met George she was just a young girl. He was nine years her senior. They met at the farm of George’s uncle in Tygh Valley, Oregon. The year was 1913.

Over the course of the next ten years, the friendship between their families grew. They worked together several times during threshing season. Mabel’s skills advanced as she labored beside her mother in the kitchen as they prepared meals for the men working the fields.

During her school years, Mabel was taught at whatever one-room schoolhouse was nearby or she’d learn under the direction of her mother. She grew to love reading and writing most. Her days of tending to pigs and cows in the field were spent reading David Copperfield and the poems of Longfellow.

Mabel graduation

(Above: Mabel, high school graduation; Maupin, Oregon; June 1924. She was the only graduating senior in her class)

And as she grew, she dreamed of what she might do one day. She was awarded a scholarship to the University of Oregon in Eugene. It would mean traveling hundreds of miles away from her family and friends. But Mabel had dreams of becoming a school teacher and looked forward to going to university. She’d already tasted a bit of what that would be like; she and a small selection of other high school seniors had been granted a trip to visit the University. She had made new friends and was looking forward to what her future held.

But then…

Isn’t that the way it always goes? Our young protagonist is bright-eyed and hopeful, the world in the palm of his or her hands, but then…. Something happens. Because something almost always does.

For Mabel, it was the realization that despite her scholarship and her parent’s hard work, sending her to college was simply not a financial burden her family could afford. But there was something else, too….

During high school, Mabel and George had reconnected. He was home from the war and working wherever he could find work. Meanwhile, she was helping at her father’s confectionary shop in the afternoons and on weekends. Smitten by Mabel’s charm and sweet smile, George spent a good many of his afternoons at the Confectionary just to spend time with her.

George Morris - military photo

(Above: George Morris; circa 1917; Private 1st Class U.S. Marine Corps)

By her senior year, he was courting her. He played for the local baseball team in Maupin, Oregon and Mabel would go to his games. He took her to the dances at the Grange Hall. And when the decision finally needed to be made – college or no? When it came right down to it, Mabel didn’t want to leave George. She wanted, instead, to be his wife.

And so, in June of 1923, Mabel sacrificed one dream to fulfill another.

Sacrifice is often seen as a negative. People seem to only think of it as giving up something and they fail to recognize the other side of the coin. Yes, sacrifice does require that something is given up, but in return, you gain something more.

Sacrifice in marriage is a constant practice of giving up yourself (your desires and expectations) in order to better love your spouse. It comes in a thousand different ways. Mostly, it’s the little every day choices you make – should I make my husband’s lunch for him, while I pack my own? Or, should I clean the kitchen because I know that my wife has had a hard day and could use a few minutes alone? These are small sacrifices and yet, they do honestly require that we give something else up.

Maybe cleaning the kitchen means that you don’t get to sit down and turn on Netflix right away. Maybe packing that extra lunch means you won’t have time to stop for coffee on your way to work. Those are sacrifices.

But what are the rewards? A spouse who feels appreciated, valued, seen, considered. Is it worth it? You bet. Do you get a benefit from it? Yeah, you do. Maybe not right away and maybe not even from your spouse. But God will bless your sacrifice because if anyone understands the meaning of that words, it’s our Lord.

Luke 22:42 finds Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane praying shortly before He was arrested and crucified. As He’s praying He says, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me, yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Jesus knew what was coming. He understood that His time was very limited and He was about to enter into the greatest suffering anyone could possibly experience.

But He also knew He had a purpose that needed to be fulfilled, without which, none of us would know the grace of God and experience Him face to face. What God wanted was a perfect relationship with us, a fallen and sinful bunch of people. But who can approach a holy and blameless God? A sacrifice needed to be made. And Jesus knew that was His calling.

Listen, I cannot even fathom the sheer physical pain of what Jesus endured as he was beaten mercilessly, made to carry the cross and then nailed to it. I can’t begin to imagine the excrutiation He felt every time He tried to even take a breath, much less talk to those who needed to hear his voice one more time. But, I guarantee, the physical suffering He endured was marginal compared to the separation between He and God the Father when He took on the weight of all our sin and shame.

Jesus gave it all. He sacrificed His very life so that you and I could have a relationship with a holy God.

That sacrifice cost everything. It cost Jesus’ life. And yes, of course, He conquered death and rose three days later, but imagine the agony that He suffered as He felt His heavenly Father turn His face away from Him.

And yet, He did it. Why? What would propel Jesus to lay it all down?

You did. I did. He loved us. He wanted us to know Him the way that He knows us. And without that sacrifice, we would remain far removed.

Sacrifice is a big word. It’s a heavy word. It packs a punch. But it isn’t a bad word.

Sacrifice is wrapped up in love.

George and Mabel 1951

(Above: George and Mabel Morris; 1951)