Friday, May 19, 2017

Transformed Thinking

My amazing husband actually did what I jokingly asked for Mother's Day. He purchased me a hotel room in downtown Spokane for one night away from life. I needed time by myself. Time to think. Time to dream. To come up with big ideas and ways to implement them. Time to crochet and eat junk food. It's been incredible. And I've learned what fills my soul the most; time by myself to think about "things." Some of them are big, some of them are small, but it fills my soul to take time for myself in this way. It is my Sabbath.

As I was perusing Facebook this morning I came across an article that hit on a problem I've seen in schools, universities, and churches in the three states I've lived in over the last 6 years. It hits each area in different ways; sometimes it's racial, other times political, and still other times gender specific. The topics may change but the problem has not. 

The real problem with millennials isn't that their lazy (this just isn't true). It is not that they cannot become grown ups. It's not any of the simple things that the media and one liner Facebook memes make themselves out to be. Instead, it is their teachers, parents, and authority figures in their lives fault. We have taught them to refuse to listen to anyone else. We have taught them to "believe in themselves," have "self esteem," and live according to their own selfish desires. And when leadership or authority calls into question this selfishness, they are not afraid to walk away. Or protest whatever person, business, or company they disagree with. These people end up becoming victims of a growing crowd of young people who refuse to see the human in the person standing next to them. 

I recently went to a Poverty 101 workshop at our church districts assembly and meeting time. I'm frustrated at the moment because I cannot for the life of me remember the mans name, but one particular thing he said stuck with me. When we send our kids to various schools or institutions of higher education, the most important thing they teach won't be the facts, figures, and rules the kids learn in various subjects although those things are important. The most significant thing they will learn is how to think. The processes by which our children come to conclusions about life are more important than any single thing they learn throughout their school years. We teach them how to ask questions, how to use facts, reason, and logic to come to conclusions about life in healthy ways.

I'm sure you have caught on by now to where I am getting... millennials have been taught to think differently than those who have come before them. They were the generation who's teachers and authority figures started asking themselves, "is there a better way to do this?" This approach has created a group of people who are incredibly empathetic, place high value on love and acceptance, but have a huge inability to deal with perspectives, thoughts, values, and opinions that are not their own. In an effort to teach this group the value of inclusiveness to all people, races, ethnicity's, and religions, we have failed to teach them how to interact with these people in healthy ways. And now we are paying the price. Please watch this video... it's a good one. 

What I don't agree with in this video is that they blame this problem on the universities change in focus going from intellectual discourse to creating a "home" atmosphere. Instead of being a place that emphasizes deep thought, intellectualism, debate, and discourse, the video believes the root of the problem stems from the universities shift in focus to entertainment and consumerism. 

This may be part of the problem, but it is not the sole cause. Although the university has jumped on the bandwagon with these things, I believe they are merely meeting the wants and desires of the people they are trying to target. They do have to financially support themselves after all. I believe the root of the problem stems with how these kids were taught to think before they ever stepped foot at Yale. The real problem is with how they think. If you aren't as open minded as me, then you are close minded. If you don't think like me, agree with me, or process life like me, then you are wrong. You are oppressive. And you can never understand because you are not me. This sense of rugged individualism and selfish perspective has undermined the education of this group of people. 

As a 35 year old born in 1981 I have one foot firmly in Gen X and another in the Millennial camp. I fell for this thinking for some time. As a female clergy person, it's difficult to live with men and women who refuse to acknowledge the leadership of half the body of Christ. I told myself that "no one gets it." That I was being oppressed, shoved to the side, and left by those who disagreed with me. All this kind of thinking produced was a very angry and selfish person. This was not healthy anger; this was the anger of self righteousness. It was an anger rooted in my belief that I was right and everyone else was wrong. 

I still believe I am called to ministry. I still know that the Lord has given me gifts, talents, and tangible abilities to lead God's people through the storms of life and help further the Kingdom of God in our world. But I can't throw out those who disagree with me. I cannot consciously leave them behind.  The Lord has pressed these people upon my heart and made me see them as my people, so I have to come to a place of love and humility for them. For Jesus' sake. It is my call to bridge the gap and be a peacemaker in the storm. I have struggled with the need to be right and asked for the transformational power of the Holy Spirit creating in me a woman who gives up all rights to be like Jesus. This means becoming a servant of the people I disagree with. 

Church, we have the ability to model the love of Jesus Christ to the world in significant ways by listening to the stories of those we disagree with. We don't have to agree with them, but we can respect, love, and give value to the people who these opinions are coming from. We have to pray and seek the Lord's heart in all things not in an effort to prove "Christian values" to the world, but in an effort to further the Kingdom of God for the Lord's sake. Only this will transform our desires to the desires and will of God. When we approach Scripture with the sole purpose of proving we are right and "they" are wrong, we are being just as hard headed and difficult to work with as the rest of the world. And we are not called to be of this world. We are called to be of the Kingdom. Let us choose Kingdom Life. 

Romans 12Common English Bible (CEB)

Living sacrifice and transformed lives

12 So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.

Transformed relationships

Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you. We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Plexus Slim... no dice.

I am very sad to inform you, whomever is actually reading this, that the slim didn't work out for Kyle and I. The taste kept giving me an upset stomach. I also had a hard time feeling okay after taking it. I would feel shaky, nauseous, and altogether like my blood sugar was too low. I don't like that feeling at all!

After almost three weeks taking it, Kyle also had a very severe reaction earlier last week. He has some slight anxiety, which has been really controlled and doing well. Then randomly he had a three day span where he had severe chest pain. He felt like the world was ending, and there was not a good reason for that. We read up on some information on Slim who's active ingredient is chromium picolynate (sp?), and it's known to cause heightened anxiety and issues in people with these issues. We just aren't willing to risk losing days again to anxiety attacks, so he stopped taking Slim and is already feeling better.

All that to say, if you are looking to try something to help yourself, go for it! We should never stop trying to be healthier. Don't be afraid to try something just because it didn't work for me. Everyone's body is different and reacts differently to different things. God loves all of us and He knows our struggles and problems better than we do. The Lord will enable us to find something that helps in the long term.

We are keeping the BioCleanse supplement. I have really liked how I feel when taking this particular supplement, and I am interested in some other supplements through Plexus.

Either way, we don't regret trying something new. Plexus refunded us for the Slim outright and it was a very easy process. They were nice to talk to, as well. Please let me know if your interested in trying something. I did become an ambassador to keep costs down, so if I can help someone else I would love to.

Friday, March 31, 2017

12 days in...

Sorry for the length between posts, but I have been super busy in life! Kyle and I are 12 days into our Plexus use.

We are currently taking Slim, ProBio, BioCleanse, and X Factor. I had some huge issues with Slim at first, because it came with a weird metallic after taste for me. From what I read, this is kind of the process of removing heavy metals from the body. I have been mixing it with just a few ounces of water, downing it like a shot, then chewing a piece of gum or a Mento afterword. This has helped me get past the metallic taste. I am sure to drink plenty of water in between that as well. I don't have a problem drinking lots of water, since I gave up soda, juice, and other sweet drinks years ago when I was pregnant with my almost 13 year old. Sometimes I crave an A & W Rootbeer, but I can only drink about half a can before it's too sweet.

Any way, on to the biggest issue I've been having and this is going to be a total overshare: diarrhea. It seemed random at first, but it always hits a few minutes after I eat. It has not been a fun experience, but I am going to back off the BioCleanse for a bit and see if it helps. I've been chatting with my "sponsor" but friend really, Sarah, about it and she suggests taking one or two at night with the probio. I am going to stop it completely for a day or two, then reintroduce it in that way. We will see.

I have not seen any different in weight loss, and I am not sure about energy. I have been so busy at work and home, that I have been pretty exhausted. In January I went from working part time to full time, and it's a job that I have to be really individually motivated to get things done. I am working as the graphic designer, phone answerer, web designer, event planner, and office administrator of the church office on top of worship pastor duties. It's been a huge change, but I enjoy it. But once Thursday comes (my "work week" is from Saturday night to Thursday), I am exhausted mentally and physically. As someone who is more of a learned extrovert, my energy sources are extremely low by the time Thursday afternoon comes around. The one thing that has made a huge different is working out, but I did two hours of Zumba on Monday, and have had stomach issues since, that I haven't been going. I will get back to it next week. We've also been so busy my eating has not been the greatest, so I know that needs some work as well.

So here we are. Trying to get and stay healthy is the goal. I have two parents with type two diabetes, and I have metabolic syndrome which is a kind of precurser to pre-diabetes. I don't want to get to the pre-diabetes stage at all. I am really hoping I can get control of this soon! Thanks for reading friends!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It has begun.

After what seemed like forever after ordering (it was only about a week and a half), we received our package from Plexus yesterday. We ordered the Plexus Slim package (two of them), Bio cleanse (2), Pro Bio (2), and we got an XFactor (1), with the deal. The total was $255.23... ouch! (As an ambassador). This is a sacrifice for our family to spend this much on something "extra," but Kyle and I both need to sacrifice to help alleviate the health issues we are having. And we hope to share our results with others and help others find answers to their health issues as well.

Last night I drank my first Plexus Slim. I didn't add enough water, so it was really sweet and gross. I added some more water and it was more drinkable. I am not very fond of the slightly metallic aftertaste (kind of tastes like meat). I am not a fan, but it's not so bad it's worth not taking.

Before lunch today my husband commented that the flavor tastes like a cherry tootsie pop, and it's so true! I added a small lemon wedge to the drink today, and that really helped balance the super sweet flavor. I haven't had any issues taking the pills, I just set a reminder in my phone. I have started this journey at 224 pounds, doing Zumba on Monday nights for an hour, lifting arms on Mondays for an hour, and legs on Thursday's. I carry about 20% more muscle mass than the average woman, so I will never be "petite" and I don't want to be. When I felt my healthiest I was around 145-160 pounds, and I would love to get to that range for a goal. I will always be a curvy girl and I am totally okay with that! I really just want to be healthy and happy, and I want my body to move and do the things I want it to do. So here we go... I pray this will be a useful tool in that journey.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Plexus and Seeking Help

I'm writing this after struggling with my weight for the last six years or so. I'm tired of feeling heavy, having no energy, and living a sedentary life. But I am also just tired. I have four kids, a full time job, and my husband has some pretty bad health issues that we can't find answers for. So this is why we're trying Plexus.

To be honest, I don't really believe all the hype from friends about it. That is nice, I know. I love my friends, and I know they have had good experiences with Plexus, but that doesn't mean it will work for me or Kyle. Kyle's health issues have been gone over by multiple doctors, in multiple states, by multiple specialists. We're both tired of getting our hopes up, just to have them come crashing around the ground. We are skeptics, to say the least. We will see if it works.

Our shipment is supposed to get here on Monday. I am looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. I need to start working on giving up the sugar again, although every time I go through it, it seems to get harder the next time. I  am not sure how people live their whole lives eating clean. I CRAVE THINGS. Ice cream. Cookies. Bread. These are things I enjoy. I don't eat a whole lot of chips, oreo's, or store bought junk. Not what I like, when I am going to choose to eat something "bad." I choose the three first mentioned things before this paragraph. I just have a problem limiting those things to normal amounts, and I forget about the amount I ate. Or I get too busy to care. And it all goes down the drain. I'm just being honest.

My metabolic specialist says I am a very healthy person, but I haven't been eating right for about four months now. I can feel the difference it makes in my energy levels and my thinking, but we have been so busy, and the task of getting back on track seems so monumental, I just shrug my shoulders and keep going. So Plexus is our "something we hope we don't have to think about as much" plan. If we can go from meal planning three meals a day to only having to plan one or two, I believe it will help Kyle and I both stay on track with a more manageable plan.

Well, I have to go now. Say a prayer for us as we begin this journey on Monday. Hopefully. It is the post office after all!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

To share the Good News

When Christians speak of evangelism, I often hear this word defined as the confrontational, argumentative evangelism that became popular in the Bible belt after the Civil War during the American Revivals and resurgence of the Holiness movement. Along with tent meetings, we adopted a type of evangelism which thrives on apologetics and “reasoning” people into believing in Christ. It offers little room for questions, doubt, or argument. And Christians here in America don’t question it. It has been so entrenched in our culture for so long, we assume it must be the “right way” to evangelize.

As a Christian and as someone who believes that sharing the Good News is more than a single confrontation, or a single conversation, this style of evangelism makes me inwardly cringe every time I hear about it.

Sharing the Good News is not only about getting people to heaven.
Or saving them from hell.

That may seem over the top for some of you, but it truly is not only about that.  
The Good News is about loving people. It is about sharing the love of God with people He created. It is about getting relationally involved in the lives of those Jesus came to save, serving them, and seeking God’s love ourselves amidst such service.

Pastor Dominic Carlow preached a sermon about the “messiness” of getting involved in other people’s lives a few months ago at Silverton Church of the Nazarene. He used a very effective illustration during the service, one that will stick with me for a long time. He had a giant tub in front of the sanctuary and went around gathering dirty laundry from everyone that he asked to bring dirty laundry for that morning from the congregation. He then took all that dirty laundry and began washing it. He added everyone’s dirty laundry, and went about agitating and cleaning the laundry.

All those items of clothing are metaphor’s for us as human beings. We come together with all our sin, all our “dirt,” and we have to jump in the tub together to get clean. The tub is Jesus, the agitator is the Holy Spirit, and God is the one who created it all. Together, we love one another and help each other stay in the tub.

The Good News is only good when it contains the stories of Salvation, justification, regeneration, and sanctification. Dallas Willard puts it very bluntly in saying there is absolutely nothing about the Gospel that suggests we can take Jesus’ blood to get what we want (salvation), and have nothing more to do with Him. Relationship has to come into the equation, or we will just be part of creating a bunch of spiritually immature Christians whose faith never moves past the point of salvation alone.

We can redefine what it means to evangelize… Christians can begin living what it means to serve others; give to the poor not because they deserve it, but because they are God’s created people. We can serve because we love the Lord first, not because we believe these good works can save us. We must learn to love others as He loves us.

What can I do to change this? I can pray. I can love God and love others. I can live out what it means to serve others in the church and outside the church. They are little things that add up to big things; it means noticing the woman behind you at the grocery story struggling to get her groceries onto the belt and helping her. It means offering fresh, cold water to the homeless man asking for money on the street corner. It also means putting ourselves in situations that we may be a little uncomfortable in, all in an effort to serve those Christ came to save. If we do it together, the fullness of what it means to live out the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth will come to reality in our lives and in the lives of those we love.

Your kingdom come, your will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Choose life.

My heart is so sad for all the hurt and pain in the world today. As the news continues to post story after story of hurt, pain, infliction on those who many deem unworthy, and death for those deemed useless, my heart bleeds. My pain flows.

It continues to hurt when I see Christians posting things about standing with the side of the oppressor. Giving into the pressure of the world and our culture to choose between life and death, and choosing to give out justice when it is not our place. How often did God say justice would be His and His alone? In Romans, chapter 12 Paul pleads for Christians to heap love onto our enemies, to give them love instead of hate. Many Christians say they agree to this, yet we continue to live as though we can choose the side of the oppressor.

We are called to kneel with the scapegoat. To live a life that bends, kneels, and lowers ourselves to the position of nothing until we lift up others around us by the grace of God alone. Jesus did this in life, and most importantly in death, until He rose from the dead and brought about a new Kingdom that we can now be a part of. We do not have to live as though the powers at work in the world are what we live by. We live by the Spirit of God. In the Spirit. In the fruit of the Spirit; love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.

Christians, we are called to “offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to the Lord. This is our true and proper worship. Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” (Romans 12: 1-2) This transformation does not look like the world, and cannot be from the world, for if it is, it cannot be from the Lord.

Seek peace.