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Politics or People?

I’ve always been interested in politics. I suppose that shouldn’t surprise those who know me. Once in college, one of my good friends told me I was the most closed minded person she knew. That kinda rocked me because I thought I was open minded, albeit opinionated.

Since then I’ve worked at being more open minded. But anymore it feels as though people pride themselves in being closed minded.

Many may not even recognize it, but they refuse to even engage in conversations with those who don’t think identically to them, and when they do engage with others it’s full on attack mode and very full of hate.

I’ve taken the bait more times than I’d like to admit, and I’ve called out people for it, too.

So, I’m not here to preach anything to anyone. I’m just here because I’ve seen the unfortunate side of political discourse, and I’ve reflected on it. This is what I think.

We need to be more open minded. Now, I’m not saying that we should all go changing our minds on everything. There are things that I’ve changed my mind on either partially or fully, just as there are things that no one can ever change my mind on.

But are we willing to have conversations with people to at least understand where they’re coming from and why they land where they do on different issues?

I saw someone post how they’re going to keep posting all of their opinions because hopefully it help someone change their minds. But this same person isn’t interested in listening to anyone else let alone changing their own mind. So why expect that from others? Is that fair? To me, that’s choosing politics over people, and our nation isn’t going to get any better until we stop it.

Now, read this next part with care and understand that I’m not saying what my political beliefs are. I’m trying to make a point.

I read an article last night, which said that one side of our political leaders are going to try to distract the other side and not work together, while the other side has said they hope for bipartisanship. So basically one side isn’t choosing to put the American people first. They refuse to work together out of spite. They’re choosing hate and politics over the best interest of the American people they’ve been elected to represent. And they are proud of it. This makes zero sense to me for anyone who loves this nation to do. I feels more like hate than love. And perhaps I’m missing something, but I’m willing to hear out someone with a different view.

Why are we so afraid to listen to others? Why do we just want to silence them? If we believe that we are right then we should have no fear of being honest and having open dialogue.

When we choose politics over people we are missing out on so much. We miss out on the human connections, which make the world a better place. We’re not going to see each other as fellow human beings if we automatically shut them out and label them in some horrible way without even listening – I mean really listening to them.

We can bring back civility, but it will take a bipartisan effort on the government’s part, and even if they fail at that we can bring it back by not letting our political leaders set the standard for how we communicate and treat our neighbors both near and far.

Let’s choose people over politics.

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New Year, New Me or Another Pinterest Fail?!

New year, new me… Right?! Well, maybe not totally. I haven’t made resolutions this year (I rarely keep them), but I have made some goals.

One thing that has been long ago established is: Martha Stewart – I am not! And yesterday was another funny reminder of that.

But let me back up just a bit first.

The healthiest I’ve ever felt was when I did a vegan diet and went to Pure Barre classes. But maintaining a vegan diet is hard to do long term. And I’m not doing Pure Barre for several reasons, though I highly recommend both of the above.

Right now my interest is losing weight, and I’m turning to Keto. I did it this summer and gained weight at first, but eventually saw the inches melt away – until I stopped and went back to some old unhealthy habits.

People have strong opinions on both sides of the fence about the Keto diet, and I respect wherever you land. For me right now, this is what I feel I can commit to.

So, I did the obvious: I binged on all the carbs and chocolate I could over the last couple of weeks in December, and decided to start Keto with the New Year.

Well, I was SO hungry yesterday, and I haven’t done a big Keto grocery shop, yet, so my options were limited.

I turned to Pinterest and found the below recipe and picture, and decided to make it:

First of all, I wish I had a picture of my first “pancake.” It was pathetic. My daughter took a bite and said, “With salt these would be decent scrambled eggs.” Hahaha

My next pancakes didn’t look awful, but they tasted closer to it than I’d prefer.

Perhaps if I had blended the cream cheese better instead of having chunks (yuck!) it would have been slightly better. Even soaked in butter these pancakes were lacking. It needed salt and sugar (the fake kind of course). And I need to learn to cook. Even simple pancakes are too difficult for me, apparently.

As for the Keto part? By the end of the day, I was still hungry and had a horrible headache, which has yet to go away. I suppose that’s to be expected at the beginning and is part of the “Keto flu.” I did have some coffee, which helped a little.

This is going to be *fun* unless I decide on another way to get in shape. But hopefully whatever I do, my Martha Stewart skills will improve!

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Prayer?

On Monday night, a 19 year old disappeared after he went for a run at the park where this picture was taken – a park I’ve often gone for a run at myself.

Yesterday there were so many people who volunteered to look for this young man that they were being turned away. I followed this story intently because it hit so close to home.

There were many, many comments about prayers for the missing 19 year old and his family. Then there were comments mocking those prayers saying things like praying doesn’t work and other similar things. That’s becoming a rather popular response when tragedies strike these days.

Well, in the middle of the night that young college student returned home. I don’t know the circumstances of his disappearance, and as curious as I am, the details aren’t the important thing. What truly matters is that he is home safe and alive.

But what about all those prayers that were said for his safe return? Does this mean that God is real and answers prayers? Some would say a resounding “YES!” But what if he had been found dead somewhere instead? Would that make the claims that prayers don’t work true? Others would say yes to that, too.

As hard as it is to accept, prayer isn’t out gateway to getting everything we want – even when what we want is seen as good and righteous in the eyes of the Creator.

God doesn’t work like a magic genie, and His existence isn’t contingent on whether or not our prayers are answered to our satisfaction.

I’ve been there; I get it. I have fervently prayed for things, which I didn’t get. Big things. Life and death things. I begged God to keep my husband alive, and when I came back from Iraq and Afghanistan it helped strengthen my faith. But eventually when I prayed those prayers for his life, I didn’t get the answer I was desperate for. I lost my faith over it for some time. I know many can relate to that.

I wanted to know WHY? I questioned if God even real. I thought at best God didn’t exist and at worst God betrayed me. It took me a long time to reconcile the allowance of suffering in my life (feel free to ask me about it sometime).

We don’t always understand God’s plan or purpose, but sometimes we get glimpses. But even with those glimpses our pain isn’t erased. That doesn’t mean that prayers don’t work, though. I know it can certainly feel that way when we don’t get the happy ending like the family of that boy got last night.

So where is God when things don’t go our way? He’s right there with us as our comforter. I know for some of us it doesn’t feel that way, but if you lean into Him eventually it will.

Why pray if we don’t get the answers we want? Well, sometimes we DO get those answers, so hold onto that. But when we don’t? Remember that we can only see our part of this much grander story. Only God knows how each piece fits together.

It doesn’t seem fair, but this is where faith and trust fit into the equation. Those can be very challenging – I know. And yet, prayer brings us closer to God. It makes us submit to Him and depend on Him. He will walk with us through the hard days. I still credit the prayers of many to get me through my hardest days when I had no faith or desire to pray to God.

Trust that God is for you and find comfort in the prayers of others who speak to God on your behalf. Whatever the answer to your prayers, God has not abandoned you.

Note: If you’re looking for a book on prayer I’d recommend Fervent by Priscilla Shirer.

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MATH.

Does just reading that word stir up negative feelings? I wouldn’t be surprised if it did. I have never been good at or a fan of math (unless you’re talking Statistics), and I don’t know many people who are.

My lack of math skills worried me when I first started homeschooling my son about 3 months ago. While I loved the idea of homeschooling, my mindset was still that of someone who had been indoctrinated into believing the “traditional school myths.”

You know those right?

You have to have a teaching degree to be qualified to teach.

Kids need to be in school to be socialized (this one actually brings out my prickly side when I hear it now).

Homeschool kids won’t get the best education.

Homeschool kids won’t be prepared for the real world.

I could go on, but I’m already digressing.

Teaching math scared me. At first. My son was already struggling with it. In fact, he was starting to be in danger of failing for the year.

After he had missed 6 days of school from being sick, I knew he was behind. His teacher told him to watch the videos online to get caught up. I contacted this teacher asking if he could go in for extra help, and she just made him take the test and quiz he had missed. He was stressed out, and that was my final straw with public school for him.

How would I be able to teach my child math? It played over and over again in my mind. We tried a few different math curriculums, but it was still stressful at home.

Then I watched a few TEDx Talks on Math, and my perspective changed. I didn’t want to teach my son just a traditional math curriculum anymore. I wanted him to learn how to apply math to the real world.

Other homeschool moms get it. You want to teach fractions? Get in the kitchen and bake. Percentages can be taught at a restaurant. Planting a garden helps in various ways, too.

We go over the concepts and then apply them to real world examples. It helps best that way.

The truth is, with all the hours he spent at traditional schools under the instruction of teachers with college degrees there is zero reason why he shouldn’t have mastered math by now. I realized that a teaching degree isn’t necessary. Teachers with degrees failed my son. Is that too harsh to say? Well, if he’s picking up on math in 5 minutes under my instruction, is there any other logical conclusion to be made?

It’s truly crazy to think that the best way to teach math is the way it’s done in traditional schools. Most kids shouldn’t be struggling with math the way they do based on the hours upon hours spent learning the concepts and doing the repetitive busy work. Watch some TEDx Talks about it.

Please don’t get me wrong, I love teachers. They are necessary and don’t get paid enough or get enough credit for all they do. But they aren’t perfect and the systems in place are outdated and arbitrary as the grades progress. It’s mostly busy work, as is most of school these days. There are homeschool curricula that are the same way. And yes, it works for many. But no one should try to tell a mom she isn’t qualified to teach her child at home.

My son hasn’t mastered math yet, but he gets it, and he’s learning. It’s coming much easier to him now that he’s at home. Now that the pressure is off. Now that he can solve the equations the way his mind works best instead of the way the teacher demands.

Once he knows the concept and how to apply it, I even let him use a calculator. I mean why not? Name a career that uses math, but doesn’t use a calculator and I’ll take it away, but until then we’ll stick to this way.

I suppose as a new homeschool mom, I’m just so glad I finally understand and have confidence in the fact that one does not need a teaching degree to be a teacher.

When traditional school fails, it’s likely not the student or at least not “just.” Sometimes it’s a teacher or the system or the environment – or a combination. Either way, while homeschooling isn’t best for everyone, it’s clearly right for us.

My son even asks to do math sometimes. He wants to learn and doesn’t see it as a burden anymore. I hope to encourage anyone who feels they aren’t qualified to teach their own children to really evaluate that. I think for most of us, that just isn’t the case.

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An Unexpected Homeschool Journey

I pulled my oldest child out of public school a few weeks ago, and now I’m homeschooling him. Don’t choke, or spit out your drink. No one is more surprised by this than I am. Sure, I’ve talked about it for a while, but I’ve also talked about a lot of things that never happened. I assumed this would end up on that list, too.

More than a couple of people have voiced their opinions on it, and not everyone is supportive. Some have shared this with me directly, while for others it’s been filtered in. However, no one else’s opinions carry any weight on my decision. Though, I do understand why they have them. For one thing, a few years ago, I couldn’t have handled it, and I assume some people think my life hasn’t changed much from the days I was still in the midst grief after my husband’s death. But as time moves forward, people change. Most importantly is that when God calls us to something, He also equips us.

Besides that, not everyone is a fan of homeshcooling in general. There can be quite the stigma attached to it, but stigma has never stopped me from anything. The most common topics coming to me seem to be:

What about socialization?
My son was concerned about this one himself, wondering if he would still be able to have friends. Not only does he get to keep his old friends, there is a Huge homeschool community around us that is very active, so getting plugged in isn’t going to be hard. I don’t what it’s like in other areas, but I’ve already heard moms talk about this being a great place for homeschool families. There are so many activities and groups. The welcome and support I’ve gotten already has been incredible!

Homeschool kids are weird!
Okay, let’s get real here. There are weird kids who are homeschooled. But have you honestly never met a weird kid in traditional school? Of course you have. More than one. I’m confident of that. There are weird people everywhere. (Judge me for calling kids weird, I’m not going to lose any sleep.) Heck, anyone who doesn’t act the way society deems as “normal” can easily get that label anyway.
But can we also discuss for a moment what “weird” means in society today anyway? Not always, but often, children who are homeschooled are more respectful, follow the rules, and have better manners. Just the other day, I heard a doctor say that social media is causing children to be socially awkward by allowing them so much time on their devices and not interacting face to face.

What about the quality of education?
This one depends. I have spent HOURS researching curricula and hybrid schools. We have toured several hybrids, and I’m leaning towards that for next year. I have gotten tons of feed back from other moms, too. The quality is out there. It really depends on what each family uses. But the beauty of homeschool is that you can pick and choose what works best for your child(ren), and if one thing isn’t working you can stop using it and pick something else (except for most of the hybrids, as they have a set curriculum).

Common Core has not served my children well for different reasons. My daughter is in the gifted program at her school, but she only goes for half a day each week. That’s not enough to challenge her, so it’s dependent on the teacher. Some years have been good, others have not. She gets bored easily and loses ground when she’s not challenged. No one really has a leg to stand on in my experience when talking quality in terms of Common Core.

As for my son? Let me use this year as a example since it was one of the final straws. He seemed to pick up every bug there is this school year, got the flu, and then he ended up with bronchitis. He missed 6 days of school in a row shortly before I pulled him out. One of his teachers told him the lessons he missed were online and to look there. When I told her he needed extra help she said for him to come in early one morning. All she did was give him a make up test. I’m sure you can guess how that went. I wasn’t happy about it, but I let it go because I was ready to just be done with public school for him anyway.

My son is smart, yet his grades don’t reflect that in every subject. He has to work really hard at some things. That’s pretty typical, but he’s one of those kids who was slipping through the cracks. He was getting by, but he was struggling in some areas. He wasn’t getting what he needed to catch up and keep up with his peers, and I was worried about what next year would look like for him. One of his teachers said he should be in the Advanced class for that subject, but because he struggled in another area it kept him back.

The beauty of homeschooling is that we can work at his pace and be on the level he should be on. He doesn’t have to be held back in some classes and struggle to keep up in other classes.

Why do we send our children to school anyway? Is it free child care while parents work, or is it for them to get the best education they can so that they can succeed as adults? Homeschool isn’t a good fit for everyone, and it may not be the best fit for our family forever, but it certainly is right now, at least with my son. My daughter wants to homeschool because she doesn’t want to be held back by her peers and grade level. I’m praying about it because there is one teacher at her school whom I know would be a good fit next year, but there’s no guarantee she will get her.

Are you qualified to teach your children?
There is no one better qualified to influence and teach my children than me. I teach them all the time really, just not in a structured setting.
Now, if you’re asking if I have a teaching degree (those who have said this using other words know the answer), no I do not. I could sit here an tell you how many times I made the Dean’s List in college and my GPA while I pursued a Master’s degree, and you’d likely be impressed. However, my good grades and intelligence shouldn’t be on trail, nor are they completely relevant. Some wonderful moms out there who never went to college are great at creating their own curriculum. I couldn’t do it. And thankfully I don’t have have to. I get the privilege of using a curriculum already proven to work and teach my children what they need to know.

In just the few weeks that my son has been home, I have seen him become a completely different child. He’s happy and smiling almost all the time. The stress from school isn’t there, and a weight has been lifted off of him. He is more obedient, respectful, and thoughtful; his true nature and character are shining through once again. He’s sleeping better, too. He’s also nicer and more loving towards his sister.
But here’s the real kicker for all the skeptics and naysayers out there who are anti-homeschooling – my son is learning. We had to fall back a bit in a couple of subjects, and are working to get him caught up where he needs to be, but it’s amazing how quickly it’s sinking in.

For me, the best part is seeing that he wants to learn. Maybe it’s because he’s seeing his successes instead of being frustrated with a system that was failing him. Public schools are overcrowded, so it’s not that the teachers don’t care. Sometimes they just don’t have the time to give, but that’s not acceptable to leave my child in that situation when I have the ability to give him what he needs.

We are still adjusting and it’s still a bit overwhelming, but not like it was the first week. I’ve been blessed to have several other homeschool moms help guide me along this new journey. I’m so thankful for the amazing community that we are getting to know. I’m seeing people who are kind and go out of their way to make others feel welcomed. I see smart kids – I don’t see weird ones. I see different perspectives of how to homeschool and people who want to help you find the right one for your family even if it’s different than theirs.

One mom said, “Homeschool is not meant to be public school done at home.” When I realized that it was as if a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. That environment isn’t a good fit for our family right now, so I shouldn’t try to replicate it. It’s a breath of fresh air knowing I can do this on our terms. I feel such peace about being on this journey even while I’m still working on getting my footing, and that’s how I know it’s the right decision for us.

An Unexpected Homeschool Journey

I pulled my oldest child out of public school a few weeks ago, and now I’m homeschooling him. Don’t choke, or spit out your drink. No one is more surprised by this than I am. Sure, I’ve talked about it for a while, but I’ve also talked about a lot of things that never happened. I assumed this would end up on that list, too.

More than a couple of people have voiced their opinions on it, and not everyone is supportive. Some have shared this with me directly, while for others it’s been filtered in. However, no one else’s opinions carry any weight on my decision. Though, I do understand why they have them. For one thing, a few years ago, I couldn’t have handled it, and I assume some people think my life hasn’t changed much from the days I was still in the midst grief after my husband’s death. But as time moves forward, people change. Most importantly is that when God calls us to something, He also equips us.

Besides that, not everyone is a fan of homeshcooling in general. There can be quite the stigma attached to it, but stigma has never stopped me from anything. The most common topics coming to me seem to be:

What about socialization?
My son was concerned about this one himself, wondering if he would still be able to have friends. Not only does he get to keep his old friends, there is a Huge homeschool community around us that is very active, so getting plugged in isn’t going to be hard. I don’t what it’s like in other areas, but I’ve already heard moms talk about this being a great place for homeschool families. There are so many activities and groups. The welcome and support I’ve gotten already has been incredible!

Homeschool kids are weird!
Okay, let’s get real here. There are weird kids who are homeschooled. But have you honestly never met a weird kid in traditional school? Of course you have. More than one. I’m confident of that. There are weird people everywhere. (Judge me for calling kids weird, I’m not going to lose any sleep.) Heck, anyone who doesn’t act the way society deems as “normal” can easily get that label anyway.
But can we also discuss for a moment what “weird” means in society today anyway? Not always, but often, children who are homeschooled are more respectful, follow the rules, and have better manners. Just the other day, I heard a doctor say that social media is causing children to be socially awkward by allowing them so much time on their devices and not interacting face to face.

What about the quality of education?
This one depends. I have spent HOURS researching curricula and hybrid schools. We have toured several hybrids, and I’m leaning towards that for next year. I have gotten tons of feed back from other moms, too. The quality is out there. It really depends on what each family uses. But the beauty of homeschool is that you can pick and choose what works best for your child(ren), and if one thing isn’t working you can stop using it and pick something else (except for most of the hybrids, as they have a set curriculum).

Common Core has not served my children well for different reasons. My daughter is in the gifted program at her school, but she only goes for half a day each week. That’s not enough to challenge her, so it’s dependent on the teacher. Some years have been good, others have not. She gets bored easily and loses ground when she’s not challenged. No one really has a leg to stand on in my experience when talking quality in terms of Common Core.

As for my son? Let me use this year as a example since it was one of the final straws. He seemed to pick up every bug there is this school year, got the flu, and then he ended up with bronchitis. He missed 6 days of school in a row shortly before I pulled him out. One of his teachers told him the lessons he missed were online and to look there. When I told her he needed extra help she said for him to come in early one morning. All she did was give him a make up test. I’m sure you can guess how that went. I wasn’t happy about it, but I let it go because I was ready to just be done with public school for him anyway.

My son is smart, yet his grades don’t reflect that in every subject. He has to work really hard at some things. That’s pretty typical, but he’s one of those kids who was slipping through the cracks. He was getting by, but he was struggling in some areas. He wasn’t getting what he needed to catch up and keep up with his peers, and I was worried about what next year would look like for him. One of his teachers said he should be in the Advanced class for that subject, but because he struggled in another area it kept him back.

The beauty of homeschooling is that we can work at his pace and be on the level he should be on. He doesn’t have to be held back in some classes and struggle to keep up in other classes.

Why do we send our children to school anyway? Is it free child care while parents work, or is it for them to get the best education they can so that they can succeed as adults? Homeschool isn’t a good fit for everyone, and it may not be the best fit for our family forever, but it certainly is right now, at least with my son. My daughter wants to homeschool because she doesn’t want to be held back by her peers and grade level. I’m praying about it because there is one teacher at her school whom I know would be a good fit next year, but there’s no guarantee she will get her.

Are you qualified to teach your children?
There is no one better qualified to influence and teach my children than me. I teach them all the time really, just not in a structured setting.
Now, if you’re asking if I have a teaching degree (those who have said this using other words know the answer), no I do not. I could sit here an tell you how many times I made the Dean’s List in college and my GPA while I pursued a Master’s degree, and you’d likely be impressed. However, my good grades and intelligence shouldn’t be on trail, nor are they completely relevant. Some wonderful moms out there who never went to college are great at creating their own curriculum. I couldn’t do it. And thankfully I don’t have have to. I get the privilege of using a curriculum already proven to work and teach my children what they need to know.

In just the few weeks that my son has been home, I have seen him become a completely different child. He’s happy and smiling almost all the time. The stress from school isn’t there, and a weight has been lifted off of him. He is more obedient, respectful, and thoughtful; his true nature and character are shining through once again. He’s sleeping better, too. He’s also nicer and more loving towards his sister.
But here’s the real kicker for all the skeptics and naysayers out there who are anti-homeschooling – my son is learning. We had to fall back a bit in a couple of subjects, and are working to get him caught up where he needs to be, but it’s amazing how quickly it’s sinking in.

For me, the best part is seeing that he wants to learn. Maybe it’s because he’s seeing his successes instead of being frustrated with a system that was failing him. Public schools are overcrowded, so it’s not that the teachers don’t care. Sometimes they just don’t have the time to give, but that’s not acceptable to leave my child in that situation when I have the ability to give him what he needs.

We are still adjusting and it’s still a bit overwhelming, but not like it was the first week. I’ve been blessed to have several other homeschool moms help guide me along this new journey. I’m so thankful for the amazing community that we are getting to know. I’m seeing people who are kind and go out of their way to make others feel welcomed. I see smart kids – I don’t see weird ones. I see different perspectives of how to homeschool and people who want to help you find the right one for your family even if it’s different than theirs.

One mom said, “Homeschool is not meant to be public school done at home.” When I realized that it was as if a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. That environment isn’t a good fit for our family right now, so I shouldn’t try to replicate it. It’s a breath of fresh air knowing I can do this on our terms. I feel such peace about being on this journey even while I’m still working on getting my footing, and that’s how I know it’s the right decision for us.

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Truth is Not Trendy Part 2

Truth is not trendy, but it is necessary especially in the Christian faith.

With the seemingly growing desire to be relevant, often times churches and pastors are compromising the truth because let’s be honest, truth isn’t trendy. They want to pack the seats and they want the people in those seats to love Jesus. Unfortunately, often the greater focus is on packing the seats.

To ensure that, many are teaching about “Trendy Jesus” these days. The Jesus they are selling isn’t the true Jesus because the true Jesus isn’t trendy. But He is always relevant.

Trendy Jesus says that you should be happy no matter what. In fact, Trendy Jesus wants you to be happy – that’s his greatest desire for your life. He doesn’t care what you do or with whom you do it. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone else and it makes you happy then it’s a good thing.

Trendy Jesus says that the greatest thing you can do is show love to other people, and the best way to do that is to support and promote whatever it is that makes them happy.

Trendy Jesus won’t touch “hot topics” that are “political issues.” He leaves those issues to the politicians.

Trendy Jesus won’t tell you that you have sinned. Trendy Jesus doesn’t care if you sin as long as the sin isn’t “that bad.” You know those sins don’t you? Rape and murder are pretty much the biggies. Anything else is a mistake, at least according to Trendy Jesus.

But that’s not the Biblical Jesus.

We are told we will suffer if we follow Jesus. Remember the apostles and how they died?

God is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness. We are told to count it great joy to suffer for the cause. There’s a lot of theology to unpack in that, which I may do at a later time, but the point for now is that we are not to seek happiness above all else.

Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. That is above all else. If you love God then you will love His Word.

The second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. To show that love we should show compassion, take care of their needs and help them, but if we are encouraging them to sin that is not love.

Love God first and all else will flow from that including loving people.

If you read all of the words of Jesus, he actually addressed politics and all sins. He didn’t have to spell out every last sin because the Jewish people knew the law. In fact, some of the things we are addressing today wouldn’t have even been necessary to spell out; they went without say. To be fair, He may have addressed some things more specifically, but the writers of Scripture didn’t include them. Jesus said that He didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.

Not long ago there was a well known Pastor on a well known show who made a comment to the effect of it’s not for him to decide what sin is, and he believes it’s more important to get to know the person first.

I heard him try to clean it up later, so I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to a missed opportunity. I also think it serves as a great teaching moment.

It’s vital not to throw condemnation at someone and push them away from Christ. I’m guilty of this, and it still grieves me to think about the damage I’ve done. I pray for someone else to come along and repair that.

We must first show love and compassion, but we should never compromise on God’s truth. No, it is not for us to determine what sin is, but we surely can and should share with others what God says is sinful. How else can someone repent?

We need to make sure everyone knows that Jesus loves them so much, no matter what they have done – even if it was only yesterday – that He died for them. Jesus wouldn’t say “Eh, that’s not THAT bad of a sin, so it’s no big deal; just forget about it.” He would say, “Go, and sin no more.”

We need to walk along side of each other and help each other, but don’t chalk it up to a mistake and brush it off. We will also be held accountable for leading people away from Christ.

So why are pastors and Christians turning towards Trendy Jesus to lead their lives? Several reasons come to mind.

The first is that they really do love Jesus, and they really do love people, and they want other people to love Jesus, too. It’s noble. It’s what our hearts desire should be. In fact, the great commission is to go and make disciples. But they are feeding hungry people a false Jesus, and my fear is that they are leading many straight to Jesus only to hear, “I never knew you. Away from me,” on judgement day.

Culture is very influential on people’s beliefs and perceptions, and if we aren’t careful (as Scripture warns over and over), we will turn from God’s truth. Christianity is counter-cultural, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true and accurate. Society changes the norms all the time, but we are assured that God never changes.

I heard a fantastic quote the other day, “God will not rewrite the Bible for your generation.” I think that many pastors, leaders, and Christians alike have lost sight of this. They think the only way to reach the non-believers are to become like them. They have lost sight of what is important and traded the best things for lesser things.

It’s true that some are deliberately turning their back on Scripture, too. It baffles me really. How can you pick and choose what parts are “true for you” and still claim Christ as your Savior? I’ll be honest, there are things I would do differently. There are things I wish weren’t so. There are things that I don’t understand. There are certainly things I think are unfair. But none of my opinions matter. Nothing I say changes who God is, what He says, or why He has chosen for it to be the way it is. But since God is the Creator, my opinion is moot. And so are the opinions of those who are promoting Trendy Jesus.

Our opinions don’t change God. And that’s a good thing especially considering how often our opinions seem to change.

I’ve heard Christians say things such as “Jesus never even mentioned…” Except if you read the Bible, He did. But people aren’t in the Word enough to know what Jesus actually said. We don’t get to pick and choose what is a sin or not. The only thing we get to choose is if we are going to follow Christ or not. We need the pastors and churches to stop selling Trendy Jesus and start sharing the authentic Jesus.

Please hear me: I’m not talking about all churches, pastors, or Christians. I’m not even talking all of the mega churches that may have popped into your mind. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t love people because we absolutely should. We should reach out the weakest, most broken, hurting, lost souls and share with them that Jesus died for them and loves them. That’s exactly why He died – because he loves us sinners. We just need to make sure we are loving God first and be honest about what He says to us through Scripture. If what you’re hearing doesn’t line up with Scripture then what is being said is wrong.

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Truth is Not Trendy: Part 1

If you were ever looking for a word to describe me one of the last to be chosen would be “trendy.”

I can recall exactly two times in my life when I have been trendy. Both were by accident. It’s not that I’m against following trends (depending on what we’re talking about), it’s just that I don’t have a trendy bone in my body.

Growing up one of my best friends and I made quite the odd pair. She has always been drop dead gorgeous and very fashionable. And I was pretty dorky and dressed like a grandma even in middle school.

Once, after college she commented on how impressed she was that the sweater I was wearing was actually cute. I laughed and mentioned she had teased me about that exact sweater a few years earlier. She replied that it hadn’t been in style then.

The other time I recall being trendy was something very similar with a pair of shoes and another dear friend of mine.

I do appreciate my fashionable friends because on days when yoga pants are a no-no, I totally need them.

Clothes aren’t the only things that come in and out of fashion. Right now, one of the least trendy things seems to be truthfulness. Look at our political leaders, our media, and our culture in general. It doesn’t matter which “side” you find yourself on, truth seems to the exception to the rule these days. And this, is dangerous for all of us.

Years ago someone told me to watch The Invention or Lying, and afterwards I joked that someday they will make a movie about me called The Invention of Telling the Truth.

Certainly no one tells the truth all the time, but lying seems not only to be second nature in our culture, but also promoted. Common statements that can be heard today include things such as: Truth is relative. What’s true for you isn’t necessarily true for me. We all have our own truth. All roads lead to the same place. But these just aren’t logical. Not only that, they pose the possibility of a great deal of harm and damage.

As an example, let me use an important issue in the forefront of our current national conversation. Women are coming out of the woodwork with allegations of sexual misconduct of varying degrees in both Hollywood and our government. And it’s about time we start tackling the seriousness of this. But let’s apply the post-truth ideology to it for a moment.

If a woman accuses a man of sexual assault, either she’s telling the truth or she’s not. If he says it was consensual, either he’s telling the truth or he’s not. These encounters couldn’t have been both assault and consensual. One’s perspective doesn’t erase facts or make them disappear. By definition, one must be right and the other wrong. One must be telling the truth, while the other is being dishonest.

They cannot each have their own separate truth. That’s not how reality works, and I believe this example exemplifies that truth isn’t relative. We need to apply the same logic across the board.

But if we keep muddying the waters of truth we risk unintended consequences that will hurt many.

Truth is not relative. By definition, truth is an absolute.

But that’s not trendy. It’s trendy to let people think whatever they believe to be true is true. Can you see the danger in saying that one’s perspective is their own truth?

The media and our politicians are so deceitful, but when we don’t demand honesty and transparency because we ourselves as a nation have pushed aside the importance of truth what else can we expect?

Perhaps I shouldn’t have such high expectations of the secular world, but I do. I have even higher standards for the church, though. I mean they must be better at this truth thing… right??

Sadly, in many cases the church is failing here as well. Truth isn’t trendy in the church either, but I’ll save that for another post.

I for one cannot wait until truth is trendy and people recognize reality for what it is again.

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