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A House Divided

I’m a political push-over. I hate…would even go so far as to say, I despise, politics. Not to say that I don’t have opinions and convictions. Anyone who knows me well would laugh in your face if you said that. It’s just when it comes to politics, unless it is something I’m FIERCELY for or against, you probably won’t ever hear a word from me. I won’t post about it on FaceBook, I will shrink from discussions on it, and my thoughts will stay inside my head.

You know why? Because more than anything else in the world, policy divides the church. That fact saddens and discourages me beyond what you know. I already have family members that can’t discuss politics together; the church is supposed to be different. We are united by Christ. We have more common ground than anyone else in the world and yet sometimes the smallest, dumbest things get between us. And so to me, it’s not worth it. I will let everyone else’s opinion rage before I bring mine up (which is NEVER the popular one lol) and cause an argument. As much as depends on me, I want to live at peace with others in order to proclaim the Prince of Peace.

I guess that’s really my main issue. Believers get so caught up in government conspiracies and policy debates, that we lose sight of Christ. Forget politics, are you living a holy life? Are you loving God so fully that it flows to your neighbor? Are you using this time to witness to those around you or are you spending it debating on FaceBook? You cannot be both chasing after YOUR rights and chasing after righteousness so which is it, church?

Friends, this is written from a heavy heart. Would you pray with me for believers across the globe as we strive to serve Christ? Would you pray that we love those whose opinions are different than ours so that we can show our loving Father? Would you pray with me for our leaders as they make difficult decisions for our country and other nations? And most importantly, would you pray that God would be glorified by the attitudes and actions of his people during this time?

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2020 in church

 

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Pandemic Ministry

Hey friends! How are you all? How are you doing during this abnormal worldwide situation? Leave a comment or send me an email and let me know how I can be praying for you!

I don’t know how your life has been, but here in Ohio, we have been under a Stay Home order for several weeks now. However, since I work at a bank, I’m an ‘essential employee’ and still head to work most days. It’s an interesting life.

My evenings have definitely changed. From being crazy-booked to nowhere-to-go. ūüôā I’ve been enjoying walks with friends (keeping distance), listening to online sermons, knitting, reading, running, and praying.

But the nagging question for me has been about ministry. How do I minister to people when I can’t be around anyone? I’ve had to get creative with my ministry ideas and I LOVE that!

In some ways, I’ve grown more bold during this time. I have such a strong sense of hope and security in Christ and I desperately want others to know him! I’ve been able to share the gospel with co-workers, speak more of Christ with my friends, and be more loving towards my neighbors.

In other ways, I’ve realized that THIS is what I should have been doing all along! Every time I call a widow from church to check in on her, I realize that I should always be doing this. Every time I randomly stop at someone’s house in town just to say hi and make sure they are okay, I have this feeling that this is the way the church is supposed to work. When I go out of my way to love others and put them first, I KNOW that it shouldn’t have taken an international pandemic to get me here.

But I’m grateful for the wake up call. I’m thankful the Lord has given me boldness and assurance during this time and that I’m able to share that with others. My prayer is that I never go back to “normal” and forget what he is teaching me right now.

What has the Lord been teaching you about ministry lately?

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2020 in evangelism

 

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Good News of Great Joy

It’s finally here! No more waiting! Resurrection Day has arrived in all its joy and wonder.

There are so many things that stand out to me about the accounts of the resurrection. I love how Mary is kept from recognizing Jesus when asking about his body. I love how it’s not until he speaks her name that she suddenly knows who is before her. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.

I love how Jesus walks with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. How he patiently goes through Scripture and explains it to them. I wish I could have been there for that! What a conversation that must have been! It reminds me that all of Scripture points to Christ.

I love how Jesus starts referring to the disciples as his brothers after he rises. He has broken the power of sin. He has conquered death and the curtain is torn. Welcome, brothers.

There are two words that seem to describe every person’s reaction to the resurrection in Scripture. The first is fear. Anyone who saw the angels was afraid. Sometimes it’s almost a stubborn fear and disbelief: THERE’S NO WAY. Testimony of seeing the risen Savior was rarely believed until it was confirmed.

But the other phrase that comes up in the Bible a lot is GREAT JOY. In Matthew, the women who came to the tomb, didn’t see Jesus, but departed with fear and great joy! They believed! Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Because friends, if we stayed in that darkness of Tenebrae, what joy do we have? If our Savior never rose, what hope is there for us? That’s not good news at all.

But he did. What wild, unimaginable joy and hope is ours! Celebrate today and every day because we serve a risen Savior.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2020 in holiday

 

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Tenebrae: literally; Darkness

Holy Week has arrived. Truly my heart’s desire was to be able to gather with my church family this week but that was not the Lord’s will.

I have spent this week in contemplation of the cross. I think as believers we don’t like to linger there. We love to run on to the joyful celebration (rightly so) of the resurrection but we don’t like to sit and gaze at the destruction of the cross. We may pause for a moment but even then, Easter is in the back of our minds. We have that luxury because we know the whole story.

So this week, I have put myself in other peoples’ places. I have read through each Gospel account of the betrayal and death of Jesus but stopped reading at the burial. I have walked in the garden with Jesus and felt his loneliness and desperation, as he knows all that is about to come upon him. As he cries out to the Father for another way but fully submits himself to the pain of betrayal, of desertion, and of physical suffering beyond belief.

I have sat with the disciples as they casually fall asleep when they should have been praying. I hear Jesus’ gentle rebuke and plea and his understanding as he knows how weak we are. I have felt the disciples’ utter confusion and hopelessness as they see their leader torn away and crucified before them. What is going on??

I have wept at the tenderness of Christ on the cross. Experiencing the worst pain I can think of, yet still caring for others. He sees his mother and thinks of her welfare by placing her in the care of his beloved friend. He asks forgiveness of those who are killing him. He ministers to the thief hanging to die beside him and gives him hope.

As he hangs there, the earth is filled with darkness. The Father turns his face away from the sin that he can’t behold and Jesus is left all alone. He cries out in despair and the curtain that separates man from God is torn in two. Scripture has been totally fulfilled in every way.

The Son of God gives up his spirit.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2020 in salvation

 

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What is Comfort?

Comfort can mean different things to different people. Some people picture comfort as a warm hug, a pillow, and a bowl of soup. Other people see it as having loads of money and never having to worry about finances. The love of family. Freedom from stress.

I had two conversations about comfort this week and during one of them, something from my childhood memory slowly perked its head up in my brain. I had a definition of comfort in my heart but was struggling to remember the words so, after looking at the wrong catechism first, I finally caved and looked up the Heidelberg Catechism, which I memorized as a kid:

Q&A 1
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own,¬†but belong‚ÄĒbody and soul, in life and in death‚ÄĒto my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

I will be the first one to say that I LOVE pillows and blankets as much as the next person but this is true comfort, friends! The things we have on earth can never satisfy us, no matter how much we chase after them, but Christ can. He is the source of comfort for our hearts!

In the midst of COVID-19, would you remember with me what Christ has done for us? Would you remember the God we serve and that we belong to the One in control of everything? I was listening to something this week that reminded me that we don’t live in a Plan B world. Everything is Plan A, happening according to the Father’s will. There are no what-ifs or maybes. He knows it all.

That is comforting.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2020 in encouragment

 

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The Good Samaritan

Would you like to talk about something other than the news? If so, pull up a chair; you are in the right place. Because today I’d like to put a very familiar story in a totally new light.

I’m sure you’ve read the story of the Good Samaritan before but I’d like to ask you to read it again. Trust me. Take the time and read it even if it’s the millionth time in your life:

And behold, a¬†lawyer stood up to¬†put him to the test, saying, ‚ÄúTeacher, what shall I do to¬†inherit eternal life?‚Ä̬†He said to him,¬†‚ÄúWhat is written in the Law? How do you read it?‚Ä̬†And he answered,¬†‚ÄúYou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and¬†your neighbor as yourself.‚Ä̬†And he said to him,¬†‚ÄúYou have answered correctly;¬†do this, and you will live.‚ÄĚ

But he,¬†desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‚ÄúAnd who is my neighbor?‚Ä̬†Jesus replied,¬†‚ÄúA man¬†was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.¬†Now by chance a¬†priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.¬†So likewise¬†a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.¬†But a¬†Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.¬†He went to him and¬†bound up his wounds, pouring on¬†oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.¬†And the next day he took out two¬†denarii¬†and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‚ÄėTake care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.‚Äô¬†Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?‚Ä̬†He said, ‚ÄúThe one who showed him mercy.‚ÄĚ And Jesus said to him,¬†‚ÄúYou go, and do likewise.‚ÄĚ Luke 10:25-37 ESV

Today I’d like to look at this story through the eyes of Jesus’ listeners, the Jews. Most of the time, we read the Bible from OUR perspective, but today, I want to see it from THEIRS.*

First of all, it says that the man who was robbed was traveling out of Jerusalem and was headed towards Jericho. This road was rocky and was known to be full of robbers. So this wouldn’t have been a surprising start to a story. It’s like saying someone was robbed in the slums of a city. No one is shocked when you say that. The Jews probably also assumed that the man was a Jew and coming out of Jerusalem from a Feast Day. They see him as one of their own people.

Now when the priest and Levite come on the scene, you and I are tempted to boo at the “bad guys,” but the Jews would have seen them as heroes. The best, most holy people they knew. For them, this is like saying that your beloved religious mentor was walking down the road. Jesus says that they saw the man and passed by on the other side of the road. Now, if you know your OT well, you will know that neither priests or Levites can touch dead bodies. Their professions and lives would have been ruined as they could no longer serve in the temple. So while you and I see two heartless and cruel people, the Jews saw a valid reason to leave a man that looked dead.

Lastly, a Samaritan comes by. This is the part where we cheer for the “good guy,” but the Jews were probably boiling over with anger! How dare Jesus bring a Samaritan into this story as the hero?! The racism and hatred between the Jews and Samaritans was worse than most of us have experienced. At the end of the story, the lawyer couldn’t even bring himself to say that it was the Samaritan who was the neighbor, just “the one that showed mercy.” And yet this is the one who took the man, cared for him, and paid for his injuries. This is the one who proved to be a true neighbor.

Now if you’re like me, you’ve probably heard that story (complete with flannelgraphs) your whole life. The take-away has always been to be a good neighbor to whoever you meet, that everyone is your neighbor. Can I suggest to you a deeper meaning today?

Look again at the story. Look at the Samaritan specifically. Let me point out some significant details about him:

The Samaritan was hated and despised by the Jews.
He had compassion on the man.
He also appears to have wealth. He is the only character in the story riding on an animal- everyone else has been on foot.
He came prepared to help- he had oil and wine with him and bound up the man’s wounds.
He paid for the man’s injuries.
He left a deposit.
He promised to return.

Beloved friends, WHO is the Good Samaritan? WHO does this sound like? All our lives we read this story and think it’s about us, but it’s truly a story about CHRIST!

JESUS IS THE GOOD SAMARITAN!

Jesus is the one who compassionately takes dead people and pays for them. He has riches beyond measure but he gave them up for us. He left us the deposit of the Holy Spirit and promised to return. He was hated by the Jews to the point that if that man in the ditch had woken up and seen who was rescuing him, he would have fought back against him with all his might! (And so do we.) JESUS is the point of this story. Because of THE Good Samaritan, we are called to be neighbors to everyone. And it’s only through him that we can.

I truly believe that all of Scripture points to Christ and yet we are sometimes so blind to see it! We want to believe that the Bible is about us, but let’s face it, it’s not. It’s all about him.

*If you think I came to this sudden realization on my own, you are so far off. My daily devotions are currently in 1 John (how’d we get here, huh?) in a study by Jen Wilken called Abide. I would highly recommend it! Pretty much this whole post is from her. ūüôā

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2020 in Bible

 

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Undone

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
    and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek to destroy my life
    shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
    they shall be a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
    all who swear by him shall exult,
    for the mouths of liars will be stopped.
Psalm 63

You may be wondering why I have simply copied an entire Psalm here. Why this Psalm? What a weird way to start a post, Kimmy. The last two days have been rocky for me. But if you were to look at my life, you wouldn’t be able to tell because all of the rockiness has been happening on the inside. God has been hammering away at my heart and it’s not comfortable to say the least. Imagine with me for a moment a shelf full of idols. These idols have nametags like control, self-sufficiency, reputation, eloquence, pride, desires, knowledge, etc. God has been going along and one-by-one, tipping those idols off the shelf and breaking them into pieces. Some of them- I didn’t even know were in my heart!

Right now I feel lost and broken. My world has been turned upside down as the Lord has shown me my sin. I cried all through this morning’s sermon. The conviction was deep.

But more than that, I feel UNDONE. The lyrics to one of my favorite songs go like this:

I’m undone by the mercy of Jesus
I’m undone by the goodness of the Lord
I’m restored and made right
He got a hold of my life
I’ve got Jesus
How could I want more?
(Selah- I Got Saved)

With my idols and sin staring me down came an even stronger realization and image of our Savior. And accompanying the words of the Psalm- that his steadfast love is better than life, that I SO thirst for him, and that my soul clings to him– there was a resounding YES in my heart.

So I wept but I wept because of his great love! Because I realized that my sin was so deep but his love was deeper still. He knew it all and loved me enough to take down those idols.

UNDONE, people.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2020 in encouragment

 

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