Everyday Grace

Searching for goodness in the ordinary

You Can Sit With Us

May
14

A couple of years ago, I got into an intense theological fight with my closest friend. We are both Jesus girls with big bleeding hearts, and though we have a lot in common, we don’t share exactly the same passions and callings (which is perfectly okay!). We were discussing helping and serving others, but the conversation shifted when we started drawing lines between fellow believers and those outside the church. My friend mentioned that she thought it was more important to take care of other Christians than it was to take care of others outside the church, and that the church should be our priority. I totally disagreed with her, saying that those without Jesus to rely on needed our help more. I imagine Jesus looking in on our disagreement and facepalming. Here we were, arguing over how best to love others – instead of just doing it, just loving whomever was in reach as often as we could and in whatever ways we were able. We eventually realized that it’s okay for us to have different passions in this area – my calling might be to reach beyond the walls of the church to those who are suffering and introduce them to my friend Jesus, and my friend’s calling might be to build up the church from the inside so that we will have a healthy home to bring those hurting ones into. Both are needed, both are important. Neither is greater than the other. Both the believer and the unbeliever are precious to Jesus. He still leaves 99 to find the one, but the 99 are still just as important to Him. And as someone who has been both the 99 and the one, I am so grateful.

What if we can even take this a step further? In addition to acknowledging both needs as valid – reaching out to welcome people into Jesus, and making a welcoming place for them to come home to – what if we could blend these actions together? What if the church as a whole began intentionally and radically welcoming those who have historically felt pushed away or marginalized in our society? (more…)

A Backwards Gospel

May
07

photo: David Bartus

Brave ones out in the wilderness who sometimes feel alone in the church, maybe this is for you. I’m gonna be really honest: some of the things folks do in the name of Jesus are head-scratchers to me. Sometimes I wonder if we’re all reading the same Bible.

In the middle of their speeches about how refugees and immigrants are a drain on our society and our resources, don’t they remember the verses where God tells His people to treat the foreigner like family?

In their disdain and indignation that the poor or homeless or single parent or struggling should pull themselves up by their bootstraps with no handouts and no hand-ups, don’t they see the Scriptures where God tells His people to leave some of their crops for those in need, and care for the orphan and widow?

In their adoration of weaponry and war, don’t they remember that Jesus cautioned Peter to wield his own weapon responsibly, telling him that he who lives by the sword will die by it, so lay it down?

In their rants about acceptable and unacceptable kinds of sexuality, don’t they see the verses where Jesus stands over a woman about to be executed for her adultery and tells her He does not condemn her? (more…)

Our Work // Unstuck

Apr
02

photo: Sebastian Voortman

Up until a couple of years ago I was teaching middle school, and a few times a year, we would attempt to gather 400 little bodies’ worth of preteen drama and potential into the gym for an adventure commonly known as an assembly. My absolute favorite one was at the end of the year, when we had the talent show and the school band would play. Our kidlets started band in 7th grade, so they were brand new at this and had a quarter of one clue how to play an instrument, but somehow the band director managed to make some magic out of their squeaks and honks so that it sounded sort of like a song or two.  (more…)

Unstuck

Mar
26

Hi friends! Today we’re going to talk about getting unstuck – in our work, in our spiritual and home lives, and in our relationships. If you’re feeling like things are always going sideways and you’re not sure why, then welcome! Even though social media keeps this secret pretty well, you’re in good company. In my experience, everyone is at least one or two flavors of hot mess, so I promise not to judge if you won’t. You’re among friends here.

What Stuck Looks Like

There is a deep ocean in you. Not of water, but of God, and the image of God, and the beautiful and true and important things He has put you here to do. You have so much in you that you don’t even know the depths of yet. So much beauty, so much talent, and so much potential. Even if you are doubting whether these words apply to you, even as you read them, something in you is swelling and stirring, rising, reaching, as if to say, yes, this is the truth. As if to say, yes, there is more to me. Listen to that part. That is the image of God in you, ready to unfold in the sun and bless the world with new light to better see His face.

The problem is, sometimes we just get stuck. (more…)