Thursday, March 31, 2005

Counterculture Living

Posted by Hello
"In the late 1970's I attended a national conference of evangelical leaders. My small group, as I recall, included prominent persons like Carl Henry, the first editor of Christianity Today; Hudson Armerding, the president of Wheaton College; Loren Cunnigham, the founder of Youth With a Mission. Several times in our small group, different persons referred to the issue of a simple lifestyle, urging its importance. Finally, Loren Cunnigham said something like the following: 'Yes, I think the evangelical community is ready to live more simply - if we evangelical leaders will model it." That ended the discussion. There were no more recommendations to live more simply!" Ronald J. Sider, The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience

Have you denied yourself and taken up your cross today?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Are We Really Set Apart?

Posted by Hello
"The findings in numerous polls conducted by highly respected pollsters like The Gallup Organization and The Barna Group are simply shocking. 'Gallup and Barna,' laments evangelical theologian Michael Horton, 'hand us survey after survey demonstrating that evangelical Christians are as likely to embrace lifestyles every bit as hedonistic, materialistic, self-centered, and sexually immoral as the world in general.' Divorce is more common among 'born-again' Christians than in the general American population. Only 6 percent of evangelicals tithe. White evangelicals are the most likely people to object to neighbors of another race. Josh McDowell has pointed out that the sexual promiscuity of evangelical youth is only a little less outrageous than that of their nonevangelical peers."

Phillipians 2:12
"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

How will you live today?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A Haven Called Home

Posted by Hello
I love our home. It's not just a house where we sleep and do laundry. It's where we live. My happiest days are those where I do not have to go anywhere and can accomplish much at home. I do not mean simply cleaning and laundry. When I have more than one day at home, my thoughts quickly turn to baking, sewing, and gardening. Creativity then has a place to grow. This is especially true on sunny Spring days such as today when I can open the windows and hear chirping birds and neighbor children laughing.

Homes are meant to be for living and not merely a place to sleep, like a hotel. I know of some families who have very large houses with custom and elegant furnishings, but they never seem to be at home. Even when they are there, they seem restless for entertainment and excitement, unable to savor the simple joys of a peaceful home and a contented heart. In such cases, creativity withers and dies in the wake of synthetic diversions. It does not have to be this way.

One's house does not need to be grand or perfectly appointed in order for it to be beautiful and welcoming in this world of sterility and coldness. Little changes can accomplish much in your attitude towards your home, such as arranging the furniture so that it is more conducive to conversation rather than a just good view of the TV, putting a tablecloth and a vase of fresh flowers on the dining room table, using soft lighting, or baking and filling the air with wonderful aromas. Sometimes it's as simple as straightening the house. Cluttered homes clutter the mind and weigh on the soul.

The kind of TV programs or music that we allow into our homes also determines the atmosphere and tone of the home as well as our minds. If we fill our hearts and homes with things that are pure, lovely, and honoring to God, then our hearts and homes will naturally reflect that, and they will be a haven of rest in a wearying world. This week, strive to be able to say "welcome home" with more than just words.

Posted by Hello

Monday, March 28, 2005

Georgia Christian Film Festival

Posted by Hello
For those of you who live in the Southeast and would like to check out this year's Georgia Christian Film Festival, you can find information @ All current entries for this year's competition have a trailer that can be viewed online. The film Garments of Praise features Mrs. Lydia Sherman of

Saturday, March 26, 2005


My dear husband tells me our biggest problem in our use of time and money is giving in to whims. When we are hungry, thirsty, bored, or see something we want (like a new book!) we give in to those desires immediately rather than considering the ramifications of our acts and using our better judgment. Oy! That might cause a little bit of suffering in our lives! I believe one reason we give in to our whims is that we do not truly believe (heart knowledge) that God will provide for our every need or that we will be genuinely happy with what God provides. I believe to this ultimately relates to our inability to experience a true Sabbath rest where we cease to strive to take care of number one (self) and enjoy God and allow Him to provide. As Marva Dawn pointed out in Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, embracing the true Sabbath rest is not running away from the world or our whims but rather ceasing to let them have a hold on our lives. Whims are such little thoughts, but we are allowing them to rule our lives. We are, as Saint Augustine said, restless ... "O, Lord, thou has made us, and our spirits are restless until we rest in Thee."

Friday, March 25, 2005

Wendy's New Finger Food Menu Item

Posted by Hello
Most of the stories on news programs do not actually affect our lives, but the story about the woman finding a finger in her Wendy's Chili bothers me! It's not that it's simply gross or frightening. What bothers me is that I was not surprised by story, but yet I continue to eat out (though I may steer clear of chili for awhile).

I have read the expose Fast Food Nation, which I recommend to everyone, so the fact that someone's finger could wind up in a fast food meal was not surprising to me. What disturbs me about Americans eating out so much is not so much that it is unsafe, unhealthy, or expensive, but rather that it makes a statement about families today.

The fact that we eat out so often says that we are not good stewards of our time and that we prize our belongings more than our time or our families. If you will notice, I said that I eat out, so all of this applies to me. The day has not become shorter than it was two generations ago, so why does this generation have no time to cook and eat a decent, healthful meal served at the family dining room table? I think the number one reason is that we have too many possessions. Yes, you read that right. We are so caught up in materialism and consumerism that we are exhausting our energies purchasing, paying for (many times in multiple payments), and caring for our possessions that we are owned and enslaved by them, and they are eating away at our time and in turn, our relationships.

In the past several generations, our houses have become increasingly larger and our families have become smaller, so not only is there more stuff to take care of, but there are not as many family members to share the work load. How much stuff will it take to make us happy? Howard Hughes was once asked how much money would be enough for him, and he said that the answer would always be one dollar more. We know cognitively that possessions do not bring us happiness, but is it a heart knowledge for us? The acquisition fo this type of knowledge is something that takes time, and since we are a microwave and one click purchase generation, it is painfully difficult to gain a true heart knowledge.

So, what do I do to "fix" this problem of materialism and the resultant loss of time? Two years ago we made a good start by buying a house that was half the size of our old house (though still, more than ample) moving closer to work. This move forced us to get rid of unneeded items in order to fit into the smaller house. I would love to move even closer to my husband's work and our church, possibly even downtown, but moving is not practical or cost efficient for us at present. We are seriously looking into a much smaller auto as well, but these are one time changes that do not necessarily effect a heart change. What we need are complete attitude changes that will result in many small changes that will be permanently integrated into our everyday lives. Our attitudes should be based on kingdom-centered thinking rather than self-centered thinking. We need to ask ourselves how our purchases, belongings, and very lives effect the kingdom of Christ. I believe this will lead to radical changes in the Church today. But, for now, what would be some more tangible changes that we can make?

The biggest practical helps for better managing my time would be to shop only when necessary, consolidate trips, plan ahead, and TURN OFF THE TV. OW! Not the TV issue again. Am I anti-TV? No, I just don't want it to own me rather than the other way around, and it's a big time waster in my life. Not everyone has this problem (though more than some are willing to admit), but TV brings dissatisfaction with life into our lives by offering us an artificial reality that is impossible to obtain, even if we use a no interest credit card. TV's alternative reality can be compared to the forbidden fruit of Eden. It looks and tastes good and brings pleasure, but afterwards come death, destruction, enslavement to possessions, and hard labor. It comes superficially in the form of a Visa bill, but the true loss all too often comes in the loss of a life lived abundantly in a Christ whose yoke is easy and His burden is light. How will you spend your time today?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Poor for a Pair of Sandals

Posted by Hello
First of all, let me state very emphatically that I am NOT picking on Nike - they were just the first designer shoe that came to mind, and I use them to "generically" represent all designer type shoes. That being said....Tonight I read something scary in the book of Amos "...because they sell the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals..." While reading this passage, I felt as though I had just been awakened by a very strong blow to the head. How often do we exchange the poor for designer shoes, etc. because it is cheaper to pay for labor in impoverished countries? I believe this is another way that we are stealing from the poor, which is no small sin. In Amos 6, God goes further with his warnings to those of us who are rich (and, if you are reading this on your home computer, that's you and me) by saying, "Woe to you...who lie on the beds of ivory (a symbol of wealth), stretch out on your couches (ouch - I read this while lying on the couch!), eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall (meat reserved for special occasions)..., and annoit yourselves with the best ointments (so much for Merle Norman Cosmetics!) but are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph." Here in America we lie on our couch and watch TV and are all too often completely unaware of the persecution of God's people around the world - or worse, we know and are complacent. But these passages are not only instructing us to be grieved about the persecution of the church, they are teaching us that we have a responsibility to the poor. Ezekiel 16:49 is another one of those shocking passages concerning the poor. "Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." Wow! Materialism and neglect of the poor and needy was Sodom's sin that indicted her! This looks like a description of most of us today, and that scares me - scares me enough to spur me to take action. Phillip Gourevitch said, "To denounce evil is a far cry from doing good." I want to do more than denounce the evil, how about you?

Heroic Beauty

Posted by Hello
When I look at photos of Mother Theresa, the descriptive word that always comes to my mind is beautiful. I know she does not measure up to American standards of beauty, but to me she will always be beautiful because I see a sacrificial life of love for God and mankind that transcended outward, fleeting beauty. That type of beauty goes unseen in today's world of superficial and artificial beauty. I am continually in search of female role models in the protestant world, but they are all too few in my mind. Thus far, I have only found one - Marva Dawn. Marva is one of the most brilliantly humble women I have ever met. If you met her on the street, you would never know the degrees she holds or the books she has written, but you would instantly know volumes of her character - her humility, graciousness, patience through adversity, her desire to serve, etc. Marva is truly beautiful. But what about me? Am I a role model for the next generation? Do they see God's beauty in me, or do they see what Merle Norman Cosmetics wants them to see? I do not mean to say that we should all go about our business without any attention to our outward appearance, as I believe that is part of our testimony as well. Nonetheless, our inward beauty should outshine our outward, temporal beauty, and I fear that does not happen often enough. I know it does not occur enough in my life, but it is my heartfelt desire. I want to be known not as an American beauty but as an heroic, Christian beauty. How about you? What are your standards of beauty, and who are your role models? Are you willing to stand alone and be a role model for the next generation? I hope so; your daughters are watching you.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Hope of Christ

Posted by Hello
Some time ago I received a letter from Voice of the Martyrs asking me how their ministry has changed my life. I have yet to answer that letter, because in my mind there is little outward manifestation of change in my life. Inwardly, I think a lot more, and purchasing decisions do not come as quickly for me. I have little to show for it outwardly, other than increased giving, because I find myself at a loss for what to do. Yesterday, we received an email from a friend who is a pastor in Uganda. He had just returned from a trip to Rwanda with countless stories of hardship and poverty for orphans from the genocide. Many of these children do not receive any medical attention because they cannot afford healthcare - healthcare that costs only $1 (US) per year per child! That is the cost of one cup of coffee at Starbucks! Again, we find ourselves put to shame as we whine about our insignificant problems. There was another story of a 41 year old woman who had been widowed and left with 6 children. Those children have no beds, pillows, or blankets, and their clothes are tattered. How many of us have too many clothes? Are we stealing from the poor by hoarding? Like it or not, the answer is all too often yes. You won't hear these stories on US news programs. No, we are more interested in glamorizing child molestation cases such as Michael Jackson's. You will only hear passing comments about the genocide that is currently going on in Darfur, and you will hear even less about the persecution of Christians in the Sudan. Christians need to be informed about world events, but that is becoming increasingly difficult as the media is flooded with fluff and twaddle. So what are we to do in response to needs that are so great? Go through our closets and give to charitable organizations clothes that no longer fit, you dislike, or have not worn in over a year. Prayerfully consider how much money you spend on entertainment - books, CD's, movies, concerts, ball games. Money saved by spending more wisely can be given to organizations such as Voice of the Martyrs or World Vision While my family is considering a trip to Uganda next year, this is not practical for everyone. We can pray for those serving our Lord, and we can seek to minister to those closest to us. But, what are we doing in our own communities? How well do we know our neighbors? Too often Christians turn their noses up at individuals who are going through a painful divorce or are suffering with an addiction to gambling or pornography instead of seeking to help. I am not suggesting that anyone attempt to be a savior, but I am suggesting that we see the hurt and hunger in our neighbors' eyes and offer them the hope of Christ.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Posted by Hello
Do your values match your lifestyle? Mine don't always. I have a bumper sticker on my van that says Turn off TV, Turn on Life, but do my everyday habits reflect that sentiment? As a general rule, I hate most of what is on TV and believe TV to be a great time waster. But, I must admit that if we had full cable, I would find it extremely difficult to not watch home improvement shows and shows like Clean Sweep. There are one or two shows that are beneficial and several that are benign, but most are mentally cancerous, silently eating away at our mental capacity and our core values through desensitization. How much more would I get accomplished if there were no TV at all? Not that life is about seeing how much we can accomplish, but rather how much more would I interact with my family, my neighbors, my community? I daresay most of us know more about families on TV sitcoms than we do about our own next door neighbor. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself, but how can we truly love someone if we don't take the time to know them? This is one of those areas where I have not yet "arrived," and I am preaching to myself. Sometimes, I have the TV on in the background for "company." How much better it would be if I were to pick up the phone and call my neighbor. I think I'll do that today. :)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Hope Chests

Posted by Hello
Do you have a hope chest for your daughter? We do. As your daughter grows into young womanhood, a hope chest is a wonderful starting point for birthday and holiday presents. Lately, I have been buying pretty kitchen towels and pot holders that are season oriented. For Valentine's Day we gave our daughter a pot holder with pretty pink hearts on it. My daughter and I are always on the lookout for pretty things that will make her future home more beautiful and inviting. We do put in items that are practical, but we also make a point that those things are high quality and lovely. Some of the pretty things that I had set aside before I was married (my hope chest was an old train trunk that I dearly loved) bring a smile of fond remembrance to me when I see them. My daughter's hope chest content has been mainly focused on the kitchen and dining table, but we hope to also fill it with delicate baby clothes as she desires a family. I believe that boys should have chests as well - filled with tools, books, etc. What a wonderful way to help our children take wing and get a good start in life.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Welcome to my first attempt at blogging. My desire is to live a life that is God-honoring and full of grace - graciousness in how I conduct and present myself and graciousness through beautifying my home and garden. I am a full-time homemaker who takes pleasure in making the routines of everyday life enjoyable through graciousness. I hope you enjoy my musings and find them helpful. Sometimes I will simply post a recipe or a tip, dependent upon my mood. :)