An answer to a restless spirit

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It seems as if there is a common theme these days among Christian women: the desire for something more. There is a restlessness, a longing for something more than being defined by being a mom, a homemaker or a single female. In response to this, there have been many blog posts in recent days about finding fulfillment by using your spiritual gifts and talents as an outlet or an answer to this restless desire. I'm hearing the phrase frequently, "finding your voice."

There is truth to this. It is encouraging to hear other women encourage others to use their gifts, and sometimes some of us need a good kick-you-in-the-pants speech to get us moving. However, I want to submit to you that this is not the final solution. The answer I think Scripture gives is this: you and I will not find rest, contentment and fulfillment in anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ.

Let me give you my story.

I am prone to restlessness. I am the lyrics of the great hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" that sings, "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love." I am prone to look for fulfillment in the next best thing. In the next phase of life. I sought this as a young, single woman who longed to find companionship and love. I wanted a husband and thought how much better my life would be once that part was settled. I married, and I love my husband with my whole heart. He has been one of the greatest blessings to me. However, he did not answer my heart's needs for rest and contentment.

During our marriage when I was on staff at The Alabama Baptist writing news and feature stories, laying out pages, meeting with important Baptist people for interviews, I was physically tired because the job required a lot and didn't allow for pursuing personal ministry goals. I always dreamed of being able to stay at home one day and to not have to depend on me having a salary. I wanted the freedom to wake up late and be home (I love being home!) when I wanted. This is what I dreamed life would be as a stay-at-home mom. I was looking for contentment in the next phase of life.

When we found out we were pregnant with our son, I was relieved to know that my American dream of having a family would come to fruition. Plus I would really now be content because then I could focus on writing what I wanted to write, blogging, and perhaps even writing for Christian publishers! I wouldn't have the stress of a job; I could roam around my town instead of sitting behind a desk while looking outside the window as other people enjoyed the day. But once my son came and I became a stay-at-home mom, I continued to be restless.

Now, I resented not having a place to go because it meant I never dressed up anymore and I didn't necessarily have to shower (other than for the sake of my husband!). I was covered in spit-up, poop, pee in the beginning. The next year I couldn't leave my son alone for one second because he was into everything and was a danger to himself if left alone! The next year as he learned to talk, I lived day to day hearing "Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy." This past year I have spent my days disciplining, correcting and enduring all those temper tantrums.

I was restless. I thought I would find contentment in the next stage of life. The next person. The next job. But I didn't. I still haven't found contentment in those things. Nowadays, if you were to ask me what I am restless for or am hoping to quench my restless thirst with, it would be having a full-time writing and speaking career using my gifts, passions and seminary training for the Lord. Surely that's what is needed because, of course, unlike those other things mentioned this is for the Lord! It is what I believe He has called me to do!

But lately I have begun asking myself the question, "Will I find contentment and rest even in using these gifts and passions how I want to use them?" Am I waiting to find contentment until the day I have a teaching ministry? Will I feel at peace and fulfillment when I publish my first book?

The answer I have come to is "No." No I won't. If I can't find rest, contentment, joy, peace and fulfillment in the Lord now, then I will never find it in these other things or people. Even if they are good things. Even if they are rendered to the Lord. So often we try to find fulfillment and joy in our service to the Lord apart from the Lord. We are too busy doing things for God that we don't have time to spend with God. We want to serve the Master without knowing the Master. Then before long we believe we are carrying out the will of God when really we no longer know what His will is -- it's been compromised with our own will.

So this is what God has been teaching me lately and which I am still trying to learn and put into practice: I will find true contentment, joy, peace and rest in whatever stage I am in my life if I find it first and foremost in Christ. I must learn to base my own identity and to measure my worth by who I am in Christ rather than what I am doing or by how much I am doing.

Lately I have been asking myself, "Kristen, are you too busy working and looking toward the future that you are missing out on being faithful with the few tasks God has given you now?" How am I using my spiritual gifts at home with my son? Am I missing out on opportunities to teach him God's Word and the gospel because I'm too concerned with teaching adults? Is my calling as a mom not as important as my calling as a writer? (If my answer is yes it is not as important, then shame on me!) Am I not paying attention to the needs of my husband and failing to serve him and his needs because I want to take care of others' needs first? We -- I -- forget that our neighbor (in reference to the second greatest commandment) includes my husband and son! It includes those closest to me.

I must be found faithful doing the things that God has called me to now, today, or else I won't know how to be faithful with those things in the future. Yes, by all means I am to use my gifts for God's glory in the church and in the community now (who says you can't do both?) but not at the cost of not using them at home or at the cost of not spending time with God. My gifts will only be as effective as my walk with the Lord. If I am not spending time in Scripture, prayer, gratitude, reflection and mediation on His Word, then my gifts will no longer be reflecting the glory of God but of me.

If you think about it, we in the United States are very narcissistic. We are obsessed with self, and because of that we get really depressed when we aren't accomplishing something or getting recognized for our achievements. Two years ago The Huffington Post published some research about the nations with the highest clinical depression. United States came in second at a rate of 19.2%. That is really astonishing given the fact that we are one of the wealthiest nations. We don't have to worry about being invaded or wars (too much, as they are often thousands of miles away). We don't have to worry about major disease epidemics, religious persecution, drug lords coming into our homes and decapitating us, famine, or drought. Yet we are depressed.

Why? I really think it comes down to our obsession with self. We think by making self the most important thing we will satisfy these needs of contentment, fulfillment and joy, but the irony is that by elevating self we are destroying ourselves. We can't give ourselves what only Christ can give us. We can't find what we're searching for in sinful human beings. It's like eating chocolate to satisfy a hunger. Sure it tastes awfully good and feels good at first, but too much of it can make you downright sick and yet if you just eat one piece it makes you lust for more.

We also are depressed because we find fulfillment and identity in what we do. This is probably why Purpose Driven Life sold so well! We want to make sure we are living with purpose. But God has been bringing to my mind repeatedly that Jesus spent 30 years growing, praying, spending time in the synagogues, and preparing before having a public ministry that only lasted 3 years! "All those years wasted!" a good American might say. We cannot fathom doing "nothing" for that long. We don't value waiting, listening, learning, preparing, and praying; in fact we consider those things as "nothing" or as accomplishing nothing. In a give-me-now culture where we basically can have everything we want with the swipe of a credit card, the opening of an app, or the tapping of a tweet, it is against our very nature to sit still and wait. To exercise patience.

But this narcissism, obsession with self, has crept into the churches and Christian communities. As E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O'Brien wrote in Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes, "When the 'me generation' became Christians, we baptized this egocentrism" (p. 194). Just pay careful attention to sermons and blog posts. Ask yourself, "Who is the subject of this sermon or post or article?" You can find this out easily by counting the number of pronouns/names used. How often is Jesus or God mentioned in comparison to "you"? You can also figure this out by looking at the goal -- is the goal to become a better more impassioned you or for God to be glorified.

So often what I am being fed is a form of existentialism. A short definition of existentialism is "a philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will." As Christians we have baptized our obsession with self and this existential philosophy and have put a Christian spin on it. Here's the Christian spin. You are still the subject and your happiness is the goal, but God is introduced as a supporting actor to help you accomplish your life's goal and purpose. Whereas when you read the Bible, God is the main subject and we are recipients of his saving work. Here's another great quote from Misreading Scripture:

"The idea that we are only a part of God's redemptive plan is hard to swallow for Christians raised to believe that if I had been the only sinner ever born, Jesus would still have gone to the cross for me. When we realize that each passage of Scripture is not about me, we begin gradually to see that the true subject matter of the Bible, what the book is really about, is God's redeeming work in Christ. God is restoring all of creation (including me), but I am not the center of God's kingdom work. This is a much greater thing to be absorbed with than ourselves."

It seems so counterintuitive doesn't it? If we want to find true self-fulfillment and joy in this world then we must "deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him?" (cf. Luke 9:23) Isn't it against everything my culture is telling me and pulling on me to say that Jesus is the main actor in my story, not me? I am the supporting actor in my life. Let me tell you, I didn't come to Jesus so that he could help me find my voice or make me a happier person. I came to him so that he would save me from my rottenness, my sin, and transform this dirty vessel into something more like him.

Yes, I still believe God is calling me to a speaking and writing ministry. I look forward to doing what I love the most full-time -- one day. In fact I am doing some of it even now, even though it is in small doses. But I must not let my hope for the future blind me from the present. Although it's difficult to see, what I am doing now does count. It is part of God's greater calling for my life. I will have to answer to Him about how I treated my roles as wife and mother. Did I honor God and love God in those roles and love my husband and son like myself? Using my gifts in the church without getting paid for them does count. It does matter.

I will find contentment and joy in these things despite them because I am doing it for the Lord. My rest and joy come only from the Lord and He gives me joy for all things, mundane, dirty and not-so-fun things. My prayer is that when God is ready to use me in other ways and for other things and to move me into a new stage that I won't regret mishandling the past and that I will do these things out of an already fulfilled, content place where God is receiving all the glory.

And if I can't learn the lesson of contentment now, then how will I ever learn it? It's funny that we quote "I can do all things through him who strengthens me," (Phil. 4:13) to refer to anything and everything we want to do. I think we like this verse because it seems that the emphasis is on me and doing all things. It appeals to our American senses. Yet, read in its context we read that just a few verses prior Paul says, "...for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content." We must learn like Paul not to find contentment in circumstances because they so easily change; sometimes they are good and sometimes bad. But Paul is content through good and bad because God strengthens him! It is God who enabled Paul to find contentment, for Paul's source for contentment came from the Lord.

As we learn contentment and how to find that in Christ alone, let us adopt the words of the psalmist who praises God at all times for who He is. Circumstances might not be great, life ebbs and flows, but still he praises God. "Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts!" (Psalm 33:1-3)

I find that a heart filled with gratitude and praise helps me on those days when I am feeling restless, when I am forgetting that it is Christ who gives me contentment, when I want to rush through these days that one day I will look back on wanting to return. So in these days I am finding my voice in my praises to God.

So this is my story. What is yours? What are you feeling restless about? Yes, by all means, find those things you love and do them. Use your spiritual gifts, talents and passions to glorify God. Just know that even those things won't bring you complete contentment and joy, for that only comes from the Lord Jesus.

And how does the hymnist of Come Thou Fount answer this proclivity to wander and to be restless? He writes, "Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above."

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

A Jar Full of Honey

Image Today, I dropped my special jar of honey that I bought back in March at a little store in south Florida. I quickly texted this picture and the comment, "Needless to say, things haven't been going my way lately..." to close friends and family.

This past week I had destroyed one of my best friend's mailbox with the side mirror of my car and had become sick on Sunday after working two days at a state fair.

The honey jar incident happened right in the middle of me working on a writing assignment while my son was at Mother's Day Out. I didn't have time for this! I grumbled. It would — and it did — take me an hour just to clean the mess up; a precious hour that I needed to spend in writing.

Because of where the honey spilt, I had to pull out this attachment at the bottom of the refrigerator to mop up the honey (perhaps you can see what I am talking about in the above picture). When I pulled it off the refrigerator, I was in shock; I was sick. The dust and dirt I found there was enough to make anyone living in our house sick. This nice little plastic piece had been hiding all of this trash that ashamedly I had not even known was there since living in our house these past three years.

My grumbling quickly turned to thankfulness. If I had not dropped a glass jar full of honey right at the bottom of my refrigerator, I would never have known of the filth living behind this plastic piece.

Isn't that true with other things in life? When bad things happen, we grumble maybe because of its effect on us or the inconvenience of it or the unfairness of it. But sometimes it is these unfortunate incidents that God uses to take down that plastic piece in our lives that is hiding that which is unholy, such as pride, bitterness, unbelief, arrogance, hatred, ungratefulness, unforgivingness, etc.

When my apartment building burned down, God used it to reveal to me my deep rooted attachment to things of this world.

When I was turned down a job, God used it to show me my pride and arrogance.

When I knocked down my friend's mailbox, God used it to show me how I long for grace when I mess up but how I often don't show grace to others when they mess up.

Can you make a list like this? Ask God to use the bad incidents or the unfortunate accidents in your life to reveal that part of you which is not holy and pleasing to God that may be hiding somewhere behind a "plastic piece." Perhaps, you haven't even thought to look there but it's there making you sick spiritually and the only way you'll notice it is through those unfortunate incidents. And, even if things have not been going your way (as I texted my friends and family today), "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God (1 Thess. 5:18)."

Let this be our prayer: "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" (Ps. 139:23-24) Amen.

The selfish one

It was Tuesday and I was in the kitchen washing dishes when a thought suddenly hit me. It was one of those thoughts that you can't seem to let go or it can't seem to let go of you. Later that day, when my husband Osvaldo was home, I shared it with him.

"Honey, I had this thought today that what if the only way (our friend) Don* is going to accept Jesus is for one of us to die. And I thought about it and the thought makes me angry. How selfish of Don to not just come to Jesus now but wait for one of us to die!"

Osvaldo looked at me and said, "I've had that same thought before. And I prayed that if it took me dying for Don to come to Jesus, then I would do it. But I have asked the Lord that Don would come to faith without that needing to happen."

The conversation ended there but the thought didn't. It still lingered in my mind for the rest of the night. When I woke up the next day it was still there. I carried it with me into the shower and from the shower to the bathroom counter. Then it hit me. So clearly, so vividly, that I was brought to my knees, literally. I was humbled. Broken. Ashamed.

Prior to this moment, I was angry at the thought of me dying in order for Don to come to salvation. I was angry with his selfishness and his hardness of heart. But that's when the Holy Spirit reminded me that someone died for me. I was selfish, hard-hearted, blind, but still Jesus gave his life on a cross in order that I might be saved! Whereas if I were to die my death could not save Don (or anyone) but only point to my salvation in Jesus, Jesus' death has saving power! And he did it for me. This is what Romans 5:6-8 is talking about:

"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

And, if it was really my choice and if it was really God's plan, I would rather save my life for a few more years on this earth even if it meant that Don would lose his for all eternity? Seriously? By Wednesday morning I wasn't upset or angry at Don anymore. God changed my heart. The window from which I had been looking out at Don became a mirror from which I could only see myself for who I really was. I was the selfish one! I was broken. Ashamed. Humbled. For I was acting as one who accepts the love of God freely yet refuses to love others like Christ loves her.

A second humbling thought was that it wasn't that I necessarily had a problem with love but choosing the recipients of my love or of God's love for that matter. For if God were to say to me, "Kristen, you must die in order for your son Philip to know me, to come to me." I feel certain that I'd say, "Take me!" Why? Because I love my son deeply. But we don't get to pick and choose who we love as Christians. No, we get the privilege of loving others because He first loved us.

God may or may not take my life in order for Don to be saved. But just as Christ laid down His life for me out of this pure, abounding, selfless love, I pray with fervor that I will follow the example of my Lord and love Don in the same manner. I also pray that God will use whatever means necessary to save Don from sin, from hell, from eternity without Him – even if it means my life.

"For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised." 2 Cor. 5:14-15

"Lord, help me to love Don and others like him who are not easy to love and who turn a blind eye to you because you first loved us. Amen."

*Don's name was changed out of respect for this person. Please pray for Don to find faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

God is good and He is still on His throne

A couple of weeks ago I was preparing a post that dealt with prayer in light of news that a friend and former classmate at Beeson Divinity School recently discovered he has cancer. I wept for him. His name is Matt Paetz, and he has a wife and two young daughters. My heart breaks for him and his family as they embark on a new journey that they did not expect nor want. I had a writing project that got in the way of updating the blog. The deadline was this past week. Then I went to Arkansas for the weekend to visit college friends and got back to my alma mater for Homecoming festivities. One of these college friends is Julee Turner. I was honored to be part of her wedding. I lived two doors down from her for two years in college. We were in the same sorority and same pledge class. She married the love of her life, Matt, after college and moved to Fayetteville, AR. After several years of struggling with infertility, she became pregnant with their daughter Preslee. Julee is an avid blogger and you can read all about their sweet family on her blog: mattandjuleeturner.blogspot.com.

While I was having dinner with Julee and four other college friends this past Saturday night, Julee’s husband was killed in a car accident. Matt leaves behind his wife Julee and their 10-month-old daughter Preslee. Once again, my heart breaks for a friend.

I am heartbroken that my friend was stripped of her beloved. I am heartbroken that Preslee won’t remember her daddy. I am sad that Julee had to experience such loss at this point in her young life. I wept. I still weep.

But my weeping is only temporary. Not because I won’t have times of sadness for Julee’s loss. Not because I no longer care for Matt Paetz and his family. But because of my faith that God is good and He is still on His throne.

My preaching professor at Beeson Divinity School was Dr. Robert Smith, Jr. He still teaches and preaches there. Last year, one month shy of a year ago, Smith preached in Beeson’s chapel a sermon titled, “Have you been to Bethany?” based on John 11:1-12:1. In this sermon, he quoted and paraphrased from the book, “When Faith and Beliefs Collide.” Smith said, “When faith is stripped to the bone – no marrow, no tendons, no muscles, no fat, no gristle – and all our props and crutches are gone, our faith in God that He is good and is still on the throne is the only thing that will keep you going.”

While praying and reflecting on Matt Turner’s death and Matt Paetz’s sickness, I thought of John 11 – Jesus weeping over the loss of a friend and the great words about resurrection. Then I remembered this sermon that Smith preached one year ago.

After Lazarus died, Jesus tells Martha in John 11:25-26, “The one who believes in me though that one dies shall live again, and the one who lives and believes in me shall never die.” As Smith said, “Persons who are born twice, born of the flesh and born of the spirit, only have to die once. The person who is only born once of the flesh will have to die twice.”

What awesome hope for those who believe in and only through Jesus Christ, the first fruits of the resurrection of the dead! When I called my husband Ozzie to tell him about Matt’s passing, he asked, “Was he a believer in Christ?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Then we know that he is alive and with the Lord; that is our only hope.” So as I shed tears for Julee, I know that because Matt was born twice, he won’t die again. He is alive because Jesus is alive. And for my friend Matt Paetz, cancer is no longer a death sentence. But as he walks “through the valley of the shadow of death,” he “will fear no evil,” knowing that Christ is with him and that death is not the end.

The proposition of Smith’s sermon was: The road to Bethany exists in order to engender belief, which will be transformed into redemptive activity. What I think he meant was that the purpose of Lazarus’ death and the events that happened were so that people would believe. Why do these things happen in our lives? I don’t know, but I do know that often times it is to increase belief in some and create belief in others. When I watched my apartment building burn, when I had two heart ablations, when I moved to a new place by myself, though these were difficult times in my life, they brought me closer to God and increased my faith that God is good and He is still on the throne.

Though I am confident I will still shed tears for these mentioned and others in the future, I find peace knowing that the One who wept when His friend died will be the One to wipe away all our tears. Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Pray for my friend Matt. Ask God to heal his body and to be glorified through this experience. Pray that this cancer would not lead to his death. Pray for strength, peace, healing and increased faith for Matt and his family.

Pray also for my friend Julee, Preslee and the rest of Matt’s family. Pray for healing hearts, increased faith, sustaining power, peace, comfort, financial provision, and strength to face tomorrow.

I should mention that Dr. Smith knows what it is to lose someone you love. He lost his first wife many years ago, then shortly before this sermon he lost a son. He knows what it is to grieve, to weep and to hope in a living God that is still on His throne.

To listen to Dr. Smith’s sermon, go here: http://www.beesondivinity.com/media#!/swx/pp/media_archives/116700/episode/27214

A song that comes to mind that fits with this post is “Give me Jesus” by Fernando Ortega: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N3KPA9ltQE

Humble Pie

One day last Spring my husband and I were driving home having a heated discussion on who knows what. At one point in the conversation I said, “You don’t have to get so mad about it.” He said, “I’m not mad; I’m Hispanic.” What he meant was that he was passionate and for him being Hispanic (or Caribbean Hispanic at least) means being passionate. Anyone who knows me knows I am a very passionate person. It’s part of my DNA. In fact I joke that I too must be Hispanic. Passion isn’t a bad thing, and in fact everyone is passionate about something. And everyone shows their passion in different ways. My husband and I just happen to be vocal and animated with our passions.

Politics and religion seem to be topics that stir up our passions. We’re passionate because we care, because we strongly believe in something, and because we think something is at stake. In the midst of this political season, we have already seen people’s passions come to the center stage.

Being passionate isn’t unbiblical. I think of Jesus who was so upset about the business taking place in the temple that He overturned the tables. He was passionate about the sacredness of the temple and authentic worship. Read any of Paul’s letters and you’ll find a very passionate individual who wasn’t afraid to confront the church and call out specific members on controversial issues.

But as I was kindly reminded last night by some of my best friends, if we are not careful to bridle our passions they may lead us to a place of sin. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Colossians 4:5-6 says, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

So here are three reflections on how we are to handle our passions.

First, Cover your passion in prayer. Often I am too quick to speak and too slow to pray. It should be the other way around. Prayer acknowledges that God is the One who is in control, and through the discipline of prayer we submit to the Holy Spirit transforming our will to His. Sometimes my passions get so stirred I become angry. And sometimes when I get angry I sin. It’s OK to be angry (see Eph. 4:26), but it’s not OK to sin in your anger. I have noticed that when I spend time in devoted prayer, I am not as angry anymore, I am not as keen to react, and I have a peace that God is in control.

Secondly, Be sensitive in your passions. Last night God used my friends to bring to my attention that a recent reaction of mine was just as insensitive as those whose comments made me want to react. I have recently heard speeches and comments on the media and social media celebrating abortion. There’s no mention of loss of life; there’s no mention of sadness that abortion brings. Instead the issue of abortion is all about a woman’s right to end life and to be control of her own body. These remarks hit a button with me and my anger and passions were aroused. I thought, in that moment, the best way to make my voice heard was by saying something in 140 characters or less on Twitter. Although I believe in everything I said in that tweet, I did not show any sensitivity to those who may have had an abortion against their will or who were told that their baby was going to die no matter what. In fact, I heard about a woman through a friend of mine whose ultrasound revealed that the baby’s brain was growing outside of the skull. She ended up having an abortion. Did I change anyone’s mind about abortion by my tweet? Did I react with the same insensitivity as those who I was reacting against? Were my comments “gracious and seasoned with salt?” As I was personally reminded and as I remind you, let’s be sensitive, gracious and careful in our speech when it comes to those things we are so passionate about, especially in this political season.

Third, Do not let your passions hurt the cause of the gospel but rather help it. I believe we need to be passionate about salvation that only comes through Jesus Christ, about confronting sin that destroys the Church, about holiness, about missions, about Scripture and about gospel-centered social justice. But how I go about making my passions known and implementing them can point others to Christ or away from Christ. As I am constantly reminded, social media, for the most part, is not the way to go about it. It is so easy to get pulled in; I am so guilty of this! But God has constantly reminded me it isn’t the way. Arguing is not the way. Screaming is not the way. Bullying, having a one-sided argument, and labeling are not the way. James 3:5-6a, 13 says, “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. … Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” How are we going to win the world and to demonstrate our passions in a way that wins others to Christ? Through gentle words, compassionate hands, pure actions and loving hearts.

I will pray for you and please pray for me that we don’t shriek from making a stand; but as we make a stand about those things we are most passionate about that we will do it with grace, love, forgiveness and a piece of humble pie.