Changing Seasons

I need a new season! And no, it’s not because I’m over the heat and humidity of the South Carolina lowcountry in July (but, seriously!). It actually has nothing to do with the weather at all. Maybe it’s being in a no-sleep-ever-I’d-rather-party-all-night-long season with my 2-yr old that just might be my end, or my husband’s end, or the 2-yr old’s end…wait, what are we talking about? Zzzzzzzzz……….

I NEED A NEW SEASON – obviously!

And so, I’m ready to not only invite change, I’m about to brute force some change into my lukewarm, overtired, overwhelmed and yet still feeling like I’m missing the point world. My senses have become dull and my heart is hard. I’m ready for a season to feel all of the feelings and cry over things that really matter- a list that doesn’t include my messy house, spilled milk (for real – that mess stinks) or laundry (why does it never end? and, how, is it possible for boy’s laundry to reek that badly when they haven’t even hit puberty?!).

Part of my forced change involves my reading list. I’m switching over from my Facebook newsfeed and “The Fault in Our Stars” to books like:

“Strangers at my Door” by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, a classmate of mine from seminary who has spent the last 10 years with his wife and family opening their door to whomever knocks. Just wow, Jonathan! I finished this book three weeks ago and it’s still finding its way into my conversations with people almost daily.

“7: A Mutiny against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker, which is currently rocking my world. Now I need to compost AND give up sugar, all in the same month – look out neighbors and friends!

and –

“I Shall Not Hate” by Izzeldin Abuelaish, which should arrive at my doorstep on Saturday (thank you, Amazon Prime, for simultaneously enabling my change and ruining my life). Abuelaish is a Palestinian doctor, working in an Israeli hospital who lost 3 daughters to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. I don’t think I’m ready to be exposed to the life he has lived and the things he has seen, but it’s time to start peeling the many layers covering my eyes.

I’m not sure where all of this is leading, but today I turn 33 and everything in me is screaming that it’s time to pay attention because God is ready to show me and teach me something new. And, frankly, I don’t want to miss it. So my prayer for this new year, this new season in my life, is that God will make me tender and teachable, fully alive, and willing to go wherever He leads.

What season are you in? Where are you heading? What are you reading?

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Summer Reading Challenge – Final Week!

It’s the final week of our summer reading challenge, and the readings are listed below. Feel free to cram all of the readings you missed into this week, or perhaps a better idea would be to go back anytime you want and set up your own schedule for reading. As always, I’d love to hear what you’re thinking as you read.

Also, get excited! I have a special blogging week coming up August 11-15 – more info coming soon!

Sunday – Daniel 12, Revelation 1
Monday – Revelation 2-4
Tuesday – Revelation 5-7
Wednesday – Revelation 8-11
Thursday – Revelation 12-15
Friday – Revelation 16-18
Saturday – Revelation 19-22

Summer Reading Challenge

Sorry I’m just now posting this! Here are this week’s readings for the summer reading challenge. This week, we’re talking about the Church. How is the Church different today? How is it the same?

My prayer for the Church today: Make us dangerous and keep us faithful to Christ alone!

Happy reading!

Sunday – Acts 1:1-2:47
Monday – Acts 3:1-5:42
Tuesday – Acts 6:1-8:3
Wednesday – Acts 8:4-10:48
Thursday – Acts 11:1-13:52
Friday – Acts 14:1-16:40
Saturday – Acts 17:1-19:41

Summer Reading Challenge, week 5

Who’s still in the challenge? What are you learning? What has surprised you? This week’s readings follow the Israelites from exile back home with the daunting task of rebuilding. Moving is hard, and sometimes coming home is the hardest!

Here are this week’s readings:

Sunday – Ezra 1:1-11, 3:1-13, 4:1-24
Monday – Ezra 5:1-7:28
Tuesday – Ezra 9:1-10:44, Nehemiah 1:1-11
Wednesday – Nehemiah 2:1-4:23
Thursday – Nehemiah 5:1-7:73
Friday – Nehemiah 8:1-10:39
Saturday – Nehemiah 11:1-13:31

Honoring God’s Word

Today’s guest post is from Friar Dixon, Discipleship Pastor at Ashley Ridge Church. In addition to leading the student, groups and outreach ministries at Ashley Ridge, Friar is also raising two boys with his wife Natalie and continuing to master his foosball skills. Check out what he has to say about the wide-eye’d wonder of King Josiah  –

 

One of my favorite kings from Israel’s past was Josiah, the boy King.  Josiah took over the kingdom at 8 years old and stayed in that position until his death, 31 years later.  Unlike many of his predecessors, Josiah actually did what God wanted.  The Bible doesn’t give us any insight into the reasons why Josiah chose to be faithful to God (unlike the preceding kings), but I have my suspicions.

The story of Josiah can be summed up like this: Josiah was the Son of King Amnon, and Grandson of King Manasseh.  His father and his grandfather both “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”  Josiah is made king after the people kill his father. He was only eight years old.  Eighteen years into his reign, Josiah is trying to put the house of the Lord in repair and order when the high priest brings Josiah a book.  The book is the Holy Scripture, the law.  Because so many kings before Josiah had ignored the word of God, Josiah, as well as many of the people, did not even know this word from God existed. Josiah was horrified that he had unknowingly not followed the law completely and so Josiah started on a quest to rid the peoples hearts and the land from idolatrous practices.  While God’s wrath was ready to be poured out onto the Hebrews in what we now know as the exile, God allowed Josiah to reign and die with his kingdom still in tact.

Josiah seemed to be a pretty great king, but what has always stood out to me was the honor and respect that Josiah gave to the law and instruction found in God’s word.  Josiah had never heard it before and when he did, he truly had wide-eyed wonder.  It was a wonder with God’s word that changed who Josiah was, and how he ruled.

This has always been my hope for the Bible, that I would view it with such reverence that it would continually form the way I live, but also form the way I function as a husband and a father.  Like Josiah did with his kingdom, I want to put God and his instruction at the center of my life and family. I desire to see God’s word with such wide-eyed wonder each day, that I really do believe what it says, and let it inform the way I live.  After a lifetime of changing and stretching and growing through following God’s word, I hope to one day die with the ability for it to be written that Friar “… did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father, not turning aside to the right or to the left.”

 

Kings to Exile

It’s week four of the summer reading challenge and we’re going to be hearing a lot from the prophets about the Israelites time in exile. Check back for some thoughts through the week and be sure to share your thoughts and questions in the comments!

Here are this week’s readings:

Sunday – 2 Kings 17:1-23, 24:18-25:21; Ezekiel 1:1-3:27
Monday – Ezekiel 12:1-14:23
Tuesday – Ezekiel 20:1-44, Jeremiah 24:1-25:38
Wednesday – Jeremiah 29:1-31:40
Thursday – Lamentations 1:1-3:66
Friday – Micah 6:1-8
Saturday – Hosea 11:1-11

It’s week 3 of our summer reading challenge and we’re heading from the Judges to the Kings. Despite God’s repeated warnings, Israel wants a king they can see and they are willing to challenge the King of Kings to get their way. Spoiler alert: there are some good kings and some bad kings, but in the end, God was right – obviously. Be sure to share your thoughts through the week in the comment section.

Happy Reading!

Sunday – I Samuel 1:1-28, 3:1-21, 8:1-22
Monday – I Samuel 10:17-11:15, 13:5-15, 15:10-35
Tuesday – I Samuel 16:1-18:16; 2 Samuel 5:1-7:29
Wednesday – 2 Samuel 11:1-12:25; 1 Kings 3:3-28, 6:1-38, 8:22-61
Thursday – I Kings 11:1-13, 11:41-43, 12:1-24, 17:1-19:21
Friday – 2 Kings 3:4-5:19a, 13:1-25
Saturday – 2 Kings 23:1-24:1

Friends of a High and Holy God

I was interviewed last week by a professor from Duke on the subject of “contemporary worship.” In the course of our conversation, he used the phrase “Lovin’ on Jesus” to describe the prevailing movement of the last 50 years influencing many of our present day worship patterns.

Before we go any further, it’s important to note that I am unashamed and even proud to be associated with any movement characterized by love of Jesus!!! Where do I pick up my t-shirt and bumper sticker?!

That said, the phrase came to mind this morning as I read Exodus 19, and I wondered if I sometimes lose sight of the holiness of God in the comfortable, familiarity of Jesus. Do you know what I mean? I love that Jesus called us friends (John 15:15) and I believe He meant it. Only, am I still recognizing that He is God and I am not? In Exodus 19, the people had to prepare themselves for several days before just coming close (not even touching!) the mountain where God was.

It’s a conversation we’re having more and more in our house as our boys get older. You know, the “we’re your parents, not your friends” lecture, er, I mean, conversation. I want my boys to trust me completely. I want them to feel comfortable and know there is nothing they can’t tell me and nothing they can do that will change my love for them. I want them to come to me for comfort – to know that I will listen to them, hurt with them, hope for them. But I also want them to respond immediately when I say “stop” or “no.” I want them to know I will draw clear boundaries that I expect them to adhere to whether they understand them or not because I am their parent. I love that we’re raising our boys in the South where kids are taught to refer to adults, including their parents, as “ma’am” and “sir.” It’s a sign of respect, and it’s warranted.

Does the name of God fall too easily from our lips? Do we picture Him as high and exalted, almighty and seated on a throne of righteousness when we pray? Or, is He the one we yell at/to in moments of distress? Remember how Jesus (you know, our friend) was trying to help us out on the subject of prayer and He said to start by saying, “Our Father in heaven, holy is Your name.”

The holiness of God is huge in the Old Testament. There was a clear understanding that to look on the face of God meant death because He is holy and we are not. When God passed by Moses, Moses had to turn his back so he didn’t turn into dust. And when he came down from the mountain his face was so bright from his encounter with God that he had to wear a veil so the Israelites could look at him. Second-hand God glimpsing was far more lethal than second-hand smoke. Maybe a bad metaphor, but God was into the whole smoking-mountain deal. I digress…

Thing is, while many things changed in the New Testament, the holiness of God never has. So, how do we embrace the relationship available to us through Jesus without disregarding the holiness of God?

What do you think? Do you struggle more with seeing God as holy or seeing God as a friend?

Summer Reading Challenge, week 2

Here are the week 2 readings for our summer challenge. Check back through the week for some thoughts and be sure to share your own in the comments!

Happy reading!

Sunday – Exodus 1:1-3:22
Monday – Exodus 16:1-20:21
Tuesday – Joshua 1:1-3:17
Wednesday – Judges 2:6-4:24
Thursday – Judges 6:11-8:35
Friday – Judges 13:1-16:31, 21:25
Saturday – Ruth 1:1-4:22

Wide-Eye’d Wonder – Summer Reading Challenge

This morning at Ashley Ridge Church we started our summer reading challenge to coincide with our Wide-Eye’d Wonder series. You can listen to the podcast from today’s message on the Ashley Ridge Church app or on the Ashley Ridge website. The readings for this week are:

Sunday – Genesis 11-15
Monday – Genesis 16-20
Tuesday – Genesis 21-26
Wednesday – Genesis 27-30
Thursday – Genesis 31-36
Friday – Genesis 37-45
Saturday – Genesis 46-50

Please comment below and let me know if you’re accepting the challenge and check back here through the week to see some of my thoughts on the readings and thoughts leading up to next week’s message.

This summer will be, quite literally, EPIC!