TWO WEEK STUDY: THE IMPACT OF FRIENDS (FINAL ON MENTORING AND MOTHERING)

This is our last study on impacting the heart in mentoring and mothering — I know there is so much more that could be said, but we will end with a list of resources (with comments from our own Elizabeth) to help you through the summer, particularly as a mother and a mentor of children. Because this is a holiday weekend, and the video is long, I’m giving you two weeks to complete it. Then, in June, we begin our summer study! I want to close with a story about friendship and how that can impact the heart. Studies reveal we become like the five people to whom we are closest — and that is true from childhood on. I watched both our sons go through a time of rebellion in their teens, influenced, in part, by a poor choice […]

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MELTING THEIR HEARTS (MENTORING AND MOTHERING)

A profound truth I have learned from Tim Keller in teaching others, is that we must reach their hearts. Often preachers, teachers, mothers, and mentors will go through a passage with excellence, and then tell how to apply it. But Keller says, “The problem is — they may never apply it. Instead, Keller says “their hearts need to melt for Jesus as you are speaking so the transformation begins.” Just as that is true for adults, it is true for children and for those we mentor. The question is — how can we, through the power of His Spirit, melt hearts? One of the first and vital keys can be seen in a passage we looked at last week. I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. Job 42:5 Do you […]

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He Loves You Better Than A Mother (Happy Mother’s Day!)

 WHAT A GIFT GOD GAVE US IN OUR MOTHERS. My youngest, Annie, e-mailed me last week: I want my mom! Fever and chills! How I remember those days as a young mom when I was sick, Steve was working, and the boys were running wild. I wanted my mother too! My mother was the best when I was sick. Cool washcloths on my forehead, 7-Up and pretzels; stories, songs, and looks of loving concern. For many of us our mothers are no longer on earth. For others, mothers are not the comforting presence our hearts yearn for. But though a mother may not be present, though a mother may be broken, though a mother may forget, Isaiah says God will never forget you. This week is for all of us, with one of the most comforting promises in Isaiah, and […]

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FRUIT-STAPLING OR ABIDING (Mothering and Mentoring)

Paul Tripp calls it “apple-stapling.” Apple-stapling occurs when you obey the rules so that you will look good, but the fruit is fake. Elyse Fitzpatrick says that, to her great regret, that without realizing it, apple-stapling is how she mothered. Her daughter won “Miss Christian Character” in elementary school — but she didn’t know the Lord. Christianity, unlike the world religions, is organic. We belong to a living God who tells us if we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit. I too can staple. I can go through the motions in my quiet time so I feel good about myself, yet I am not abiding. I can be in church and yet not be worshipping and receiving. I can act loving on the outside yet be seething on the inside. How do we mother and mentor and personally […]

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IMPACTING THE HEART (MOTHERING AND MENTORING)

How do we impact the hearts of those we love? I loved the scene in The Theory of Everything which is based on the true story of Stephen Hawking. Jane Wilde, who believed in God, fell in love with Stephen Hawking, who did not. When she asked him why he didn’t believe, he said cosmologists (scientists studying the origin of the universe) usually didn’t believe in God. She said, “I think that’s a commentary on cosmologists, not on God.” One night the two of them went outside and looked up in awe at a magnificent night sky. Reverently she looked up and said: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of […]

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THAT THE NEXT GENERATION MAY KNOW (Series on Mothering & Mentoring)

We’re beginning a short series for mentors, mothers, aunts, and  grandmothers. We are all called to impact the next generation.   My friend Twila secretly made this Shutterfly book for her daughter,  last Christmas, to tell the story of her grandson, Henry. We are all called to remember ways God has worked in our lives, and in the lives of our forefathers, passing them on, “so that the next generation would know, even the children yet unborn.” (Psalm 78:6) THE STORY OF HENRY Mommy went to the doctor. The doctor said, “The little nest is breaking apart. There is no baby. We need to clean out the nest.” So Mommy went to a different doctor. She asked, “Now are you ready to let us clean out your nest?” Though the first doctor made a mistake (and sent his faulty records […]

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GREAT FAILURES CAN BE GREAT LEADERS IN GOD’S KINGDOM

How often God takes someone who has failed greatly, even repeatedly, and turns him or her around into an amazing leader. The prison ministry of Discipleship Unlimited has many ex-offenders, even those who have been repeat offenders, in leadership positions now where they are AMAZING. What turns a great failure into a great leader? I have been pondering this, and as I pondered and prayed, this is what happened. I received an e-mail from a new believer from our Alpha group. He wanted to know: “How many times will Jesus forgive me for the same sin? Doesn’t my repetition show that my repentance isn’t genuine?” Such a good question, and not an easy one to answer. I talked to my friend Twila in the locker-room of the Y. Twila has memorized the book of Hebrews this year and this verse […]

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HE IS RISEN, JUST AS HE SAID (EASTER, 2015)

WE KNOW IMPORTANT THINGS ARE SAID WHEN TIME IS RUNNING OUT. SO WHY IS THE LAST STORY JOHN TELLS CONCERNING RESURRECTION DAY THE STORY OF THOMAS? COULD IT BE THAT WE HAVE MISUNDERSTOOD THOMAS, CHARACTERIZING HIM AS “DOUBTING THOMAS?” COULD IT BE THAT THE STORY OF THOMAS TEACHES US THE MOST IMPORTANT THING? COULD IT BE, THAT THE STORY OF THOMAS SHOWS US THE SECRET WE DESPERATELY NEED? THOMAS, AFTER BEHOLDING JESUS. “MY LORD AND MY GOD.” This is the high and holy day for Christians, the day that makes Christianity different from world religions. OUR GOD LIVES! Many churches have disemboweled (the word Tim Keller uses in this week’s sermon) Christianity, denying the meaning of the crucifixion and denying the literal resurrection. They say the meaning of Christianity is to “love one another.” But as Keller says, hearing that […]

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HOLY GROUND: HE BECAME NAKED THAT WE MIGHT BE CLOTHED (HOLY WEEK, 2015)

IN COMMENTING ON OUR IDOLS OF THE HEART, JAMES NORIEGA SAID: WE WORSHIPED OUR WAY INTO THIS MESS AND BY GOD’S GRACE WE WILL WORSHIP OUR WAY OUT! EACH DAY OF THIS HOLIEST OF WEEKS WE WILL BE WORSHIPING: FOCUSING ON THE SAVIOR AND THE MYSTERIES THAT HAVE THE POWER TO TRANSFORM OUR HEARTS OF STONE INTO HEARTS OF FLESH. THERE IS ALWAYS THE DANGER, WHEN LOOKING AT FAMILIAR PASSAGES, TO ASSUME WE KNOW WHAT IS THERE WITHOUT REALLY LOOKING. SO ASK HIM TO OPEN THE EYES OF YOUR HEART THAT YOU MIGHT SEE THE DEPTH OF HIS LOVE FOR YOU.   SUNDAY: 1. Share any comments on the above. 2. What plan do you have to make this week as meaningful as possible? Jesus was on the cross on Good Friday from 9 to 3 — what might you […]

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THE MYSTERIUM TREMENDUM (GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION: LENT 2015)

WE ARE DRAWING NEAR TO THE HOLIEST WEEK AND IT GETS HARDER AND HARDER TO WATCH. YET, BEHOLDING JESUS IN HIS FINAL DAYS, TRANSFORMS US LIKE NOTHING ELSE. SO STAY! John Piper summarized it like this: “Beholding is becoming.” So let us behold Him. Some like to call themselves “spiritual,” imagining chicken soup for the soul: warm, comforting, and soothing. But the early church fathers had a different word: The mysterium tremendum. THE EARTH SHAKES. YOU LOSE YOUR FOOTING. YOU REALIZE HOW HOLY HE IS, AND HOW UNHOLY YOU ARE. WHEN ISAIAH BEHELD THE LORD HE SAID: WHEN JESUS PERFORMED A MIRACLE FOR THE FISHERMEN, PETER EXPERIENCED THE MYSTERIUM TREMENDUM: AND WHEN THE ARMY OF SOLDIERS CAME WITH THEIR TORCHES AND WEAPONS, SEEKING JESUS, HE SAID: THEY DREW BACK AND FELL TO THE GROUND “WHAT?” YES. THE MYSTERIUM TREMENDUM. HAVE […]

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SECRETS OF FRUIT-BEARING BELIEVERS (GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION: LENT 2015)

JESUS PROMISED: Whoever abides in me and I in him, it is he who bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5) Yet some just can’t seem to find time to be in the Word, and others, though they are in the Word, are complaining, grumpy, and difficult! Others are in three Bible studies a week, but have no time to be in the world with the lost the lonely the poor the prisoner or the least of these. Their grapes are not sweet, but sour! If this describes us, and if we are honest, it describes us all in part, let us discover the secrets of fruit-bearing in the vineyard. At a recent retreat in Omaha, I had some sharpening conversations with the women at my table that shed light on secrets of bearing […]

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TAKE UP THE BASIN AND TOWEL (GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION: LENT 2015)

Hilda was an aerobics instructor at the Y, known for how strict she was. We were all a little afraid of her! But Lori, a believer, has reached out to her, and now Hilda is coming to our study. A few weeks ago Hilda said, “Buddha and Allah and Jesus are all the same god.” I was so proud of the women in our group for they simply listened to her with hearing ears. (I don’t think it was because they were afraid of her, but because they wanted to see her again next week, knowing that if she keeps coming, it is likely she will discover the truth herself!) She was back the next week and the discussion turned to the main problem we have: selfishness. We talked about how all the world religions agree that selfishness is the […]

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THE WEIGHT OF GLORY (LENT 2015: GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION PART II)

WE TEND TO THINK OF SIN AS A MORAL ISSUE, WHEN INDEED, IT IS A GLORY ISSUE. WHEN WE CHOOSE WHAT WE WANT IN THE MOMENT, WITHOUT CONSIDERING GOD’S GLORY, WE ARE WEIGHING OUR GLORY AS HEAVIER THAN GOD’S GLORY. THIS IS WHAT ESAU DID WHEN HE CHOSE TO SELL HIS BIRTHRIGHT (HIS BLESSING FROM GOD) FOR A MESS OF POTTAGE. LATER, THE AUTHOR OF HEBREWS TELLS US: For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. (Hebrews 12:17) This understanding of “the weight of glory” could be paradigm changing in your struggle with sin. For example, when I am tempted to shade the truth, overeat, or gossip I could look at it as “breaking a rule,” and decide that in […]

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LENT 2015: HE LOVES, HE WEEPS, HE OVERCOMES (GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION PART II.)

When sorrow comes pouring into your life, and it will, you may not know the reason why, but you can be sure the reason is not that God doesn’t love you. Only Christianity has a God who entered into our suffering, who went all the way to the cross for us, and who weeps when we weep. Beginning in John 11, a chapter filled with such sorrow and joy, Jesus makes a deliberate turn toward the cross, knowing that raising Lazarus from the dead will surely lead to His own death. This is such a familiar passage, but I saw new things this time, truths I need to speak to my soul, and I believe you will be so strengthened too. A key difference between religion and the gospel is shown in how we approach suffering. Religion The Gospel When […]

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LENT 2015: EXPERIENCING THE RISENNESS OF CHRIST (GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION PART II.)

LENT 2015 JOIN US IN OUR ONGOING JOURNEY OF GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION! WE’VE SEEN SUCH GROWTH IN PAST LENTEN SEASONS THAT WE CANNOT HELP BUT COME WITH ANTICIPATION AT WHAT GOD WILL DO. FIRST, A COMMENT ABOUT “LENT.” Beginning this Wednesday, and not counting Sundays, there are 40 days until Resurrection Sunday, paralleling the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness before His journey to the cross began. Traditionally Christians, as they journey toward the cross, have “given something up” during Lent, but we must be careful here. In Abba’s Child Brennan Manning points out that we have a legalistic tendency to make secondary concerns primary. For example, the Pharisees focused on “not working” on the Sabbath, but that was secondary. The primary reason for the Sabbath was to press into God, and not working was a secondary reason to aid the primary […]

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