Monday, June 26, 2006

The dangers...I mean blessings of growing up in Christian Home!!!

I am still reeling a bit from my weekend movie fiasco!!! Although I have to say that going to see "Nacho Libre" yesterday was definitely an uplifting thing...while the movie was absolutely absurd and ridiculous (and therefore I laughed through most of the movie....I think even guffawed at one point!), it was relatively clean. No cursing, no sexual inuendos--unless you count a rather unattractive man in blue tights offensive, it was just a funny movie!

But my movie disaster of Saturday night, still has me just wondering some things!! Why doesn't sin offend us? Why does the world hold such a hold on our lives? Why are we more concerned with our actions being considered "cool" then godly? Why are we more concerned that our dress matches the latest style instead of matching the modesty that God asks for in the Bible?

Ladies--I struggle with this just as much as you I'm just being open and honest with you all! How have I "grown up" Christian, and yet I'm so far from truly being what God calls us to be --

Romans 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

How many times do we say "I just wish I knew what God's will is"? Well, there's our answer right NOT conforming to this world and being transformed by the renewal of our minds, we will PROVE what God's will is. And it says that it is GOOD, ACCEPTABLE and PERFECT...what more could we want?

When things in the world stop shocking us, we are in REAL trouble! And they can't just shock us...and then we continue on! They must repel us, and cause us to go the other direction! It's not enough to just notice the pile of dog dirt in the have to make sure NOT to step in it--noticing it does NOTHING!!! Talking about it does nothing!!! Unless you actively avoid stepping in will end up with dog poop on your shoe! While its a gross analogy (and obviously one of my own, since it lacks any grace or dignity!!! I apologize for offending anyone), this sinful world and our sinful attraction to it are NO different! And those of us who have grown up in church are certainly walking around with some dog dirt on our shoes...and denying it even tho the stench makes it absolutely undeniable!!

I'm intrigued by a book by Karl Graustein called 'Growing up Christian"...another youth pastor has outlined the book as this:

The dangers of growing up Christian:
1. False assurance
2. Lack of appreciation for the saving and forgiving grace of God
3. Loving the world
4. Pride or self-righteousness
5. Mimicking our parent's convictions
6. Forgetting the familiar (taking blessings for granted)
7. Being too shallow
8. Trusting in ourselves and others instead of trusting God
9. Not taking sin seriously
10. Lack of discipline (laziness)
11. Lack of faithfulness (not using our gifts and talents)

How many of us know someone who was the "model" teenager growing up, and then somehow between college and adult-life has just fallen away from God? Or how many of us have been that person--maybe even hiding it for YEARS from people, until finally you realize that you are so far away from God that it takes a total about-turn to come back? How many of us are doing that right now? Ladies--your teen years are not your years to play and experiment. They are not even truly your "fun" years with no responsibility! They are the years that God has graciously given you, most of you, to spend in a christian home to prepare you for life without your parents. Don't waste them by falling in love with the world, complaining about your parents and their love for you (translation: rules), or even half heartedly following Christ on Wednesday and Sundays while chasing sin every other day of the week! Start living your radical life NOW!!! It won't get any easier--and you won't ever again have the loving support of christian parents and christian youth pastors and youth workers to help you navigate through this world!!! Soak it up now!!!

So I'm wondering ladies...and yes this means I have to hear from my small group....should we add this to the list of books what we would want to read for the book club this summer? Here is the description from CBD...

Do you know teens that appeared to be Christians in high school, but later walked away from their faith? Young Christians that party on Saturday night and put on their Sunday best for church the next morning? High school students that are attracted to the values and practices of the world? This book is a unique resource that addresses the many issues that challenge teens growing up in a Christian environment. Packed full of practical suggestions, this book will help teens overcome these dangers and grow in their faith and love for God. Youth ministers, teachers, and parents will find here a helpful resource to use with 15 to 18 year olds.

Start praying about this!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I had a little chunk of the "poisin pill" tonight

So I just returned from the movies with some of the youth group girls and Amber and Aileen. What a HUGE mistake..and I'm feeling very guilty about it. We went to see "Click"...DON'T GO SEE IT. It's a horrible movie--full of profanity and sexual innuendos. I will NEVER look at a stuff duck the same again. And I just sat there thinking, "how can I sit through this movie with these girls, and then try and tell them to live a life worthy of Christ...I am partly responsible for them seeing this smut". Aileen, Amber and I even discussed walking out...but we had already watched so much, we were assuming the worst was over. I think we may have been wrong.

So..what did I learn? Well first--ALWAYS check the review before you go to a movie. The previews of this movie looked very cute..and while Adam Sandler has been none to have some real raunchy movies, he also has put out some really cute ones as well.

It also just illustrated for me how callous we have become to SIN....Why do we allow such sin to enter into in our mind...NO..PAY for such sin to enter into our mind, and call it entertainment. I as a Christian have just become callous...I don't see sin for all of its ugliness and wretchedness...and I certainly do not allow myself to dwell on how much it grieves my heavenly father.

As Joshua Harris put it...

"But the greatest danger of the popular media is not a one-time exposure to a particular instance of sin (as serious as that can be). It's how long-term exposure to worldliness -- little chunks of poison pill, day after day, week after week -- can deaden our hearts to the ugliness of sin. What God calls the lust of the eyes and the sinful cravings of the heart are typically portrayed by the popular media as natural and harmless. The eventual effect of all those bits of poison pill is to deaden the conscience by trivializing the very things that God's Word calls the enemies of our souls."

To the 5 young ladies that we took to the movies tonight, I apologize. I never want to be an ambassador of sin the way I was tonight. What a wake up call...

What am I thankful for? Well--the 2 other adults that went with me--we were of the same mindset...we were all broken over the fact that we had not only allowed, but made it possible, for these 5 youth to sit through 2 hours of smut. I am SOOOOO thankful that I have Godly friends that will stand up for truth with me! Thank you Aileen and Amber.

I only wish we had walked out...but hopefully this is a lesson that I can learn from! For now...I can't wait to be in God's house tomorrow and just soak it all up!!!!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

So what are these bread crumbs?

So now that you all know my view on dating and you have hopefully read the post about “trapping a man”, I want to take some time to just be honest. What I do NOT want this to be is a legalistic list…you CAN do this, but you SHOULDN’T do this….so I’m not going to give you some comprehensive list of what bread crumbs we are good at dropping! What I’m praying is that we will each look at how we interact with the guys in our lives, whether they be in youth group, school, neighborhood or just friends in general and ask God to show us any bread crumbs we may be letting fall!

So…what do I mean by bread crumbs? It’s a story that is as old as ME….yes..that old!! We start off being just friends with a guy. We start to notice certain things that we admire about him. We then let that admiration grow into true feelings, but we tell ourselves that we are JUST still friends. Our actions betray us tho…we leave “bread crumbs” trying to attract this boy into noticing us. These “bread crumbs” are just little ways to hopefully make these boys sit up and think, “wow..she is special…I think I may want to get to know her better”. NOW REMEMBER—we SHOULD be back in the vault (if your confused read yesterday’s blog about the vault!). We don’t want to be the cheaper jewelry left out on the counter to be admired and worn by all. It is still beautiful jewelry but it is NOT the most precious of jewels. But many times we fall into the trap of thinking the counter is really the best place to be, and we stray from God’s PERFECT plan for us!

Why do we do this? There may be multiple answers—maybe we have watched other girls do this and it has been “successful”, or maybe we think that this boy will never develop feelings for us if we don’t let him know we already have feelings or even do special things to show him how wonderful we are, or maybe things are just moving too slowly and we think we need to “jump start it”. The main root problem with all of this—is that we are not truly living our lives demonstrating our faith in a sovereign God! He is totally in control of our lives and does NOT need our help! Jeremiah says, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Why would we take it out of God’s PERFECT hands?

I think many times it seems harmless. We say that we know God is in control, but it won’t hurt to just make ourselves available to this boy—sort of advertise our Godly qualities. And for many of us—it has become a habit! We don’t even realize we are doing it. Now is the time ladies…if you are looking to be a Godly woman, and live your life 100% for God and therefore wait on Him to bring a Godly man to CHASE you, then lets get real honest about what we should NOT be doing! Carolyn Mahaney used to tell her daughters that they needed to view each and every guy as SOMEONE ELSE’S husband. Doesn’t that make you think about it a little differently. Until that man is ready to come and redeem you from the vault, he is NOT your husband—he is someone else’s. That surely was an eye-opener for me!

Lest we make this totally about us, and as BH will say we know that it is “NOT ABOUT ME”, lets also stop to think a moment what you are doing to these guys in your life. Maybe they are not in the place that they need to be spiritually, and so they enter into a relationship with you, b/c you’ve made it irresistible, but in the end they were NOT the Godly man they needed to be. Now you’ve caused them to stumble, and maybe even gotten yourself into some trouble. Or maybe they are obliviously going along(yes ladies, sometimes guys just are that oblivious) and so you spend months reading into signals, creating situations to be with them, emailing them, texting them and low and behold they ask out one of your friends. Now you’re upset and have a hard time being friends with this guy, much less the strain it puts onto your friendship. Or what if they are NOT clueless, and are fully aware of your feelings, and then are trying to figure out desperately how to let you know they have no feelings for you without hurting you. The scenarios are endless ladies—the truth remains the same. If we follow God’s plan and remain in the vault until someone who is ready and able to redeem us comes, we not only guard our own hearts, but the hearts of the young men around us.

Proverbs 31:12 says, “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” It’s interesting that it says ALL of the days of her life…indicating even the days BEFORE she met him. Are you harming your future husband by being foolish and impatient now?

So will you do this with me? Will you carefully pray over each of your relationships and ask God to show you if there is anything that you should change? How will you know…go back to the truth: Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:1-4

Why I think the Vault is the place to be!!! -- June 21

Here is the next one...

I realized that I should probably give you what my view on dating/courtship is before we go any further--b/c it would help you understand where I am coming from. Of course, your view on dating/courtship needs to be formed by much prayer, going to God's word and open and honest communication WITH YOUR PARENTS. It is truly up to your Godly parents to set the definition of what these words will mean for you. For some of you, they may allow you to date at a certain age or maturity level, but with certain guidelines. For some of you, they may guide you into a courtship style of thinking, and therefore romantic relationships with someone of the opposite sex are limited to those who could potentially be your husband. Most people that are going to court are therefore NOT going to start doing this until maybe the college years (since I dont think any of you want to get married before you graduate high school). For some of you, there may be NO restrictions, and your parents are trusting you to work it out on your own. And for some of you, this topic has not been discussed.

I would first encourage you to TALK WITH YOUR PARENTS!!! If your parents are not Christian, then pray about a relationship with a couple in the church that you respect and admire their marriage, and ask them for guidance. But this is something that must be agreed on with your parents!

From here on out, is JUST my opinion--and it is not the opinion that I have lived out most of my life, so bear with me. But since I feel that I have made so many large mistakes, one's that can never be taken back, I thought I would share! If nothing else I'd love to just make you guys think about this, and go back to God's Word to see what really matches up with HIS plan!

After many years of doing it my own way, I truly do believe that the ONLY reason to have a non-friendship relationship with a boy (in other words to date or court or whatever you call it), is in preparation for marriage. If you are thinking marriage--I havent even gotten my license yet--guess what, then you shouldn't be thinking about a seriously relationship with a boy. Now, before some of my high school girls get bent out of shape--listen to why. (I read this illustration and it just hit home for me!)

Proverbs 31: 10 says "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies." God says that a godly wife..a wife of noble character is worth FAR MORE than rubies. How many of you ladies actually OWN a ruby? I don't or any precious stones for that matter. For the majority of us, we own basically costume jewelry. It has SOME value, but certainly nothing like rubies. If you were to go into a high end jewelry store and ask to see their best jewelry, where do they go? Do they motion to you that it is laying out on the counter for all to handle, touch, try on? NOOOOO! They will go in the back to a vault, where it is being kept because it is SOOO valuable. Too many of us use our single years (jr. High up through and past college) to display ourselves like cheap costume jewelry--when what we should be doing, is being kept secure in a safe, allowing God to refine us and mold us into HIS image.

Now--being attracted to boys is a NATURAL thing. It's how we handle that attraction that can lead us to sin. If you are attractedto someone, take some time to think "what attracts me about them? Are these Godly attributes are mearly popular or physical traits?" As Carolyn Mahaney writes, "Being attracted isn't a sin, but indulging in thoughts about them, going out of your way to be around them, allowing them to distract from your pursuit of God and service of others is wrong."

So I would not encourage girlfriend/boyfriend relationships in high school. And I would even caution you to guard your hearts in your friendships with boys. These years are great years to just observe, have fun, keep things simple. Over the past 2 years, I have been forced to really look at what GOD would have me do, not what is normal in the world If you choose NOT to let yourself be out on display for everyone to see, handle, and try on, you will most likely be labeled as odd by the world..or maybe even some in this youth group. Thats ok--for Ephesians 4 says, "So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more." So know right now, most won't understandand that is just fine! Keep going back to God's Word to approve your actions--not to those around you!

Girls, take this time in high school (and even some years in college) to enjoy being in God's VAULT!! It is lonely at times, but that is when you will be forced to turn to God and lean totally on Him! No man will ever be able to make you happy until you are completely 100 satisfied in the Lord and living day in and out for HIM!!! If you take this time in the vault to allow God to do amazing things with you, focusing on serving Him and knowing Him, then someday God may bring a man to the vault who will request to have you brought out--and when that man sees God's beauty in you, he will know that THIS is his RUBY. tomorrow--bread crumbs :)

Trapping a Man -- June 20th Blog

To get those who are NOT on myspace caught was Tuesday's Blog

Trapping a man
Ok girls, once again, I hope that you will allow me to try to work this out here on paper, knowing full well that I am neither a writer or a very good thinker even sometimes!! But I have been hit again with some incredible Biblical truths (I am so thankful God still HITS me with theseI need to be smacked around sometimes!) and so I felt the need to share.

And yes..its about boys--so get ready--be prepared to be mad, confused, but most importantly excited that your life is in the hands of a sovereign God, a God who is intimately involved in your life!!! So no matter how mad or confused you get, take it back to Gods word and wrestle it out with Him! And I want to emphasize once again, that I only share to make you think and to help you discuss these things with your parents. My hope and prayer is that these will help foster discussions with those of you who have Godly parents, so that together you and your parents can work through this!!!! If you do not have Godly parents, then start praying for God to bring a Godly couple into your life so that you can go to them with these issues to help guide you. We ALL need to be getting guidance for older, wiser Christians!

This is for all of you who have said to me, whether it be 6 days ago, or 6 months ago, that you really were developing feelings for a guy, and you wanted to know what to do! You want to tell him how you feel, even if it means being rejected, just so that you will know where you stand. Or you think that if you tell him, it would help him to see you, notice you, or make some kind of move towards a relationship.

Maybe for some of you, its to the next phase--feelings have already been communicated by both parties but nothing else has happened yet and your getting frustrated. You're thinking he may need some help with this whole "relationship" thing.

And since I have NO wisdom of my own..and I surely have not made good decisions in the past, I only can take you to one place--the source of all wisdom--and that is God's word!

1. God has created us as women to be responsive to mens leadership. This is clear throughout Scripture, not only in the created order and our calling to be helpers (Gen. 2:18-23), but in the commands for a wife to submit to her husband (Eph. 5:22-23) . If we seek to take matters into our own hands and do something about a situation such as this, we are depriving a man of an opportunity to fulfill his God-given calling to lead. Truly believing in the importance and significance of our femininity means living it out, even in the pressure cooker of strong desires. We must resist the temptation to allow our feelings and desires and not Gods Word dictate our direction. Dont you ultimately want a guy who is attracted enough to pursue you, without needing hints from you?

2. God is sovereign, loving, and wise. But this guy I like hasn't pursued me. How do I resolve the fear that he won't notice me unless I take some initiative? You may ask. Enter: the character of God. Human reasoning would say that this is incentive enough to buck the created order. However, we must hold fast to Gods Word and trust in His character. God is intimately involved in every detail of our lives (down to the hairs on our head). We must trust that His sovereignty is more than powerful enough, His love is more than true enough, and His wisdom more than knowledgeable enough to fulfill His perfect plan for us. This perfect plan may or may not include the desired relationship. But it will most definitely be for our good. Here is a great theme verse for all single women Psalm 84:10-12 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

3. God rewards our trust in Him. We don't say no to our feelings and yes to Gods Word without a fight. And yet, there is joy and peace and freedom to be had. Waiting and responding instead of initiating romantic relationships is not some kind of manipulative trick. It is the path to true attractiveness, the miraculous kind that only comes by the grace of God producing trust in God. For truly blessed is the woman who does not sinfully strive after a relationship, but quietly rests in the goodness of God!


Ladies, I know this seems counter intuitive to what you want to do. I'm sure you will have friends who will tell you that this guidance is wrong. I know I do! I had a well meaning friend just last night once again encourage me to find a church with a large singles group in it, just so that I could meet someone. Is that really the purpose of the church? Is God really dependent on me scouting out a man to fulfill HIS will in me?

Don't get caught in the trap of leaving a trail of bread crumbs, so that some poor boy is walking along grabbing the crumbs and stuffing his face, and next things he knows he's your man--all you've managed to do is lure and trap a guy. You need to be spending time in God's Word, spending time serving others, spending time building your relationships with your GIRL friends, spending time with your FAMILY--if you engross yourself in these things, youll be deep in the FOREST of God's will for you and any man that sees you in that forest and wants to pursue you, should have to CUT HIS WAY THROUGH. HIS Effort not yours. Thats the Godly man that you want!

So what bread crumbs do we girls tend to drop? more on that tomorrow!

A Ruby in God's Vault????

Why has this eblog been created? Well for 2 reasons -- first, I thought it would be helpful to my high school girl's small group to write out some thoughts and struggles that I was going through to demonstrate how God was working in my life. Sort of living by example if you will. Sometimes it's a reaction to something I've read that day and sometimes it's just something that God is using that day to refine me.

Second -- I was writing these blogs on my "myspace" account. Now, let me be clear -- I ABHOR myspace. I think that in a perfect sinless environment it may be a nice feature, but in our flawed, sinful world it has been used to promote some of the most filthy things I've ever seen. So, why am I on it? B/c my girls are on it...and I want to watch out for them. Many of my girls have chosen to use their myspace accounts to glorify the Lord...and for that I am so thankful. But some are still using them to glorify themselves, which is our natural tendency! And no matter who they are glorifying, these girls are clicks away from filth, sin, and sinful people who want to hurt them. So I have stayed on myspace, and thought the blog would be a positive aspect of it. But then I found out that only myspace members can read your blogs, and the LAST thing I want to do is to encourage someone to join myspace. So it was necessary to move the blog to a more neutral site. Hence why I have created this blog.

Why is it entitled "A Ruby in God's Vault"? This is my latest visual picture of single women...and it comes from Proverbs 31:10 -- " A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies." If you were to go into Tiffany's and ask to see their most precious piece of jewerly. Would they motion you to the counter, and show you a piece that has been laid out for everyone to touch, try on, etc? NO--they would first most likely ascertain whether or not you had the means to even purchase such a piece. Then once it was deemed that you were actually a viable customer, they would go into the back and bring out a priceless piece from the vault--a Ruby that would sparkle and you couldn't take your eyes off of it. That is how we single women should be living our lives. Being content and happy in God's vault--knowing full well that there are pieces that are out in the showroom that are getting the attention we so desire, being ooed and ahhed and tried on, and maybe even being taken home with someone. But that is ok...b/c when God finally has prepared our future husband, and he's ready to ask for us, the time spent in the vault being polished, and worked on and being protected by God will be so worth it! And if no such "buyer" ever comes to retrieve us from the vault, are we still not an incredibly valuable jewel? We have lost NO value, but just serve a different purpose in our lives spent glorifying the Lord!!!

I love this illustration. For someone who "escaped" the vault for years, I am so happy to have come back home! I am praying that God can work a miracle in me, cleaning me up to be a beautiful Ruby...b/c my time spent out on the "counter", pursuing my own selfish desires, certainly did a number on my beauty. I am praying that I am totally satisfied with remaining in the vault until the Lord has polished and refined me into the Proverbs 31 woman and finds a husband that is prepared to handle such a "gem" (and I say that loosely as sometimes I can be quite a handful!). Of course if it would please God for me to remain in the vault for this lifetime, then I must rest in the fact that I am still a valuable jewel to the Lord, and be excited to see how He will use me in his singleness to glorify Him. That will be something that will take a lot of prayer I know!

So--that is the reason for the title. My prayer is that this Blog will cause my girls to may even make them mad sometimes...and that is ok!!!! My goal is to glorify the Lord through whatever is written in this Blog and use only ONE authority--and that is scripture. So as I write some thoughts, observations and maybe even some suggestions, realize that these are my views based on God's word--you can always question my views, and in fact I welcome it! But God's word is unquestionable, and I pray that my views will continue to be in line with His Word!!

One last thought--I am NOT a bear with me. This will not be will certainly not have any of the style of so many blogs that I read...but it will be real :)