Tag: Bible

Why ‘To Well With You’ is going a different direction

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“Then I saw forms of people moving single file along the grass. They were making for the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding on to her dress. She was on the very verge. Then I saw that she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step … it trod air. She was over, and the children over with her. Oh, the cry as they went over!

“Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone blind; all made straight for the precipice edge. There were shrieks, as they suddenly knew themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly, and fell without a sound.”

It’s been many years since I first heard this story of Amy Carmichael’s dream, but it has stayed with me. (I urge you to pause right now to read the entire story by clicking here. Then come back and see the rest of my story.)

I identify with Amy Carmichael’s grief in so many ways. In this dream that haunted her, she watched streams of people walk off a precipice to their deaths. Young, old, weak, strong, mothers and their children — everyone. The common denominator: All were blind.

Another group of people ignored the cries, saying — as they went about their idle, meaningless lives — that they hadn’t received a definite call to help.

But Amy could not. She couldn’t ignore the cries of those who were perishing.

I cannot.

Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.’ ” — Matthew 9:35-38.

To say we haven’t received “a definite call to go” (to quote a person in the Amy Carmichael story) is to take a dangerously narrow view of Jesus’ instructions to us. God may have a unique and specific purpose for each of us as individuals, but that includes — for ALL of us — the command to go into the world and make disciples.

To share the good news of the gospel.

It doesn’t necessarily mean we have to uproot our lives and move to India, as the Irish girl Amy Carmichael did.

Your mission field may be your office. It may be your neighborhood. Maybe it’s your child’s school or her sports team. It may be your blog or your Facebook page. (Dare I say it may be every one of those things?)

For more than a decade I’ve tried to write stories on my blogs that connect me to the world and, in my own little way, “preach the gospel.”

In 2014, I became a certified wellness coach, and I tried to get across the idea that wellness is a holistic pursuit and can mean so many things. My goal was to spur my readers to find their purpose and live it out, and in my mind finding your purpose means realizing who you are in Jesus, gaining strength and boldness from that knowledge and making Him known throughout the world.

I wrote around it in so many ways, so as to attract and inspire those who may not already know Jesus. I wanted my world here to feel safe for those who didn’t necessarily believe the way I believe.

Well, things evolve and grow and change, and I’m tired of beating around the bush.

It’s exhausting, y’all.

Starting today, To Well With You is a blog about Jesus — unabashedly and unapologetically. 🙂 

I’m starting in earnest and with intention to study Christian apologetics, a field I’ve dabbled in for three decades — since I read C.S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity in my mid-20s. Since then I’ve read a few books, interacted with some apologists on Twitter and started listening to podcasts on the topic. (Want a really great one to start off with? Listen to The Alisa Childers Podcast — she is the type of respectful, thoughtful apologist I would like to be. Find her great blog here.)

It would be awesome to enroll in a college program, but for now my study of apologetics will continue informally, although I’m cranking it up a notch or two.

You’ll definitely notice it here at To Well With You.

This means I may lose readers and subscribers, and I’m OK with that. If this is not your jam, I’m sorry for you but I understand.

Being married to an atheist has helped me view the world a little differently and have compassion for others with different views, but it’s also given me a sense of urgency to learn how to intelligently and compellingly articulate what I believe and why.

I can no longer keep silent.

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” — Luke 19:40.

As for you, you decide what you need and want here. I love every single one of you, and I hope you’ll stay — at least until you’ve read a few posts and figured out that I’m not here to cram anything down your throat. I’m here to share what I’ve learned and provide resources if you want to know more about the Christian faith.

If you’re a believer, I encourage you to use this as a tool to build your own confidence in sharing your faith. (I need those same tools, and I’d love your prayers.)

If you are not a believer, I ask that you stick around, at least for a while. You’re even welcome to challenge what you see here, as long as you do it respectfully and politely with the mutual goal of dialogue that informs and advances the conversation.

I’ll show you the same courtesy. My aim is respectful dialogue and teaching (learning together) as I try to show you why I believe.

I don’t want your blood to be on my hands.

To Well With You.

11/18/18 — Please be patient as I update sidebars, my resource page (which now features running stores), my About page, categories and other features of To Well With You. It will take time, but I didn’t want to delay this post any longer.

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The gift of shalom

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I’ve been restless lately.

Staying up too late. Working on blog-writing, platform-building, branding, marketing, content-producing, time-stealing stuff.

It’s all good – I love every bit of it – but it can be all-consuming, too.

It’s not so good when you realize you’ve been trying to squeeze Jesus into the cracks – those tiny slivers of space where maybe a bit of light can shine in between the piles of busyness, if you pause just a moment to notice. When maybe He’s been whispering your name but you’ve had too much mental noise to hear His call.

He tends not to shout unless He has to.

And then you start hearing the same word or message from multiple sources. I don’t believe in coincidence, so I see this phenomenon as my Maker kicking the volume up a notch, to maybe the equivalent of a stage whisper. Beats a kick in the pants.

So in a quiet moment I finally notice.

I have daily readings on my Bible App and also receive occasional emails from Christian publishers with new resources, studies, devotionals, announcements … marketing. There are times when the emails seem like mere noise, too – just more information overload in an already crowded brain.

But then one newsletter presents itself with a headline like this:

God’s Gift of Peace for Your Mind and Heart

And the word PEACE seems to SHOUT! (Ironic, no?)

I opened this one to skim and ended up reading all of it.

It began:

“Peace, shalom (shah-loam). Shalom comes from the root verb shalam, meaning ‘to be complete, perfect, and full.’ Thus shalom is much more than the absence of war and conflict; it is the wholeness that the entire human race seeks.”

That just resonated with me.

After all, this is what To Well With You is really about: my desire to help all people see their worth as His created ones and to fully realize their God-given potential. As whole, complete beings.

So when I received an email from Jen Hatmaker (I always open hers right away), I clicked a link to a post (not hers, but one she liked) with this headline:

I used to think God wanted a lot from me

“I should really volunteer at church more, lead a Bible study, organize something for the homeless. I’m the worst at this Jesus stuff. I should really be doing more for God! It’s so demanding, it takes EVERYTHING!” said the author, Sara Bessey.

But “maybe God doesn’t so much want things from us,” she said. “Maybe God actually wants things for us.”

Her conclusion was that we should …

“Run towards grace, towards shalom.” (Shalom, again.)

I love the way one of the commenters referred to Sarah’s post:

“It’s like setting aside my fifth espresso for a nice clean glass of water.”

Cool, refreshing water.

John4QuoteUnfathomable peace that satisfies like a cool, refreshing drink. This is what I wish for you today.

Shalom, y’all.

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