I love my church! I think you’ll love it too!
So if you’re looking for a church to visit this Easter (April 12), check out Freedom House Church. We meet just down the road from the Verizon Amphitheater.
This is the third in Erwin McManus’ “Life’s Toughest Questions” series (from Mosaic Church). In it, McManus answers real questions from real people (received via e-mail/blog comments). The questions are about pre-marital sex and homosexuality, among others. McManus answers from a biblical perspective. Here’s “What About Sex.”
Does hell exist? If so, why would a loving God send people to hell? These are just a couple of the questions posed by real people (via e-mail) to Erwin McManus. Here is his carefully thought-out answer. Enjoy the second in Mosaic Church’s Life’s Toughest Questions series: Is There a Hell?
In late 2008, Erwin McManus of Mosaic Church started a series called “Life’s Toughest Questions.” In it, McManus answers real questions about God posed by atheists, skeptics and believers. I want to share what I’ve heard. Here’s the first message, “Does God Care.” Look for the others soon.
I had a great conversation with my 17-year-old daughter last night. I’d picked her up from youth group, and we were just talking and laughing about whatever came up. Eventually the conversation turned to the way we see and feel about ourselves. It was nice to have an opportunity to tell my girl how beautiful she is, both inside and out. Opportunities like that don’t come up as often as I’d like.
But then she turned the tables on me.
I was sharing with her how I was in my early 20s before I could accept what until then I’d considered a flaw in my appearance: my lips. I’d been teased from 3rd grade to 10th (“bubba-lips”), and I’d sworn I would get them surgically reduced as soon as I was old enough. But then somewhere along the way, my feelings began to change. For one thing, I started getting compliments. And I particularly remember seeing a woman on the cover of Essence Magazine with lips as full as mine–and she was a model! Eventually, a wary truce with my appearance matured into acceptance. But, I told my daughter, unlike me she didn’t have to wait until her 20s to accept and even love everything about herself.
My daughter responded by telling me she’d always thought her own lips were too thin. (Gasp! How I’d longed to have lips like hers at that age!) But then she took it a step further: She said she’d even spent years wishing her lips were just like mine.
In 10 seconds she challenged what I’d thought was already settled. I did accept my lips, but I saw them as something unique to me. In other words, something that was acceptable, then beautiful, and then even lovable to me–despite what anyone else might think–because of the simple truth that they’re mine. Perhaps I saw it like one of those ashtrays kindergartners make for their moms in art class. To anyone else it’s a lopsided mess. But mom can see beyond the mess; to her it’s a beautiful treasure.
It had never occurred to me that anyone would actually wish to have lips like mine. It feels like a strange … redemption of sorts.
I’ve never been good at being in society. I nearly always feel awkward, because–let’s face it–I’m a strange bird. I’m way too loud. I laugh like your drunk uncle. (You don’t have one? Sorry, I thought everyone did.) Oh, and people don’t get my sense of humor. I don’t know why.
Anyhow, one of the societal norms that causes me a great deal of discomfiture is the “high five” (and other awkward handshakes). I’m looking forward to a time when they’ll be passe. Please God, let them become passe. In case you’re wondering, here are the reasons I eagerly await the demise of the dreaded high-five and its siblings:
So, here’s what I’m saying. I’m just not good at it, okay? It’s nothing personal. God is at work in me, give it time.
Hello. My name is Tracie. I’m addicted to Facebook.
It started innocently enough. A fellow blogger, So Supercilious, mentioned having posted something on her Facebook account. I couldn’t see it unless I had an account, so I made one. I didn’t fancy it up, I just created a simple account with as little information as possible, and that was that. End of story, right?
Several months later a friend from church “friended” me. This was a new concept to me. I really had no idea what Facebook was about, but I was willing to learn. I went ahead and uploaded a profile picture and filled in some information about myself. Since I only had one friend, it wasn’t too exciting.
But soon more and more people friended me. And I looked at their friends and realized they had lots of friends. And I knew many of their friends. Why shouldn’t their friends be my friends? I began to covet friends.
These same people also updated their statuses. So I updated mine.
And so the addiction began.
One thing I like about Facebook is how clean it looks. I have a Myspace account (it’s an empty shell), but I think Myspace is so ugly and cluttered that I refuse to use it. Most Myspace junkies protest here, informing me (as if I didn’t know) that you can make the page look however you want. They don’t understand: That’s the biggest reason the pages are so dang ugly! Layout should not be left to novices. And the junk you can add to the pages reminds me of the flair that waitstaff add to their vests at certain restaurants. Besides, their internal search engine sucks. I’ve searched for people I know have a Myspace account and come up empty.
Facebook, on the other hand, is so easy to use and understand. More importantly, it has a clean layout. It’s not fancy, but its clean lines and color scheme make it … well, beautiful! Sniff!
But seriously, the coolest thing about Facebook is that over the past two months or so, I’ve been able to get in touch with so many people I haven’t seen in years. Decades! I grew up in the military, and I spent all of my elementary school years in Europe. Who would think I’d ever see any of those kids again? Well, I’ve been finding them on Facebook! I’m so excited to see my old friends from 5th, 6th and 7th grade that I knew across the ocean. I keep looking at their photo albums to get a glimpse into their grown-up lives. I’m amazed to see their faces, so different and so much the same! I look at their profiles to see what they’re doing. It gives me hope for my kids: I remember how goofy, empty-headed and irresponsible my old friends were (me too), and they still grew up to be doctors, writers, artists, accountants, and more! Phew! It’s absolutely amazing–and it’s feeding my addition.
Now I search for every name that ever pops into my head. I’ll be grocery shopping, or at the office, or taking a shower, and I’ll remember a name. I’ll memo it in my phone so I can search Facebook later.
Yeah. I’m an addict people.
I started to change my Song Lyric of the Day, but I couldn’t. It still applies. So I just added another lyric, for a Frankly Speaking first: Lines from two different songs in one widget! (I know, the excitement could overwhelm you if you’re not careful.)
I’m so sick of ordinary, crappy, everyday life. I’m feeling fired up today–I want to effect change in the parts of the world over which I have influence. I’ve never wanted to be one of those people who complain about the status quo, but won’t do anything to make things better. In my heart I’ve been a complainer lately, a status-quo-er. I’m sick of it.
I THRIVE on structure, and order, and organization. I WILT in chaos, and I find disarray mentally taxing, physically draining. This is the way God wired me, and I can’t ignore it or change it.
I look around me and everything’s a mess. I’ve become this wilted, drained person. It’s like poison to my soul, and I’ve been sitting around dying of poisoning. Either I have to get rid of it, or get away from it. So I have to confront the disarray in every area of my life.
I’m scared for a couple reasons.
1. I’m scared because I know how I am. It’s easy for me to get discouraged–I start down a path all by myself, and when no one comes alongside me, I begin to fade. The next thing I know I’ve quit. I’m worried about this because I believe that when I take this step, I won’t have anyone who’ll say to me, “Keep going! You can do it!” I’m not pessimistic, I’m realistic: I’m surrounded by people who seem perfectly content to stay in this mess. So I’m going to have to keep myself inspired. I have to. Stay inspired, or wither and die.
2. I’m scared because the disarray doesn’t affect just me; this means cleaning it up won’t affect just me either. As I said, I’m surrounded by people who seem perfectly content to stay in the mess. Is there anyone in history who has come into a situation where everyone was perfectly content, stirred things up, and then everyone was like, “Wow, I’m so glad you came! I see I need to change, and I’ll do it right now!” These people I speak of are people I love and care about. Their good opinion of me, their love for me, is valuable to me. I’m afraid they’ll reject me.
3. I’m scared because … is it right for me to expect others to change? Am I being a control-freak? Am I expecting people to be like me? Is this about me, or is it about them too?I tell myself this will be good for us all, and I do believe that … but what if they don’t see it that way? What if I’m selfish?
So I’m going to pray, and I’m going to do it. I think. I want to. I’m determined to.
Please God, let my motives be pure, and if they’re not, tell me what to do and how to do it. Please be with me! Please help me to see this through. Please let me be wrong that no one will come alongside me. Father, help me!
I went to Catalyst for what (I think) was my fifth year in a row. This year was the best one so far in my opinion, though. Not because of the speakers (although they were great). There was just something different in the air.
I always enjoyed the speakers and the cool stuff at Catalyst. But honestly, previous Catalysts I attended felt surface-y, plastic and fake–like I was in a room full of professional Christians. It seemed like everyone looked alike: either shiny and clean with gleeming white teeth and highlighted hair, or carefully, very carefully, unkempt. Every year I literally felt nauseated at the end of the first day. I always attributed it to exhaustion.
This year felt fresh and real from the moment I walked into the arena. I saw ordinary people of every stripe, people like me and people not like me, and that was frickin’ awesome. I even saw black people there (more than I remember seeing in the past) who looked comfortable in their blackness! There were more people in attendance than ever, but I didn’t feel stifled or crowded as I have at past conferences. I didn’t feel sick at the end of the day one either, a nice new experience for me.
And the theme was one I could rally behind: Together. The opening video made my heart pound and the blood rush to my head, because it exemplified the theme, and it resonated with that part of me that craves for the church to get off our butts and reach people!
My husband and I stayed in Atlanta the weekend for our 11th anniversary (woo-hoo), and we visited North Point Community Church. That was a cool experience. It was sort of strange to see Andy Stanley close enough to go shake his hand if I wanted to (I didn’t–I’d have felt like a groupy. He’s just a guy!) But I particularly enjoyed visiting NPCC, both as a visiting Christian, and also from the standpoint of a church staffer at a mobile church.
From a professional standpoint, I liked what I saw there, got some cool ideas, but most of all I felt proud of Freedom House Church. We’re doing a lot of what they’re doing, and we meet in a school! Wow, God!
As a Christian, I had one of those “he read my mail” experiences during the message. I responded to an altar call in a strange church. It was slightly scary but necessary. Oddly I felt like it was safe to do it. I’ll blog about that later. I really enjoyed NPCC.
All told, I enjoyed my visit to Atlanta, but I wouldn’t want to live there!