While spending time with 3 of my most dedicated readers today (my grandmother, mother, and Aunt Jen), I heard some complaints that I haven’t been posting lately. I thought that I would give a brief update of my summer while I have a moment.

I have been working at Lulu’s a at least 4 days a week. It has been really fun to be able to decorate and arrange furniture. I have always considered interior design a hobby, but this job has given me more opportunity to practice.

During my free time, Ryan and I have started running… after about a month of consistency, I can now say I am enjoying it. We have also been cooking a lot and trying everything in our power to be entertained in Bowling Green. If you have never lived here, its harder than you might expect. The downtime has been really nice though and allowed so much time to think and discuss. I love endless hours of good conversation more than almost any other form of entertainment. Ryan is really patient with me and has been so kind to talk about every little random thing I can think of to ask. One of these conversations was about what we both want to do before we die… a bucket list-ish kind of talk. This topic and several others have given me so much joy in what the Lord has planned for me this summer. I have gotten to know Ryan so much better, but also grown in my love for Christ because of the things Ryan has taught me in the way he lives. God is so kind to bless me with good friends who are always spurring me on to love the Lord more.

Chet and Carley have also been amazing friends to me this summer. They are always speaking truth about the character of our God and the way I ought to live in return. Carley is so aware of the Lord’s glory and is always so encouraging. She desires that her friends love God and give Him all the praise He deserves. I love this about her. And Chet is so in tune to the Spirit this summer. She has reminded me of the importance of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. I am so grateful for these Godly women in my life… even though we are connected by our cellular devices.

In the rest of my spare time, Alyssa and I lay in our kiddy pool and talk about the things that have happened in the past 3 years. It is so funny to trace the steps that we have taken to get to this year. Sometimes I cannot even remember why I love Bowling Green, but I know it is because the Lord called me here and has desired for me to get to know Him while I am living in this town. I am so glad that He is in control of my life and that I am not. I have been changed because I have lived in Kentucky and have been surrounded by this community that deeply loves God.

So those are my thoughts right now. I hope that makes up for my lack of updates lately. I will try harder.

Here is a picture of me and the brothers in Memphis last week:

I am so glad I got to spend a couple days at home. They were MUCH needed. I got to catch up with my family and some friends. It really felt like therapy to be back at home. And Ryan and I are going back this Friday to celebrate the 4th of July with my family. I love visiting! I will try to do a better job of documenting that. Have a great week!

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Spoken Graphic

June 17, 2010

This is for a youth event in BG. My pastor asked me for a design.. the first version was TERRIBLE. My creativity has been non-existant today. I had to call in the expert.  Thanks Dad!

A young evangelical preacher known for his no-frills sermons didn’t go soft when it came to rebuking pastors who are preaching something other than the Gospel and those who are pretending to be godly.

“I, unfortunately, with a great deal of sorrow have walked away from the idea that all of you are men and women of the Word,” Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, told a group of Southern Baptist pastors Monday. “I’ve just come to find that a lot of you are really good at clichés and really bad at tying in the Word.”

Chandler, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy for brain cancer, was in Orlando, Fla., as one of several well-known speakers during the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference.

A pastors event is held every year just ahead of the denomination’s annual meeting to encourage and refresh those who lead congregations in the largest Protestant denomination in the country.

Though Southern Baptists overall are recognized for being conservative evangelicals, Chandler took the group back to the core of their faith – the Gospel. After all, someone can grow up in the church, go to Vacation Bible School every summer and participate in all the programs and still not understand the Gospel, he indicated.

Chandler has found some pastors to be preaching the Gospel as a means of justification but failing to teach the Gospel as a means of sanctification. That results in churches primarily focused on evangelism and having “no care in the world for the depths of spirituality and understanding the nature and character of God.”

Though active in bringing people to Christ, churches are not deepening and strengthening believers.

Consequently, many people end up leaving the church or becoming “dechurched,” he lamented.

Also, by leaving out the sanctification part, many pastors start to preach “Christian therapeutic moralistic deism,” a term he borrowed from author Christian Smith. In other words, they preach, “This is how a Christian behaves, this is how you don’t behave,” though they might not use that exact language.

But that’s basically setting believers up to fall short when trying to obey all the laws, the young pastor noted. In fact, Scripture spells out that no one can follow all the laws.

“If you’ve preached a lot of moralistic deism and haven’t trained your people in what the Gospel is, then you will find them doing a slew of different things to try to mortify their sin and grow in godliness, most of which do not work and have no power,” Chandler stated.

“When you say … ‘this is how you modify your behavior,’ you’ve doomed your people to a cycle of silliness that will last for the rest of their lives. [It will] end in them never really loving God fully and trying to mortify their flesh by weapons of their flesh and in the end only flesh wins.”

In his brief but piercing talk, Chandler went on to address the pastors’ own behaviors.

For those who do not understand the Gospel, they end up in a cycle of secret sin, trying to clean themselves up until they’re “externally passing the test” – whether it’s by reading popular devotionals or drinking from coffee cups that have trite verses printed on them (verses that are taken out of context, Chandler noted).

Addressing the Southern Baptist crowd bluntly about indwelling sins, Chandler stated, “Some of you think you have your sin controlled. I’m not stupid. Some of you are addicted to pornography. Some of you are flirting with women in your church, men in your church.

“I’m not naive. I’ve been around for 15-16 years now. Some of you are not the godly men and women you’re pretending to be right now. Your hearts are dark.”

“If God loves you, He’s going to expose you … and ruin your world for the sake of your heart,” he stated frankly. “Or maybe in God’s passive wrath, He’ll let you continue to be an idiot and you’ll join that terrified group of men and women in Mathew chapter seven who say ‘didn’t we do this?’ and have Jesus respond with ‘what does that have to do with me?'”

Chandler challenged the group to remember and understand the Gospel message.

“We’re prone to … forget the fact that my right standing in front of God has nothing to do with me. NOTHING!” he exclaimed.

“I have done nothing morally,” he continued. “My only hope, my only plea, my only confidence is in the blood of Jesus Christ.”

When Christians understand this, they will go to God, rather than from Him, and allow His mercy to lead them into further repentance, he said.

“[This] is a mark of Christian maturity,” he noted.

“I stand before you … as a perfect, spotless son of God by no act of my own but by an act on the cross,” the Village pastor added. “This is how we combat sin and grow in maturity – [through] an understanding of what the Gospel is.”

The Pastors’ Conference was held June 13-14 and attended by thousands of pastors. It precedes the SBC annual meeting, which begins Wednesday at the Orange County Convention Center.

Today I started the website for Lulu’s. I haven’t shown the owner yet, so any and all feedback is helpful.