sweaty palms {an only God story}

wide open space. it felt good to see the kids take off in sprints. the park was absent of sidewalks and intersections and traffic. the soft ground was a comfort to our souls that were accustomed to concrete.

we’d only lived in san francisco for 10 months and our church plant was only weeks old. the city was still fresh and new and our family was experiencing many firsts.

wide open space clears the air as if more of it were present. we spotted another family who looked like they were at the park for the very same reason. little league baseball practice. it was the first so we were all a bit nervous to make new friendships and see what the season would hold. they’d spotted us as well and we all made our way across the meadow to say hello.

naturally, we paired off with the other family. ben talked to the man, our boys gravitated towards the kids, and i stretched out my hand to meet the woman. being the new folks and trying to start a church, we’d gotten used to making introductions of who we were and where we lived and where we had moved from. personally, i just hadn’t gotten used to articulating what we were doing in san francisco.

the easy part was over.

“hi, i’m shauna.”

“i’m stefanie.”

“that’s ben, and our boys, elijah, sam, and asher.” i pointed them out.

“my husband, scott, and our two, sydney, and nick.” she dd the same.

“so nick and elijah are on the cincinnati reds together!” we were happy to have common ground.

“i guess so.” she smiled. she was too.

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only God stories

“let love and faithfulness never leave you,

bind them around your neck,

write them on the tablet of your heart.

then you will win favor and a good name

in the sight of God and man.”

Proverbs 3:3-4

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;

therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

Jeremiah 31.3

i’m convinced that when we encounter Jesus and are awakened to the reality of His supernatural love for us, we choose to live in such a way that makes much of Him.

meshed with our God-given gifts and personalities, we express Him to the world.

i see life as a story. i see moments as pieces of the bigger story. the story that God set in motion when He created us in His image. the story that isn’t over yet and doesn’t end on earth and can’t always be understood by human minds. moments that He unleashes on earth that have been stirring the heavenlies.

moments where our intercessory prayers can alter stories and where our intersections with others can alter eternity. 

i’ve been telling only God stories for some time now and have kept many close to my heart and in back and forth dialogue with my Father. but i’m also convinced more than ever that telling only God stories can awaken in each of us the unique purpose God has bestowed upon us to do our part in loving one another and being faithful to follow Jesus.

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Who is Welcomed Here?

a door is symbolic of entry. 

shut.

closed.

open.

is a knock required?

and when the door is opened up, what happens?

an open door is symbolic of a welcome.

come on in.

for months now, I’ve encouraged us to open our doors and welcome Jesus into our homes, cities, churches, marriages, family, and our own hearts. the first of the month. to start the month off by declaring that Jesus Christ is welcomed to come in and rest and commune and teach and guide and help us. all symbolically. with a posture to let Him reign!

the #WelcomeJesus movement continues. but with a bolder declaration. a declaration that, yes, Jesus, You are welcomed here and let me be the one that You use to welcome others. 

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How will America gather for Thanksgiving this year?

How will America gather for Thanksgiving this year?

How did America first gather? In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims gathered with the Massasoit Indians to celebrate the harvest. It wasn’t anything purchased from the grocery store, but what was hunted and grown and greatly prepared after much sacrifice and hard work. It was a union of what had been taught and what has been learned. It was a friendship forged.

It was the white man who had come to America. It was the white man who was accustom to celebrating the bounty called a harvest festival. It was the local Native Americans who taught the white man how to plant and grow and reap in a new world. Together they gathered. It was the local Native Americans that made room. That welcomed. Like any relationship, I can only imagine the beauty and the mess that unfolded. To share the land. To learn from each other. To be patient. To let love win despite the differences or trials.

The differences that had to be discussed.

The commonalities that connected.

The stories that were shared.

The gratitude that was given.

The praise and petitions that were prayed.

Did those that gathered at the first Thanksgiving honor Jesus? The Giver of all good things? Their Provider? Their Healer? Their Help in time of trouble?

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How will America gather this year? 

The elephant will most definitely be in the living room of most American homes on Thursday.  Continue reading