Whatever happened to the “H” in deity?

So, my Bible Study is in the hands of an editor. (Yay!) A real, live person who is finding all my mistakes and showing me girl, you might have been writing for that past 7 years, but you don’t know how to write.

Ahem.

Yeah ok, I usually have editors for that kind of thing. I had to laugh when I was researching editors (I finally picked one I knew, and who I knew had experience with Christian writing so she would speak the lingo). Anyway there was a suggestion someplace that you check out the potential editors for your manuscript at preditors & editors, that you check their references, that you make sure the person you talk to is really the one who will do the work and has a resume you can see. This is all very good advice. The final suggestion was this:

Take an English class.

Well. If I haven’t learned it by now (I created my first “book” in the 3rd grade, complete with a hard cover held together by yarn) I am probably not going to learn a whole lot in yet another English class. Not to mention that I’ve been repeating my mistakes for lo these many years. Also not to mention that there’s no way that in the next month I’m going to stop making them, English class or no. I’ll just shell out the bucks for an editor.

So back to the title of this post. My editor asked whether I wanted deity pronouns (that’s like “Him” or “His” when referring to God or Jesus) to be capitalized. I was taken aback. I thought that’s what we did! I thought everybody knew to cap the deities. Not the false ones, but the 2 real ones.

Turns out, that’s not even right. The writer’s guidelines say not to capitalize. Furthermore, she said only TWO VERSIONS of the Bible use caps for those pronouns these days. Are you as shocked as I am? Did you know this?

Color me stupid. I thought you always capitalized them, out of reverence. That’s what I’ve decided to do, and I’ll put some sort of disclaimer [disclaimer! What a word to have to use] in the front explaining why MY God still has a capital H in His name.

Do you have any time stealers?

Yep, time-stealers. Those little things that worm their way in and then suck up your time…or the things you begin to think about instead of what you’re supposed to be doing….or the things you begin to obsess about.

The thing is, they can easily turn into idols. But nobody wants to call them that. Idols seem too large, too much, too heavy…..time-stealers are just little annoyances, like no-seeums [tiny gnat-like things that bug you to death, pardon the pun].

Some people call them false gods, or functional gods because they are functioning as your god. Whatever you want to call it — let’s get it outta the way so you can go forward worshiping Jesus! Agreed?

This is a short lesson from my upcoming Bible Study, Come Back to Jesus — and Don’t Bring your Blackberry. It’s only a little premature; the book should be out in Feb. 2013 and will be available wherever books are sold. There is also an ebook version.

What you’ll need: a Bible, or you can use http://www.biblegateway.com to look up passages

To get the survey mentioned in the video, visit this link and click print page.

We’ll cover these verses

Ephesians 55
Ecclesiastes 9:7-10
Colossians 3:5-11
Psalm 1:1,2

Book Review: The Blessed Church, Robert Morris

Robert Morris is the founding senior pastor at Gateway Church in Texas, which in twelve years has grown from a living room to a megachurch with 24,000 members. Many people have asked him how he’s built such a church. In response, his latest book, The Blessed Church (Waterbrook Multnomah 2012), is a discussion of the principles for building a godly, growing church; he calls these nuggets “Keys to a Blessed Church.”

The book is aimed mainly at pastors, but it would be a useful read for any leader or elder who is interested in applying a different strategy to church leadership. Usually, churches apply one of two models for leadership; Morris has successfully created a third. Having been a church staff member myself for some years, I was eager to see what he had to say.

At the beginning I found the book a difficult read; the writing is choppy. He states that he’s not a writer and, well, he’s right! Too, the beginning of the book was a summary of the early days, so part of my problem may have been that I was eager to get to the meat: what are the secrets to building a strong, cohesive, godly church?

Morris is remarkably open, honest, and humble about the church he leads. He shares insight as a man of vast experience, knowledge, and vision. Again and again, he reminds the reader that this is God’s story, not his own. Every key statement is backed by Scripture passages. By the middle of the book, I was dying to go hear him preach.

Some of Morris’ Keys are:
•You can’t communicate vision unless the vision is from the Lord.
•If you are called to pastor, you are called to lead.
•The true shepherd models where he wants the sheep to go. He leads by example.
•Power doesn’t lie in the office of pastor or in the office of elder. Power in the church lies with Jesus.

Morris states: “True and lasting unity comes from valuing relationship above corporate accomplishment, personal fulfillment, and mere policy preferences. Remember: “Relationships above issues.””

This, I believe, is why his church has grown. It’s not about the numbers, or growth. It’s about feeding the sheep and maintaining relationship. He believes that growth without church health is not sustainable.

I recommend this book to anyone who is considering revamping their church’s organizational structure, or who is starting a new church. It would also be a fascinating read to those who are curious about the inner workings of a church.

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for free in exchange for creating this review.

Thankful! The Prayer performed by Celtic Woman

While we’re cooking, running in circles in the kitchen, or blogging because we purchased a store-bought package already cooked (sacrilege, I know, for a Southerner. But there you go…)

….we are THANKFUL.

I thought you’d enjoy taking just a moment out of your Thank-y-ness to listen to this beautiful, calming song: The Prayer. It’s performed by Celtic Woman, only my very most favorite group to listen to (I usually hear them in Knoxville, TN). Best yet, the soloist is Chloe. She’s awesome!!!

Here are the lyrics.

The Prayer

I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer
When we lose our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe

I pray we’ll find your light
And hold it in our hearts
When stars go out each night

Let this be our prayer
When shadows fill our day

Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe.

Lead us to a place,
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

Watch out! For…?

Yesterday on twitter, I posted this:

Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Watchful of what?

Not many people took up my challenge, possibly because I’ve recently changed my twitter name and all the followers haven’t caught up yet. Also it was Friday. But here are a few things I think we need to be watchful of:
Satan. Yes I know, in this age of feel-good we relegate him to the back seat. Trust me, he’s still there and he knows it, even if we refuse to admit it. Best to admit and figure out our defense, eh?
Ephesians 6:11 ” Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
But read verses 10-18 to get the whole picture.

Fleshly desires (the things we want, which are not the things God wants). I’m teaching my book Come Back to Jesus right now, and we’re each giving up something to make room for more time with God. I’m impressed with what the ladies have given up this week. Things that really matter to them, but that don’t matter in the grander scheme of things.
Romans 8:5 “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

The world – sort of relates to fleshly desires, but it’s the world that gets us in trouble in the first place. We’re to live in it, yet be separate from it.
John 16:33 [Jesus said] “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Blessings!

Do you broadcast Jesus?

Nope, I’m not going to tell you to go out and preach the Gospel. I find that some of you can, and most of you are pretty uncomfortable doing it. But the cool thing is we can show Jesus through the way we live.

I was at the doctor’s office a few months ago, a specialist I’d never been to before. The nurse talked to me at 3 different times before & after the procedure. Somehow she made me feel so warm and comfortable….even though that was NOT how one should feel in this particular situation (I will spare you the details. Trust me you don’t want to know).

Anyway, I realized quickly that she was a Christian, and the Light shining through her was from Him. As it should be. The only real words she said that might, and only might, have indicated it were these: “There may be something wrong, or it may be nothing; it could be the way the Good Lord made you.”

Below is a link to a great blog post about letting Jesus shine through you, instead of hitting people over the head with a Bible. That usually doesn’t work, not for me anyway. 🙂

Visit post here

What does God really want to give me?

Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Do you feel that’s true for you? Does He give you what you desire? If not….why?
Watch the video for the answer to these important questions. Have your Bible handy!

Prayer, anyone?

 

If any of you should ask me for an epitome of the Christian religion, I should say that it is in one word – prayer. Live and die without prayer, and you will pray long enough when you get to hell.  –Charles Spurgeon

Spurgeon has a way of getting right down to the heart of the matter, doesn’t he? I’m working on another book or bible study series, this time about prayer. It’s the best thing we can do for ourselves!

Also I added a new article to my website this morning. It’s here.

Why am I a Christian Writer?

Thomas Merton wrote: “If you write for God, you will reach many people and bring them joy. If you write for people, you may make some money and you may give someone a little joy and you may make a noise in the world, for a little while. If you write only for yourself , you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted, you will wish that you were dead.”

Visual Aids for Remembering God

This is a VERY SHORT video that I made because I was running off on tangents in the previous one. Here’s one of the tangents: do you use visual aids to help you remember things God told you, Bible verses, etc? What are they? Here are a couple of mine. 🙂