I am presently in a transition phase in my life both personally and professionally.

Personally: I am about to become a grandma for the first time (YEAH!); and my husband and I will be downsizing shortly. We are moving into a one-floor townhouse a few miles from our two floor, four bedroom house (ALSO YEAH!).

Professionally: The company that published my first four books, Tate Publishing Company, has gone out of business. Luckily, I was already affiliated with another company, Credo Communications LLC, when I received the news about Tate. Credo will soon be releasing my new book, When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough, Swim Upstream. They will also be re-releasing When Doing Isn’t Enough (I purchased the print-ready file of that book from Tate.) What exactly I’m going to do about the other three manuscripts is still under consideration.

 

Finished reviewing the edited version of my new manuscript, When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough, Swim Upstream. One more excerpt:

Lasting change begins on the inside, i.e. in our hearts. Our thoughts, feelings, attitudes and values change first. Then, our behavior changes to line up with the internal changes. If our hearts don’t change, we may be able to maintain behavioral changes for a while, however, it won’t last. We will eventually go back to behaving in a way that reflects our heart. Jesus Christ made this point to a group of Pharisees when he said “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart” (Matthew 12:35).

Throughout this book I will be highlighting individuals who made significant contributions to both the civil rights movement and the women’s rights movement. I am hoping that their stories will touch your hearts, as well as encourage and inspire you to swim upstream against gender inequality in the church, if you feel moved to do so.

There is a critical difference, however, between effecting change in the world and effecting change in the church. That difference is: fighting for gender equality in the church is not about women’s rights or affirmative action. It is about spiritual liberation. It is about truly allowing Christ to be the head of the church by following the leading of the Holy Spirit when choosing who will serve in what ministry roles. It is about allowing individuals with the spiritual gift of leadership to lead, and allowing individuals with the spiritual gift of preaching, to preach, regardless of their gender.

 

 

Continuing to review the edited version of my new manuscript, When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough, Swim Upstream.

More excerpts:

Those of us who are called to fight for gender equality in the church need to be careful about how we measure success. We need to remember that we can only control what we do, we cannot control what anyone else does in response to what we do. We also need to remember that this change in the church will only come when hearts change, and we cannot change hearts. Only God can change a heart. He may use us as instruments to change hearts, but He is the one who does the heart changing.

Though tremendous legislative strides have been made regarding both racial and gender equality, it is sad but true to acknowledge that racism and sexism still exist. They exist because “isms” are not legal conditions, they are heart conditions and legislation does not change hearts. Civil rights legislation taught us that. I believe that if sexism and racism are to truly come to an end, hearts need to change in a way that leaves people color blind and gender blind, seeing each other as equal, different yet equal.

 

I have spent the last few days reviewing the edited version of my new manuscript, When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough, Swim Upstream.

Excerpts:

Though I understand that gender inequality is global, this book is specifically about gender inequality in the United States, and the role the Christian Church has played in maintaining this inequality.

…those of us who are committed to protesting gender inequality in the church need to make sure we are operating out of pure motives. We need to always keep in mind the critical difference between effecting change in the world and effecting change in the church …, i.e. fighting for gender equality in the church is not about women’s rights or affirmative action. It is about spiritual liberation. It is not about women leading the church. It is about truly allowing Christ to be the head of the church by following the leading of the Holy Spirit when choosing who will serve in what ministry roles. It is about allowing individuals with the spiritual gift of leadership to lead, and allowing individuals with the spiritual gift of preaching, to preach, regardless of their gender.

As we swim upstream to advocate or fight for gender equality in the church, conflict and controversy will inevitably follow. We need to face it head on and deal with it in healthy ways. That’s what Jesus and the early apostles did when conflict and controversy erupted in response to their efforts to transition people from the old covenant to the new covenant. However, we cannot be conflict creators. We cannot create conflict for the sake of creating conflict. If we do that we are not operating out of pure motives. On the other hand, we cannot be conflict avoiders. If we are conflict avoiders we are operating out of fear, and “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

 

 

I’m posting this as an encouragement for anyone who has a dream in their heart for a business or a ministry or anything, and is having a difficult time turning that dream into a reality in the world. Remember, anything worthwhile is not easy.

DON’T QUIT

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low, and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

 

Life is strange with its twists and turns,

As everyone of us sometimes learns,

And many a person turns about

When they might have won had they stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–

You may succeed with another blow.

 

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup;

And learned too late when the night came down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

 

Success is failure turned inside out–

So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,

It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

Author Unknown

Some individuals who did not give up:

Abraham Lincoln failed in business three times and lost seven elections before becoming President of the United States.

Henry Ford failed and went broke 5 times before he succeeded.

After his first audition Fred Astaire received the following feedback from an MGM executive: “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”

Max Lucado’s first book was rejected by 14 publishers before finding one that would give him a chance.

Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by 27 publishers.

A so-called football expert once said of 2-time Super Bowl winning coach Vince Lombardi: “He possesses minimal football knowledge. Lacks motivation.”

NBA superstar Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Later in his career, when he was playing for the Chicago Bulls, he said: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost more than 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Albert Einstein wasn’t able to speak until he was four years old. Teachers said he would never amount to much.

Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for lacking imagination and having no original ideas.

Thomas Edison was told by a teacher that he was too stupid to learn anything and that he should go into a field where he might succeed by virtue of his pleasant personality.

The Beatles were rejected by Decca Recording Studio who said “we don’t like their sound; they have no future in show business.”

Oprah Winfrey was demoted from her job as a news anchor because she “wasn’t fit for television.”

J.K. Rowling’s first manuscript, Harry Potter, was rejected by 12 publishers before one was willing to give her a chance. That publisher, however, told her to get a day job because she had little chance of making money in children’s books.

 

 

 

Excerpt from When Religion Isn’t Enough:

Followers of Jesus are called to love with a calvary-type love. What is a calvary-type love? It is a verb. It is a choice. It is a selfless love. It is choosing to do something for someone else regardless of the cost to self. It is not a feeling. It is an action. It is Jesus carrying his cross to Calvary in Jerusalem and allowing Roman soldiers to nail him to it, and then staying nailed to it until he died.

This is selfless love. Jesus did something for us that we could not do for ourselves—he created the way for us to get to heaven. He explained this to his disciple Nathaneal in the first chapter of the gospel of John, verse 51: “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”

During the last meal Jesus shared with the twelve apostles before he died, he told them “I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13: 34-35).

This command still holds true today for all of his followers. Gregory Boyd, in his book Repenting of Religion, provides a description of calvary-type love. He says “While nonbelievers can be expected to love those who love them, disciples are called and empowered to love even their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. While nonbelievers can be expected to do good to those who do good to them, disciples are called and empowered to do good even to those who harm them…our love must be given without consideration to the relative merits or faults of the person we encounter…we are to love without strings attached, without conditions, without any consideration whatsoever of the apparent worthiness of the person we encounter.”

Bruxy Cavey, in his book The End of Religion, provides another description of calvary-type love. He says: “The way of Jesus is the way of risky love. Religion is the way of safety, security and shelter within the structure of rules, regulations, rituals, and routines. Jesus and his earliest followers were relentless in pressing people to see two things. First, loving people is the primary way we love God. Second, this love of humankind must always take precedence over religious ritual or ethnic obstacles… Christ-followers are called to be, according to the standards of this world, ‘foolish.’ Real love is, from a purely human, self-serving perspective, irrational…religious traditions can be a trap that keeps us from moving into unchartered territories of bold love and radical compassion. Irreligious people, on the other hand, are free to be more loving. Jesus calls people to love in such a way that all social barricades are broken, penetrated, subverted—including and especially those erected by religion. And to love like God wants, we must be willing to put practical service ahead of safety, comfort and convenience.”

Excerpts from When Religion Isn’t Enough:

From the beginning of time, God invited the human beings he created to be in relationship with him. His intention was never to give religion to the human race. His intention was to offer human beings a relationship with himself that was personal and intimate. God wants a relationship with us. God is love, and he wants to shower that love on us. God always has and always will be available to be in relationship with those who choose to respond to his invitation for a relationship. He rejoices when one of his children responds to his invitation and enters into a relationship with him, becoming part of his family.

Those of us who are human parents give our children rules to live by because we love them. The rules provide needed boundaries for our children, protecting and guiding them. In turn, we want our children to follow our rules because they love us and value the relationship they have with us, not because they are afraid of us. The same is true for our heavenly parent. When God gave the Israelites, his chosen people, his family, rules to live by he was taking care of them, protecting them. He never meant for the rules to replace the relationship he had with them. As a matter of fact, God gave the Israelites rules to highlight the relationship he had with them. He wanted the Israelites to be set apart from the nations surrounding them. He wanted them to live by a higher standard than the people around them and to be identified to other nations as his people, his family.

Somewhere along the line the Israelites got the idea that they had only to follow God’s rules to be acceptable to him and to become part of his family. They forgot that though God had sent them into exile, he had not ejected them from his family. He continued to be their Father. He was merely disciplining them for their misbehavior.

God did not want the Israelites to follow his rules so that they could become his children. They already were his children. God wanted them to follow his rules so that the world would know that they were his children. When people started misunderstanding the purpose of God’s laws, and then started acting off that misunderstanding, religion was born.

Important Note: When I speak of religion, I am not referring to any particular denomination. I am referring to Bruxy Cavey’s definition of religion which is “any system of rules, regulations, rituals, and routines that people use to achieve their spiritual end-goal.”

As a result of this misunderstanding, the Jews shifted their focus from their relationship with God to the rules God gave them, putting their trust in the rules and in their own ability to follow the rules, rather than putting their trust in God. Their view of God as a loving parent who would take care of them was replaced by a view of God as an angry parent who would punish them if they disobeyed him. This is understandable in light of their experience of having been sent into exile. They moved from being dependent on God to being dependent on selves. This is the very essence of religion. Bruxy Cavey puts it this way: “Religion offers a system that promises to lead to salvation one day. Jesus offers salvation as a gift, now. Everything after that becomes a joyful opportunity to express what is already ours, a celebration of salvation, not the method of it.”

When Jesus came to earth, he was coming to restore what had been lost: a personal relationship with God.

Throughout his earthly ministry Jesus was continually trying to tell people that the way to God and to eternal life was not religion (a.k.a. following rules), it was relationship (believing that he was who he said he was, the Son of God, and following him).

When an individual decides to follow Jesus thereby becoming part of God’s family, all of heaven rejoices. Angels are Dancing, Sunday Shoes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSUq099PZhk