Friday, September 20, 2013

Season

Golden yellow green.
Downcast eyes, dancing leaves. 
Sigh in, troubled 
through the breeze.

Long winding road,
pebbles brown, stone.
Damp, dirt, corse. 
Step, step, crunch, crunch.

Aches, tense, shoulders rolled
again, again.
Eyes on heaven.
Eyes on earth.
Green blades, rusting.

Sweater close, hands deep,
Deep in full pockets. 
No room, no treasures.
Deep in thoughts.

A season.

Season, Tori K Webb


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 I don't really know how to explain to you how I'm feeling. Things are going really well--moving forward, and I hope to update you on the house and the rest of life soon. But I'm carrying a lot right now, emotionally, and in my spirit. It's been a tense season these past few weeks. I really hoped to be enjoying the anticipation of the coming move, but honestly, I'm just beat. It's just been a lot. I'm tired.

 I see lots of good coming, but I'm definitely feeling the tension of getting there. To all the others dealing with way worse situations than me--we're in this together. You're on the front lines, and I'm not right now. But I empathize, and I'm praying. And I'm feeling it; we're One Body in Christ.

 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. - Eph 6:10-20 NKJV

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mere Christianity

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Peter and I have been listening to the Mere Christianity audiobook, and I cannot recommend it enough. I have been blown away by how astoundingly relevant a book written 70 years ago completely address so many large questions that I see daily, both from other Christians’ posts or in situations in my own life.

Many of C.S. Lewis’ books can be difficult to read or follow, and that can dissuade people from attempting to read his work. But I’ve actually been able to follow this very easily. If you’re a Christian and you’ve never read this, or it’s been 2 years since you have, I highly exhort you to pick it up. And maybe try the audiobook version--we got ours on Audible, but I’ve heard you can get a version with C.S. Lewis himself reading it--which would be fantastic, since it was originally a radio show.

So what types of questions does it address? How relevant is this really?

He tackles distinguishing Christianity from other faiths in one of the most practical ways I’ve seen. He explains the essence of our faith in such clarity. He talks on what we should talk about as Christians among ourselves, and what debates we should not have in front of unbelievers. He addresses differences in different denominations, and what we should be focusing on instead of differences. He explains the importance of corporate morality and internal morality in a way that got me inspired, fired up and left in perfect understanding. And that’s just a few sentences to try and capture the revelation of only the first third of the book!

Reading this book has made this verse in 1 Peter stick out to me like a lightening bolt: “...if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it” (1 Peter 3:15). If you don’t feel confidently able to explain your faith, I highly encourage you to read Mere Christianity! (And, it should go without saying, dig into God’s Word more, too.)

This man was gifted in explanation. In making the complex simple. He took ideas that Christians wrestle with and revealed that though these are mountainous ideas, they are simply made of rocks you can grasp in one hand, and that together, we can easily accomplish the feat of reaching the summit together.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

It's Official

Wonderful friends.


It’s official--we have made an offer on what we are praying and hoping will be our first home!



We’ve been pre-approved and now the offering period has begun--so many emotions are coursing through me every moment! Excitement, nervousness, and so many questions--will they accept? Will the counter or keep their price the same? Did someone else bid too…!? They have to get back to us by 1 PM tomorrow...so if you see me acting like I'm sitting on a pin-cushion, that's definitely why.

Please keep us in your prayers. We want this house if it’s where God wants us, and everything we’ve heard from Him so far has been “go for it!” but who knows what will happen next. Maybe this is just an exercise in trusting Him, and this won’t go through. That’s ok; I believe that would mean He’d have a better place for us.

But honestly, it’d be awesome if they accept and we can move forward!!

It’s been quite a journey--we originally applied for a loan back in the spring, and because we’ve never had debt, it took many months longer than normal to receive a pre-approval letter. That came last week, right when we were starting to consider other loan provider options. I’m so glad we didn’t have to do that, as the people we’re working with have been awesome in every regard, except for time, and we know that’s more our fault (both of us are in full-time ministry, we’re fairly young, and like I said, we’ve never had debt, which means we have no credit score).

I’m excitedly awaiting the next page in the story of “The Webbs Get a House”! Again, please pray for us, and I can’t wait to write you all another update!

Monday, September 2, 2013

5 Keys to Living Well

September brings a shift in season--new challenges, new struggles, a fresh start, and often increased busyness. For many tomorrow is the first day back to school. This all got me thinking about what keeps me on track in new seasons, and I wanted to share this with you. I am so honored to have dozens of high-schoolers in my life, and you are actually the biggest reason I wrote this--but I hope it’s a blessing to everyone. If we were to go out to coffee, and you were to ask me what I think are keys to living well, at this point in time, this is what I’d want to tell you.




1. Protect your Private Life.


Your private life is the crux of your life. If your inner thoughts and dialogue are not centered in Christ and filled with thankfulness, you can only muster up joy, emotional health, excellence, or peace on your own strength for so long. Then you will eventually fall into depression, worry, anxiety, settling, and unrighteousness. Your secret self is the rudder of your soul. Protect personal devotion like a prized treasure. Your secret life, your secret thoughts, your secret actions, and your time with Christ must be guarded, for they are the core and the wellspring from which all things flow. The Father dwells in the Secret Place: are you keeping it holy?


2. Trust God.


Believe that God is who He says He is, and that you are who He says you are. Build your foundation in the Word. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He is the Prince of Peace. He is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who Provides. He is El Roi, the God who sees you--He sees you and He loves you. And you are His child. His co-laborer. You have everything you need for living a Godly life already! (2 Peter 1:3) You are equipped for joy, peace, patience, grace, mercy, love, excellence, and anything else you can think of already. You have what it takes because Christ is in you. Believe it!


3. Love Others.


Love believes the best in every situation. Don’t focus on any natural tendencies to imagine the worst. Love always gives another chance. Love trusts that God is working in their life, too. Love chooses to lift up instead of tearing down or being silent. Love forgives--as many times as it takes. Love puts others first. Love is patient, and can wait. Love keeps believing it’ll work. Love is kind and not malicious. Love doesn't see what others have as something they don’t have, but instead sees their brothers and sisters dreams coming true and rejoices. Love lavishes out grace and mercy. Live out 1 Corinthians 13 to your parents, your significant other, your friends, your brothers, your sisters, your teachers, your boss, that weird kid at work or class or church, the person in line in front of you paying in pennies, and the people that lie about you.


4. Be Honest.


Be honest with yourself and with others. Never lie or deceive--the truth always comes out, and you don’t want to be on the wrong side when it does. There is no such thing as a white lie, or a little lie, or a half-truth. Be pure. Speak the truth in love. Learn when you don’t need to say anything (that’s never motivated by fear, by the way) and only give it to Jesus, and learn when you should speak up. Know the truth and let it saturate you.


5. Honor Authority.


Trust that God put the people that are in charge in your life there for a reason and find that reason. Love them. Tell them the truth. Communicate with them. Learn from them. Listen to them. Try out their ideas. If they micromanage you, don’t resent them--find out how God wants you to love and honor them and do it as if you were doing it to Jesus Himself.


When I live by these principles, my life is filled with peace, joy, and the presence of God. I encourage you this fall: seek first His Kingdom by protecting your secret place, trusting Him, loving people, being honest, and honoring authority, and let me know if it makes a difference long-term for you, too.

Some verses on these topics: Psalm 91:1, Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 6:6, Romans 12:10, 1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 5:21, Philippians 4:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 2 Peter 1:3
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