Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sacred Sex by Tim Alan Gardner

This book offers a perspective that could help not just marriages but also our cultures messed up perspective of sex. It's been fun to watch my kids and their friends (8-11 yrs old) see me reading a book with s-e-x in the title. It has given me plenty of opportunities to tell them that sex is a gift from God intended to be fabulous when used as intended - just like gifts they receive at Christmas.

Gardner states "if you're ready to begin a journey of sexual discovery that takes the focus off orgasm and puts it on oneness, you've come to the right place."

Made me think of taste buds. Yeah, taste buds. We need food to sustain life. God provided the pleasure of taste buds to enhance the experience of satisfying that need. Likewise, God designed us for oneness - a need to be united with another person intimately. He provided the pleasure of orgasm to enhance the experience of fulfilling that need.

The problem - at least in this country - most of us eat more for the pleasure than for the sake of satisfying the need for food.

I highly recommend this book for all human beings. Yes, single or married including teens. This is not a puritan perspective of sex. This book reveals the intended priorities which when ordered correctly greatly enhance the pleasure of the sexual experience in every way.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

50 Things in Life I Enjoy Most

  1. Laughing
  2. Reading
  3. Doing anything as a family
  4. snuggling with hubby
  5. snuggling with my kids
  6. thought provoking conversations with anyone
  7. chat time with my son at bedtime
  8. date night with my daughter
  9. family vacations
  10. seeing new places
  11. eating at new restaruants
  12. getting to know people with different perspectives
  13. receiving revelation from God
  14. true corporate worship - sensing God's presence with others
  15. hearing revelation/insight confirmed thru someone else
  16. walking hand-in-hand with hubby
  17. when my kids initiate holding my hand in public
  18. doing the Wizard of Oz walk with one child on each arm
  19. hugs from my son - especially the unexpected ones
  20. working on something fun with my daughter
  21. hearing my kids enjoy each other as friends
  22. seeing my son help his little sister learn
  23. seeing my daughter show her older brother something of interest to both of them
  24. going for walks with God
  25. getting up early for true quiet time with God
  26. connecting with friends online
  27. meeting friends for lunch
  28. walking with hubby at Highbanks metro park
  29. going to the Bahamas with my Georgia neighbor
  30. overnight getaways with hubby
  31. attending meaningful conferences
  32. having a hotel room to myself
  33. talking to strangers
  34. going to the same cashier at Giant Eagle every week
  35. dancing when no one is watching
  36. singing when no one is listening
  37. feeling nothing but passion when I speak to an audience
  38. provoking emotion or positive responses when I speak
  39. hearing the audience laugh at my humor
  40. researching a topic for a speaking project
  41. Toastmasters
  42. watching a movie based on a true story
  43. the feeling of being at the scene when I'm reading fiction
  44. fixing a family meal all four of us really like
  45. having company
  46. playing games with my kids, family, or company
  47. blogging
  48. listening to someone who is searching for truth
  49. finding something I know someone would like and getting it for them without any reason for a gift
  50. making a baby smile
I don't generally do this type of post but found it to be a fun exercise this morning. Feeling down? Got cabin fever? Make your list of the 50 Things in Life you enjoy most. I bet it will keep your mind running and a smile on your face all day long.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Perpetual Wonder

There is no logical statement possible when anyone asks you what you are doing. One of the difficulties in Christian work is this question - "What do you expect to do?" You do not know what you are going to do; the only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing. Continually revise your attitude towards God and see if it is a going out of everything, trusting in God entirely. It is this attitude that keeps you in perpetual wonder - you do not know what God is going to do next. Each morning you wake it is to be a "going out," building in confidence on God. ~ "Ozzy" Chambers
Great quote. And I love the "Ozzy" instead of Oswald. Makes the advice much friendlier. Check out Veronica Zamora's blog. She has some additional thoughts worthy of pondering for anyone with decisions or making changes in their life based on what they believe God has called them to do.
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. Romans 11:8 NLT
It's actually comforting to think that if I had all the plans figured out then I wouldn't be following God's plan, I'd just be following my plans. Perpetual Wonderer. Yeah, I like it. Sounds risky. Adventurous.

Think I'll follow that thought awhile and see where God has me end up... today.  How about you? Is there anything you are afraid to do because God hasn't given you the whole plan? That would take all the fun out of it, wouldn't it?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Living by Faith

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3 (NAS)
Faith in this verse comes from the Greek word "pistis" which, according to Thayer's and Smith's Bible Dictionary, means a "conviction of the truth of anything."

I find it interesting that so many people - including me at times - profess to live by faith yet our "faith" is more of a wish than a conviction of truth.

The difference in a wish and faith is found in Hebrews 11:13. "All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance...."

Have you seen what you profess to believe God will do?

When we pray, God reveals his promises. If I pray for a sick child or a difficult situation, I can expect God to show me what he will do. If God has not revealed the promise, I cannot claim it.

My daughter has a lot of wishful thinking. She will ask me for something knowing I rarely make any promises. My "we'll see" response is often interpreted as "yes". I like her positive thinking. However, it is not a promise. And, therefore, her accusation of "but you promised", is not based on truth.

We experience a similar disappointment with God. We ask God for something in prayer and assume that his statement "ask anything you wish" means we just have to ask and it will happen. We forget there is more to that promise.
Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Mark 11:24 (NAS)
The Greek for believe in this verse is "pisteuo". It comes from the word translated as "faith" in the Hebrew verse above. Both come from the primary verb "peitho" which means "to persuade."

When you ask in prayer, do you listen for God's response? Has he persuaded you to be convicted of a truth regarding your request? Has he shown you his promise so that you may welcome it from a distance?

We can only live by faith if we have seen in some form what we are living for. Atheist and agnostics want to see the promises up close. I know, I used to be agnostic. I wanted God to show me his promises on my terms and with my human ability to see.

Those who live by faith have seen God's promises through something greater than the created function of eyesight. That's why they have a hope that energizes them to have joy in the midst of struggles. Faith does not accept things as they are. Those who live by faith ask, knock, and seek. God responds by answering, opening the door, and showing what he is doing.

Others are persuaded of truth when those who have seen, live by faith. 

Monday, January 12, 2009

The 4:8 Principle by Tommy Newberry

A fundamental reason why so many people are living far beneath their potential for joy is that there is... no substantive difference between their current self-image and the vision they have for their future. This shouldn't be the case! As God's child, the future he has planned for you is a definite wow! (Newberry, The 4:8 Principle)
The 4:8 Principle is a self-help book based on Philippians 4:8 which says "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

Well, who doesn't like a good book on ways to have more joy and simple ways to think positive. The book is full of lists and questions to help you apply the information immediately.

Here are some quotes I liked:
"The truth is that these peak moments, when you appear to be playing over your head, are actually glimpses of your full potential."

"To act with joy now, live each hour as if your full potential has already materialized."

"We dilute our potential by thinking first one thing, then another - thinking of God's grace, then feeling guilty about our faults; thinking of God's awesome power, then talking about how we cannot seem to get rid of a little bug. We think about abundance and then seconds later worry over the bills."
I also appreciated his perspective of "exceptional gratitude" in chapter 9.
"Exceptional gratitude refers to acts of thankfulness unprompted by someone else's tragedy, pain, or misfortune. Exceptional gratitude doesn't require something to be missing before it's appreciated."
If you are a list lover like me, here's my list of Newberry's lists!
Forty Junk-Producing Thoughts (pp 22-24)
Forty Joy-Producing Thoughts (pp 25-27)
The 4:8 Questions (p 33)
Anti-4:8 Questions (p 35)
Self-care factors to consider (p 72)
Emotional menus to help clarify your goals (pp 87-88)
Additional verses to help raise your state of mind (pp 94-96)
Thinking patterns of RATs (really awful thoughts) (pp 107-109)
Questions to help tune into the big picture and away from negative emotions (p 114)
Questions to start your day (p 141)
Questions to determine which people to invite into your inner circle (p 152)
Examples and Questions to create ground rules for what you allow into your heart (pp 166-167)
Questions to evaluate how grateful you are (pp 171-172)
Forty ways to express your gratitude now (pp 185-188)
The Afterword contains questions which can be used for small group discussion; guidance and space to create your personal 4:8 Questions and Joy-Promoting Thoughts; and suggested memory verses.

I recommend this book for seasoned believers - especially those who mentor newer believers. Even though scripture is used substantially both implicitly and explicitly, I comfortably recommend this book to non-Christians seeking to adjust their attitude. My only hesitation in recommendation is to new believers who are learning to depend on God rather than their own strength for life-change. The reliance on God is implied throughout the book but a reader could easily get caught up in the self-help tone.

Parents will also benefit from this book. I've already started using some of these concepts to redirect thought patterns in my two children. We're making progress.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bring Justice - Become an Abolitionist

This week I have been preparing a 5-7 minute Toastmasters Speech on the topic of Human Trafficking. The information blows my mind. If you will take a few minutes to browse the links below, you too may become an abolitionist. 

Twenty-seven million people around the world are enslaved - many are children - many are right here in the USA. It does affect you whether you learn about it or ignore it. Together we can abolish slavery.


The Truth about Human Trafficking...
Right in Our Own Backyard
Saturday, January 24, 2009 9am - 1pm
Vineyard Columbus, 6000 Cooper Road, Westerville, OH 43081
Read VCC Women's Ministry Leader's Update for more info





Visit Season of Light (right margin) for more links on this topic 

Visit Diana Scimone for updates on efforts to stop global child trafficking and practical information on how to get involved

Renewing Your Mind

You cannot eliminate a thought by fighting it or trying to block it out. Resisting an unwanted thought only entangles you and drives that thought deeper into your mind, making it even more of a distraction. Tommy Newberry, The 4:8 Principle

Wow! I found this to be so true a few years ago when I was struggling with an addiction to online chat rooms. I would cry out to God to keep me away or take away the desire to chat every time I walked by the computer. 

Finally, sitting in front of the computer one day, trying desperately to resist the desire to respond to an Instant Message from someone I'd met in a chat room, I heard God gently say "look at me."

At that point, I quit holding my struggle up to God and focused totally on him. Much easier to see him when there's nothing in the way.

Are you struggling with anything? Fear, worries, finances, relationships, health? Instead of talking to God about your struggles, just talk to him about who he is. I promise, that will make all your struggles seem minor when you remember them again.

Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Friday, January 02, 2009

Doin' the Stuff

We cannot do the goals I posted yesterday on our own power. Below are some verses that have come to mind and spoken boldly to me this morning. For now, I give you only the scriptures. I may comment more later.

Turn in your Bible (or go to - classic version) and read these verses in context. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the mind of God to you as you read. I'd love to hear what God reveals to you. If you see something new to you, please post a brief comment to share with others.

I [Jesus] have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate [helper], the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. John 14:25-26 (NRS)

The Jews were astonished at it [Jesus' teaching], saying, "How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?" Then Jesus answered them, "My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him. John 7:15-18 (NRS)

While staying with them, he [Jesus] ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. "This," he said, "is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:4-8 (NRS)

For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God's except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual. Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God's Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:11-14 (NRS)

For, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" But not all have obeyed the good news; for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?" So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. Romans 10:13-17 (NRS)
Please share what you hear from the Holy Spirit as you study these scriptures. If you share, I'll share more. :) Sunday School answers don't count. I want to know what God is saying directly to you or what questions these verses create in you.

You can post anonymously or leave your name. If you'd rather email me, that's ok too.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Goals for 2009

As I see it, the goals for every follower of Christ are pretty simple.

PROCLAIM the good news 
HEAL the sick and oppressed
BRING JUSTICE (year of jubilee - see Leviticus 25)

Jesus made it simple.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors, and that the time of the Lord's favor has come. ~ Luke 4:18-19 (NLV)

"The truth is, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father." ~ John 14:12 (NLV)

Any questions?

For the inspiration on this thought, listen to John Cook's December 28, 2008 message,
Power to Do the Works of Jesus at

the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

Copyright 2005-2010 Lisa Biggs Crum
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