Challenge, Life

Refugee Lives Matter

My heart is broken. It has become a physical pain in my chest over the last day. This is not about politics. I am a Christian first and foremost. And to me, being a Christian means that I have devoted my life to serving my Jesus and loving people the way that He does. All people. It’s not America first. It’s Jesus first. It’s our time to rise up Church and stand in the gap for the lives that are being cast aside.

Let me be very clear – I also care deeply about American lives. American jobs. Americans being safe from terrorists. This executive order prevents people WHO ARE LEGAL from entering our country. People who have legal status. People who have jumped through all the hoops. This is a flawed position.

The definition of refugeea person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. These are people who have been forced to leave. They are fleeing for their lives. If you have not educated yourself on the process that a refugee goes through before coming to the US, please do so.

The stories of those forced from their homes, fleeing for their lives breaks my heart. I believe that the Bible is clear that we are to welcome the stranger into our lives and homes {Check out Matthew 25:35-40}.

Children are dying in Aleppo. Families are trapped in Kirkuk. Mosul is the setting of an ongoing war. There are innocent people who need our help. People are languishing in temporary camps around the world for years.

I believe that seeing the truth is critical to understanding and compassion. I encourage you to check out this piece in Time Magazine. Or this heart wrenching piece by CNN. And the Washington Post reports that there are only 7 doctors left in Aleppo that can treat catastrophic injuries. The hospitals are being bombed and destroyed. And since I first wrote this that has even changed – there are no hospitals in Aleppo.

I am left with mixed feelings. What can I do? What is my part in this crisis? I want my heart to be soft, like six year old Alex, who invites Omran to be his brother. I want to serve people as the Bible teaches me to serve.

This photo makes the tragedy so clear in my mind.

refugeees

I believe that we can do better. I believe that we must do better. And Church, the world is watching how we respond. You can March for Life and then praise a ban on refugees, you have just spit in the face of the needy – the broken, the very people that we are called to love. If you aren’t standing for ALL life then you are not pro-life, you are anti-abortion.

I have heard an argument that other countries aren’t taking refugees. We should never base our actions on the action or inaction of others. We shouldn’t be seeking to emulate Saudi Arabia. What Saudi Arabia (or any other country) does is not the standard for our behavior.

statue-of-libertyPhoto Credit

I am finding my way. I cannot sit by and watch this fire burn. I would encourage you to follow or support awesome organizations like {my favorite} Preemptive Love Coalition, World Relief, or We Welcome Refugees. I will be on the right side of history. I will fight for those without a voice.

And I will love without fear.

Life

Mourning & Healing

I wrote about reflecting on the Sandy Hook shooting here, but I wanted to share a tangible way to help out…

PLEASE SHARE:
If you would like to mail sympathy cards or letters of support and solidarity to the school:
Sandy Hook Elementary School
12 Dickenson Drive
Sandy Hook, CT 06482

Funds for Victim’s Families

Newtown Memorial Fund

 

 Continue reading "Mourning & Healing" 
Christmas, RACK - IACL

Day 4: Nothing beats spontaneous kindness

Day 4:  Today was another one of those days that hasn’t gone as planned.  I continued being a “coupon fairy” at every store I visited today.  I love getting a great deal and I definitely scored some today!  But I was the recipient of another coupon fairy and it totally blessed me!

It was a super busy evening and all day I had been looking for opportunities for a random act.  My nephew was over hanging out while his momma was working, so we decided to go to the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie since it was dollar night.  Perfect opportunity!!  We got to bless the people behind us by buying their tickets!  It didn’t cost a lot. but her whole face lit up when I handed her the tickets.

The thing that I like about this is that sometimes I think about doing these things but I get nervous or whatever, lately it’s been a feeling of being free to give.  The focus has been on just finding ways to bless others…and just show them that someone cares about them.  I didn’t hesitate at all tonight and that encourages me.  It’s becoming easier and easier to act on my faith daily.

Today’s verses were from John chapter 1, verses 29 and 34-37.  The theme was learning that we needed Jesus’ sacrifice for us.  We also read Isaiah 9:6.  We learned that one of God’s name is Everlasting Father.

From our calendar (I will post them again after Christmas):  Tuesday, December 4Verse:  John 1:29, 34-37 (We needed Jesus’ sacrifice); Isaiah 9:6 (the Everlasting Father).  Buy movie tickets for the people behind us.

Book Review

Book Review: Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Book Review:  Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Basic Info…

Title: Crazy Love

Author: Francis Chan

Publisher:  David C. Cook

ISBN-10:  1434768511

ISBN-13: 978-1434768513

Website:  Crazy Love Book

My thoughts….

I love how easy to read this book was.  It was well written, soundly based in Scripture, but it still remained easy to read. For me, when a book has a lot of theology and Bible verses and explanation of those verses using history and Greek/Hebrew translations, it’s not something I pick up when I only have a few minutes.  Don’t get me wrong, I think those books are extremely important.  But Francis Chan easily conveyed significant verses with real life examples and made this book life changing and powerful.

I am a huge fan of listening to Francis Chan preach, but this was the first book of his that I have read and I can’t wait to get his others.  I love the website that goes a long with the book.  It’s impossible not to get enthusiastic about giving and loving when you hear him speak or read his writing.  It comes across as authentic because it is.  He isn’t telling us anything he doesn’t live out in his life.  That makes him even more powerful at sending a message.

I found one of the best parts of the book is that Chan isn’t trying to tell you exactly what this is going to look like in your life.  He gives you the steps to get there.  And he gives awesome real life examples of what that looks like in other people’s lives.  It’s inspiring.  And it inspired me to really seek God and get creative.

I also love Chan’s take on “God’s calling” on our lives.  It’s a bit nontraditional, but I think it is so completely true.  We often wait to hear this divine call on our lives from God rather than going out and getting our hands dirty and really living for Him.

I could not recommend this book more.  And I can’t wait to read and watch some of the material that goes along with it.  It’s incredible.

 

Christmas, Family, RACK - IACL

Day 2 & 3: Kindness is FUN

Day 2:  I knew today was going to be a busy day…I was right!  We had planned to go to the living Nativity near our house and we were so blessed to have not only my nephew join us, but my parents AND my sister!  My parents took us a couple times when we were little (10 and 7) and I still remember it, so I had high hopes these kiddos would love it too.  And they did!!  We decided to grab an early dinner together…perfect for today’s act of kindness!

We got our Random Acts cards ready with quarters and candy canes so we could tape them to the candy machines.  Daveid Michael (my nephew) really wanted to give one to someone…his mom.  He wanted to bless her and I thought that was super sweet of him.  Then, off to church.  It was an awesome living Nativity, that was cold but soo much fun!  They do a great job and it was well worth getting chilled for!

December 2012 001

Today’s verse was Genesis 3:6-8.  The theme was learning why Jesus came, that we needed a Savior because our sin separated us from God.  We also read Isaiah 9:6.  We learned that one of God’s name is Wonderful Counselor.

From our calendar (I will post them again after Christmas):  Sunday, December 2Verse:  Genesis 3:6-8 (Why Jesus came); Isaiah 9:6 (Wonderful counselor).  Tape quarters to candy machines.

Day 3:  Catching up from the whirlwind of the last couple of days.  Today was the planning meeting for the Spokane Orphan Summit and once I got home, it was a bit of a rough day for me!  So, we redeemed the day by spending some quality time together.  One of the reasons that I didn’t list our events before we do them, is that they are constantly changing.  So far, we have changed them around every day.  We had a little shopping today and decided today would be a great day to be “coupon fairies.”  We put out tons and tons of coupons that will *hopefully* bless future shoppers.  And we got some great deals so I was able to bless Fiona too.  And we got some great deals for upcoming Random Acts so that’s awesome too.

coupon fairy

 

 

Today’s verse was Isaiah 60:1-3.  The theme was learning about how our world needs God.  We also read Isaiah 9:6.  We learned that one of God’s name is Mighty God.

From our calendar (I will post them again after Christmas):  Monday, December 3Verse:  Isaiah 60:1-3 (World needed God); Isaiah 9:6 (The Mighty God).  Be a coupon fairy!  Take all of our extra unneeded coupons and put them with the right item for a customer!

Christmas, RACK - IACL

Day 1: Kindness Feels Good

I love love love random acts of kindness.  I try and do them as regularly as possible.  It makes me happy to be kind.  Fiona loves to join in on the anonymous ones or ones with professionals…she’s pretty shy when it comes to strangers individually.  🙂

So, today…I started off by recycling all of our plastic bags.  This isn’t our “official” one because I always save every bag and regularly recycle them.  I have become a bit of a recycling fanatic…it only goes in the garbage if it has to.  But I think that it counts for an unplanned act of kindness…the recipient being the planet Earth.

Next….we FINALLY started decorating!!  Thank goodness for Pinterest!

Here are some pics of the decorating madness:

My inspiration from Pinterest
My inspiration from Pinterest

My version (not nearly so elegant, but lovely and beautiful:

December 2012 002

Even Fiona got into the spirit:

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Our actual act of “Intentional Crazy Love” was to go through our stuff and donate it.  We have been working on this one all week!  We definitely have an abundance of stuff that could be given a new home.  I love that most everything could be given somewhere.  Even stuff not good enough to rehome can be recycled and that is being a good steward of our planet.

Along with each day of Christmas and love, we are reading specific Bible verses.  Today’s was John 3:16.  The theme was that God loves us…that’s why we love others.  We talked about the significance of this verse in our lives.  We also read Revelation 22:13.  One of the names of God (He has a lot of them!) is Alpha & Omega.  He is the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

From our calendar (I will post them again after Christmas):

Saturday, December 1Verse:  John 3:16 (God loves us!); Revelation 22:13 (Alpha & Omega)  Go through toys and closets for stuff to donate.  Deliver it!

Christmas, Family, RACK - IACL

Thankful. Inspired. Excited.

What a great time of year.  My favorite.  I love the thankfulness that Thanksgiving inspires in so many people, including myself.  Posting daily what I am thankful for wasn’t hard…it was hard to limit the amount of daily posts.  The last few months have taught me so much about what is really important in life.  It’s not about stuff.  It’s all about Jesus.  And loving others.  That’s it.  I couldn’t care less about the “American Dream.”  I don’t want my life to be spent collecting stuff.

 

 

This time of year also inspires people to be better versions of themselves.  While at times it can seem that people are just focused on consumerism and greed, there are also a lot of really inspiring acts of love and kindness.  I am sure they happen all the time (I am optimistic like that) but I think we really look for them and celebrate them at Christmas.  There is this really fantastic website that I would encourage everyone to check out.  They inspire me.  http://www.adventconspiracy.org/  And this picture brings tears to my eyes.  I cannot express just how deeply it moved me.

NYC Police Officer bending down to help this homeless man put on his new boots, a gift from the officer himself.
NYC Police Officer bending down to help this homeless man put on his new boots, a gift from the officer himself.

And I am SO very excited to start our Random Acts of Kindness Advent Season tomorrow.  I have been waiting with anticipation.  I want to share the love of my Savior in a meaningful way.  In a fun, happy way.  No pressure, just sharing His love with others.  I love seeing Fiona’s face light up when she has an idea or gets inspired.  She has such a beautiful and tender heart.  I couldn’t be more proud of her.

I will be posting here dailyish…as daily as I can!  To share our journey “in real time.”  And coming up December 9 – 15, I will be blogging for the launch of Doug Bender’s new book, Live Second:  365 to Make Jesus First.  (I will be blogging on Kupenda 127, but I will reblog them here.)  Check out I am Second for the more details.