You’ve got to quit to succeed

My husband and I have been through quite the transition these past couple of months. We started the year 2022 with the goal in mind to try new things, go big, and make risky moves. Both of us have passions and desires of our own and while they may not be the same, we’ve managed to help each other and provide insight, wisdom, and encouragement as we pursue said passions that are intertwined in our purpose as individuals and as husbands and wives. While I cannot say I’ve made major big moves and as a means to not come across as braggadocious (this is not the “here’s what I’ve done blog), I am choosing to focus on someone that I greatly admire and who inspired today’s blog. That’s right, my husband, Jarrod Pisors. 

Entering the year 2022, my husband and I prayed about what the year had for us and we prayed for boldness to go after the big, hard, and risky things. We prayed about the direction for the year and that the Lord would ordain our steps. We’ve made risky steps. Some worked and some haven’t. We made grand plans that fell through and others that fell into our laps without even trying. We are not even through the year 2022 and have cried many tears of disappointment and victories. In all, we’ve learned and my learning from my husband, you must quit in order to succeed. Quit what you may ask. Well, here are the five areas I’ve watched first hand my husband quit as he scaled his brand and businesses: 

  1. Doubts – the underlying reason so many of us don’t even attempt to take a step is that we are stuck in imaginative thinking. Granted, some of our doubts are valid, however, unless those doubts become actual reality, they remain wishful thinking. Some dear friend of ours encouraged Jarrod and me to refuse to be cold timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. Cold timid souls remain stuck in doubt. They refused to move. They’re crippled by fear of the unknown they’ve created for themselves. That’s the first thing Jarrod quit. He quit telling himself he couldn’t and he did. 
  2. Excuses – this exists because we live in doubt. Our excuses are our way of justifying why we choose to remain in our rut. Yes, you read that correctly. It is a choice. When we allow our doubts to take the form of our imaginative reality, they become the excuses that keep us locked in that cold damp cave of “I can’t.” Jarrod quit the excuses and his “I can’t” shifted to “I will.” Jarrod started repeating each day in the mirror “I will…” and his confidence increased with every repetition of those words that started off as a whisper. He slapped excuses in the face and took the bull by the horn. Gutsy? Absolutely. 
  3. Noise – whenever you venture into anything new there will be people (family and friends included) who will become noise to your aspirations and goals. They will be your “You can’t” whispering in your ear motivating you to quit. Do they all mean bad, no? Those who whisper these doubts and fears are a reflection of their own doubts and fear crippling them inside. The noise will encourage you to quit. The noise will tell you that you will fail. The noise will even mock and laugh at you. Jarrod however, in his masculine nature shut the noise by humbling himself in prayer. I’ve caught him numerous times in our bedroom face flat on the ground praying and crying as worship music filled the air. A presence of calm and humble arrogance cultivated when he remembered his why. The noise easily can drown by our why because reality is, that’s far bigger and grander than words that fall flat to the ground that has no bearing on your purpose.
  4. Bad habits – can be anything from spending too much time on your phone, saying yes to everyone, sleeping in too late, watching too much television, or feeding your mind with unnecessary and meaningless content. Bad habits hold us back from succeeding. It takes up precious and valuable space and time. Quitting these areas will ruffle feathers. People will mock you for “being different.” They won’t understand why you’re being selective to events and pumping “too much time” into building your business or brand. Jarrod became selfish. He got and still gets a lot of heat because of his dedication. He quit time wasting and pumped time into his business. As his wife, even I had to learn and adjust to his “absence.” Rather than complain he was always in his office, I joined him. I found ways where I could help and be an asset.
  5. Job – yes. Sometimes (not always) you will need to quit your job. Dream big, so big that your goal is to become your own boss. That’s if that’s your goal. That was Jarrods and is now his reality. He literally resigned from his job. Two businesses built up to a point that could hold us over. He took the plunge and has continued to scale. Quitting comes with its own challenges. You no longer have the security of consistent paychecks. You decide how much you make. You have to find jobs. You have to rework your budget and priorities. You also need to be aware of laws and regulations in running your own business. Most importantly, you become greatly aware of your dependence on God. Jarrod and I have learned to pray over our businesses and to rely on God and not our own strength. We’ve faced hiccups along the way but have made it a priority to not allow the disruptions in running our own business to bring a wedge between us. He especially continues to resort back to our purpose and the why.

Whatever your dream is, move from it simply being a dream to it becoming a reality. All you need to do is take one step. And that one step will turn into many other steps. 

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. 
Psalm 37:3-6

Lady in Pink

Have you ever met someone and were immediately captivated by their presence? No, I am not referring to romantic encounters. I am referring to those moments where you cross paths with someone or see them from afar and their presence captivates, convicts, and motivates you to become a better person. For me, that’s the Lady in Pink. 

The Lady in Pink wore a business skirt suit. Her shoes along with the rest of her Sunday best were bright pink. Not so much so that you were blinded by the color. Rather, you just couldn’t help but notice. She walked with a sense of grace and pride. The pride she carried was not of arrogance and stature but rather of assurance of who she is. While every stride she took was deliberate, they were also graceful and filled with courage. The Lady in Pink wore a smile on her face that complimented her rosy cheeks. Her smile had hints of wrinkles from the years of wearing the beaming grin she carried through both on the mountain top and in the years of the valley. Her hair curled it’s natural shining white revealing her age of wisdom. The Lady in Pink while short in stature carried a stance of a woman on a mission; a mission of purpose. 

My husband’s gentle hands occasionally brushed past mine as we settled into the back row. We were late to church but got there just in time for the last song before the transition into the sermon. This is when I spotted the Lady in Pink. The lead pastor called for the students in high school to lead a time of prayer and altar call. The stage was lined with students ready and eager to pray. Some of the congregation responded but reluctantly. Mostly those around the age of high school students prayed for each other. The Lady in Pink in her deliberate yet grateful and courageous stride walked up to the altar. She walked up for prayer from one of the youngest students and then slowly made her way to each student that was waiting to pray for someone. She patted each one on the shoulder; a sign of goodwill and encouragement. Each with a sense of courage sparked as she walked and met each of them where they were at.

I was moved to tears. I was overwhelmed at the sight. When I looked over to my right, I caught a glimpse of my husband’s eyes and saw he too was captivated by the Lady in Pink. You couldn’t help but be moved by a woman who by society’s standards has aged and lived a life enough to need prayers, yet she humbly approached the altar and received prayers from someone whose experience of life was short compared to hers. The Lady in Pink exemplified youth despite having seen twenty years over her nominal life of three scores and ten. The Lady in Pink wrecked the pride in me and tugged my heart to yield to submission in my walk. The Lady in Pink opened my eyes to a way of living in confident freedom. The Lady in Pink…. Despises youth not, rather she walks in it.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12

Fatherly “Merman” Love

I know. Odd title to this weeks’ blog. Before I lose you, let’s jump right into it. Have you seen The Little Mermaid? If not, it’s a 1989 Disney movie about a mermaid named Ariel, who dreams of becoming human and falls in love with a human prince named Eric, which leads her to making a magic deal with the sea witch, Ursula, to become human and be with him. Pretty intense for a children’s movie, ain’t it?

While there’s quite a bit circulating this whole ordeal and many principles that can be learned and unlearned from the plot of The Little Mermaid, a striking truth unfolds when Ariel gets caught up with the deal made with the sea witch. I apologize if I am spoiling the plot for whoever hasn’t seen the movie, but here you have it. Ariel is forbidden by her father [merman] King Triton, the ruler of Atlantica, to have any interaction with humans. He warns her of the danger, he warns her of the evil but Ariel, in her matter a fact way goes against her fathers’ leading. After the destruction of all of Ariel’s pride possessions that crushes her, she rebelliously seeks the sea witch, Ursula. Ariel makes a deal with Ursula to have her transform her into a human for three days in exchange for Ariel’s voice. Within these three days, Ariel must receive the “kiss of true love” from Prince Eric. If Ariel gets Eric to kiss her, she will remain a human permanently. Otherwise, she will transform back into a mermaid and belong to Ursula. Seems doable, but you and I know that if you make a deal with the devil it probably won’t pan out the way we’d hope.

As fate would have it, on the third day Ariel is too late and Ursula wins. She now owns Ariel however, King Triton intervenes and initially tries to destroy the agreement, but to his surprise, Ariel signed a binding contract with Ursula. Ursula however, was willing to breach contract if the King would sacrifice his life for Ariel’s. In true fatherly love, King Triton, without hesitation give his life for his daughter.

A striking truth of Fatherly love or in this case, fatherly merman love is represented in this great exchange. Cheesy, I know. This Fatherly Love is one many of you may not identify with in terms of your earthly father. You may have grown up without a father. You may have grown up with a father that represents everything but what a father is. Your earthly father may have willingly given you up to the sea witch and gladly live his life without a care for you. Your earthly father may have lost his life. I don’t know what representation you have for a father, but what I do know is that while earthly fathers may not be the greatest, and while we may greive over the lost of this fatherly love you and I have a Father that represents and encompasses true love; an everlating and unconditional love. He has lived and forever will live. Like King Triton, He gave up his life for you and I so that you and I can truly live. While we may be like Ariel, rebellious, difficult and stubborn in our own lust of life and love making deals with the devil, our King, our Father, traded His life in order for us to no longer be captives.

Philippians 2 talks about what this Father of ours did. In His triune nature, he,

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likenes. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! (6-8)

Making deal with the devil only leads to our demise. Dabling in sin, entertaining sin, condoning sin only leads to death. We see that time and time but in our lustful nature we tend to forget what we exchange for the quick fix and earthly gratification. Sin is nice. I will admit, but the consequences of sin is not so nice. It scars, it wounds, it destroys and it kills. Jesus however, He came to separate us from sin. He gave himself up as atonement, the greatest sacrifice in order for us to live clean and pure. This Fatherly love represents what love is. Love that sacrifices and cares deeper than earthly words can express and human minds can grasp in understanding.

This Fatherly love is readily accessible to you and I. All it takes is our hearts; a great exchange of our hearts tugging to the world and giving it up to a Father that is true and good. So my question to you is my dear friend, Ariel…. did you make a deal with the sea witch? Are you deep in sin drowning and grasping to escape? Your Father, your savior, whose name is Jesus is not out of reach. If you call on Him, he will and desires to save you. I plea to you… surrender.


Politics aside…

It infuriates me. It angers me that darkness animates you. It animates me. It animates and gratifies this human race. We are cold. We have dark cold timid souls that lack discernment required in knowing when to speak and when to listen. Hardened hearts that fail to see the selfishness within as we are consumed by our personal rightness, and personal angst that is solely rooted in political rightness.

Whenever tragedy strikes we are quick to point our rightness of whom we “believed” would have done better as our leader. We don’t stop and pray. We don’t grieve with those who grieve. We don’t try to find ways to help the wounded. Rather, we shout our rightness. Our rightness is all that matters. Not families who have lost loved ones. Not men and women wounded. Not the church crumbling to pieces. Rather, it’s our rightness we hold on to. Hope is confused with political rightness. Our version of compassion is found in the “funny” memes we post as we rant of the current president condemning his leadership all while we bow down to another man who is neither God nor our savior. Screaming your political rightness at the wounded does nothing other than reveal the calloused nature of humans who are consumed by their own life that they cannot feel for others. 

Our knee jerk reaction is not to fall on our knees and pray for those hurting. Rather we choose a side. We boast how right we are oblivious to those wounded. We become children with tongues sticking out teasing the wounded who have fallen. We’ve become monsters who spit on those who chose to vote differently than we have. We are Christians who boast about the God we serve with one mouth all while we condemn, ridicule and mock the very people we are charged to love. Politics has become our god. Being right has become our god. We’ve lost it. We’ve lost it entirely.

Screaming your political rightness at the wounded does nothing other than reveal the calloused nature of humans who are consumed by their own life that they cannot feel for others…

I will end with this. As angry as I am with myself and my fellow believers, when man is persecuted and wounded fight the urge to pick a side. While I am neither condoning or supporting the currently political office, fight the urge to blame and point fingers. Fight the urge to walk with a hardened heart. There’s nothing new under the sun. What is happening should never come as a surprise. Rather, this is a fulfillment of what’s been warned to us in the Old Testament and what Jesus himself said would happen as a fulfillment of prophesy. Whoever makes himself a willing vessel for the doing of evil, will be used. And whoever makes himself a willing vessel for the doing of good, will likewise be used.

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Matthew 24:6-8

Politics aside, EXTEND HELP. Politics aside, HAVE MERCY. Politics aside, PRAY!


Letters to a victim

Dear you.

You are hurting. You feel alone. You are overwhelmed and exhausted. You are tired of carrying a shame that was never intended to be yours. You are tired of feeling the weight of your own insecurities. You are tired of feeling like you have no voice. You are tired of reliving the nightmare of your past. You feel as if there’s a demon taunting you inside corrupting your view on life. You are tired of pretending. You are tired of hiding behind your clothing, your talent, your education, your physic, or even your family. You are tired of running. You are tired of running away from whatever resembles the one that made you a victim. You run away from the smell, scenery, sound, and anything that reminds you of the day you were no longer known by your name. You are done. You are afraid. You call yourself a victim and by no other name.

Dear you.

You are beautiful. You are not alone. You have a family. Whether it be your biological or not, you have people. You have people longing to hug you and remind you of your worth. You have friends who while they are silent, are screaming internally for your breakthrough. You are not what you wear. You are not your talent. You are not your educational achievements or the lack thereof. You are not your physic, or even the linage you come from. You are worth far more. You are of strength. You are of courage. You need no longer run. You need no longer hide. You need no longer believe what keeps you up at night. You are free from the cold dark cage you’ve called home. Your heart is free. Your mind is free. You are neither dirty nor impure. You are not to be ashamed of and you are neither too difficult nor too far gone to love. You are bold. You have a voice. You are believed. You are free.

Dear you.

Running away is not the answer. A pill is not the answer. A bullet is not the answer. A leap is not the answer. You taking your life is never the answer.

Dear you.

This may be difficult to believe, but I know someone that loves you. I know someone that cares for you. I know someone that sees no flaws. I know someone that doesn’t see mistakes. I know someone whose love is neither impure nor corrupt. I know someone that hurts when you hurt. I know someone that grieves when you grieve. I know someone that will avenge you. I know someone that wants to heal you. I know someone that can take away all the pain. I know someone that can turn your trauma into triumph. I know someone that is perfect and pure. I know someone that is of joy and mercy. I know someone that can give you life once more. I know someone that can give you a gift far greater than gold and far sweater than honey from its honeycomb. I know someone that knows you by your name and knows you for your worth. I know someone whose love for you is unconditional and requires only one thing; submission. A submission that is pure and true. I know someone that knows you not as a victim, rather as a victor. He calls you free, a conqueror, thoroughly whole and pure.

Dear you.

It is hard to trust. It is hard to be vulnerable. It is hard to believe that there is more to life. It is hard to believe that there is good. It is hard to believe that you can be healed. It is hard to believe you can be whole. It is hard to believe you can no longer be a victim. It is all hard to believe.

Dear you.

Believe with me. Believe there is hope. Believe there is truth. Believe there is life. Believe with me. Believe. Have Faith. With the same assurance you have there is no good, believe there is good. Believe there is life. Believe you are free. Believe you are whole. Believe you are not alone. Believe it with me, because… YOU ARE! He said you are. He said I am. He says it, now. He says you are no longer a victim. He says you are no longer a slave. He says you are healed. He says you are chosen. He says you are free. He says you are pure. He says you have a purpose. He says your life matters. He says He loves you. He says you are!

Dear you.

His name is Jesus.


Selective Compassion

If someone died from a DUI, suicide, drug overdose, or death sentence, do you have compassion for the individual or family affected by that loss? Often I find that we don’t. We compartmentalize “death” or grieving for that matter. We’ve unknowing placed in two categorize what we should extend compassion towards and what we should spit on. I call this, selective compassion.

I was in elementary school when I first encountered the messy side of compassion. A classmate of mine committed suicide. I remember when I first found out he had died, it shocked my entire class. Many cried and others simply lost for words. When we found out how he died, the atmosphere shifted. It seemed that grieving was no longer necessary and the compassion that was initially there instantaneously evaporated as judgment took place.

We have selective compassion. We will grieve with those who are hurting if it fits our definition where compassion is necessary. Rather than having compassion over those who die from DUI, suicide, drug overdoes, or even the death sentence, we spit on them with our words and calloused hearts. We say things like “well they asked for it,” “that’s what they get,” “good riddance,” and the list goes on. We’ve said to ourselves that their lives don’t matter and their hurting families just the same. While in most cases, it was their lifestyle choices that led them to their demise, it doesn’t remove the urgency for compassion. It doesn’t remove the reality that their lives and the life of their family matter. It doesn’t remove the obligation we have as Christians to love no matter the circumstances. Compassion should never be selective.

Christians are the biggest hypocrites when it comes to showing compassion. We expect to see the Kingdom of God grow however, we reserve compassion for those who we say are good and suffering. On the other hand, we rejoice or are not even phased when someone who sinned or lived in sin suffers or dies. We are quick to cast judgment and in our judgment, we’ve played the role of god determining who deserves compassion and who doesn’t.

In Luke 10:30-35, we read the story of the Good Samaritan. If you aren’t familiar with the parable, here you go:

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him...

We aren’t really told much about the man who got robbed. We aren’t told if he was an alcoholic, rapist, or killer. We aren’t told if he was a man of high status or wealth. We aren’t even told of his skin color. We are simply told, he was coming from Jerico, was robbed, stripped, and beaten. We see that neither the priest nor the Levite helped the man from Jericho. You would think that of anyone who should help and have some form of compassion, it would be one of those men. But they didn’t. Matter-a-fact, they chose to walk on the other side of the road ignoring the man in need. They had no compassion yet called themselves men of God. The most unlikely person, a Samaritan who people were not entirely fond of back then, was the one that helped. The [Good] Samaritan did not require an explanation to extend compassion. He didn’t need first to hear the man from Jerico’s story or find out who he was before showing kindness. He simply saw someone in need and was moved with compassion.

In the New Testament, you will find that before Jesus performed miracles He was moved by compassion. Compassion [Kindess] is the catalyst for changed lives. But we’ve missed it. We say we want all to come to know Christ, only if they fit our image of who belongs in Heaven. We walk around patting ourselves on the back. We praise how great we are as Christians, yet we neglect to see the plank in our eyes as we judge the speck in others.

Am I saying that compassion translates to agreeing with the lifestyle choices and decisions of others? No. Absolutely not. What I am saying is that you and I are called to have compassion towards the beggar, the bruised, broken, divorced, suicidal, addict, criminal, and the like. Why compassion? Because in compassion, we remove any grounds of judgment. In compassion, we translate the gospel message that all needs hope. In compassion, is where the catalyst for changed hearts becomes accessible.

Compassion doesn’t agree with the sin or wrong done. Compassion says you are still loved despite the wrong you’ve done. Compassion doesn’t remove the consequences that come with sin. Rather, compassion says in the consequences your life is not over, there is still hope. Compassion is simply and magnificently the heart of God.


Don’t waste your breath.

I’ve written about criticism a number of times now. A lot of what I’ve written is encouraging you, the reader, to be mindful of how you critique and how you receive critique. This blog however is about our exchange for criticism that cost nothing.

I was listening to a webinar with Jon Acuff and he shares that our exchange for criticism that costs nothing is vital. What exactly are criticisms that cost nothing? For starters, they are the hate comments we receive whenever we post a picture or share an idea. The criticisms that cost nothing are those that took little effort from the one doing the critique. Criticisms that cost nothing are the ones that stem purely from jealousy, envy, and pride. These types of criticisms that took little effort from the critic are the ones we tend to waste our breath on.

Criticism that costs nothing, is worth nothing.

-Jon Acuff

Too often our exchange for cheap criticism is all wasting our breath. We defend and plead our case to no avail. Why? To simply prove a point or to make ourselves appear we know what we’re doing? Here’s a pro tip, don’t waste your breath. What I’ve learned is, someone’s 10-second comment does not require a 10-minute response. That’s not a fair trade. A critique that took little effort and was neither constructive nor uplifting does not require me pleading my case. That position is neither arrogant nor pompous. It’s simply being wise with your exchange of time. Time is too precious to waste your breath on cheap criticism.

Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue. - Proverbs 11:12

Solomon, the author of Proverbs, was known for his wisdom. He is often recognized for his understanding of the world. In Proverbs 11:12 Solomon eloquently encourages readers to hold their tongue.

Let’s first take a look at what the first half of Proverbs 11:12 is saying; specifically, the word derides. According to Google, it means to express contempt for; ridicule. Synonyms that fall into the same word group as derides are, insult, taunt, ridicule, mock, torment, and the list goes on. Now let’s get back to the verse. It can be read, Whoever [insults, taunt, ridicule, mock, torment] has no sense. So your neighbor who’s your friend, family, co-worker, social media follower, or even a bystander, when they insult, taunt, ridicule, mock, or torment you has no sense. That’s not to say they are dull rather the place from which they speak isn’t one of value.

While it’s easy to simply focus on the first half of Proverbs 11:12, don’t be quick to bask simply in that. The real meat is found in the second half. Solomon charges those who read his work or the one who has understanding, to hold their tongue. The key is our response to cheap criticism. When we hold our tongues and waste not our breath, that shows understanding. That shows maturity. That shows our understanding in first, who God says we are, and secondly, that which we know we are called to do.

People will always have something to say. Whether family or someone you’re meeting for the first time, they will always have something to say. And while in most cases, they mean well, you will find there are occasions where cheap criticism is given more than ones that matter. If you find yourself surrounded by 10-second, half thought-through criticism, don’t waste your breath with a response. Hold your tongue and keep on with the goal you have set before you. It’s not a fair exchange to give 10 minutes of your time to a 10-second comment. It’s not worth your breath to beat a dead horse. Often those that deride are jealous, envious, and prideful which can translate to hearts that are dead to see good. Don’t waste your breath. Hold your tongue and keep on keeping on.

Criticism that costs nothing, is worth nothing.

-Jon Acuff

If you cannot be a missionary in your backyard, what’s the point of going overseas?

I love missions. I love that we’ve been given a commission; a spiritual assignment here on earth. I love that before Jesus left He trusted us with going into the world to share a good news (thee Good News) that can save the worst of sinners and can set free those captive for years. What a gift and privilege we’ve been given! Far too often however, we have misunderstood missions as a foreign journey. We sojourn to nations outside of our norm. We engage in cultures far different from ours. We learn a language that is different from what we were born into. For what? Because we say, we are called to missions.

I grew up in a country far different from the one I hold nationality in. I grew up in a country where the Caribbean Sea was a stones throw from my bedroom window. I grew up hearing the familiar sound of steel pan playing in celebration primarily in the months of September and November. I grew up knowing not fast-food and bigbox stores, rather shops around each corner with island time programed on every mans watch. I grew up with houses all shapes and sizes painted every color of the rainbow and some. I grew up knowing wealth and knowing poverty. I grew up in what many of today’s American call their mission field.

I’ve been overseas a number of times. While I don’t hold the “calling” of full-time assignment in a particular nation or people group, I know my mission field is exactly where I am. I know my mission field is my backyard. I was maybe 6 years old when I learned this on my first missions trip. At the time I thought it silly the church was calling it a “missions trip.” Where we were going wasn’t even an hour away from where I lived. It wasn’t anywhere fancy like Africa or a Roman province. My family hosted American missionaries who told stories about the marvelous places they’ve been. That was missions wasn’t it? Getting on a plane and going somewhere you have little context of. Boy was a wrong.

My mom signed herself along with my brothers and I to go with the church to spend a week with a Minnonite community. It was a little town just south of where we lived. We were broken up into different teams and each team stayed with a Minnonite host family. The host family I was with had a daughter my age and a son one of my brothers age. We were told to do life with this family. We were told to fall into their routine and in doing so, be the light of Christ. I thought it silly, really. Why would these people who lived in my backyard need to know Jesus? There’s people in Africa, Asia, Eurpoe and beyond that needed Jesus. Not these people. So, I remained a recluse. I did as I was told but with heavy hesitation all while Miriam, the girl my age, graciously hosted me in her home trying for me to become her friend.

I wanted real missions. This trip down south really wasn’t fulfilling anything. At least that’s what I thought. To my surprise, by the end of my time with my Minnonite host family, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to talk about Jesus more with my friend Miriam. I wanted to continue feeding the chickens in the morning with her and going off by the pond picking wild berries as we share stories of what it’s like in our home. I wanted to continue sharing stories I learned in Sunday school and develotionals I had with my family. It was on the drive back to my normal life did I realize that missions was too often glorified as a trip in the great beyond. A lie I had believed with great conviction when in truth, missions was my neighbor. It’s my backyard. It’s the lonely girl sitting in her familiar stop each Sunday at church. It’s the lady at the casheir who’s just not having it. Missions are the people I encounter at business shows I attend with my husband. They are my family who know not Christ. Missions, is all around.

Before leaving earth, Jesus told His disciples,

Then Jesus came to them [those who followed Him] and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” - Matthew 28:16-20

Go was never about a specific location. Too often we are wrapped up in a destination that we miss the, now. We miss the opportunities and God moments where disciple making is right before us. Too often we are wrapped up in the title of “missionary” that we dare not witness the name of Christ because it’s far too uncomfortable and besides, someone else will do it who has the title to do so. Too often we shy away from making friends with someone in our backyard because that’s too easy. We tell ourselves, they are not the people we are called to witness to. Too often, we have failed to see that missions was never about us. It was never about a location. Rather, it was always about the gospel message of hope and redemption being made know through the name of Jesus to every people group.

To my missionary friends overseas and local. Keep doing the work of Christ. Keep proclaiming the name of Jesus and finding unique and creative ways to bring those lost to Christ. What you do is needed. Your calling is one divine by Christ; a soldier is this spiritual war.

To those who who are eager to be on the field, I ask just one question, have you first made missions your backyard? Because if you cannot make your backyard your mission field, what’s the point of going overseas?

You will find that your neighbor while may look like you and share some similarities, has stories of their own. You will find, that there are people sitting in your row at church in desparte need of a friend. You will find people at work and in your passing, are lost too. So before you hop on plane and travel to the great beyond, know that the nation we are called to share the gospel message, is where we currently are.


Sin – Not an opinion.

If the Bible calls it a sin. Our opinion doesn’t matter.


To some, that phrase may come across as a tad bit abrasive. I don’t believe the intent of the statement was to shut down personal opinions. It doesn’t mean your opinion is of no value. Rather, it’s more challenging the nature within us that tends to bend the truth in order to fit how we think or the lifestyle we choose to engage in. If the Bible calls it a sin, it’s a sin. Our opinion, while important, doesn’t remove the basis of what is sin.

Christian or not, we all do it. We find ways to justify how we choose to speak and live. We try to bend the gospel message or moral code in order to help us feel a little better about ourselves. We tell ourselves why what we say and do is justified. We become tremendously callused in the heart that we tell ourselves and anyone that challenges us that we owe no one an apology for how we choose to live. Christians in particular are quick to bend scripture. We pick and choose verses to side with our belief system. Ultimately, we are quick to hold others accountable, but when we are placed in the spotlight of scrutiny, we dare not be questioned or challenged.

Sin is not an opinion. Sin is understood from the foundation of the earth as a way of living that opposes the nature of truth. Today, sin is masked behind what looks good. It’s actually advertised as pretty and safe. It’s more enticing and appears harmless when in actuality is deadly. I believe it is safe to say that Christian or not, you and I both know what sin is. You and I both know the difference between right and wrong. Either way, aside from sin that’s understood and does not require gospel knowledge to know the difference, there are seven specific sins that are considered, deadly.

These seven deadly sins are known as lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. This comes from Proverbs 6:16-19. Why exactly are these specific sins considered deadly? For starters, each deadly sin stems from a desire for more and the human want for excess. Now there’s nothing wrong with having “more”, but in each of these sins, an idol is created. God is no longer God, rather the grip each sin has on us becomes the new god. These sin opposes and rejects the root of Christianity that is built on love for God, love for others, and love for our bodies. These sins solely focus on self and when self is the focus we, in turn, make ourselves the god.

So, how exactly do we defeat these deadly sins? In order to defeat we must understand what cures…

Virtue cures lust. Virtue that bleeds morality that temptation when it comes, has no bearing. 
Abstinence cures gluttony. Abstinence is self-restraint. It's a strong mind that says no when everything within says, yes. 
Liberty cures greed. That is, confidence or even independence to no longer depend on things to satisfy needs, rather being content with what you have.  
Diligence cures sloth. Diligence is zeal and passion that can only be found when God enlightens and reveals our purpose.
Patience cures wrath. Patience extends grace and mercy. Patience isn't easily angered or disturbed. Rather, patience walks in a manner of love that often cannot be understood. 
Kindness cures envy. In kindness we learn to extend joy for others versus jealousy and a hardened heart. Kindness sees the good and lives the good.
Lastly, humility cures pride. A humbly living shifts attention from self to first Christ and then others. Humility literally means low and in living low it is dying to self.

Sin is not an opinion. The reality is, whether we like it or not, sin places us in a death trap. Our mind and heart space become detrimental when we allow any of the seven sins to have a place in our lives. Lust leaves us wanting more and will do whatever it takes to have more even if it means violating our bodies or someone elses. Gluttony keeps us dependent on food that appears to fill avoid when we turn right back to it each day because the void was never filled. Greed keeps us hungry for what we don’t have and fights even if it’s to tear others down to get there. Sloth keeps us living the same day each day for years. We have no drive to become and be. Wrath controls our hearts and mouth. It tarnishes our character and only brings out the worse inside of us. Envy has no friends. Envy remains the rut of insecurities and shame for the lack of want. And then there’s pride. Pride is found in each deadly sin. Pride never asks for help. Pride cannot admit when wrong. Pride cannot see the need for change within. Pride remains and pretends until all it can do rot in its stronghold grip.

There’s a reason why God referred to lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride as deadly sins. Each of these removes God and places itself as the god. Each of these opens the door of experimentation that it becomes easier and easier to lose ourselves. Each of these draws us further away from dependence on God to dependence on the sins to gratify our wants and needs.

I will leave you with this. Of these deadly sins, have you noticed any in your life that you have allowed your opinion to sway your conviction on it? Have you given any of these deadly sins a “pass”? Maybe you’ve convinced yourself your opinion holds more bearing than God’s truth?

I challenge you… be honest with yourself. Sin is not an opinion.


Living on crumbs

I love stories. All kinds. I especially love the kinds that paint a picture that is so detailed it’s as if you’re living it. Hansel and Gretel is one of those stories that just blows my mind away in the detail that’s presented in it’s narrative. It’s honestly surprising this “little” story is considered a bedtime story considering its plot. Before I get to the details of Hansel and Gretel, here’s a little back story on what’s believed to be the inspiration behind one of literatures favorite fairy-tale story.

In 1314, a great famine struck Europe. This led to mothers abandoning their children and in some cases, even ate them. Translated in over 160 different languages the story of Hansel and Gretel features darkness presented in child abandonment, attempted cannibalism, enslavement, and murder. So that’s what we have to work with here. A fairy tale story that’s not so cheerful and whose origin is founded on dare I say it, evil. Evil stemmed from hunger. Odd how hunger can lead us to do the darnest things. Survival of the fittest and in survival we will do whatever it takes, even if it’s the unthinkable and unimaginable. But that’s not what we are talking about today. We aren’t talking about hunger that stirs desperation. Today I want to talk about crumbs. Spiritual crumbs we’ve delightfully convinced ourselves we can live on.

In the story of Hansel and Gretel, we are told they are abandoned by their starving parents in the forest. After finding out their parents plan, both Hansel and Gretel find their way back home following a trail of stones Hansel cleverly left behind. Hansel and Gretel’s parents try a second time to abandon their children and this time was successful. Rather than using stones, Hansel drops breadcrumbs as place markers to make their way back home. The breadcrumbs didn’t work. Birds ate the breadcrumbs which resulted in both Hansel and Gretel lost in the forest.

Let’s pause there in the story. Hansel, traded stones for crumbs. He traded security for something that can easily wither away. He traded assurance for uncertainty. He traded stones for breadcrumbs.

Have you ever made a trade before and realized your trade wasn’t of equal value? Maybe it wasn’t even close to equal value. Your trade was greatly devalued and you ended up losing and had to pay the price for an unsuccessful trade. You may have ended up lost and confused at how you were so easily deceived to believe your trade would flop leaving you blindsided in embarrassment and maybe evil guilt.

Spiritual crumbs. Spiritual crumbs are the bits and pieces of Jesus we live on. It’s the going to church on Easter and Christmas only. It’s reading a scripture passage or verse only when we need some encouragement. It’s switching our radio station from what we normally have it tuned into to a Christian station when we need some inspiration. It’s saying a quick prayer only when we are in need. Spiritual crumbs are pieces of Jesus we settle for because commitment to all of who Jesus is, is too much. We want to be apart of Christianity, but only through crumbs; the bare minimum.

We read in the bible that God is our rock. He is our source of life and hope. Chapters upon chapters we read that God, our rock is all and everything we could ever need. Specifically, Jesus tells Peter in Matthew 16:18,

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Jesus wasn’t talking about a physical rock, rather Peter’s heart that was entirely engulfed in all of who Jesus is that laid the foundation for the church. This laid the foundation of Christianity. Christianity that’s built on the bread of life, not crumbs. Christianity that’s built on faith like a rock, not faith that’s crumbling. Christianity that’s built on truth, not partial truth.

The difference between spiritual crumbs and the rock of Christianity, is in times of despair, we are not lost and confused easily deceived. Rather, we can make our way back home because we’ve built our faith walk on the rock. On good ground. On soil with roots deep in the nature of Christ. Spiritual crumbs takes us through a wavering walk that keeps us at bay to who God is. Spiritual crumbs is faith that easily fades in times of despair. It’s the bare minimum that takes you to the bare minimum.

If you wouldn’t trade your Tesla truck for a 2000 Fiat 500, why would you trade all of who God is for cheap Christianity? Why live on crumbs when you can find life and truth in all of Christ? Because it’s easy? If we are willing to slave on earth of temporary things and invest time in things that are neither edifying or advancing who we are, why don’t we invest in a source that provides guaranteed hope, assurance and peace. A source that never fails.

I want to challenge you. You who have traded the rock for spiritual crumbs. It is not too late to make the great exchange. Unlike trades in life that we can’t easily undo, trading spiritual crumbs for the rock is one that can be done. In the story of Hansel and Gretel, while there’s much more to it’s plot, I want you who’s reading to remember that in this life journey we are on, we can either let stones place markers lead us home, or we can choose breadcrumbs that is easily eaten up and taken away. We get to choose. You and I get to choose.

Have you traded the rock for spiritual crumbs? Are you comfortably living uncomfortable, lost and cannot seem to find your way back home? I challenge you to trade those crumbs for Christ. I challenge you my friend, to trade spiritual crumbs for eternity found in full devotion to Jesus.