Evil, Evangelism And Halloween…

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I wrote about this topic a few years ago, but I figured I would repost it with some changes.

It’s that time of year again and for that reason, we must talk about it.

Lets face it, evil is celebrated at Halloween. How do we know this for sure? Just walk into your local department store and stroll through the seasonal aisle.

Recently my son and daughter were traumatized by the decapitated hand springing from a witch’s cauldron at our local Wal-Mart. They also cowered in fear at the gigantic blow up evil cat and moving witch’s legs prominently placed on display at Home Depot. Last year our neighbor flung bloodied limbs all over his lawn. How welcoming.

Get as gruesome, creepy and foul in your decoration and you’ve won at Halloween.

Our culture is fascinated with this stuff. With death. Like a moth to a flame we gravitate to wicked things. Our sinful heart’s desire it. And once October rolls around our filthy and evil thoughts are allowed and encouraged to come out and play. It’s a celebration, no matter how you slice it.

As Christians it is important to thoughtfully think through this tradition. And even more so when we have kids who will probably participate in the festivities of Halloween in some way. There is much positive and negative history involved, so we have to dig and ask ourselves most importantly what does the Word say on these matters? What does our conscience say? And what does the culture say?

Both Chris and I participated in Halloween trick-or-treating growing up. My mom created one boundary for my sisters and I, which was we weren’t allowed to dress as anything evil. So, I was a hobo for a couple of years and then a cat for about 5 in a row.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ~ Romans 12:2

What does this mean for us on Halloween?

The easiest way to be conformed to the world is by letting everything it whispers wash over us without any thought or care. If we never think about the importance of having a biblical worldview, we will inevitably begin to reflect the world and culture around us. If we want to live unthoughtfully, we will live unbiblically.

Stop. Think. Look at it all objectively.

Many Christians get frustrated with this conversation in the name of evangelism. They say oh why are we making a big deal of it? We can meet and evangelise our neighbors. Stop worrying about. Most of this thinking I agree with, until the part about evangelizing never actually happens. At the end of the day many of these people never have any intention of talking to their neighbors about Jesus.

And I’m not saying we all have to. Unless of course you say your going to.

But there is evangelism (sharing the good news about Christ’s death and resurrection) and there is simply engaging your neighbors lovingly in the hopes that conversation happens in due time. Both good things, but different things.

I agree that participating in Halloween is a fantastic way to engage neighbors. It is a great way to open your door to family after family after family and show them that you are a safe place. That your home will not give children nightmares. You can meet and chat and learn names and shake hands. It is always our hope to start conversations and bring peace with us as we do it.

My family will be participating in Halloween, without celebrating evil or ignoring that it exists. My kids will dress up (in non-evil costumes) and go door to door collecting free candy. We will also give out free candy to anyone who knocks. And we hope that there will be people met and relationships built.

And our desire is to try to redeem a broken culture. Which means we have to start thinking deeply about it and then respond intentionally.

However while Chris and I have thought through our decision to play a part in the Halloween tradition and have come to a specific conclusion on how to manage that. I do not want to minimize other Christians who may have decided they will not be part of it. There concerns are legitimate. And if their conscience will not allow them to participate, I would never want to mock them, get frustrated or persuade them otherwise. Scripture is clear on this.

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. ~ Romans 14:13-14

In this way I want to be sensitive to my Christian brothers and sisters who in thinking over this issue have come up with a different understanding then us. And they are perfectly entitled to do what they feel is right.

So…don’t have an opinion about Halloween? Learn and think about it. And then get one. It does matter. And regardless of your opinions,  it certainly is a hefty reminder for all of us to pray for our neighborhoods.

God, make your glory be known this Halloween!

Posted in Christian Living, Culture | 4 Comments

Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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Adventures Of A Church Introvert: This is funny. I’m pretty used to this at church now, but this is how I used to feel many moons ago. Cute.

When Our Theology Stifles Our Compassion: Yes!! The training in systematic theology and hermeneutics we have is valuable, in terms of ministering the Scriptures to people who seek answers. Yet, there are times, if we are not careful, when our “sound doctrine” may sound like a clanging cymbal, and push hurting believers away. 

Artwork From kids: Lucy is in this stage. All she does is scribble on a page and then hands it to me so that I will display it on our Art Cork Board. The cork board is getting crowded. This is funny.

Standing Ovation: Sergeant Kevin Vickers walks into Parliament like any other day. Only this time he is a hero and gets a much deserved standing ovation for killing the man responsible for the death of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. My heart goes out to the Cpl. family!

A Lesson In Friendship: I know, I know, I know…Oprah? Super Soul Sunday? Really? Just give it a watch for some tips on how to be a friend. I was challenged with what Brene had to say. However I do have to give a warning, cause Oprah takes a piece of Scripture WAY out of context at the end (no surprise there) so please ignore that part. I also don’t like the whole “It’s an honor to hear my shame story” which is a type of pride none of us need in our lives, so ignore that too. Just listen to the ways we can better show up for our friends, especially in times of sin and need. I wanna do better at being the kind of friend people can be vulnerable with. That’s my goal.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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Houston, We Have A Constitution: I really can’t believe this. We all knew this would probably start happening sometime in the future, but unfortunately the future is now.

Sex And The Single Woman: This is a great article that shouldn’t just be read by single people. It lets us all peer into the joy and struggle of living single. I have so many beautiful, single women friends, and this helps me understand just a little bit.

The Bible Is For Women Too: I had the pleasure of being published on the Aquila Report again. Make sure to check out this website for all kinds of helpful articles!

Rend Collective – My Lighthouse: It’s a fun song.

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The Bible Is For Women Too…

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I am not a you-go-girl type. I also don’t wear perfume.

I’d rather be busy in the kitchen making pie then eating that pie sitting in a women’s church group. That may be because all of my women’s ministries experiences have included standing in a group of you-go-girl type woman, being overcome by a hundred different brands of perfume and feeling really uncomfortable.

Is it just me or do most Church Women’s meetings have a tendency to be centered around topical, Esther-based, introspective, devotional, self-focused, motherhood/wife-directed, encouragement driven studies only.

Let me back up, before I offend every person in my gender.

I am not anti-woman or anti-women’s ministry. If you love going to Woman Of Faith Conferences and you even shout you-go-girl occasionally, and your favorite book is Breaking Free by Beth Moore…God bless you! None of those things are wrong. Even wearing too much perfume can be over-looked.

What I am writing about today is that most Women’s groups in the church seem to be built for a certain brand of woman. The focus is narrow and because of that, women are most certainly falling through the cracks. And the crack-falling women tend to be the ones who don’t fit in with the current topic being studied. Like the infertile ones. Or the single ones. The new-believer ladies or the young and slightly cynical ones (like me). We have no place. And some of us really want a place.

Yet there is one thing that could easily bring us all together. One thing that would allow us all to rub shoulders, stand side by side and learn and grow as a group. Surprise…that one thing is the Bible.

Unfortunately, it’s missing.

Why is this?

I am a happy complementarian woman. And I believe strongly in male sacrificial, Bible-based leadership in the home and church. I desire for my male lead pastor to exercise authority by opening the Word every Sunday morning for the edification of the church. I want him to teach and admonish us with the Word of God in that setting. It is the one thing that brings all us men and women misfits together.

It is a good thing.

So why are women so timid to do the same thing when we are in a group together? Why do we feel the need to rely on the author of a devotional book to do that for us? Why is it that topical series on things like motherhood or releasing your inner Esther or breaking free from the mundane or becoming a wife of prayer are more important than the simple study of Scripture.

I’m not saying those topic’s aren’t good, relevant or important. They are. It’s just that scripture handles all of them. I’m also not saying that we should never ever study a topic or Christian book together. What I am saying, however, is a Christian book should be studied along side scripture and a topical study should not be the pre-dominant practice.

Studying God’s Word together as women unites us from all walks of life, all personalities, and all age groups. It is the way it should be. With all our differences we really need each other.

Women, we need the Holy Word. We need it more than ever in the history of the church.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ~ Romans 12:2

There is a crisis of identity for women today. Our culture screams at us convoluted, confusing and contradictory messages about who we are and what our purpose is. We breathe in those messages every single day. We need help to discern what is good and pure. We need each other for support when the noise in our heads overcome us. We need the Word to fill and abide in us as we do life together.

I pray there will be a renewal in the church in regards to ministry to women. The focus must change, because the Bible isn’t just a man thing.

It’s for women too.

Posted in Christian Living, Ministry, Womanhood | 8 Comments

Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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Be Yourself In Prayer: Yes!! We are all guilty of changing a bit when it comes time to pray, so this is just a helpful guide for all of us.

Husbands, Hold Your Wife’s Hand: Well this made me pretty teary-eyed. And I just love what he says so much. Read this one!

Living With Ebola In West Africa: If you haven’t already been praying for those suffering with this disease, let these pictures push you to start! These are people, not just numbers.

The Book With No Picture – B.J Novak: I’ve got to get my hands on this book. What a genius idea. My kids would absolutely love it!

And a very happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadian readers! I will be partaking of some turkey tonight, tomorrow and next Sunday! Let the fun begin!

thanks

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Picture Of The Week…

Wow I haven’t done this in a very long time! It’s a mixture of being too busy to keep up with it and not taking as many pictures as I used to. This time I actually have some material! We went to the pumpkin patch last Saturday and I just couldn’t resist getting a family shot up against this beautiful red barn!

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Happy Friday! And I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Posted in Picture Of The Week | 2 Comments

Faithfulness Over Ease; The Joyful Call Of The Christian…

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Can you imagine receiving this letter from a man who wants to marry your daughter?

I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall rebound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?

I can’t imagine.

Adoniram Judson and his wife Ann would be the first missionaries to leave America and sail to Burma on February 17th, 1812, after being married for 12 days. They spent all there living days serving the people of Burma and teaching them about the grace of Christ.

But first a daddy had to release his daughter. And thank God he did.

I heard it be said that family can be one of the biggest road blocks to missions work. And this letter makes me understand why.

I’ve always prayed that my children will understand the Christian call to be missionaries, whether at home or in another country. But after reading this letter I am reminded of what that truly means. And I am tempted now to pray for them to be called to the safe local kind of missions. But that would be my flesh talking.

Truth be told, no missions work is safe.

Lately I have been challenged in the way of evangelism and the great commission. God has not yet called my family to another land, but he most certainly has called us to be ministers of the Good News here. Right where I am now. It would seem like we are currently doing this job given the fact that my husband is a pastor and we serve the local church.

The truth is though, that I know I could be doing more. I know that I rely on the work of my husband. Yes I am training and raising little people and that job is indeed an important task. But where else am I reflecting the urgency of the gospel? Where am I relaxing a little too much? Where has the comforts of Canada made me forget the great commission?

God does not call us to ease, but to faithful joy. ~ John Piper

The Judson’s knew very well the kind of hardships they would likely face. And yet they packed up and hopped on a boat. Fear didn’t hold them back and neither did their love for the contentment of America. The gospel sent them. The truth of the saving grace of Christ and the knowledge that hell awaits those who do not accept that grace, made them jump off that boat and trudge through truly uncharted territory.

They knew that joy comes through faithfulness, not a false sense of safety. They ignored the tidal wave of Satan-induced reasons why they shouldn’t go. Then they trudged boldly into impending suffering, because there hope was in heaven…not here.

My heart is pierced with conviction.

This is the call for all of us. We can get on a plane or we can walk down the street. We can start a Bible study group or we can invite a neighbor for dinner. But we can do something! And we have to do something! Because hell is real, but so is Jesus. And all Satan wants is the complacency of blessing that plagues the Western church to continue until we all destroy ourselves.

He wants us to be too busy, too scared, too self-involved, too tired and too entertained to care.

So if you want to light a fire under your butt for the work of Christ? Just read a missionary biography. Better yet, read the words of Christ.

“The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” ~Matthew 13:41-42, 49-50

 Then Jesus came to them 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

What will we do with the precious time we have been given? What will I do? Will I allow Satan to stop me? Or will I trudge boldly into uncharted territories, knowing my hope is in Heaven?

Let’s do something.

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