Write31: Lavish Hospitality (Day 1)

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Day 1

Day 2 

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Day 22

Day 23

Day 24

Day 25

Day 26

Day 27

Day 28

Day 29

Day 30

Every October comes around and there is group of women who set out to write a blog a day for the entire month.  Every year I try to do it, and every year I fail.

This year, I’m trying something new.  I’m working on a book (Lavish Hospitality) and want to use this space, this month, to work out the 31 short chapters of the book.

This is not going to be a book about food and blankets and setting up guest rooms.  Yes, partly, there will be some recipes and stuff like this.  But, hospitality is more than just setting a pretty table.

I want to “prepare a space for lavish grace”.  Here the the sub-headings:

To my heart.

To my husband.

To my children.

To my neighbors.

In my home.

In my church.

Grace was poured out lavishly on us.  We need to be ready to pour it out lavishly on others.

Hospitality has a southern ring to is.  You may think of cozy reading corners, mums in the Fall, tea and coffee, flowers and guest rooms.  It can be those things.  But, just because you have coffee set out doesn’t mean you have a welcoming home for others.

So, in the next 30 days I’m going to be sharing 30 quotes and thoughts on them.  These quotes will help me formulate thoughts on this topic, and I hope they will encourage you to practice lavish hospitality in your world.

How John Newton Changed my View on Grace

posted in: Books | 2

My Christ is sufficient

There are a lot of dead people who live on through their writings and teachings.  I’m so thankful for other people who study their lives and put together books that summarize their lives and their teachings on important truths of the Christian Life.  Crossway has been tackling a series that does this very thing, and Tony Reinke just released the book showcasing John Newton, former slave holder turned grace-filled Christian preacher.  (Thank you Crossway for this book in exchange for the review. Always a pleasure.)

The book is not primarily a biography, though I did learn a lot about Newton’s life that I didn’t know.  What more that Tony Reinke does is take a broad look at all of his writings, mostly found in letters to other people, and summarize to his readers what Newton believed and how he lived in light of that belief.

This was such an intriguing read to me because it was so applicable to my life as a mom and wife.  Some theology I find hard to incorporate into my daily life – but the grace of God – I need so much of it that I want it just to pour into my spirit.  As I read yesterday on an instagram photo – I want to empty my life of more stuff so that there is more room for Christ to overflow!

Anyway, I digress.  So, how did John Newton change my look at grace?  He (in a nutshell) said that Christ and grace were so intertwined that the two were pretty much inseparable.  And one day, a hot Sunday afternoon after a hard morning before church – one that my husband was working so he wouldn’t be home in the afternoon to help me play with them – I was so frazzled.  I wasn’t able to be in the service that morning either because I was serving in the preschool praise area.  When I got to my car there was a note scribbled on the back of our church’s bulletin.  Just a quick note from my husband (after we had recently talked about this Newton theme of grace).  It was so impactful that I still say it to myself now weeks later.

Here’s something to try.  In every verse or hymn…try replacing the word grace with Christ.

Amazing Christ, how sweet the sound.

Christ my fears relieved.

Christ will lead me home (all taken from Newton’s famous Amazing Grace hymn).

My Christ is sufficient for you

Christ, Christ, God’s Christ.

As Reinke pointed out sometimes grace is overused these days.  We refer to it as any show of kindness.  As “grace”filled Christians we should more tie our displays and life of grace to Christ rather than to just being nice.  When you show grace to a neighbor – let it be because Christ is compelling you – and share Christ with them.

For me, I need Christ to overflow into my parenting.  It isn’t a want – it is a necessity.

And that’s why I love saturating my mind with good, gospel-centered books.

Thoughts and Quotes on Grace Transforming (Ryken/Crossway)

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Grace TransformingOver the years, I’ve learned that I absolutely love books that have been compiled of sermons.  My love for them started with Piper’s Swan series, and has continued – especially since I can’t make every conference but I can always buy a book that has the talks transcribed to fit between the covers.  It is a helpful ministry to put these talks together for those who can’t attend, but would like to reap the benefits of the talks.

Wheaton College is an amazing romantic place to me.  I’ve only been twice, but the moment I stepped foot on the campus outside of Chicago, IL – I was filled with a since of awe as I knew the likes of the Elliots and Pipers had attended there.  The snow was piled high on my first trip, and the quietness peaked an interest in my heart of that campus – which I still adore.  Now, with so many friends working in Wheaton or for the college, it still holds a dear place.  One of my current favorite preachers is now the president.  And while I can’t attend weekly chapel services, I can pick up the book of sermons on Grace that the President, Phil Ryken, preached to his students.

I’ve already reviewed the book, but now want to return to it and point you to some of my underlinings and notes:

Let me just tell you – it may be written for college students, but people in every avenue of life can glean from his sermons.  I mean, for me – what Mom and wife doesn’t need to revel in the grace of Christ on her behalf – especially in disciplining two toddlers and submitting to her husband (who is wonderful by the way)?

“One of the ways that grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness is by giving us a place to go with our sin and then offering us another chance to grow.” (58)  Man…I need this reminder daily.  How often we beat ourselves up if we yell at our children, pick a fight with our husband, or overeat, or have a messy house.  These things shouldn’t define us, but we need to step away from them and enter God’s gracious presence to receive healing and hope.

“Wanting people to think the est of us, we try to present ourselves to the world in the best possible light.  Yet most of us struggle with a deep sense of insecurity. Rather than feeling confident in our abilities, we live with the constant fear that we don’t measure up.” – Probably the most impactful quote in the entire book for me.  In a world of social media and my role as a SAHM – this cut to my weak and sinful heart.

“Is this any way for a person to talk who has received an absolute sufficiency of God’s abundant grace,” (81)  Especially, as I’m around my two toddlers who are learning to talk and see how I respond to life (especially Atlanta drivers and disappointments throughout our day – I want my speech to showcase God – not make my boys question my relationship with Him.

“We get discouraged by the burdens of our work and disheartened by the brokenness of our relationships.” (84)  This was indeed true this past weekend – when my pastor preached on parenting and I also learned that day of another marriage in trouble because of sin.  I wept for the hurt of those friends.  I was convicted by the way I don’t treasure the Word in my parenting like I should.  God’s grace is more.



W&BT #1: Name Above All Names Week 5

On the first page of this chapter in Begg’s and Ferguson’s book, Name Above All Names, I have scribbled, “this chapter resends hope to me on every page”.  What an encouraging page to head back to after having read it many weeks ago – especially on a day when my pregnancy hormones are crazy and it seems like every email or text I receive just hits me in the wrong way.  HOPE

Here are some thoughts from the chapter on Jesus: Son of Man:

1.  “We are struck by how deeply embedded some of their character traits seem to be” (pg 103). As a parent – do you wonder what traits you are passing to your children?  I think about that often now that I have two loveable boys of our own.  My husband often says that is one of the hardest jobs in parenting: seeing your sin looking back at you.  I think my parents did a good job of raising me – but as an adult I see where some of my traits come from and it is scary to think that I too could pass on some less than desirable or Godly traits to my boys.  This is where hope comes in.  God is a God of bringing hope and change into a family.  Just because your family is one way doesn’t mean that those traits and cycles have to continue to the next generation.  Sebastian’s life verse ends in hope for the children in the coming generation – the good of the Lord (Jer 32:39)  Do you parent or live like there is hope in breaking the sin cycle in your family?

2.  “The kingdom of God will overwhelm all other kingdoms.  The Kingdom of God will be established and will endure forevermore” (pg 105).  I already dislike seeing ads for the Presidential race in 2016.  Good that a new president will be coming either way, but not looking forward to the next 2+ years where the backbiting and slander will happen everywhere.  And when the bad news comes on the news or as I watch previews for certain coming shows or movies – previews that revel in betrayal, sin, murder, affairs – I know that God is still on His throne and He will make all things right in His time.  That brings me hope.

3.  “The Son of Man is coming to the source of ultimate authority.  It resides exclusively in the Ancient of Days, who is seated on the throne.” (pg 107).  I’ve learned recently from Rob Rienow that any question of sin or dysfunction in this life is really a question of authority.  Who is the ultimate authority in your life?  Who is the ultimate authority in this world?  If our answer is not God – we are wrong.  Some will think and say and live and believe that they are their ultimate source of authority – but God created and gave life to everyone of us, so He is our ultimate authority.  That is very hope-giving to me.

4.  “The remarkable thing about this picture of Jesus is that He is never isolated from His people” (pg 108).  I’ve actually thought much about this in light of some of the “suffering” and tears I’ve had over the last two months.  Not all of my tears are hormone related.  And one of the things that brings me the most comfort is that Jesus suffered.  He had people slander him.  Yet He believed and taught and lived truth and was planted firmly in the hand of God His Father.  This brings me hope when I am going through trials.

5.  “Kingdom grace brings more than forgiveness.  It brings freedom from the powers of darkness and restoration to new life” (pg 118).  My husband would probably like me to frame that quote.  It was probably one of the most powerful in this whole book to me.  Grace is the only thing that sets us free from the tyranny of listening to others, or repeating harmful lies to ourselves, by letting others’ thoughts control us, or by living in destructive habits that control our lives.  Walk in light.  Dwell in freedom.