Monday, April 30, 2012


The other night I felt as though I'd been found guilty! I wasn't on trial and there are no court cases in my future. The story I heard didn't involve me, but in my heart I knew...I am guilty.

Let me explain...I heard a guy, Ricky, share a story from his past - there was a boy in his class, let's call him Bob and Bob really didn't fit in. He wasn't an athlete, he wasn't into speech and he didn't excel in the classroom and really he didn't have any friends. But one day Bob said Ricky was his best friend because Ricky was nice.

Ricky told the story a different way, "I wasn't nice to him...I just wasn't mean to him." There is a difference you know!! Time went by, the young men graduated and went there separate ways...Ricky continued his walk into ministry and Bob journeyed on. His was a road filled with pain and despair lacking love and hope. Bob only traveled for a short time...eventually it all was too much and he took his life at the age of 19.

So back to Ricky, the guy Bob had called his best friend and the man I heard share this story 15 years later. This experience will forever be part of his story and fills him with passion see in the days that followed "Bob's" death, God convicted Ricky of the sin of complacency and the other night as I heard this story, He convicted me of it as well.

Friend, if you know Christ as your personal Lord and Savior like I do, we are called to share Him, the Good News and God's love with others. Not the people we choose to, not the ones who look like us or think the way we do, but the ones God puts on our path. We must be intentional. We need to remember there's always someone who needs to know Jesus. We can share with our hands, words and lives. Today I challenge you to do just that and take a few minutes and ask God to search your heart. Are you guilty of complacency? If the verdict is yes, what are you going to do about it?? I'd love to hear!

Perhaps you are reading this and are the "Bob" in my story...if so I want you to know God's led you to this post, so please keep reading, keep seeking. Friend I want you to know, I've been a "Bob"...I know life can leave us empty, hurt and afraid. Perhaps you feel alone, lost or without hope...will you hear me out today? Jesus is real. Listen to what He says, "Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

If you have questions feel free to email me at or leave a comment! I am praying for you and want you to know God loves you, sees you and He knows you!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Look at ME!!

A post from 2008 has come back to mind...I guess I needed to read it again. Maybe you do too...

This past June while attending the local county fair my brother-in-law came across a picture in a scrapbook from years ago. It was of me during my early high school days and as he showed his wife, my husband and children I was embarrassed.

Though everyone laughed, I hurt as I recalled many negative feelings associated with my looks. What really hurts is they haven’t entirely disappeared over the past 20 years. As a child and teen I was a tomboy who enjoyed sports and life on the farm much more than fashion, make-up and the latest hairstyles and my picture proved it.

The doubts on the outside weren’t the only ones I recalled as I took a look at who I once was - I recalled the insecurities as well. The picture brought back a statement I’ve said to myself quite often as I’ve journeyed through life, “look at me!”

These words have never been an attempt to catch everyone’s attention, but instead have given me a reason to doubt. Many times I’ve looked at myself and thought I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough or worthy enough to do whatever it was someone was asking me to do.

After giving my life to Christ in my early 20’s I caught myself giving the same response to God – “Look at me!!” He obviously had made a mistake; I wasn’t the girl for the job!

In the past few years God has used one of my children’s favorite stories to speak to me. My kids are intrigued with the idea of walking on water and have attempted to do it themselves, but more important than Jesus’ ability to defy nature is the message He has for all of us.

In Matthew 14:22 – 33 the story is told of Jesus walking on water. It begins,“Immediately after this Jesus made his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake while he sent the people home. Afterward he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.” I think we can relate, I know there are times when storms hit my life and it feels as though Jesus is far away. In those moments it can be easy to lose focus and rely on my own strength. It is then that the “look at me” worries, fears and doubts resurface and seem just as powerful as the strong winds and heavy waves.

But we read on – “About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him, they screamed in terror, thinking he was a ghost. But Jesus spoke to them at once, “It’s all right,” he said. I am here! Don’t be afraid.” A man walking on water, who wouldn’t be afraid? But Jesus assures them of His presence and the story continues,

Verses 28 and 29 – “Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you by walking on water.” All right come.” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on water toward Jesus.” Again can we relate? Have you ever felt God’s presence in your life and by faith reacted to his calling? Like Peter have you jumped out of the boat with complete trust in your savior who is calling you? Have you taken the initial step of faith only to experience what came next for Peter?

In verse 30 we read, “But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

I read this verse and can picture Peter mentally saying, “look at me” I’m walking on water and then when the reality of the situation hits I see the statement move from being one of pride to one of fear and doubt. He looks around and sees the danger in the situation coupled with the lack of his own ability to do the very thing Christ told him to do and fear sets in.

As I share this story with my kids, I see myself in this role all too often – God calling me to do something and then in my heart I say yes, but as I survey the situation I too become terrified and start to sink. The “look at me” phrase returns and leads to many excuses in my mind that cause me to sink before my feet even leave the boat.

But as God continues to prove Himself faithful, the final verses of the story carry more power. It says, verses 31 to 33…"Instantly Jesus reached out his hand and grabbed him. “You don’t have much faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” And when they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshipped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.”

How many times has Jesus uttered the same words to me? “You don’t have much faith. Why did you doubt me?” For years I believed doubting myself couldn’t hurt God, but I’ve realized that is wrong. If it is Him who lives in me, when I say I can’t who am I referring to? Take a minute and think about that.

As I do just that I think about our evening at the fair and I recall someone saying, “Well at least you can say your looks have improved.” Perhaps, but more importantly than what’s on the outside is what’s happened internally.

2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” I’m grateful I don’t see the same person anymore and I’m more thankful that every time I hear the familiar phrase “look at me” I’m beginning to sense God whispering, “No Jill, look at me.”

Though He has yet to call me out of the boat and literally walk on water, He has asked me to do things I never thought I would do. How does this happen? By keeping my eyes on Jesus. As Peter did this he did the unimaginable – he walked on water! When I focus on Christ, though the winds may blow and the waves rage, He keeps me from falling and proves himself true. Sisters he will do the same for you – keep listening for his voice, you will hear him say, “Look at me.”

Friday, April 13, 2012

Is it really that important??

We've heard it said the church is a body, but what does that mean? How does it look? Is it really important?

Well think of your would be hard to walk without your feet, but it wouldn't do much good to go places if you didn't have ears, eyes and mouth to communicate with those you were with. Each part of our body serves a purpose just like each member of the body of believers.

Simply said, we need each other!! 1 Corinthians 12:26-27 says, "If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."

And one of my favorite passages Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up."

Last night I was reminded of the importance of these verses and saw them lived out. A friend brought some sisters in Christ together to celebrate and share. There were laughs and there were tears. Memories were made and faith was built.

So to answer the question that titles this blog, "Is it (the body of Christ) really that important?" Yes, yes, yes it is!! We need each other more than we know. When life is hard and we don't understand, we need sisters and brothers to come alongside us. To help, to listen, to cry, to share hope and point us to Christ. When life is good and we are blessed, we need the body of believers to rejoice with us and keep us humble. The body is where we belong!

In closing I want to share words I penned a few years back during a time when I was hurting. The body rallied around me - they listened, they cried, they shared and they loved. But most importantly the pointed me to Christ and helped me see Jesus when I needed Him most!! Today I challenge you to do the same - if you're a follower of Christ, you are part of the body, so why not live like it and impact the kingdom for His glory!! You never know who the world might see!!

“I Saw Jesus”
His eyes, His eyes welcomed with peace and love.
He cared when no one else seemed to notice.
He listened while everyone else continued to talk.
His arms embraced when others were too busy.
He was honest while the world tried to pretend.
He felt my pain when others didn’t know I was hurt.
He loved me as family because God is our Father.
I saw Jesus…when I saw you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Full Speed Ahead

The other day my husband brought a dirt bike home for our kids. They were excited and I had flashbacks, which left me excited and scared all at the same time. You see I remembered the fun times I had riding around with my sisters, but I also recalled the time I tipped over and badly burnt my leg. Thoughts of my kids doing the same created mixed emotions, but...

This picture speaks for itself...J.D. was thrilled and Jed enjoyed the ride. The girls were just as excited as the boys! It didn't take long and the oldest two passed Job's version of Driver's Education. I believe it took even less time for their courage and confidence to grow.

By day three they were driving around like they'd ridden the mini bike for years. They thought things were going well and they were doing fine, but when I glanced out the window I felt they were going fast and looking for trouble.

I recall specifically speaking with Joy, who is two years younger than J.D. and does not possess his natural mechanical skills. I shared with her that I was glad she was having fun, but reminded her that this was a machine and she could get hurt. She said to me, "I know all of that Mom. I'll be careful."

Later that night she went out for another ride and minutes later I looked out the window to see her walking to the house with tears in her eyes and frustration on her face. I met her at the door and she said, "I was scared." I made sure she was OK and then she went on to tell me what had happened.

To make a long story short, the throttle had stuck and in an attempt to turn she ran into the branches of an evergreen tree. Again I told her I was thankful she wasn't hurt, but told her there was a lesson (or two) she could learn from this.

In the days that have passed, God's been telling me there's a lesson for me as well. You see sometimes I act like Joy. God gives me something to do and I listen to the directions, take part in the training and then take off full speed ahead. Occasionally this is OK, but usually it's not!

I too need to let things progress slowly. I need to let go of the desire to master things overnight. I need to accept that fact that there are things I don't know and then be willing to take the advice of others, especially God. Speed is a good thing when I'm running a sprint, but I've heard it said faith is more of a walk. So friends today, let's take it slow, trust God's timing and listen to His directions! And if you have a minute pray Joy will do the same!!

This picture still scares me!! But I'm praying we'll both learn to slow down and let Jesus take the wheel!! I know He's much better at avoiding the branches and potholes that can knock us down!!