Monthly Archives: April 2016

THE HERO IN YOU

Have you ever been shaken out of your complacency? Or maybe you have witnessed something so horrific that you could no longer treat it as a nightmare, as though it never happened?

There have been many heroes who have gone before us who were shaken out of their complacency and drawn into a battle they didn’t necessarily want to fight. They were ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary feats simply because they saw an injustice and refused to sit silently. Following are just a few examples of some real heroes…

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was an African-American civil rights leader who led the resistanceimages1 to segregation using non-violent methods. He could not ignore the injustice being served to blacks, nor could he wait on someone else to step up and fight the battle of the races. God raised him up to be a great man. He was Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” in 1963, and one year later was the youngest man in history to earn the Nobel Peace Prize. God had  a willing vessel in Dr. King and much was accomplished through his courage.

imagesEsther was a young Jewish girl who suddenly found herself queen of Persia. When she discovered a plot to extinguish all the Jewish people living in Persia, she had the courage, at the risk of her own life, to save an entire generation of Jews by confronting the king. Today she is remembered as a powerful instrument in the hands of our mighty God, simply because she refused to remain silent about the killing of innocent people.

Take time to read about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, William Wallace, Harriet Tubman, and William Wilberforce. All heroes who risked their own lives so others could live.

Looking back on these people’s lives, hindsight is 20/20. They are known as heroes today, but undoubtedly numerous people who knew them then, called them “zealots” and “Jesus freaks”. I’m sure they were told on more than one occasion they had “lost it.” Can you hear their family and friends warning, “Okay, now you’ve taken it just a little bit too far. The authorities are involved, so it’s time to back off and save yourself. You can’t go to jail, you can’t lose your life.” And I’m sure they heard, “This is not God’s will for you!”

I imagine they probably contemplated these cries repeatedly in their heads and questioned their own sanity. So many of these people, plus countless others unnamed, were in jeopardy of losing their lives. Some did become martyrs for a cause they refused to ignore.

These people seem larger than life to us. Because of the movies made about their lives, theimgres-1 monuments and memorials erected on their behalf, and stories we’ve read, we have a tendency to capture their images as extraordinary people with some kind of gifting you and I do not possess. In reality, they were ordinary people just like you and me. The only difference is, they understood the battle was theirs to fight. They were the ones willing to pick up the sword and charge into battle.

Thankfully, as Christians we possess the most powerful weapons. We are the ones with the call on our lives to stand up when everyone else is sitting down, gaining our courage from the all-powerful God who has our back.

When will we look at the abortion issue as a cause worthy of our fight? Yes, there are many causes that are worthy, but what cause is more gruesome, more devastating, and more horrific than the legalized killing of our children?

We look at our forefathers who justified slavery with such scorn. We read about our country’s history regarding slavery and then wonder how our forefathers could have ever acted with such horrific behavior. Will our children and grandchildren look back at us with disdain over this issue and wonder how we could have ever let decades of abortion continue?

As a Christian, this is our fight. We own it. We must take a stand for the issue of life! It will be that moment you find the hero that resides in you. When pushed into a battle, your strength, power, wisdom, and stamina will come forth and history will show you to be larger than life. As we look back on your efforts to fight injustice, history will judge you well. So my challenge to you today is to join this fight with us. Refuse to look the other way any longer and you will see the hero arise in you! images-1

Please comment below the injustices you wish to fight, and your dreams of how to accomplish their end. No idea is too crazy!

Crossing the Threshold

17135984132_f694fe1ab0_zShe walks across the threshold – perhaps the hardest thing she has done in years. I see the weight pressing down on her shoulders, like a thick dark cloud, no, it’s like a heavy yoke. The secret she has been carrying is apparent, it is clearly visible on her face and in the curve of her shoulders. I recognize this look, it’s obvious to me. I’ve carried the same weight before. I get up and hug her and welcome her like a long lost friend. We have met before but only briefly, not in person only by phone, however, we’ve already made a connection – we are connected by the sin of our past. I imagine that finally she feels a life-line has been thrown to her. Something, perhaps this class she is walking into, will pull her out from under the dead weight she has carried far too long.

This damaged soul has just walked across the threshold into my SaveOne class. Those heavy laden steps are some of the hardest she has ever taken.  She really doesn’t have a clue about the journey embarked on, but I do. And my soul smiles! Her life is about to change forever and I can’t wait to see it happen!

By the end of the first class, the “Introduction”, we have all shared our deepest, darkest, most shameful secret of abortion. We are all becoming knit together by the similarity of our abortion story and the dissimilarity of the circumstances. Some of the men and women in the class have never told another living soul. It has been a successful unburdening. I am always amazed to see the power of transparency. I begin to perceive the heavy weight lifting off their shoulders! By the end of the first, introductory class, I have already witnessed an amazing transformation take place – the unbearable weight is lifting, the guarded countenance in facial expression is softening, the monotone inflection in the tone of voice is brightening. God is already doing His mighty work of unburdening these men and women who have carried the heavy yoke of slavery to their past. God is doing what He has promised. He is making the great exchange…”Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28 – 30

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And thus begins the 11 week journey to freedom called SaveOne! Over the next 10 weeks these precious children of God will learn how to be set free from the bondage of abortion and how to live in the fullness of victory Jesus Christ provided for them on the Cross of Calvary. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery”. Galatians 5:1

After experiencing healing by taking the SaveOne journey myself, I started the Salem Oregon chapter of SaveOne in September 2006. I have since offered 3 SaveOne classes each year and have seen many people healed and set free from a lifetime of suffering in silence. Now many men and women are empowered to tell their own story of restoration to help save one more person from living a life of guilt, shame, unforgiveness, anger, and depression. We, at SaveOne, believe it is these brave women and men, sharing the word of their testimony, that will bring about change in this culture of death and help to restore commitment to the sanctity of human life.

SaveOne is truly a life-transforming class. I am so blessed to be used of God, and humbled to be placed on the front lines of witnessing Him do His work of restoration in the lives of these precious yet damaged souls. …“This is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!” Peace be to you all who are in Christ.” 1 Peter 5:12, 14

This post was written by the incredible Terri Nordone. She is one of our SaveOne chapter coordinator’s and one of my dear friends. I wanted you to hear her description of that life-changing moment we see so often in our classes. These moments are something we never tire of seeing, and never get used to being a part of because they are truly spectacular.

Please let us know if you would like to learn how to bring the SaveOne class to your church!

Snagging the Pass Through….

Snagging the Pass Through

I was with a pastor’s wife friend of mine the other day and she was describing how she had been going into “pass-through” mode. Of course that phrase is my own terminology that I have coined, but I knew exactly what she was talking about. This post has been one of the most regarded in the years I have had this blog. I thought it appropriate to send it through a second time. Hope you enjoy!

Before I ever experienced jet lag I would hear people talk about it and thought they just meant they were really, really tired. What was the big deal? (insert eye roll here) Then I went to Europe for the first time and came home tired. I didn’t know how tired until I face planted in my lunch the next day. I dragged myself to the car, having to concentrate lifting my foot as high as the curb. I kept my eyes open long enough to crawl in my car, and I slept for 2 hours in a crowded parking lot. I realized jet lag was more than tired. This was beyond my control!

Burnout is much the same. I think of burnout this way. There’s a dark recess of your mind that is the end of you. The bottom of the rope, the last step before the cliff, that moment just before you fall asleep…the end. That place is a different spot for different people. Some people have a deeper reserve and can take much more of what life can throw at them. Others have a shorter fuse and reach their spot of depletion sooner. Either way, burnout takes you to a tired that sleep doesn’t fix.

I found that dark recess in my mind I didn’t know existed until now. Burnout. I feel stupid and weak admitting I was there. The lack of admission was part of the reason I got there. Because I feel stupid and weak admitting I have this breaking point and I let my actions and the actions of others break me.

Being in ministry means being about people. Honestly, I like helping people. I don’t say that to make myself seem all humble and servant like. If you know me you know servanthood does not come naturally to me. Being bossy on the other hand does come naturally to me. I like helping people realize stuff. I am addicted to that moment when a girl sitting in front of me has the realization she can walk in total freedom from the past bad choices she has made. Or that moment when my husband and I are working through marriage problems with another couple, and they realize sticking it out is far more rewarding than being a quitter. There’s no drug, or alcoholic beverage that tops the exhilaration of seeing someone turn around and change their behavior for the better. I’m addicted. I admit it. I love seeing people be happy and work out their problems and I LOVE that I get to lead people to God’s Word and watch their lives unfold.

There is this turning point though, when you are in the business of helping people, that 2often times you start taking in information only to pass it back out. You hear a great sermon, a wonderful song, a cool quote, and you think I could use that in a blog post. I need to tell my pastor wife friend about this podcast. I need to share this book with my friend who needs to hear this. I need to Periscope the sermon so this other person can hear it who is at home with a sick child. And before you know it everything you take in is getting passed right through you to other people. Even your morning devotions become note-taking sessions for others. Nothing is sticking, nothing is getting snagged for YOU!

During this season of burnout and comeback my husband Jack and I went to a different church. We wanted to go someplace we could just go in and sit down and go to church. We haven’t done that in something like 14 years. It was an amazing feeling. I had forgotten how much I love God’s Church and His people. Now keep in mind I was reading the book, “Leadership Pain” by Sam Chand while I was on sabbatical. Guess what the whole sermon was about that morning? You guessed it. Leadership pain.

God definitely had something for me that morning, but instantly I started the pass through. I thought of my friend who needed to hear a certain quote. I thought of all the people I knew who I wanted to hear this sermon. It was an incredible message. But I was in the middle of the pass through thinking of all the people I could minister to from this sermon when God so sweetly showed me…maybe it’s just me who needs the ministry right now. He showed me how it was all right to let these words from Bishop Walker at Mt. Zion resonate with me and only me for that moment. Tears filled my eyes and I allowed myself for the next hour to just sit and soak it all in. I did not want to miss one moment God had for me. I stopped the pass through and I snagged every morsel taking notes as quickly as my thumbs could type.

It truly was a wonderful feeling. So many of us in ministry want to see our church family succeed. We deeply want the best for them, so we get in this state of pass through not retaining any of the wisdom and knowledge we hear from others to teach us, lead us, and help us grow. We eventually become empty; nothing more than a slot machine. Put in a quarter, pull the lever, out comes the advice.

It’s okay to keep the pass-throughs going. But take time to snag some for yourself. Or better yet, snag the whole thing for yourself; let it steep for a while; then continue the pass through. I challenge all my pastor friends, counselor friends, pastor’s wife friends to notice how often you go into pass through mode. The next time you realize it, stop and think about what you’re hearing or reading and how it can apply to YOUR life first, and you will take a step in guarding yourself against burnout.

I also would love to hear from you. Those who have suffered from burnout and recovered. What was your strategy? Comment below and let’s keep this conversation going. As I have seen from my last post on this subject, I am not the only one going through this. Thanks so much for taking time to tell your story!