Category Archives: faith

What is Hospitality?

What is hospitality? You might find yourself re-defining the word if you think like me. You can read my guest post from the Community of Christ Daily Bread blog here.

 

3 Life Lessons from The Office’s Michael Scott

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Although it’s been off TV for several years, I’m a huge fan of The Office. There’s no season and no episode of the show I don’t like. If you’re not familiar with it, the main character of the show – played by Steve Carell – is office manager Michael Scott, a man living and working in the city of Scranton, an ordinary town much of America could relate to.

But Michael Scott is quite memorable for so many reasons. If you need a good laugh and you’ve never seen The Office, I highly recommend it. While Carell’s character makes a lot of bad judgment calls that would never, ever fly in a real office setting, it amounts to be great TV comedy. His over-the-top antics, pranks, and personality all combine to make for a situation that could be potentially unbearable at work or maybe laughable, depending on who you are and how your personality is.

But looking at his character, stripping away the silliness and immaturity, there are three big good takeaways to his character. Takeaways that can be applied to your personal life or your professional life. Things about his character that are likable and that we can appreciate – lessons if you will.

Care. Care about others. Care about something.

The Michael Scott character is always caring. Sometimes –  a lot of times – too much. The places in which he displays his care are sometimes misplaced or inappropriate, but at his core, he is a kind, caring person. In his personal life, you can see Michael getting taken advantage of in relationships where he tries to make things work and it’s dysfunctional, or where he gets too serious too soon, but he really has a lot of love to give to someone. In his business life, you can see him pouring so much effort into nourishing relationships with his employees – again, at times crossing lines, but in the end, you can see he wants everyone to feel valued. While not everyone wants to plan a dorky karaoke night (like “The Dundees”), Michael knows that people matter.

Work hard. Be good at what you do.

Michael slacks off a lot – he goofs off, he leaves work for personal errands, and he wastes a lot of time. But, he’s also doing such a good job that his superior – David Wallace – meets with him just for the sole purpose of asking the question “How are you doing such an amazing job?” Despite Michael Scott’s antics, his results speak for themselves – he’s in the spot of leading the number one branch. So, as you go into your new year, ask yourself – do you enjoy what you do? Whatever you’re working hard at, do you like it? Do you want to work at it? If not, why not? And if those aren’t good answers, do you at least see a path for change? There’s dignity in all work, so why not feel pride in doing a good job?

At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what you are doing. Maybe you’re a housewife, a student, a janitor, a pastor, or a business person. Do you feel a sense of pride in what you do so that you can say you are succeeding, for whatever success would look like in that spot?

Own who you are.

Michael Scott isn’t cool and he knows it. But that’s part of what makes his character so endearing and why I love the show so much. You can see some of the loneliness that he feels of being so unique, some of the sense of isolation that can come with being highly creative, highly unusual, unlike other people. But ultimately, Michael wins. He wins with being successful in his career, with his strong relationships at work, and ultimately, even if you wouldn’t guess it… in love. So own who you are.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

Why I’m Passing Out Bible Tracts This Halloween

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This Halloween, I’m doing something a little different.

Fall is already here. The leaves have already changed their colors. I’ve got pumpkins. (And I’ve already skipped a season ahead and started thinking about Christmas, but that’s something for a different day.) Whether or not I will wear a costume, is yet to be decided (something lazy and easily put together is most likely).

But when it comes to Trick-or-Treat, I’ve put together a slightly different game plan.

In addition to the typical candy that the kids beg for, I’ve decided to add Bible tracts to the evening’s treats.

If you’re thinking I’m a religious nut who’s off her rocker, you can put that idea aside.

If you’re a Christian who thinks that Halloween and the Bible don’t go together, stick with me for a minute. There are some reasons that, if you love the Gospel, you might see how I came to decide that I’m passing out Bible tracts this Halloween.

The World Is Getting Darker

I’m not talking about a solar minimum or global warming or some scientific weather phenomenon. If you watch the world news or the local news, it can seem that the world is getting darker. Maybe not from last night’s news compared to this evening’s, but major events can give you pause and wonder what kind of world this is. This decade compared to one or two decades ago – generally speaking, more darkness. More evil. School shootings, workplace shootings, the erosion of the family unit. Drug addiction has gripped the poor and the wealthy alike on a massive scale. There is still much beauty, peace, and cause for joy in the world, and the light of Christ and the truth of the Bible is still desperately needed in the world. God is love, and those of us that love the Lord and believe in Him know that his Love transcends racial division, economic lines, and all the other problems we may see on TV.

I am the Church

I’m not a religious fanatic, and I don’t attend a church. That’s right. I’m passing out Bible tracts on Halloween, but I do not attend church services or belong to a local church. But, as God’s own, as Jesus’ own, I’m bought and paid for with a price. I am His, He is mine. I am the church. I don’t need anyone’s authority to tell others about the Lord; it’s mine. The same goes for you if you love the Lord. While you might be a bold person who can start a conversation about Jesus in any time, at any place, that’s not my personality. Passing out Bible tracts on Halloween is my way of evangelizing in a way that lets people throw out the message if they want no part of it, or they can choose to read it if they want. They can read it in secret and trash it if they’re offended. The message is there for kids and adults alike.

A Bible Tract May Be Someone’s Only Chance to Hear the True Gospel

In America, feel-good religion is very common and popular. Pay the TV evangelist for a blessing, or pay your pledge to the church and God will bless you. Telling the simple truth that Jesus is the only way – and the free gift to salvation – this doesn’t get told all that often. Prosperity Christianity is becoming more common, with pastors saying what people want to hear, rather than encouraging people to get the Bible and read for themselves what God has to say. And for children in particular, public schools have shown God the door long ago, and being the gentleman that He is, He stepped aside. A Bible tract can give kids and adults the opportunity to have the gospel presented to them in an easy way when a church or a Christian friend is not a possibility.

So, this Halloween, I can’t wait to see how the kids in my neighborhood have chosen to dress up. In the costumes of Superman, princesses, monsters, ghouls, goblins, Disney characters, and all the rest, kids will get their candy, and the adults chaperoning them will find in their trick-or-treat bags a Bible tract that is kid-appropriate. It will stress that God’s gift of salvation is free, open to all, and ready for the taking. Just like the Halloween candy they’ve been collecting all night.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

 

Fearless

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Decisions can be laced with anxiety. Do I take that job? Do I move forward in this relationship? What should I major in? Where should I go to school? Is this the right time to move? These are all major choices in our lives that can close one door, open another, and make us wonder if we’re on the right or wrong path.

If you grew up in a church where there was a lot of talk about “God’s will for your life”, you might be totally confused about how you’re supposed to make the right decisions in these big moments. The Catholic Church refers to the process of involving God in our big decisions as discernment, and I love how this process has helped me with getting and keeping God involved with the uncertainty that is so abundant in life.

Father Mike Schmitz breaks it down to what I like to call “the four doors of discernment” that can be very helpful with the big, tough decisions. Take these questions and apply it to what you’re considering. With the choice that you’re considering, ask yourself, in this order:

  • Is it a good door?
  • Is it an open door?
  • Is it a wise door?
  • Is it a door that I want?

These points seem so obvious at first glance, but it’s tougher when you actually take the steps and do it. When you’re done, it can take a a lot of weight off your shoulders and give you confidence that you’ve made the right choice.

The first point is the easiest – is it a good door? At first glance, we can usually tell if the Bible speaks for or against something. We know if a choice is to steal, cheat, or lie. Those are never good doors. But the big choices in life often have nothing to do with that. So it’s on to the next question: is it an open door? This is where things change. If every school you’ve applied to has turned you down, then it’s a closed door. If every school has sent you an acceptance letter, those are all open doors. That’s where choices start to be made, with the next step: is it a wise door?

Knowing if a choice is a wise one, this is where things get tricky. Is there any reason why something wouldn’t be a wise choice? Would it be wiser to stay or go at this season of your life? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your own character that you have that would make this the best decision? Is this a wise choice, or are you choosing it out of a desire for a short-term fix, rather than a long-term answer? What are all the consequences of your potential decision? Anything you haven’t considered that a wiser person might be able to give you insight on? Have you sought counsel from someone who seeks to live according to God’s values, someone like a mentor, parent, or friend? These are some questions we can ask ourselves.

The last discernment question Father Mike gives us is probably the most surprising: Is this a door that I want? Our Heavenly Father is so gracious to us that He wants us to have freedom in our lives. He wants us to have life. He wants us to love and be loved. We have choices, many choices, although these choices can be overwhelming at times. We get to choose, and choose often. It is with this freedom that we are given the promise of Isaiah 41:10, that tells us “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God.”

When we have considered the significant decisions in our lives, sought out wise counsel, and covered our decisions in prayer, the discernment process can help us make wise decisions. We can be confident, bold, brave, and fearless.

 

Book Review: Kingdom Single

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     “Poor single woman!” she continued. “The world wants her to fornicate, and the church wants her to marry! Whatever happened to what Paul said about the blessings of being single? William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, wrote” (I Kissed Dating Goodbye, by Joshua Harris, page 84)


Depending upon the denominational circles in which she finds herself, a Christian woman might be the exception if she isn’t married by 25, making it difficult to find peers who can relate to her life as a Christian single in a world where sex before marriage and cohabitation are the norm.

There are plenty of books that tell Christian singles what not to do (don’t fornicate, wait on the Lord for a Godly spouse) and lots of books tell Christian teens how to Biblically date or court. But many of these books are geared toward the younger crowd who aren’t yet in the “career” age yet.

It was with this reality that I was really excited about Tony Evans’ new book Kingdom Single.  One of the bullet points on the back cover says that God has a mission for you to join now, as a single. You don’t have to wait until you’re married to have a rewarding life. Even if you never get married, you can still live fulfilled and satisfied as a whole person, with a happy life. This is a very different approach from any other Christian book on singleness that I’ve read, so I was really excited about it.

But it wasn’t long into Kingdom Single that the book fell flat. While it has some positive ideas, the way they’re explained falls short. One in the beginning is that you shouldn’t just wait idly in your life wondering where your mate is, but you should be busy with your mission in life. This is a powerful idea that I agree with, but the example used to illustrate it is so bizarre that it wasn’t of much help. Tony uses the Biblical example of Adam and Eve’s creation in Genesis 2. We see very clearly that God looked at Adam and said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone and from that, God decided to make a helper suitable for him. (Genesis 2:18). This is also why Eve was created – because of Adam’s lack of a suitable helper. Tony says that Adam wasn’t looking around wondering where his woman was, and that when Eve was created, she wasn’t looking for her man. And that’s correct- but Adam was only on Earth for seven days (literal or metaphorical, we could debate), and Eve was created for the sole purpose of being a helper to her husband, before sin and corruption entered the world, so she didn’t have to endure a long process of having to wonder where her husband was, if he existed, how to find him, and so on. For the single Christians wondering where their suitable partners are, this example is not the best one to look at and say that Christian singles should just be busy about their business not wondering where their suitable partners are. If anything, Genesis 2 validates a Christian single’s desire to feel loved and supported by a marriage partner. Better examples for both sexes on how to live out a calling and what to search for in a partner could be found in Proverbs 31; this passage has incredible mileage for both sexes as it gives women something to aspire to and men something to pursue. (And a Proverbs 31 woman can make some assumptions that for the virtues she’s pursuing, her man can meet her standards of Godliness as well.)

Another part of Kingdom Single that made this such a difficult book to read – and why I didn’t finish it – was the lack of practical suggestions or examples from people living today. The examples were all from the Bible, and while I appreciate Biblical examples, living examples are good too. While the premise of Kingdom Single was promising, it didn’t read as a book written for single people on how to live out their singleness in a Godly way. It just seemed to be a book on how to life a Godly life with the word “single” or “kingdom single” slapped on in various places. The content didn’t match well to what the book was supposed to be about.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of Kingdom Single from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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