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Jesus Didn’t Care About Correct Doctrine, and Neither Should We…

In the gospels we read how Jesus was always around people. He had a life full of relationships. Always talking, drinking, eating, relaxing; sometimes entertaining his guests and sometimes being entertained by them. What is fascinating is that these relationships were not based on these people holding to the same theology and doctrines as Jesus did. In fact, it’s safe to say that none of them believed like Jesus did. Yet he was always in the company of people, and these connections became very deep and heartfelt relationships.

It seems to me that if we truly want a life full of loving relationships, we need to care less about what doctrines or world views people believe and more about the actual person. When we let our love for others be what unites us, we begin to have a life full of meaningful relationships.

Seeking out relationships or fellowship based on doctrinal agreements is a sad and ineffective substitute for love. What we need to do is choose the more divine way. The way that allows love to be what unites us to others, for that, I honestly believe, is the way of Christ.

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One of the dangers with religion is it can so easily fool you into believing you’re living your life, when in fact all you are doing is going round and round in circles, doing the same thing week in, week out, talking to the same people, speaking with the same language, talking about the same things.

There is a whole world of random and wonderful people and things to experience, but until you give yourself the liberty to live your life free from the trappings of religion, the danger is that you end up just doing what is comfortable, what is endorsed by the church leaders, what is already programmed for you.

I think Jesus broke this mold, this religious idea of life, and stepped fully into the reality of life around him. He got out and lived his life with people, all kinds of people. Not as a missionary or holy roller, but as a friend, as a fellow adventurer in life — as an equal.

Theology is interesting, fascinating, in fact. I spend a great deal of my life pondering it. But the theology we share and expound upon is still just a clanging gong in the ears of people if it does not first inspire our lives to actively transcend the social, racial, political, and religious boundaries around us, and to live a life of love. This, I believe, Jesus modeled.

Jesus knew God better than anyone, yet he did not live with his thoughts always stuck in Bible verses and theological studies. Rather, he was present in the moment, right there, happily engaged with a diverse variety of people and enjoying their company.

It was precisely because he knew God better than anyone that allowed him to truly live in the moment. He valued the interaction of people, of all people, and it did not depend on what kind of people they were, or what kind of theology they held, of what kind of social standing they had.

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What does this show me? It shows me that I need to be careful I don’t become more in love with Bible verses and theological musings then I am with the people in my everyday life. It shows me the real value of knowing God is seeing the divine value of connecting with and loving the people around me.

It shows me that I don’t have to be a religiously sanitized person to be approved by God. Rather, I need to fully embrace my oneness with God to the point that I don’t mind getting messy if I happen to be in the presence of a messy person; more than that, it has allowed me to accept that I am a messy person, that parts of my character are flawed and parts of my personality awkward…and that’s just fine. I realize more and more that the value is not in my appearance or reputation, but in interactions I have with others, genuine connections, where I can feel my heart is fully alive.

Life is a gift. It doesn’t work like a program. I works like the wind. You have to let it take you where it flows, and though you can’t take hold of it and control it, you can experience its power when you let it set sail to your life, and when you embrace the journey as it is: An uncontrollable experience. A divine drifting. A wild adventure. A walk of faith, full of unique strangers waiting to become new-found friends, one step after the next.

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Mick Mooney is the author of An Outsider’s Guide to the Gospel.
You can connect with Mick on his facebook page and view a list of his book on amazon.

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A life of Gratitude

Gratitude and Thankfulness, it can change us. I have been doing Christian Life Coaching with women the last 13 year and it is one of the most powerful things we can do to transform. Click the link below to see the video of a dear friend and I sharing the importance of Gratitude.

 

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As most of you know I work for a non-profit and we need your help! Will you watch my video and considering joining my tribe, the 20 Tribe?! Thanks in advance!

 

 

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Words For Wives: Women’s Panel Discussing Sex & Intimacy in Marriage (Video Message)

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Celebrating Sex and Sexuality God’s Way! (Video Message)

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How to combat Shame

Here is the link to my recent sermon/message on overcoming shame…

 

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He’s a Good Good Father

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Here is the message I gave recently at event locally called “Words for Wives.” So thankful to share my heart on seeing God as Heavenly Father.

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“Stretch Marks”

20151028_201425Having kids is hard, growing our family was tough.

With my first kiddo I was young, scared and unsure of anything other than I loved this thing growing in my belly with a fervor I couldn’t put into words.

Carrying my second baby was tough. Not one day passed that I didn’t get sick and I spent the last 3 months in and out of the hospital hooked up to IV’s…man was he worth it though.

My third baby grew deep in my heart and not in my womb. That time seemed like an eternity…14 months of wait and struggle, tears and joy. Is there such a thing as a fourth trimester? In adoption I believe there is!

The first two gave me stretch marks as I awaited their arrival; the third gave me memory marks…dates etched not into my skin but into my head and heart. The day we sent him back to Ethiopia, (after hosting him for a month) the day we heard he was sick in the orphange but couldn’t do anything about it 8, 217 miles away , the day it was “official” but I couldn’t quite yet hold him. The day I sat in a small damp and dusty court house in Addis Abba Ethiopia hoping the judge would say yes.

As I reflect on the marks that each of my children have left on my body, my heart and my mind, I see them differently now. I see them as beauty marks etched into my soul by the one who knew my story all along. These beauty marks are scratches, scratches into a sneak peak of what heaven will look like. Where heaven and earth meet for a moment. 

I would not trade the lines on my tummy for anything, my bulging belly brought me joy unimaginable.  I would not trade the lines around my eyes and mouth for anything, brought to me by many smiles, many years and lots of tears. Tears as they head to college, tears as they head to school in America for the first day, tears as they head to high school and the clock ticks loud in my head…

I stop often to reflect on all the ups and downs and everything in between. I fight daily for the strength to be fully present in the present. I won’t get this day back, this year back, this time back. I may never again have one in fifth grade, this one will never be a sophomore again, I many never again get to have late night talks with one about what med school to apply to…I hold the moments close. I hold the current close as memories flood my mind…med school…what about when you wouldn’t let me brush your hair but only let Daddy do it before preschool. Homecoming dance?…what about when your only stress was where your yellow “feely” blanket was? You want to play what instrument in band? What about when you first came to us and all dogs were “baby doggies” instead of puppies because you didn’t know the English word.

The memories, the marks. The beauty marks that I treasure to the depths of my soul. Scarred by grace and love for which I am beyond grateful.

What marks are left on you and in you that you need to embrace and celebrate? The ones on your skin or the ones on your heart?…

My challenge for myself in 2016 is to continue to lean into the “scars” of life and let the beauty in the markings be my joy.

James 4:14 NLT How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog-it’s here for a little while, then it’s gone.

James 1:2-4 NLT Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

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4 Great Truths I discovered living in Chronic Pain. (Truths we all need to know)

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Chronic pain is well…chronic. Chronic and I are not friends, but we have become neighbors. The last three years have been very rough for me physically. 5 surgeries, fibromyalgia, several autoimmune diseases and other ailments have drastically changed the way I have live. A few of these truths resonate so much for me that I believe they are something we all should do and know, sick or not. These lessons are something that God is pressing on my heart to pursue regardless of my circumstances.

1. Vulnerability is a strength!

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. ~Brene Brown. Letting people “in”,  in this season has brought a depth to my relationships that I have never know before. I have friends in my life who are truly “family” and family who I am closer to than ever before as I share with them my needs and weaknesses. My vulnerability, weakness and humility has birthed a richness I might not have ever experienced. My hero in regards to vulnerability is Brene Brown, if you don’t know who she is, go find out! Her favorite talk on vulnerability is a much watch, over and over. You can see it here: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability

2. Knowing our true worth allows love in and out of our lives.

Independence? That’s middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, ever soul of us on earth. ~ George Bernard Shaw      I am worth letting others love on me and my family, if I say otherwise I am being hypocritical. I love to serve and be there for others, it is just a natural part of my gifting…why wouldn’t others be wired the same way or allowed to do the same in return to me. There are seasons where I am the giver and I love it, there are seasons where I need to sit back and allow God to love on me through the people in my life. I empower truth and love when I allow other to be my “Jesus with skin on”. I sit behind a desk all week telling others of their worth in Christ and I need to allow that truth to sink into the depths of my soul. This time has allowed me to do that.  When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.  Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.  But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:6-8

3. Constant Communication is vital, with God and others.

During this time of pain and struggle it has been hard to read my bible. There are some days I read and don’t remember much of what I read or it is just too hard to focus. Between the pain or the pain medication study of anything is difficult. God keeps reminding me that He and I communicate in lots of different ways, not just from me reading. He is talking to me in the alpenglow on the mountains, the warm summer breeze that hits my face or the grins on my kids faces. There are many days that I would just pray, just me talking to God, me trying to listen to Him.  There are times when the pain is at it’s worse and I all can do is whisper His name. He shows up in all the ways that I connect with Him, he just desires we communicate constantly no matter the form. It has been precious to receive and understand my Creator this way. I also no matter how hard it is need to constantly update my friends and stay connected. Some times it is a long phone call or an email and other days it is a simple text saying, Pray…its a hard day.

4. Attitude = Gratitude

 To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. ~Johannes A. Gaertner.  
Gratitude is a BIG deal! For the last several years I have exchanged gratitudes with 2 women ever single day. We text each other 5 things we are grateful for every evening. Some days it is hard to muster up 5 things, some days one thing becomes my five. Sometimes I have ten. No matter what mood I am in or what my circumstances are that day I reflect on what I am grateful for, for what I do have, what I am blessed with. It has literally changed the way I live and my attitude. God continues to bless my socks off all the time regardless of physical pain, living in a constant state of gratitude helps me stay focused on the bigger picture in life. I teach this small act to all the women in my classes. It is always one of their favorite parts about the class. It combines all 4 of my truths as they share gratitudes and pray for each other. A dripping tap soon fills a bucket full until it is overflowing! The same is true of anything in life, and developing appreciation and gratitude is no different.
I hope these simple but valuable truths help you on your journey to be the best you, thanks for allowing me to share.
But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. –C.S. Lewis

 

 

 

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10 Simple steps to becoming an “Intentional Parent”

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“Intentional Parenting” is a term I began using with friends and family as I discussed my goal of being a good mama. I am sure experts have used it before and I am not the first to write about it. To me it sums up what I want to achieve in my parenting. I don’t want to be a Mom who just makes it or is satisfied with surviving another day. I want to be intentional with my kids in how I love, parent, discipline, instruct, laugh, play and just do life. I want to be intentional in conversation, motive and heart and believe this is the way God designed me to parent. Here are 10 things that I work on to be an “Intentional Parent.” Want to join me in pursuing intentionality in parenting? Come on and let’s journey together.

1. Talk in a soft voice to our kiddos. – I find they listen less when I yell.

2. Stop to tell stories, teach and answer questions in the moment. – Things can wait.

3. Play, laugh and play more. – Things can wait.

4. Pray with your kids. – Not just at bed or meals, as needed.

5. Pray for your kids – No matter how young or old and about the big and little stuff.

6. Teach them about how your family is a Team. – What can they do to help the team daily.

7. Have an amazing marriage. – Love and grow with your spouse constantly, give them an example.

8. Make and allow messes. – Who’s up for making cookies and fingerpainting?

9. Listen more intently. – It might seem trivial to us but to them it’s their world.

10. Have an amazing relationship with God. – Love and grow with your savior constantly, give them an example.

I am just a mom in the midst of it all right along with you striving to do my job as Mom to the fullest to my kiddos ages 8-18. I love sharing an engaging with other women doing the same. This list could have been 100 things but these are some of my current favorites.

Which one do you want to do more of this year? Me, #4. Comment below with yours 🙂

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