Editor’s Corner

The following is an article I wrote for the “Editor’s Corner” section of the January 2017 issue of the Scroll. It is titled “Where is the Real Battle?”

Editor’s Corner – Where is the Real Battle?

2 Corinthian 10:5 reads, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

As a person who tends to overthink and over analyze, I can easily say that most of my battles take place in my mind. If I allow my thoughts to go unchecked, they can veer in strange directions. In some ways, it seems like my mind analyzes the worst case scenario so I can be prepared for the worst. The problem is that these apocalyptic, end-of-the-world scenarios never happen. Yet I have wasted energy and have had mental and physical reactions to the doom-and-gloom scenarios.

Now part of my process of casting down imaginations/thoughts is to challenge them. And a huge part of that is learning to communicate and ask questions. The clarity and understanding eliminates the need to go in circles in my mind with wondering. Otherwise, I am reacting out of misinformation, fear, and doubt.

I believe that part of knowing where the real battle is involves knowing who the real enemy is. Who exactly are we fighting? My conclusion is that many people, including people in the Church, are battling the wrong enemy. There is a spirit of fear that is so evident in our world. There are two areas that the manifestation of this fear stand out to me.

One is the fear that people seem to have of black and brown people, especially black and brown men. I see the manifestation clearly in the shootings of unarmed black and brown people by police. And it stands out because armed assailants who are white seem to end up living. So the full circle is that it breeds fear and mistrust against the police in people in black and brown bodies. There was a period when I refused to even make eye contact with people in uniform, even when it seemed like they were making an effort to engage with me.

The other example is the results of the U.S. election as well as the UK Brexit votes. I see a correlation in these results with the rise of the far right and nationalism worldwide. Part of the appeal the far right has had globally over the last years is that it created an enemy for people who felt marginalized and left out. The message: The reason you are struggling is because of “these people.” The messaging reminds me of pre-World War II Germany. So we see results that are based on the fear that has taken hold in the hearts of people: The fear of other.

Yet we have a real battle and a real enemy. Unfortunately, most of our energy is being spent fighting communities that are already marginalized and oppressed. Communities we should be ministering to and offering the loving hand of God.

If you are going to battle, look at the fight plan. If you are going to engage an enemy, be sure you are fighting the right soldier.

 

PCC Scroll – Editor’s Corner

Here is an article I wrote for the “Editor’s Corner” of the Scroll. It was titled “Arming Ourselves.”

The editing team met for our yearly retreat in August. It was an opportunity to reset and to refocus on the ministry and its purpose. Before the retreat began, we talked about all of the “craziness” that is happening in the world. There is a spirit intent on planting fear and hate, and people have been acting out of this fear and hate. The sole purpose seems to be to cause division, and it seems to be working. Democrat vs. republican. Black vs. white. Christian vs. Muslim. Straight vs. gay. Instead of warring against the spirit, we are warring against each other.

As we talked about what is happening in the world, we also talked about the next four issues. The purpose of the newsletter is to edify the body and equip the people of God. With that in mind, the theme that surfaced was “How Do We Arm Ourselves without Giving into and Operating out of Fear.” Another way to put it is “Arming Ourselves out of Obedience, not Fear.” As we live out our individual purposes, this is crucial. When we are reacting out of fear, we are not acting out of our best selves.

We thought the first step to arming ourselves without giving into fear or operating out of fear is to change our viewpoint. There is so much more to this life and the battle than what our natural eyes see. Battles can be lost simply because we are depressed and defeated by what our eyes see. Once you think/feel you have lost the battle or war, you begin acting out of defeat.

As I reflected on this last year-and-a-half of my live, the need to change my viewpoint resonated strongly. In retrospect, I took myself through a lot of unnecessary inner turmoil simply because of how I was looking at life. Once I changed my viewpoint, it changed my attitude and the inner turmoil I had been feeling lifted. Now, my daily struggle is to keep my perspective and viewpoint in line. It is not an easy feat because it seems like there is always something that is attempting to draw me off of focus, which sends my emotions all over the place.

I have to constantly remind myself of scriptures like Jeremiah 29:11, Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah 41:10, John 14:27, Romans 8:28, and 2 Timothy 1:7. My faith and trust have to be that God knows what’s best for me, wants what is best for me, and is working all situations in my life for my good (even if I can’t see how). I have to have faith that regardless of who the president is, God is in control. I have to have faith that when I walk out the door in my black body, God has His protecting Hands over me. I have to have faith. I have to have trust. I have to believe.

I have to continually talk to myself and challenge my perspective. Sometimes hourly. My lens shapes how I feel, so I have to be careful of what I focus on.

I encourage you to challenge and change your viewpoint. It will change your life.

 

 

 

Editor’s Corner

This is an article I wrote for the Editor’s Corner section of the summer issue of the newsletter.

As I was thinking about this issue’s theme of “Equipping Others,” I began to think about examples from the Bible of people being equipped and mentored to walk out their purpose (or walk in their destiny) through the instruction and counsel they received from people they had close relationship with. The mentors walked with their “mentees” and spoke words that helped destinies be fulfilled.

In the example of Naomi and Ruth, Naomi was able to equip Ruth through instruction and guidance. Naomi was able to help Ruth determine the way that she should go and the manner in which she should conduct herself. This insight led to a major blessing and change in Ruth’s life, which in turn had a positive impact on Naomi’s life.

In the example of Eli and Samuel, Eli trained Samuel up from a child to be a priest. Eli helped Samuel recognize God’s voice, and Samuel was able to hear God’s voice and direction. The result was Samuel served as the last judge of Israel.

In the example of Elijah and Elisha, Elijah anointed Elisha to be a prophet, and they walked together. During their time together, Elisha was able to follow Elijah and learn from him. When Elijah was being taken up to heaven, Elisha was a witness. Elisha took up Elijah’s mantle and received the double portion that he had requested from Elijah.

n the example of Mordecai and Esther, Mordecai instructed Esther on how she should conduct herself around the king. He gave her instruction and counsel. The result was that Esther was able to save her people. She became a much referenced example of the importance of timing in the lives of those who are walking out their God-given destinies.

In the example of Paul and Timothy, Paul instructed Timothy on the way he should conduct himself. Paul continually spoke into Timothy’s life and the result was that Timothy in turn spoke into the lives of others. Their relationship reminds me of a mentorship where someone older and wiser counsels someone younger who is heading down a similar path.

And, of course, we have the example of Jesus equipping His disciples to become more like Him. The disciplines, in turn, equipped others and Christianity grew. The disciples and apostles accomplished more together than they could have apart. And although trying to reach a similar goal, each one worked out of his personality and gifting to accomplish his call. Paul and Peter spoke to crowds, while Andrew preferred to do his ministry one on one.

What strikes me about the examples given above is that they all involved intimate relationships and accessibility. These are examples of people who spent time together and had the intimacy that only walking together with someone brings. They were not strangers. They were counselors and advisors who acted as mentors and spoke into lives. They understood God’s purpose and call in their own lives and were able to speak into the lives of others.

Now we have the opportunity to walk with someone and help equip them to fulfill their destinies. I encourage you to find your path and walk it.

Editor’s Corner – Being a Good Steward

The Editor’s Coner from Volume XV Issue II of the PCC Scroll. The issue continued with the calendar year’s overarching theme of “Walking Out Your Purpose” with a theme of “Being a Good Steward.”

In my 2015 Christmas letter, I wrote that 2015 was a year where I feel like I was waiting for time to let me out of situations. As you know, time is a funny thing. We are either wanting it to slow down to enjoy the moment or speed up to end a painful season. In the overall scheme of life, time moves very quickly. Each year seems to fly by faster and faster. Yet there are seasons (even in my quickly fading days) that seem to drag on and on and on. I am in the midst of such a season.

The Bible talks about “in due time.” Pointing to the excellency of God’s timing. But I can’t help to think in this current season of my life that my timing and God’s timing are way out of alignment. I can think of a few things I want right now, but the answer seems to be not yet. I find myself continuously asking/whispering, “God,” in a very small voice. There have been a few times in the very near past where this has led to discouragement on my part, as I don’t really handle disappointment that well.

Outside of the faith aspect of realizing I need to trust God’s timing and that God holds my future, I realized I am so focused on a destination that I am forgetting to enjoy the journey. If I were trying to scale Mt. Rainier, would I not take the time to enjoy the changing scenery as I crested higher?

I felt 2015 was a dismal year, but as I wrote my letter, I was reminded of all the good and enjoyable moments. Moments that would have been more poignant if I had not been (in the back of my mind) despairing. I’ve been contemplating how my current situation fits into being a good steward, and my feeling is that it has to do with maximizing where I am now while preparing for where I am trying to go.

So, instead of focusing on what I don’t have/what I want (right now), I need to focus on what I do have and make sure I am maximizing on that. It’s easy to want a house on the hill. But, if I am not taking care of the one-bedroom condo I have now, what makes me think I would be a good steward over more? It’s easy to think more money, more travel, a new job, a relationship, etc. will make me happy. But what I really need to focus on is being grounded in God’s joy, which is most evident while I am working in my gifting (like working on the newsletter).

In the end, it’s easy to want the stars and the moon, but I have to continually ask myself, “Am I willing to pay the cost?” as well as, “What am I doing to prepare?” Things will come in God’s time. In the meanwhile, I do need to be a good steward over what God has placed in my hands now. I firmly believe greater is coming, but I also believe there is a cost and that there is preparation.

Whatever God has placed in your hands, I admonish you to be a good steward in your care of it. God see’s your work, and He will bless you with more in due time. I don’t know about you, but I want more. That means I have to use what I have now and prepare for what is coming!

Volume XV Issue I: Editor’s Corner

This is the “Editor’s Corner” I wrote for the Volume XV Issue I edition of the PCC Scroll.

I would encourage all of you to stir up and use the gifts and talents God has given to you. This particular call and article is geared toward those with the gift, talent, and passion for writing. It is a call to use your gift and talent to participate in the next PCC anthology.

The Call for Submission will be from January 1 to March 31 with the goal to have the book finished and published late 2016 or early 2017. I am very excited about this. If you are curious about the first anthology, it is available on Amazon.com in paperback, hardback, and Kindle formats. I also have some paperback copies for sale. Also, feel free to approach me with any questions. I would be happy to answer them.

The written word is such a gift to humanity with the power to stir and move the reader. Since I was a young child, I have loved the written word. I always enjoyed reading and writing. In elementary school, junior high school, and high school, I would spend my breaks in the library being taken to other worlds and caught up in the writers’ emotions.

As a freshman at the UW, I entered the university as a psych major. It became (painfully) obvious to me that I had no passion or interest in the subject. I changed my degree to English with a writing emphasis and spent my studies writing and reading, which I loved with all of my being.

When the PCC Women’s Scroll was birthed 15 years ago, I was very excited. As the years progressed, a love of editing was also birthed, which was somewhat unexpected. But it is a skill set that continues to be developed. Each quarter, it has been a joy to write and edit. As the years have progressed, I have found myself interested in helping and developing other writers, which again has been unexpected. But it shows that the plans God has for us are ones that we can’t imagine for ourselves.

If you are a writer, you do have a story to share, words of encouragement to give, and the unique gift of being able to create a world of your own creation. You have the power to move your reader with emotions.

The written word is a gift to writers. Writing is so personal. To give birth to a body of work is such a marvelous accomplishment. To express and release emotions and thoughts is such a therapeutic exercise.

If you are a writer, I encourage you to submit something! It could be poetry, a short story, an essay, or part of a larger project. I would love to hear from you! It will be an opportunity to leave a published body of work and share your gift and talent.

Keep Calm and Write On!

Editor’s Corner

Articles from the latest Scroll.

Editor’s Corner
The editing team met with Kris Fulsaas for our yearly retreat in July. As we talked about the next four issues, a reoccurring theme was living out our purposes. It was a very fluid transition from our last four issues on becoming our authentic selves. So we selected an overarching theme of “Walking Out Your Purpose” for the next four issues.

We thought the first step to walking out your purpose would be to discover your purpose. While I think most of us have some inclination regarding our purposes, it is important to be intentional in walking them out. And while the foundation of our purposes remains the same, our purposes and tasks can change with seasons of our lives. The great thing about our purposes is that they lie in the midst of our gifts, talents, and passions. We are constantly being equipped for purpose; it is just a matter of walking it out.

For me, this year has been interesting, for a lack of a better word. There has been so much distraction, and the distraction is just a ploy to get me focused on myself instead of being focused on God, discovering my purpose for this season, and living out my purpose.

The book of Esther was such a wonderful reminder that God is working in the background. For every plot and scheme of the enemy, God has a counterplan. The growth we gain in these seasons helps us to walk better in our purposes and equips us for our assignments.

I took real joy in writing “Men of the Bible” for this issue. Studying and remembering the story of Mordecai has been unbelievably timely. In a period when I feel a little shaken and distracted because of a wide range of circumstances, it was a nice reminder that God has me. In Mordecai, we see a wonderful example of a person who used the challenges that came his way to create opportunities. And he did not waste any opportunities. I want to turn my challenges into opportunities and walk knowing that I am being equipped for purpose.

What opportunities or challenges are around you that can help you discover or walk further in your purpose?

We’ve said it time and time again; the body needs your gifts and talents. Like Esther and Mordecai, you are here for such a time as this.

Editor’s Corner: PCC Scroll Volume XIV, Issue III

Here is my editor’s section.

Over the last editorial calendar year, we have been walking a journey of becoming our authentic selves, or in some cases discovering it. So who is my authentic self? It’s a great question, and I take some comfort in knowing that this is a question that I will be asking and discovering for the rest of my days.

Over the last few months, I have been feeling a little out of sorts. It’s hard to describe, but I find myself being all over the place and not really clear about some things. It’s a little disconcerting because I had reached a point where I thought I knew.

On impulse, I looked up the definition of the word authentic in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The first meaning was the meaning I had been focusing on during this journey. It is the definition that says, “Real or genuine: not copied or false.” I had been focusing on my authenticity as a person trying to mirror a true and accurate reflection. You know how we talk about “being real” and not “wearing a mask.” But I also stumbled across another definition of the word authentic which says, “Made to be or look just like an original.”

So that was the moment that the light bulb came on. I had been focusing on my individuality, which is important. But I should have been focusing on a journey to become more like God – the original whose image I was made after.

Sometimes the whole “What Would Jesus Do,” motto can be trivial sounding. But I have been asking myself this question in certain situations where I know that I am not/have not reacted in a way that illustrates that I have ever met Christ. I am talking about getting back to basics like having peace, showing love, and not letting situations move me.

So in the end, my journey to becoming my authentic self is really a journey in allowing God to transform me into His image. The Bible is filled with examples of people who have been transformed to become more like God.

One of my favorite people in the Bible is Paul. Imagine his discomfort in his transformation from Saul to Paul. This transformation challenged everything he knew or thought he knew about his world. His meeting with Jesus challenged and changed who he was. That’s the way I am feeling. I feel unsettled and a little bit on edge. In the end, this is a good thing. Though I will admit I like to feel comfortable.

In this season, I am seeing things in myself that I don’t like. I believe God is challenging me to be better…to be more like Him.

In the center of my storm, at my most authentic self that comes from becoming more like God, I will have my peace in spite of. So the answer to the question, “Who Am I,” has nothing to do with my personality or anything else to do with me at all. The answer has more to do with who I am in Christ and what that means about my presence in this world. Who Am I? I am peace. I am love. I am pardon. I am faith. I am hope. I am light. I am joy.