Showing posts from July, 2011

Graceful Words: Book Edition

We've hardly begun to talk about grace - what it is, what it means, how we can become channels of grace to others. There is so much more to talk about, and a lifetime of learning and seeing and being ahead of us. I know so little of it myself. But we hope that these last few posts have given you some things to think and wonder and pray about. And since we know you love to read as much as we do - we can't end this series without a nod to some books and blogs on grace. I think we've mentioned them all before - but here are three books worth checking out: What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey I can't quite write about this book, because it's still on my "to-read" list. But Philip Yancey's books are very readable, filled with true stories and sound theology. So I'm recommending it anyway. Grace is for Sinners , by Serena Woods She had an affair with her best friend's husband, and in the span of three weeks managed to rui

Graceful Words

What does it look like to be a woman of grace? If we're walking closely with Jesus and living freely in His grace, that grace will spill out of our lives. We will be able to offer this gift to others. And one of the most prominent ways we can do so is with our words. Matthew 12 says that "Out of the heart the mouth speaks" - do your words reflect a graceful and loving heart? I'm sad to admit that mine don't, not nearly as often as I wish they would. But words are important, and have far more power than we usually give them credit for. God created the world by speaking. And in Deuteronomy 32, he says that his commandments are "not just idle words for you - they are your life." Words of grace are words of life and creation. We can speak life, hope, and healing into another's life. Our words can be water to parched souls - or they can be cutting and deadly. "If anyone speaks," Peter writes, "he should do it as one speaking th

Friday Footprints

A few links to boost your weekend! It's summertime and perhaps you're looking for a new hairstyle.  If that's the case, check out Locks of Love  (LOL), an organization that makes hairpieces (wigs) for children who have lost their own hair due to illness.  Not only would donating your hair to LOL give you a different, cooler-for-summer hairstyle, it'd also show God's love in a tangible way to children around the country!  So head on over to LOL and learn more! Set Apart Girl's July/August issue is out, filled to the brim with encouraging, fun, and thought-provoking articles on everything from standing for life and dressing with dignity to furthering your relationship with Jesus and time wasters.  So head on over and prepare to be blessed, encouraged, and challenged! Have a beautiful weekend with Jesus! Joanna, Jessina & Megan

Esther: A Portrait of Grace

Grace. Sure, it’s only five letters long, but it’s a giant, beautiful, powerful word when lived out. As I’ve been thinking about grace and how the Lord has given me so much of it, I was reminded of a young lady who displayed His grace in such a striking and powerful way in my life... It was 2009 and I had flown into Oklahoma City for three weeks of training and teaching the Character First! Education (CF!) program in the inner-city schools of Oklahoma City (now In the Gap ). Esther was working with CF! - teaching, serving however needed, giving of her time, talents, and heart. So, after my arrival in the city, she approached me and introduced herself. When I offered my hand, she skipped that norm and went straight to a hug. She has such a sweet spirit of grace that even on my first meeting I could see that it permeated her whole being. I immediately felt that she lived life to the fullest for Jesus Christ and couldn’t wait to get to know her better! As we spent time together t

The Real Gospel

If you're like me, you've heard of many watered down "Gospels", like the "prosperity Gospel" (i.e. the false teaching that when you come to Christ, He'll bless you abundantly always , things will always go well with you, you'll have whatever you want financially, good health, etc.).  But that's not the real thing.  We know Scripturally that God doesn't always give us what we want (but He always works it all out for good - Romans 8:28), nor do believers always have large bank accounts.  After all, I know many fervent and authentic believers around the world that often don't know when their next meal will come.  So we definitely know that Jesus didn't teach the "prosperity Gospel" - that things will always go well with us (take a look at His disciples - all but one were martyred ruthlessly!).  He taught grace.  As Megan said , we certainly don't deserve God sending Jesus to die an ugly death on a rugged, bloody cross

The Gospel of Grace

It's been a long time since Easter. The spring decorations have been tossed back in their boxes, and we're running around planning vacations and hosting barbecues. And in the midst of all this lovely weather, in the midst of the jobs and plans and vacations - we tend to forget the most important things. So our new series here at Bloom! is going to spend the next few weeks focusing on grace. What is it? How should we see it in our lives, our relationships with others? What does it look like to live a life of grace? Why do we so often forget it? We'll start with what it is - because that should change the entire way we look at the world. And you can't remind yourself of the truth too often. You've probably heard this saying: Justice is getting what you deserve. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. And grace is getting what you don't deserve. We can't understand grace until we focus our eyes again on the cross. A rough, bloodstained cross, s