I have been attending the planning meetings for a new kind of church that is starting up in Springfield. It is so exciting to see God lay a vision on someone’s heart and then see Him draw people together to make that vision real.

In a nutshell, The Chapel has three key objectives: Disciple believers, Equip them to disciple others, and Engage the un-engaged.

As a headline – that sounds pretty familiar. All churches have that same basic premise, right? What The Chapel has been tasked with is building a church from the ground up that is self discipling. The challenge is to Challenge, not with the hell-fire and brimstone of my youth, but with the social justice and radical love of Jesus’s ministry. This isn’t a – ‘repent or burn’ message, this is a ‘turn and help us help someone else’ message.

We talked about repentance the other night and about the negative weight of that word. I can remember thinking my pastor was going to have a heart attack right there in the pulpit when I was young. He would turn such an odd shade of purple-red as he vehemently insisted we all repent and turn from our wicked ways. I was seven, not a whole lotta wicked going on at seven, but you can bet your boo-hiney that I was a-repentin’ every Sunday. The problem was I didn’t really know what repenting was except admitting and stopping.

The biblical definition of repentance is “to change one’s mind”. You change your mind about something and then you change your actions. Not a self flogging endeavor, but an earnest attempt to change your mind about something that you know to be not in your best interest. This is followed by a sincere attempt to do better next time and to make a plan that helps you do better. That reflection and planning wasn’t really talked about a lot when I was growing up.

So what is discipleship? Well, if you had asked me that a few weeks ago I would have had a similarly negative definition as repentance. Discipleship was burdonsome and loaded with expectation. It took lots of time and you had to be real Bible-y (not defining that one). Discipleship happened to people that worked in the church or served on the board. Regular Joes were just expected to read their Bible everyday, tithe, and help homeless people sometimes, if they could find the time.

My definitions are evolving rapidly.

I am reading an amazing book, “Building a Disipling Culture” by Mike Breen and Steve Cockram, and in it they have a definition of discipleship I love!

Discipleship: Abandoning ourselves to the forgiveness of God, walking in His grace, and creating a safe place within our community for others to do the same.

That lights up my heart! I want to DO THAT EVERY DAY for everyone in the world. And then do it again, and again, and again.

‘Abandon myself to the forgiveness of God’ I can’t think, type, or say that without a sigh. Abandon. Surrendor without restraint. Freedom from inhibition. What a beautiful picture of how God wants us to come to Him.

‘Walk in His grace’ This can make me weep if I let myself feel it completely. To walk in anyone’s anything is to be given complete possession of it. To completely possess the grace of God. To own that amazing power is so utterly humbling and amazing.

‘Create a safe place in our community for others to abandon themselves to the forgiveness of God, and walk in His grace’
Wow. There is no power larger than that, is there? Can you fathom the idea of every single christian in the world making it their personal mission to create a safe place for people to find God’s forgiveness and grace? Well, guess what? That is the only thing Christ asked us to do. It is our mission – go and make disciples. Love God and Love others.

So to say I am excited about The Chapel is quite the understatement. I feel like God has finally led me to a place that fits the heart He gave me. I’m going to ask you to please share this post on facebook and through any other means you may have and I’m going to ask that everyone who reads this prays for us. Pray for this mission to stay true to the original call. Pray for the resources and support and direction to be provided just in time. Pray for hearts to stay strong and for fortitude.

But most of all pray that we all can begin to be that safe place for people to find this amazing God. I love Him so and I want for everyone to know this amazing, unconditional love.

If you have questions or want to talk about anything – please reach out to me. I don’t know all the answers but I will walk with you and we will find whatever it is you seek.


Dear 20 year old me:

You will turn 41 this year and you have a really blessed life. Even though things are good now, 20 year old self, you sure waste a lot of time getting here. You made some poor decisions on the path to your life. I forgive you, I do, but I sure wish I could have talked to you back then.

In case there is ever time travel and I get to take this ipad…

1. Give 10%, Save 10%, Live on 80% – and give more if you can.
2. Stay out of debt. I will say a car and a mortgage are kind of ok, but nothing else.
3. Figure out what you believe, in your heart. Don’t worry about what you think you should believe, just figure out what you do believe. An honest seeker will be found.
4. Finish your education early and dual major in photography and business. No matter what, you need to understand business, but your soul was created by a creator to create.
5. Go find your husband when you are 28. He is in Springfield. He is a bit older than you and may take some convincing, but it will work out. Get an earlier start on this fabulous life.
6. Spend more time reading and less time watching TV.
7. Forgive quickly.
8. Learn how to live without armor. Let your guard down and let life just wash over you. The bad stuff will be harder, but the good stuff will be so much better.
9. When you get married – remember that you are a team in every way.
10. Don’t compete – collaborate. In business, and more importantly, in relationships.
11. Lift people up every chance you get – a smile is a powerful tool, use it!
12. Go to bed by 10 and get up by 6 every day.
13. Read your bible and talk to God, every day.
14. Eat a piece of Dove dark chocolate every night.
15. Stay away from diet drinks.
16. Stomp in puddles and play in the rain.
17. Be silly – once a day, no matter what.
18. Find your girlfriends earlier and treasure them.
19. If you think something nice about someone – tell them. Even if it takes effort.
20. Write every day.
21. Get a dog. Always have a dog.
22. Don’t smoke, you ninny.
23. Don’t move away from your family and do. not. marry. that. first. guy.
24. Learn how to cook and use a quality meal planner ever so often – it really helps expand your palate.
25. Eat more fish.
26. Give your kids your undivided attention every day.
27. Kiss your husband every day.
28. Let go of hurt – fix broken relationships. One day you will be amazed at how simple it all really is.
29. Put light switches in your closet door and pantry door jambs so the light comes on when you open the door. It’s the little things.
30. Invest heavily in Apple and sell in 2012. They will probably keep doing well – but if you do this it won’t matter.
31. Work out every day – 30 min of cardio and 30 min of strength – at least.
32. Pay for the car behind you at the drive thru ever so often.
33. Don’t worry about what other people think of you – they don’t.
34. Worry about what you think of you.
35. Go talk to a therapist when you need to and don’t put it off. Go ahead, I’ll wait while you make the call 20 year old self….
36. Find ways to volunteer.
37. Always have relationship with people who are different from you. Seek to understand.
38. Be like Jesus. The one in the bible, not the one in the media.
39. When you say, “I’ll pray for you” – take their hand and pray.
40. Know that Jesus wants you to pray but He also really wants you to DO.
41. Know this: You are equipped to excel at every desire you have in your heart – you only need add courage.

Boy, wouldn’t that have been nice to know 20 years ago. 🙂


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