Time to Wake Up, Kentucky!!

Sooooo…

As you guys know, I’ve been refraining from posting on the site so that I can work on the new book. (And by “work on the new book,” I mean “play Sims 3 when I’m not sleeping. I’m come down with a bad case of writer’s block.) But there IS something else going on.

God has put this huge burden on my heart for my hometown. Coming this fall, I’m planning on taking a team with me from Knoxville to Smithland, and we’re going to put on a tri-county event called “Awaken West Kentucky.” The goal is to bring all the area churches together for one MAJOR revival.

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes here in the way of revelation, and I intend to share all the details along the way as they come. But for now, I can’t express enough how crazy it is the way everything is falling into place. We’re talking doors opening that I couldn’t open myself if I had a stick of dynamite and some WD-40. So yeah, you bet I’m excited. This is gonna be big!

Continue praying for the book, and also begin to pray for this event. I’m telling you, this is some kind of vision we’re getting ready to see happen.

Thank you, all of you who have supported me, supported this website, and prayed for its tree to bear fruit. You’re all amazing.

Anyone reading from the western Kentucky area who might be interested in having their church become involve, email me at hidden.in.christ@live.com, or call at 865-242-9590.

Ugly Babies

I don’t know how much of my new book I’ve really mentioned on here. So here’s a rundown:

In my last book, Weirdos, I talked about how the church needed to rise up and take its place as the full body of Christ. The new book coming out is going to be about finding your own individual identity AS the church. Before we can do that, we have to really understand who God says we are, and discover the identity He has given us Himself.

Ugly Babies has been over six months in the making, and I’m making very little progress on it. I think a lot of that is due to spending my energy on this site and my music, because any inspiration is constantly being poured into those other things.

I expect the book to be finished shortly. Perhaps in another month or two. In the meantime, I’d like to put this site on hold so that I can focus solely on the book and write something you’ll both enjoy reading and also benefit from.

I also want to mention that I’m at a record-high of followers. (Not thousands or anything, but it’s a record for me.) I want to get this book out to as many people as possible, because I truly believe in the message it’s going to bring.

I would like to ask for a favor. You know I’m not about begging for subscribers or asking for publicity. But because of the message, I would ask that everyone, if you could, please share this site with your friends and family. Share a link on Facebook. Ask them to subscribe. Please help me get the word out and build up more followers, because that’s going to make more people aware of the book. And I promise, it’s going to be good stuff. You’re gonna want a copy.

If you’re already subscribed on to this site, you’ll get 10% off your own copy. For every Facebook and Twitter share beginning July 15, 2016, you can email a screenshot of that to me at hidden.in.christ@live.com. Each share will get you a coupon code for 10% off the book up to three shares. And any friends you refer will get 10% off as well.

I’ll also be giving away a signed copy to the one with the most shares. (Don’t be a pest doing this. People on facebook will block you if you’re posting 20 times a day about a book or a website. Be reasonable.) To be eligible for the free book, you have to be subscribed to this site.

I truly appreciate everyone being a part of this. I’m super excited, and you should be, too! Let’s make this happen!

Love you all. Be blessed.🙂

Half-Past, Part 2

The four AM call resumes.

It was the same man, calling the same wrong number, at the same damn time. I woke up this time as well, but I remained halfway delirious.

I answer the phone with a pitiful and groggy, “Hello?”

“Hey. What are you doing?”

“…You have the wrong number.”

“Who is this?”

If I had been awake enough, I would have gone off. You called me, sir! Who are you?! Wake me up again, I’m gonna be your worst nightmare.

You don’t call people at four in the morning and ask who it is. You tell me who you are. If I had been awake enough, I would also have recognized the number as being the same guy. But, as we’ve discussed before, nothing is rational at four AM.

Nothing is rational about Jesus.

(Evil Kenevil would be proud of that leap.)

As I laid back down to try and drift off, I stopped being angry and started laughing at the whole thing. First, because I realize the things God uses to teach me something is enough that my next book could (and maybe should) be a comedy. I mean, He uses some off-the-wall stuff sometimes to break my shoes.

The next thing that comes to mind is something Sandi Fatow says all the time. She’s all about solving conflict biblically, and oftentimes says, “There are two sides to every story. Even if one seems spot-on, you have to listen to them both.” This guy calling me is obviously a morning person (whereas, I most definitely am not). And this person he’s trying to reach, I can imagine ran into him and insisted that, yes, he has the right number. Maybe this guy has crap-lousy handwriting. I don’t know. But for whatever reason, if you’re calling someone before the sun even hints that it’s on its way up, it’s probably important. So in good faith, the guy probably called again thinking he just hit a wrong digit the first time. And unfortunately, he just got a really cranky lady on the phone.

But it’s an important call. So he’s going to keep trying.

It made me think about how God calls us to do things. And sometimes, it’s very inconvenient for us at the time. Even Moses, when God confronted him through the burning bush, made excuse after excuse. He even wanted initially to run because he was frightened. And who wouldn’t be? A bush is on fire and doesn’t burn; a phone call at four AM that you’re sure is bringing bad news; they’re both scary things.

If you’re following the Lord, you will, at some point, be confronted. You will be called. And if God calls me at four in the morning, I’m answering the call. Given, I might not remember it in the morning… But I’ll answer. I would like to think that if He calls my name, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I’ll jump, go running to Him, and ask what He wants from me. And if it’s important enough for Him to call me, it’s worth answering.

See? There was a Jesus story in all of this!

Half Past Are-You-Serious-Right-Now?

Has your phone ever rang in the middle of the night?

When I say middle of the night,” I don’t mean midnight. I wasn’t snuggled up in a warm blanket with my partner’s arm around me, watching a movie as we settle in for the night. I wasn’t somewhere off the coast of Maui relaxing under a setting sun. I wasn’t outside getting a star tan. No, when I say “middle of the night,” I’m referring to four in the morning.

Four. O’ clock. In the stinkin’. Morning.

You may recognize the fourth hour from your workplace. It hits somewhere, for most of us, just before we get off work. And that means four o’ clock is a good hour for us. But did you know four o’ clock comes twice a day? My mind was blown. Although somehow, the next one around never brings as much joy as the first.

If your phone ever does go off at four in the morning, there’s no ignoring that. The second that phone rings, you know it’s mom or dad, and that crap has gone down. Four AM calls never bring good news. Or if it does, it’s news you want to get up for, like… Parents just won the Powerball. So whether crap has gone down or up, you know crap has occurred.

Four o’ clock, I pounce out of bed and just barely miss the call. As I’m trying to get my bearings together to go outside and return the call (so I don’t wake any roommates up), I get a text. And it says, “This is Dad. Call me.”

Well, now I know somebody has died, because my dad never texts me. He barely even knows how to text. So I run outside, frantically return the call, and every ring feels like ten minutes. Nobody ever answered. I figure he’s off trying to call someone else with the bad news, and that’s why he’s not picking up. After three tries, finally, someone does.

It is not my dad who answers the phone.

Caller:  “Hello?”
Me:  “Hey. What’s wrong?!”
Caller:  “Is this Sara?”
Me:  “… …? …No.”
Caller:  “Okay, I’m sorry. Hope I didn’t wake you.”

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I did not even bother to tell this man that I was, indeed, asleep. There is nothing else going on at my house before sunrise. You will not find me in the kitchen making a souffle at four in the morning. I have never woken up before daylight and said, “What a great time to do my taxes.”

If I had been thinking, the number that text me was a local number. My dad is in Kentucky. But at four in the morning, you don’t think. Between the hours of midnight and seven, I’m barely alive. Anything involving rational thinking is not going to happen at four AM, because four AM is not rational.

I don’t do AM. I am a PM kind of person. So yes, sir, you woke me up. I know there are people out there who walk into work before The Lord gets up, and they just leave a trail of sunshine and cheer wherever they go. They are ready to start their day. I am not that person. Call me before daylight. Go ahead. Call me at half-past-flying-flip. But it better be because somebody has died. And even then, it had better be someone I love and cherish. Everybody else can wait until morning.

And I never did go back to sleep, so thank you for that.

“Okay, Jessie… This is the part where you incorporate Jesus in the story and share with the class.” Nope. Not this time.

“Haha… No, really.”

Nope.

I Hope Your Shoes Break, Too

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On the day in court I lost my son, I didn’t know yet that I had lost him. I thought everything had gone according to plan; a good plan. Then on the way out of court, one of my shoes broke. Immediately after that, I began to feel in my spirit that what had happened was, indeed, very bad. And I was right.

So it’s become a running joke around these parts, pun intended, that if your shoes break, it’s a warning from God.

Today at work, both of my shoes broke. I was coming inside when the top part of my shoe totally broke loose from the sole. About ten minutes later, the other one broke. I ended up getting two bouts of bad news today, so I’m starting to think there’s something to this shoe thing.

I asked off work tomorrow for an event downtown I wanted to go to. And I’ve been so, so excited about it. I ordered a t-shirt specifically to wear to it. I had a few things lined up well in advance of things I wanted to do that day. I’ve told everyone about it. And if you’d been around me at all the last six weeks I’ve had to look forward to this, you’d be mindblown to hear I didn’t want to go.

The ministry I’ve been talking about will have somewhat of a beginning point tomorrow. I’ve prayed for this day, researched and researched, and prepared for it the way a mother would prepare for her new baby. This is the maturity God has called me for. This is the beginning of the 8eginning. A new life. Something to cradle and care for. This is what I’ve carried in my spirit that is now being brought forth into life.

But I don’t want to go.

I’ve wanted to go. I’ve wanted to walk into this calling. But now I want my shoes to break, so that I have a reason to turn away and run. And it’s all fear; fear of judgment, fear of ridicule, fear of being rebuked. And maybe, even though I say I want my shoes to break, I’m a little afraid they actually might. Then I’ll be really terrified of what I’m walking into.

I hobbled home after work and flopped down on the couch. I was frustrated over a lot of things. A lot of things… And I told the Lord I just wanted to be done.

I kicked off my shoes and they went flying across the living room. I was annoyed that I was going to have to get new ones, because you have to order a specific kind though work, and they aren’t cheap. I told my roommate this in aggravation and said, “I’ve worn them every day and worked in them for nearly a year. It was time for new shoes before they broke.”

She says, “They probably design them to break so you’ll have to get new ones.”

That’s what happens to shoes. They break. Or as we grow up, we grow out of them. As we work in them, we tear them. However they wear out, they just do.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 9 that we don’t fix old clothing with unshrunken garments, because the garment would pull away from the old clothing, leaving an even bigger tear. Then he goes on to say, “Likewise, new wine is not poured into old wineskin. If it were, the wineskin would break, and the wine ruin. Therefore, new wine is poured into new wineskin so that both are preserved.”

So I wonder, when shoes break… Is it because we put on a pair of shoes God never wanted us to walk in? Or is it because He has designed them to break and tear so we can be fitted with something brand shiny new? (And obviously, we aren’t talking about shoes anymore. Did you get that?)

So, dear friends, I hope your shoes break. I hope that as you’re walking to the bus stop, or you’re standing in the check-out line at Walmart, you’re waiting on your Big Mac, you’re running with scissors, you’re chasing the kids, whatever it is you’re doing… I hope your shoes break. Dear Jesus, let all of our shoes break. Let soles be torn away and heels pop off. And God willing, as our shoes are worn down to nothing but strings, may you be fitted with a brand new pair.

In Regards to Orlando…

I really wanted to post a video of this rant, because I don’t know that I can truly capture the essence of pissed I am through written word. But for now, this will have to do.

I was stunned when I heard about Orlando’s shooting. I was angry. I couldn’t find the words to respond. But I have those words now, and this rant is for the church. Let me just say in advance now that for the duration of this post, when I say “the church,” I’m not referring to your church, or my church, or their church specifically. I’m speaking to the church of the world, the body of Christ as a whole. And that means everyone from the pastors to the followers, and to the Christians who think they’re Christians because they show up on Easter Sunday.

What happened in Orlando was a Muslim-rooted attack. I get that. That’s not the point. People are pissed at what religion did to the gay community. And quite frankly, I am too. Religion is what condemns people, sends sinners to hell, and it’s religion that nailed Jesus to the cross. Religion condemns me and tells me I’m too far gone. But there’s a cross that tells me I can never be too far gone. So I hate religion, and I abandoned it a long time ago in pursuit of Jesus, because he was the only hope I had to be saved.

That does not mean I’m free to live in sin. It means I’m dead to sin, and I now live in Christ.

There are people out there who are celebrating the massacre that happened in Orlando. There are people who call it a victory. One pastor even went so far as to say on Twitter, “Thank God for the fifty fags gone from this world.” I just need to stop right there and ask those people, how dare you? Fifty people got gunned down while begging for their lives, and all you had to say was thank God? If that’s you, and you think your god (and that is lowercase for a reason) is happy about this, I don’t have words. Because if He were, if you think heaven truly rejoiced when that disgruntled man took it upon himself to bring those death sentences down on those people, then you don’t believe in Jesus. Or you don’t know him. Show me one time, just one time, in the scriptures that Jesus damned even one sinner, and I will recant this entire website. What that man did, whether he was Christian or Muslim or whatever, was destroy the bridge between sin and salvation. No, God is not happy about that. And there is no celebration in heaven going on for this cold-blooded massacre. So get over yourself, and get over your god, because whatever god you’re serving is not The Lord God.

Now let me say this to the church. Someone was asking me just last night how I felt about homosexuality, and if I thought it was wrong. And to be honest, I don’t know. You all know I preach the gospel of “I don’t know,” so I just stick to what I do know. Here’s what I do know:  I am not going to be the one with a megaphone on the sidewalk sending gay people to hell, or telling them it’s okay. Because I don’t know. I. Don’t. Know. But I’ll say this to the church, and that’s that you don’t know, either. We can look at a couple of verses and say, yeah, homosexuality is wrong… But are you sure? Because I’m pretty sure Scripture also strictly condemns wearing two different types of fabric at the same time, and having sex with a woman while she’s on her period. So what I’m saying to the church, what I’m begging and pleading with them to do, is to give this issue another look. Because something is definitely wrong here, and if our theology is clashing with reality, we have to reevaluate.

Something else I know for sure is this… That God is loving, powerful, all-knowing, and He is righteous. And to those who are truly willing to seek Him and follow Him NO MATTER WHAT, will find loving correction in their lives. And God will convict where conviction is needed. So for now, can we stop telling the gay community that they are damn dirty sinners, and just focus on them in the same way that we would focus on any fellow brother or sister in Christ, or a nonbeliever? Because those who are pursuing Him will find Him. Can we not just encourage them in their pursuit? God will convict where conviction is needed. He does not need us to do it for Him. And then, we don’t have to decide for ourselves who is living in sin and who isn’t. God will handle it.

When we decide to swing God’s sword for Him, we fail to remember that we don’t swing it with the same wisdom of an all-knowing King. I will not be the one to tell the gay community that they’re going to hell. Because if I’m wrong, I’ve kept a lot of people out of church, and may have kept them from ever coming to Christ. And if I do that, I will have to face God one day with their blood on my hands. And if I tell them God is okay with something He has forbidden, and those people end up in hell because of my words that reinforced their sin, then I will have to face God one day with their blood on my hands. I won’t do it. I refuse to do it. Instead, I will tell the world that eternity is a lot to gamble with, whether it’s your own or someone else’s. So stop it.

Seriously, stop it.

I am making a declaration on this site as of right now. I’ve said in previous posts that homosexuality was wrong, and I want to sincerely from my heart apologize. I swung that sword. I pray you forgive me. And from this point forward, you will not find a single word of condemnation from me. Because God loves you. God loves you. He LOVES you. And I do, too. This mission of this site when it was first launched was to share that love I found in Christ. I want to remain on that mission.

God be with the grieving families tonight. God be with the broken people, the saints and the sinners. God be with those who are persecuted.

You are loved. And that’s a gospel I know.