Tag Archives: Christine Caine

What’s Irresistible to You? Chocolate? Yes. Our Faith? Yay or Nay…

Friends!  Would your friends say you have an irresistible faith?  Anybody besides me want to reply, “Come back in a bit, I’m not quite ready for that question…”

Yes, well, let me fetch some chocolate while we ponder this together…

Recently I was delighted to be part of a committee to choose books for our upcoming book club season for fall 2019-spring 2020.  Seven slots to fill seemed easy, however five for five of us arrived at the meeting with ten to fifteen suggestions, each.  We were a vision of “so many books, so little time.”

One of the many recommendations I received, I also read.  It hit me between the eyes and my poor brain is still trying to process it..  The book?  Irresistible Faith: Becoming the Kind of Christian The World Can’t Resist by Scott Sauls. Scott pastors Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville where I’ve been blessed to attend a women’s conference with my good buddy, Madge, who lives there.

My favorite endorsement of this book comes from Duke Keon who pastors Grace Meridian Hill in Washington, DC:  “With biblical clarity, personal transparency, and a relentlessly winsome  spirit, Scott Sauls shows us how authentic Christianity is attractive Christianity. It’s a timely and reliable road map for those seeking to restore the damaged witness and public reputation of Christians…If you want to learn how the grace of God makes us the ‘light of the world’ in all of life, read this book!”

In his Foreword in the book, Bob Goff says, “This book is an invitation for us to return to the most authentic version of our faith. It’s also an invitation to join, or create, an authentic community of people trying to go somewhere beautiful with their faith.”

Bob has just painted a picture for us of what we experience in Bible study and small groups.  That’s exactly what we aspire to do, to “go somewhere beautiful with our faith.”  I love that!

Scott begins by saying what really bugs him is how many negative reactions the word “Christian” gets.  He quotes San Francisco journalist Herb Caen who said, “The trouble with born-again Christians is that they are an even bigger pain the second time around.”  OUCH…

Scott rattles off a dozen questions causing us readers to consider what it would look like for our love for the Lord and each other to be so contagious and so irresistible non-believers would want to know the source of our faith. His book offers some much-needed ideas and suggestions. It’s akin to an owner’s manual you’ll want to refer to often. (Scott, any fat chance you could create a pocket-size version for us???)

Scott asks,

I’m happy to report you’ll also get to laugh out loud multiple times.  Scott tells on himself and gifts us with fantastic quotes from other authors as well.  He confesses he finds “more satisfaction in the praise of people than he does in the grace of God.”  We’re all normal human beings and we simply forget the glory goes to God and belongs only to Him. This is not an easy subject matter, and Scott takes us by the hand to show us what irresistible faith looks like.

Brennan Manning says it best:

“I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.” (From The Ragamuffin Gospel)

Right about the time you want to ask, “Now what?” Scott reminds us if we keep a “steady diet of God-inspired words, aided and animated by the Holy Spirit, we’ll have nurtured, healthy, and solid souls.” He lists countless classic authors, musicians, all steeped in God’s Word giving us beautiful examples and a well-built case for keeping our noses in His Word.

A new-to-me and now favorite concept we learn about is found in Chapter 4, “Practicing Transparency and Kindness.” We discover a thought from Ann Voskamp that Scott’s church has now adopted, “only speak words that make souls stronger.”

He tells us,

The staff at Christ Presbyterian Church has come to “nurture a culture of benediction.”  They begin their staff meetings “by speaking life-giving words over each other.” Can you imagine the impact on each of them when their co-workers publicly praise each other one by one? What if we tried this in our homes with our beloved family? And friends? And anyone who crosses our path?

Scott teaches us “the universal Christian job description:  all Christians are called as Christ’s ambassadors into the places where they live, work, play, and worship, with the glorious purpose of leaving people, places, and things better than they found them.”

It’s living out Colossians 3:23-24:

Now you know what I’m going to say, “Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and snag a copy of Irresistible Faith.

‘Til next time!

P.S.  While reading this book, I kept thinking to myself that Scott should connect with Christine Caine as they really remind me of each other.  They both pack a punch with mega enthusiasm causing you to want to be on their team.  How like the Lord to have Christine as one of Scott’s endorsers.  She says Scott and his wife, Patty, are friends with Christine and her husband Nick! She goes so far as to say she loves everything Scott writes.  Amen and amen…

 

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Let’s Wrap Up Women of Faith’s UNWRAP THE BIBLE Conference with More Great Bible Teaching…

How do you unwrap a gift? Do you rip the paper to shreds, hurriedly, to find out what’s inside?

Or, like my sweet husband….

Do you shake it,

feel it,

barely, barely sever the tape,

slowly, ever-so-slowly, painstakingly remove the paper…

until we’re all about to pull our hair out??? (You’d think he’d never opened a gift before in his life, poor baby.)

Or, if you wrap like I do, that translates into stuffing the gift in a gift bag, fluffing up some terribly tired tissue, and zip! Out the door you go in sixty seconds or less…Thence unwrapping this kind of gift takes no time at all.

Gift Bag

What we’re about to discover, thanks to some fantastic Bible teachers, is:

To unwrap the Word of God, we must…

Savor

every single word,

every single phrase,

every single paragraph,

very slowly, akin to how my husband slowly unwraps gifts.

Women of Faith’s (WOF) Unwrap the Bible Conference, held in Houston, TX February 21-22, gifted each attendee with five gifts from the Bible to unwrap from five fabulous teachers. Beth Moore and Lisa Harper got us started. (See Part 1…). Then all five of them spoke together on a panel to help us with reading, studying, and quiet times, plus we got to hear a separate talk by Priscilla Shirer. (See Part 2…)

Unwrap the bible

This week, we’ll finish up with the last two gifts coming from Sheila Walsh and Christine Caine. All five of these gals equipped us with Scripture and lessons to keep us standing firm as we walked back out into the wild world in which we live.

Sheila Walsh is what I call the “Steady Eddy” of Women of Faith. Speaking with them from the beginning, more than seventeen years ago, you can count on Sheila to pick you up where you are, no matter the circumstances, and give you the Godly boost you need.

Sheila pointed us to John 15, showing us we must remain in Christ from the Vine and the Branches passages. She said, “Our source of strength comes from God’s Word.” She assured us, “You have not been forgotten. God is bigger than your circumstances.” 

She also warned us: “Beware of compromise…”

Her first lesson was: “We have an enemy hell bent on destroying us, but we have a Savior who became earth bound to deliver us.”  Significant to call upon our Savior.

Sheila walked us thru’ the Book of Esther, pointing us to Esther’s bravery shown in Esther 4:15-16: “Esther sent back her answer to Mordecai: ‘Go and get all the Jews living in Susa together. Fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, either day or night. I and my maids will fast with you. If you will do this, I’ll go to the king, even tho’ it’s forbidden. If I die, I die.’” (MSG) Gulp…would you do this??? Esther’s complete trust in God is inspiring.

Sheila followed up with this lesson: “When you’ve done everything you know to do, then stand and watch the deliverance of the Lord.” 

Storm Inside

Next up, and brace yourselves, was Christine Caine. This was my first time to experience Christine’s teaching. I think my hair is still standing straight up on the back of my neck. My toes are still bruised. My ears are still ringing. This girl packs a punch. Oh, and it’s a Heavenly one at that…

Christine chose Sarah, specifically from Genesis 18:10-14 where God hears her laughing at the thought of becoming pregnant at her very old age. Never mind she “laughed to herself”, but God heard her anyway!

The key Scripture we focused on came from verse 14, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  She cited case, after case, after case, where God showed up in uncanny situations to care for impossible situations.

After showing a hilarious clip of a boy going thru’ his parents’ pantry and frig, discovering numerous items more than expired, Christine pointed out: “The Promises of God do not have an expiration date.“ 

Then Christine looked out at all eleven thousand of us and asked, “So how’s your posture? How’s your belief? We must strengthen our womb of faith. Because….if it’s not strong enough, you’ll abort and miscarry.” 

Baby

Let’s just stop and think about this for a second. What a beautiful picture of our faith. Our “womb of faith” constructs a growing process for us to faithfully feed from this day on into eternity.

Christine further encouraged us to “be intentional about being in God’s Word, knowing God’s Word.” She said, “We’ve become blind to God’s ability to do the impossible…Remember, “Is ANYTHING too hard for the Lord???” 

She frequently adds, “Keep it fresh and keep it real.”

Undaunted

My most amazing discovery happened after the conference when Liz Curtis Higgs and I were asked to join the speakers and some WOF staffers for lunch. How fun is that?

WOF2014 Group

Here we are right before we left for the airport, after lunch. From left to right: Beth Moore, Liz Curtis Higgs, Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Harper, Michelle Parrozo (she’s on staff with WOF), Lisa Bevere, Melissa Moore (Beth’s daughter who writes brilliant additions to Beth’s Bible studies), and Christine Caine. (Priscilla’s cousin and I were the photogs!)

It was fascinating…and while I would have thought the girls would totally kick back, be wiped out from being “on” for eleven thousand attendees…certain they’d talk about food or shopping or when they’d be getting home …Not so…

They all talked about books and resources that help them when writing, whether writing for a book, or Bible study, or for a talk to teach, as well as future writing projects! I just sat back in awe.

One gal, who also speaks for WOF, did like Liz did which was to attend the conference purely to soak in these girls’ teaching. She sat next to me at our luncheon and was the most precious thing. I had no idea who she was.  She was so interested in how Liz and I’d become friends, what I did, etc.

I was so stunned at her interest,  I didn’t think to ask about her ministry!!! This same girl, who knows no strangers, wound up on our flight from Houston to Atlanta, and in similar fashion, became acquainted with half the plane’s passengers. Not kidding.

Who was this? None other than Lisa Bevere. Bet some of y’all know of her husband, John, too. They have written several books and have an awesome ministry. Checkout their website:

Alas, Liz and I landed in Louisville, back into the Real World. Hey, but we were still STANDING….and equipped with anointed teaching from gifted teachers.

As God would orchestrate, my small group recently began Priscilla’s Gideon: Your weakness. God’s strength. Bible study. IT IS POWERFUL!!! Let’s close with her prayer from Week Two, Day One:

“Today, Gideon’s story encourages us to seek the Almighty in the midst of normalcy. Ask the Lord to make Himself visible to you just as He did to Gideon. Pray that He will open your spiritual eyes over the next twenty-four hours so you can see Him more clearly than ever before.” And may I add, all the while standing firm in Him.

Gideon

Finally, you must know the good news that WOF has already booked an Unwrap the Bible Conference for February 20-21, 2015, back in Houston, at Lakewood Church! Make plans to attend now!!! (Go to: www.womenoffaith.com )

‘Til next time!!!

(This post is dedicated to all five Bible teachers from Unwrap the Bible: Beth Moore, Lisa Harper, Priscilla Shirer, Sheila Walsh and Christine Caine.   You enlightened, taught, and empowered Liz and me and 10,998 others to stand firm in our faith and to take our stand daily. May God Bless you and your families and your ministries abundantly!!! Plus let’s not forget my dear friend, Liz Curtis Higgs, who extended this most gracious invitation to attend in the first place!!!  Hugs across town, Lizzie!!! ‘Twas a blessed BLAST!!!)

 

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Inspirational Book Recommendations You’ll Love! (Part 2 of 3 on Women of Faith’s Unwrap the Bible Conference)

“I thought two books arrived yesterday.” Hubster John commented while nearly wiping out on two more packages that arrived today.

“Yes, well, …I ordered used books thru’ Amazon and they’ve shipped from all over the place. They are much cheaper as some of these books look like they’d be textbooks for Seminary.” I pleaded my case.

“And we know for sure,…” John teased, “YOU, of all people, need more books…”

Oops.

Library

Book addiction noted, I’m delighted to report in on one of many favorite parts of Women of Faith’s  “Unwrap the Bible” Conference from February 21-22.  Last week we unpacked Beth Moore’s and Lisa Harper’s  talks.  (For more information, please see Houston We Have an Answer….. )

This week we’ll hit highlights from the Panel Discussion with all five speakers:  Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Harper, Christine Caine and Sheila Walsh.  We’ll also discuss points from Priscilla’s talk.

Sheila facilitated the Panel by asking the girls what their favorite, most helpful books were, as well as what their daily time with the Lord looks like.  (This was rapid-fire-away-time bustin’ with resourceful  information!!!)

Priscilla Shirer mentioned two books she’s very fond of.  One is The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament by Sandra L. Richter and the other is The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbathby Mark Buchanan.  She says both of these made huge impacts on her.

Epic of Eden

Rest of God

(I’m currently reading The Rest of God and am highlighting paragraphs on every page as well as consulting an on-line dictionary…quite the vocab Mark has!  I’ll be writing about this eye-opening book soon.)

Regarding her quiet times, Priscilla said, “We must be in God’s Word even if we don’t understand it!  Continually search it out.  Keep placing your face before Him. Pray for understanding.”

Baby Holding Dad's Finger On Bible

Sheila said one of her all-time favorite books is by Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew. Haven’t met a book by him yet that hasn’t been well worth your time.

Jesus I Never Knew

Sheila emphasized, “Daily quiet times are so essential because one of the greatest lies the enemy spews is that God doesn’t love us, leaving us with the wound of abandonment. “

While she didn’t brag on her newest book, my buddy Liz Curtis Higgs, whom I was with at the conference, said The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are is Sheila’s best writing yet.

Storm Inside

Sheila also armed us with:  Psalm 143:8 –  “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” (NIV)

I love the wording in the ESV:  Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.  Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”  The study notes say, “The reminder of God’s steadfast love enables him (David and us!) to endure….The expression lift up my soul is one of deep dependence and allegiance.”

What an endearing verse to start your morning.  Thanks, Sheila!

Christine Caine mentioned two favorite books:  The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative and The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission (Biblical Theology for Life) both by Christopher J.H. Wright.  (These are the seminary-like-textbook ones I spoke of earlier!  True tomes.)

The Mission of God

The Message of God's People

Christine said of her daily quiet time:  “Reading the Gospel transforms us to transform others.  Getting in the Word produces fresh truths and understanding. “  She added, “We’ve got to keep it fresh and keep it real.”

Beth Moore chimed in with a great suggestion:  “Ask God to do the supernatural like He did in Luke 24, where Jesus opened the peoples’ eyes to recognize Him and to Scripture. “ (v. 31)

Beth said she frequently uses Bible software such as www.biblegateway.com , concordances and commentaries, and the book, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem.

Systematic Theology

Lisa Harper also mentioned Wayne’s book as well as books by Craig Blomberg, two of which are on my radar (loads to choose from if you checkout www.Amazon.com  or www.Christianbook.com ):

The Historical Reliability of the Gospels and Preaching the Parables: From Responsible Interpretation to Powerful Proclamation.

Historical reliability

Preaching the Parables

 Beth and Christine also mentioned www.biblehub.com and the NET Bible Reader’s Edition.  Go to:  www.bible.org to see the wealth of information you can access, which is the ministry that created the NET.

NET Bible

Praying this plethora of resources hasn’t fried your brain yet, let’s close out with pearls from Priscilla:

I’ve been blessed over the years to hear Priscilla’s Daddy, Tony Evans, speak as well as her sweet Mother, Lois Evans.  Once in Nashville, other buddies in Women’s Ministry and myself heard Priscilla and her Mother speak.  What a blessed family.  I must say, Priscilla preaches like her Daddy.  Powerful.  Very Powerful.

Priscilla Shirer

For her talk, Priscilla chose Jesus’ Mother, Mary, to teach us a few principles.  She said, “God wars for your soul.  We must stand guard against the enemy. We must not be just believers, but total trusters in Jesus Christ. We must believe He’ll be for us and will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.”

Priscilla took us to the book of John, chapter 2 where Jesus and His disciples and His Mother, Mary, attended a wedding in Cana.  True to a Mother’s ways, Mary pointed out to Jesus they were out of wine.

Bread And Wine For Jesus

Priscilla enlightened, “Running out is the prefix to running into Jesus.  The primary way to see Jesus is to pay attention to where He leaves us:

If we don’t move,

If we don’t run, and

If we don’t try to circumvent our circumstances.”

Big lesson for those of us “fixers” out there to be patient….Sigh…

Priscilla added, “We don’t always have to try to make sense of Jesus, much less the season we’re in.”  Isaiah 55:8 reminds us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.”

Before she closed, Priscilla gave the most powerful case for believing and trusting in God. As if in a chess match,  she began with Genesis and ended with Revelation pointing out Satan’s attacks…But with each one, she beautifully reminded us that “God had another move”…and what He did to counter Satan’s attacks, culminates in His ultimate victory in Revelation.  We all wanted to jump to our feet!

John 20:30-31 says, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (NIV)  We must believe…

Priscilla’s pep talk nearly over, she said, “Don’t allow the Cross to lose its’ power.  Redemption is yours.”  Lord, please help us remember this.

Don’t miss Priscilla’s newest book, God is Able. She takes you thru’ Ephesians 3:20-21 in the most fun and gutsy way.  You’ll shake your head and say, “Now why haven’t I seen it that way before?”  You’ll come to believe “HE. IS. ABLE.”

God is Able

Please join me next week as we wrap up Part 3 of 3 of  “Unwrap the Bible” with morsels from Christine Caine, the most enthusiastic fireball I’ve heard recently, plus Sheila Walsh, the “Steady Eddy” of Women of Faith.  You’ll be blessed by their messages.

‘Til next time!

 

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