Leaving My Mark, by Jen Phipps

Bob Bevington
Written By:
Leaving My Mark, by Jen Phipps | August 18th, 2014

Leaving My Mark, by Jen Phipps

John Owen, Mark, and Jen

John Owen, Mark, and Jen

Jen Phipps is a cancer patient on her second round of chemo, and a member of my community group, The Cellar Dwellers. Her journey has been inspiring to many, so I thought I’d share her recent Facebook post here:

LEAVING MY MARK, by Jen Phipps

Pulling up to my parents’ house, there it was, a gleaming and newly poured sidewalk. I immediately made plans to write my initials in a small corner of one of the cement pads. After taking my 2-year-old, John Owen, inside and visiting for a few minutes, I headed out for my weekly blood draw, but first I must leave my mark. Come on, I have cancer and I want my son to be able to look where his mama wrote her initials in front of granny and grandpa’s house. “JEP” neatly written with the tip of a branch. 

I returned to pick up my little guy. We visited for a few more minutes and out the door we went- only to discover they were smoothing the cement over again! Standing on the front stoop with my mom and John Owen, I said, “Well, I’ll just have to leave my mark in something better than concrete!” 

One day that sidewalk will be gone, but the souls I come in contact with will go on. My desire is to be God’s tool that leaves an eternal mark on those around me. As a former atheist I want to bring the good news of what Jesus has done for me to those God has put in my path. That includes anyone reading this right now. Know that He loves you, He died for you, and He came that you might have life eternal with Him. 

Entrust your soul to Him and be His tool to leave your mark on the soul of another. 

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. Acts 9:15 [Read more...]

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I Must Have This THING!

Sanj Kalra
Written By:
I Must Have This THING! | October 23rd, 2013

I Must Have This THING!

911 (2)It was California in the summer of 1989. I had just graduated from college and was driving home from work in my Suzuki Samurai on the 90-Marina Freeway. I was following a Porsche 911 with a spoiler on its back. I wanted to catch up to it and get beside it to see who was in the car. Traffic began to slow and the spoiler began to lower and then disappear. WOW! That was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

I said to myself, I have to have that. I want that now. I must have that. I want to be that guy in that car. If I have that car then everyone will pay attention to me.

That night I took out my bucket list and added the word, Porsche.

As my income increased I began going to Porsche dealerships but the sales guys wouldn’t give me the time of day.

A few years went by and I still didn’t have the money but I was getting closer. Then my income jumped up a few notches and I was ready to make the purchase. I decided to dress in jeans and white t-shirt, walk into the dealership, and pay cash for the car. I ended up ordering a custom 911. It would be delivered directly from Stuttgart, Germany.

My car arrived in December 2004. Fifteen years had since I first got a glimpse of that rear spoiler disappearing and I was about to drive away in my very own 911. I pealed out of the dealership wanting everyone to check me out. But what happened on the ride home was not what I expected.

[Read more...]

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Prune Thyself

Judge Tom Parker
Written By:
Prune Thyself | September 4th, 2013

Prune Thyself

Half Dead TreeI was driving down the road the other day and came upon a half dead tree.

You know the kind.  It was a tree that was inexplicably healthy and partially dead at the same time.  What is amazing is that such trees are often perfectly healthy the prior year.  Then, spring comes and a portion of the tree never comes back to life.

People can be like that.  Someone’s life seems to go great for a while and then, seemingly out of nowhere, it is as if a part of the person just stops working right.  This can be particularly true for someone’s spiritual life.  A person who is healthy spiritually just goes dry.  They can’t pray and they can’t serve.  And they don’t know why.

So, back to my tree.  I stopped my car and said to the pathetic looking thing: “Prune thyself!”  Nothing happened.  Then I wondered if the tree even realized it was half dead?  Trees don’t look in the mirror, after all.

As I gazed at the juxtaposition of dead gray wood and a thousand bright green leaves it made me wonder some more.  Were there any dead limbs on me?  This is not a question I normally ask myself.  Think about it.  When we think things are going okay in our lives, we are content to let things stay as they are.  Unless I’m on a fitness kick, I rarely want things to change.  Like most, there are times when I actively resist change.

Is that God’s way of dealing with us?  I’m afraid [Read more...]

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Recognizing the Moment

Jim Bossler
Written By:
Recognizing the Moment | June 5th, 2013

Recognizing the Moment

Mt RileyIf I didn’t start prioritizing the overwhelming beauty around me, I was going to run out of a supposed two-week supply of film… in one day.

I was on a 4-day journey through the rugged beauty of British Columbia and the Yukon. Some friends from my church and I were driving in RVs from Seattle to Alaska via the Alaska Highway, which incidentally isn’t a highway at all. My pitiful seventeen-year-old scope of beauty was no match for everything the Canadian Rockies had to offer…breathtaking views all day, everyday, with 20-23 hours of daylight to see it. I’m pretty sure it’s the most beautiful nature I’ve ever seen, however it remains legendary in my brain because I’ve forgotten most of it. Except one view in particular.

On the last night of the trip, my friend and I took off around 9pm and decided to hike up Mt. Riley, near Haines, Alaska. We were too foolish to realize the danger we were putting ourselves in. The sun would set that night around 11:30pm and as the sun began to fade halfway into our hike, we suddenly realized our error.

Decision time. Hike another mile and a half and risk going down the mountain in the dark, or turn around and safely go back to our camp.

Like any pseudo-wise seventeen years olds, we continued on.

What awaited us at the top was [Read more...]

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My Best Life Now

Bob Bevington
Written By:
My Best Life Now | May 8th, 2013

My Best Life Now

PurposeLately I’ve been re-evaluating my life. What I do. Why I do it.

It’s amazing sometimes how a simple blog post can bring clarity. Like this one from TheBlazingCenter. I shortened it so you could read it in less than a minute.

It starts off by challenging us to complete the second half of a verse. This sets us up perfectly to see what life is (and isn’t) all about.

Complete 1 Thessalonians 1:9b  How you turned to God from idols to…

  1. Have your best life now.
  2. Develop yourself to your full potential.
  3. Make a name for yourself.
  4. Find the love of your life.
  5. Make a difference in the world.
  6. Get your act together.
  7. Do great things.
  8. Serve the living and true God.

If you chose the last one you were correct.

Let me put the whole verse together:   . . . how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God

This is what the Christian life is all about – serving the living and true God. It doesn’t matter how we serve him. We may serve him in large ways or small ways. That’s up to him. But the point is is we are to live to serve God. Whether our lives improve or not. Whether we find success in this world or not. It’s not about success. It’s not about personal fulfillment. It’s about serving the living and true God.

In fact at times our lives will not “improve”. They will get harder. We will be persecuted. We’ll suffer trials of various kinds. But that doesn’t matter as long as we are serving the living and true God.

At times it won’t seem worth it in this life (though it always is). But it will definitely be worth it in the next life.

Years ago I heard someone preach a message on this passage:

For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep… Acts 13:36

The preacher said this is what it’s all about – to serve God’s purpose in our generation. Not our own purposes, not our own ambitions, but God’s purpose. This really affected me as a young believer and I wanted to do this.

David served the purpose of God in his own generation and fell asleep. Wouldn’t it be great if people said that about you at your funeral? “She served the purpose of God in her generation.” Wouldn’t that be great to have on your tombstone? “He served the purpose of God in his generation.”

***Postscript from Bob:   After I finished reading this I went back through 1-7 and renounced them one-by-one. Very freeing. I hope it sticks! Then I re-committed myself to #8. I don’t want to turn away from one idol to another one!

To COMMENT, Click Read More. Or if on a mobile device comment below: [Read more...]

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Can You Hear Me Now?

Judge Tom Parker
Written By:
Can You Hear Me Now? | March 19th, 2013

Can You Hear Me Now?

Can You Hear Me Now?If there was one bit of information you would want to hear from your mom before she died what would it be? Would you want wisdom about how to live a meaningful life? Would you want to be told that you had been a faithful son or daughter? Would you want to know that some past misdeed had been forgiven? Would you want the combination to her safe?

For me, I would want to hear that my mom had placed her faith in Jesus Christ for the salvation of her soul.

My mother died a couple weeks ago. She encountered a medical issue that required surgical treatment. The treatment led to complications. My mom never regained her ability to speak or move after the anesthesia wore off. The whole episode thrust my family into the world of physicians, intensive care nurses, respiratory therapists and, finally, hospice workers. It was excruciating to watch one of the most important people in my life waste away and die in a matter of twelve days.

My mom and I had discussed her faith several times before her final illness. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I discussed her faith in her presence. My mom was from a generation that did not like to discuss issues of faith. [Read more...]

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The Meaning of Life according to Jonathan Edwards

Bob Bevington

The Meaning of Life according to Jonathan Edwards

This from Ray Ortland last week at The Gospel Coalition Voices:

In Edwards’ world, “the meaning of life was found in intense loves, including earthly loves.” -George M. Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life (New Haven, 2003), page 497.

EdwardsIf I were in conversation with Jonathan Edwards and he began a sentence by saying, “Ray, the meaning of life is . . .,” and then he paused, I would await the completion of that sentence with deep interest.  Here is an intellectual genius.  Here is a man of God.  Here is a formidable theologian.  Here is a wise pastor.  And he is about to propose to me themeaning of life.  “Okay, Pastor Edwards, I am listening.  Please complete that sentence for me.”

Then he says, “Ray, the meaning of life is found in intense loves, including earthly loves.”  Not moderate loves.  Not play-it-safe loves.  Not this-won’t-cost-you-anything loves.  Not let’s-dabble-in-the-shallows loves.  But intense loves.  Brightly burning loves.  All-consuming loves.

Hiding in our timid hearts is a desire to be loved mildly, nothing more.  That way, we retain control, we set the terms, we avoid risk. [Read more...]

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Tears

Judge Tom Parker
Written By:
Tears | March 5th, 2013

Tears

TearsThese tears were real.  Sometimes they are not.  But as the handcuffed hands reached together to take another Kleenex, the tears would not stop rolling down her cheeks.

Tissues can dry up phony tears, but they cannot stop the flow of real ones.

This thirty-four year old woman made a simple request: “I just want to be done with this.  It would be easier for me if you just sent me to prison.”

“How would that make things easier?” I asked. I don’t normally send people with low level, non-violent felonies to prison.  It is not favored in the law and rarely produces the behavioral change we all desire.

“I wouldn’t have to keep coming back to court for violating my probation.  Judge, I’m tired, and I just want to be done with all this,” she said again.

There was something about her [Read more...]

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