Monday, September 29, 2008

One Human Family

God forgive us. God forgive me.

Penny's story of being treated like crap by people who claim to love God ripped into my heart. I cannot stand to see someone hurt. I especially can't stand to see someone hurt at the hands of people who are called to love.

What has happened to us? How did "Christians" get so far from your mandate of Love God, Love Others.

It's so simple and yet we bring our own biases in, our own "righteous anger." And people are hurt.

God, teach us to love. Teach us to walk alongside of our fellow humans in this 'One Human Family.' Help us to focus on caring for the poor and oppressed, loving each person as if they were our own child. God give us your eyes and your heart. God Help Us.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Why the Invisible Fences?

I spend a good portion of each day thinking about relationships. Wondering what works, what helps, what God desires, what our responsibility when read Dave and Betsy's most recent post, it (again) got my mind going.

Check it out here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Your Yellow Pages Can Help the Rescue Mission

The Rescue Mission uses these WRTA coupons (found on page 10 of the green section in the newest phonebook) to get people where they need to be. If you could cut the coupon out of your big yellow book, bring it to New Hope and put it in the joy (offering) box, they would really appreciate it.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Does the Church Opress Women?

This week we continue our "They like Jesus..." series. If you haven't had a chance to listen to last week's, you can listen here).

In my last post I shared how God is dealing with me in the areas of judgmentalism.

I am interested in what YOU think. Has God been speaking to you during this series? What have you found interesting? Strange? Challenging?

This week we ask the question: Is the Church Male-Dominated, does it Oppress Women?

'Should lead to interesting discussion. Please remember, it is not our goal to make identical robots out of each other. It is our goal to learn to communicate in meaningful ways, while ALWAYS loving and respecting one another.

See you this weekend!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is the Church Negative, Judgmental, and Political?

This week we head into week two of our series, They Like Jesus, but Not the Church. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite series we've ever done. Thanks, Paul, for leading us this way.

Back in high school, I used to think that I was a terrible Christian because I never wanted to be lumped into the stereotype. I thought maybe that meant that I was ashamed of Jesus or something. Being 20 years past, it's hard to say what I was feeling in high school - maybe I did want to come across as 'cool' or something, I don't know. The thing is, as I have aged, my aversion to being associated with Christians has continued. And I KNOW that I am not ashamed of Jesus and the difference he has made in my life. He is the best friend I have ever had.

But I must say, I am ashamed of how many people portray Christ. It bugs me when people use Jesus or the bible to support their own agenda. I guess that may be why I so often stay away from political discussions. More than once I have found myself in a conversation where I see a Christian saying things in support of their candidate or party that are in direct opposition to how Jesus tells us to treat each other. It's almost as if the Love you neighbor as yourself, goes out the window in an election year.

And then I go on to think about other labels christians have - like negativity. You know what, a lot of Christians are negative. I don't get it, I really don't. We live in the most amazing time in history. We can learn, we can laugh, and we can make a difference in this world. I think for so long christianity has been about sin management and getting our ticket into heaven that we have missed the amazing things God does in our midst every day. I'm not a pollyanna; don't get me wrong. I know the world has problems, but I know that even in the mess - whatever the mess is - we have the opportunity to see God in it.

So the last label for this next week is that christians are judgmental. Sadly, I know this too often is the case. It's so crazy, ya know? Everyone who follows Christ knows they are broken. We all have struggles. And yet, we each have biases toward what we think is "really bad." I guess one of the areas I struggle with is in judging christians. I have my own stereotype as to how a christian should be: compassionate, loving to all, welcoming to all, hopeful, trusting. And when I see other attitudes displayed, I struggle. Most recently I have been trying to see everyone the way Christ may see them - on a journey, making choices every minute of everyday. I am trying to see Christ even in the 'christiany' stuff I don't agree with.

Right now, I'm not real comfortable being called a christian. I think we have some work to do to redeem that word. I prefer to be thought of as a follower of Jesus. One who is striving to follow the way of Christ. One who is not preoccupied with the little details that don't matter, but is able to see God in each and every person I meet. That's my goal.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

They Like Jesus Begins This Weekend

This week we begin the 6-week series "They Like Jesus, But Not the Church." I've been spending some time in the book this week (if you need a book, you can pick one up this weekend on the back table). This is going to be a great series.

One of the great things about this study is that it lends itself so well to discussion. Many New Hopers are involved in weekly conversations that allow us to learn from each other and grow together.

If you are not currently part of a conversation, this is a great time to join in. If you want help connecting with others, please let me know.

In addition, if you feel led to gather people together during this time for a discussion over coffee or lunch or one night a week, and would like help getting started, let me know.

You can call me (330.565.4167) at any time during this series. This is going to be an amazing chapter in New Hope's history.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Other Edible Hit of the Picnic

This - I hear - is one of the best salads you will ever eat. I wouldn't know because it was all gone by the time I got there - always a good sign.

Thanks for the recipe, Polly!
1 – 16 oz. cole slaw or 5 cups cabbage shredded
(bagged slaw works well)
2 pkg. Ramen Noodles – uncooked (do not use creamy style)
½ cup sliced almonds – toasted
½ cup sunflower seeds (out of the shell)
1 bunch of green onions – chopped fine
1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 pkgs. Seasoning from noodles

Toast almonds by placing on cookie sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes at 350 degrees.
Break up noodles in small pieces. Combine all ingredients for the salad. If making ahead
Of time, add the nuts before serving. Mix all ingredients for the dressing. Add the dressing
At serving. Note: If making the dressing the night before, it gets thick in the refrigerator.
Make sure is mixed well before putting on salad. The easiest thing to use to mix the dressing
In is a bottle for salad dressing mix.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Beautiful Evening, Beautiful Company

I just want to say thanks to everyone for making Saturday Night's Picnic such a great time. It's amazing how some good food, little bocce, volleyball and corn hole can bring people together.

You can check out more photos on Just join the New Hope Community Group.

There were a couple recipes that stood out. One was Terri Duncko's Chocolate Peanut Butter Treats (Thanks, Terri!). You will find it below:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Treats
½ c. butter or margarine, softened
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda

3 c. miniature marshmallows


2/3 c. corn syrup
¼ c. butter or margarine
1 package (10 ounces) peanut butter chips
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. crisp rice cereal
1 c. salted peanuts (optional)
1 c. plain M&M’s (I use the whole bag)
1 c. butterscotch chips (my addition)

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (do not over mix).

Press into a greased 13”x 9”x2’ glass baking dish. Bake at 350° for 12-14 min. or until golden brown. Immediately sprinkle with marshmallows; bake 2-3 min. longer or until marshmallows are puffed. Cool on a wire rack.

For topping, combine the corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and peanut butter chips in a saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; stir in the cereal, nuts (if adding), and M&M’s. Add in butterscotch chips. Spread over crust. Cool before cutting. Yield: 2 dozen.