Finding Your Place

Finding Your Place

I’ve been thinking about what it means to find our place. We can think about this in several ways. Whether we’re looking for where we fit in our immediate community, or where we feel valued at work, or the kind of ministry we feel called to. It seems we’re always looking for our place, where we belong and where we’re known.

I’ve been thinking about this mostly in terms of my calling as a believer in Christ. Where is my place? Where is your place? What has God gifted each of us to do and who has He called us to be? The New Testament writers talk a lot about this, and Paul famously speaks specifically about our unique gifts and callings in
1 Corinthians 12—a great passage for further reflection.

But I was in a very different passage recently that made me think of both place and space. In Genesis 26, we find God blessing the patriarch Isaac with an abundance of wealth and resources. As a result, the Philistines got jealous, as we humans do. Instead of saying snarky things on social media or gossiping, they stopped up Isaac’s wells. And when Isaac’s servants dug new ones, the Philistines claimed that those were also theirs. There was quarreling and fighting, and just like in our own day, conflict happened because too many people were fighting over what seemed like finite resources. Everyone was chasing their water, their well, their place.

Isaac and his people decided not to fight and kept on moving. Isaac’s servants dug a fresh well and hit an abundance of water. And guess what they named it? Rehoboth, which means, open spaces. They exclaimed, “For now the Lord has made space for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.” (Gen. 26:22.) They had found their place. And when they told Isaac about the well God had given them, they said, “We have found water!” (Gen. 26:32). And the whole city was called Beersheba, which means “well of the oath.”

There’s a great deal to this passage that can’t be fully explored in this short devotional. But what I hope you will ask the Lord is to show you your place. Because here’s the thing. We spend an awful lot of time fighting over wells with the Philistines of our culture—the ones who tell us to dig for the water of status, more money, a more comfortable lifestyle, a social media brand, a person who’s going to make everything better. The space is crowed and the water limited. But when we surrender our wants for the wants of Christ, our will for the Lord’s, our battles for His provision, He leads us to the place of our belonging. And it is there He gives us success. How do we know? Because where the Lord makes space, He grows fruit (look back at Genesis 26:22). As we ease into the summer, one of the things I’m going to be doing is praying about the place God has called me to serve in the way He’s called me. I hope you will do the same. My encouragement to you is to stop fighting over the wells this world has already packed with sand—it’s a constant conflict that never ends with living water. Let the world have what it has. Seek the living water of Christ (Jn. 4:14). And as you seek Him and His righteousness above all else, you will find your place. And it will be right where He is.

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Spring Cleaning: How the Cross Cleanses Us

Spring Cleaning: How the Cross Cleanses Us

I don’t know how far spring has descended into your life, but for Nashvillians, we’re in the blissful middle of low-seventies and green buds. I have a single tulip that, with admirable resistance, has pushed forth her blush petals against the frost and chill of winter. The blooms of my azaleas look like cotton balls exploding out of previously barren bushes. The doors are open. Everything is waking up, and the birds are singing about it.

So, what does all this make me want to do, you ask? Spring clean, of course. Spring is an innate wake-up call for us to mimic the newness we witness in creation. Dust off those window sills, pack up the wool sweaters, and get rid of a few piles. Not only am I ready for my hardwood floors and kitchen countertops to glow like the lengthening days of spring, I want my soul to reflect the purity and newness of this hopeful season.

It is no accident we celebrate Jesus’s resurrection in the middle of spring, the season of old giving way to new, death trampled by life. In an effort to deepen our understanding of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross, I want to look at three aspects of Jesus’s death that I pray will be like taking a lemon-scented cloth to the dust that may have collected on our hearts. The more we understand about what the cross accomplished, the more we can appreciate Jesus’s sacrifice.

Three Aspects of the Cross

You may have wondered, why did Christ have to die? Couldn’t there have been another way? What did Jesus actually accomplish for me? Part of the answer to that question is found all the way back in Leviticus. In chapter 16, we see that animals were sacrificed as a way of atoning for Israel’s sin. In other words, since God is holy and righteous, Israel’s sin had to be dealt with. Instead of God’s wrath falling upon His people, it would fall upon the animal sacrificed for the sins of the community. This is what we call substitutionary atonement, because the animal stood in the place of the people (substitution) as the necessary sacrifice for sin (atonement).

Substitutionary atonement has two unique features, the first is propitiation. It means the appeasement of wrath. I think most of us shirk back from the idea of God’s wrath. How can a loving God be angry toward people? I think of some of the terrible evils inflicted upon children, or the betrayal and abuse of perpetrators. Aren’t we glad that God is not passive, but hates sin and the effects of sin (Matt. 18:5-6)? But back to our main point. In ancient days, the animal was the propitiation in that it appeased God’s wrath.

One of my favorite aspects of the atonement, is the second feature: expiation. It means, the removal of sin. Lev. 16:20-22 says,

When he has finished making atonement for the most holy place, the tent of meeting, and the altar, he is to present the live male goat.  21  Aaron will lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the Israelites’ iniquities and rebellious acts—all their sins. He is to put them on the goat’s head and send it away into the wilderness by the man appointed for the task.  22  The goat will carry all their iniquities into a desolate land, and the man will release it there.

The Old Testament gives us such a visual. A literal “scape goat” representatively takes our sin upon itself and carries it into the wilderness, never to be seen again. For those of us who deal with regrets or shame from the past, what a picture of freedom this is.

The problem is that substitutionary atonement in the Old Testament was a temporal answer for the problem of sin. It was a provisional means pointing toward an ultimate solution. In keeping with our spring-cleaning metaphor, the sparkling house got dirty again. Another round of dusting and polishing was needed. This is where the sacrifice of Jesus comes in. Instead of the blood of bulls and goats being slaughtered over and over, year after year, Jesus laid down His life for us once and for all. He was our substitute. He provided the payment necessary to deal with our sin. Not only did He forgive our sin, but as John writes in 1 John 1:9, He cleansed us from all unrighteousness.

Living in Spring’s Newness

As you welcome the longer days and linger outdoors, watching Blue Jays alight on your porch, enjoying the scent of flowers throwing off the covers of winter dormancy, remember these are all signs of the resurrection. Reckon that you can live in spring’s newness because of what Christ accomplished for you on the cross. He stood in your place, becoming sin for you, so that you can become the very righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21.) Get up! The sun is shining. Browns are giving way to every hue in the rainbow. Jesus paid an incalculable price so that you might live. It turns out, spring cleaning isn’t just for houses, it’s also for hearts. Let Him cleanse you anew. 

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Ruth Online Bible Study Launches May 11!

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Online Bible Study Options

Online Bible Study Options

Hi Friends,

We’ve been receiving questions about Bible studies and online video options. Here is a list of answers all in one place.

My Bible study group can no longer meet. Can we still watch the videos? Yes! We want you to be able to do this. See how to access from the list below.

  • Finding God Faithful, click here for the easiest way to view. If you are a church and have already bought a DVD kit, you will find a code inside the box that will allow you to download the videos. If you would like to share these in a protected online environment you can get permission here.
  • No Other Gods, click here for the easiest way. If you are a church and have already bought a DVD kit, you will find a code inside the box that will allow you to download the videos. If you would like to share these in a protected online environment you can get permission here.
  • All Things New Click here. This link will take you to smallgroup.com were you can create a login to watch the videos. If you would like to watch them without a login you can download the Smallgroup by LifeWay app.
  • Nehemiah Click here. This link will take you to smallgroup.com where you can create a login to watch the videos. If you would like to watch them without a login you can download the Smallgroup by LifeWay app.

I would like to order Kelly’s Bible studies (member books), but Amazon has de-prioritized shipment of books. Where can I get her studies? Both Kellyminter.com and Lifeway.com are shipping fast and affordably. If you need help with shipping questions, or are struggling with pricing, please contact Traci@kellyminter.com. We want to help you with resources during this season.

What’s the most affordable way to go through one of Kelly’s studies? Right now LifeWay.com is offering $5 Ebook options for Finding God Faithful and No Other Gods through April 15!

Are there any other free offerings during this time? We’re glad you asked. Yes! Kelly has written a 14-day devotional called The Blessed Life: 14 Days of Hope from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. You can sign up here and you’ll receive one a day for 14 days straight to your inbox.

Did we miss a question? Feel free to email Traci@kellyminter.com. We’re here to help.

Competent In Real Life Ministry

Hey Friends! In celebrating the upcoming release of All Things New: A Study On 2 Corinthians (November 1), I thought I’d write a short devotional on a verse that meant a lot to me while writing this study. Especially as it relates to how I often feel about my competency in ministry.

“It is not that we are competent in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our competence is from God. He has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant…” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

We’re All Called To Ministry As Believers

This verse has come to my mind many times in the past year in various settings. And before you think I’m talking about being competent in ministry settings, like teaching the Bible in front of people or writing a Bible study, I’m talking more often about the daily settings that all of us encounter and are called to be “ministers” in. I’m talking about being competent in the middle of a difficult conversation you know you need to have but are dreading. Competency in relating to a family member you’re at a loss to reach. Competency in explaining your faith to a friend with authenticity and clarity when those conversations have often felt forced or packaged. I’m talking about being competent in leading your home or business because you desire to bring God His much do glory.

I could go on because these past few days in particular I feel I’ve blundered and bumbled my way forward. I’m realizing just how incompetent I am apart from the Holy Spirit, and this is not flimsy Christian talk—this is just the truth. I find myself praying these silent prayers to the Lord, “Please make me competent for _________, because I know this is beyond me.”

In Christ, We’re More Competent Than We’ve Ever Imagined

In my earlier years I’d hoped a passage like 2 Cor 3:5-6 meant that God would make me competent as a great singer or writer, competent in business, all-around put together. Oh, but He promises so much more here. He will make us competent as ministers. And being a minister does not mean being a professional church person. It means how we daily interact with those around us: blessing, encouraging, offering wisdom, extending forgiveness, bringing healing, interceding in prayer, sharing our faith, strengthening the weak, raising the kids God’s entrusted to us. You know, being a minister in real life.

Goodness, I could go on about how this ministry is a new covenant ministry, but that might be better explored in the study, or for its own devotional on another day. In the meantime, be encouraged that in your inadequacies and fears, the complex situations that cause you to feel overwhelmed—He has made you competent.

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My Friends Are Writing Books

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For those of you who care, I was originally in this picture holding all these books, but that was the day before The Antelope in the Living Room arrived (the book, not an actual Antelope – the actual Antelope is in Melanie’s house), and by that time I had ceased having photographically worthy hair. So, just picture me with cute hair sitting in that cute french chair. Now, onto my news…. My friends are writing books (or people I wish were my friends) and they seem to be doing so at rapid speed and I feel the need to bring each and every one of them to your attention because I love all these authors. You’ll notice that I haven’t read all of them yet, but all of these wonderful writers I know, so I feel really confident writing about their work. There’s no rhyme or reason to the order so make sure you scan the whole post because the book you may need – right this very moment – might be near the bottom.


Little Black Sheep: A Memoir

by Ashley Cleveland



Back in the day – and I do mean way back there – Ashley’s guitar playing extraordinaire husband, Kenny Greenberg, produced my first signed record. It was a dream come true for me to have a record produced by Kenny and also to have Ashley sing on one of the songs – I thought I was gonna die. I knew a little of Ashley’s story at the time, but not nearly what I know now after having read her book. This is truly one of the best books I’ve read in years for many reasons. For one, while Ashley’s story is harrowing at times it makes Jesus’ redemption shine all the brighter. She is a beautiful writer – as beautiful as she is an artist. I literally could not put the book down and I reference her turns of phrase often. In addition, if a loved one struggles with addiction, or if addiction has characterized some of our own path, this is a truly remarkable read.


The Antelope in the Living Room

by Melanie Shankle

9781414385549_p0_v1_s260x420I  started reading this last night after being one of the last people on earth to see “Saving Mr. Banks”. What can I say? So far, The Antelope in the Living Room is right up there with Mary Poppins. If you think I’m biased I will tell you forthrightly that I certainly am. Melanie, her husband Perry and their daughter Caroline are three of my favorite people in America. In Texas. In San Antonio, specifically. Whenever I’m anywhere near their home, perhaps to their dismay, I make myself at home with them for at least a night. In fact, I’ve actually begun to share all the very minor holidays with the Shankles. For instance, I was part of their crawfish boil last year on Cinco de Mayo. Okay, but about Melanie’s book. Melanie is one of the funniest writers I know while also bringing depth. As you can see from the cover, you’re going to have fun if you buy this book, which you should do. But, you’re also going to be encouraged, especially if you happen to be married and that marriage is not all that you imagined it to be at one time. That said, I’m not married and I’m having a jolly of a good time reading it and learning some important things along the way – like what not to register for if I ever do get married.

God Is Able

by Priscilla Shirer


This just came to me in the mail a few weeks ago and I’m excited to dive in. Let me just say that if there’s anyone who can get you excited, get you motivated, get you believing again, Priscilla’s got this gift. As you can see from the title, she tells it like it is. There’s also something to be said for her communication skills. If you’ve never heard Priscilla speak, LifeWay has a great option for you and you don’t even have to leave your living room – you don’t even have to leave your bed, for that matter (but maybe don’t tell people that). Priscilla has her own simulcast happening on April 5, 2014, simply click here for more information. In the meantime, get the book. I am confident you will be blessed. I always have been around Priscilla.


Chasing God 

by Angie Smith

chasingGod_bookI know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but in this case let’s just go for it because this cover is stunning! And I feel certain Angie lives up to it. I just got this the other day, and it’s in the stack I can’t wait to get to. But let me just say this about Angie: One of this things I remember about her first book, I Will Carry You, was her fresh insight into Scripture. Also, she’s funny. One of the funniest people I know, actually. She is a deep soul and a gifted writer, and based on what I know of her journey this will be a treasure-full read. (I just used the word treasure-full, which is perhaps why no one has ever asked me to write book reviews.) At any rate, I’m really glad Angie is one of the many incredible women speaking into our generation today. This will definitely be worth the read. No doubt in my mind.



Balancing It All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose

by Candace Cameron Bure


So… who doesn’t relate to this? I mean, the part about trying to balance everything at once. (Maybe not the part about being absolutely gorgeous while in the kitchen in your red dress and matching high heels and twin puppies). Seriously, I had the fun of being able to do an event with Candace a year or so ago and I was a nervous wreck. She – very kindly – said something from the stage about how she’d gone through one of my bible studies and how thankful she was to be there with me, and I was thinking, “Uh… I’m kinda freaking out because I’m here with D.J. Tanner, let’s be honest.” Growing up, I was glued to Full House on Friday nights. TGIF anyone? But setting D.J. aside for a moment, I was really impressed with Candace’s kindness, honesty and commitment to Christ. She had some really insightful thoughts on marriage and motherhood (and starring in movies), and the women at the event loved her. I hope we get to do it again sometime, and I’m hoping to be a little less nervous the second time around. (Also, I’m a big fan of her publisher B&H, which also published Priscilla and Angie’s book – but this is just a side note.)

Restless: Because You Were Made For More

by Jennie Allen

Restless-Because-You-Were-Made-for-More-by-Jennie-Allen-666x1024Perhaps you’ve heard of the IF: Gathering. If not, click on the link so you can officially say you’ve heard about it because there are some pretty great things happening over there. Jennie is a bible study and book author, speaker and founder of IF. She’s also a wife and mother and understands what it takes to juggle responsibilities that are running in opposite directions, not to mention a ministry. When you’re with Jennie you can’t help but witness a woman who’s passionate about getting a generation unified and on mission for the God she serves. Jennie’s determined and she’s, well, admittedly restless, but she’s not viewing that as a bad thing necessarily. You’ll have to pick up her book for her to unwrap this for you, and if you do, I know you’ll get an honest and vulnerable voice for the journey.



A Little Salty To Cut The Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon

by Sophie Hudson


I have a couple things to say about Sophie. First off, I love her. When you meet Sophie you immediately start thinking about – besides how funny and likable she is – how much you love her. It’s just her nature. When my friends mention Sophie’s name in conversation like how they want to visit her, or they love her writing, or how hilarious her blog is, I always say, “I love that Sophie.” Every time. And here’s the second thing about Sophie – she’s a really excellent writer. A true writer’s writer. AND SHE USES A LOT OF CAPS. So if you missed her first release this past summer, because no one told you HOW GOOD THIS BOOK IS!, and if you’re needing some encouragement, a friendly voice, some warm southern stories, and an author you will love, I highly recommend A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet. Oh, and you will laugh, yes, you will laugh.


Stripped: When God’s Call Turn From “Yes!” to “Why Me?” 

by Lina Abujamra

I like Lina because she’s straightforward. She’s committed to Scripture and to telling its 9780802409652_p0_v1_s260x420truth. I received this a little while ago and I wanted to include it because Lina is a single woman, a doctor, a leader in ministry, an author and she seems to have some timely wisdom for those whose lives may not be working out exactly as they’d hoped. Anyone? Lina’s not the type to allow you to wallow, though. She gets after it and she shares biblical truths in practical ways that will inspire you to keep moving ahead, even when the road is taking it out of you. Also, Lina wrote a book on singleness called Thrive. I often get asked if I know any good books out there on this topic, so I’m happy to mention this as a great option.




I Bought A Car

Yesterday I bought a car, a brand new one right off the lot. You would have had to have known me for the past 22 years of my driving career to get the full, supernatural weight of this act. When I turned 16 my dear grandfather generously gave me his ocean blue Dodge Omni. (Just Google Dodge Omni to get a feel for my junior and senior years of high school.) I drove it into the ground, or rather as long as I could before I came home to find that my mom had sold it because she could get $300 for the tape player – this is a true story. She added that money to a savings account I’d been building while working for two years during college so I could buy my first ever used Jeep Cherokee…. for a grand total of $4,200. I drove it for 8 years until it caught on fire to its death. It literally caught on fire. I bought a lemon of a used Trooper for $8,000, drove it two years while it leaked oil onto every free road in Nashville, sold it for $3,500 and then bought another used Cherokee for $8,500 that I’ve driven for the past 8 years.

This brings me to Saturday: A day off, a day of happiness, a day of pure bliss wherein I had a junk car with no payment and money in the bank. Until, that is, my friends coaxed me out the door for the “blowout” sales that, of course, were ending in the next five minutes; there would never be another sale of its kind, not in the history of humankind, nor ever to come. The 2013’s on the lot HAD TO GO or else people might die at their desks. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity I would be a fool not to seize. And so, I waited because this is what I do. I took the weekend to consider my options, pull the consumer reports, get advice from friends, and apologize to my Jeep for my pending disloyalty. On Monday morning, lo and behold, the deals were still there – the sales had been extended, oh my word. And so yesterday, after much thought and prayer (yes, I pray over my cars) I drove a brand new car off the lot. As night fell and the streetlights gleamed in the wintery steam of January’s air, and as I drove out into the world in my charming new vehicle, I lost approximately $5,000 in value. At least this is how my mind works.

It’s that thing about cars not being investments that just kills me. Every time someone says that the first thing a car does is lose value, a little piece of me shrivels. I think this is why I’ve never spent much on them because I so prefer the idea of sustainability, increase, one seed that grows into a plant that in turn gives you many seeds. (As opposed to paying a bunch of money for something that will eventually end up in a heap of metal parts.) So when I woke up this morning and looked out the window at my super smart, blizzard pearl exterior, brand new car, it was with mixed emotions, partly because I can be a downer, but also because all this is just true. I was happy for the car, but I couldn’t help but think of how many things in life I dump my time or money into, stuff that decreases in worth as fast as cotton candy disintegrates in your mouth – stuff I try to actually protect. Right, did I mention I also paid for a warranty on this car? Because when buying a new car the first thing you want to do is start thinking about all the things that are about to break. I could just die right now.

On the other hand, when I hear the term ‘compounding interest’ my heart flutters. I’m getting a little, tiny bit older, and more than even I find myself pondering the beauty of eternal investments. I am genuinely grateful for the work I get to be a part of here and in the Amazon, the relationships I get to pour into and who pour into me, dear readers I have the privilege of writing for, the teaching of the Word that never returns void. I am thankful for the opportunity to sow into churches and ministries who change the course of people’s lives. Today, as we live and breathe, we have the opportunity to do what counts for eternity! We have the opportunity to grab joy right out of the air when we give our money, our time, our resources – a lasting joy that doesn’t disintegrate when you drive off the lot. When a dear friend of mine recently left her job to take over a Christian non-profit for half her salary, another friend said to her, “This is your new inheritance. Go get it!” I’m so grateful that God has ordained a sacred economy where our heavenly treasures can’t be bothered by moths or rust or thieves, where our investment is secure and our joy safe. God is good to give us this reality, but it’s a reality we have to choose. Jesus told us to store up heavenly treasures, suggesting there are other types of treasures we can live for. Let’s get after our God-given inheritance this year. It’s more sustainable and profitable than we could ever imagine. I’m excited. And, please, keep me in your prayers as I head to the Amazon in mid-February for the Third Annual Jungle Pastors’ Conference put on by Justice and Mercy Amazon.

Looking forward to 2014 with you.