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Guest Blog And A Few Other Things

Just a quick note to let you know that I did a guest blog for @edstetzer ‘s Thursday is for Thinkers. Today I wrote about The Gospel versus Religious Mission. If you get a chance, check out what’s going on over there and leave a thought… or two. www.edstetzer.com

It has been a whirlwind summer as I’ve been finishing up a book on the virtues entitled The Fitting Room: Putting On The Character Of Christ. It will be out in April of 2011. I say all this to let you know why I have been terribly absent from the blog. What my excuse will be for the rest of the year, I have no idea. Social media is not my strong suit.

A HUGE thank you to Beth Moore and Living Proof Ministries for their enormous blessing of facilitating the Ruth study during the Summer Siesta Bible Study. I love Beth’s teaching and am grateful for real women who live with integrity and love Jesus passionately. You get all of this with Beth and her studies and live events. And, many, many thanks to all of you who participated, as well as for your kind comments. They have been a blessing.

Off to water the flowers. They are dying in this Nashville heat!!!!

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Shipping Update on Beth Moore Summer Study

Hey Everyone,

I’m sorry that I have been quite out of touch since being out of the country in Brazil, specifically on a boat cruising down the Amazon. And when I say ‘cruising’, please don’t think anything even close to a cruise ship, because the only thing the two have in common is their ability to float. Much more on what God did on our trip in posts to come…

Many of you are wondering if you can get your Ruth Study(s) from this website and how quickly they will arrive, especially in regard to Beth Moore’s summer study. Yes, you can order them here, (or get them at your local LifeWay Store). Please know that we are expediting our shipments to you so you can get your Ruth study(s) as soon as possible. If you have any questions or issues, please contact us at Minterstore@comcast.net, and we’ll get back to you right away. If you need more info on Beth’s Summer Study you can visit her blog by clicking here.

Can’t wait to share with you about my trip to the Amazon. God is so desirous to use His people to take the Gospel (and everything the Gospel means and does) to the ends of the earth. To be entrusted with the treasure of the Gospel is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. This I know.

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Forgiveness

Okay, so a few months ago I posted a blog regarding the Christian virtues, or graces, that we are to “clothe” ourselves in, and your responses were very helpful – and honest, which I love. (Here’s the link if you missed it, or want to add a thought). Since then I have been writing furiously on the virtues listed in Colossians 3:12, along with a bunch of other aspects that go with how to practically put these virtues “on”. All of which will help get me to my goal of 50,000 words. Yes, writing is that romantic.

And since this book has managed to coil its tendrils around every waking moment of my consciousness I have all but ignored my blog, something my friends remind me of every day (probably because they’re the only ones who read it, or sincerely believe others do…)

So, I’m posting an excerpt on forgiveness from the book that will be out in May of 2011, if I don’t first die from staring at my computer screen.

Excerpt

I was making a homemade pasta sauce out of vine ripened cherry tomatoes, fresh garlic and zucchini on Valentines Day (or Galentines Day as my friend, Paige, likes to refer to it. Horrifically cheesy I know, but strangely comforting to be able to reclaim the day for the singles of my gender). The recipe called for fresh or canned artichoke hearts, but there was some silent alarm of compromise that signaled me at the thought of buying something canned for my otherwise from scratch meal. I knew that none of my dinner guests would know if I cut a canned artichoke corner here or there, but I figured if I was going to go to the trouble of rolling out my homemade semolina pasta dough, I would learn how to cut a fresh artichoke in a way that laid bare its prized heart.

This was possibly one of the greatest errors of my young-adult life. After widdling away the pointy leaves of four artichokes I think I came away with enough “quartered” hearts for one guest to have one sliver in one bite. Before sautéing these little remnants I treasured them in a bowl of lemon juice, like they were on the endangered species list, because – who knew – artichoke hearts oxidize immediately. I don’t think I’ve ever coddled a food more, perhaps besides pinenuts, which can cost you a day’s wage if you over broil them. I “supplemented” with the silly cans.

But for all my defeat, I found scraping the furry little choke out of the center of the heart soothingly therapeutic. This may reveal I need other forms of therapy, but at the very least I liked the image of ridding a valuable delicacy of its thistly center. Forgiveness can be much the same way: there is often a lot of peeling away of layers. We find ourselves rejoicing with one discarded leaf of bitterness here and another of anger there, while still recognizing we’ve a few more of revenge and gossip to go. If we’re intent on seeking the Bible for its healing truths, we’ll find it as smart as a paring knife, sharp enough to discern the motives and desires of our heart. Which is essential when walking through forgiveness.

If you will indulge me with the artichoke analogy for one more paragraph (really just trying to get my wasted-artichoke money’s worth) it has been my experience, that even after shedding my enemy of all his/her wrongs I’ve been hanging onto, the whole thing eventually comes down to one prickly center – the core of the wound. It might be rejection, abandonment, betrayal, slander, loss of innocence, but whatever it is you will always know it. It will be the ugliest and most difficult piece to reconcile, and it will be the last thing to stand between you and the glory of a cleansed heart. It will take the grace of God to scrape the thing out, but it will be worth every supernatural release if we will allow Him to do it – and you can take that straight to the lemon juice bowl. (I just went too far, didn’t I?)

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New Worship EP

During all the bible study and book writing there are moments when I forget that I originally came to Nashville for music – not so much for speaking and writing. That said, I love what I get to do these days, which seems to be a lot more teaching, and book and bible study writing, but I still love every opportunity I get to song-write and sing. Like, I can’t wait to lead worship for Easter this weekend at my home church in Nashville.

For whatever reason I haven’t shared much about this with the blog world (probably because I’ve been blogging too much about things like food), but I am with a worship label out of England called Kingsway. You may know of them through songs like “In Christ Alone”, “Blessed Be Your Name” and “Here I Am To Worship”. A couple years ago I released a worship record with them called “Finer Day”. But just this past week they released a six-song EP here in the States that is a compilation of some live and studio recordings I’ve done with them. Here’s a little early review of the EP if you’re interested.

I hope everyone is waiting with anticipation this week for Good Friday and the following celebration of Easter. There has been a different sort of expectancy brewing in my waiting this season that I am thankful for. I hope this is the case for you as we all look forward to the celebration of the resurrection.

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The Power Of A Meal

Okay, so this isn’t the savoriest looking grouping of food items, but I’m telling you, homemade chicken stock is pretty amazing once you strain everything out, leaving only the rich flavors distinct to herbs and spices like thyme, coriander, cumin, and parsley, along with vegetables such as carrots, onions and celery. And of course when you’ve got in your possession a whole chicken from Weldon of Emerald Farms (a regular at the Nashville Farmer’s Market), you have everything you need for a flavorful soup just pleading for mexican rice, fresh avocados and pico de gallo. Chips and salsa if you’re remotely human.

So this meal that begun with a spark of inspiration to warm myself on a damp and chilly Nashville Sunday turned into the center of a large gathering around my table that night after church. I had no intentions of having anyone over, especially as piles of clothes were creeping out of my luggage I had yet to unpack from the weekend, while stacks of mail and boxes of books towered in a couple corners (I tend to like clean – especially when people are coming over). But the soup! I had to have people over for the soup. And so several of my friends – some of whom I haven’t seen in such a long while – spontaneously swung by after the service. And when I say ‘swung’ I mean stayed for four hours talking about everything from Asian art to what authentic Christianity looks like, sans the religious trappings. We had compelling conversations about the poor, addiction, our own places of sin and selfishness. And we ate cookies… We had some of the most honest and refreshing conversations I’ve had in a long while, and though I am certain the soup will not be remembered, it was what got everyone there.

So I’m advocating having a meal at your house. And if you’ve got the time make it yourself, because there’s something about making selections at the grocery store or farmer’s market, washing, slicing, cutting, savoring the smells that is part of preparation. Preparation for who God will bring together around your creation and what He will do in the conversations. Fellowship, or sharing of faith, is the richest of blessings, “so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” (Philemon 1:6). So make a meal and invite some people over. Maybe even invite someone on the ‘fringe’ who might not often get an invitation, or someone you haven’t seen in a while. It’s as simple as throwing a whole chicken in a pot and asking some people over – and don’t let the piles or exposed laundry stop you. If you’ve got a big enough plate of cookies no one will remember you’re not perfectly imaculate anyway.

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A Woman Inspired Online Today

Hey Everyone,

I’ll be speaking on the book of Ruth this morning online at 11:30 CST. You can go to https://www.awomaninspiredconference.org/ to check it out, along with several other speakers. Hope to catch you there.

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