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Holy Ground | Exodus 3

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Welcome to Real Life. Where do we find holy ground?

Pochvalen bud Pan Jezis Kristus! 
“Praised be Jesus Christ!” my father would proclaim in Slovak as he entered our childhood home.

Na veky vekov. “For ever and ever,” we replied.

“Amen!” he concluded. So be it!

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Nowadays, upon entering our house, we remove our shoes. Our home is our sanctuary. It is an intimate, private space and not a common thoroughfare. Some cultures consider this an act of respect.
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“Take off your sandals,” the Lord told Moses, “for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

At the time, the Israelites were cruelly oppressed as slaves to the Egyptians. “Save us!” God’s people cried. God heard. He cared. He chose Moses to deliver them. One problem. Moses didn’t know God. So, God introduced himself. He manifested in a bush aflame, yet not consumed.

As Moses drew near to investigate, the Lord called out, “Take off your sandals.” Moses was standing on holy ground. He was not in church. …

God's Colorful Kingdom | James 2

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Welcome to Real Life. What color is your favorite?
I'm asking you not to be color blind,
but to be color brave.
-Mellody Hobson I love green. But if the sky, clouds, and everything was green, I’d soon tire of it. Wouldn’t you? Green's beauty is best appreciated in contrast with other colors.




What if every person looked exactly alike? Boring! Instead, God created us in a variety of sizes, shapes, and shades. We are male and female, tall and short, rich and poor. We speak six thousand languages.[1] We worship in silent meditation and shouts of “Hallelujah!” We are athletes, engineers, mothers, soldiers, and artisans. This is the colorful world God created.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth,”[2] we pray in the Lord’s Prayer. When we pray this, let’s be mindful of the wonderful diversity inherent in God’s kingdom, his family. In some families, siblings resemble each other so closely it's easy to see they're related. But in other families, siblings differ so vas…

We Belong Together | 1 Peter 2

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Welcome to Real Life. I need you!

If we have no peace it is because
we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
–Mother Theresa[1]
I spent an hour talking to someone on the phone the other day. I know… a whole hour feels extravagant. I almost felt guilty. I could have done laundry, exercised, or worked on a project. But she and I hadn’t talked in a long while, both of us busy with work and family. After we hung up, I felt connected to her. It felt good!

Days race by. We work, study, go, and do. All the while, we're often surrounded by people and feel alone. We comment on social media. We text (to avoid an hour phone call). Time is precious. We’ve grown rich in belongings, poor in belonging.

And yet, we need to belong! God hard-wired us for relationships. You and I were born into a family. We are meant to exist within a community. From others, we learn, grow, and develop. Through others, we discover who we’re meant to be, what we love to do, where we shine, and where we don&…

The Reveal | Luke 1

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Welcome to Real Life. Sometimes a pregnancy elicits mixed reactions.

“I think that carrying a baby inside you is like running as fast as you can. It feels like finally letting go and filling yourself up to the wildest limits.” –Author unknown[1]


“Have you heard?” the woman asks her neighbor, “Mary’s pregnant.”

“Joseph’s Mary? But they aren’t married yet,” her friend replies.

“Joseph isn’t the father. It probably happened in Judea while she was visiting her cousin Elizabeth, and away from her parents’ watchful eyes.”

“No, I can’t believe it. Sweet, innocent Mary?” the woman’s eyes pop. “Poor Joseph. What will he do?”

“Well, you know Joseph. He’s an upright man. He’ll deal with it quietly. I hope he finds a good, faithful wife who will appreciate him.”
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God rarely arrives as expected. The king of kings didn’t enter a capital city with pomp and ceremony. He came quietly. As a helpless infant. Born in a humble village, to a young virgin, in a family lacking prominence—except in Go…

Just Ask | James 4

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Welcome to Real Life. What do I need?

Dear Lord, As your humble servant 
let me prove to you that  winning the lottery won’t change me. Amen.[1]
“You don’t have because you don’t ask God.” This gentle chide in the book of James never fails to encourage me to pray. If you need something, ask for it. Easy-peasy. The Lord is handing out blank checks. So, I begin contemplating. What do I need? What do I want to see happen? 


But James’ next words give me pause.
When you ask, you do not receive,
because you ask with wrong motives
that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
James 4:2–3 NIV Yikes! Motivation is key. Maybe the lottery prayer isn’t a good idea. God’s blank check comes with a caveat. What's driving my desires? Do I need a better car or just want a shiny, new, candy-apple-red one? Do I seek success in writing because I love to encourage people or has selfish ambition crept in? I usually begin with pure intentions, but along the way my focus easily shifts to me, me, me.

Speak Life! | James 3

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Welcome to Real Life. Our words speak life or death.

Some things are better left unsaid,
which I usually realize after I say them.

Anonymous
My friend Sandy broke her leg. Her lack of mobility has been frustrating as she must rely on others to meet her needs. So, she begins each morning with her surrender prayer.

Help me be humble and grateful, Lord.  Keep me from acting ugly.  Guard my lips
Don’t you love it? Her prayer so practical. It’s easy to let ugly words fly as we face daily frustrations.

“The tongue is a fire” says James.[1] When we camp, evenings are spent around the campfire, eating s’mores, sharing stories, and watching flames dance. The campfire warms and cheers us. It's safe because it's controlled. But when fires rage out-of-control, like the ones in California, they destroy land, homes, and even taken lives.
So it is with the fire of our tongue. We can speak life or death. When our tongues are under control, they light fires of healing, peace, and love. The other d…

Do It Now! | James 1:22

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Welcome to Real Life. Just do it!
We will never change the world by going to church. We will only change the world by being the church. –Unknown 
“If you’re waiting to do something for God, don’t wait. Do it now,” Pastor Schaeffer said in a sermon. His words ignited my spirit. I kept thinking God wanted me to start a women’s retreat. We were new at the church. When I asked, I discovered they didn’t have a women's retreat per se. Instead, they participated in a regional denomination retreat.
Retreats have impacted my life. The act of setting aside extended time to seek the Lord had resulted in breakthroughs, epiphanies, and a renewed sense of intimacy with my God. More practically, I needed a break from daily responsibilities to rest, reflect, and have fun with the girls, of course!

“Maybe God wants me to coordinate a retreat for the church,” I began thinking. “But I’m too busy now. I’ll do it when the kids are older.” However, after Pastor Schaeffer’s sermon, I contacted the church.…