Halloween Reformed!

October 31st is the day our country celebrates Halloween, but for us who follow Christ, no tricks today, just treats! Or treats, known as “theses,” which were offered on a church door; a listing of arguments to protest the abuses of the church in power in his day.
Today marks the 500th Anniversary of what we call the Great Reformation; when a young Augustinian monk named Martin Luther took a stand against religious errors in his day!
As Martin Luther read and studied the word of God for himself, he noticed that the Bible said nothing about a pope’s power to free deceased relatives from Purgatory. As he kept kept studying the Bible, Luther noticed many other mistakes in the practices of the church. For example, why did priests, monks and nuns have to be celibate? Why was the church service in Latin, and not in the common language of the people? Why was the Communion wine only consumed by the priest and not the people? These practices and many more bothered Martin Luther, because they were inconsistent according to the word of God.

Because Luther was willing to not just accept what the church was telling him at face value, because he read the word of God–the Bible–and understood the truth, he risked his life and refused to recant. He said in effect, “Unless you can show me my errors from the Scriptures, I am bound by my conscience to the word of God. I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other.”

Martin had found a true and intimate relationship with the one and only living God, by faith alone in Jesus. He no longer feared man, even to the point of death, but feared God alone.

Truth Bomb


Fear God, and you’ll have nothing else to fear.

Because he stood up for the truth, Luther brought needed reformation to the church then, and we all benefit from his influence now. We all can hold a Bible in our own hands, in our own language. Together we can all sing songs of praise to our great Savior. We are free to take the elements of Communion, and allow God’s presence to be with us as we remember His great sacrifice for us. As a pastor’s wife, I’m happy that clergy can marry!

Because of the courage and strength of his convictions, Martin Luther reformed the church for good. On this day, when we celebrate 500 years of Reformation, I have to ask myself: What am I willing to allow God to reform through me? Am I willing to stop gossip and slander when I hear it in the church? The Bible says,
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)

Am I reforming the way I communicate, even stopping litte white lies?
So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we all parts of the same body.” Ephesians 4:25 (NLT)

Am I reforming my temper, by controlling my anger and not giving the devil a foothold?

And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” Ephesians 4:27(NLT)

Am I reforming the way I live, by being kind and loving others, the way God loves me?

Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)

Martin Luther was in no way perfect, and he made mistakes, just like you and I do. However, he held to his convictions, he spoke the truth of the word of God, and he feared God and God alone.
On this day, when we commemorate his courage and boldness, I pray it inspires each one of us to reform anything in our lives that does not make His truth known. I pray that we can deeply appreciate the freedoms and grace that we now experience as Christ followers. Our righteousness is by faith–by faith alone in Christ alone! Let’s celebrate that freedom!

Speak Truth Love



This morning I went “Back to School!” I LOVE school! I loved school as a young child and I still love school now!
As a young child I loved it when the ‘Back to School’ Ads started! It was time to get new clothes, new shoes, pick out a new backpack and lunch pail!
Then, when I “grew up,” I loved school so much I made it my career. This year marked 34 years of me going ‘Back to School ‘ professionally!
Going ‘Back to School’ today was unlike any other year I have ever faced.
Today we were going ‘Back to School’ after a two week break due to the FireStorms that ravaged our county. I stepped out of my car and witnessed the singed hills surrounding our school. Hills that two short weeks before were lush with green foliage. I could still smell the scent of “burn” as I walked from the parking lot to the playground. Surrounding me was the evidence that God had spared our school even as the flames threatened to destroy it. The fire lines drew a clear line all around our school. The flames had been so close that one man had used a hose to save the gym from burning down. My spirit was overwhelmed with the awareness that God is truly in control and I, nor any other man or woman, is not!

I entered the classroom to see three little girls in tears clinging to pink stuffed bunnies they had been given to them as an “I’m sorry” gift. They had all lost their homes! They were staying at hotels with their families, paid for by insurance.
Yes, we were all going “Back to School,” but nothing felt NORMAL. We had stepped into “A New Normal!”

The dictionary defines NORMAL like this:

“Conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular.”

“The Common type, Usual, Regular, and Not Abnormal!

“COMMON”, nothing out of the ordinary, something we do or are use to everyday, like a toothbrush to brush our teeth, or a pan to boil water in. That is the “common” use of these objects. But what if we use a toothbrush to clean the grout that is impossible to get out without a small object? What if we give the pan to our grandchild to use as an instrument and pretend he/she is a band leader? We soon discover that the objects we called “common”, have taken on new life as they are used for more than one purpose!

“USUAL,” the practice of following a routine and doing the same thing over and over. For example, like waking up at 6:00 am and going to the gym each morning before you start your day. However, what if one Morning you wake up at 6:00am and take a walk and watch the sunrise? Or, what if you wake up at 6:00am and take a run around your neighborhood and pray for your neighbors? Or, what if you wake up at 6:00am and take a hike on a new trail and see things you had never noticed before?
You have changed the USUAL, to the UNUSUAL, and possibly increased your desire for exercise by breaking up the routine!

“REGULAR,” the standard way. Like having a “regular” cup of coffee in the morning. Or, eating a “regular” piece of toast. What if you added a touch of pumpkin purée to you coffee and a bit of almond milk? You would turn your “regular” cup of coffee into a healthy pumpkin spice latte and join the world of PSL Lovers! Imagine you add delicious avocado and a perfectly scrambled egg with a touch of sea salt and pepper to that “regular” toast? You would have yourself a power packed breakfast that tastes delicious and adds energy to your day!

“NOT ABNORMAL,” to not draw attention to anything out of the ordinary. Would you want to miss a shooting star flying through the sky? What about a brightly colored hot air ballon soaring overhead? Even the color change painting the night sky as the sun slowly sets, can be quite “Not Abnormal!”




The Final dictionary definition is; “THE COMMON TYPE,” eating what is common, saying what is common, wearing what is common etc, etc, etc…One BIG word comes to my mind just reading this definition…BORING!!!
What would life be like if we all ate the same “common” foods, and said the same “common” things and wore the same “common” clothes? We would all operate as BORING robots, who looked alike, acted alike, ate alike, and all wore boring beige!
That is not the way our Creative Creator intended us all to live! He gave us different personalities with bright, creative minds to develop new ideas and new choices! HE WANTS US TO USE THEM!

We are the ones who create for ourselves prisons of normalcy! We convince ourselves that being “right” and “correct” is by being “Normal.” The greatest problem of all is we allow the world to define what is “normal!”
Friend, ONLY God can determine our NORMAL, and as crazy as it may seem to the world, His “Normal” for us will be perfect! It will be NEW and FRESH and present a perspective we could never have arrived at on our own!

As difficult as it was to face my “New Normal” and go “Back to School,” with singed hills surrounding us, a deep smell of burn hanging in the air, and three beautiful little girls clinging to their new stuffed animals as they mourn the loss of their homes, I thanked God for my “New Normal”, and the fresh perspective He had given me through it!

I now saw that alougth the hills were burned, our school was not. That even though a singed smell lingered in the air, the air quality had improved, and even though three small girls had lost their houses, they were safe and sound and so were their families and pets!


Only God knows what will happen in our lives from one day to the next. However, when we allow Him to create a “NEW NORMAL,” in our lives, and let go of our “COMMON NORMAL,” He will graciously give us a fresh perspective as we walk anew in His Hope and Future for us!

Speak Truth Love

Cleaning out the refrigerator!


I returned home on Wednesday to an empty house, but it was still standing! We still had no electricity, gas, and our water was contaminated. However, I had returned home to a house fully intact! Now mind you, if I continue writing this and pretended that cleaning out the refrigerator, or actually cleaning anything in my house, was an “out of the ordinary task for me,” anyone and everyone who truly knows me would know I wasn’t telling the truth! I have an issue with clean! At my age however, I fully except that it is my issue! It actually even goes to a deeper level of healing when I am hurting! When I say goodbye to my children after a visit, when I watch them drive out of my driveway and back to Southern California or further Northern California, when I hug and kiss those sweet little babies of mine and tuck them securely into their car seats and wave goodbye, the healthiest way I have to absorb the pain is to clean my house!

But this day was different! I was returning home to completely clean out my refrigerator and freezer! The water had already begun to form a puddle halfway across our kitchen floor. We had gotten there just in time! I began to take garbage bag after garbage bag and fill it full of every single item in my refrigerator! It was a sort of “CLEANSING!”

Now, before any of you start getting on me for throwing away perfectly good food in the middle of a crisis where I could bless others, I did take two big bags full to our church where we had evacuees. And I saved things from the freezer and put them into a friends freezer!

However, because it had sat for several days with no energy source there were many things that could not be saved!
I am in no way complaining about cleaning out my refrigerator. It is quite the opposite actually, I had an unexplainable thankfulness in my heart that I still had a refrigerator! The spoiled food I cleaned out and threw into the garbage bag, the water spilling across my floor that I continued to clean up, left me with nothing but gratitude in my heart! My house was spared! But why?

I was in awe, God had saved our house, but why? Why me, when so many others had lost everything? With each breath I took and with each can, bottle, piece of fruit, or limp vegetable I pulled out I would thank Him, and then ask why?
I was feeling more emotion now while cleaning out my powerless refrigerator, then I had felt driving away from my house! Why me, why was I spared, when so many around me were in complete and utter devastation?

I was experiencing what they call, “Survivors Guilt!” I knew I didn’t deserve to have my home spared in such a devastating fire storm anymore then all of those who tragically lost their homes. I didn’t deserve it, but God allowed it.

“Survivors Guilt” produces two distinct responses. The first one stops us in our tracks, it freezes us, we are immobilized by the overwhelming sense of guilt and even shame as to why were we spared when so many others were not? We then let the guilt overwhelm us and we accomplish nothing!
The second response is to realize that we were spared for a purpose! We must move through that guilt to help those in need and fulfill the purposes that God has for us in this situation.

It might DERAIL you, but it does not have to DEFEAT you!
Being derailed is temporary!

I had a choice to make. Would I allow the guilt to overwhelm me and sit frozen, not helping or reaching out to anyone? Or, would I recognize the gift I was given and move forward in my purpose in the devastation?


Recognizing I have been spared, lifting my eyes up in gratitude and hope, instead of down in guilt and shame, allows me to focus on His purpose for me in all of it!

I am to LOVE THE LORD MY GOD, no matter the circumstances, and to “WALK IN HIS WAYS!”

Truth Bomb


The only steps worth taking, are the steps that lead us closer to God.

As I sat near the puddle of water forming on my kitchen floor, I realized the only way I could truly thank God for sparing our home was to GET UP and take steps toward loving my God by helping those in need around me!

I finished cleaning out my refrigerator with much greater vigor than before! I threw each rotted piece of fruit into the place it belonged, the garbage! Each rotted piece reminded me that I too must get rid of each piece of rotten attitude in my life that holds me back and spoils the good fruit around it!

As my hand reached into the freezer to pull out frozen fruit bags that had lost their vitality and hung lifeless and limp, I remembered I am called by God to produce good fruit! And as my hand grabbed for each bottle of salad dressing that contained vinegar and oil, my spirit was overwhelmed by the truth that when my life is seasoned with proper ingredients, I am preserved! Those bottles stayed. They would not only survive, they would last!
Will you and I last? When troubles, trials and devastation consume our lives, will we have the preservatives it takes to STAND UP, AND STEP INTO THE PURPOSE GOD HAS FOR US?

I got up off the floor, I mopped up the water around me, I cleaned my refrigerator like never before, and then I left that secure, warm home God had given me and then preserved for me, to step into His purpose for me in all of this!
Jim and I were blessed to minister to many who came to our church. We served alongside so many from our church that cooked food for them, secured warm beds for them and shared God’s love for them through kind, warm , sincere smiles and hugs!
Yes, the devastation is real.Some of them lost EVERYTHING…homes, cars, even animals. But, because we all choose to stand up and step beside our God as He loved these people, we were blessed beyond measure!

Friends, I do not know what “REFRIGERATOR” you are facing in your life that needs cleaned out? But I do know that under the most crippling of circumstances, as you step through them toward God, HE WILL WALK BESIDE YOU! He will show you WHY, WHY He saved you to Bear Much Fruit!

I know I will never look at my refrigerator the same again! I intend to use it as a reminder, a sort of ,”Altar of Remembrance,” that no matter how discouraged or doubtful I get of where God has placed me, to be used by Him for His purposes, that as long as I continue to, get up and step with Him, I will be useful in His Kingdom Enterprise!


Speak Truth Love


The Fire That Can Never Be Extinguished!


Thirty-two hours ago I was thrown into the middle of the most devastating FIRE I have ever encountered! It exploded around me like a BOMB!!! The noise was so loud and earth shattering that we could think of nothing else except explosives being dropped all around us, while shooting flashes of light shot through the dark night sky! We were thrust out of a deep sleep not knowing what was going on all around us! I looked over at Jim and we both roused to the shocking awareness that a raging fire was right outside of our neighborhood!
The phone rang and the voice on the other end said, “Your neighborhood is being evacuated!” I groggily stumbled to the front bedroom window and looked out! The sight was chilling. The sky was dark black and below it was the deepest, darkest color of orange I had ever seen. In the middle of the orange was a billowing black cloud of smoke from a raging fire.
Due to our Missionary training, we always have a battery powered transistor radio handy. Jim turned it on and the tragic news hit us like a ton of bricks. Above us in the hills of Sonoma County a fire had broken out and was spreading and speeding toward us at record breaking speed!

For Lisa
We had no time to think, only react! Well, I take that back slightly. My brain immediately told me to “GO HOME”, flee to Sacramento where family was close by! That was my first thought when my human nature stepped in. But those words never left my brain to come out of my mouth.
It is in these times of crisis friends, that we truly find out what God can do with us! Are we ready? Are we available to His leading, His calling and His filling in our spirits? Those questions are only answered when we are thrust into crisis mode!
I pray that we would all continue to fill ourselves with His Word and His prayers in the non-conflict times. So that we are ready in the CONFLICT to engage Him and be used by Him!
He is Faithful! He is in complete control!
I turned to Jim, who was listening intently to the radio, and listened. He said that the fire was spreading so quickly that the evacuation centers in Santa Rose were filling to capacity and overflowing already. He said, “We need to get to our church and become an evacuation center for anyone in need.”
He immediately called the news station, radio station and talked to the fire chief in Sebastopol. We grabbed our suitcase, toiletries, anything we could grab of importance, loaded our cars, put Jim’s bike on the back of his car, put our dog in my car and headed to our church under the blackened sky and orange skyline! It took us over an hour to go less than 10 miles, but we got there. We were able to bring about 60 of our neighbors with us!
On our drive to church I was struck by the crazy thought of one of my favorite movies, ‘Leap Year.’ In it the question is asked, “If you had 60 seconds to flee your home, what would you take?” Friends I found out the answer to that question. It was all sitting in my car around me. My children’s Christmas stockings, our family portraits on our walls, the chiming clock my dad gave me, (even though every member of my family would have been happy if I would have left that behind!), my children’s old sports jerseys, the dagen heart glass my grandmother gave me, the baseball bats my Dad gave Tyler when he was born and our family recipes! Thank goodness Jim is a bit more practical and he grabbed our bag of important papers: passports, birth certificates, marriage license, insurance papers etc.!
I did organize and put them together however, but you can see where our hearts go in the middle of crisis!
They were all thrown into my car and represented my life! As we drove away in the erie silence and oppressive darkness, ash fell on us like a severe snow storm.
As we enter the church, we were met by incredible servants ready to bless anyone and everyone God would bring to us! In the words of the Sebastopol Fire Chief, “Sebastopol has been spared by the fire and is a SANCTUARY in this area!” SERIOUSLY, if we had not sensed God’s leading yet, we certainly did now!
Truth is, we had sensed God’s leading and we still do!

Jim and I had an immediate and sincere feeling flood our spirits that we were sent here for “SUCH A TIME AS THIS!” We asked God for a verse and we both felt him give us John 1:4-5 clearly;

The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought life to everyone. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish it.” John 1:4-5

We have found ourselves in the middle of a raging physical fire in the last 32 hours! What puts out a physical fire? Firefighters who are armed with chemicals, water and fire extinguishers!

We have become acutely aware that God has called us here to be “spiritual firefighter’s!” We are to bring His light into the darkness. To shine His true light in the middle of grief, sorrow, devastation and hopelessness. To demonstrate through His love, that we are BEING HIS CHURCH by being His hands and feet to all those in need!




We have been given The TRUE LIGHT of JESUS CHRIST friends! It is THE LIGHT that shines in the darkness and the darkness, no matter how severe, can NEVER EXTINGUISH IT!

So shine His Light in every situation you find yourselves in! He is faithful!

Just to give you all an update of our situation, this is debris from the fire, which was a small part of what was left on our front lawn. It is chilling to see the pages burnt from books, and realize that as I picked up what I thought was an ember, it was a fully burnt leaf from the tree!

When Jim and I pulled away from our house yesterday morning in the darkness, we fully expected to have nothing left when we returned. We gave God back the house He had so graciously given us here in Sonoma County. But God had different plans, and we are praising Him! He spared our house from the fire that was less than a quarter-mile away. We do not know why, but we completely give Him the glory and thank Him for it! May we use it for His glory and His glory alone to shine His light in the darkness in this community He has clearly placed us in!

Thank you all for your continued outpouring of love and prayers! They are needed and they are working. There is still MUCH work to be done and MUCH fruit to bear, but God is faithful and He will see us through!

Speak Truth Love


Last week we talked about the LOVE of FAMILY, this week we are talking about the LOVE of FRIENDS!

The tragedy in Las Vegas yesterday, October 1, 2017, has caused each and every one of us to consider those closest and most important to us, namely FAMILY and FRIENDS!


Yesterday we awoke to the devastating news of the Las Vegas tragedy. It reminded us that evil and darkness are ever present. Even though this is a stark and real revelation, The Light and Truth of our Lord Jesus Christ shines brightest in the darkness!
We must hold onto that Truth, trust in Him alone and be His light here on Earth!

I have found no greater way to shine the LIGHT of Jesus Christ than through friendship!
The Bible tells us in Proverbs that a true friend loves always. This means in the good times and in the bad times.

The world displays friendship as a relationship with another that we have something in common with. Sharing, if you will, a common likeness to a particular activity. We can share in a book club, a cooking class, a favorite restaurant, a sport or a love for the arts. Any common interest can create a friendship. We bond over a golf game, a football game, a baseball game or any sport we enjoy. We can watch it together or play it together. We can bond over sharing recipes, new cooking tools, or new cooking techniques. We can bond over an interest in the arts, walking through museums, watching a play or listening to a concert. We can join a running club, biking club or dance club and make friends. We can join a gym, an exercise class or a martial arts class and make friends.

It seems natural to become friends when we find others who share our similar interests. However, I believe the Bible is talking about a friendship much deeper than a shared interest when it speaks about being a friend in Proverbs.

A Friend loves at all times.

Proverbs 17:17

This kind of friend sticks by you when times are tough! This kind of a friend understands when you have a bad day and say the wrong thing. This kind of a friend forgives and forgets when you make a mistake. This kind of a friend remains your friend no matter how many miles separate you! This kind of a friend helps in time of need, and comforts in time of grief. This kind of a friend does not just enjoy activities with you that you both enjoy, but this kind of a friend enters into your activities even if they are not their first choice. This kind of a friend puts you first and is there when you need them. This kind of a friend prays alongside you and bloodies their knees in prayer for you. This kind of a friend knows that sometimes there is nothing they can do but stand beside you in silence and hold your hand or give you a hug. This kind of a friend, a true friend, is ALWAYS THERE!

If you have a friend like this, you are blessed and you understand the true definition of Proverbs 17:17.

If you are a friend like this, than you are fulfilling God’s purpose for friendship.

Truth Bomb

A friend loves at all times!

We have the opportunity to shine the LIGHT and LOVE of Jesus when we practice this kind of friendship. When we give even when we have nothing left to give. When we love even when we feel unloved, and when we pray even when others do not deserve it. Most of all, when we display hope when life circumstances feel hopeless!

Yes, even on the darkest of days, when senseless tragedy makes us feel sad and dark, we have the potential to bring the LIGHT as we live out true godly friendship!

As we are reminded how short and uncertain life is, may we not waste another precious moment loving our friends ALL OF THE TIME!

Speak Truth Love