Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Childress Connect Group... Yeah, it's about to be a thing.

So, my last blog explained how I am going to start a weekly home discussion group that focuses on teaching about Christ and Christianity in a new way.  If you haven't read about it yet, scroll on down to the post below and catch up!  Go ahead.  I'll wait...

I have received awesome feedback from you guys and lots of love and support.  I can't tell you how excited I am to get this started.   Although... believe it or not, I am actually a private person and opening my home does not come easily to me at all.  Sure, I don't mind talking at a group of people from a pulpit or some such thing, but put me in a smaller, one-on-one situation with people I don't know and watch me freeze up and fumble for words.  That, being said, I know God is bigger than my doubts, and he's got this thing under control. All I have to do is make some food and wait for people to show up.  Once they are here, the rest is up to the man upstairs.

However, I need some more help from all of you.  Prayer!  Lots of prayer.  Pray for me, my family, and for all those who will attend.  Pray about who you can invite.  If you are from Childress and you are on my FB friends list, then you received an invitation to opening night.  If you know someone  that is not on my friends list, then this is where YOU come in.  Send the invite to others who may be interested in exploring Christianity.  Share this with friends and family who might know someone that is searching for more!  If you invite someone, please join them at least the first night so they will feel more comfortable. 

God's up to something big, dear ones.  If you have any questions, just ask in the comments down below or message me on Facebook.

Love in Christ,

Karin

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Expecting God to Do Great Things

I have a few new things in the works.  I am finally at a place where I am ready to DO something again.  You know what I mean?  I do a lot in a day, but I want to really DO something and make a difference.  I couldn't decide if I wanted to start GriefShare again or start a new church Bible study, so I spent some time in serious prayer and in the Bible.  Studying God's word is my most favorite thing ever.  To be honest, it's just a little too soon for me to do G.S. yet, and I really feel like God is wanting me to do something different.  What he's told me to do is new, scary, and exciting.  I am planning to begin a home Bible study group.  

I want a friendly, comfortable place where people can explore the idea of Christianity without fear or criticism.  I know so many people who have been burned by churches or had poor experiences with Christians and that is just so sad.  This group is for anyone wanting to investigate Christianity or for anyone who's given up on "church".  It's for new believers, old believers, non-believers, the hopeful, those who have lost hope, those who are exploring their options and those who feel they are out of options.  It's for anyone.  

It's non denominational, and I won't push a specific church on anyone.  Ever.  I want to adopt the Alpha approach where we offer food, a talk, and good conversation.  No question is too silly or "out there."  I want people to be able to ask the questions they have always had, but never had the guts to ask.  I want to have open, nonjudgemental discussion about concerns, ideologies, or stereotypes without using churchy lingo.  But mostly, I want people to see Jesus for who he is.  I want people to see Christians the way the Bible explains them; the way we are supposed to be.  I want to be real and ask forgiveness for the way the church has treated so many who have been wronged.  I want to give folks Christianity 101 and the meaning of life, and have a fun time making new friends in the process.  

It's serious business, and I need help.  I need you to invite anyone and everyone.  I need a few people to help me greet and prepare food.  If you have been wanting to get involved in a ministry but didn't know how to get plugged in, then let me ask you to pray about joining me.  If you know someone who would be interested in being a helper or a participant, give me a holla!  Until I have my team together, I can't give an exact start date, but I'm hoping to start within the next few months.  It's never too early to start thinking about friends and family that may want to come.  Start putting a bug in their ear.  Lastly, pray.  Pray for me, the ministry, the helpers, the future participants, and those you might ask to come along.  Prayer is such a powerful tool.  I'm so excited (albeit, nervous) to get this thing started.  I am expecting God to to great and mighty things.


Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.  Acts 2:46-47

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Lesson in Grief

Grief is like a finger print... It's unique to each person. Each of us have unique personalities, and our relationship to the deceased is unique. When a person dies it affects multiple people, but each of their relationships were different. It stands to reason that no two people will grieve the same way. This is important to remember. When you encounter a grieving person, please do not expect them to grieve in the same way you did. Here are a few tips for those of us who know someone grieving, and a few for those of us that are currently grieving a loss.

1. The first and foremost rule has already been mentioned. Do not expect that your loved one's grief will play out the same as yours... even if you are grieving over the same person. One may grieve for months and another for much, much longer. Unfortunately there is no formula.

2. Please don't avoid the grieving. Maybe you have not grieved over a deep loss and you are uncomfortable around those in mourning because you don't know what to say. A person may be grieving, but they can tell when they are being avoided. You don't have to say much. Just offer a hug and a smile and see where it goes from there.

3. What NOT to say...
"You need to be strong!" or "Snap out of it!" - You know, it is okay to be down. If we didn't love we wouldn't grieve. Being truthful about our grief is the first step to healing. Let us feel however we feel.

"They are in a better place." - We know that, but it doesn't help us hurt any less now.

"God needed another angel." - Really? So we could be lonely down here? I don't think so.

"You know, I haven't seen you cry. You just need a good cry!" - What you don't know is that we go home and cry all night long. Just because we are not crying in public doesn't mean we are not processing our grief!

"God never gives you more than you can handle." or worse yet, "it was God's will."

4. We know you are trying to help, but it's better just to stay quiet and listen to what the grieving person has to say. Saying the wrong thing can often cause more hurt than good. If you don't know what to say... just don't...

5. Things TO say to a grieving person... because there are no words... keep it simple.
"I’m so sorry to hear about your loss."
"I can’t imagine what you are going through. It must be unbearable."
"Sit down and tell me all about it."
"I don’t know what to say, but I’ll be glad to listen."
"How are you really feeling?"
"What can I do to help?"

6. Don't misuse scripture. Some of the most beautiful and reassuring verses can be misused. Always remember the context in which the verse was written. Romans 8:28 is often misquoted here. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." That verse is for living believers in THIS life. This verse makes the grieving feel guilty for grieving, and it doesn't seem that our loved one's death is "good". This type of misuse just makes us feel conflicted.

Ok, so now for those who are grieving...

It's important to remember that if you do find yourself being "consoled" by one of these inconsiderate people from tip #3. Please extend grace and forgiveness. Most of the time they really want to help you. They feel compelled to say something; anything to help. They have probably not grieved as you have, or believe your grief should look like theirs. It is ignorance plain and simple. Holding on to bitterness of the things said to you will NOT help you move through your grief. In fact, it will hinder your progress. It is easier to forgive and let it just roll off.

Now, sometimes these rude people DID intend to hurt your feelings. In this case, you need to remember that they too must be hurting, and "hurting people tend to hurt people." We need to let go of bitterness and forgive them as well. If you find yourself in one of these uncomfortable situations, it is okay to let the person know that they have offended you. You may sternly, yet politely let them know why their statement has hurt you. If it was extremely hurtful, you may want to cool off for a bit before you confront them. If this person didn't mean to be insensitive they will probably be glad know so they do not say it to someone else. Let them know you have forgiven them.

When people ask how you are doing, be honest. Keep it short and honest. If you say, "Fine." People will take you at your word. Feel free to say, "Today is a good day," or "I've felt better, but I'm going to be okay."

Grieving is messy because life is messy. Here are the steps in the journey from mourning to joy. The steps are not always linear. Sometimes we may have a good day or two, then something will trigger us to take a step back (a song, a smell, etc.). The important thing to remember is to let yourself feel whatever you are feeling.

Stage One: From Denial and Isolation to Candor: Honesty with Myself

Stage Two: From Anger and Resentment to Complaint/Lament: Honesty with God

Stage Three: From Bargaining and Works to Crying Out to God: Asking God for Help

Stage Four: From Depression and Alienation to Comfort: Receiving God’s Help

Stage Five: From Regrouping to Waiting: Trusting with Faith

Stage Six: From Deadening to Wailing: Groaning with Hope

Stage Seven: From Despairing and Doubting to Weaving: Perceiving with Grace

Stage Eight: From Digging Cisterns to Worshipping: Engaging with Love


Journaling helps to process your thoughts and feelings. It's also a nice tool for you to go back to, to check on your progress.

For more information, please check out www.griefshare.org

You can join a GriefShare group near you to learn more about the journey.

If you have more questions ask me. I'm always happy to listen and help. Check out my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KarinMartinJohnson and message me!


In Him we Live, Breathe, and Serve!

Karin Johnson





Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Truth, as God sees it.

You know, two weeks ago, our Bible study group completed lesson 9 in the Truth Project. We've enjoyed all the lessons, but for some reason this one struck a chord with just about everyone in our class. The discussion that ensued was varied yet marvelous.
We have been exploring several different social spheres over the past few weeks. These social sphere's make up what is considered God's "social order". We discussed the sphere of the church, of family, and the relational sphere that exists between God and man. Later we will move on to talk about the sphere of community and also labor.
For now, let's talk about the State. Not as in, Texas... as in the State or governing body. What is the role of the State? Dr. Del Tacket would say that under optimal conditions, the government should be set up for the purpose of helping it's people by punishing evil and condoning good. When they step out of their own sphere and deny the sovereignty of the other social spheres (family, church, community, etc.) we begin to see a problem. When the state quits looking to God and tries to take on His role as well as the role of the other spheres or institutions, we see a shift in the balance of power from God to man (State). This is the situation I believe many countries, including the US are in right now.
The Law's purpose within the State is to help and not harm. However, we can all think of instances where the law has purposefully been changed for very wrong reasons, according to a Christian worldview. We see abuse of power all over the world. All the worst regimes in history have had this shift in power. Marx said that to get rid of capitalism, you must first get rid of God. These leaders understood something very profound. When we quit looking to God as our savior, we will begin to look to the government. Today's society expects the government to pay for our homes, our food, and our healthcare, and now they are rallying for the State to pay for our education. We have a government that spends 8 billion more in a day than we take in. How can this go on? It can't. We need to place our focus back where it belongs. On Christ. When we put Him back in his rightful place, we may still have to pay some consequences of our actions, but we will be a much healthier State. This raises some questions... Are we, as Christians, doing our part to make sure things run smoothly? Are we giving our time and money to help others in need, true need? What can we do to turn the tide around?

Friday, October 22, 2010

repost from a few years ago- still just as important

I have been doing some research for funsies. I have found some interesting articles and would like to share on the subject of apologetics. For those of you who have not heard this term before, it is the branch of theology concerned with the defense or proof of Christianity. There are a few things that upset me about today's culture and one of those things is TOLERANCE. Today there are so many people who claim to be open-minded and tolerant of other people views but it can be argued that these "enlightened" people are completely intolerant of Christian views and standards. I would like to share with you a few excerpts from articles that can help explain more succinctly than I, this strange epidemic that is sweeping the Western culture. The following is an excerpt from an article I was linked to from www.answersingenesis.com. Its a data base of articles relating to a whole slew of sujbejcts from aliens to the existance of God.

Liberal tolerance is grounded in relativism, the view that no one point of view on moral and religious knowledge is objectively correct for every person in every time and place. This notion, as understood and embraced in popular culture, feeds on the fact of pluralism, the reality of a plurality of different and contrary opinions on religious and moral matters. Against this backdrop, many in our culture conclude that one cannot say that one's view on religious and moral matters is better than anyone else's view. They assert that it is a mistake to claim that one's religious beliefs are exclusively correct and that believers of other faiths, no matter how sincere or devoted, hold false beliefs. Thus, religious inclusivism is the correct position to hold.

Relativism, pluralism, and religious inclusivism are the planks in a creed that does not tolerate any rivals. Its high-minded commitment to "openness" prohibits the possibility that anything is absolutely good, true, and beautiful. This was the central thesis of Alan Bloom's 1987 best seller, The Closing of the American Mind. Bloom writes: "The relativity of truth [for college students in American culture] is not a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the condition of a free society, or so they see it." The point is not to correct the mistakes and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right at all. The students, of course, cannot defend their opinion. It is something with which they have been indoctrinated.

According to Bloom, by dogmatically maintaining there is no truth, people who are relativists have become close-minded to the possibility of knowing the truth, if in fact it does exist. Some may say there are many truths but if you get down to it, not all can be true. To understand what Bloom means, consider the following dialogue (based loosely on a real-life exchange) between a high school teacher and her student, Elizabeth.

Teacher: Welcome, students. Since this is the first day of class, I want to lay down some ground rules. First, since no one has the truth, you should be open-minded to the opinions of your fellow students. Second....Elizabeth, do you have a question?

Elizabeth: Yes, I do. If nobody has the truth, isn't that a good reason for me not to listen to my fellow students? After all, if nobody has the truth, why should I waste my time listening to other people and their opinions. What would be the point? Only if somebody has the truth does it make sense to be open-minded. Don't you agree?

Teacher: No, I don't. Are you claiming to know the truth? Isn't that a bit arrogant and dogmatic?

Elizabeth: Not at all. Rather, I think it's dogmatic, as well as arrogant, to assert that there is not one person on earth who knows the truth. After all, have you met every person in the world and quizzed them exhaustively? If not, how can you make such a claim? Also, I believe it is actually the opposite of arrogance to say that I will alter my opinions to fit the truth whenever and wherever I find it. And if I happen to think that I have good reason to believe I do know the truth and would like to share it with you, why won't you listen to me? Why would you automatically discredit my opinion before it is even uttered? I thought we were supposed to listen to everyone's opinion. (Beckwith, Francis. Deconstructing Liberal Tolerance)

In the modern Western world, ethical relativism poses a challenge to the biblical basis for ethics. Relativism affirms that moral right and wrong are only socially and individually determined. Ethics is split off from any objective moral order. Cultural norms of morality are relative to particular societies, individuals, and historical periods. What is "right for you" may not be "right for me." What is wrong today may not be wrong tomorrow. When the idea of moral law is held in disrespect, the notion of sin softens and then dissolves. If all is relative, absolute evil is impossible. If sin is nonsense, then the notion of a Savior from sin is absurd. There is nothing from which to be saved.

Because of its denial of abiding ethical standards and of sin against a holy God, relativism is a roadblock to effective evangelism .. besides undercutting values essential for a healthy society. But the key arguments for relativism are fatally flawed.

1. Relativists often argue that a society that honors free speech and freedom of religion must relinquish any notion of absolute truth or morality because this stifles the free exchange of ideas. Dogmatism and moralism are unwelcome in the pluralistic public square. Relativism is seen as required for a democracy of ideas and norms.

But this is flatly false. One may believe there are moral absolutes and also believe that the best way to reach ethical conclusions is through open discussion, dialogue, and debate. Freedom of religion and speech does not necessitate that there can be no objectively true religion or morality. A free society guarantees your right to be right .. and your right to be wrong! I can try to persuade you of the truth of my convictions without using coercion. In fact, I may take it as a moral absolute that I should not coerce those I believe to be absolutely wrong.

The relativist has abandoned the very concept of objective moral truth. It is all a matter of opinion because everything is relative. There is, therefore, nothing objective to argue about and no good reason to believe one thing over another. This is hardly what the American founders envisioned for a free society. It more resembles anarchism and nihilism (i.e., rejection of all values) than a "marketplace of ideas."

2. The sheer diversity of moral and religious ideas within and between societies is invoked as evidence for relativism. With so many options before us, who is to say what is true or false, right or wrong? We are left with relativism.

Here again, the facts do not deliver the conclusion. A diversity of ethical and religious beliefs hardly insures that they are all somehow true. A tribal culture may be scientifically wrong in thinking that the sun revolves around a flat earth. Why can't the same culture be ethically wrong for practicing head-hunting? If you say that abortion is right and I say it is wrong, how can we both be correct when we contradict each other? Ethical relativism eliminates the notion of a moral mistake. But this is just as fallacious as saying that every answer on a multiple-choice test is correct because there is a diversity of answers.

There may also be less diversity between cultures than is often thought. Every culture has taboos against stealing. Yet a desert culture may penalize the theft of water much more highly than would a tropical culture. The diversity of moral codes does not rule out a basic agreement on deeper ethical principles. In an appendix to his excellent book against relativism, The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis listed common moral principles spanning thousands of years from diverse religions and civilizations. As Paul tells us in Romans 1-2, God has endowed with a conscience all those created in His own image, however much we efface or neglect it.

Relativism also leads to absurd conclusions which undermine its credibility. If there is no true moral law that applies transculturally, then there is no basis for one culture to condemn actions in another. Surely any morally sane person must ethically condemn Nazi atrocities as evil and praise the heroes who resisted the Reich by saving Jews from extermination. But relativism cannot permit such judgments. The morality of everything is relative .. even genocide.

If we can reveal flaws in the case for relativism, we can further argue that the moral law is best understood as flowing from the moral lawgiver of the universe. God, as our Creator, knows what is best for us and calls us to obey Him for our own good and for His glory. Yet, as Paul said, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 6:23). The universal fact of guilt and shame testifies to that, whatever the cultural setting might be.

But the good news is that the Lawgiver is also the Redeemer of those who lament over their lawlessness and trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Those who cry out, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner" (Luke 18:13), can find mercy and eternal life. But the unrepentant relativist must face the absolute justice of a holy God who admits no interpretation other than His own. In the end everything is relative, but it is relative to God's absolute standards, not ours. (Groothuis, Douglass. Confronting the Challenge of Ethical Relativism)

I have to admit, that this is a subject that I am very passionate about. I got all fired up just reading these articles. Of course you can look them up and read the whole article if you wish. I feel that as a Christian, my rights are being slowly taken away by this way of thinking. If this is a free country, why is it that I cannot pray in school but Muslim children can take time out of their school day to pray to Allah? My hollidays have been disguised by pagan symbols and consumerism. Christians, I am calling you to stand up for what you believe. Be proud of who you are in Christ! We have to be vocal about our rights. This doesn't mean that we have to force our views on others. We can show them who we are just by living in the light of Christ and share when asked or the time is right. But if we are to remain in our freedom of religion, we must take action. Its faster becoming that everything is tolerated but Christianity. The Bible says that we will be persecuted and that we should be thankful in doing so, but that doesn't mean that we can't stand up for what is ours. I know I want my children and grandchildren to have the same freedoms that I have had. I will get off my soapbox for now but would love to hear feedback from you no matter what your belief.

Love in Christ,
Karin

Read more:http://www.myspace.com/karinrmartin/blog?page=2#ixzz137WoTVqP

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Late Night...again... lol!

I can't seem to make myself go to sleep early, even if I know I have an early, big day the next day. I guess 8 years of working the night shift doesn't wear off that easily. ;-) What can I say; I just enjoy the quiet time alone where I can read my Bible or a good book. Maybe even watch a movie. Tonight I watched a Star Trek movie with Josh and Matt before retiring to the tub for some warm suds and James Patterson.

My cat is invading my comfort zone just now. She is demanding food and a proper petting. I should mention that she went to see Marsha at the Barker Shop the other day, and this white Persian is now sporting a black mohawk with an orange poof on her tail. She's ready for Halloween! Love her. Maybe one of these days we'll have children, but for now she fills in quite nicely. I know I should be in bed, but I just can't quit thinking about stuff.

It's just stuff in general; like how I'm so glad my dad is still with us. He just had a stint put in his leg yesterday. Problem is, he's already had a by-pass in that same leg years ago. Then there's the matter of him coding in the doctor's office back in '04. They had to revive him with the paddles. He had a quadruple by-pass and a valve repaired. He's had other issues crop up now and again. However, I just can't stop thinking about how fleeting life is. I work at a funeral home and run GriefShare. I see death all the time. Although you never get used to it, it gets easier to deal with. However, when it's your loved one that's ill, it is completely different. I did get to talk to my dad today, who is back home and in great spirits. He sounded so chipper on the phone. He couldn't help praising God himself. Our prayer had been that a stint would be all he would need, and for now... it is!

I'm so thankful that God has continued to answer our prayers, and I no longer take my family for granted. I try to enjoy them while they are here. I can't help but see the hand of God continually guiding us, even in the smallest of details. He is the only reason I make it through the day, even a good one. I have no doubt that I will see many hard days in my lifetime, but I will be held up by a faithful, and loving Sustainer.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Revelation Lecture Series... Coming Soon!


Attention Childress Folks!

I am pleased to announce that we will begin a new Bible study on Tuesdays, beginning September 7th. It will be held in the Fellowship Hall at First United Methodist Church at 6pm.

It will be the new Beth Moore DVD series. It's entitled, "Here and Now... There and Then: A Lecture Series on Revelation" It is wonderful!

For those of you who think you do not have time for a Beth Moore Study, let me assure you that this is a "Lecture Series", not her usual, involved "Bible study". If you are familiar with her format, you know that there is usually about 5 days worth of homework, and about 2 hours at church each week as we review and talk about the homework, then watch the video.

Since this is a lecture series, there is only a very thin book for note taking and maybe one day's worth of personal reflection. There will be no discussion, since there is no homework, other than personal reflection. So, this will cut down on about 45 min of our time. (Unless people would like to stay after and talk about what we just heard.)

Here is what her website says about it.... "Here and Now...There and Then by Beth Moore is a lecture series on the book of Revelation. Beth presents many points of view, allowing people to decide for themselves when the interpretation varies among scholars. She teaches that God is as specific about what He does reveal as He is about what He does not reveal. Each of the 11 sessions is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. The set includes 11 DVDs and one listening guide with light homework."

Also, we are opening this study up for men too! After all, everyone needs a fresh revelation! Although, it's true, Beth's studies are geared toward women, I have watched the entire series, and there is nothing really gender specific in it. There is no reason to exclude our men! Josh is the one who gave me the idea for this. He's signed up along with his father, Chris. We also have a few other men signed up so far. So, ladies, bring your man! Let's have the Lord reveal Himself to us together!

No excuses! My vision is to bring people of all denominations together to study the Word as One Body of Christ, in order to unite our community. What better way, than to come to this inter-denominational study!

So if you really want to get pumped up, watch the promo video here. This is going to be awesome!

If you are interested, let me know so I can order you a book!

In Christ, we Live, Breathe, and Serve,
Karin Johnson