Sunday, May 30, 2010


Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola have teamed up to write Jesus Manifesto--a declaration that Jesus Christ is supreme and sovereign. It is obvious that the Church can easily get swept up in and distracted by programs, strategies, doctrines, and plenty of other "good things," and this can cause us to forget that Jesus truly is our all in all. We can get so caught up in talking about Him and doing things for Him, but we might not actually be getting to know Him--He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Sweet and Viola challenge us to know Jesus and follow Him, not actually to try to be like Him, for none of us ever can be. They say, "There is a pervasive theology of 'likeness'--'O God, make me more Christlike'--that cheapens the gospel and depresses the spirit. Christlikeness is too small a dream, too shallow an ambition, for a Christian. The call to Christlikeness is also not 'good news' . . . [T]o be 'like Christ' often implies that you don't really need Christ, since you already have the ideas and teachings of Christ . . . The fall of humanity was all about women and men assuming the posture that they don't need anyone to tell them what to do. They would decide for themselves what's good and what's bad. They would be self-sufficient and self-determining . . . We can try as hard as we wish to be like Christ, but human effort will never touch the hem of that garment."

These words were probably the greatest summons to me as I read this book, because I greatly struggle with feeling self-sufficient--not simply resting in the promise that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. There is nothing I can do--or need to do--to add to my salvation. He is the Author and Perfecter and Completer, not me.

I found the message of this book to be both challenging and freeing. And even though I felt that some parts of it, particularly in the first half of the book, were a bit choppy, the overall message is quite clear. In a world where our minds and hearts are being summoned to give devotion to so many things, it is a relief and a pleasure to be reminded that Christ is more than sufficient. Thank you for this powerful reminder through Jesus Manifesto.

To order this book, visit

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Captivity of Me

"Get a fresh glimpse of your incomparable Lord, and you will be emboldened to stop spending your life on yourself. Connect with Him who is life, and you will be empowered to deny yourself, live beyond yourself, and live outside yourself. Let go, break free of the self, the captivity of me. Only Christ can set you free from yourself--the old self that He nailed to His cross. No amount of willpower or good intention can accomplish this. So lay hold of Him and escape the straitjacket of the exalted, exaggerated, narcissistic sense of self. You and your causes are not the center of the universe. You are part of a process of life that is greater than you. The self only exists at all inasmuch as it participates in the being of God. You are not the main character in your own story. God in Christ is." --Excerpt from Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Dreaming" by Callie Partridge, age 9

As I sit in my seat,
I can't help it--I dream.
I dream 'bout tonight's dreams,
I dream of hot summer.
I dream, I'm dreaming, I dream.

I can't feel my seat,
This year was so quick!
I feel the ocean, waves, and pool!
I'm dreaming of summer!
I'm  dreaming of fall!
I dream, dream, I dream!

I sit here and don't see
my classroom at all.
I see a pool, a beach, condo,
Am I really in school?
I am dreaming, that's all.
Just dreaming.
I think I'll fall asleep.

I dream, I'm dreaming, I dreamed.

You can, too.

*Author's Note: I write for other people's enjoyment all the time,but I usually don't write for encouragement.This poem is to persuade you to dream big every day and night-asleep or not. I dedicate this poem to my former first grade teacher,Mrs. Morgan-probably my biggest encourager,and now I encourage you to dream big-then try to write down your dream,and send it to me.Whaddaya know-maybe a poem will show up right here!!!:)            
                                                                                 - Callie

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church, Andrew Farley (Paperback)The message of The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley isn't a new one, but it's certainly one that isn't always preached clearly. As a woman who personally struggles with legalism and a sense of earning God's love and forgiveness and approval, I experienced a sense of relief as I read through the pages of this book.  I have always known that Jesus' blood covered my sins, but I still felt like I needed to "do my best" and "make God proud." And if I sinned (which is daily . . . for everyone), I had better make sure those sins got confessed ASAP, and I'd better try harder to do the right thing next time.  Effort, effort, effort. Thus telling God that His Son's blood must not've been quite enough. 

But Farley reminds us, "Our forgiveness and cleansing are solely because of the finished work of Jesus Christ." It is FINISHED. Once-and-for-all forgiveness.

As I read his words, I could really feel the burden being lifted from Farley's shoulders. He dealt with being driven by a guilt-based faith for many, many years, which only led to depression. When he discovered the LIFE that God intended to give us through His Son's sacrifice, Farley began to experience freedom and God's truly unconditional love.

"Jesus exposed the futility of life under law," Farley explains. No one can keep every letter of it, and God doesn't expect us to. He simply desires for us to love Him and accept His grace and forgiveness. He doesn't want us to get down on ourselves when we sin; He wants us to simply desire what He desires. And since, as Christians, He truly does live in us, His desires become our desires. If we do not desire what He desires, then He is not in us.

"The message of 'Jesus plus nothing' from start to finish is often too humbling for us to swallow. Instead, we opt for performance hoops to jump through in order to impress God . . . The secret is that grace deactivates our pride. Removing the law from our lives means our self-effort is no longer prodded to control behavior. The law excites human effort. It encourages us to depend on resources outside of Christ. But unconditional acceptance deactivates human effort and allows the Holy Spirit to be all that he wants to be through us." I love this. This is the freedom God intended.

It is vital for everyone--Believers and non-Believers alike--to be exposed to The Naked Gospel. The author's fervor is contagious; his words are well-written; and his message is clear (as is the book cover--ha!) and well-delivered. Read it. And share it.

To order this book, visit

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the product mentioned above for free by The Ooze Viral Bloggers in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Home Movies and New Stages

In honor of Mother's Day on Sunday, my family and I pulled out the home movies. We hadn't watched them in a while, and the hours passed incredibly quickly as we viewed our children literally growing up before our eyes. The kids--now 5, 7, and 9--got such a kick out of seeing each other as babies and toddlers, while Kevin and I watched through a mixture of gladness and sadness. Turns out our parents (and their parents, and their parents . . . ) were right. They really do grow up so fast!

Mostly, though, we simply enjoyed reliving some precious memories and are thankful that they were captured on video. (What a remarkable thing to be able to do!) We got to relive the births of our babies (sans physical pain), reopen Christmas presents, laugh again at all the cute sayings and doings of our little ones, and provide plenty of "Awwws" and "Oh my goodnesses." Although we remember living most of these moments, we had forgotten how sweet and tender and innocent those moments and babies were. Hearing their little bitty voices caused our own to crack.

But mixed in with all the sweetness and "I miss those days" were also some moments of just enough reality (i.e. toddler temper tantrums, pee on the floor, bottles and baby food, spit-up, etc., etc.) to remind us that we're in a wonderful place now, too, and it's okay that those days are behind us. We loved them--no doubt about it--but they weren't easy. Having three children under the age of four is extremely tiring. We changed diapers every day for six and a half years.

Six and a half years.

Yes, I'm quite okay with the new stage we're in. We've traded baby books for homework and onesies for school uniforms. The teeth we were so thrilled to discover popping through their baby gums are now falling out and being replaced with bigger teeth. And now their words aren't so hard to understand. But it's still fun. And it's still an adventure. And they're still my babies.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Music Review: "Slugs & Bugs & Lullabies"

In "Slugs & Bugs & Lullabies," Andrew Peterson and Randall Goodgame have created a wonderful collection of fun-filled songs that evoke giggles, toe-tapping, head nodding (both in keeping with the beat and in understanding of the songs' contents), quickly singing along, and dancing with your kiddos. The lullabies at the end of the album are sweet, soothing, thoughtful, and prayerful. Beautiful, beautiful songs that make you want to hold your babies close and never let them grow up.

Swirled into each of these songs is a dose of the messy reality of parenting babies and toddlers. You can tell that these two guys have had the experiences of playing with, entertaining, burping ("Chicken Wiggle"--so funny!), feeding ("Beans"--also hilarious), and changing their own little ones. The evidence points to the fact that these guys have lived the dailyness of parenthood and wrote these songs to help them get through it. Fun dads!

My personal favorites on the album are "Piggy Little Toes," which will have you square dancing; "Who's Got the Ball?," which will have you wanting to play a game with your kids; "Tractor, Tractor," which will have you laughing; and "You Can Always Come Home," which will have you feeling all sentimental about your babies.

It's hard to tell if these guys' target audience was intended to be young kids or the parents who love those young kids, but they succeed at hitting both. I've been a fan of Andrew's and Randall's music for quite a while, so I wasn't surprised that I loved this album. Your kids will be begging to hear this music over and over again . . . and you'll actually be happy to oblige.

Now if you don't already own this music yourself, you can get it a few ways:
  1. You can buy it from
  2. You can buy it from The Rabbit Room.
  3. You can win it this week on my other blog, Stuff Mamas Like!
Either way, just get it!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this CD free from The Rabbit Room in exchange for posting a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Quality Time With Your Children

Need some ideas for spending quality one-on-one time with your children? Here is my article on the ParentLife website.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The 23rd Psalm: A Mother's Reflections

Lucid Magazine has published my article on "The 23rd Psalm: A Mother's Reflections." Great online magazine! Take a look.