coffee talk

coffee talk: friendships

I know there are seasons in friendships. I get that there's a natural, healthy ebb and flow in relationships. But sometimes things just seem to change. I'm not talking about a fight. Or a falling out. Sometimes you just sense a shift... something's different...

So, I'm wondering...

Do you initiate a conversation about it? Or do you wait to see if the other person brings it up?

Does it depend on who it is?  How so?

Or do you just ride the whole thing out and silently let that chapter of  your friendship come to an end?

How do you handle subtle changes in relationships?

Tawk amongst ya-selves.

coffee talk: authenticity & faith

coffee talk 3As I wrestle with the risk of being more authentic, I'm struggling to find the line between authenticity and faith. I grew up in churches filled with happy, plastic Christians.

They answer "How are you?" with "I'm blessed!"

They don't admit to being sick even when they are, saying instead that they are "healed in Jesus' Name!"

And though I can't judge their hearts, it always seems more fake than faith.

It seems like denial.

And hypocrisy.

The implication is that if things aren't going well with you, it's because your faith just isn't strong enough.

And that's crap.

But things can get out of balance the other way as well.

Under the banner of authenticity, a lot of people are just plain negative.

They complain. A lot.

They're always responding to "How are you?" with far too much information. They let it all hang out, even at times when they "shouldn't".

And they just chalk it up to being real.

So how do we balance faith and authenticity?

When is it time to be honest about where you're at and when is it time to speak words of faith?

Talk amongst yourselves.

coffee talk: wedding protocol

coffee talkI'll be in Sacramento next weekend for my friend's wedding. (Holla if you're in the neighborhood!) Here's the thing: This will be the first American wedding I've ever attended. Crazy, right? Living an ocean away means I've missed every friend's wedding for the past 11 years. (Occupational hazard of being a missionary, I guess.)

So I'm very grateful I can be there for April's special day. And it's doubly-special because April was an intern with our ministry. That humbles me and makes me proud all at the same time. It also makes me feel old, but let's not think about that.

Since I've never been to a wedding here before, I don't know---well, anything. And I don't think African wedding protocol applies!

So help a girl out. What do I need to know? Do? Get? Wear? Pass along anything you can think of.

Oh---and talk amongst yourselves.

coffee talk: exchanges

"They exchanged the truth of God for a lie..." And you know what? So have I.

  • I've exchanged His truth that I'm loved freely for the lie that I need to earn it.
  • I've exchanged His truth that He'll provide for the lie that I need to take care of myself.
  • I've exchanged His truth that I'm free for the lie that I'm still in chains.
  • I've exchanged His truth that He uses broken vessels for the lie that He'll only use me when I dot-dot-dot.
  • I've exchanged His truth that I was made in His image for the lie that who I am just isn't enough.

What would you add to the list?

And how do we exchange them back?

coffee talk: jesus' family tree

I've got a theology question. Now don't run away because you don't feel qualified to talk theology. I'm not looking for expert advice. I'm looking for honest thoughts. And I know you have those to give me. So I hope you will.

The New Testament starts out with the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1.

I've heard that referred to countless times to show the legacy of those in Jesus' ancestry: Abraham's great faith, David's man-after-God's-own-heart-ness, Solomon's wisdom. I've also heard it used to show the unlikely characters that God used in Jesus' family tree, like Rahab the prostitute and Bathsheba the adulterer.

I love all that.

But this is where I get hung up: The genealogy ends with "...Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."

That's Joseph's family tree. And Joseph, while Jesus' earthly dad, wasn't His biological father. Jesus comes from Mary's bloodline, but not from Joseph's.

So how can Joseph's ancestors be listed as Jesus' family tree?

Any thoughts?

coffee talk: more than we can handle?

Did you know the Bible doesn't tell us that God won't give us more than we can handle? It's not in there. I've looked.

It does tell us that He won't let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. There's the promise that in every moment we feel inclined to sin, there is a way out. We need to look for that door and walk through it.

But to me that's a very different promise than the one most people walk around (mis-)quoting.

What do you think? Do you think God won't give us more than we can handle?

(You can catch up on old Coffee Talks here...)

coffee talk: women in ministry

Remember G-Daddy and the motorcycle? Yeah, me too. What I didn't tell you back then was that shortly after I passed G-Daddy's motorcycle test, I flunked an even bigger one. We got in a discussion about women in ministry, and I very quickly lost my standing in his good book. After hearing all about our ministry, G-Daddy was excited. He complimented me repeatedly on all that God had done through Niel and I in a reasonably short period of time. Over and over again, he emphasized what a wonderful job we were doing; he even began talking about the possibility of coming to serve with us in a long-term capacity.

Everything changed when he mentioned that he was ordained, and I replied that I was, too.

I thought he was joking with his initial responses, and then I quickly realized he wasn't. The conversation spiraled into him telling me that we aren't running our ministry in a Biblical manner because I, as a woman, am in leadership.

I was hurt by his "attack", not because this was the first time I've received criticism like this, but because I was staying in his home and had, just moments before, been someone he seemingly admired. I was also puzzled by his earlier praise: was he really just complimenting me for being a token wife, simply hanging on the arm of my minister husband who, of course, does everything? Hmph.

So... I ask you: What are your thoughts on women in ministry, particularly in leadership roles?

coffee talk: full disclosure

"We all like full disclosure particularly if it includes the admission of one's 1) mortality and 2) propensity to fail. (Related, but not the same.)" (-Dave Eggers in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius)

What's the hardest for you to fully disclose?

Talk amongst yourselves.

(I won't have time to chime in until Monday night, but I can't wait to hear your thoughts on all this. Wondering where I am? Check this out.)

coffee talk: the one you wish you had back

Want another cup? A book I recently read posed a great question, which I'm now asking you:

Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back. What if you got it back?

Feel free to take it any way you want.

Oh---And talk amongst yourselves.

coffee talk: guarding your heart

We're still Coffee Talking it up over here. God tells us in His Word to guard our hearts. I've wrestled with what that means for years. My tendency has been to take it to the extreme, letting little in or out of my heart. I know that isn't what God means, but I still don't have a very clear picture of what He actually does.

And so I ask you...

What does it mean to guard your heart?

Talk amongst yourselves.

(And while you're at it, will you also send up a prayer for my friend Amy who is giving birth to a baby girl today?)

coffee talk: waiting on the lord

It's gonna be Coffee Talk Week here at the Grit.

With Junior almost here, my blogging time and creative energy are dwindling. But I've been wrestling with a few things in my mind and heart lately, so I'm going to post my questions here for you guys to discuss in the comments. (Mandy: Take note that I said "you guys". Not "y'all".)

I look forward to hearing all your thoughts and input, and will chime in when I can.

Okay... Today's question:

What does it mean to wait on the Lord?

Talk amongst yourselves.