Win-Win, Resurrection or Resurrection (My Redeemer Lives 3:3)

One of the things that struck me when we moved to Nebraska was the vitality and life of our downtown.

Our downtown has stellar coffee shops, re-gentrified architecture that houses local businesses, eclectic stores with retro clothes and gorgeous items to add color to your home. There are festivals, music, and of course, food…farm-to-table, international, hand-crafted baked scones, and the occasional food truck. It’s really pretty fantastic.

This seems pretty rare to me— life in the downtown. The death of the downtown is found all over the place— from tiny farming communities to urban sprawl. I would venture to say that is the norm, not the exception. Towns, villages, and cities are all filled with their “questionable sections” and what that really means usually is not kept up, fewer resources put in, and higher crime rates.

2 Kings 13:20-21 is an obscure Old Testament account of resurrection in the one of these “questionable sections” where decay is the norm, but God brings in life:

20 So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. 21 And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.

This grave, maybe a cave along the side of the road, according to my study Bible, or a tomb of some sort outside of town, this was burial place of Elisha the prophet. There were probably others buried there, in keeping with the custom of communal burial places at that time in the nation of Israel. So, decay seems obvious on that level—death comes and bodies become bones relatively quickly.

“Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the Spring of the year…”

Add a questionable roadway, evidently a questionable time of year, and you end up with a funeral ended hastily wrapped in fear and more decay than the participants bargained for on an already cruddy day.

Then… Life.

And all it takes is two verses.

It’s not that Elisha’s bones hold more power than the average prophet guy. It’s not that this section of village life was miraculously resurrected. Rather, it is that our God is so filled with Life that He can bring it any where, any way, and at any time He wants.

Healing and restoration aren’t dependent on our small minds and timelines. Resurrection in our lives takes place when God wants it, where God wants it, and how God wants it. It’s not God-puppetry, but freedom found in God’s promises and plans. Knowing He can do it, and knowing that He has a plan when He doesn’t, or doesn’t do it our way.

Haven’t seen resurrection for your “questionable” places and spaces?

I know. It’s not easy. Moabite marauders exist and evil finds its way in, especially on the cruddiest of days.

Not all healing and resurrection comes when we expect it, want it, or as we think it should be. When life looks like this reality, we cling to the promises of the mysteries of what God in 1 Corinthians 15:51-58:

 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

The perishable will put on imperishable. God will bring Life to every last decaying thing one day. He will. He says so. It will look so much more shocking and wonderful and amazing than a few bones bringing life on the side of a road. It will scream Life and Healing and Restoration in every last corner of Creation and of our spirits.

It’s win-win for Christians. Resurrection or resurrection.


It doesn’t make it easier. 1 Corinthians 15:58 calls it labor, actually. But it does make it more hopeful.

Win-Win. Resurrection or resurrection.

It’s a Journey – Written in Iron Ink: Weight Loss

I am never more amazed than when I get to sit down and hear the story of someone else’s journey.

Our journeys may look different from one another, but it’s amazing how God knits and weaves His purposes into every life, every journey.

On today’s podcast, I sit down and talk to Sara Borgstede at The Holy Mess about her journey of losing weight and learning new ways to organize and value her emotions. She also shares with us the challenges of setting goals and rewriting the messages she told herself along the way. In this conversation together, we’ll call out the cultural messages about food and body image, and firmly plant ourselves in the joy of relationships and grace that God gives to us along the way.

Sara shares insights around the Word with us and the wisdom that this journey from God is one of endurance; the race is steady, but sometimes can feel relentless, but He is also doing something New in our lives each day. Sara shares wisdom and insight discuss around two verses in particular— Hebrews 12:1-2 and Isaiah 43:19 :

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert. 

Do you hear the tension and the promise in each?

Sara offers her story to us, as well as her tips and encouragement for our own journey.

You can find Sara at

The Holy Mess


Faithful Finish Lines

Find the I Love My Shepherd: The Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.

My All-In Strawberry Patch: Risk and Relationships

Two years ago I planted a plot of strawberry plants.

I had dreams of juicy red fruit growing organically in my backyard, picked by my minions – er, children – and overflowing bowls of pretty red jewels set out on my table for guests to enjoy.

I asked a friend to come over and dig up the soil. I had my husband line the plot with two by fours. I tended and watered and weeded.

If I had a nickel for every time someone stopped to tell me how hard strawberries were to grow, how the effort wasn’t worth it, I could have paid for a much nicer plot.

I just smiled and nodded and shoved the words deep down inside.

What I should have told them was:

“I’m not growing strawberries. I’m growing commitment.”

Let me explain.

I had thought about growing strawberries for years. Friends grew strawberries and would leave little boxes on our counter. I looked at other local’s raised beds and wanted some for myself. But then I would almost instantly think, “Well, who knows how long we’ll be here.”

Here is where ministry life enters in. It can be weird. Change and calls can enter at any time and plans have to remain flexible. Hearts have to remain flexible. That’s hard for someone like me who is whole-heartedly in, and easily whole-heartedly disappointed.

But you know what…

Life is weird. Change can happen anytime, anywhere, in any profession, in any relationships.

I realized that I was saving half of my heart for what might be. Keeping it safe, committing only pieces of myself so that I wouldn’t have to hurt, to say goodbye. At some point I realized that I was robbing myself of real relationships for what might be, even what would be. I was giving half-heartedly of who I was and expecting whole-hearts back.

Friendships need to be made, and wholeheartedness is not really an option, in life or in ministry.

And so I planted a strawberry patch.

I planted something large, that would take effort, and that I might have to walk away from.

It was beautiful. And it grew 14 strawberries.

Look at this bounty –


Then, God called us away.

He called us to something new; to plant somewhere else. Oh goodness, it was hard. And every day I fight to be all-in here as well. Questions assail:

Will they like me?

Will they want me?

When will they get tired of me?

I know it’s not about me, but I have to be real. Relationships are hard and hard work and sometimes it seems that finding other people who want to be all-in are scarce.

Because of Christ, we can do it anyway.

Give your whole heart.

Plant something.

Start something.

No matter what tomorrow brings, no matter the response, grow love, and grow commitment to that love.

Christ stands as a constant reminder of the all-in love that our Father gives to us. He gave His whole heart, knowing what would come eventually, knowing that He would have to say goodbye, but trusting the Plan.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 4:32-5:2)

All-in, my friends. All-in.