I close my eyes and I’m there, on the front lawn, at dusk.

Giggling girls, tired of straining to defy gravity (some of us just weren’t made to be gymnasts), have traded cartwheels and handstands for a wild game of Statues.

And there I am in the center of the yard, outstretched arm grasped by two small hands, ready to be spun at speeds faster than my mother would approve. On the verge of dizziness, I feel my arm fly free and momentum carry me around the yard as if I’ve been flung at full speed from a merry-go-round. Slowing down, eventually I land in an awkwardly triumphant pose, which I hold as best I can while fighting the pull that threatens to take me to the ground. Hardly breathing, I wait like a statue as the girls circle me, prolonging their decision in order just to see me sweat; and then, the naming.

Rock star! Sasquatch. Basketball player. Ballerina. Darth Vader.

Breaking pose, I fall laughing to the ground before another round begins.

The game of Statues.

Have you ever played? It’s not unlike the way I feel inside as I close my eyes tonight, tired of straining to defy gravity and entropy and the clock that ticks this day into the next at a speed I don’t approve. Today life has spun me around and around, and although I’ve a sense that it ought to be fun, it isn’t and I’m dizzy and I just want to make it stop.

The release. Tightly wound now, it’s as if life has flung me from one corner of the ring to the other, and I’m bouncing off the ropes and grasping at the air, and grasping at the air…

And slowing down. Gaining some control, I try to stick the landing, fighting the tug that wants to see me hit the ground, that wants to see me fail and fall to pieces – but I land on my feet. I land on my feet in a ridiculous pose, which I hold as best I can while waiting breathlessly for the naming to begin.

The names I expect, considering the shape I’m in, are names like:

Wannabe. Just-shy-of-the-goal. Maybe someday. Maybe not. Poser.

I’m sweating it now (just a hot flash?). I’m doing my best just to hold it together, to keep from collapsing into a puddle of tears, when the Voice speaks an unexpected name over me. And then another.

Beloved. Child of Promise. Masterpiece. Forgiven. Set Free.

Spun, flung, landed and named, the statue breaks pose and I fall, laughing and crying, into the arms of the One whose healing Presence strengthens me for tomorrow.

Another round begins.

Not Okay

Rain or shine, sleet or snow – he was always there. Sitting on a bucket-turned-upside-down as a stool, I would drive past him on my way to the post office in the small community where I live. He always made eye contact. He sometimes smiled. He usually waved or nodded cordially in my direction. Once he tried to bum a cigarette from me, but I was powerless to help him out with that one. He was a fixture there, at the crossroads of neighborly concern and I’m-late-for-an-appointment, but until yesterday, I didn’t even know his name. It was Bob.

Weed-Wacker Bob.

I turned the corner toward the post office yesterday and noticed an empty spot on the shoulder where he would normally sit. Instead of the elderly, white-haired man with a weedeater, propped up against the fence in a sea of political signage was this sign:

Weed Wacker Bob Memorial

And it made me sad. It makes me sad. And it makes me ask questions – some of which make me uncomfortable today.

What was my responsibility to Weed-Wacker Bob? What I mean is – as a child of God with resources to share, should I have given him something? The only thing he ever asked me for was a cigarette. And the opportunity to whack my weeds. I gave him neither. Instead, I smiled and waved and drove right on by. Year after year. After year.

How did he die? I wonder. Was he alone? Did he have a family? Friends? Loyal landscaping clients? There must have been others who actually stopped and talked to Bob, maybe giving him a job or a ride or a cigarette. Right? Someone else surely has been picking up the slack all these years for Weed-Wacker Bob… They must have!

But what if I’m wrong and everyone else on their way to the post office smiled and waved and drove right on by – just like me?

I set the bar low with Weed-Wacker Bob, and yet Jesus says:

“Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.” Matthew 7:12 (The Message)

I am faced on this day with a mirror of sorts, found in the pages of God’s Word. I don’t need to ask myself what I want from others – I know I set the bar high in that department. And there was clearly no initiative-grabbing going on in my head – no doing-it-for-them as I smiled and waved and drove on by.

And this is not okay.

I am not okay! I am disobedient, selfish, apathetic and lazy, but I am not okay.

I am in need of rescue, just like Weed-Wacker Bob and everyone else who has ever found themselves in a puddle of regret and despair and at the end of themselves. And yet – thanks be to God! – this is right where He wants us to be:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” (Matthew 5:3, The Message)

That is good news, because today I’m feeling pretty darn less of and in desperate need of God’s more-than-enough.

Rest in Peace, Weed-Wacker Bob. Rest. In. Peace.

Trek to the Manger: Advent Devotions for Women on the Move

Trek to the Manger by Brita Hammit

Trek to the Manger by Brita Hammit

Advent should be an adventure!

One that honors tradition without bowing the knee to retail-bullying.

One that embraces fun and gift-giving without breaking the bank.

One that engages more of me than just my schedule and my credit card.

The season of Advent may appear to have been hijacked by a relentless stream of commercial messages – but this year can be different!



Instead of plodding through another stress-filled holiday, women on the move are choosing a different route to Christmas morning. Trek to the Manger is a tool in the hands (and hearts) of busy women (and brave men!) during the season of Advent, which begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Each daily devotion presents an opportunity to redeem the Christmas holiday and reclaim our focus on the Light of the World.

This spiritual adventure is an ideal resource for small groups, Bible studies, or personal devotional reading. A reading schedule is available here (and by using the Trek to the Manger tab at the top of this page) for women wishing to join others on this journey of faith.

It’s time to fire up your GPS and grab a traveling buddy or two! Not for another trip to the mall…

for a Trek to the Manger.


Click here to purchase Trek to the Manger: Advent Devotions for Women on the Move by Brita Hammit (also available on Amazon).


Close the Gap

I once heard Bob Goff say that most people are at least two jobs behind who they are becoming. If we’re honest, that statement describes where we are today – or at least, where we’ve been in some recent season of life.

Some of us, so used to feeling frustrated and under-utilized, default to going through the motions rather than exerting the energy needed to close the gap between who we are and who we are becoming.

Why? Why is there such a disconnect between our current situation and the dreams inside our head? I may not have it all figured out, but I suspect it boils down to at least three things:


The job I have today affords me a certain level of comfort and security. While it may not be my dream job, it pays the bills and perhaps gives me a place to use my gifts and abilities in beneficial ways. Even if it leaves me feeling unfulfilled, my current position gives me the means to maintain my lifestyle and the toys in my garage. It keeps the family happy, or at least it keeps them comfortable. If comfort is my middle name, where’s the impetus to close the gap between my calling and my commitments?


Change is a fearful thing for those who love comfort. To begin to close the gap requires making changes to the way my life is now, which raises the blood pressure for even the most courageous among us. When we begin to entertain the possibility of change – even change for the good – the resulting pile of what-if’s threatens to bury our dreams in a shallow grave, never again to see the light of day. Fear of change promises to immobilize us every time, feeding the gap instead of building a bridge to the other side.


Taking steps toward who we are becoming may seem like taking control, but it can feel more like a relinquishment. When we choose to move toward the desire of our heart, all of the variables shift along with the paradigm we’ve created. Trusting God to meet our family’s needs while moving us closer to our calling is much easier said than done, keeping some of us control freaks from ever fully realizing our Kingdom potential in this life. Handing over the reins – even to the God of the universe – is a move that many refuse to make, causing the gap to widen as we trample our own potential underfoot.

Given these three strongholds, it’s no wonder so many of us have failed to live into our callings as children of God! But it doesn’t have to end here. We don’t have to numb out to the repeated disappointment of failing to be all we were made to be, which begs the question: What’s it going to take to close the gap?

Believe that those pangs of promise – those yearnings for fulfillment and meaning – are God-given, Spirit-driven impulses! You aren’t crazy, and this isn’t just a dream. It’s who you are meant to be!

Move! The God who calls us is able to equip us to serve as He intended. It is never too late to step into the life God is giving you, so what are you waiting for? Someday? Take the first step! Today is someday!

Pray and ask the God who is able to close the gap to help you realize His very best for you! Pray for doors to open. Ask for eyes to see the path ahead. Beg for courage to lay aside illusions of control and fear of change. Trade in your love of comfort for love of Him! God – if there’s a gap between my Kingdom potential and the work I am doing today, let my prayer be… 

Close the gap!

First Day of School

Still clad in rumpled pjs, I popped a Kcup into its slot and listened sleepily as the fragrant liquid filled my favorite mug. Having located my reading glasses, I made my way to the desk and took my place in front of the keyboard, staring rather blankly into the monitor as it, too, slowly came to life.

Not exactly a photo op, but this is how things looked last Thursday – on my first day of school.

A far cry from the days of shiny new lunch pails and stiff new shoes, a backpack stocked with freshly sharpened pencils and a pair of tightly braided pigtails on my head. Quite unlike those early firsts, this one is a solitary beginning…
No one here to take my picture (thankfully!).
No awkward moments trying to locate my desk in a classroom full of strangers.
No fluttering of the nerves as I sit in silence, waiting for the teacher to call my name out loud…

Maybe I felt a slight nervous flutter as I logged onto the graduate school learning platform and waited for the home screen to load. Announcements. Class Roster. Syllabus. Gradebook. Library.

The only thing missing is the school bell.

I took a healthy swig of confidence from my mug and placed my fingers on the keys.

The adventure begins!


I rarely read the Acknowledgments.

You know – those pages at the beginning of the book.

When I open a new book, I’m hankering for a quick-connect to the content I was sold on when I made the purchase. The author’s personal relationships don’t generally figure into my decision to read, so I am apt to flip pages until I land at chapter one. That’s just how I tend to roll.

Until yesterday.

Sitting around the table on the first day of a new small group study season, I broke my own previously unspoken rule as together, we read the Acknowledgements.

What followed was an outpouring of the most beautiful stories about people whose lives have forever influenced our own – a veritable mosaic of faces and names and memories – accompanied by laughter and smiles. And tears.

Our Acknowledgements.

Friend, you are here! What I mean is, today you are breathing and moving, expending energy and employing God-given gifts as you do the business of your normal, everyday…

And there are people who helped you get here. People you may not have acknowledged.

You don’t have to be an author to have your own Acknowledgements page! There are men and women and children and grandchildren who have surrounded and cared for, encouraged and challenged you, ensuring that you would be here – wherever that is and whatever that means to you – today.

You didn’t get here on your own, no matter how incredible you are!

So pop a piece of paper into the typewriter (LOL) or pull out your smartphone and make a list. Call it Acknowledgements.

Call it cultivation of a thankful heart.

Call it curation of a precious collection.

Call it whatever you want, but don’t keep it to yourself. And don’t hide it at the end of your story – in an appendix your readers may or may not see when your final chapter ends (seriously – who actually reads as the credits roll?).

There’s a reason those pages come before chapter one!

So, before you turn another page, stop and acknowledge those in your cloud – that great cloud of witnesses whose love and faith in you have brought you here. Today.


Leftovers salad


I walked away from the conversation with face still flushed, pulse still elevated, thoughts still racing.

Don’t get me wrong – it was a necessary conversation. One which I would have regretted not having, despite the intensity and confrontational nature of the thing. One which was brought on by something so deeply seated that I didn’t realize how strongly I felt until the words started flowing.

You recognize the feeling. You’ve had this conversation, too.

In the car, on the way home, I sorted through my thoughts about the matter…

  • What had been accomplished?
  • What had been resolved?
  • What had been aired and not settled, and can I be okay with that?
  • How had things been left, as we parted?
  • Is the relationship intact even if the differences remain?
  • Are there any leftovers?

You know, LEFTOVERS… Unsettled feelings. Unresolved issues that will resurface again. And again. Pin-pricks from words that were meant to be hurtful. Emotions still swirling, and the uncertainty as to where they will finally land.


Like those leftovers you keep in your refrigerator; the remnant of a meal, perhaps a meal shared. Or a meal enjoyed. Or a functional meal – one that met your caloric needs without any extras or frills.

You see, the thing about leftovers is that they do serve a purpose, but it’s a limited purpose. A purpose with an expiration date. A purpose with a deadline. Leftovers are destined to be disposed of.

If the ‘meal’ is the conversation I had today, it was something I needed to eat. I will absorb that which my body needs to maintain health, to give me strength and to increase my energy to cover the output I will inevitably be required to produce. This ‘meal’ served its purpose, whether it was fun to eat or not. Maybe the company at the table wasn’t choice. Maybe the food didn’t taste quite like it should have. Maybe it wasn’t the most delicious feast I’ve ever consumed.

In the car, driving home, the meal is over. It’s time to decide what to do with the leftovers.

I might throw it all in the trash now – I’m not very good at using leftovers wisely (or it just wasn’t that good the first time).

I might save it all for later – it was more than I could digest in one sitting.

I might save just the parts I want more time with – the stuff worth chewing on again.

I might put it in the frig, which means I’ll have to reheat and revisit it sooner than if I place it in the freezer to preserve it longer; to extend its impact on me.

Regardless of the choice, the fact remains that leftovers go bad. Keeping them around too long results in things like ugly, smelly (greenish) growths or less than appetizing separation of ingredients. Consuming leftovers that have been left over too long can make you sick. Really sick. Even if they appear to be okay, your leftovers can make you miserable inside.

Holding onto leftovers which have passed their safe usage date is never a good thing. Even if you have no plans to reuse or rehash them, leaving them in the frig takes up space you could be using for the good stuff and might even taint the rest of what you plan to use for another meal, another day.

Why take the risk? Use your leftovers while they still have value and can still be put to good use! And remember – every leftover has a shelf-life. Some shorter, some longer than others, but no leftover is good for you forever. Pay attention to what you’re allowing to take up space in your frig. In your freezer. In your head. In your heart.

Eventually, all of our leftovers stink.

By the time I reached the driveway and found the key to my front door, I had settled on a few leftovers worth keeping. For awhile.

But I don’t intend to hold onto them too long. I don’t intend to wait until the leftover goes bad, gets rancid, grows fuzzy green hair and is transformed into something I don’t recognize. I will reheat them, chew on them, use them up and then dispose of my leftovers when their contribution to my life has been exhausted.

Trash the stuff that will only serve to make us sick and stain our Tupperware.

We’ll be healthier for it, my friends.

Kingdom-Mapping 101

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like… yeast that a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.” (Matthew 13:33 NLT)

Seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it?

A small amount of yeast is mixed into the dough, where the yeast acts on the fermentable sugars, turning them into the gas – carbon dioxide. This causes the dough to expand – or rise – as the gas forms pockets or bubbles. When the dough is baked, those air pockets ‘set’, giving the loaf of bread a soft and spongy texture. Yummy, right? 

And a beautiful picture of the Kingdom! I have always thought of this parable as fairly simple to unpack… God’s Kingdom, though small, is powerful! And it is meant to be added to the stuff of the world – not kept in a jar on the counter, or holed up in a church building somewhere. That’s how it does its work! It acts on the stuff of the world and changes it! God’s Kingdom stimulates growth and changes outcomes. Instead of coming out of the oven crispy & flat, that which is touched by the Kingdom of Heaven rises and grows and emerges soft, fluffy and fragrant! A delight to the senses! Something we can enjoy and share. Can’t you just smell it?! 

But, friends… there is much, much more to yeast (and the Kingdom of Heaven) than bread alone!

Did you know that in the baking process of bread, once yeast has converted the sugars into gas bubbles and caused the dough to rise, the yeast dies. Its work is… Finished. When that loaf comes out of the oven, the yeast is gone, but its fingerprints are all over the loaf. What does THAT say about the Kingdom of Heaven?

You don’t have to go far in a Google search on yeast before you stumble onto what is perhaps the most compelling Kingdom insight yet. I was a few web pages into yeast when I came across this quote from a researcher named Dr. Francis Collins – a name that rang a bell for me, by the way.

He said: The yeast genome is closer to the human genome than anything completely sequenced so far.” 

What does that mean? Well, a genome is all of a living thing’s genetic material. It’s the entire set of hereditary instructions for building, running and maintaining an organism, and for passing life onto the next generation. 

Francis Collins was saying that the yeast genome – the DNA of yeast – is closer to human DNA than any other organism studied up to the point of this quote, in 1996. Because of the similarities, studying the genome of yeast has opened up an entirely new area of science in which yeast and its genetic structure offer valuable clues toward understanding the workings of more advanced organisms, including humans.

Yeast models are being used today in the study of diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Yeast is being used to test experimental drugs and is helping scientists learn more about cellular processes.

When I heard Francis Collins speak at a conference about seven years ago, I was struck by his childlike enthusiasm for genetics. I know – it’s as weird as it sounds! He spoke for almost an hour and a half to a group of youthworkers whose attention spans are – I promise you – NOT that long! He was actually giddy as he told the story of his experience as the lead scientist on the Human Genome Project – an effort that led top genetic scientists to ‘unravel’ and map human DNA in the same way he had done with yeast in the 1990s. He even took out his guitar at one point and sang us part of his talk! He was actually pretty awesome!

Dr. Collins, it turns out, has been appointed by President Obama as the Director of the National Institutes of Health - this is his current base of operations. But perhaps most interesting is that Francis Collins is as giddy about his faith in Jesus Christ as he is about genetics! His studies into yeast and human genomes changed his life – and his heart – and he write a book called The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief so that others who struggle with reconciling science with faith might have the benefit of his insights.

All of this is to say… What if?

What if the Kingdom of Heaven, here on earth, is like yeast from Francis Collins’ perspective – possessing the entire set of instructions for building, running and maintaining life; even passing life onto the next generation – when we, like yeast, have finished our permeating work, leaving only fingerprints on the loaves we’ve left behind?

What if the Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast, offering valuable clues to the full workings of God’s plan – beyond what we can see with our eyes?

We can’t fully grasp the entirety of God’s Kingdom – heaven and eternity are beyond our understanding – but… the Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast! And yeast is close enough to human DNA to shed light on what scientists seek to understand. Maybe yeast is close enough to the Kingdom of Heaven to shed light on what we seek as well.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve often wished that God would give you a map for understanding life. Some of us have even tried to read the Bible that way, hoping for a MapQuest kind of experience, where we can see our origination and destination points – point A and point B – and with a click of the mouse, we can have turn-by-turn directions from today to eternity (complete with audio, if you like – and she can even have a British accent)!

Let me know if your experience has been different, but God hasn’t mapped the Kingdom of Heaven for me in that way. My experience with Kingdom-Mapping looks a lot like what Dr. Collins and his cohort have done with, yes… Yeast. Not so much a road map; more like a genome map.

A genome map is a set of landmarks that tell people where they are, and help them get to where they want to go. But where road maps chart well-known territory surveyed with incredible precision, a genome map is a map of a new frontier. Some parts of a genome map include great detail while other parts are relatively uncharted territory. It may turn out that a few landmarks appear in the wrong place or are the wrong distance from other landmarks, but over time, as exploration continues, the map becomes more accurate. More detailed. A genome map, like your life and mine, is a work in progress.

What if Jesus’ teachings are meant to be landmarks on a map of the Kingdom of Heaven? Not as much road map – precise and measured – as genome map – experiential and in-progress?

For example, from  the parables in Matthew chapter 13, we learn that:

The Kingdom of Heaven starts small – like a mustard seed – but once it takes root, there will be no stopping it! Landmark #1

The Kingdom of Heaven is growing at God-ordained speeds and in God-selected shapes, sizes and colors! No one but God knows what the seed will produce – you can’t tell by looking at the seed. Our work is simply to watch it grow. Landmark #2

The Kingdom of Heaven, like yeast in the dough, is acting on people and in systems and situations to make them better. To help them rise above. Landmark #3

And… the Kingdom of Heaven is diverse and filled with variety in people and personalities, all with different histories and gifts and crosses to bear. It isn’t our job to decide who’s in and who’s out… God has a plan, and it all gets worked out in the end. For today – for you and me - it’s enough to be caught in His nets! Landmark #4

In this way, using Jesus’ teachings as landmarks for Kingdom-Mapping, the Kingdom of Heaven really is like yeast - giving us new ways to learn and connect with realities we have yet to begin to understand. With each newly discovered landmark, the detail on our Kingdom map grows, leading us into a clearer picture of what God Himself must see.

A quick scan of related websites can provide a sort of yeast-mapping crash course; in a sense, Jesus’ parables and the whole of scripture comprise a life-long course of study – call it Kingdom-Mapping 101. Biblical teachings and our own experiences become landmarks on this Kingdom map of ours.

Some landmarks, like the parables in Matthew chapter 13, may show up on your map and on mine, but depending on how we each understand the teachings, we may place them differently on our own maps. My Kingdom map isn’t exactly like yours, because I also have personal encounters with God and the Holy placed on my map that you don’t know anything about! And my experiences with people and challenges in life also produce landmarks unique to me, which exist on my Kingdom map beside the truths I’m learning from God’s inspired Word.

When you tell your Kingdom stories, some of those end up on my kingdom map, too – because you help me learn when you take the time to share.

I have to wonder whether Jesus’ listeners were telling the truth when Jesus asked, “Have you understood all this?” and they answered, “Yes.” But what Jesus says next sounds just like yeast and brings the work of Dr. Francis Collins to mind:

“He said to them, Therefore every teacher and interpreter of the Sacred Writings who has been instructed about and trained for the kingdom of heaven and has become a disciple is like a householder who brings forth out of his storehouse treasure that is new and [treasure that is] old [the fresh as well as the familiar].” (Matthew 13:52 AMP)

May the yeast of the Kingdom produce treasure for you – the fresh as well as the familiar – and give you eyes to spot that pearl of great price, and the wisdom to do whatever it takes to hold onto it.

And may your Kingdom map reflect the work that is in progress inside of you: tethered to the landmark-teachings of Jesus, moving boldly into the new frontier of God.

Beautiful Things

Unique,_snow_flakeMy church family recently welcomed a new member to our staff. As Adam was introducing himself to us, he said something that lodged in my brain and hasn’t stopped pinging since.

He said that God creates order from chaos.

Now, I don’t know what you see.

What I mean is, when you look around your house, your workplace, your neighborhood, this world… I don’t know what it is that YOU see…

But last week’s headlines read like this:

  • Mom Accused of Fatally Poisoning Her Son
  • CDC: 75 People Possibly Exposed to Anthrax
  • Executions Resume Amid Lingering Questions
  • Is Iraq War Today’s Vietnam?
  • Fear Among Sri Lanka Muslims After Mob Attack

And those are just a sampling from the media.

You could add your own headlines, couldn’t you?

  • Diagnosis: Cancer. Stage 3 Cancer.
  • Couple Accrues $8000 in Legal Fees Over False Charges
  • PTSD Keeps Families From Embracing Returning Vets
  • Addict Not Welcome at Home
  • Family Feud: It’s Not Fun & Games Anymore

I don’t know what YOU see, but the word chaos is a pretty apt description of much of what goes on around us on any given day. The prophet Jeremiah saw this, too, and he used words like ‘violence and destruction’, and ‘terror is all around’ to describe it (Jeremiah 20:7-13).

It’s tempting, when we find ourselves inside a swirling mess of disorder, to feel powerless. To feel hopeless. And it’s common for people to give in to the chaos and become victims – because sometimes it’s just too hard to do anything else. And yet Jesus speaks to us today, in the midst of our own, personal chaos and He says ‘Do not be afraid.’ ‘Do not fear.’ (Matthew 10:24-39)

Now, these are not band-aid words Jesus is speaking!

Call me crazy, but I’m pretty confident that Jesus’ words are actually intimately linked to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics! (I know – I said ‘call me crazy!’)

Any engineers or scientists in the house? You will already know, then, that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics states that:

The natural progression of the universe is from order  to disorder.

Think about that for a minute.

Here’s another important part of this natural progression:

In the same way that nature moves toward disorder, nature’s tendency is to move toward lower energy.

Order requires energy – to stack a pile of blocks takes much more energy than to crash that same pile, right? To organize a deck of cards by suit takes more energy than a game of 52 card pick-up! Order requires energy, but nature tends toward that which requires lower energy, SO… nature tends to move toward disorder. This is also called ‘entropy‘.

This explains a lot, doesn’t it? It explains why diets almost always fail – because it takes a lot more energy to order our lives in healthful ways than it does to reach for a bag of chips from our favorite spot in front of the tv. It explains why self-help is often no help at all, because our physical nature leans towards inaction when left to our own devices.

As complex as we humans are, we will fall prey to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics every time, as long as we rely on ourselves to initiate change. This is why disorder and chaos are more likely to occur in nature – and in the world as we each see it – because nothing in nature is able to create or maintain itself. Without an external influence, we will land in chaos and disorder every time. It’s the LAW!

This is exactly what Jesus is talking about when He says that there are those who seek life in THIS world – a life of fulfillment for themselves, HERE and NOW – in a world where the most probable state for any natural system is one of disorder. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says that all systems degenerate when left to themselves. And Jesus says those who find this kind of life will end up losing it in the end.

Unaided by God, human beings are no different than any other natural system. Left to our own devices, we will follow the path of our addiction, affection or greed every time. Want life in THIS world, Jesus asks? Wrap your arms around entropy. 

Are you ready for some GOOD news? Well, buckle up! Because entropy can be lowered and disorder can be affected by external action – by the transfer of energy from a source OUTSIDE itself!

This is where Romans chapter 6 comes in and bridges the gap between chaos and order, between the laws of nature and the Laws of the Kingdom of God.

Hear this good news, but try thinking of sin as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics – a state of mindlessly doing what the world wants us to do. Going through the motions. Apart from God.

Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. (Romans 6:6-11 MSG)

Do you see it NOW? Jesus is the energy source that pulls us out of the chaos and into a life that doesn’t end in death! When we are willing to let this earthly life go, for Jesus’ sake, that’s where true life is found! That’s when we experience FOR OURSELVES – firsthand – that God is at work, creating ORDER out of chaos!

This act of Jesus, his death and resurrection, his transfer of energy and life, WORKS because we are LIVING SYSTEMS… And living systems are OPEN systems, meaning that energy can transfer in and out. In living systems, this transfer of energy is called HEAT!

And this makes SO MUCH SENSE of Jeremiah’s cry, that ‘within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in and I cannot!’

God’s presence works in us to counteract our natural tendency toward cooling off, toward randomness, toward chaos, disorder and sin. 

Oh my gosh, think PENTECOST! Ever wonder why the tongues of fire? Pentecost was God’s own object lesson in heat transfer ! His Spirit’s energy moved in, burning off the ties to this physical world so that men and women could finally live free from the laws of sin and death! Amen?!

As citizens of the physical world, we are obligated to follow its laws – including the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics – the universe does tend toward chaos, and we tend to fear what we can’t control. But don’t forget! We have become part of Jesus! What died in our baptismal waters was our allegiance to the whims of this world, the natural tendency for us to do the easy thing, the desire to look only to our own selfish interests and to isolate ourselves out of fear or even laziness

ALL of which constitute SIN, by the way.

Romans 6 says we are no longer slaves to it!

We are no longer slaves to this chaotic, disorderly world because the power of God has acted on our very existence, transferring HEAT! FIRE! ENERGY! Empowering you and me to see and do and become well-ordered, beautiful things in Christ Jesus!


Click here to view a beautiful music video of Gungor’s ‘Beautiful Things’

Make Every Bean Count!

The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.    John 10:10 (The Voice)

JellyBellyBeansConsider… the JELLYBEAN. 

Colorful. Tasty. Festive. Fun.                                                I wonder if you’ve ever stopped to consider what JELLYBEANS can teach us about LIFE…

Click to watch:  The Time You Have (In Jellybeans)

Jesus said, in John 10:10: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

In all its fullness.

Till it overflows.

Life that is full and good.

What if we were to borrow from our descriptions of the JELLYBEAN in order to add texture, color and flavor to this idea of ABUNDANT LIFE? After all, the word LIFE means something different to each one of us and is often colored by the season we find ourselves in and the difficulties we are currently facing. If we can agree on a description of LIFE, perhaps we would be more likely to LIVE IT – and to encourage others to live it, too.

So, what if LIFE = JELLYBEANS?

What if Jesus came so that we would have life that, like a jar full of JELLYBEANS, is…

Filled with color! These are no Hot Tamales (all red) or Lemon Drops (all yellow)! JELLYBEANS come mixed with black and white and pink and red and green. Each handful contains a rainbow of possibilities – and so does each new day of this abundant life we’ve been given!

Like JELLYBEANS, life comes in a variety of flavors, and if you’re anything like me, you don’t necessarily LIKE every flavor equally well! I happen to love black JELLYBEANS, but many people don’t. My family always picks out the black ones and gives them to me.

The popular Harry Potter series made famous a line of jellybeans called Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, which are described like this:

“Delicious ‘normal’ beans mixed with crazy, creepy flavours like: Black Pepper, Booger, Cinnamon, Dirt, Earthworm, Earwax, Grass, Rotten Egg, Sausage, and Soap.”

Life is sometimes a lot like a package of Bertie Botts Beans – you don’t necessarily know what you’re getting into until you bite. But every experience, every decision, every opportunity and choice is undeniably full of flavor.

JELLYBEANS remind us of Easter. In baptism, that old life and all of our sin are buried in the tomb with Jesus – but it doesn’t stop there. The abundant, rich and full life that Jesus talks about in John 10:10 is ours in His resurrection! Today we say YES to the holy mystery of baptism and its connection to Easter morning at the tomb. He’s not here! He is risen! And family, SO ARE WE!

JELLYBEANS are festive and fun, and that makes us smile – sometimes in spite of how we feel at the moment. The life Jesus gives always has a jellybean edge, because in the midst of even our darkest days, there are glimpses of heaven and hints of joy teasing us to look up from our pain, dancing around in our peripheral vision, reminding us that the hunt is on and there are JELLYBEANS and smiles to be found if we will simply open our eyes and LOOK.

JELLYBEANS, and the life that Jesus gives, keep us feeling childlike – because, as Jesus said, unless we become like a child, this abundant life – this heavenly citizenship – cannot be ours.

And children love JELLYBEANS!

They don’t read the list of ingredients.

They don’t tally up the number of carbs or grams of sugar in a serving.

They don’t count calories.

Those are things that grownups do! And just as our appreciation of JELLYBEANS can be diminished by nitpicking and overthinking, well… our appreciation of life can be warped and tainted, too.

You might even say that our abundant life can be stolen or destroyed by being overly zealous in attention to details.

By being concerned with quantification – to the exclusion of everything else.

By choosing to focus on small-picture thinking and short-term costs instead of long-term effects.

By dwelling so much on the proper way of doing things that in the end, precious little actually gets done.

In the business world, we call this being a BEAN COUNTER.

BEAN COUNTERS are concerned with QUANTITY, but the abundant life that Jesus came to give is more about QUALITY. The Pharisees in Jesus’ time were religious bean counters. They were more concerned about keeping records of their holiness than making the very most of every moment they found themselves in. Jesus had many sharp words for these small-picture people.

So, when it comes to LIFE and JELLYBEANS, don’t be a bean counter! Instead, be like a child and MAKE EVERY BEAN COUNT! 

Abundant life is more than the number of our days, more than a list of completed tasks. As tempting as it is for us to quantify our lives by hours or dollars spent on this good project or that worthwhile investment… DON’T! Don’t do it!

Don’t be a bean counter… MAKE EVERY BEAN COUNT! 

The health of the economy of the Kingdom of God doesn’t rely on the diligence of accountants and bookkeepers! The currency of abundant life isn’t money, or good works, or how well we follow the letter of the law.

What spends best in God’s Kingdom is LOVE!

So – when it comes to deciding what to do with this day

Don’t be a bean counter… MAKE EVERY BEAN COUNT! 

It doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it. It isn’t about measuring and keeping track and dwelling on the short-term costs, because the Kingdom of God doesn’t operate like a business! 

Some of us desperately needed to be reminded of that today. 

The bottom line is this: When it comes to LIFE and JELLYBEANS…

Don’t be a bean counter… MAKE EVERY BEAN COUNT!