Friday, September 8, 2017

Thoughts on "The Nashville Statement"

I am frustrated by the stark, stiff-necked posture that my brothers and sisters in Christ who penned the Nashville Statement are advising. Even as I share the writers’ interpretation of God’s original design for marriage and sexuality, I cannot, in clear conscience, go further than that. I cannot be numbered with them. As one who desperately longs for unity, this hurts my heart.

Photo by ALotOfPeople /
The Nashville Statement, though not news by any stretch, is destructive and divisive on a grander scheme, because the ugly finger of condemnation swings wider to include faithful Christians, gay and straight, who are honestly seeking the Lord to discern his voice on a way forward that doesn’t leave wounded and bleeding victims in our wake.
The statement attempts to shame those of us who take the greatest commandment—to love God and love others—seriously and at face value—often at great relational risk as we brave the judgment of those who can’t hear the music of the Spirit above the noise of this world.

It’s time to scoot our chairs even closer to the table—keep praying, giving grace, dialoguing!

I am saddened that this rigid stance leaves no room for Jesus’ beloved LGBTQ+ people to feel welcome to come to him “just as they are.” I am frustrated that churches that were beginning to find some balance may be knocked off of that hard-won peace. I am gravely concerned that the bridge-builders who actively listen for God’s still, small voice might somehow be bullied away from fruitful dialogue right at the moment that the Lord is working out a breakthrough!
May all who seek peace and unity in Christ now turn back to the work set before us, scoot our chairs even closer to the table, and keep praying! Keep giving more grace! Keep the dialogue going! Keep sharing our stories and continue to worship and trust the “God of hopeless causes” as we move forward in a love that won’t let go.
What a shame to leave the table too soon … I have a hunch dessert is gonna be amazing!
Kimberly Dent is a bridge-builder between conflicted Christian parents and their LGBTQ kids. She has facilitated sessions for parents at the annual Gay Christian Network conferences and is an Oriented to Love dialogue alum. “For years I prayed that God would change my daughter’s sexual orientation—instead He changed me!” Moving from a place of stoic religious certainty to a place of wonder, trust and humility in Christ has given her a deeper experience of God’s grace and unconditional love for every person.
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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Limitless Love

See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1

The most amazing thing happened to me today....I became a grandma.  An angel-boy named Cohen James Campbell entered the world today and has stolen my heart simply by his presence.  He didn't have to do a thing to win me over.  Every breath a beautiful symphony, each stretch a marvel of joy and every cry dug into the deep places of my heart with the desire to comfort him.

I am his and he is mine.. There is nothing he can do that would cause me to love him less and there is  simply no room left in my heart for me to love him more.  I am bursting at the seams with love for this tiny human being...and Cohen didn't have to do one thing to earn it.

As I gazed at him sleeping peacefully through the nursery glass I thought of God's love for us. I wonder... if I, Cohen's "CoCo", feel this insane rush of emotion for him, what must the one who knit him together in his mother's womb feel?

 It occurred to me that this new grandma love may just be a teeny bit of what God feels for you and I... Limitless Love.

May you bask in the sheer joy of His limitless love for you!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sisters In The Storm

"Still" by Hillsong

When the oceans rise 
and thunders roar
We will soar with you 
above the storm
Jesus you are King over the flood
We will be still 
and know you are God.

I got 30 new sisters last weekend!

We journeyed from all over Charlotte and surrounding areas and met  together on the shores of Ocean Isle Beach to retreat, to laugh, to grow in our spirits, to be renewed in our faith and to be refreshed in christian community. We came to ponder how to discover God's peace in our storms. We came to hear from the One who commands the winds and the waves. Jesus.

Tonya, my fellow writing friend and co-retreat speaker, pulled in just a couple minutes before me. I stepped out and we both looked up at a majestic oceanfront beach house which would be our home for the next 4 days. Aptly named, Splash Kingdom, we stood in the driveway and took it all in--two simple midwestern raised and southern planted girls gawking happily up at this incredible 12 bedroom jewel.  No words needed to be said- we stood for a moment, grinning at each other, amazed by the opportunity God had given us to minister His peace at such a heavenly location!  Yet the loveliness of this vacation home paled in comparison to the breathtaking radiance that we would soon discover within the women that God had called together this weekend.

We talked about The Vessel, The Storm, The Sand and The Treasure.

The Vessel: The one being refined by the storm - You, me, our families and our friends. We are all
                     intricately different vessels created for His glory and purpose. Wonderfully and
                     fearfully made. Each of eternal worth and value to God just as we are.

The Storm:   Storms in nature and storms in our lives are to be expected. No one is exempt. Storms
                     need not define us but turned over to God have the power to Refine us!  As Christians,
                     Storms have a purpose to draw us to God who is always with us in the midst of them.
                     "Sometimes God calms the storms and sometimes God lets the storms rage and calms
                      His child."

The Sand:      Storms can rub off our rough edges. Like sea glass, the sand (i.e: the difficult situations,
                       people and events of our lives) over time, turns broken shards of our life into
                       something beautiful. The Potter has the right to re-fashion and re-purpose His vessels.          
                       God allows us the freedom to choose to surrender to this heart makeover.
                       Brokenness brought to God becomes beauty and purpose. He can be trusted
                       with our hearts.

The Treasure:   Each of us carry within our vessel a treasure. The Holy Spirit. Purpose and Hope.
                         Like a message in a bottle. We are God's workmanship, His poem.   Surrendering          
                          our "Storm Stories" to Jesus uncorks the bottle of our testimonies and allows the
                         message to go forth with power and joy in us!  Misery surrendered to God becomes

32 Individuals arrived at the beach retreat. Some not knowing a soul, some good friends and others vaguely acquainted with each other.  Over the course of the weekend it stormed...and we rained and God ministered, the wind blew and hearts were healed. Finally the sun came out and we basked in the beauty and warmth of it. Grateful.

We risked vulnerability to share our stories. We opened our hearts to the Lord and asked for healing, we worshipped, prayed,  laughed and cried together.  And while we weren't looking, something amazing happened...We became sisters!  Sisters in the storm.  All the while, God was accomplishing a deep work in hearts and minds, setting many free from shame, fear and hopelessness. New dreams were birthed, old dreams were resurrected, compassion, forgiveness and repentance swirled like mist throughout the weekend. The final night God set our feet to dancing!  Yep! Sometimes joy is so thick the only appropriate thing to do is dance... so we did!

Do you know that you are God's beautiful vessel? His Treasure?  Will you allow the storms of your life to be used of God to do their refining work in you?  Will you allow The Lord to use the rough and scratchy parts of your life to fashion into a testimony of His goodness, grace and power?  Will you take the risk of sharing your "storm story" with another who needs to know that she is not alone?

Your Sisters in the Storm will be cheering you onward!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gracious Uncertainty

“Don’t talk to Strangers!”  If you are a parent or have kids in your life,  you HAVE uttered this creed. Even if you aren't around kids now, I would bet you remember being given this commandment as a child.   But I have a suspicion that we have unconsciously continued to adhere to this childhood rule as adults.

I had the pleasure of having coffee and talking for hours with a  STRANGER!  (I wasn't sure it would be a pleasure until I took the risk to invite her for a face to face meeting.)  She also took a risk and drove 3 hours to meet me, also a complete stranger to her!   Some may say she was foolish and put herself in a vulnerable situation...Some would say I was foolish, opening my home to a woman I don’t even know and have never met.  And yet, with gracious uncertainty,  we both took the risk. 

 She wanted to hear what I had to say. I wanted to encourage her.  She wanted to hear my story and I desired to hear hers.  I can tell you, It was so worth the risk!  I have a new friend!  I sought to encourage and have been encouraged myself!  We are meeting again face to face in a few weeks...(my turn to drive!)

Oswald Chambers addressed “gracious uncertainty”
 with these words...

“Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life: gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways...we don’t know what a day may bring forth....We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God....He packs our life with surprises all the time...”

So I ask you...

*will you step outside your comfort zone? 
*Will you talk to that stranger?
*Will you befriend the one who believes differently than you?
 *Will you drive 3 hours to speak face to face with a stranger?
*Will you share your lunch hour with that co-worker who eats alone?

The “Don”t talk to strangers” creed is certainly a wise rule for unattended children to follow.  But we, as adults, need to put away childish things. Get outside of your comfort zones!  Talk to Strangers!  Listen to their stories and tell them yours!  There is a big world out there and God means to connect people in wild and mysterious ways and for His specific purposes.  

We need to be so certain of God that we are willing to step out of the bunkers of the safe and comfortable and into the great unknown with Him and with each other.  When we do, our God will surprise us. Our uncertainty will then graciously give way to the blessing of authentic community!

“Stop neglecting to show hospitality to strangers, for by showing hospitality some have had angels as their guests without being aware of it.”  Hebrews 13:2 (The Message)

“Certainty is the mark of the common sense life: 
Gracious Uncertainty is the mark of a Spiritual Life” 

Which life are YOU living?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Searching For Life Among The Dead

 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 
John 3:16

Easter Morning...
photo by Kim Dent

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus...suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them,

"Why do you look for the living among the dead?

 He is not here; He has risen!

Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Gallilee: The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again. 
Then they remembered His words.  
Luke 24:1-7

The women came to anoint a dead man's body.  Pay their last respects to their beloved Lord. They went to the tomb in deep sorrow. They didn't expect to find life. They expected to find death. In their grief they had forgotten the very promise Jesus had given the disciples at the last supper...or perhaps, they never truly believed it in the first place?

..."But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galillee."
Mark 14:28

I get these women. I have experienced deep sorrow and the dismay at having a dream crushed or a loved one die. I stop expecting that God's  promises for me will be least the way I thought they would.  I know you have experienced loss too my friend.  

When tough seasons come or this world deals me a card that I struggle with, I sometimes forget about His promises...I wallow around in the graveyards of self sufficiency, pride or fear. I shop for things I can't afford and do not need looking for life there.  Maybe you search for life in prescription drugs or alcohol or sex. When we look for life in anything or anyone other than Jesus, we are simply looking for life among the dead. It is an exercise in futility.

But the life Christ gives is overwhelmingly abundant, satisfying and fulfilling. His love and guidance fill us with security and purpose. He frees us from our sin. Yet, the best gift that Christ gives us is eternal life with Him. In Him we are set free from the burdens of this world. Free from fear, grief, hopelessness and defeat.  

Are YOU  looking for life among the dead? 

 Abundant, satisfying, SUPERNATURAL, everlasting life can only be found
 in the one who defeated death...Jesus Christ.  
Look to Him and find Life!