Saturday, June 27, 2015

Why I Can’t Remain Silent


I believe I have not kept my Christian faith a secret, nor do I think it would come as a shock to anyone if I said I am a Christ follower.  Up until now my message has been, and will continue to be one of Christ’s love for us all, a message of hope, of God’s grace, love and mercy. 


Because of this, I have not voiced any opinion on marriage.  I have people that I truly love and respect on both sides of this issue and I did not want to offend anyone, but rather, I want very much to display God’s love.  Today, I have been reading many articles, posts, blogs, etc. with way too many displays of hate filled speech from both sides, so much so, that I almost feel sick to my stomach. 


I am working toward publishing a bible study that I have written, and I am working toward a speaking and teaching ministry, and will be asked my opinion on this subject, probably sooner, rather than later.  I also work for an organization that has strongly expressed its opinions on the subject, so I find I can no longer remain silent.


First let me say that I know I will offend some people who I love dearly love, some who have been lifelong friends, some who are family, this is not my intention, and my feelings for you have not changed.  I have no hate in my heart toward anyone.  Someone said in a post I read earlier today that disagreement is not hate, and that is where I am at this moment in time.  So in a long post, that I hope and pray you will read to the end, this is how I come to believe as I do…


As someone who believes the Bible to be the word of God, who believes it to be true, active and alive, I went to the source. I wanted to try to find what Jesus would say if He were sitting here today and asked His opinion. 


First let me say, I am NOT an expert, and there is a lot that I do not know.  What I do know is, how to actively study the word, how to let it teach me, and how to break things down properly, while preserving context and intent.


Let me also say, that I have no desire to “shove my ideas down anyone’s throat.”  What I am writing is what I have found in the bible, you can choose to believe it or not.  I also have no desire, nor do I judge anyone’s behavior, that is between you and God.  Ok with that said, what would Jesus say if He were asked the question today?


In Matthew 19 the Jewish leaders of the day came to Jesus and asked him a question that they thought would trap him, thinking that there could be no correct answer.  They asked him about divorce.  They knew what the law said, that a man could divorce his wife for any reason and send her away.  Jesus knew their hearts, and He knows our hearts today.  This is how He responded…


Matthew 19:3-9

The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made[a] them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’[b] and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?[c] So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”

He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality,[d] and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

            So Jesus said, “in the beginning God created male and female and the two are to be united”.  He also said,” because of the hardness of your hearts Moses (emphasis added) permitted you to divorce, but in the beginning it was not so.” 

So using this example, if I were to ask Jesus the question today if marriage was to be for same sex couples, the same as opposite sex couples, this is how I interpret His answer…

            “In the beginning, God created male and female and the two are to be united, but because of the hardness of your heart, the Supreme Court has permitted you to marry whoever you wish, but in the beginning it was not so….”

            Next, I want to address a question that always seems to come up during this debate, and that is sin.  Why is it bad, and why do Christians seem to fixate on this particular sin?

            The bible says in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 6 a couple of things, first, that all sin is an abomination to God, he then names several in verses 9-10  

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners (swindlers) will inherit the kingdom of God.”

That is the bad news. I will talk about the good news in just a minute, so please stay with me.

He then explains in verses 12-19 why sexual sin is so destructive, and this is why Christians are so upset about this issue.

12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful…. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.

15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.”[b] 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body[c] and in your spirit, which are God’s.

            Ok I talked about the bad news of sin, I would be doing a disservice if I did not talk about the good news.  It is true, all have sinned, there is sin in this world, no one is without fault, and I am including me in this, there have been many things I have done that I am not proud of. 

BUT, and this is a huge BUT, Jesus Christ took all of our sin on Himself when he died on the Cross, all we have to do to receive eternal life with God is admit that we are a sinner, thank Jesus for dying on the Cross for our sin, turning from what we are doing wrong, and let Him do the rest.  If you do that, He will do the rest, and we will have eternal life in Heaven with God!

Now I have given you my biblical reason for my opinion. Please, please do not interpret my belief as hate, or bigotry, I do not hold hate in my heart, I do not judge one sin over another sin, and I will always support and cheer for you my friends and family, because I truly to do love you.

let me also quickly state, that I, as someone who is putting myself out there as a speaker, in Christian ministry, this new law scares me.  For what if I am speaking somewhere, exactly what I wrote here today, and am told I cannot voice my opinion because it goes against the law?   

Friday, June 26, 2015

This Wonderfully Messy World


Guest post by: Laurie Coombs



I had always thought the world was a wonderful place, full of beauty and love and light. Growing up, the life I imagined for myself looked more like a fairytale than I care to admit. I had plans for my life, big plans. But just as I was coming into my own, just as I was about to seize all life has to offer, my world unraveled when confronted by an evil I never imagined possible. My dad, who I love more than I can ever say, was murdered, and with that loss, all the lofty notions I held about life shattered.


Things like this dont happen to people like me, I thought. I grew up in a nice, quiet small town. I came from a good, loving family. How could my dad have been murdered? I wondered.


I found myself sitting at a park after the funeral questioning just about everything I thought I knew to be true. Something my mom always said came to mind. Everything happens for a reason, she used to say. I pondered this familiar adage for some time, wrestling with my new reality, before crying out, How could there be a reason for this? through my anger and tears.


This was not my plan. This was not the path I thought my life would take. And I was angry. Mostly at Anthony, the man who murdered my dad, but it was more than that. I was angry at the lack of sensitivity I saw in the media. I was angry at the indifference of others watching the news coverage. I was angry at our society and its unhealthy fascination with murder. But I was also angry that my life was not turning out the way I thought it should.


It just didnt seem fair. All those big plans I had for my life were upended by my new awareness of evil. Nothing good can come out of this, I thought. Nothing.


But I was wrong.


The years that followed were characterized more by trying to be okay than actually being okay. Shortly after the murder, I put on my happy mask and decided it was time to move on, and so I did. I buried my pain and went on with my life, hoping my past would stay in the past. But it doesnt take much to know that unresolved pain rises to the surface at one point or another, regardless of how deep its buried.


It took nine years for my pain to resurface, and when it did, I was absolutely stunned by it. My pain showed up in the form of anxiety and depression, something I had never dealt with before. I didnt know what to do when this monster reared its ugly head. And for the first time in my life, I was presented with something I could not fix. I was able to work through every other struggle in my life prior to this, but this time was different.


I tried everything the world tells you to do in a situation like this. I tried eating better and exercising more. I tried meditation. I tried taking a stress management class. I tried yoga. I tried self-help books. And I even tried taking medication, but it only worsened my condition. Nothing worked. And so with all other options exhausted, it seemed God was my last and only hope.


But I was not a believer. In fact, I was a skeptic. I was one of those people who thought faith was something weak-minded people relied on to get through life. All that stuff in the Bible seemed like a fairytale concocted to tickle ears and make people feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But at this point, I had come to the end of myself and saw no other option out of the mess. And so with a fearful heart and an analytical mind, I attended church, fully expecting the God-thing to be yet another rabbit trail that would lead absolutely nowhere. But it wasnt.


As I listened to the pastor speak, my mind only semi-present due to the anxiety, God did something I never imagined possible. He showed up. He continued to do so time and time again until there was absolutely no denying it was Him, and I received faith.


But I dont believe I would have ever gotten to that point apart from my dads murder, and so the very thing intended to destroy my life would be the thing that would save it. Apart from this terrible tragedy, I would have never experienced true life. God had a better plan than the one I had planned for myself. A messy plan. A plan that included tragedy and loss. A plan that included pain-filled searching. But also included in that plan was my salvation and the call to love and forgive my enemy which ultimately resulted in the beautiful message of hope and redemption that I have been called to share with this world.


Yes. We live in a broken world. A world that involves evil and loss and pain. But apart from the darkness, we would never fully know the light. Only in the darkest of dark does light shine the brightest. Only in a broken world can we see healing and redemption. Love is shown greater in the face of hate. Beauty is all the more beautiful in the face of the ugly. 


And what beauty there is to behold in this wonderfully messy world.



Laurie Coombss new book, Letters from My Fathers Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness––which tells an incredible true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God––has just been released. Its available wherever books are sold. Be sure to pick up your copy today!






Laurie Coombs is a passionate writer and speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the hope found in Jesus. She is the author of Letters from My Fathers Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness, an incredible true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God. Her story was featured in Billy Grahams film, Heaven, and she is a featured writer and blogger for iBelieve and Crosswalk. Laurie and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their two daughters, Ella and Avery.


For more information about Laurie or to book her for a speaking engagement, visit And be sure to connect with her on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Calling


“We will have to cancel Vacation Bible School this year.” The words rung in my ear, and the implication of cancelling bible school was a big one.  The problem?  Not enough volunteers to pull of the amazing bible school our church puts on each year.  The ladies of our church were on retreat when the word began to spread. 


You see, for church, bible school each year is an event.  The Market Place, is not just something kids come, get a few lessons and maybe sing some songs and go home.  No, it is a full experience.  Kids of various ages are placed in one of the twelve tribes of Israel, and that becomes their family for the week.  We take a section of the bible, or a story and live it out.  In the past, kids left the bondage of Egypt and crossed through the parted waters of the Red Sea.  They witnessed the walls of Jericho come crashing down.  Last year they followed a star to Bethlehem and saw, along with shepherds,  a baby in a manger.


This year was supposed to be the year we were to see the early ministry of Jesus.  We already had more kids pre-registered than ever before, but we did not have the workers.  This type of Bible School requires at least 50-75 volunteers.  So what to do?  The ladies on retreat began to pray, and I began to feel the tug to step up.


Up to this point, I have not yet volunteered.  I work crazy hours, I also watch my young grandson in the evenings. This year was no exception, plus this year, I am in the middle of writing two book proposals, am editing one of those books, and am in the middle of writing the other.  I work 50-60 hours per week, along with babysitting duties.  Plus, as I said to someone on the leadership team, “kids are not my gifting.”  None the less, I felt the call to step up. 


Isn’t that what God is asking all of us to do; to step up, and step out of our comfort zone?  To do what we think is impossible and watch Him work out the details, after all He is the God of the impossible is He not? 


I am happy to report that not only did we get enough volunteers to make VBS happen, we had an amazing number of kids come, and not only come, but also ask Jesus into their heart. 


Now, I am not saying to all of you overextended ladies (and men) out there to take on more that you can truly handle, and there is most definitely a time and a place for saying the word “no”.  We all need to say it, and we need to keep margin in our lives for so many reasons.  But what I am saying is when you feel that tug from God to do something you normally would not do, pray about it, and if you find it is a calling from Him, step up, follow that calling. 


 In my tribe, we had 9 great kids, we got to see water turned into wine, and the feeding of 5000, how could I have missed that?  What about, “kids are not my gifting”?  One of the nightly themes was “Called to Obey” I did, I answered that call, and somehow I did not feel out of my comfort zone.  I lived on two hours sleep each day, but, I truly wanted to be there each night sharing with my tribe all about Jesus.  Yes God truly was with me every step of the way this week, and I was blessed by the experience.  What will you do when you hear His Call?