Kris Mares

Just a woman trying to love Jesus and others a little bit more…

Dear Church October 19, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kris @ 6:51 pm

To the Church I love, that welcomed me, that formed me, that supported me, that affirms me. To the Church that again and again is “Jesus with skin on” for me:

I write with tears in my eyes as I think upon all the ways you have loved me. You took me in when I felt alone and unloved. You showed me what it means to be community, even when I was so bad at it. You have been a resting place, a learning place, and a place that I have trusted to raise my family.

Yet, even in all the good I see that has come from you, I also know that we are still on a path to perfection. Sometimes, Church, we look too often to what makes us feel good and comfortable, and we overlook the pain and the hurt of others (sometimes that we have caused). We often bring our best selves into worship, asking God to bless what we show. Instead, we need to bring our entire selves into worship, asking the Holy Spirit to renovate us. We need to be authentic with God, self, and others. It is in that authenticity that we often find the true blessings of God.

And Church, as much as I have seen you walk with me in some of the messy parts of life, it seems that we only do that when it still seems safe, when people are enough like us that we don’t have to reach too far to touch them. But what about those that live outside the reach of our normal day, our normal life style? What about the modern day lepers that are forced out of the good neighborhoods and forced to live in their own separate communities, being sustained by what people are willing to drop off for them to pick up, or what they can steal so they don’t die? Jesus walked among them too, so how can we be “Jesus with skin on” now in the lives of those who seem so different that us that we pretend we can’t see or reach them?

And like Jesus did with so many, how can we offer the blessing of a loving relationship to those that have not been invited?

Because I know that God still works in the world, that the Holy Spirit still moves and transforms. I know that, in Christ, we have the power to set aside our own need for comfort in order to bring comfort and hope and love to those who feel alone and pushed out and unwanted. God still loves us. Jesus is still risen. The Holy Spirit is still with us. We must trust these things to be true and live in the faith that they are. I still believe in the power of the Jesus that you taught me to love and trust. I still believe that the Church is the Bride of Christ. I still believe that we are all a part of the Body of Christ, necessary, and lacking when we are missing those parts we deem less important than others. I still believe that God is using you and me and the community of faith to love those that feel beyond the reach of love.

God is still using us, Church. God is still asking us to trust and follow and obey. God is still calling us to build community along this journey of faith, inviting people into relationship, and showing what it means to be a follower of Christ.

My prayer is that we will heed the invitation and the call that has always been before us, and that with the power of the Holy Spirit, we will see a glimpse of the Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven.

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The Best Yes April 29, 2016

This year, I am on a journey of wellness. I’ve been reading and working on “inside stuff” in order to bring some healing and health to “outside stuff.” Inner work for outer health. I am learning to be healthy and whole, inside and out.

Part of that journey is learning how to make my yes mean yes and my no mean no. For a people pleasing, think I can do it all, caretaker, extrovert like me, that is harder than it may seem. Like my plate at the end of a buffet line, I often find my schedule and “to do” list overflowing with lots of good things, not enough room to really enjoy any of them and I am left feeling overstuffed, tired and not really satisfied.

So The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst got put in my “to read” pile. From her website:

Lysa TerKeurst is learning that there is a big difference between saying yes to everyone and saying yes to God. In The Best Yes she will help you:

  • Cure the disease to please with a biblical understanding of the command to love.
  • Escape the guilt of disappointing others by learning the secret of the small no.
  • Overcome the agony of hard choices by embracing a wisdom based decision-making process.
  • Rise above the rush of endless demands and discover your Best Yes today.

511tofxnmol-_sx326_bo1204203200_Some of what she said was not new to me, but it reminded me to constantly put God’s priorities for me first. I needed those reminders. The stories she told from her life reminded me that I am never alone in my struggle to say yes, no, not right now.

Best of all, I know that I don’t need to feel guilty when I say no. I don’t. No is a complete sentence. And while there are many things in life that are good things, that I may want to say yes to, I must consider if it is a “best yes” for me at this time, with the resources I currently have and the call that God has before me. Sometimes, a no now may be a yes later. If I want to live a life worthy of my callings, I have to give yeses that fit with those callings.

Hard but necessary. Difficult but true.

Again you have heard that it was said to those who lived long ago:Don’t make a false solemn pledge, but you should follow through on what you have pledged to the Lord. But I say to you that you must not pledge at all. You must not pledge by heaven, because it’s God’s throne. You must not pledge by the earth, because it’s God’s footstool. You must not pledge by Jerusalem, because it’s the city of the great king. And you must not pledge by your head, because you can’t turn one hair white or black. Let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no. Anything more than this comes from the evil one.                                                                                            -Jesus as recorded in Matthew 5:33-37, CEB

So, here’s to me following through on what I have pledged to God, letting my yes be a best yes and my no be understood by those who receive it.

Have you read The Best Yes? Comment below and tell me what you thought or share your struggle with letting your yes be yes and your no be no.

 

P.S. If you’d like to order The Best Yes, I highly recommend the read. Just click on any of the links above (they are affiliate links).

P.P.S. Remember, I’m starting a Make Over Your Mornings journey on Sunday! Please join me in the study and we can share what we’ve learned together!

 

Does the bank hold treasure? April 14, 2016

Filed under: Money,Uncategorized — Kris @ 2:14 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Money is a funny thing. It’s really hard to live without it (yet there are people who do it!), we always seem to need/want more of it, yet we don’t always use it the best that we can.

There is this interesting little Bible verse though, that talks about our heart and our treasure:

Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moth and rust don’t eat them and where thieves don’t break in and steal them.Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:20-21, Common English Bible)

Jesus said that.

Did you know that Jesus taught more about money that he did about any other topic except love? Love, then money. Hmmmm…

Just this last Monday, I was reminded of a Zig Ziglar quote:

Show me your calendar and your checkbook, and I will tell you what is most important in your life.

That’s a challenge isn’t it? Do our bank accounts show what is important?

So I went to look. Racer and I use EveryDollar to create and maintain our monthly budget (it’s free). It’s an easy way to tell our money where to go and to stay focused on our financial goals. EveryDollar also does all the budget math for us!

So what did it say was important? Basically family and giving. The highest expenditures had to do with maintaining our home, giving to others and childcare.

Although we are still working on Baby Step 3, we hope that one day our giving will far exceed our home expenses. But until then (and even after), we can make sure our home is a place where we give of our time and hearts to others. A place where people can come and be loved.

You see, our treasure is not the stuff in our homes. Our treasure is not found in the number the bank says we have in our emergency fund. Our treasure is not what the 401(k) statement does or does not say.

Our treasure in the love and grace and truth we leave in the hearts of our family, our friends, our co-workers and the strangers we meet. Our treasure is found in the ways we invest in the lives of others.

And no matter what your income is, how tight the budget stretches, how much debt you are paying off, or how overwhelming your financial situation may be, your home can be a place of love, because that is all about attitude. Trust me. We’ve had a low income, had a budget stretched so tight it broke, paid off a lot of debt, and been so overwhelmed that I laid on the bathroom floor 8-months pregnant and cried my eyes out. But if you ask my kids now, they don’t remember that. They remember parks (free), Saturday morning pancakes (super cheap to make), library activities (also free) and family movie nights (also free because we watched what we had on hand).

No matter where you are on your financial journey, you can make a difference in how you think about money. It’s not about getting more, but about using what you have to bless others.

So, take a look. Look at your calendar. Look at your checkbook. Where is your treasure?

 

 
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