When You Gossip…

Not everyone survives the initial cost of being the target of gossip.

Eventually, you might believe the false things said about you and walk away from church altogether without realizing the few people who did the talking are nothing like the many people who love well. I am blessed to know the many who love well, and they do exist, but gossip in its own way is a form of persecution.

Words can break a person. So when you speak, measure your words. It’s not easy and you won’t always be successful. The tongue is difficult to tame, and even the most likable person can give in to the temptation of gossip or not realize they have gossiped. Gossip divides. It does not build up.

So when you are tempted to talk, ask yourself these questions:

1: What is your motivation for talking against them, especially in a public place?

2: Do you wish them well and want them to succeed?

3: What would they say if they could hear you?

4: Are you prepared to be wrong?

5: Do you want them to walk away from Christian fellowship because of what you said?

6: Are you glad for their misfortune?

You take away a person’s ability to trust others in his or her church when you participate in gossip.

Why I Am Doing This

Today I am taking a break from #222Prayers, and instead posting something different. Look to next week for the continuation of this prayer series.

The Honduran Short Term Mission trip taught me how God works through fundraising. It’s stressful setting a high goal and spending time in prayer trying to raise money. I’ve seen God work in fundraising and other times how my efforts didn’t amount to any fruit. But what God wants to happen, nothing will stop!

So I’m stepping out in faith, and it almost feels like Indiana Jones when he stepped over the cliff. I’m squeezing my eyes shut and stepping into the unknown.

I’ve included a graphic below on how this new fundraising works.

First, go to http://www.bagthepeak.com to read about why supporting International Sports Federation (ISF) is so important. You’ll learn why they do what they do, and what the money you raise will go towards.

Did I say what the money YOU raise?

When you register to raise money for ISF, you share it on your social networks and with your friends and family. You can also give.

bagthepeakWe’re planning a celebration for ISF complete with a bluegrass gospel live band, coffee and dessert, and one of ISF’s people will be speaking to us about what’s happening in the ministry. I am excited for it.

www.bagthepeak.com

But I do need your help and it doesn’t matter where you live. Because everything is online, you can be a part of the story of missions right from your living room. We’ve got $10 donated towards our $7500 goal and 67 days in which to complete this fundraising walk of faith.

Will you help?

Pretty please…

Click here to see the ISF Facebook page.

It’s Not Racist

My husband likes to turn on the television to his favorite news channel usually during the work week. Twitter and Facebook give him the necessary outlet for his political discussions. He doesn’t rant. In fact, his mission is noble. He is teaching people via his actions how discussion and disagreement are not an end to friendship, but the beginning of a great conversation where two people can part as friends. Higher powers in this country would have us believe otherwise–that a disagreement is racist or it somehow equates to hate no matter how well the disagreement is delivered. Passion is misunderstood for anger. Both sides of the political aisle have been guilty of getting angry, even defensive when they are discussing things.

I challenge you to follow this line of talking. The next time you are having a debate or discussion, temper your tone, and do not name call. Name calling is really juvenile. If you lose your temper, immediately apologize. Walk away from the debate for a moment, gather your thoughts, and begin again.

I am so proud of my husband. He’s an inspiration to me.

 

 

The Warden and The Wolf King Review

c8807460d81413a43d81144acafc6735_largeAndrew Peterson has given his fans a tome to end the Wingfeather Saga series. It’s four-parts and a whopping 509 pages. I almost gave up on it. Because I fell in love with his other books in the series, I immediately agreed to review The Warden and the Wolf King without realizing how thick it was, or that I would grow impatient as I journeyed through the many rabbit trails to get to the end.

The fans of the Wingfeather Saga will remember Gnag the Nameless and how he pursued the Jewels of Anniera all the way to where we left them at Ban Rona. I hadn’t read one of these novels in a while so I had to learn to swim again in the storyline when I began to get into The Warden and the Wolf King, and reacquaint myself with the characters and their myriad of stories and histories. There is no doubt that the Wingfeather Saga has the greatest world ever. It ranks right up there with Middle Earth. The names, personalities, and quaintness of each character and animal in the book still amazes me. Andrew Peterson is a genius in world making and writing, but I struggled with this one.

It kept my attention until part two when suddenly I am in Skree. Yes, the part says I am in Skree, but it’s like I jumped into a different story again. The action made me impatient. So when suddenly I am in Skree, I thought, “I don’t care about Skree. What’s happening in the other town?” I skipped a lot of pages here in my hurry to get back to the story I began with. In fact, I don’t think I would have missed it at all if the book left it out. The other distraction was the story in between the parts of the main story. I scanned part of one and skipped the rest. I would have preferred the information be worked into the story line without having to read another story. I almost considered stopping, procrastinated on more than one occasion on finishing and just managed to finish The Warden and the Wolf King under deadline.

The ending of the saga was beautiful. It’s the kind of unexpected ending that shows the writers genius. What I assumed about the villain in the story was all wrong. Many who read this story will be able to relate with many of the themes in this book, especially those of us who have made bad decisions in the past. The story is about second chances, sacrifice, and love. That being said, I still only gave it three stars. Maybe I would have liked it better made into a couple of novels instead of one very long read.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Author Website - http://wingfeathersaga.com

Others Sharing Their Views:

Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Pauline Creeden
Vicky DealSharingAunt
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler

What Sense of Community?

orphansMy sister-in-law wants to go on our next short term missions trip. Others have also expressed a tentative interest in missions. I laughed with my husband when we considered the selling points of a short term missions trip:

“Let’s tell people about Honduras and how they should go on a short term missions trip. Let’s tell them how depressed they will get for an entire month after coming home.”

My husband smiles. He laughs, too. Both of us felt depressed a month after arriving home; me longer than him. I live in a place where we frankly do poorly at community (among other things). People would much rather spend two seconds liking a status than having conversation over coffee on a Saturday afternoon.

The reliability of people in our area under 60 years of age is bad. Like David Jeremiah said: We are a generation where we like to keep all options open. This means not committing to anything–not church, not a party on a Saturday night, and not to coffee. Not even to a Bible study.

That’s what depressed me.

I spent nine days in a place ripe with love and companionship where people have 3 o’clock coffee in person to a place that is so busy, of people who fill their time and their kids time with stuff, that no one has time to make community. This place is so starved for community that small churches have formed in our area. Small groups are popular. So I have to wonder if we are making Sunday church convenient for our community time so we can still fill our hours with stuff during the week?  That’s the way it feels like anyway.

God used Honduras to change us; to change me. That’s why I began brainstorming how to be…different. I hope to launch my new website in January, 2015 where I will explain this “difference.”  God’s been calling me to something “different” for over a year now.

I’m listening now, God. Direct my steps. I want your will in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

ISRAEL! #222Prayers

According to the Dake Annotated Reference Bible-KJV-Large Print, there are 176 prayers in the Old Testament and 46 prayers in the New Testament. I first heard about this reference (found here) during a prayer meeting. For the next several Sundays I will post a prayer in regards to each section of scripture mentioned until I have gone through all 222 prayers.

Today-1*Affiliate Links.

 

Never Go Back Review

“Successful people realize that just because someone is unhappy with them does not require that they give up their purpose, fold their cards, or change. They realize that making some people unhappy is just part of the deal–and they keep going.” Pg. 67

nevergobackNever Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again by Dr. Henry Cloud is an ideal book for the blogger, dreamer, or for people like us who see life upside down. It’s about staying the course and never looking back or returning to dysfunctional familiarity.

I wrote a couple of blogs about portions of the book that made me think. You can read, The Job Interview.

As a blogger and a dreamer, it gives sound advice. In regards to the blogger, Never Go Back talks about how you can’t change the person’s mind, you must show them why they should do or be something. For the person like me who see’s life upside down and might be tempted to stay in dysfunctional familiarity, it takes our hand and leads us gently, but firmly away from what is familiar and safe to the life we were meant to live.

Like Boundaries, Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again is a book that I’ll keep in my permanent library for future re-reading. It’s practical and helpful as well as encouraging as I think about my future. No one should do what they have always done just because it’s safe or familiar. I gave this book five stars.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review. 

Callling People to New Ways of Thinking

differentpersonalitieschurch1

“In the same way, as you call people to new ways of thinking, relating, and serving, spend time preparing them as best as you can. Honor their questions and concerns; remind them that they are not alone.” – Lead Like Jesus, Day 192

This reminded me of page 58 in Never Go Back by Dr. Henry Cloud:

“Show people the water. Show them how cool and refreshing it is. When they are dehydrated, tell them that water would help them. Tell them how much you would enjoy drinking water together. Show them what it has done for you. Burp loudly. But realize that you can’t make them drink. That is something they will do only when and if they want to. Remember…they are free to choose.”

When you want to change someone’s mind, you can’t hit them over the head with a proverbial stick, especially when talking about social media.

Social media is not well received by most in the older generation, and while Christians post dozens of selfies of themselves in the bathroom or play hours of candy crush, 32,000 Mormon missionaries were given ipads at a steep discount by their church to draw people into their cult through proselytization. The Mormon church recently recognized the internet as the mission field in a time when the traditional Christian church is experiencing a decline in membership or attendance.

In fact, less than 40% according to Gallup, actually attend church. Most, “regular church attendee gets sick or sleeps in. The other reason may be people who tell us they go to church but are worshipping in non-traditional ways, such as small groups, people meeting in gyms or school libraries,” says Gallup via churchleaders.com. While pollsters are saying church attendance is declining, Charisma and other sources indicate church attendance is growing, citing the reasons of conservatism or house churches and small groups. Overall, the Mormon cult has many pluses which make them successful. This is not to say I agree with them or believe that they are Christian in any way. But there are some lessons we can take from them:

1: Mormons make great neighbors, friends, and co-workers. They are always ready to serve, help, and are very dedicated to COMMITTING to their church and family. The Christian church seriously lacks commitment especially in ages 55 and under. David Jeremiah said on a radio show the other day how we are a “multichoice” generation, always wanting to “keep our options open.” How many gatherings in real life have I attempted where people said “maybe,” and never showed up with so much as a phone call or an email or a text? How many don’t marry and instead live together? How many gatherings went ignored without a decline? How many people said, “I don’t know what I am doing yet,” to an invitation for something a few days away? It’s like they are waiting for something better to come along. Why aren’t we the great neighbors, spouse, friend, and co-worker that our Mormon neighbors are to us?

2: Mormons do not put down each other or their other stakes or wards (churches). However, Christians do a great job of cutting each other down in websites such as Sundays are The Worst, and various other blogs around the internet over the years. In this, we can take a lesson and talk directly with the people who have offended us; or shake off the dust, and get a new group of friends, or a new church. Plus, Christians like to leave comments that cut down each other in harsh tones. That’s not to say we can’t be constructive in our criticism rather than judgmental in tone, or disagree with each other on some level while still coming from a place of love.

Some Christians hear the mission call online, but one of our pastors said the other day how Twitter has become a news feed of links, and not a conversation. I have seen both. I describe Twitter to newbies as a national and international conversation. Christian authors on my own news feed appear to only post about their books or other people’s books without appearing to have any serious conversation with other people. We’re scattered with our different motivations instead of united. In fact, a comment on a church Facebook site showed intense loyalty to that particular church as if that church was the only one with an “authentic” sense of community. He reflected a past hurt. The internet is a powerful influence. It has a real, online community of people, but in order for us to be effective in this new mission field, we need to take our internet and social media seriously.

These are some suggestions:

1: Missions organizations can recognize officially the new mission field, send out missionaries online to connect, tell the story of the Gospel, and encourage local church attendance.

2: Church congregations can learn the new technology. Older patrons can use simplified versions of social media like Twitter or have their grandchildren assist them in posting a blog to share the rich life experiences of their past before their story ends.

3: Christians can use their social media time wisely to show interest in other people, pray for them, participate in discussions without feeling defensive if they can’t answer the questions. Write down the questions and ask a pastor. Get back to them with an answer. Or refer that person to someone who can answer it.

4: Talk positively about your church and community experiences. When we are tempted to talk about our hurts, ask yourself, “What can people learn from it? Am I transfering my pain on other people? Or is there a God-lesson coming out of this?”

5: Resist the temptation to call out people online. Confront them. If congregation members are acting badly, talk to your congregation. If someone treats someone badly in a public place, be the friend and say something from a place of love. I’m not saying that abuse stories or testimonies should not be shared. On the contrary, they should, but safeguards must be put in place and the story coming out should be God’s story in your life. This is a lesson I learned as a blogger.

I have a plan in the works which will launch later this year. A new website. A new direction. If you are interested in partnering with me, please stay tuned to this website. You can also email me at nikolehahn@thehahnhuntinglodge.com to ask to be put on a special newsletter to receive invitations pre-launch on how you can get involved. We can all learn from our past mistakes as bloggers, from life, and humbly admit when we are wrong while celebrating what God is doing in the world and among us.

For those with questions on the cults, I encourage you to go to Christian Ministries International. It’s a great place to start your research. Or ask your pastor.

“God will back His gospel, not some man-made, watered-down message. God will back the exaltation of Jesus, not some muddled, every-path-leads-to-God nonsense. God will back the call to take up the cross and live for Him, not some flesh-pleasing success formula. God will back biblical standards, not some meet-me-halfway, worldly-wise compromise.” – Charisma

 

 

 

 

Pray for Israel #222Prayers

According to the Dake Annotated Reference Bible-KJV-Large Print, there are 176 prayers in the Old Testament and 46 prayers in the New Testament. I first heard about this reference (found here) during a prayer meeting. For the next several Sundays I will post a prayer in regards to each section of scripture mentioned until I have gone through all 222 prayers.

“51. Jabez for enlarged coast (33 words; 1 Chron 4:10). Answered because of God’s word to give Israel all the land (1 Chron 4:10; Gen 15:18-21).”

Today