Monday, October 31, 2016

Robin Norgren Studios Podcast Episode #2: How to Heal a Nation

ONLINE Bible Study: How to be a Woman of Freedom - Day 1

Hello there!  I have begun a new series called "Becoming a Woman of Freedom" where we will explore how to be a thinking Christian in the world we live in today.    I plan on walking through several aspects of what it means to be free such as freedom from your past, from pleasing others, from fear and moving into living with peace, joy and a sense of your purpose in the world.  

Here is the podcast for Day 1:

And the following is a transcript of sorts for you to work through and discuss further with your group:

There’s a woman I know who loves God, does her best to live life doing the right things, being there for people in their time of need, trying to find her place in the midst of it.  BUT she feels stuck.  Trapped. Encumbered.  What can she do?  Is there a way out for her that is less destructive than running away and never looking back?  Every once in a while when she gets real quiet, she hears these words:
It is for freedom that you were set free…

What is that supposed to mean?  Does she get in her car and drive away?  Hit the reset button?  Isolate?  What do you do when there is nowhere to turn?  When the words to explain what’s going on feel rebellious?  When the decisions you want to make will make ‘good’ people feel very uncomfortable? 

What I am NOT talking about:

There is this verse in the Bible that might come to mind when hearing the word Encumbered:

Hebrews 12:1 -

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

The easy answer to this woman’s ‘problem’ is that she must be harboring some secret “sin” in her life.

What is sin?

The New World Dictionary defines sin as ‘the breaking of religious law or moral principle through a willful act’ or “any offense, misdemeanor or fault.”

The woman has examined this as a possible culprit for her problems and, while obviously there are ways in which we all miss the mark of our best selves everyday,  this does not explain the underlying ‘hum’  of hopelessness and dissatisfaction.  

Shall we begin by understanding the TYPE of freedom this woman is aching for?

 Psalm 119:45 (Old Testament of the Bible):

I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments

The word “Freedom” here translates from the Hebrew Language (the original language of the Old Testament) as ‘at liberty’

The actual word in Hebrew is Rachab  and means (from the Strongs Concordance):

roomy, in any (or every) direction, literally or figuratively:—broad, large, at liberty, proud, wide.

There is a similar sense of freedom found in the New Testament. 

2 Corinthians 3:17 (NLT):

For the Lord is the Spirit and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.   

The actual word in the Greek (Biblical Greek is the language of the New Testament) for freedom is  eleutheria and translates as “liberty” and means (from the Strongs Concordance):

To do or to omit things having no relationship to salvation

So… can we do WHATEVER we like?

What this freedom does NOT mean:

Same word ‘freedom’ which translates as ‘liberty’ is found in to other New Testament verses that give us a gauge for how to exercise our freedom:

Galatians 5:13:

 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters.  But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature.  Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 

1 Peter 2:16:

For you are free…. So don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 

So if this woman has reached a place in her life, where she is not attempting to break up her family or inflict damage in her community… And If she has searched her heart and found that to the best of her ability, she is living the way she is supposed to live.  What is her next step?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Land of Thoughtful Conversations

Can we agree that people need to have better conversations.  A little less of the "I think" statements and a little more of the "what are your thoughts?"  I have a few close friends that I can count on to cause me to think more deeply and challenge my desire to be right or to have things go my way.

I think questions offer the opportunity for a good cleanse.  A long deep pause and an invitation to reflect on the way I think about things.  We are all products of our environment no doubt about it.  So consider this.  If you have lived in the same place with the same group of people generating the same view points, how can you possibly deepen your compassion for others?

Walk a mile in another man's/woman's shoes.  Yes that takes effort.  I have had the opportunity to do this through my role as a military wife.  I have been in the depths of isolation on a few different occasions.  And I come back from those seasons more sensitive to my surroundings.  This time around I come back to a place that I have learned to call home.  This place is the place my mother moved me when I was young.  I never considered it home really.  I took every opportunity to get away not giving much thought to the ties I made.  I liked the adventure.  I tested the boundaries of friendships and many have fallen away.  But there are a few friends that have stuck by this nomad.  And I find that this time I experienced more loss than I expected.  They have stolen my heart.  Why?

Because in all my travels, I am finding it more difficult to find the cleanse of a good conversation.  People are afraid it seems to me to be that vulnerable.  No blame.  This type of conversation expands your heart and changes your mind.  And you can never go back to the way you once felt comfortable. 

As I journey back to the place I call home, I wish for you a place like this.  A place for your heart to feel safe and space for you to grow and change. To become the person you know yourself to be.  It takes a bit of courage.  I hope you find that courage.