"This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says:
'Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.'"
- Jeremiah 30:2 -
I am offering you my heart today.
And I’d be lying if I said my heart wasn’t pumping hard like it did when I stood at the starting line at a track meet in high school. I can almost hear it in my ears.
Today I am sharing the massive, tender vision God has given me and has convinced me is my life calling. Meaning - if I do nothing else before I die, this is what it needs to be.
For a dozen years I’ve followed Jesus, listening and trying to discern how to obey Him and serve Him. That has looked very different in varying life seasons.
Then a few months ago He made it completely crystal clear what He wants me to do.
And like Moses telling God all the reasons he wasn’t right for going back to Egypt to free the Israelites, I’ve asked God how in the world He expects me to accomplish such a huge, generation-changing task.
The answer is: not alone. Not by my power. Not by my might.
By His Spirit.
He will accomplish it all.
He has just graciously invited me along for the wild ride.
And I’ve said yes.
Now, I’m inviting you, too.
Let me begin by telling you a brief part of a story of one of the most precious people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.
I don’t think I have words big enough to hold the love I have for my dad.
I was 13 years old, and it was some midnight hour when I tip-toed to the bathroom to find something sharp. Something to cut away at the pain I didn’t know how to handle. The razors had been removed, paper clips hidden. I was desperate. I decided to try to use earring backs to pierce all the dark inside that was suffocating me. Yes, dull earring posts.
But my dad found me, knocked on the door. That night we sat on the floor in the hallway and I told him how desperately I wanted out from the pain. How I didn’t think I could bear to stay on the planet. How I didn’t know what I believed about God, or life, or love.
So much of that night is a blur. But I remember how dad told me with tears in his eyes that if I could think of no other reason to stay on the planet, to please stay, for him, because he loved me so much.
His vulnerability pierced straight into my heart. I didn’t want to hurt him. I promised him that I wouldn’t try to kill myself, for his sake.
Life went on and the enemy came at me to destroy me any way he could. I cooperated with many of his schemes. I believed a lot of his lies.
But. There was one truth the enemy could not destroy in my mind. Somewhere in my mid-teen years, my dad told me the story of how he met Jesus. It’s an incredible story that I look forward to telling you sometime. But for now, the important part is this: no lie from the enemy could erase or distort my dad’s experience.
My choices were to call my dad a liar, or insane, or to logically conclude he was telling the truth. Because my dad’s life lined up with what he said he had experienced of God, I could never fully accept that there was no God.
My dad’s story of how he met Jesus was a lighthouse that drew me back to solid ground when I was drowning. My dad’s personal experiences of Jesus were flickers of hope the enemy could not snuff out with any deceptive argument.
At 19 years old, when I decided to keep my baby (instead of choosing abortion again), I knew the God of my father was waiting for me with open arms. I knew the decision to keep my child was a “yes” - a turning back to God Himself.
After a long night of drugs, intense spiritual struggle, and failed suicide attempts I finally voiced my decision out loud:
“I’m going to do it, I’m going to keep this baby.”
Immediately when I said those words God brought two words to my mind like a whisper that has echoed for the last 12 years.
He put these two words before me:
“Hope” and “Reason”.
Hope and Reason.
For the last twelve years, God had been unfolding layers of the gift He gave me that day.
For our purposes today, let me share one verse He is continually burning in my spirit. This is the critical starting point for why I’m sharing with you today.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)
Prepared to give the reason for the hope we have.
For a dozen years God has been highlighting scriptures for me about the importance that we as believers must not forget Who He has revealed Himself to be. To remember what He has done for us. To relay His personal love and involvement to the next generation.
I love a C.S. Lewis quote from his book The Screwtape Letters. In it, Lewis sets up a senior demon advising a younger demon how to keep his “patient” from knowing God. This powerful insight is seared on my brain:
“And since we cannot deceive the whole human race all the time, it is most important thus to cut every generation off from all others;”
Basically - separate the generations. Don’t let them share with one another. We cannot all be deceived at the same time.
And these sobering words from the book of Judges light a fire in me:
“After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10
A generation who didn’t know the Lord.
Because what He had done was not shared by the previous generation.
I began noticing that in my relationship circles, there were no structures or rhythms for sharing what God had done in my life with the next generation. We don’t do oral storytelling in our culture. We don’t have yearly feasts like the Israelites did to remember and celebrate the awesome things God has done.
The story of the Israelites crossing the Jordan and stacking up stones of remembrance is especially impactful to me. They were commanded to set up physical reminders so their children would ask "what do these stones mean?" - and they would recall and share the story of God’s faithfulness to them. (Joshua 4:21)
I could go on, but it comes to this: God has put a burning desire in me to help those who love Him do three things:
Remember, record, and relay their personal experiences of Jesus.
The most valuable wealth you possess is your experience of Christ.
And no one - no one - can share what you have experienced, except you.
What you know of Christ dies with you if you do not record and relay it.
If you leave nothing behind when you leave this life but what you know of God - your family, and the next generation will be blessed beyond any earthly inheritance they could receive.
I want my dad’s story recorded. I want to know my siblings stories. I want to know YOUR story. I want our kids to know them. I want us to remember our own stories!
Whose story do you want to know? Who do you know that clearly, undeniably loves Jesus - but you don’t know WHY. You don’t know their reasons. Or maybe you do know why - but you know there is no record of what they've witnessed of God?
I wish so badly that I had my precious Grandmom’s experiences of Jesus recorded. She loved Jesus and her whole life demonstrated this. But tragically her personal experiences of the Way, the Truth, the Life went to heaven with her several years ago. Preparing for her funeral I didn’t even know a song that was precious to her about Him.
Would you imagine this with me for a moment? -- An entire library full of books that testify to God’s realness, His goodness, His personal love.
Not memoirs where you catch glimpses of Him here and there and between the lines.
But stories where He is highlighted and in bold print on every page. The Main Character of every story.
On the cover of each heirloom quality book it will say “Hope and Reason”.
Open it, and on the first page it will read: “Always be prepared to give the reason for the hope that is within you.”
The next page will read “His Story.
Recorded by (your name)
In the year (____).
I am creating an online course that will provide a clear, simple framework to help you share your personal experiences of Jesus.
I have suggestiond for how to share key experiences that involve other people without dishonoring anyone.
I have recommendations for how to share hard parts of your story wisely, and I coach you through discerning which stories the Lord is directing you to keep private between you and your First Love.
I have suggestions for how to keep Jesus as the Main Character of every story you share.
Thank God, this life is not about us!
Even so? Remembering and recording our experiences comes with more benefits to us that I could possibly detail here.
But consider this: For 2 ½ years I watched my father-in-law decline in the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease. As his dementia progressed, his symptoms became more and more distressing.
But what I noticed was this: Our entire culture is set up to remain in perpetual short-term memory loss.
Believers are suffering from spiritual dementia every single day.
And the symptoms of spiritual dementia are shockingly similar to physical dementia.
Restlessness, anxiety, fear, worry, identity issues, lack of discernment, lack of understanding of how to self-care etc. etc.
When we remember who God is, and what He has done for us - we are actively reversing the spiritual dementia our enemy is using to render us ineffective.
This is a truth our enemy hopes we forget:
Our memory is the core of our faith.
Your memories - your personal experiences - are the core of why you believe what you do.
To strengthen your faith? Strengthen your memory.
To love God with all your mind? Includes loving Him will all your memory.
I would love to continue to share with you, but for now I am asking two huge requests of you:
1) Would you please pray for me and my family as I develop this course? The enemy never wants it to see the light of day - even writing these words brought on so many attacks to me and my family. I treasure your prayers!
2) Would you please consider joining my beta launch of my course? Those who help me develop the course in the beta launch will be offered the full course for free when it's ready!
I'd cherish your advice as I build this course!
If you want in, please request to join this private Facebook Group and/or email me for more details.
I have a limited size group for this beta run in mind, and I won’t be communicating to my whole online community past these next 2 weeks about the details or process until the Hope & Reason course is ready to go. So if you want in, please respond ASAP!
Your story matters.
Your personal experiences of Jesus are priceless!
I’d be honored to help you remember, record, and relay your legacy of faith!
Are you ready for this?? :)
Thank you for the ways you are obeying Him today - your ordinary faithfulness matters more than you know!
YOU are so lavishly, ridiculously, unconditionally, eternally loved.