I have a problem. One that is probably the reason we needed not 1, but 2 Penske trucks to move from SC to MS. (Cue the theme song to the show “Hoarders Buried Alive”)
I DID however get rid of EVERYTHING that did not serve a purpose in our home at our “serious” yard sale and we are continuing to work on using up or giving away anything else that is excess.
Today I spent the most guarded 3 hours of my week (my 3 hours sans kiddos thanks to Mother’s Morning Out and Elementary School) going through 13+ years of papers. Papers with words to which I have sentimental and spiritual attachment…I love words. I love paper. Words about Jesus on paper? Buried alive.
The problem is, I have seriously held onto every sermon note, every seminary notebook, every Bible study lesson that I have attended or delivered since my freshmen year in college. Any other pastoral pack rats out there?
Well, my theme this year has been “No & Slow” so today I was determined to say “no” to the clutter.One trip to Walmart and a few file folders later, I am feeling much lighter and more organized. I purged 3 garbage bags of goodness and here’s what I learned.
1. I remember approx 10% of those sermons I hear and Bible studies I attend. Yet, I know showing up and attempting to be “all there” has helped to build a foundation for my faith and I am so grateful to have accessible churches, ministries and mentors available for me to grow. Some who read this blog DO NOT have those privileges. I do not take it for granted.
2. My roots of legalism and performance run deeper than I ever knew…I had copies of numerous Bible studies such as “Practical Tips for Becoming a Godlier Woman This Week.” There would be a nod to Jesus as our righteousness and God’s role in sanctification, but a heavy hand on spiritual disciplines and personal effort.
3. We need the basics…As I read over so many of the then life-changing messages, so many of them now sounded simple and to the point. In my daily life of housework, parenting, ministry on campus and in the home, I can quickly gloss over these foundational principles. Bread & butter marriage material that I need to revisit, wonderful pathways to discipleship that start with lessons on assurance of salvation, forgiveness, the Holy Spirit, etc. We can never move beyond the basics.
4. You can send all your Christian materials to an awesome ministry that will ship all your leftover goodness overseas to people who have none! (Thus alleviating the tension one may feel over pitching an entire New Testament Survey course.)
5. People need quality Gospel-centered materials…if God is speaking something (no matter how “basic” speak it, write it, share it, declare it! People need to truth and they need to be set free. You can do that with a single tweet, text or coffee appointment.) Thankfully, we have the freedom to Amazon Prime about any and every printed Gospel-centered resource we’d like, here are some of my faves from recent years:
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
Valley of Vision Puritan Prayers
Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman
The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman
Heaven by Randy Alcorn
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson
Lady in Waiting by Debby Jones
Sex and the Christian Single Girl by Marian Jordan
Every Woman’s Battle by Shannon Etheridge
Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
Real Marriage by Mark Driscoll
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
Infertility: Finding God’s Peace in the Journey by Louis Flowers (best book ever!)
Holding on to Hope by Nancy Guthrie
Adopted for Life by Russell Moore
The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis
Anything by Crown Financial Ministries or Dave Ramsey. Obsessed with Dave, my only caveat is sometimes God has asked us to embrace sacrificial giving long before our 401K is maxed…though we follow his plan pretty rigidly, that’s my only addition…his message is perfect for his intended audience
Personal Bible Study & Growth in Ministry
God’s Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts
Christ-Centered Preaching by Bryan Chappell
Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul David Tripp
The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink
Bible Studies to Lead:
Galatians by Tim Keller (this is a new version…I am hoping it’s like the old one…email me if you need a soft copy b/c I have it for loan!)
The Search for Significance by Robert McGhee
The Disicpline of Grace by Jerry Bridges
Any of the great CRU resources