Posted in Faith, Family

My “guild” is my church!

I do not own the rights to this image. Or any image really.

Ok so the concept of a “guild” is foreign even to me as far as it’s historical/real life applications. But I play World of Warcraft so I can definitely see it in terms of an MMO world.

I’ve always been a bit of a homebody and a geek. As a young adult, I was never into the social life of night clubs and bars (Reason #1, I was saved and happily married by the age of 19. Reason #2, I’m an introvert). Paul was at first military, then FAA, then worked for UPS before he went into the medical field. Odd hours and three young kids back to back, there wasn’t any real opportunity to go on dates. But we could play video games together at 2am while the babies slept and have a fun time.

Now I’m in my 30s and I still find it more fun to be in comfy leggings playing WoW with my husband and son than “going out”. Because WoW is purposefully designed to be played in community, unlike other games. As in, you CANNOT experience the fullness of all the game developers have created as a lone player.

Well you CANNOT experience the fullness of all God our Creator has developed for us as a lone Christian, either.

World of Warcraft Classic has brought about a sense of community out of nostalgia. It’s a re-release of the original game most of us in our 30s played when the game first came out about 15-20 years ago. This game is a planet unto itself much like the fictional world of Narnia, and you (+ other players) try to be the hero with every quest. But in the modern expansions, you have things like “Dungeon Finders” or “Raid Finders” where game system automatically places you in groups and in places to accomplish objectives. In Classic, there are no such favors. Need to know where how to get to that one cave? You better ask the other players. Can’t kill a bad guy by yourself? Find some other people to join you.

People run around in different races and classes meeting their objectives, but find no problem helping the people they run by. Paladins (holy warriors, my husband’s favorite) run by placing “blessings” on random players because it costs nothing and helps raise stats. Often I’ll run by and see a single player taking on a mob – and I’ll help. It doesn’t give me any XP or loot, but it doesn’t make sense to just let the player struggle alone. Often you find yourself in an area and you can tell there’s four other players with the same objective – so you “party up” (formally create a group in-game that shares objectives, loot, and experience) because everyone turns in faster.

A lot of people feel that the world would be a better place if the community felt more like what it does in these MMOs… but I digress.

Blizzard in all it’s wisdom even designed the group efforts to require people of different skills in order to succeed. When you are going into a “Dungeon” (the enemy’s camp), you’ll set up a group of 5 people (no more, no less) where each person has a specific job based on the skill set of their character. A “tank” (the person that holds the attention of the enemy), a few “d-p-s-ers” (damage per second, the people that take down the enemy quickly), and a “healer” (the person who keeps primarily the tank alive, and then everyone else, so that the mission is victorious).

Did you know that in order for a church to be effective and growing in it’s community, it needs to employ a five-fold ministry?

1 Corinthians 12:27-30 NIV

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

Many denominations differ on the definition of these things and I’m simply going to refer you to your Pastor if you have questions. But I can tell you from observation that a church that is only employing the Pastors to do ministry, or that are only relying on teaching, aren’t growing. Any physical body cannot grow or multiply if only one component is active and the rest of it is dormant. #truth

So to help find other people to level up in World of Warcraft with, many people start or join “guilds”. It’s basically a club, a group of players whose chat is in neon green font (to make it easier to catch while you are playing) and who agree to help each other out. Higher level players will help lower level players get through dungeons and objectives that are wiping them out. People will pass on resources to other guildies that they picked up but can’t use on the particular character they play with. You chat, you play through the game together, and you build friendships with people as you tackle more and more difficult/exciting/rewarding activities.

If a video game, which has no eternal benefit and no real life benefit, can take BIBLICAL wisdom of COMMUNITY and apply it to their entirely secular concepts so that they GROW WILDLY SUCCESSFUL – 3.4 million people world wide kind of successful – how much MORE should the Church be growing and thriving! Bringing people into our church is not that much more harder than recruiting players into a guild – go out there, do “life” with people and as you get along or you help someone out, invite them! It’s literally how the Church STARTED and it’s still how the body of Christ grows today – it’s not rocket science… nor does it require a degree in Theology.

The Fellowship of the Believers – Acts 2:42-47 NIV

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

The absolute kicker is, we have the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit. Simply put, it’s fail-proof. Be encouraged!

I’m familiar with people who are not comfortable with going to church but feel community in their online guilds. Praise the Lord, my “guild” is my church! My introverted, geeky self has a group of people flesh and blood to do spiritual warfare with. The Kingdom of God is far deeper and wider than we can truly wrap our minds around, and the enemy spawning here on earth are far more threatening to our families and our cities today. And I am a part of it. I would love for you to be a part of it too.

Posted in Faith, Fitness

Healthy Moms Pray

“An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy” Spanish Proverb

Confession: I am fasting my personal Facebook Newsfeed in exchange for more prayer time and less politics.

And I have learned that, in order to maintain myself at my healthiest, I have to pray – regularly and often.  It’s not that there’s anything magical about prayer (although there is a supernatural element), it’s just that momhood is by far the most difficult thing we’ll ever do.

For all the mom-bashing and blogs on both sides of any fence, there is no manual or instruction book.  Really.  Every child is a unique combination of DNA and experiences that even within ONE household, how you parent one child may not necessarily work for the next one!

Fortunately we DO have guidance! And it’s found in God’s Word.  I cannot think of a verse to answer whether you should eat glutten free or vaccinate.  Free range versus helicopter mom? Who knows?! But the Bible gives us foundational wisdom that helps us to check our attitudes at the very depths of our being, in order to make every decision for each and every child with our hearts and minds in the very best place.

For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12 HCSB

I’ve often shared that balance is the key to health and fitness.  And a healthy body cannot even be reached if your soul and your relationships are off kilter.

This is why I love Doorposts.  I’m not an affiliate with them but I have used some of their material.  I received a piece for free in exchange for a review on my blog.

I came to know about Doorposts through my Faith Homeschool Co-Op.  We have catalogs and a Mommy library, from which I borrowed some of their materials and used it for my own personal Bible Study and Devotion.

The first resource I used from them was “30 Days in Colossians 3“.  I have never devoted so much time to one chapter.  I have never done so much high lighting and notes.  But it was mind-transforming!  What I learned from this chapter planted a seed in my heart that transformed my attitude and my disposition towards my kids.  As you may already know, I homeschool, so we get on each other’s nerves during the day.  Maintaining a God-honoring attitude that allowed me to have a pleasant day with three kids AND not dive into a tub of ice cream AND set aside some time to exercise is not always easy, but it is doable if the foundation of your day – your attitude – is in the right place!

Next, they sent me a free sample of their “Love Is…” Chart and Bible Study for the family.  It goes over 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 in detail.  It was DEEP!  Like, we’re still working through it and revisiting deep.

Every fragment of that verse is broken up into key points to learn about God’s character, how Jesus showed us this character trait, and what the Bible expects of us as His believers.  So if you wonder how we are still working through those three verses, it’s because every day we read about 50 verses from all over Scripture!

I also love their action points – I used them as journal entries – that got the kids thinking about how to apply it to their lives.

And when we had incidents where the kids were less than loving, there is a chart above our fish tank (crooked, I know) that we went back to in order to discuss the disciplinary issue at hand.

Many moms know that it’s difficult to carve out the time for our personal discipleship without neglecting the kids, and much like when I exercise, I try to have the kids join me in my Bible studies so that we proverbially kill two birds with one stone.  I need to study God’s Word, and they do too, might as well do it together.  Doorpost’s resources are designed to make THIS work!  They are for the homeschooling Mom who may read a small devotional in the kitchen over coffee or may have to do it while rocking a sick baby over one shoulder, or with the kiddos around you during “circle time”.  I have yet to meet a Christian publishing company that “gets it” quite like Doorpost.

Next I’m looking at the Busy Mom’s 30 Day Guide through 1 Corinthians 13.  I personally love their mom devotionals more than anything.  You can really soak it in!

The key point is, to be at our healthiest as Moms, we need to be moms who pray.  Prayer is a two-way communication with God where we talk to Him and (let’s not forget this crucial part) God talks to us through His Word.

My fitness journey began with prayer.  I had to get my heart and mind centered on the right things.  I needed to clear myself of a lot of lies.  I also needed supernatural intervention in a lot of outside areas so that I could make it.  If you want to wait for your kids, your body, your schedule, your finances, your home, your marriage and your work to just “fall into place” harmoniously before you start taking ownership of your health… Well… You will probably be sitting there a LONG time.

#Prayer gives us the courage to live with a #noexcuses attitude in regards to our #health

How do I incorporate prayer in to my diet and exercise all the while juggling all my other responsibilities as a mother? Here’s what I pray for:

  • I ask God to give me the strength to do what is important even when I’m tired.
  • I memorize Scripture to recite while I’m at a difficult point in the exercise and I want to quit.
  • I turn to worship music to fill my soul when I’m tempted to open the fridge door for comfort.
  • I drink water while I read my Bible.
  • I give to the Lord the priorities of the day, and ask Him to help the children and I cooperate so that we get the important things done.
  • I make exercise a God-honoring, important thing – right up there after reading my Bible and praying every day.

So go check Doorposts out, and take a peek at their resources.  And pray!  The beautiful thing is, the Bible says we serve a God whom we can approach confidently or boldly.  He invites us to the throne of grace for us to present our needs to Him.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time,[a] casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you. – 1 Peter 5:6-8 HCSB