Tag Archives: green

Extras! Be Green Wrap Up

So how can we live in gratitude to God for his amazing creation? How can we discover more about God through his world? How can we embrace Scripture’s call to stewardship? How can we care for people through our creation care efforts?

Check out these 12 organizations, resources, and links to find out more:

be green photoA Rocha — A global, Christ-centered conservation organization. Find out about hands-on opportunities to get involved! (Click here to read my interview with A Rocha USA’s Tom Rowley over at Relevant.)

Blessed Earth — Great biblical resources for how the church can mobilize to care for the environment. (You can also read a TCW article I wrote with insights from Nancy by clicking here.)

receive with gratitudecharity: water — Works to save lives and prevent disease by engineering clean water wells and sanitation.

Compassion International — Along with their child sponsorship work, Compassion seeks to address environmental degradation affecting the poor.

Earth-Wise — My favorite Bible study resource on creation care. I highly recommend this study guide by Calvin B. DeWitt!

experience god creationEvangelical Environmental Network — This organization inspires and equips evangelical Christians to care for creation. You’ll find podcasts, Creation Care magazine, and more.

John Ray Initiative — This British web site provides TONS of resources exploring the science behind critical environmental stewardship issues, all from a faith-based perspective. (P.S. If you’re skeptical about climate change, this is a great place to get more info you can consider.)

Local Harvest — Interested in finding farmer’s markets or CSAs to “green” your eating a bit? This web site will point you toward sustainable family farms in your community.

embrace scripture's callNational Wildlife Federation — Support conservation efforts by getting NWF’s fantastic kids’ magazines like Ranger Rick and Your Big Backyard.

Plant With Purpose — Help the poor through reversing deforestation! Plant With Purpose addresses poverty in the name of Christ by planting trees and other environmental efforts.

love least theseWorld Vision — World Vision addresses many environmental issues in their work among the poor, including engineering clean water and advancing sustainable farming techniques.

3 Amazing Women: Read my interviews with Leah Kostamo, Tracey Bianchi, and Nancy Sleeth —  Christian women who are each incorporating environmental concern into their faith, their sense of mission, and their daily life.

 

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Reflect and Respond — Be Green Week 1

Over the next 4 weeks as we explore the idea of “being green,” I’ll offer some Scripture passages to reflect on and some ways to respond in your life. And so we begin here: with gratitude, with worship, with praise to the Creator!

Reflect: Psalm 100:1-3

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
     Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
 Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Respond with Action:

• Go on a walk outdoors and notice as much as you can. God’s good gifts in creation are endless! As you notice, in your soul offer thanks.

• Have you taken God’s creation for granted? Pray, confessing an attitude of ingratitude that may have infiltrated your life. Freely receive God’s abundant grace for you.

• Spend time seeing bits of God’s amazing creation that may not be part of your normal life. Find pictures of animals at the National Wildlife Federation’s site or videos of endangered animals at Arkive. Watch the BBC/Discovery Channel Planet Earth series to see stunning vistas from around the globe (and even under the sea!).

receive with gratitude

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Receive with Gratitude

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31).

Isn’t this so true? The goodness, very goodness, of our amazing world surrounds us. Pause for a minute and look. Listen. Touch. Taste. Drink. Inhale. Receive.

The natural resources, the abundant beauty, the stunning ongoing miracles uncovered by science, the rich diversity of plant and animal life: the myriad of good, very good, gifts from God surround us. Embrace us. Invite us. Bless us.

receive with gratitudeThis is wherebeing green begins for me, and for each of us who follow after our Lord:Seeing this wild and amazing world, the very life in our bones, as God’s good–very good–gift to us. And then receiving these gifts with profound gratitude and humility!

It is God who made us, and not we ourselves. It is God who made us and we are his.

And it is God who made the rocks and trees and skies and seas – God’s hands the wonder wrought.

And it is God who made tree frogs and humming bees, the mitochondria in our cells and the flaming stars flung across the heavens, the mighty redwoods and the quivering rabbits, the rich and the poor. Continue reading

Be Green

What do you think of when you hear the word green?

Is it a political platform, like Ralph Nader and the Green Party?

Is it a word snidely and mockingly uttered by a right-wing radio personality?

 Is it a spiritually dangerous word, obviously masking some anti-Christian worldview underlying the beliefs and actions of radical environmentalists?

Is it the sinusy singing voice of Kermit the Frog? (“It’s not easy being green. . .”)

be green photo

Let me tell you what I think of.

I think of the intricate architecture of a vibrant fern, carpeting the ground beneath a towering forest.

I think of moss, of pine, of Kentucky blue grass. Example after example of beauty, big and small, in this world overflowing with green and growing everyday miracles.

I think of photosynthesis, and its power not just to feed plants but the amazingly designed system covering this globe of ours that creates and recreates oxygen for us to breathe. And the food production, from strawberries to broccoli to rice paddies and soybean fields, that sustains and nourishes the lives of earth’s creatures.

I think of growth, of roots, of life.

For me, it’s a word shot through with spiritual meaning. For me, as a committed follower of Christ and a lover of Scripture, it’s a word that I’m happy—I’m proud—to use this month as we explore what it can look like to “be green.” To be biblically, soul-fully green. This April, we’ll consider together themes like gratitude, worship, beauty, intimacy with God, scriptural truth, and love.

If the word green raises your hackles, turns you off, or makes your wary and suspicious, I’d ask you to reconsider. Because this isn’t a word owned by left-wing extremists or right-wing shock jocks, by pantheists or by atheists.

It is a word for all of us.

And for me? This is a word that’s all about faith.

(I’ll admit that sometimes as a Christian deeply concerned about environmental issues—engaging in an arena dominated by unkind stereotypes, arrogant name-callers, and knee-jerk reactions—I do want to echo Kermit and dolefully sing out, “It’s not easy being green . . .”  But I digress.)

So will you join me, this month? Will you dare to be green?

(And if you’re skeptical? If you’re cautious? You’re welcome here too. I invite you to read along this month. To consider the case I make. To quiet the noise of our culture on this issue and intentionally let Scripture and the Spirit of God be the leading voice for you.)

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Meet Nancy Sleeth

As we wrap up our April focus on creation care, I’m privileged to introduce you to Nancy Sleeth. Nancy is the co-founder of Blessed Earth and the author of Almost Amish: One Woman’s Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life and Go Green, Save Green. Nancy and I spoke about environmental stewardship and the discipline of simplicity.

Nancy-SleethbwLet’s start out with what may seem like an obvious question: Why is environmental stewardship something Christians ought to care about?

I believe that we get our marching orders from the Bible – and the Bible is clear that we need to be good stewards of the earth. First, in Genesis 2:15 God gave his first job to humanity: to tend and protect the planet. There’s no expiration date on those marching orders. It’s still one of our prime directives: to be good caretakers of the earth.

Second, Scripture is clear that we need to love God. That’s what Jesus told us to do: to love God and love our neighbors. One way that we show our love for God is by loving what he loves. And very clearly in Genesis 1 he says not one time, two times, three times, four times, five times, but six times that it was good! So we know that God loves his creation. One important way we can show our respect for God and show love for God is by loving what he loves.

So often the idea of caring for the environment is linked with politics—and I think for some Christians, this political association brings up a lot of heated feelings and mistrust. How can Christians of different political stripes find common ground when it comes to creation care?

The really good news is that we have a book that’s eternal. It is neither left nor right—it’s just simply God’s Word. And that’s where we’re supposed to turn when we need to make decisions about how to live out our lives as followers of Jesus. Instead of worrying about whether something is left or right, we should be worrying about whether it is a biblically-based action. In everything we do, we want to be following what Jesus has called us to do.

Christians can find common ground by focusing on what the Bible has to say about living a life that is close to the life that Jesus led. Jesus is calling us not to be hoarding material things but to live a simple life in which our primary desire is to follow God. It’s not focused on accumulating things but focusing on relationships with people. Continue reading

Extras! Creation Care Week 4

So how can we live in gratitude to God for his amazing creation? How can we discover more about God through his world? How can we embrace Scripture’s call to stewardship? How can we care for people through our creation care efforts?

Check out these 10 organizations, resources, and links to find out more:

A Rocha — A global, Christ-centered conservation organization. Find out about hands-on opportunities to get involved! (Click here to read my interview with A Rocha USA’s Tom Rowley over at Relevant.)

Blessed Earth — Great biblical resources for how the church can mobilize to care for the environment. (This upcoming Monday Blessed Earth’s Nancy Sleeth will be here on my blog for some Q & A. Stay tuned! You can also read a TCW article I wrote with insights from Nancy by clicking here.)

charity: water — Works to save lives and prevent disease by engineering clean water wells and sanitation.

Earth-Wise — My favorite Bible study resource on creation care. I highly recommend this study guide by Calvin B. DeWitt!

Evangelical Environmental Network — This organization inspires and equips evangelical Christians to care for creation. You’ll find podcasts, Creation Care magazine, and more.

John Ray Initiative — This British web site provides TONS of resources exploring the science behind critical environmental stewardship issues, all from a faith-based perspective. (P.S. If you’re skeptical about climate change, this is a great place to get more info you can consider.)

Local Harvest — Interested in finding farmer’s markets or CSAs to “green” your eating a bit? This web site will point you toward sustainable family farms in your community.

National Wildlife Federation — Support conservation efforts by getting NWF’s fantastic kids’ magazines like Ranger Rick and Your Big Backyard.

Plant With Purpose — Help the poor through reversing deforestation! Plant With Purpose addresses poverty in the name of Christ by planting trees and other environmental efforts.

World Vision — World Vision addresses many environmental issues in their work among the poor, including engineering clean water and advancing sustainable farming techniques.

Meditate and Act: Creation Care Week 4

As we focus on how creation care has direct implications for the lives of others–especially the global poor– consider this Scripture to guide a time of meditation and pick an action step to try.

Meditate: Matthew 22:37-39

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”–Jesus

 

Respond with Action:

Meaningful Meal: As a family or on your own, fast by eating a very simple meal such as rice and a bowl of broth or some beans. Use the experience to think more deeply about the daily experiences of the global poor. Conclude your meal by reading or praying through a passage (such as Isaiah 58) that illustrates God’s heart for the poor and vulnerable and God’s desire that his people stand up with justice and compassion.

 Pray: We can’t always see the effects of our lifestyle upon others. For example, we may not see how our energy consumption contributes to emissions that pollute rivers and fish with mercury that then threatens the life and health of the unborn. This is just one of many examples! So we can ask that God open up our eyes. Pray a daily prayer: Today show me one way to love the poor and vulnerable through my care of creation. And as God shows you one way to be a better steward, consecrate your act by praying: Lord, I care for creation out of love and obedience to you. And I make this small choice as a way of loving others in your name.

Research: Read more about the effects of environmental degradation upon the poor. I highly recommend the document you’ll find here from the National Association of Evangelicals. (Take time to click on and read the whole pdf.)

Loving the Least of These

diamonds

Caring for the planet is about a lot more than caring for fish or trees or birds or rivers or dirt or air. As Christians, we care for creation as a means of loving our neighbors (Matthew 22:36-40). We believe that human life is of inestimable worth—far beyond the value of diamonds or gold or rubies or dollar bills. Because of our belief in the sanctity of life, we take seriously Scripture’s call to protect the vulnerable (Isaiah 58), care for the “least of these” (Matthew 25:31-46), and do unto others as we’d want others to do unto us (Luke 6:31).

It’s a basic biological fact: Human life is inextricably tied to the health of the created world. The harsh reality is that environmental degradation directly and negatively impacts human lives! All over the globe, people are getting sick, remaining mired in cycles of poverty, and even dying as a result of environmental degradation. Air pollution, water pollution, deforestation, climate change, and many other factors are directly hurting humans whom God created, whom God loves, and whom God has called us to love like he does.

So as Christians we care that unborn babies are born with toxic levels of mercury in their blood as a result of the pollution caused by certain forms of energy production. And we care that other babies are born with birth defects linked directly to air pollution. Continue reading

Extra! Creation Care Week 3

I’m really, super duper, majorly excited to share this extra with you this week!!! Can you sense my enthusiasm? This is really a fantastic resource!

Check out this video called “Our Father’s World” — it’s a brand new, short, 27-minute documentary all about environmental stewardship. It features some really important evangelical Christian leaders today, including Bill Hybels of Willow Creek and others.

This is worth your time, friends. It really is. And once you watch it, share it with others . . . and pop back in to let me know what you think!

Meditate and Act: Creation Care Week 3

As we focus on answering the Bible’s call to steward God’s created world, consider this Scripture to guide a time of meditation and pick an action step to try.

Meditate: Genesis 1:26-28 from The Message

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them
reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
God created human beings;
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
He created them male and female.
God blessed them:
“Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”

 

Respond with Action:

• Enjoy your own piece of caretaking and stewardship by starting a backyard garden, potting a tomato plant on your porch, or tending a houseplant. Have fun with both the joy and the work of this process. Consider what God might be teaching you through it.

• Think through practical steps you can take as a steward by using this free worksheet from Blessed Earth. Pray about the ideas God may be leading you to implement.

• Commit to reduce the amount of trash your family sends to the landfill. You can do this by: buying less, utilizing more reusable containers, composting biodegradable waste, and recycling. What’s one gradual step you can implement to curb your trash production?

• Read and consider several more ideas in the article I wrote last year highlighting “7 non-weird and non-political things you can do to care for creation.”