Tag Archives: nature

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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Extras! Be Green Week 3

I’m very excited to share an amazing resource with you to enrich your exploration of what it means to embrace Scripture’s call regarding the created world.

Check out this video called “Our Father’s World” — it’s a powerful 27-minute Christian 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!

embrace scripture's call

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Reflect and Respond, Be Green Week 3

We’ve covered a lot so far in our “be green” journey! 1. The idea of receiving the good gifts of God’s created world with gratitude. 2. Experiencing God’s presence & character in his created world. And now, 3. Embracing Scripture’s call.

So this week, as we focus on answering the Bible’s call to steward God’s created world, consider this Scripture to guide a time of reflection and pick an action step to try.embrace scripture's call

Reflect: 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 a few years ago highlighting “7 non-weird and non-political things you can do to care for creation.”

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Extras! Be Green Week 2

2 fun extras I want to share with you this week as we consider how God reveals himself through the created world.

• Click here to listen to a radio interview I did for a national Australian radio show. In this interview I get a chance to share my passion for creation care and the biblical basis for it.

• Check out this amazing YouTube video, “Nature by Numbers,” about how math is just about everywhere in the created world. It’s really stunning and cool. It points to the intricate design throughout all of nature.

experience god creation

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Reflect and Respond, Be Green Week 2

During our “be green” journey, as we focus on experiencing God through his creation, consider this Scripture to guide a time of meditation and pick an action step to try.

Reflect: Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God; 

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Respond with Action:

• Stargaze one evening or get up early to watch a sunrise. Focus your heart on how God is demonstrating his existence and his wonder through what you see.

• Pray, praise, sing, worship! Thank God that he speaks and affirms biblical truth to you through his “second book.”

• Pause to see God in nature by viewing the stunning images captured by my friend Dorothy Greco, a writer and photographer. Where do you see God in these snapshots? What is revealed about God’s character? (And if you feel inspired, grab your camera and shoot some of your own snapshots. Nature provides an abundance of divine beauties to ponder!)

experience god creation.

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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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Surprise! God is present.

Awhile back, I got to do an interview with pastor and author Adele Calhoun for Today’s Christian Woman. My conversation with her was so personally encouraging, and one thing she said really stuck with me: “Consider the biblical story itself and the wide variety of ways people experienced God and got to know God: Abram heard God’s voice, Jacob dreamed of angels ascending and descending, Moses saw a burning bush, Balaam heard God speak through a donkey, Samson felt God’s strength, Elijah heard God in a whisper on a mountain, Isaiah saw God high and lifted up, Daniel had dreams, Mary talked with an angel, and on and on. The Bible itself is a catalogue of people’s diverse and unique experiences with God.”

paintbrushesHow do you experience God and connect with God’s presence? What does it uniquely look like for you to be present with God?

Clearly, Bible study is a critical way to come to know and understand God and who God is. This is the starting place. We also connect with God emotionally, spiritually, and even intellectually in practices like prayer and worship. These are the “essential vitamins,” per se, of the Christian life.

But there are also some ways we can be present with God that surprise us. For example, we can connect with God through creative expression—art, poetry, music, and even casual doodling can be intentionally transformed into a Christ-centered experience as we ponder the beauty of God’s world or mull over truths in awareness of God’s presence with us. Continue reading

10 Little Ways to Wake Up

Pray more. Worship more. Read Scripture more. Yeah . . . you got those. These are often the spiritual “prescription” we receive when we know our spirit needs a boost. And these are right on. These are essential vitamins we need for our souls’  well-being! But in addition to these basics, God invites us into something other than just “do more” . . . than just a to-do list that always says you aren’t doing enough. Here are 10 little ways you can wake up your soul . . . peruse, pick 1 or 2, let your mind wander to pick your own.R U Awake

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1. Take 5 minutes to list (or speak aloud) things you’re grateful for. Praise God for them all!

2. Hug or kiss someone you really love. Consider how this human relationship provides a glimpse into intimacy with God.

 3. Hunt for nature’s beauties. God is the very essence of beauty! (Too cold outside? Look out your window with a mission to notice beauties you often over look. Or peruse online nature images instead.)

 4. Laugh out loud. Dwell in some delightful or silly memories or watch a funny movie. God is the ultimate source of joy . . . our own chuckles remind us of a deeper joy we experience in God.

 5.  Continue reading

Cease . . . Embrace

2 long days in the car with 2 adults and 3 kids. A few traffic jams. 78 Waffle House restaurants passed. And then we arrived here. P1040015

And it was all worth it.

A much (much, much, much, much) needed break. Family time. Laughter. Adventures. Discoveries. And, aaaaaaaaaah!, basking in tremendous beauties  — both big and soaring and those hidden, miniscule, beneath my feet. The beauties of breeze and bird and sea and sky. (Oh, and alligators, too. And did I mention manatees?)

It was a Sabbath of Sabbaths for me. No, not a Sunday nor a day of rule-keeping. But a family vacation. As the Brits call it, a holiday.

These were, indeed, holy-days for us. Days of rest, of play, and of being. And they remind me anew of the Sabbath-moments we all need, outside of scheduled retreats from reality and woven within the sometimes frayed fabric of everyday normality.

In The Rest of God, Mark Buchanan urges us to live within a Sabbath-attitude: “[D]o you play enough?” Continue reading

Being (Redux)

fernsThis month we’ll look at the word “be.” I’m excited about what we’ll be discussing over the next few weeks and I’ve got some great new content to share with you. But we’ll start with a re-posting of a blog entry from a year or 2 back called “Re-Learning Be-ing.”

• • • • •

Perhaps the title of the post should instead be “Un-learning Do-ing.” Doing, of course, is not a bad thing. What we do is very important to God in many ways and is part of who he made us to be–and we will explore that in an upcoming month.

But in our discussion of be-ing, do-ing can be a real danger. It is dangerous when what we do entirely defines who we are. It is even more dangerous, I think, when doing becomes inextricably linked with how we “use” time–When everything must be utilitarian, practical, or some sort of accomplishment. And it can be especially dangerous when doing = contentment and goodness while non-doing = discontent and discomfort that must be avoided at all costs.

This is certainly not a personal campaign for laziness! That is not the non-doing I’m talking about. For me, this comes down to the practices and disciplines that strip away, for a moment, the protections and habits that insulate us from seeing our real state — the busynesses and myriad of to-dos that cocoon us in a spiritually static state of preoccupation.

There are many practices that help us learn to be — practices I need because they are in a sense so hard at times and thus reveal how necessary they are. Continue reading