Tag Archives: stewardship

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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Leah Kostamo: Care and Keep

In honor of Earth Day today, I’m excited to welcome author and conservationist Leah Kostamo. Leah’s book Planted: A Story of Creation, Calling, and Community tells the story of her and her husband’s pioneering Christian environmental stewardship work in Canada. She’s a transplanted Arizona girl, a mom, and–as I discovered as we laughed and talked–a kindred spirit. Join our conversation . . . 

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leahheadshotLeah, let’s start by hearing a bit about what you do in your work.

About 10 years ago we started the first Christian environmental center in Canada with A Rocha, an international Christian organization that works in 20 countries around the world. For people who haven’t been to our center before, I describe it like a youth hostel meets the Sierra club and then wrap that all up with Christian hospitality on an organic farm.

We focus on doing three things: First is environmental education. Then we do conservation work—basically just studying the habitat where we are and working to preserve it. (We’re on a stream that has four species of salmon so we do a lot of work on the stream). And then the third thing we do is we have a big organic garden and we have an organic box program where about 100 families get food from our farm, along with food banks and other means of help for those in poverty.

On my blog this month, we’ve explored environmental stewardship from several angles. I realize not everyone is as enthusiastic about this issue as you and I are, Leah! So if you were talking with someone who had concerns or was skeptical about the idea of environmental stewardship, what would you most want to say to that person?

 I would start with Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” That’s our starting point. I think it is also important to primarily use the word creation instead of environment because “creation” assumes a “Creator.” If there’s a Creator, then we turn to the biblical narrative in Genesis and see that it assumes stewardship. The two words used in Genesis 2 are care and keep. These are the same words used in Aaron’s blessing: “The Lord bless you and keep you.” It’s critical that we understand this is God’s charge to humanity: to care and keep creation. Continue reading

Love the Least of These

Being green and 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).

love least these

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, deforestationclimate 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

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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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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Extras! Be Green Week 1

Each Friday during our “Be Green” month, I’ll be posting some fun extras for you. As we focus this week on receiving God’s good gift of creation with gratitude, here are some powerful creation-care hymns for you to consider . . . and sing! (Be sure to click on them to find the full lyrics and melodies of each  hymns.)

•  “All things bright and beautiful, / All creatures great and small, / All things wise and wonderful: / The Lord God made them all.”

•  “I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, / Thy power throughout the universe displayed: / Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:/ How great thou art! How great thou art!”

• “All fairest beauty, heavenly and earthly / Wondrously, Jesus, is found in Thee.” 

• “For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies . . . Lord of all to Thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise.”

• “All that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care; And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.”

• “This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair; / In the rustling grass I hear Him pass; / He speaks to me everywhere.”

receive with gratitudebe green photo.

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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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