Another Peak Behind the Scenes of our Teens’ Selfie Society

IMG_2898If the title of this blog sounds vaguely familiar you may remember reading my post in which I initially shared the teen survey link that I have used as foundational research for a manuscript I am currently working on. Today I have the privelege of sharing some of the information cultivated from these surveys in a guest blog post for Rooted Ministry.  

Rooted seeks to transform youth groups by focusing on grace-driven and Christ-centered teaching. They believe, as do I, the solution to preventing the mass exodus of students involved in youth ministry from leaving the church once they move on to college and adulthood is prioritizing the preaching of Christ’s work and worth. Hearing about who He is for them, as opposed to a focus on law-driven, morality-based teaching, is the life-giving message they must hear to be firmly rooted in Him.

I encourage you to read more on the Rooted site after picking up my post there today. You can read it by clicking here.


Let Freedom Ring

imagesFor many, this July 4th rings of new freedom and I suspect a more resounding proclamation of our country being a “sweet land of liberty.” While I do not wish to discuss the actual Supreme Court’s controversial decision that took over Facebook this past week, I do have a concerning observation because of it.

If freedom and rights are what were being fought for and discrimination the basis for the change in the law, what has happened to the freedom to hold a differing opinion?

From what I’ve seen play out online pro-supporters are free to rejoice while those who say anything against the decision are being ridiculed…or discriminated against.  Don’t get me wrong because I know much of the minority opinion has come in the form of hurtful attack and self-righteous slander and this is wrong. But by the same token for those like myself who hold firm to the Truth of the Bible I’m not so sure freedom still rings.

There is obviously a great divide in our country, this is nothing new. But in the shift in public thinking what appears to be happening from this side of the fence is an intolerance to the Christian point of view.

For the first time in my life I am very aware that what I believe is no longer culturally accepted and many are adamantly opposed. Historically there is nothing new about this for the Christian. Throughout time believers have been called to live counter-culturally. For some this has meant persecution and death, but rarely have American Christians been called out of our comfort zones. And, therefore, generally don’t venture there.

I’ld say the majority of Christians either: Prefer their holy huddles over engaging “the sinners out there” or, they have grown so complacent in their faith that it no longer characterizes their lives or sets them apart.  Similarly, the church at large tries so hard to be culturally relevant we miss seeing how much like the world we have become.

In the changing landscape of our country, Christians and the Church are needed not to serve as the purity police, to offer up feel-good messages of morality and law, or to retreat. Christians and the Church are called to go out in love, to show compassion and to speak truth.

For it is only in hearing the truth of God’s word – about the work and worth of Christ – that hearts will ever change.  Only by seeing how glorious and full of grace Jesus was toward undeserving sinners that He will be rightly understood.

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” I Corinthians 1:18

“So Jesus said …“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

Christians – Let Freedom Ring!

To Live as the Favorite Child

IMG_8198As I write this my kids have been away at camp for nine days already and I have received all of two letters. Yep – just two. Between three kids! I figured out if they each wrote everyday (like I do 😉 ) that would be a total of 27 letters by now!

Seriously, it’s fine. Based on a previous track record I knew ahead of time that one wouldn’t write at all. That child didn’t even want stationery in the trunk and considering there were still stamped envelopes in there from three years ago, I decided it was time to hand those over to a different child.

Now the other two normally do write, but according to me daughter’s letter I think she is taking advantage of her rest time to get her Bolivian counselor’s help with her huge AP Spanish packet, due when school starts back! The other one – I assume is writing and drawing in his journal because that is what he likes to do, but who knows with him.

What I love though is both who wrote signed their letters as “Your Favorite Child.” They have given themselves this title, but I’m glad they feel such love and security that they live according to the status.  Because you know what?

This is how we should live as children of God.  We are all God’s Favorite Child! 

All of us! He doesn’t favor one over the other because one is a better Christian, does more good works or hasn’t committed certain sins. Nope – all of His children are His favorite children!

I had never thought about this until reading a chapter in Kay Wyma’s book I’m Happy for You (Sort of…Not Really) on “finding contentment in a culture of comparison” – a book I’ve shared once before here.

In the book she quotes author Henri Nouwen as saying:

“Our God…does not compare. Never… I cannot fathom how all of God’s children can be favorites. And still, they are… God loves with a divine love, a love that cedes to all women and men their uniquenss without ever comparing.”

How amazing is that!

In our humanness that is hard to comprehend when we seem to not be able to not compare! That is, after all, how favorites are chosen- comparing one to the other.  And I’m not talking about children, it’s how we decide our favorite anything. Favorite shoes, favorite food, favorite vacation. We compare and contrast to determine which one is better or best.

But how would it change things for you if you knew God is not comparing and contrasting you to your neighbor? To your Bible study friend? To the room mom? Nor is He comparing the addict who slipped up again or your spouse whose sin is seemingly so much greater than yours ;0 to you.

  • Wouldn’t it eliminate the striving to be good enough?
  • Wouldn’t it help you rest knowing you are okay just as you are? 
  • Wouldn’t it help you believe that it’s not about what we do, but what He did for us? 
  • Wouldn’t it also convict us of our pride by pointing out the ways we think we are better because of what we do or don’t do? 

So back to the “What If” game that I introduced in a recent post:

What if we lived as if we were God’s favorite child?

Wouldn’t that be freeing?!

What If…

FullSizeRenderLast week I walked into the kitchen to hear my kids doing their “What if” game, if that’s what you can call it. It’s really not a game, but a passive way of putting each other down.

One of them would say something like “What if (insert name of sibling) wasn’t strong?” to which another one would reply, “What if nobody liked (insert name of sibling)?”

After listening for a few minutes to this unwholesome talk, it was put to a stop. But the way it originally got started was not like this. It was simply from the constant barrage of “What if” questions – mostly related to sports – from my youngest that got the rest of us referring to it as his “What if” game.

“What if KD left the Thunder?”

“What if SMU never got the death penalty?”

“What if I get drafted into the MLB?”

That kid loves a story and has quite an imagination so in asking the questions he really just wants someone to dream of future realities with him. Today I want to ask you to play the “What if” game with me.

Just for a moment or maybe throughout your day, let yourself think on this:

“What if we all lived out our calling to love others as we love ourselves?”


I don’t even think we can comphrehend how this alone would change things in our marriages, families, relationships with friends, neighbors and strangers, our workplaces, schools, homes, communities, churches and world!

So let’s just play it out with a few scenarios.

What if instead of nitpicking our husbands about all the way he fails, we looked for ways to serve, encourage and respect? What if these simple gestures of grace made home – and us – a safe place instead of a place he wants to avoid because of the constant reminder of how he doesn’t measure up to our expectations of him as husband and dad? What if not feeeling so beaten down anymore led him to  initiate more family time and to show more thoughtful care and love toward you?

  • Do you think there would be less divorce?
  • Happier marriages?
  • More secure kids?

What if more secure kids meant instead of them constantly comparing themselves and worrying about what others think, they were satisfied with who they are? What if knowing and resting in their identity in Him instead of striving to be somebody else enabled them to take their eyes off themselves to see others in need of a friend. What if by befriending the one on the outside or noticing who was being excluded that person began to feel loved and significant?

  • Do you think that woulds start a chain reaction?
  • Do you think there would be more genuine friendships?
  • Less cattiness?
  • Less tearing others down to build oneself up?

What if we adults followed suit by making time for coffee with a friend going through a hard time or calling up someone we haven’t talked to in awhile instead of busying ourselves with own agendas? What if we weren’t so wrapped up in our own lives that we even knew a friend or neighbor was experiencing difficulty?

What if church members actually lived out the gospel they profess to believe by sharing their brokenness with one another instead of pretending things are perfect? What if by taking off the masks and letting others see our weaknesses and sin, it freed others to do the same?

  • Do you think there would be more forgiveness and grace?
  • Do you think that would build better, more transparent relationships?
  • Do you think this might even make us more content, joyful, thankful?

What if this wasn’t all just dreaming and by God’s grace we really lived…

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

How awesome to see how loving others better would actually impact and change our own corners of the world.


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When There Are No Answers

  • images-1Where was God this week when the family went missing from the floods in Texas?
  • If He is all-powerful, why didn’t He save them all?
  • Why does He allow for such tragedies?

These are our questions. Variations of these same questions have been asked throughout time. Yet God’s sovereignty, goodness, presence and power can’t ever be completely comprehended this side of heaven.

I wish this wasn’t how it is. I wish we had the foreknowledge to see well into the future – to know things were going to be okay. To see how God would use bad for good. To help us to trust Him better. But this isn’t how it is and that is what makes faith, faith.

So we are left to wrestle with our faith, our questions, our doubts and our anger.  And, yes, we can be angry at and question God. He knows what is in your mind anyway and if you look at the Psalms you will see people praying their pain.

“O Lord, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand. You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep…” Psalm 88:1-6

This is how honest we can be before Him. And for those who are grieving and mourning the loss of loved ones, you do not have to sugar-coat the real feelings you feel. You don’t have to put a Christian-spin on your pain and pretend your faith is so great you don’t question.

One of my husband’s seminary professors used to say, “I pray for people when they are suffering that God would protect them from other Christians.” Christians who mean well but actually add more hurt by throwing out spiritual platitudes to try to help. 

So though we don’t know the whys, we have a God who knows what it is like to lose a Son and Savior who knows what it’s like to suffer.  A Savior who left his heavenly throne to enter in to the brokenness of this world so He could identify with us as Friend.

He did not come just to suffer for us, but He came to suffer with us. So now we have a resource to turn to with all of our questions, all of our hurts, all of our pain and all of our suffering. 

By God’s grace may we know this One who is a Friend to the broken-hearted and may we feel His presence near.

imagesDon’t want to miss a post? Interested in receiving my future monthly newsletter? Enter your email to sign up in the top right-hand box! For an additional post on the God’s sovereignty, see: When Disaster Strikes.

When God Seems Against You

I remember as a high schooler trying out for cheer, which I had no business doing considering I had never taken gymnastics in my life! Back then though kids didn’t have to choose an activity from such an early age and at my high school the cheerleading squad was a privledge just for seniors. I’m sure my soccer coach was so annoyed, but the status of being a cheerleader carried great appeal with me at the time.

Needless to say I didn’t make the squad. I did continue playing soccer. Initially though I was bitter that God didn’t give me what I wanted. In my mind as a “good” Christian, I deserved it. So why did he “bless” others and not me?

This example seems trivial and silly now. But, do you ever think this way?

Perhaps, you have been passed over for a position or promotion. Maybe you’ve been trying for months, years even, to get pregnant. Or, you can’t ever seem to get ahead with your finances because something is always breaking down or needing repair. For us, it’s God not working according to our timetable with the church we are planting. Regardles of what it is, do you sometimes feel like you are doing everything “right” so why isn’t God coming through?!

The part that is hard to admit is this mindset points to a works-based religion, a theological persepective that most Protestants would deny. Yet functionally we are believing our “performance” should determine God’s response. If we hold up our end by doing “good” and acting obediently, we deserve God’s blessing. On the flip side, when something bad happens we assume it was deserved because of a lack of commitment to Christ. When it doesn’t work out this way, our prevading reaction: God failed us.

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Does He though? 

His Word says He is for us and “if God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?” It sure doesn’t feel this way when at times it seems everything and everyone is against us – including, and maybe even especially, God!

Continuing to the next verse we read: “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32)?”

Giving us all things? Really?

Certainly it isn’t the all things that we want! Nor all things we think would be best. Could it be all things is actually something greater than we imagine – something more?

I think the key to this verse is found in “how will He not also with Him graciously give.” ALSO WITH HIM refers to Jesus.

In Jesus, God graciously gives us all things. All things being His perfect perfomance record credited to us, His righteousness replacing our filthy rags, and his sacrificial, atoning death so that we might live. In a nutshell, God gives us Himself!

Because of all these things when we fail, God still views us as perfect. We won’t ever get what we really deserve because He became sin for us. So, instead of judgment – we receive His grace and mercy and unending love.

The problem is in the midst of our here and now and not getting what we want, we forget these things. We believe He is against us becaue it looks like He is withholding “good.” We charge Him for not coming through according to our plans. We rebuke Him because what we really want is for Him to hand over His reigns. We think certainly we would do a better job of ordering all things.

What we fail to see in this is how He could possibly be using (even allowing) our sin, struggles, disappointments, rejections, hurts, heartaches and hardships for our good. A good that is better than what the world views as “good.” Good in the sense of bringing us to the end of ourselves so we land at the foot of the cross.  

I know that may not sound better than the “good” we want, but to the degree we see our need and dependence on the One who took our sin and gave us His life is to the degree we will be overwhelmed by His love for us. 

When I know His unfailing love for me and see the all things God has bestowed upon me through His Son, it may not take away the pain or make life easier, but it does give me hope to hang on to. And it gives me the reassurance I need to know He is not only not against me, but He is for me. My ultimate good and His glory is always, without fail on His mind.

A Needed Perspective when your Child Faces Try-outs or Election

‘Tis the season for many middle school and high school kids to try out or run for next year’s squad, Student Council or the like. It’s agonizing – and not just for them!

This was our week this week, times two.


During the first part of the week, my daughter ran for a school-wide Student Council officer position that she did not win. Because of the loss, she had to turn around and run for a Senior Senator spot the following days. This made for one long, stressful week with lots of talk, analyzing and prayer. 

Both races I wanted badly for her – something good, something to look forward to, something to reassure her and give her purpose. Yet at the same time I knew neither position could ultimately fulfill or make all things right. Only – it sure is alot easier to keep that in perspective after (or when) things go the way we want. FullSizeRender

The truth is even if our kids get what they try out or run for, we must help them see “life” is not found in these things and their identity is tied to something so much greater.  (For that matter, we must see this for oursevles, as many parents try to find their identity wrapped up in who their kids are!)

Whether are kids are on a varsity squad, any squad or no squad, a Student Council officer, represenative or not involved, popular or could care less, straight-A student or barely hanging on, turn heads with their beauty or just blend in, none of this is who they are at their core.  And none of this makes anyone more or less important than others.  

If we live as if these things are “life,” we will constantly be striving to measure up and looking for something to make us okay. We will be crushed in defeat and prideful in our accomplishments. But, if our true identity and unchanging value is found in Jesus, nothing can shake our security.

Jesus bore the suffering, humiliation and pain of death on a cross and thought it nothing in comparison to the joy of reconciling his children to the Father. He literally became sin, so we could have his righteousness. We therefore live under the smile of God and not his condemnation.  He views us as perfect, because Jesus was perfect for us.

This is how great his love for his children is and this is where our most true and secure identity lies. This is the doctrine of justification and why theology matters.

When we know our standing before God does not change, when we know his love and acceptance, when we know he is “life,” than we can stand secure when things don’t turn out how we want, when we face disappointments and rejection. 

So when my child loses an election, she finds assurance knowing because God has accepted her and declared her perfect, she is not a loser or failure. And, when my child wins an election, she can take no pride in her own performance or view herself as better than those who didn’t succeed because it is Jesus’ perfect performance for us that defines us.

Who he says we are – treasured, loved, accepted, included, significant, wonderfully and fearfully made – is who we are.

We need to understand the everyday implications of this truth and by God’s grace live out of its reality. This is the foundation and comfort as parents we need to give our children. This is how we help them be okay with who they are and where God has them.

It’s not easy to rest in his truth and love when other things seem so much more tangible. But, nothing else can give as secure an identity as knowing the God of the universe who created us and cast his love upon us sings his praises over us! Only in our titles as “Sons and Daughters of the King” do we have a stable and secure identity that will not shatter, no matter what. images-1

Why Good Friday gets lost on those who think they are ‘Good’

And Jesus went on with his disciples… And on the way he asked (them), “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him. Mark 8:27-30

Why would Jesus tell his disciple Peter not to tell anyone that he is the Christ? I mean, if the disciples’ job was to spread word of the Messiah than staying silent doesn’t make sense. 

Thankfully my confusion on this was cleared up by one of my husband’s recent sermons and today, as we celebrate Easter weekend, I want to share with you what I learned.

First, the passage continues with…

“And he (Jesus) began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Mark 8:31-33

So now we see Peter rebuking Jesus! Can you imagine? But the reason behind his admonition is key to understanding why Jesus wants him silent.  

You see, Peter thinks he is “good.” He does not see his need of rescuing and  therefore doesn’t see why the Messiah had to die. But what Peter doesn’t get is that a messiah without the cross is no Messiah at all.  And Peter’s sinful heart is in need of the sacrificial atonement of the Messiah, just as we all are, no matter how “good” we think we are.

His problem in thinking he is “good” is actually the problem of some others in this text: the elders, the chief priests and the scribes. The ones who were the respected religious teachers and moral leaders. The ones who ‘perfectly’ followed the law (on the outside at least). The Pharisees.

These same “good” men happen to be the ones who crucified Jesus!

images-1Interesting, huh?!

Because of their “goodness” in following the law and upholding moral values, they didn’t see their need for rescuing.  They were blind to their sinful pride and their internal sin put them in steep opposition to Jesus. They are the only ones in Scripture He condemns, whereas all other sinners He welcomes gladly!

Now if Peter’s problem was also not seeing his need for a Savior because of his goodness, could it be Jesus wanted to distance Himself from his own disciple? Could it be this is why Jesus told Peter to not tell anyone?

What I find most fascinating is the one who is “good,” in and of himself, is who Jesus’ doesn’t want witnessing about Him. Yet throughout the New Testament after Jesus has spoken to known sinners and outcasts they have gone off to proclaim His name and never once did He stop them! Those “bad” people knew their sin and need and in their own weakness found His grace amazing. And, He was never embarassed by them!

Jesus’ mission on earth was not simply to teach and to serve as an example to follow, but to rescue.  But when we think we are good, we don’t see Him correctly nor our need of His rescue.  

This Easter may we see how desperately we really need a Messiah who went to the cross AND rose again. He accomplished everything He came to do – which is to save those who know they need saving. And for those who know they are not good, He takes everything good about Himself and credits it to us!

Now His identity is ours. Hallelujah!Unknown

How Church Gimmicks are Detracting from the Gospel and Distracting Its People

This post will most likely ruffle some feathers. But after hesitating to post these thoughts last Easter, I’ve decided perhaps the church could stand to have their feathers ruffled. Being in ministry and seeing the effects of the lack of gospel coming to bear on people’s lives daily, what I have to say is something I think about often. However, it is the various church postcards in my mailbox and the newspaper adverstisements I have seen for Easter that have put it on the forefront of my mind.

The bottom line and my question is this: If His Glory and the Gospel are enough… If His Word is True… If all we need is Jesus, Why the gimmicks and all the distractions?

The church in its attempt to be relevant has sold the gospel short and replaced it with slick marketing of entertainment. It seems the goal is to be the biggest, the best and the most fun so people want to come back. But, I’m afraid this has left our churches full of malnurished Christians feasting on everything but the Bread of Life.

We wonder why the mass exodus from the church is happening among college students and young adults who have been raised in the church, this is why. (If you haven’t heard the statistics, it is staggering and I’ve written about it once before here.)

As churches strive to entertain with high-tech productions, entice with gimmicks, and proclaim moral values and law, the one thing needed most and that makes church unique is missing.  Though Jesus may be talked about, who He is for us is not fully taught leading to a growing disconnect about what the gospel is and how it applies to everything has invaded the church. 

What we need to hear and know is of His unfailing, perfect love and obedience on our behalf. We need to hear and know that even in our sin, He looks at us as righteous because He was perfectly righteous for us. We need to hear and know how He identifies with us in every way. We need to hear these things so we know we can go to Him without shame. We need to know He is for us and He did everything necessary to secure our right standing before Him. He is where our identity is found. This is our hope to hold on to and only solution to all of our struggles and doubts. 

But if the church elevates law over gospel and fun over truth, His glory for us is unseen and the church is no longer a divine and necessary distraction from the rest of our week.

Churches: instead of setting out thousands of Easter eggs on Easter Sunday to create an experience, give these children Christ. No, they may not “get it” completely, but teaching proceeds understanding and the repetiton of the gospel is what we all need all the time. 

Just as we eat breakfast and then become hungry a few hours later, if we aren’t fed a steady diet of Christ, we will turn to other things to fill us. And soon that won’t do it for us, so we will look to something else.  Only by feasting on the Bread of Life will we ever be satisfied.

Christ is enough and the good news of His gospel needs no help in being applicable. “…It is the power of God that brings salvation to all who believe…” Nothing needs to be added or taken away. Ironically, when we do the church ceases to be relevant and often those who grow up in it leave because they don’t see it as life-giving.

What we need this Easter and on every other day is not an…


But, for His words “It is Finished!” to bring healing and hope to our hearts.

How Seeing Faith as a Gift Has Given Me Eyes of Compassion

I am currently reading a favorite book for the third time. Since it has already been heavily underlined this time around I am adding asterisks for extra emphasis. But what hit me yesterday is something altogether new; something I don’t even remember reading or thinking about before.

Isn’t God just like that keeping certain truths hidden until just the right time?

I must have read it before, but until this read through I had missed the significance. But, now- this time- God knew what my heart needed to see.


(According to recent studies, if we were still in a university setting depression would be the #1 issue we would being dealing with. Perhaps more on that in a future post.)

Before I explain more, I will give you a little background. My husband has been an ordained minister for about fourteen years. For about half that time we ministered to college students and over the years encountered several who were severly depressed, even suicidal. 

I couldn’t understand this kind of desperation. It just didn’t seem congruent for a believer in Christ to be struggling so deeply with a lack of faith, doubt or depression. It’s not that I didn’t feel badly for them, but in my ignorance it seemed they either weren’t doing something needed to help or not believing the way they should.  Before you judge me as insensitive, I will say it myself – because I did not identify with those struggles I was not compassionate and did not see how my pride made me as equally in need of a Savior.

Now fast-forward to this year. Some of these relate to the struggles my daughter is experiencing. I know she loves Jesus, she has the head knowledge to know He loves her, she has a family who loves and supports her, she hates her struggles and is getting help for them, yet they are still there.

She would never choose it like this, but it is outside of her control. God created her perfectly according to his plan, which means the ways she struggles, the fears, the doubts, the at times mustard-seed faith is how he wanted her to be – for her good and his glory.

I believe this with all my heart – in his goodness he has left her to struggle in the ways that she is for her good and for his glory. It doesn’t make dealing with it easier, but it does give purpose and meaning and hope!

The fact I can say this with full assurance, doesn’t make me a better Christian than someone who struggles with weaker faith.  This is the light bulb realization I’ve come to see: Faith is a gift! There is nothing in us that can conjure up a strong faith.

UnknownJust “getting” this has led to greater compassion, not just for my daughter, but for others who struggle with doubting, depression or mental illness.  I see the sometimes dibilitating and desperate enslavement of it. The hopeless that pushes out truth.

Some of you may know this scenario all too well. For me, it may not be first-hand, but God is using other’s struggles to shape and change me, too. And in them I am thankful: He is helping me see where I have lacked compassion and helping me see my need of His grace and compassion. Because whether our faith is strong or weak, it is He who holds us. It is He who covers us with His perfect obedience and righteousness and views us accordingly!

For those with little, mustard-seed faith you may gain the deeper understanding of this reality. But I pray each of us, by his grace, find hope in these words of pastor Tullian Tchividjian:

“Because Jesus was strong for me, I am free to be weak. Because Jesus won for me, I am free to lose. Becaue Jesus was Someone, I am free to be no one. Because Jesus was extraordinary, I am free to be ordinary. Because Jesus succeeded for me, I am free to fail.”