Tag: Jen Hatmaker

Missing Jesus

This is a picture of a stadium filled with women waiting for Jen Hatmaker to appear and speak.

This is a picture of me preaching recently at a church near us. (No, I didn’t move in. Those are props).

Looks pretty bleak, eh? There might have been 65 people in the congregation.

The guy doing the slides forgot to start and then kept clicking through trying to find the right one to fit with what I was saying. Just a tad distracting for those listening.

I’ve been a guest preacher here before, and there’s usually a young man with some challenges who burps loudly when I preach.

They had cobbled together my lapel mic which didn’t have a clip to attach, so it fell apart towards the end of my sermon. But hey, it was good practice for my ninja-like reflexes.

Yep, me and Jen…

Then, last Sunday I preached at different church, but it looked pretty much the same. Afterwards I was expecting out-of-town guests for brunch at home, about half an hour away, so I was anxious to bolt out the door at the end of the service.

So anxious that I blew off Jesus in my rush to exit.

After realizing who I missed, this is what I wrote in my journal:

Jesus, You were there yesterday! After worship You came up to me and awkwardly requested “a conference”. 

You looked like a crazy old man…kind of like a mad scientist with wispy white hair growing places where hair shouldn’t grow.

I had talked to You before and in my mind labeled you a little “off”.

Because I didn’t recognize You, and because I had to hurry home to prepare for guests coming for brunch, I said, “I’m so sorry, I have to go…” (READ: I have more important commitments with sane people.)

You handed me an offering envelope and asked if I could send you my sermon transcript. 

Later in the afternoon after my guests were gone, I thought, “What if it had been Bill Hybels who had stopped me?” Would I have rushed off, or would I have made time? What if it had been Jesus?

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40

Oh Lord, have mercy. Please forgive me. Help me to be present to You, to the Imago Dei in each person I encounter today.


Soul Food on a Bad Day

Awhile ago I wrote that I read and really liked Jen Hatmaker’s new book, For the Love. Full disclosure, there are a couple of chapters I didn’t care for, but mostly I think Jen’s hysterical and brilliant, and I read anything she writes. So this week when John asked if we could host a working dinner at our house with a consultant from out of town, I said “Sure.” and I decided I’d try THREE new recipes, including Jen’s recipe for Beef Bourguignon included in the book.

Big. Mistake.

I was also trying to squeeze in making soup for a friend with sick kids.

No, I’m not the brightest bulb on the string.

Add to this the fact that I’ve been sick and the number of guests John said were coming kept changing. I set the table three different times.

Let’s just say I was not my usual delightful self on Tuesday.

And then John showed up with these from my FAVORITE flower shop that I’ve ruthlessly trained him to go to gently hinted that I like. 🙂


A picture of GRACE!!!  Soul food, sister!

And then a call from daughter #1 in D.C. at the exact moment I couldn’t do anything more. Grace upon Grace! More soul food that filled me up with joy.

These graces made me want to be gracier towards others too. Especially cranky pants who might be having a bad day. The next day I read this in Mark Batterson’s IF:

Goethe said, “Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can be and should be, and he will become as he can be and should be.” 

No one modeled that better than Jesus.

The Pharisees treated people as they were. Jesus treated people as they could be.

Anyway, in addition to sharing some pictures of grace I want to share a couple of other things. That Beef Bourguignon from Jen? Well, in addition to being impossible to spell, it was a BUCKETLOAD of work and I really didn’t think it was worth it. I actually think my go-to 4 Hour Stew recipe is better and soooooo much easier! So in case you don’t have it, here you go and you’re welcome!

In a large baking dish (preferably with a tight lid) put:

2 lb. beef stew meat cut in chunks

1 medium onion in chunks

1 stalk celery sliced

6 carrots cubed

Blend together: 1 t. salt, 2 Tb. sugar, 2 Tb. tapioca

Sprinkle this over your meat and veggies.

Add 1 can of peas and spread on can of tomato soup over all.

Cover and bake @250 for 4 hours. Serve over biscuits or potatoes or whatever you want. Ta da! Serves 6

While you’re enjoying your stew, here’s some more soul food for when it seems like peace is elusive and you want to be hopeful, but also honest about your feelings…After hearing them in D.C. last week I downloaded The Brilliance new album, Brother which I love, love, love. The title track, Brother, is powerful, but this is my favorite.

Lastly, one more picture of soul food or grace or whatever you want to call it…Several years ago we got a puppy that we loved, but had to give away because of our travel schedule. The great thing is that she went to an awesome family who asks us to take care of her when they are out of town – WIN-WIN!!


The joy of her this week made me think of an old video that most of you have probably seen, but if you haven’t you need to.  Happy Friday! 🙂

Soul Food For When Loss Threatens to Overwhelm & You Want to Hold onto Summer

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a tough week here. A bunch of loss and a boatload of things coming to an end as the season changes. I keep thinking of that commercial with the fair rides slowly grinding to a halt and the lights going out. I see the leaves starting to turn and I want to say “NOOOOOOOO!! Stop the madness!”

I’ve needed to remind myself this week…


Anyway, this Friday I thought I’d start by sharing some literal food first, and then we’ll move to the spiritual and emotional.

  1. My friend Heather is a health coach. She brought this delicious appetizer spread to a cookout recently. Because it’s from her, I’m sure it must include magical anti-aging properties and a cure for cancer. I don’t know the name of it, but let’s call it Heather’s Hodgepodge.

All you do is go to Trader Joe’s and buy:

1 container of lentils from the refrigerator section

1 container of bruschetta

1 container of feta cheese

IMG_1413Mix them all together and serve with crackers (Gluten free of whatever!). I don’t even like lentils and I’m not crazy about feta, but I wanted to wrap my arms around this nectar of the gods and eat. the. whole. thing. Amazing!

2. Under the category of Stone Soup type recipes I thought I’d share this salad I created last week out of necessity because I didn’t have all the ingredients for any one recipe and my small group was coming over. It was delicious if I do say so myself 🙂  – fresh and healthy. Never mind that it was kind of an “accident”. I think I’m going to call it Laura’s Salad of Awesomeness 🙂 Because it was an “accident” you can play with amounts.

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (cuz that’s all I had – you could use a cup if you want)
  • about 3 ears fresh corn off the cob
  • 1/2 red onion finely diced
  • about a cup of those sweet cherry tomatoes halved (I had Nature Sweet Cherubs)
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • frozen cooked jumbo shrimp cut into half inch pieces (I had bags of shrimp I had gotten on sale in the freezer, but you can omit this if you just want to use this as a side dish and not a dinner salad)

Dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of one lemon (1/4 c.), 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t. black pepper, 1/2 t. garlic powder, 1/2 t. cumin, 1 t. honey. Again, I give you full permission to play with these amounts. I did. You’re welcome.

I added a little garlic salt to the salad just because who doesn’t love more garlic, right?  Also, I like dressing it early to let it soak up the flavor.

The moral of this story? Lack may lead to innovation may lead to deliciousness!

3. Next… A little spiritual soul food.

So many people around me are in pits of disappointment, despair, or darkness. This message by Max Lucado from last year, guest preaching at NCC, is called You’re Gonna Get Through This (I think it’s hysterical that I can identify my friend, Heather’s laugh throughout this recording 🙂 ). This is so encouraging!  If you really can’t listen the whole thing, watch from 24 minutes on.

One of my favorite lines is “Don’t equate the presence of God with a good mood.”

4. Lastly, a little mojo picker-upper.  A book to make you laugh and say, “Oh, you too?”  I just finished reading For the Love by Jen Hatmaker.  You may remember my small group got started around Jen’s book, 7, so she has a good track record in these parts.

In her new book she is funny, and feisty, sarcastic and self-deprecating as we’ve come to expect. The book isn’t so much overtly about grace as it is a series of essays on all things of interest to Jen in which the aroma of grace permeates like popcorn at the movies. It ranges from the fun and frivolous (like Fashion Concerns) to the pointed and important (Dear Church and Dear Christians). And it has a few recipes I can’t wait to try, so there’s that!

A couple of favorite quotes:

  • “If you can make a pot of chili and use a cell phone, then you can create community.”
  •  “Anytime the rich and poor combine, we should listen to whoever has the least power.”


What about you? What soul food are you feasting on this week?

Wading in with Yoga Pants On

Not long ago I sashayed out the door with what could be considered “yoga pants”.  I wore them even though I don’t do Yoga except approximately 1.5 times a year when I’m overcome with all the feels of delusional optimism and thinking “Holy Yoga could probably be magically transformative – making me bendy, AND super spiritual at the same time”. Anyway, that’s not the point.

The point is that I didn’t think twice about wearing said yoga pants because:

a. I had not yet heard of “the controversy”  going in in cyberspace and

b. I am a woman of a certain age who (sad as this might be) does not need to worry that men’s minds will turn to lust when I pass by. BUT if you are a millennial or a Gen x-er this may be something to think about, so keep reading.

In case you haven’t heard, it has been pointed out recently that yoga pants, leggings, jeggings and such are sexy. (They are also comfy like p.j.’s which is mostly the reason we women are wearing them more and more.)

The issue being raised is that they are tempting men to think thoughts they shouldn’t be thinking, and contemplate acting in ways they shouldn’t act. Consequently, women are being encouraged to consider dressing more modestly.  The response from many women has been: “What in the name of sweet baby Jesus??! No! We’re not responsible for the inappropriate, undisciplined, potentially animal-like behavior of men!”

As much as I would not have previously thought yoga pants were an instrument of satanic destruction, I also wouldn’t have expected the passionate pushback to the idea that women might want to help a brother out.

In community we’re kind of like kids at summer camp using the buddy system when they swim to make sure no one gets lost.  We stick together. We look out for each other. Continue reading

How Jen Hatmaker Interrupted my Perfectly Lovely Summer (and may wreck yours too)

It was the beginning of June and the whole summer stretched gloriously before me.  Oh the dreams I’d dream, the goals I’d achieve, the books I’d not only read, but remember and apply to EVERY AREA OF MY LIFE!  I was especially excited to get my grubby little hands on the new edition of Jen Hatmaker’s book, Interrupted.

I pounced on the opportunity to get an advance copy in order to link up and post on it.  After all, my merry little band of spiritual misfits had joyfully jumped into “7” and experienced our own mutiny against excess a couple of summers ago.  I figured we were game for something new.

But here’s the thing…I missed some “fine” print.

Ok, it might not have been so “fine”, but I definitely missed two important details.

First?  The subtitle: When Jesus Wrecks your Comfortable Christianity.  WHY in the name of sweet baby Jesus would I want to read THAT??  If I’m comfortable with my Christian life (and I definitely am!), why would I want to be wrecked?

Note to marketing department: No one who actually reads the subtitle of this book is going to want to buy it.  “Wrecking” is not a selling point. Continue reading

Living Instead of Liking a Better Story

First, let me say loud and clear: I LOVE the ministry of Jen Hatmaker!  I think she is an amazing, funny, inspiring, kingdom-loving mom and leader.  If you’ve been following this blog long you’ll remember when we did our own “experimental mutiny against excess” motivated by her book, 7, so clearly she’s been influential.  If you haven’t read her stuff, you should!

But the other day I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and came across this:

photo-8The rest of the update reads: “…minutes past Remy’s bedtime. Tra la la.”

So I’m looking at this and thinking, “Oh, that’s nice.  Family.  Beginning of summer.  Building good memories.”

I’m happy she could post that, but it’s not a big deal, right?  It’s not like her kids won American Idol or converted Kanye West.  I would hope many of you could post some nice slice of a pre-bedtime moment if you have kids, or a nice pic of you and friends relaxing on your deck if you don’t, right?

What baffles me is what’s under the update.  4,700 people “liked” this, and 138 people commented!

I showed husband John and asked him why he thought so many people engaged with a simple picture of someone’s kids playing in their back yard.  He said something which I thought was brilliant (I think most of what he says is pretty brilliant though).  He said: Continue reading

6 Sentences Jesus Followers Need to Learn to Say in the Midst of Controversy

It’s an unusually cool morning in Florida and the wind is blowing.  As I rode my bike to Starbucks I thought of one day when Katy was little and came in from outside.  She said, “Mommy, the wind struggles me!”

Yep, Katester, the wind has been struggling us this week.  Winds of uncertainty and criticism and emotion and drama all stirred up out of a desire to serve God well and make wise choices that honor Him in a complex world.

Wind-struggling weeks (that we all have) are made more difficult when the decisions we’re making are public and impact thousands of people, like the one the World Vision Board announced this week. The stakes go up and it seems that no one wants to let any critical thought go un-tweeted or un-commented or un-updated.  Even the headline of a balanced article is mis-leading and inflammatory.

We, as Jesus followers, love (I love!) black and white.  We love clear-cut, “thus sayeth the Lord”, and “Bam! Take that you spawn of Satan!”  Ok, maybe not the last, but some responses feel that way – gleeful in their self-righteous put-downs.  And is this what Jesus desires of someone following Him?

This morning Michael Hyatt had an excellent post on 5 difficult sentences leaders need to learn to say.  It made me think that there are several sentences we Jesus-followers need to learn to say in the midst of controversial conversations (what the Bible calls “disputable matters”). Continue reading

7 Ways to Shake up Your Life

Want to shake up your life (in a good way)?  Join us for the Summer of 7!  Be sure to check out the comments from Friday and add your own today and as we go along!

I told you last week about Jen Hatfied’s book and how it’s messed with me and how a group of us are experimenting with a radical reduction of excess in our lives this summer.  Like I said before, if you haven’t read it, go get it (or borrow it).  Now!

So the area where we’re currently reducing is clothing.  Trying to wear just 7 pieces of clothing for a week.  Jen did it for a month, but we’re clearly not spiritual or committed enough for that.  We just plan on being quick learners. 🙂

Continue reading

© 2018 Laura Crosby

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑