Posts in Believe
Jolibois Family Christmas Card 2018

There aren’t many years that have been quite as pivotal as 2018 for our family.

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Jolibois Family Christmas Card 2017

This year was our 8th year of our family Christmas Cards and, once again, it was quite the production!

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Jolibois Family Christmas Card 2016

We're more than aware of the amount of loss that has been sustained by the flood which is why we were initially hesitant to make light of it through our card this year. But if we're being honest, there's really no other response. It happened. We grieved the loss. We're moving forward. Same as everyone else. And we've heard countless others share similar sentiments to ours, that, "if we don't find the good in this situation, we'll be overwhelmed by the bad." So we're finding the good.

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Life is Much Simpler When Only One Person's Opinion Matters

You can't escape it.

It bombards you at every turn and is embedded into your heart from the time you're born.

It's the need to belong. We're communal creatures and we long to know that to someone... somewhere... we belong. Mostly we just want to be a part of a club that meets in a treehouse and has a top secret password like "open sesame." But for those of us not fortunate enough to get in with the cool kids, we just want to know we're loved without condition.

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Are we putting words in God's mouth?

In the book of Jeremiah, the people of Israel were warned about the people who were preaching and attributing their words to the Lord, claiming to be prophets of God. The only thing was… they weren’t. They were preaching a false Gospel and yet many believed them and their claims.

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How Big is the Story You're Telling

Everything we do tells a story. From our career, to our volunteer efforts, to the way we raise our family — it’s all a part of a narrative that is your life. And the story that we tell is largely up to us. Of course, you have circumstances that impact the way people see you, but even in those moments when you’re cast in a negative light, you have an opportunity to respond and that response, as you can imagine, tells a part of your story.

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Why do we feel closer to God in the wilderness?

When we look back through Scriptures we see God using the wilderness as a space in which He can communicate with His people. He called Abraham into the wilderness to tell him of His promises. He called Moses into the wilderness to manifest Himself through a burning bush. He called Elijah into the wilderness to speak through a gentle whisper. He called Jacob into the wilderness to speak to him through a dream.

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I have a sneaking suspicion...

There’s been a lot of suspicion lately. Of Whites. Of Blacks. Of Republicans. Of Democrats. Of Christians. Of Non-Christians. And though suspicion may be rooted in terrible experiences, no good will grow from it. Suspicion breeds mistrust. And mistrust breeds divisiveness.

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Here's how "all the cool things happen to me."

You know those moments when something wonderful and unexpected happens? I get butterflies and have to do all that I can to not shout at the top of my lungs. Well one of these things happened for me just the other day. Thank goodness I was in my car and could shout as loud as I wanted (though I wonder what the people next to me at the stoplight were thinking).

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Decide you want it more than you're afraid of it.

This past week has been a whirlwind for me. So many things were going on and in the midst of it all, I said "yes!" to two opportunities which will require a lot of me. Both opportunities come with significant time investments and responsibilities that I've never had before (basically, I have no clue what I'm doing). When I finally get a moment to sit down on the couch and think about everything that just happened I can get freaked out a little bit. I can begin to worry about all of the what if's that make taking this step a little (lot) scary.

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Making Room for Intimacy

The most beautiful example of this, of course, is Christ. He, as the groom and we, as the bride, are in this deeply intimate relationship. And while He holds every power of the universe within a single breath, He releases us be our own person, make our own mistakes and choose our own path. Of course, the deeper we are in relationship with Him, we discover our path begins to align with His as He guides us through His Word and His Spirit, constantly presenting us with truth, calling us to follow Him but then letting us do with it what we will. Sometimes we'll make decisions that aren't the best for us. And in those mistakes where we realize that we're messy, we press in to His truth and His love and find intimacy waiting for us.

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An Invitation to Intimacy

In the military, officers and drill sergeants are tasked with the grueling responsibility of breaking down a civilian and building them back up as a soldier. In the process, recruits have every metaphorical rug yanked from beneath them — comfort, victory, security, love, belonging... all stripped away. Pushed to exhaustion and on the verge of collapse, these men and women have only one assurance on which to rely: their brothers and sisters next to them. Story after story is told of men and women who, even when their own personal will to press on had faded, looked to their right and their left and leaned in to the challenges because they refused to let each other down. Within months, complete strangers became family.

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Our Responsibility to Grow

We live in a culture that is teaching blanket-statement tolerance — as long as you love and embrace it, so will we. Anything goes. While having tolerance for some things is a considered a virtue, tolerance for others is simply foolishness. Our culture worships pop stars who sing about being "born this way" and overweight models who are embracing their unhealthy lifestyles. But if anyone speaks out against such things, they're ostracized for being intolerant of another person.

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Okay, it's not a sin. But it's still stupid.

Paul, in 1 Corinthians 6, makes this assertion that some things are lawful for him to do but are not helpful. In other words, God gave him a perfectly good head on his shoulders and he needs to use it. There are some things in this world that are not wrong by moral, legal or spiritual standards but are simply unwise. As our mothers always say, "just because you can doesn't mean you should."

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Square One Part VI: are you part of the secret club?

You can't escape it.

It bombards you at every turn and is embedded into your heart from the time you're born.

It's the need to belong. We're communal creatures and we long to know that to someone... somewhere... we belong. Mostly we just want to be a part of a club that meets in a treehouse and has a top secret password like "open sesame." But for those of us not fortunate enough to get in with the cool kids, we just want to know we're loved without condition.

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Square One Part V: our craving for purpose, solved

God, in His abundance of love and mercy, is faithful to provide for His children as He anticipates our needs. What loving God wouldn't? As He calls to a particular lifestyle, He prepares the way for us. Wouldn't it be simply amazing to walk in full assurance of faith knowing that God will provide for us if continue to do His will? We can! As we seek Him, our will aligns with His, and as we walk in it, He provides. Simple.

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Square One Part IV: Your anxiety of the future ends here.

It is entirely too easy to stress out about our futures. Can I get an amen? If you're anything like me, dreaming, constructing and planning my future is what I do on my down time. I generally have a couple handfuls of different futures planned out for myself at any given time. It all depends on which opportunities arise or don't arise, what the economic climate looks like, who I marry, what my job will be, how my interests change... the variables (and the resulting futures) are endless. For a lot of people this can be anxiety inducing as it reinforces just how out of control we are.

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Square One Part III: The hard choice is really quite simple

One battle that consistently plagues the Christian community is the battle of homosexuality. Is it actually a sin? Did we read into scripture too deeply? Was that really what Paul was talking about? This debate is just a more well-exposed debate among Christians because of its cultural relevance but there are many debates like this one over what constitutes sin and where the loopholes are. I can't help but laugh at some of the arguments I hear tossed around because one of the beautiful things about Scripture is its clarity when it comes to sin.

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Square One Part I: Life is complicated? Start here.

Life has a way of getting complicated quickly. Facts and opinions get muddled, emotions run wild and something always manages to go wrong. In a world where seemingly nothing is concrete, objective or steadfast, it's just a matter of time before we are confused and struggling to stay afloat amongst the onslaught of ideas and content.

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Life doesn't suck when you refocus on this promise

When something is not actively present in our lives - especially something as abstract as an idea - it becomes relatively easy to let it slip out of our minds. I think in our pews-and-hymnals faith, we often forget that what lies ahead is far greater than what is in store for us on this earth. A new heaven and a new earth holds the promise of a perfect, loving Creator in fellowship with His creation. Us. Can you image that?

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