An Orphan Boy, A Pregnant Girl, and Teenage Rebellion: What’s the Connection?

Today my children and I finished a book about a boy who is orphaned twice, once as an infant and again when his family dies in the plague that hit London in 1665. As DCFS was non-existent at the time, this eleven-and-a-half-year-old boy is left to fend for himself. He is dejected and downtrodden, believing his life is worthless. The boy meets up with a man willing to help him out “temporarily.” This man is a wanderer who doesn’t necessarily care if he makes enough money today in order to eat tomorrow. And while he is a huge asset to the boy, the boy’s picture of himself remains one of bleakness.

Last week, I read a non-fiction book in which the author, a girl, fakes a pregnancy for her senior year project. This girl’s mom became pregnant at the age of fourteen, had seven children, and, later, birthed the book’s author out of wedlock. Most, if not all, of the author’s seven older siblings had children before their senior years in high school. The author’s project centered on the thoughts and feelings of teen moms as well as stereotypes and expectations. She believes a person’s image of him/herself and subsequent behavior is highly affected by others’ expectations and actions toward him/her. Even though the author had vowed to stay celibate through high school and was in the top 5% of her class, she heard comments like, “I knew it. It runs in the family,” when she announced her (fake) pregnancy.[1]

During Don’s sermon on Sunday, he held a Styrofoam cup in one hand and a crystal wine glass in the other.[2]  One is disposable, the other precious. Some people see themselves as the throw-away cup—useless, unnecessary. God sees them as the crystal wine glass—valuable, beneficial . . . priceless.

Yesterday I began reading a book called Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion against Low Expectations. The authors believe teenagers have underperformed for years because that is what society expects. They are calling for teens to rise above these expectations and excel—to push themselves beyond what comes easy, to take responsibility, come out of their comfort zones, and rise to their potential.[3]

How we see ourselves is paramount in determining the choices we make. Too many times we allow others’ beliefs about us to affect our choices. We tend to rise or sink to the level of expectations of those around us, forgetting that the truest things about us are what God says.[4]

And what about that eleven-and-a-half-year-old boy? He stumbles upon a mapmaker willing to teach him. In the process, the mapmaker sees in the boy the qualities and artistic skills necessary for making maps. At the end of the book this Master gives the boy a home and tells him, “To me you are of great consequence—an heir for my treasure. Not sacks of gold. I speak of the treasure in my head, my eye, my fingers. . . . You are the gift of God, an empty cup sent to me to pour my treasure into . . .”[5]

And so, you are of great consequence—you are the gift of God, an empty cup (crystal wine glass) sent for His treasure to be poured into. Do hard things—things that can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit backed by the belief that you are valuable. Along the road, encourage others to rise above the status quo and display God’s wondrous power.

Ephesians 2.10

[1] The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glatzer

[2] For a link to Don Winters’ sermon Physical & Spiritual Blindness, click here.

[3] Do Hard Things by Alex & Brett Harris

[4] See Ephesians 1

[5] Master Cornhill by Eloise Jarvis McGraw


Magnify the Lord

This post was written by my beloved husband, Don Winters. He inspires his congregation each week through his Midweek Connection. This one spoke to me, and I hope it inspires you.

“O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:3

The magnifying lens in a telescope does not change a planet in any way. The lens only makes the planet clearer and larger than how you previously saw it. As God’s people, we are called to magnify the Lord. Our worship and our very lives should bring clarity and enlarge people’s picture of God.

When the world looks through the lens of our lives, what do they see?  What do they think God is concerned about? What breaks His heart? What is worth fighting for?

We need Christians that magnify God rather than self. Does this mean we need to be perfect? No! We need to be authentic, humble, and repentant. This type of person magnifies a transforming God who is full of grace and mercy. The world actually needs us to return to the Gospel.

Does your life give people a clearer and bigger picture of God to those around you?



Which God Are You Revealing?

Don WintersI am elated to introduce my guest blogger, husband, and pastor: Don Winters. Don pastors at First Baptist Church of Carthage, is a CARE Board Member, and is currently trying to raise money for Hope 2 Liberia by sponsoring a one-mile run/walk on July 20. Don writes a Midweek Connection for his congregation in hopes of building a bridge between his sermons on Sunday mornings and real world living throughout the week. The following is this week’s Midweek Connection. I pray you find it thought-provoking.

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Cor. 12:27)

The world around us gets a picture of what God is like by looking at the church.

What kind of god do they see?
Is it the god of the deist who is unwilling to intervene in the midst of horrible suffering?
Is it the legalistic god that is just waiting for you to mess up?
Maybe it is the “anything goes god.” This god’s only desire is for you to be happy right now no matter what it ultimately costs you and those around you.

None of these are the God of the Bible.

The God of the Bible is holy, just, and full of mercy. The God of the Bible, at great sacrifice, came to seek and save the lost. This same God sent us the Comforter (John 14:16), not so we can be comfortable; but because if we live as the body of Christ, we will need the Comforter in the places and situations He sends us.

Which God are you revealing?

You may connect with Don Winters through facebook here.
If you live near Carthage, IL or Muncie, IN and would like information on the Liberian Mile, click here.