ReThinking Lent – Day 27: Happy

I struggled with yesterday’s word, happy.  My husband’s beloved uncle passed away after a long illness.  It just wasn’t a happy day.   Yes, we can all say that we are relieved that he is no longer suffering — and it’s true…we are — it’s still sad that he is gone.   Jerry was known for his smile and infectious laugh.  As I watched his siblings, children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews post their remembrances and pictures on Facebook yesterday, it was definitely a common theme.

Last night, as we had dinner together, we talked about Uncle Jerry to our son.  He had met him before but did not know him very well.  My husband told him about the person that he knew and loved dearly.  And, as I sat listening to stories that I’ve heard before, it hit me that without Uncle Jerry’s presence in Lloyd’s life, it’s unlikely that any of us would have been sitting around that table last night.

I did not get to spend as much time with Jerry as I would have liked.  But, here’s what I know:  He loved Jesus and he loved his family.  And, he was happy.

Tom Thomas, left; Jerry McCarthy, right.

Tom Thomas, left; Jerry McCarthy, right.
© Lloyd D. Brown 2007

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
(Psalm 84:5 ESV)

ReThinking Lent – Day 26: Ate

I’m a few days behind, but I’ve been thinking a lot about Day 26.

Our family attended Soma Communities in Tacoma, WA for several years.  We were blessed to be under the teaching of the amazing elders there and learned so much during our time with them.  I have been having a hard time putting into words their philosophy on eating and recreating as a gospel rhythm without plagiarizing them, so I’m just going to copy and paste what they have to say about it here.  They do a much better job than I could anyway.   It has completely changed my family’s view on what it means to eat a meal together.

We regularly eat meals with others to invite them into the community of God

Meals are a daily reminder of our common need for God and his faithfulness to provide both physically and spiritually. Our hunger and thirst remind us that we are not self-sufficient.  We have a need for food and water that must be met outside of ourselves. This physical need points our hearts to deeper spiritual needs–we have a hunger for intimacy, satisfaction, reconciliation, and more that can only truly be met by Jesus. He called himself both the Bread of Life and the Living Water–consuming him, taking him into you, means there’s a sense in which we will never be hungry or thirsty again.

Jesus called us to remember him and his sacrifice for us through a meal. When we eat together, we commune around this truth. We regularly eat meals with those not in our immediate family or circle of close friends, discipling them toward a life of dependence on God.

In the story of Adam and Eve in the garden, they had to make a decision of faith everytime they ate food.  Will we choose to trust God or choose our own way? God intended for them to face this choice, to exercise faith in him many times everyday–that opportunity to choose God was part of the goodness of the garden of Eden.

So as we eat meals many times a day, there are opportunities not only to thank God for our food but to thank him for Jesus and to commune with him, opportunities to let faith in Jesus affect everyday life.  There are few things we do more often and regularly than eating.  As we allow the gospel to change how we eat, the gospel breaks into everyday life and is proclaimed to those around us.

~Soma, Tacoma


Christmas, 2012© stephanie l brown

Christmas, 2012
© stephanie l brown


Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 2:46-47 (NIV)


Rethinking Lent – Day 24: Find

This is not the best picture of my son, but it is one of my favorites.  We were exploring the mudflats of Puget Sound during low tide.  He was so thrilled to find this tiny little clam shell.  It was a great day — one that he might not even remember, but I will never forget.



© stephanie l brown 2006

What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?
(Luke 15:4 ESV)

ReThinking Lent – Day 23: No

I live in the DC area and yesterday we were forecast to have a big snowstorm.  It turned out to be  a couple of degrees warmer and while we did have some snow, it was mostly rain.  It is March after all, and I thought to myself that Spring was putting its foot down.  No, Winter.  I win.

It reminded me of the promise that God made way back in the beginning of the Story:

No.  I win.

Flowers snow

© stephanie l brown 2013

And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.

-Genesis 3:15

ReThinking Lent – Day 20: Bless

Last night, somebody asked me how my 40 day photo journey was going.  I told him that when I first looked at the list of “topics” on the different days that I was a little perplexed as to how I was going to put that into a photo.  But, as it turns out, it has turned into my own personal bible study.  The photos that I’ve posted are not at all what I would have imagined them to be in the beginning of this project.  I have studied scripture in a new way.  I have gained amazing followers whom I have learned so much from by reading their blogs and seeing the photos that they post.

I’m halfway through and totally, completely blessed by the experience.


In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

(Matthew 5:16 ESV)


And, just because I believe that God has a sense of humor (we are made in his image, right?), I can’t help but post this.  It is, after all, the first thing that came to mind:



ReThinking Lent – Day 17: Prophet

What do you think of when you think of a prophet?

Webster’s defines prophet in this way:


noun \ˈprä-fət\

  1. one who utters divinely inspired revelations
  2. one gifted with more than ordinary spiritual and moral insight
  3. one who foretells future events
  4. an effective or leading spokesman for a cause, doctrine, or group

There are many religious and non-religious prophets that can be named. I think a lot of us tend to combine 1 and 3 above when we think of a religious prophet. And, certainly there are many prophets throughout the bible who were inspired by God and accurately foretold future events. But, it’s important to remember point 4 above as well because it applies to all of us. Any one of us can be an effective spokesperson for a cause, doctrine or group.

And as it applies to Christians, I believe that the bible refers to every believer as a prophet. Let me explain.

Every believer is led by the Holy Spirit to discern the truth (1 John 2:20, 27). Every believer is directed to admonish with the word of Christ (Col. 3:16), as well as to instruct (Rom. 15:14) and encourage other believers (Heb. 3:13). The bible is full of exhortations for Christians to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and to be able to articulate cogent reasons for their faith to non-Christians. In order to do that effectively, we must read, ponder and love the Word of God. We must study it in order that we may interpret it properly and so that we can see the gospel in every situation. And, certainly there are those who are more gifted at this (see point 2 above), but that doesn’t mean we aren’t all charged with being a spokesperson for our cause — the Gospel.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

-Colassians 3:16