Fifty Shades of Love…

…because nothing says “I love you” more than a film laced with porn and violence… Happy Valentines Day!

A few months ago, we saw three minutes of porn and violence in the form of a romanticized trailer for an upcoming movie. The movie we actually paid to see was an intense WWII film, based on a true story of courage and unbroken determination. Yet, during most of the movie, I was distracted and disturbed by what I had seen in those three minutes. I wanted to scream. But I didn’t think that would go over too well in the middle of the movie. So I asked God to erase everything about it from my memory.

A few weeks ago, I took my children (whose eyes *see* everything) to a bookstore. My eyes glazed over the cover of this book laced with violence and porn, displayed on a table a few feet from the toy section where children play in this bookstore. I promptly turned it over. I wanted to pull a “Jesus in the temple with the money changers” and flip over the tables, but I held back my disgust and turned a few of the books over instead.

A few nights ago, the world celebrated, applauded and awarded a ‘song of the year’ grammy title to a song about a one. night. stand. I only caught a glimpse of the grammy’s the other night. And for the few moments I watched, while changing channels, this award being given. Sam Smith thanked the ‘man who broke his heart’ for the inspiration to write the song and win the grammy. and My heart broke. We rarely sing of true love anymore. We can not sing of what we do not understand.

If we do not know God’s love, we can not understand, receive, express or give Love. God is Love.

Nothing says “Happy Valentines Day” like a film full of porn and violence. Nothing says “I love you” more than a song about a one night stand.

Seriously?? …Is this what we have reduced LOVE to??

Please do not see this movie. ‘Fifty Shades of Shit’ (which was my original title idea, and my husband suggested I go another direction) Please do not waste your time, your energy or your money. Let’s get one thing straight – this movie is about MONEY. This is not art. This is not sex education. This is not sexual enhancement. This movie was made -and the books were written- purely to make money. Sex and money should never be partners.

My concern and disgust for ‘Fifty Shades…’ goes deeper than the movie or the books. We have a culture of choosing to believe and accept LIES. The lie says, ‘it’s okay to watch this movie, read this romance novel, peek at this magazine, listen to this song about a one night stand, scroll thru some porn…’ The lie says, ‘it’s harmless to invite porn into our marriages.’ The lie says, ‘it’s harmless to flirt, have a fling, have an affair.’ The lie keeps us in denial, ‘making it possible for a “john” to take advantage of a young girl and allow others to abuse her, to view her as his property, to make money off of her used body over and over again.’ The lie whispers to the buyer of the young girl held in bondage, ‘this is okay. there is nothing wrong with this abuse.’ When the TRUTH IS – there are SO MANY THINGS WRONG with this!!!

The TRUTH is we have a choice // don’t hire the prostitute // don’t participate in the cycle of human trafficking // don’t see the movie // look away from the magazine // close the book // turn off the t.v. // stop browsing porn sites // remove yourself from negative sexual conversation // flee from the temptation to flirt, have a fling, have an affair //

The TRUTH is there are many women, children and men in forced into slavery, held in bondage and sexual violence, being used against their will. They do NOT have a choice. WE have a choice. And yet we have the audacity to choose to SEE and applaud this movie and read the stupid books???? NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please. no. stop!

We need a ‘Joseph culture‘. We have a choice to flee from sin as Joseph fled from Potiphars wife… even when an opportunity presented itself… even though he probably would not have been ‘caught in the act’. He made a choice to flee. To be faithful to his God. Faithful to God’s Love. Joseph knew the Love of God, so he made the choice to say “No” and flee.

We have a choice to turn away from the images, even when know one else sees. We have a choice to say “No” and stop participating in the abuse. We have a choice to flee from sin and into the Love of Jesus. Wherever you are on the ‘spectrum’ of believing these lies, believing these things are okay… From browsing thru a soft porn magazine to becoming a “buyer” or a “john” caught up in the web of sexual slavery… You have a choice. Wherever you are – His Love is for you. and He is for you. You can choose the Love of Jesus. God is Love and He is for you. He desires to redeem mankind to Himself. To understand who True Love is. Who He is.

Then we will see Freedom Come. We will reject these movies, these books, these porn films, these magazines, the ability to oppress and abuse another human being in bondage. We will reject these lies and know the Truth. He is Jesus.

Please share your thoughts. Please freely share this blog. This is much deeper than a movie or a book series. I am praying for us. For freedom from these lies and for Truth to be known, as our stories rage on… In Him, Leslie

The Unknowns

_theunknowns_flat1

The truth is… we’ve never been good at sitting still.

The truth is… we’ve never stayed in one place for long.

Geez. It sounds like we have commitment issues, I know…

Nope. We are fully committed. We are All In. Our commitment is to each other, our marriage, our family, God’s leading for our lives and seeing His Kingdom come.

For 17 years, we’ve lived as North American Nomads, moving from place to place, across Oklahoma, Texas and New York City, and Ohio. Our whole lives, we’ve been serving God with a heart for His church and His mission. And now He is calling us into the great unknown… and we’ve never been more certain of anything in our lives.

For the past 10 years, we have been serving the Eastside Vineyard Church community as the lead Pastor and Worship Leader. We have walked through both joy and pain, challenges and freedom, and grown tremendously through it all. For the past few years, the Lord has been stirring a desire to GO. He has confirmed in the last few months, our calling from the current Pastoral role to transition into a Missionary role. As our season in Ohio is coming to a close… we are ready to embrace our next assignment.

This is what we do know ~ The Knowns:

God is telling us to >>>GO>>>.

We know God spoke, “You were made for this.”

We know we can not survive doing anything else.

We are selling our house and almost everything we own.

We are leaving a supportive church, full of amazing people, we have loved and served the past 10 years.

Our new “home base” will be the Northwest. And our mission field, the World.

We will be serving with Vineyard Churches in the Northwest region and going thru YWAM for Overseas Missions.

***

What will this next chapter look like? What will be doing for the next 20 years? Honestly, we are not completely sure. We do not fully know how it will map itself out… but God. We put our trust fully in Him. We desire to use the gifts He has given us for His glory wherever He calls us to go …

Serving the least, the last, the lost.

Going into all the World.

Thru…

Worship

Church Planting

Preaching and Pastoring

Teaching and Training

Coaching and Counseling

***

Our calling is to Know God and make Him known. 

We invite you to join us on this journey. The story rages on… In Him, The Babs Fam

Genesis 12: 1 “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”

How to Join Us in the Great Unknown:

1. PRAY – Commit to being on our PRAYER TEAM and pray for our family regularly.

2. GIVE so we can GO>>>.
As a Global Missionary family we will be 100% supported by your donations. Please consider becoming part of our GO TEAM so we can GO throughout the world to MAKE HIM KNOWN. There are several ways for you to GIVE:

GO TEAM GIVING OPTIONS:

-GIVE to The Babcock Family Directly via check or cash or send it to them @ 440 Hillview St. Pickerington, OH. 43147 ( until departure in late August 2014 )

-GIVE through Eastside Vineyard Church with a Check in-person or mailed to:
The Babcock Family c/o Eastside Vineyard Church.
333 Jericho Rd. Pickerington, OH. 43147
Just write: Babcock Family Missions in the Memo line or with an attached note. *you will receive a tax-deduction through this option.

-GIVE online through eastsidevineyard.org/give/, and in the Designation field choose, Special Offering and then in the bottom box entitled: Notes, type: Babcock Family Missions. *you will receive a tax deduction through this option

3 things Christ followers need to stop doing… Please.

Hey. I’m a Christian. 

If you’re a Christ follower too, that’s cool. There are 3 things you need to stop doing (if you’re doing them). Please. For the love of God. And btw, if you’re not claiming to be a Christ follower – this is not for you. So keep on keepin’ on… More power to ya.

If you know someone who claims – ‘I’m a Christian’ – Do specific thoughts come to mind? Do you hold them to a higher moral standard? Do you have certain expectations of their actions? Do you consider if their lifestyle reflects their claim?

You Should.

You see, I have been living as a Christ follower as long as I can remember. I’ve been going to church since I was born 37 years ago. My parents took me until I could take myself, and I’ve never stopped taking myself to church. When I was 16 years old, the Lord called me into full time ministry.  When I was 18 years old, I began working full time in Christian circles ~ Mardel Christian bookstore, Women of Faith, New Life Clinics, and serving in youth, worship and Pastoral ministries in churches across the United States. So…being a Christ follower is my life. 

I am basically a professional Christian. But, being a Christian is more than “my job”.

What does that even mean? Am I super holy? Um no. It means I am super needy. 1) I am a sinner. 2) I am desperately in need of my relationship with Jesus Christ as my Savior and my Lord every single moment of everyday. . . waking or sleeping. . . all 24 hours. Every. Single. Day. 

As a professional Christian, I have spent much of my life in relationship with other Christ followers ~ all on their own journeys ~ thru acquaintance, co-workers, friendship, counseling, mentoring and discipling. Throughout my life, I’ve been the “religious friend”. I’ve overheard friends say, ‘don’t tell Leslie this … fill in the blank.’ I’ve made people uncomfortable…and still do, I suppose. Especially as a “Pastors wife and Worship Leader”. These “titles” automatically come with their own laundry list of expectations and pre-conceived notions people have of me and my life. I’m certainly not perfect and definitely not anyone’s Holy Spirit. However, I’ve always felt different… like a stranger in the world… because I was set apart. 

In my relationships with other Christians over the years, I’ve noticed a profound difference between those who live as they are, and those who merely say they are. I have been surprised by the distinction between who we proclaim to be with our lips, and how we actually live out our lives.

Last I checked, following Jesus is a full time gig. Like, He has expectations of those of us claiming to follow Him to look different than the culture we’re surrounded by in the world we live inSo, if we call ourselves Christ followers, we should stop doing these 3 things. Please. For the love of God. Otherwise, let’s agree to agree we might not actually be. . .living as Christ followers.

Stop. Seriously. Immediately. 

This may sound judgmental? I’ll let you be the judge…

1) Comparing sins – Justifying our own sin by comparing our sin to others sin.

If you are making excuses for your sin, based on a sin comparison chart you’ve drafted – Stop. Don’t do that anymore. Being a Christ follower means repentance – aware of your own sin and convicted by it. Don’t compare your sin to the person sitting next to you in the pew, or the person singing next to you in the choir.

Jesus began His ministry with a message of repentance. Repentance means change. Repentance requires a turning away from our sin, not justifying our sin. “…the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned. From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:16-17. (ESV)

2) Being hypocritical – living the Christian life with your mouth, but not your heart.

The “Phaducees” (Pharisees & Sadducees) had God on their lips but their hearts were far from Him.

“You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” Matthew 15: 7-9.

If you are a Christ follower, your actions, choices and decisions and should reflect it. Not merely your words. Jesus rebuked the Phaducees because they were pompous and religious in word and appearance, but deceived in their hearts.

3) Living selfishly – Hey Christian, it’s not all about you. The Christian life is one of great sacrifice.

We are called to lay our lives down for others. Our lives should look more like the life of a servant than that of a king. Washing feet rather than turning up our noses. Putting others above ourselves. We are blessed to be a blessing. Called to give ourselves away and lay our lives down.

“And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:33-35.

It is not easy to be a Christ follower and it was never designed to be.

So this is a challenge to those who call themselves Christ followers. Attending church for 1 or 2 hours a week, paying tithes, singing in the choir or serving in the children’s ministry doesn’t automatically make anyone a Christ follower. If you’re comparing sins, living hypocritically or selfishly… Stop. Please. Thank you. Christians – we need to look different than this world we live in.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10.

And the story rages on. . . In Him, Leslie

Ducks, Gays and Jesus Speech

Duck_Dynasty_Promo.jpg

I’ve never seen an episode of Duck Dynasty. We don’t even have cable.
I know nothing of Phil Roberts Robertson, except that he is a bearded person on the show.
I wouldn’t recognize him in a crowd of bearded men, women, children or animals..
I also didn’t remember Miley Cyrus was Hannah Montana, so I realize I’m not the best celebrity follower, fan or stalker… although I would *LOVE* to meet Julia Roberts one day…

Now… for the elephant on the web: What is to become of Phil Robertson, freedom of speech for Christians, and the clash with GLBT community? I am not sure of all the answers, but I do have a few ideas…

Phil will survive being suspended from his show. He’s probably sleeping more soundly than many of us. Maybe he will buy A&E, or another station will pick up the show.
He’s a wealthy man, and will continue to make money at Lifeway, Wal-Mart and everywhere else Duck Dynasty products are sold. So… we do not need to concern ourselves with his becoming homeless.
Phil will continue to speak about his convictions. He is still allowed to speak, even though he has been suspended from A&E. He will find other outlets to speak his mind and share his heart.
Is the suspension wrong? Well, my opinion is -Yes- but there are a lot of “wrong” things happening in this world that deserve our attention as much, or more than, the show Duck Dynasty (modern day slavery, for one).
If you are pissed, passionate and posting all over social media about what’s happened to Phil, it’s okay… I just wish we would get as pissed and passionate about stopping PORN and other problems that are infecting our culture and the world wide web.

So, we take sides and blow up on facebook because of what one man has said.
Jesus did the same thing when he walked the earth. 
There was no social media, but Jesus’ words spread.
He was disagreed with left and right – and by the left… and the right.
He turned things upside down with his words, and he was suspended from society.

I read a few articles from different perspectives on what Phil said, then I prayed, read my Bible and started typing.

To me it’s real simple…
1. Jesus is not surprised or offended by anything Phil -or any of us- have said or done.
2. The Gospel will still be preached, even if the Duck Dynasty show goes off the air.
3. We are all sinners in need of the Savior Jesus Christ.
4. Jesus desires us pursue Him than any other person, place or passion.
5. You can still be a Christian and not watch Duck Dynasty. Or have cable television.
6. Your support (or non-support) of Phil will not affect your relationship with Christ.
7. You can stay true to your Biblical convictions and disagree with others for their convictions, regardless of cultures response.
8. You can speak in love and still disagree on homosexuality.
9. You can still eat chicken, love gay people and be a duck dynasty fan. Oh snap – that was sooo 2012.

We are all one sentence away from a remark that goes viral and causes society to respond in outrage or worship. Regardless of what will happen with the rights of the ducks, the gays, or freedom of speech for our society… I will not stop writing, speaking and singing about Christ and His Kingdom. 

Boast in Christ ~ Our freedom of speech might be threatened, challenged or taken away. Like the Disciples, we might be jailed, beaten or killed for preaching Christ. Whether we yell or whisper, His Word will go forth. Jesus is the Word {John 1:1} The Bible and Christian beliefs have been debated for years and it won’t stop with the outcome of the Duck Dynasty debacle.
Pursue Christ ~ If Jesus is our Lord, we must pursue Him. His ways, His heart, His passion. As we pursue, we can trust He will change hearts, transform lives, and renew minds. His Word will go forth.

If Christ is our Savior, our mission is to preach and pursue *His Kingdom*, more than sexuality, family, friendships, favorite foods, sport teams, activities or television shows.

Speak and Pursue His name, His words, His Kingdom Come, more than anything… and to Him be the Glory, forevermore.

*Your thoughts?

Thank you for reading, sharing and following ~ In Him, Leslie

The {Gift} of Time…

The sound of the clock ticking.

The sight of the clock moving. 
The swirl of thoughts worrying.
…about Time.
If time is your enemy, it will hurt like a bad break up.
Time moves on without asking.
Time gives no regard to your emotions, thoughts, opinions.
Time goes where it’s headed next, with or without, you.
Time functions outside of any ones control. 
You can follow time, but if time is your enemy, it will break your heart over and over again.
Time can be the enemy of our souls. 
Or…
Time can be a {gift} to be treasured, invested, and spent wisely.

Every person is given the gift of 24 hours a day… 
We can choose to {enjoy}, or loathe, the hours we are given.
Winter has settled upon Ohio… 
Snow has fallen ~ slowing everyone down, causing school delays, late to work statuses, and road closures.
In the middle of our winter snow and our holiday hustle and bustle, we have been forced to reckon with life slowing down and time speeding onward... moving ahead, time never looks back. 
Time lost is a reality, stranding some in a pattern of regret and pining. 
Time lost will never be regained. 
Use your {gift of time} beautifully, wisely, wholeheartedly
In winters past, I have struggled with the snow. 
Stranded in my own home, snow days meant I’d lost my freedom. 
I am grateful now to love the snow… to see its beauty, its wonder, its possibilities… 
I know how to use the snow shovel and get myself out of our long steep icy driveway…
I know how to appreciate the time at home, content with simply being at home...
This winter, we have enjoyed time together making memories going sledding.
This takes effort. 
Putting everything else pressing aside, for those precious moments with our kids… 
In the time we spend sledding, nothing else matters, only wholeheartedly enjoying our family time. 
We look not at our watches, phones or to do lists… 
As soon as the snow flakes begin to fall ~ 
We anticipate… the adventure of sledding… the hills, the thrills, the hikes up and down, our boots trekking thru the snow, the laughter, the fun.
We fly… down a simple hill… full of belly laughs, snow flakes in our faces, spins, twists, turns and twirls on a simple $10 sled. 
We breathe… inhaling the cold winter air… the space, the moments, the memories created. 
Time is to be stewarded and used wisely ~ housework, job work, school work beckon… but they will never end. 
Effort is necessary for anything we spend our gift of time on… 
This time spent enjoying each other is irreplaceable, the value is priceless, and worth every. single. minute. 
Time has to be received as the {gift} it is meant to be, or it will be taken for granted. 
***
How are you using your gift of time? 

Thank you for reading, sharing and following 🙂 In Him, Leslie