Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Love Wins

Hey Friends :)

As I write this...it's late, I can't sleep, I've probably taken too much Nyquil, and have been stuck inside in my jammies with a "flu bug" for one too many days.

There's my disclaimer. :)

My e-mail, voice mail, and FB messages have been filled the past few days with messages wondering what my thoughts are about Rob Bell's latest book, "Love Wins".

Have you heard of this new book?? :)

Perhaps you are wondering..."Why would they ask you, Cindy?"

Good question. I wonder too. :)

Although, if you know my story, you know that Rob, his family, and Mars Hill have played very significant roles in my journey.

Rob's dear grandma Eileen was my mentor for many years. I would visit Eileen at her apartment and share tea with her on Tuesday's. Eileen would give me books to read, pray over me, and allow me to ask any question that was on my mind. And boy did I have some "real doosies" back then ~ I'd only been a Christian for less than 2 years! :)

Eileen was also the first one I called when I heard my fiance David had been in an accident.

Eileen shared later "she just knew", and quickly called her grandson "Robby" (my pastor, Rob Bell Jr.) ~ and Rob and his dear wife Kristen arrived at my parents home immediately after I received the devestating, life-shattering news that David had been killed. It was an excruciating night I will never, ever, ever forget.

Rob delievered such Truth and hope to David's loved ones (including me and Jake) at David's funeral, just three sorrow-filled days later. Rob also shared the Gospel at David's funeral, where my dad (a former atheist/agnostic) accepted Christ as his Savior and Lord. (Woo Hoo!)

And it was Rob who encouraged me to step out in faith and share my testimony with others. Who knew how God would use my story for His Kingdom purposes?! :)

I was also blessed with the amazing opportunity to serve on the lead staff at Mars Hill Bible Church for almost 6 years. I sat in many a meeting with Rob and others as we "wrestled" with Truth, prayed like crazy, and sought God wholeheartedly. My "Mars Hill years" are filled with rich memories, God sized tasks & challenges, wonderful life-long friendships, and awesome "answered prayer" stories.

Not too mention, Mars Hill is where I met my handsome husband John and later celebrated our marriage, officiated by Rob, with the wedding of a lifetime! Yippee! :)

When I left my full-time staff role at Mars Hill (after the birth of our baby #4), John and I would often have people ask really "digging" questions to figure out "what really happened".

For example, one time I remember our family being invited over to anothers for hamburgers. As soon as the dinner began, as I am mid-bite, the dad begins, "So why did you really leave Mars Hill? What does Rob really think about so and so....? Give us the inside scoop."

It was so disappointing. There was no inside scoop. No dirt. I had a young family. I resigned. I thank God for the years I served there, and continue to bless Mars Hill and the work they are doing.

No dirt, sorry.

Fast forward a few years, and Rob writes a new book. All of a sudden, it feels like old days. "Cindy, what do you really think? Does Rob really believe so and so.... What's the inside scoop?"

Sorry, friends. No dirt. No inside scoop. I haven't even read the book.

In the mean time, as I read all of these articles/tweets/blogs/bashing, I can't help but think of the words of the Apostle John...

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.

Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has even seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. ~1 John 4:7, 11-12

Regardless of my thoughts when I read the book ~ my prayer is that I would respond like Jesus. May I stand for love and Truth, pray about what to say/how to say it/where to say it/when to keep quiet, and may others see Jesus through me!

There's a lost and hurting world out there (as we all well know). My hope is that the world would be drawn to Jesus through this whole "Love Wins debate", rather than repulsed at Christianity based on how Christ followers respond when they agree/disagree with a brother/sister in Christ.
May they see the love of Christ through us....

....and may it begin with me.

Keeping my eyes focused Up, my mind fixed on Truth, and my mouth zipped until I read the book ~

P.S. I'm linking up today with Jen and friends at Soli Deo Gloria. Be sure to check out this amazing sisterhood of women! :)


Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

Adding this article to the hundreds of reasons I love and respect you!

Laura Formsma said...


Oh how I loved to see pictures of that wonderful day you were married!! So thankful I got to be part of it!! Precious memories! <3 Brad and I too have been so loved by Rob and Kristin. It was Rob who spent countless hours with Brad, loving him and showing him truth many years ago. I am forever thankful that in spite of our rebellious ways and crooked paths they loved and accepted us with unconditional love. A real treasure. Like you, we are committing to fixing our eyes and hearts on the truth and choosing love...because love always wins!! :)

MOMSWEB said...

Speechless...you're a blessing!

Mining for Diamonds said...

Is it sad to say that I've only heard of this gentleman recently with all the hype over the book that I've seen on the Internet...otherwise, I'm clueless! I am not familiar with him, or his teachings/background/history/church so I can't speak to whether or not he's as controversial as he's being made out to be. It seems to me that you have exercised wisdom in this situation and chosen to focus on Jesus...Like you said, in the end we have to stand for Truth..."speaking the Truth in Love"...

Amy Sullivan said...

So I haven't read the book yet either, and so I shouldn't say anything, but. . . I can't believe all the negative junk out there on this one. Even on of some of the "Christian" sites, people are tearing him apart.Those kind of reviews just don't sit well with me.

I like the stance you are taking. Good words for all of us.

Jen said...

I must have my head in the sand. I haven't heard of this book or of this negativity. Crazy though. It makes me think of the very simple, "Why can't we all just get along??" I love your stance. I am also glad to know a bit more about you and your story. You summarized it very well and I got a very clear picture of hope among the ashes...

Amy said...

Thankful for your grace today. You are a wise woman indeed. God bless you today and everyday.
Your blog follower,

Allie said...

Beautiful wedding pictures, Cindy!
I'm so sorry you have the flu! I'm just starting to get over the flu, I had a fever of 102 degrees and a really sore throat... I feel your pain! Hope you get a chance to read my "god thing" posts on my blog! *hint* I got to meet Robin Jones Gunn! EEEEP!

Anonymous said...

Great words of wisdom Cindy. I actually just received this for review. Truthfully I’m a little scared to read it because of the hype and bashing (from many Christians) that is out of control, Before I post my review Im keeping that scripture in mind and remember to speak words of truth but try and use Jesus wisdom!

Praise and Coffee said...

Great post Cindy!!
You shine and love wins!

(I haven't read it yet either:)

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