Friday, March 21, 2014

On "Hearing God" by Dallas Williard

It didn’t take me long to find another book to make me squirm a little.  A while ago Caz recommended “Hearing God” by Dallas Williard.  We all wrestle with decisions and want to know God’s Will. I thought of this as an honorable pursuit, but already in chapter 1 Williard is making me think differently. He says “My extreme preoccupation with knowing God’s will for me may only indicate, contrary to what is often thought, that I am overconcerned with myself, not a Christlike interest in the well-being of others or in the glory of God.”
            When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had incredible anxiety about her health, even though I had no reason medically to be concerned.  The only way I could move past it was to pray for my pregnant friends who actually were having complications.  I am certain that my anxiety did not in any way contribute to my healthy baby girl.
            While we should certainly seek God’s will, being consumed with anxiety does not honor God and is not from God. Wise friends have told me that if I seek God He will not let me be outside His will. I hope this is true.  I hope this book helps me stop being as self-centered in my search for His words. I hope to ask for God to speak to others as often, or more often, than I ask Him to speak to me.
Elizabeth Kropf


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Jesus is perfect theology

Chapter 9 of “Face to Face with God” might be more uncomfortable than any previous chapter.   Bill Johnson has a section called “Perfect Theology,” for those of you following along, where he talks about how Jesus is perfect theology because He did the will of God. Johnson says “How many people came to Jesus for healing and left sick? None.” I can hear your objections. I am sure we all have experienced praying for God to heal someone dear to us, and the healing was so slow and labored it did not seem to have God’s hand at all. Or, our loved one passed away.   I don’t know why God chooses to heal some people by taking them home. It is hard for the survivors. But not for the healed.
            If you can even begin to digest this (even if you don’t agree, or need to shake your fists in the air at God), Johnson then takes us further. He asks “Why did Jesus raise the dead? Because not everyone dies in God’s timing. We cannot have the Father choosing to do one thing and Jesus contradicting it with a miracle. Not everything that happens is God’s will. God gets blamed for so much in the name of His sovereignty… Yes, God can use tragedy for His glory. But God’s ability to rule over bad circumstances was never meant to be evidence that those circumstances were His will.”
            Again, I am not saying that you have to agree with him. As I’ve said before, no one on earth can definitively claim to know God’s will.  But I don’t believe that God intended for the children in the Newton tragedy to die any more than he intended for the Holocaust to happen. I don’t know what to do with these ideas. I do know that I am more aware of how I need to rely on the Holy Spirit and Scripture as I wrestle with these questions. I do know that when we seek Him, we will find Him.
Beth Kropf 


Wednesday, March 5, 2014


As I have mentioned, Bill Johnson has been talking about joy in this chapter of “Face to Face With God.” When he started talking about the joy center of the brain, I thought, hmm, this sounds familiar. Then he mentioned the book “Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You” and I was floored. My dad told me about this book, but he did not tell me that Johnson quoted this book, which my dad co-authored. Another great book to put on your reading list! But, back to Johnson. His quote from “Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You” talks about how important joy is to child development. “In a child’s first two years, the desire to experience joy in loving relationships is the most powerful force in life. In fact, some neurologists now say that the basic human need is to be the ‘sparkle of someone’s eye.’ ”
            To paraphrase more of my dad’s book, There is actually a part of the brain devoted to joy. If a child does not receive joy, is not smiled at, for example, the child will be clinically depressed. This knowledge puts greater weight on the importance of the role of parents to truly delight in their children. However, Bill is quoting this passage for another reason. He says people have little joy in their life because of the way they view God. He says “The church is crippled in most of its Christian life because people view God as the One who longs to punish instead of save, the One who reminds them of sin instead of forgiving.”
            I want my daughter to think of me as one who loves her no matter what. But more importantly, I want her to view God that way. We are the sparkle in God’s eyes. He delights in us individually, just as we delight in our loved ones individually.
            I am posting a link to an unusual video, because it is such a wonderful depiction of absolute joy. Watch it and remember, this is how God loves us. 
Beth Kropf


Saturday, March 1, 2014

we are an official church!

This morning my family had the wonderful opportunity to attend the service where LiveOak was chartered.  I have never been a part of something like this before. It was joyous to see the support we received from other Presbyterians.  We got a standing ovation! I love how many squirming kids we up on the stage. We are a multiplying church! I love the idea of our children having the foundation of a church- this church- as they grow older. Our church has a wonderful legacy and a bright future.
We missed all of the families who weren’t able to be there, especially the ones that I know are as committed to LiveOak as those who were there.  And yet each week we all come together to do this hard work of setting up, tearing down, teaching our wonderful squirming kids. We are a family that is going to do amazing things through God. We are going to build a building to serve our community. We are going to lift up Suzi and her family and watch God heal her. We are going to raise our kids to love God and feel God’s love.   
                                                            Beth Kropf