Community: Outside Your Comfort Zone

lyrics for life

There are basically two ways to get community:

  1. You step out of your comfort zone and into someone else’s.
  2. You wait for someone else to leave their comfort zone and step into yours.

One Saturday in late April, five beautifully brave women and two toddlers stepped out of their comfort zones and into my home, while I stepped out of my comfort zone and hosted an (in) Real Life Conference.

What is the (in)Real Life Conference or (in)RL, you may ask? The conference that comes to you, the women behind (in) host a webcast on the last weekend in April and encourage women to meet together in homes across the country.


The discussion centered around community and learning to tell your story. It’s an amazing thing that by one person opening up and sharing part of their story, others find the freedom to do the same. We end up in closer, more honest, community as a result. Through the course of the that Saturday, the six of us were able to share parts of our stories with each other. Even though I knew all the women on varying levels, I was thrilled to learn something new about each one of them as we shared.


Earlier in April, my friend, Brooke, led a women’s training session for our church. She shared a great article by Paul Tripp that fit so well with the conference. In Who Knows You?, Tripp talks about two character qualities to shape your life by:

COURAGE OF LOVING HONESTY. “You will want relationships where truth can be spoken, where honesty lives, and where candor thrives. Truth should be spoken in love (Ephesians 4:15), but you won’t be afraid of what will be revealed about your heart and life.”

HUMILITY OF APPROACHABILITY. “When sins and weaknesses and failures are revealed about you, you won’t rise to your own defense. You won’t summon your inner defense lawyer and try to argue for your own righteousness. You will admit your need for help and run to where help can be found – Jesus Christ and the promise of a new heart.”

I highly recommend you read the whole article.

Don’t wait for someone else to break out of their comfort zone. Make the first step. Grab that courage and humility and dive into life where you can share your story and get to know someone else’s.

What can you do to build a deeper relationship with someone around you? What would be the first step to breaking out of your comfort zone?

**Thanks to a gracious host gift from Dayspring, I was able to offer these gorgeous Lyrics for Life plaques as giveaways to the women who attended the (in)RL Conference in my home. **


Set Free: What Mercy


We’re praying through A City Set Free: 40 Days of Prayer for Columbia in Karis Church and tomorrow, Day 20, is praying for those incarcerated and their families. Tonight my Missional Community met and in the course of the evening, discussed and then prayed for Day 20. One comment was made that we tend to judge people in prison looking at the wrong they have done, forgetting that we have done wrong, sinned, and had that wrong washed away – forgotten by our Heavenly Father.

That’s mercy.

It’s easy to talk about grace sometimes. We want more grace and we want to show grace and we pray for God to lavish his grace on us. Those things we don’t deserve, the gifts of the Father.

We don’t as often talk about mercy. We have sinned grievously and yet the punishment was paid by Another. What mercy was shown us, that our sins were forgiven and the debt owed was paid in full. We once were prisoners, chained in the stench of our sin. In Christ, we have been shown mercy, and have been washed clean. Pure. Free. Restored. Released from our prisons.

Praise God for his mercy!


This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt was Mercy. There’s a couple hundred other bloggers who also wrote on mercy. You can check them out at Lisa-Jo Baker’s site. The basic rules are to write for 5 minutes on the week’s prompt – no editing. I’ve learned I’m a slow processer, because some people end up with twice as much content than I do or more. But, it’s still a fun exercise in writing freedom and it has helped me blog more consistently.

Somewhat random, but I’m going to include it because it has mercy in the first verse: we are going to be learning a new song in church on Sunday, so I’ve been previewing it. I want to share it with you as well.

I once was dead in sin,
Alone and hopeless
A child of wrath I walked,
Condemned in darkness
But Your mercy brought new life
And in your love and kindness
Raised me up with Christ,
And made me righteous

Leaving the Blood-Red Stained Nets Behind

This week, the Five Minute Friday prompt is RED. After an initial thought of Santa (ho ho ho), I couldn’t get the idea of blood out of my head….

Fishing in Puget Sound

Tom got the chance to go fishing with his dad a couple times in the Puget Sound off the Washington State coast. They fished for salmon and halibut on different occasions, based on availability.

Together they brought in a boat record halibut – 5’3″ long and 154 lbs!

BoatRecordCatch Tom_halibut

Fishing is nasty business. At least to me. It’s smelly and the fish are slimy. But I didn’t realize until seeing photos of Tom’s trips that it was bloody.

Call me a naive city girl, but it just didn’t occur to me that fish would bleed as they were caught. The red of their lifeblood oozed out on the boat deck.

My Missional Community in Karis Church decided to work through the book of Mark in our small core groups known as fight clubs. Last night, we read in chapter 1 how Jesus saw Simon and Andrew tending the nets in their fishing boats, he called to them, “Follow me.” And they left their boat and nets and came after Jesus. A little further on, he saw two brothers, James and John, with their dad, Zebedee, and Jesus called to them, “Follow me.” James and John left the boat, with the blood stained deck, and the nets, and their dad, still knee deep in the stained nets, and followed Jesus.

We marveled at these men, who felt or sensed or somehow knew that Jesus was different. That he was worth abandoning the family business – abandoning Dad himself. With the stink of fish on their clothes and the red of the fish blood on their hands, in the space of a breath, they walked away, not looking back, because what they were gaining was infinitely greater than what they were giving up.


Thanks for joining me here. There should be many interesting takes on the word, Red, if you want to see other posts on the prompt. What do you think of for the word, red?


Who, Me? Missional?

Karis Church is about to make a radical change in how we handle community and outreach. In just one week we are dropping our current small group model and starting what is becoming known as Missional Communities (MCs).

Quite frankly, I’m freaked out.

Or rather I was, until a conversation with my friends, Kevin and Susan, in Virginia. Let me share their story with you:

For Valentine’s Day, their church usually has a nice dinner and invites all the church couples. They eat dinner, play the not-so-newlywed game, and generally have a good time. Not this year. No, this year they decided to have the same dinner but instead purposefully invite people who could not afford a Valentine’s Day dinner out. Everyone spread the word and a handful of people signed up to attend. Discouraged, they started asking around their city and got connected with a woman who had a relationship with people living in a lower-income neighborhood. (more…)

  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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