Internet Cafe

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Four A's into Blogging

After being asked to contribute to CWO's group blog I took a few moments to panic and pray. I'm good at that. The panic part, I mean. It's an honor to be included among the names of bloggers listed in the sidebar. I hope this, the first post, doesn't get me kicked off the team after my first swing.

So, Darlene asked me to be on the blogging team for CWO and that got me thinking about teamwork. Which got me thinking about sports. Which got me thinking about laundry. Which got me thinking about television. Which got me thinking about blogging.

Which doesn't speak well for the way my mind works, but there you have it.

And here's what I thought. Out loud.

As bloggers, at some point we all, quite naturally and understandably, stop and ask ourselves, "Why?" What compels us to share our thoughts, our lives, our hearts with virtual strangers who, with a word, have the ability, for better or worse, to immediately respond in a way unique to this medium. What do we anticipate in return for our efforts?

And here are a few things I came up with. Because, when I talk to myself, I tend to answer back.

Acceptance. "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." (Romans 15:7) I believe that, as image bearers of God, we have it in us to want to be accepted just as Christ accepts us and wants the world to accept Him and be saved. Not that we can save anyone. I'll be doing good if I can correctly save this post! But can I accept the blogger and who they are in Christ while still disagreeing with a statement they have made? Conversely, can I accept that another person disagrees with me without rejecting the person in turn? Or can I only accept those I deem acceptable?

It seems that Jesus' acceptance of me is much more complete than my own tends to be of others.

Attention. " ...Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry," (James 1:19) When I visit someone's blog, am I willing to pause and reflect for a moment, offering them something of value in return for their efforts? Can I read past their words and hear their heart? Can I put forth the time and energy it takes to re-read the post or to take a break and come back before offering my thoughts? How can I let them know that I have, in fact, "listened?" Can I "listen" to what her other readers have said?

How easy it is to scan a post then click away without a word. How easy it is to misinterpret tone or meaning after a cursory glance. How easy to jump to conclusions and judge in haste. How easily we get offended by a fellow Christian when no offense was meant.

Affection. "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." (Romans 12:10) Am I devoted to my sister bloggers, honoring their efforts to share their hearts and their faith with me? How can I do a better job of demonstrating love for them? What about when I disagree with them? Can I gently admonish then restore in a Christ-like way? Can I lay aside my own needs and wants long enough to offer a word of encouragement or to laugh along with them? To cry with them? To pray for them?

Appreciation. "Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you." (1 Thessalonians 5:12) The word 'admonish' here isn't about scolding someone; it's about leading and teaching. Can we show respect by expressing appreciation for the efforts of our sister bloggers as we minister to each other in this high-tech way? Can we find something of value in a post and acknowledge it?

If you are on the CWO Blogroll, you have at your disposal a long list of other Christian women bloggers right there in your own sidebar. If you were to visit only one of those ladies each week that you have never visited before, look on their blog for something of value, and express your appreciation, at the end of the year you will have encouraged 52 women to whom you might not ever have reached out otherwise. You never know when you may be the only encouragement one of those women receives that day.

(If you are not a member of the CWO Blogroll, you can learn more here!)

1 Thessalonians 5:11 calls us to "Encourage each other and build each other up." There are plenty of folks in our culture the enemy can use to discourage and tear us down. If we elect to engage ourselves in this community we call blogging, shouldn't we be counter-cultural by encouraging and building each other up?

What are some practical ways we can do this?

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Linda Crow

Linda remembers watching the clock tick toward recess in the 2nd grade, when she would make a beeline for the paper her teacher kept on the windowsill in the back of the room. “Let them play kickball,” Linda would say to herself, “I will write stories!” Yes, Linda has been a bit of an English major nerd her entire life. She revels in it.

She thought she might teach high school English, but she married her college sweetheart and began a family that has grown into: a 20 year-old college student daughter (an English major, Linda proudly wants you to know) an 18 year-old son who draws the line at snacking on anything nonporous and excels at lifting heavy weights such as dumbbells and his mother but not heavy clothes hampers or trash cans, and a 14 year-old, quiet, unassuming girl who likes to surprise her family by bursting into Ethel Merman Broadway tunes for no apparent reason. Her husband, the smartest man in the world, speaks a different language called “math,” which has made for some zany communication “moments” between them. Thus, there are five people in Linda’s family, plus one dog and one entity who moved in in 1986 and never left: Laundry Pile.

Linda works in a large youth ministry because one cannot have too many teenagers in one’s life, and she writes a small column for the local newspaper.

Reared in a Christian home, Linda completely surrendered her life to Jesus in college and then lived a fulfilling life mothering her kids full time. In her early thirties, she encountered the most difficult period in her life, the onset of clinical depression. She testifies to Psalm 34:17-19: "Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” It was a long, arduous struggle, but God was faithful.

Linda agrees with William Davis who said, “The kind of humor I like is the thing that makes me laugh for five seconds and then think for ten minutes,” and she aspires to write similarly. Her goal is to encourage readers, point them to Jesus without preaching, and to live long enough to see her children have teenagers of their own.

She invites you to visit her blog at 2nd cup of coffee.

What others are saying about Linda:

"Linda is a hoot. She makes me LOL. She keeps me going and I appreciate her humor."

"Her humor shines through each post and she just seems so joyful and excitedall the time! It's very encouraging."

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Amy Grant Bayliss

Amy is a true Cajun princess who is on a mission to minister to women via the World Wide Web. Her preferred method of ministering is through writing but she can often be found with a microphone strapped to her head and caught in her hair while speaking to lost and hurting women. She has a heart for encouraging and equipping them and she is a firm believer that a woman’s first ministry should be to her family.

Her passionate pursuits saturate such endeavors as A Woman Inspired online conferences and small groups for women; Heart of the Matter Online, a leading parenting and home education website and online magazine; and Internet Café Devotions which ministers to thousands of women on a daily basis. She is a regular columnist for some of the Christian circuit’s most popular blogs and her ramblings have been published in several publications.

You can also find her blogging about her online adventures, and beyond, at her personal stomping ground,

Amy, her husband Ryan, and their three boys live in the heart of Louisiana where they worship and serve under Healing Place Church, the birthplace of Servolution.

Read all of Amy's devotions: Amy's Devotions

What others are saying about Amy:

"Her blog is definitely unique and artistic! Her writing reflects this as well."

"Here it is. I do not know how this woman does everything she does and stays on top of her ministry. She goes deep, she goes light, she gives information, she shares her life. She even shares the spotlight. This blog is a tremendous blessing to me."

"Thanks for being such a blessing to us♥ You ROCK!!"

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Saturday, February 24, 2007


"Christine is a recovering perfectionist who finds grace only through relationship with Jesus, whom she met when she was in college. Her husband and four children are wonderful at granting forgiveness for the many times she doesn't meet her own expectiations, and they provide her daily opportunities to perfect her purpose- serving God through the little things.

Christine has been married for almost 9 years to her husband, Jason, who is a classical musician and college professor. Their four children (three boys and a feisty girl to balance them out) range in age from 7 to 1 and are loud, fun, loving, and make life chaotic and joyful. A classical singer and conductor herself, Christine works part time as a music director in their church and sings (sometimes "The Wheels on the Bus", sometimes Mozart) to worship and praise God.

Most of all, Christine longs to always remember that the one thing that matters is to keep Christ as center.

"Christ before me
Christ above me
Christ beneath me
Christ beside
Christ my vision
Christ my wisdom
Christ my comfort
Christ my guide"
Mike Burn
Christine’s writing can also be found at her website

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Joy Forney

Joy is a daughter of the King, saved by His grace alone. She is also the proud wife of a missionary pilot, as well as the blessed mommy to five. She and her family live on the island of Tarakan in Indonesia, where they serve as missionaries. Joy loves living overseas and loves her simple life, although she could do without the snakes.
Joy stays busy caring for her husband, keeping a home, seeking to live out an authentic example of a follower of Christ before her children, and chasing her very active one-year-old twins.
In her spare time, Joy enjoys reaching out to her friends and neighbors, reading, and putting down her thoughts at her personal blog, Joy in the Journey. Joy loves to encourage women to find joy and contentment in the "mission field" right inside their home....their family. While Joy's life is full of the mundane as well as the unexpected, she wouldn't trade any of it.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Julie Todd

Julie is a 50 year old mother of five. She just celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary. She has been home schooling her children for 16 years. She has been in church her whole life, but been following God, whom she calls Papa, for 28 of those years.

Born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee she was given the opportunity to study under Kay Arthur of Precept Ministries for several years. This gift gave her a love for digging into the scriptures. Kay was the first person to teach Julie how to find the meaning of the scriptures written in their original Hebrew or Greek language. Julie loves a good treasure hunt and is known to take verses apart asking Papa how they apply to her life today. She has learned that Papa loves a good treasure hunt.

She has a heart for women. She always wanted to be a cheerleader in her high school days but never made the team. Now she finds that Papa allows her to cheer for women as they walk their journey towards Him. She loves to teach people about the heart of Papa and His great love for them. She spent many years living as a religious woman thinking that she had to perform her way to God. She was a woman of striving and performance hoping that what she did would be enough. But Papa, who is great in mercy and kindness, began to pursue her, alluring her into the desert where He could speak tenderly of His finished work for her. Since that time He has been revealing to her who she really is and teaching her to live in her true identity and His perfect love. She has found freedom and healing in Christ.

Her passion is to tell others. She writes from her heart and her life's experiences. Papa speaks to her through word pictures with spiritual truths.

She has been a speaker and teacher at churches' women's events. She loves speaking and teaching women of all ages about the relentless pursuit of Papa towards them. She hopes to encourage women to live in their true identity, knowing that Christ finished the work, abolished the law, and made all things new. She has found a vibrant relationship with Him and enjoys resting and being still in His embrace.

She prays that her words will reflect His heart in a way that will give people an intimate view of their Papa.

She lives in Ellijay, Georgia with the love of her life and her blessings from heaven.

What others are saying about Julie:

"Julie is the most passionate writer and always brings such deep insight in to some of the simplest things in life. It is clearly evident that God is #1 in her life."

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