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Witness Protection Program

Witness Protection Program or  “Why I don’t have a fish bumper sticker on my car”

I try to be a pretty nice person. Most of the time.

I try to see the bright side of things. Most of the time.

I try to see the better in people. Most of the time.

But then, I fail. FAIL. Miserably.

I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.

But my failure is not just about me.

Its about what others are witnessing when they see me.

It’s about who I want to be a witness for.

I am an awful witness for Jesus.

I was relieved when I traded my Ford Focus in years ago. Relieved because I couldn’t live up to the witness that the little fish emblem on the back of the car implied. I got my only speeding ticket in that car. I ran very yellow lights.  I may have annoyed my share of other drivers.  All while I was proclaiming “I’m a Christian”.

I am an awful witness for Jesus.

I caught myself the other day.  After long days in airports, which I actually enjoy, I had a chance to volunteer to take a different flight.  Why not?  For once, I finally had the freedom in my schedule.  It wouldn’t bother me to go at my scheduled time or take the next flight.  No biggie. But wait.  They couldn’t tell me if they wanted me to actually volunteer until everyone boarded. EVERYONE.  It seems they had to weigh the plane.

I had a great seat.

Extra leg room.

On a regional jet.

Carrying a backpack.

And there was NO room in the overheads by the time I got on.


Everything I was carrying had to go under the seat.

Where my feet go.

So my knees aren’t under my chin.

It is easy to be a good witness for Jesus sometimes.

This wasn’t one of them.

I was ticked.

I didn’t cuss, but I am sure that Jesus didn’t like my attitude.

I sure didn’t. Grumpy. Sarcastic. Snarky.

And what’s worse?

My seatmate was chatty.  Nice guy.  Funny. Interesting.  We showed each other pictures of our kids and grandkids.


“What line of work are YOU in?” he asked.


“I work with volunteers.” I said.  And changed the subject.


I love talking about what I do, and I love Jesus.

But at that second, I needed a Witness Protection Program.

To protect the guy in 4B from my bad witness.

“I love Jesus” Angela was a sharp contrast to the grumpy, snarky, reeking of bad attitude Angela that this nice young man was sitting next to.

So I was quiet.

I was a non witness instead of a bad one.

Score for Witness Protection Program.

It was amazing and humbling to see how fast my desire for wanting some leg room and overhead space spiraled into grumpiness.

At the end of each day I know I have unintentionally offended and hurt more than I have encouraged and lifted up.

The lyrics to this Casting Crowns song echos in my head

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away

We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing

Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see

The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me

Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded

A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

 “Jesus, Friend of Sinners”, Casting Crowns

“The world is on their way to You, but they’re tripping over me”

Yep, I admit, I don’t have it all together.  My cheese is slipping off the cracker.  I’m ok with with being broken.  I’m not ok with tripping people on their way to Jesus.

So here’s the thing.

Maybe the answer isn’t having a bumper sticker to show I am a Christian.

Maybe the answer is to live more intentionally like Jesus.


“And what does the Lord require of you? Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Stay. Give. Pray.

We know you have seen the devastation after the Nepal earthquake.  Our hearts are broken for our sisters and brothers as they grieve loss of family and friends.  Our first instinct is help.  Our instinct is RIGHT, but in the most appropriate way, and at the right time.

Nepal does not need our physical help.  

This is the time to send volunteers who are professionally trained for a specific aspect of disaster response.  Post-disaster situations are physically and psychologically extreme.  Only specially trained professionals hooked into response networks can be effective.  Others put a logistical and financial strain on the resources of the affected people.

International Ministries is not a first responder organization.  Our strengths lie in walking alongside our partners, supporting them in their long term ministries and the strategies they know will work best in their own communities.  Although we know there are many of you who are eager to go and help in Nepal right now, the most help we can all give is to stay home.  Why?

Our partners in Nepal are consumed with recovery and daily life right now.  Imagine having a disaster in your own neighborhood, every family affected, all homes and belongings have been destroyed.  Hundreds of well meaning, but uninvited folks come to help.  Where will they stay?  How will they be fed?  How will you take care of them when your own resources are gone?

Nepal does not need our stuff.  

When we send material goods, those goods compete with the resources that are needed most.  They take people, time and energy away from unloading and distributing the things that people need the most.  Keep in mind that there is no climate controlled storage in these situations for the donated goods—-so food spoils, clothes get moldy, etc. There is also limited space, space needed for emergency housing and for the relief teams to stage distribution of goods acquired that can meet the needs of the people.

Nepal does need our monetary donations.

Right now, the best thing we can do is to pray and giving monetary resources.  Donating funds enables the flexibility for our partners to respond to needs as they change. They can purchase supplies that are sourced locally that are “fresh and familiar” to the affected people.

International Ministries has already sent $25,000 to Nepal through One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) for initial relief work, but more is needed.  Read here how funds are have been initially distributed through three Nepal Baptist partners, with more relief funds needed. OGHS has a long history of accountability and transparency in providing relief funds around the world.   “The One Great Hour of Sharing offering is the most transformative way that American Baptists respond to the emergency phase of disasters here and around the world through our historic Baptist partners.” Rev. Dr. Elmo Familiaran, American Baptist Churches of New Jersey.

Nepal does need our prayers.

Pray for:

  • Nepali Baptists and all faith organizations as they minister to the earthquake victims.
  • Energy and endurance for rescue workers as they search, and also strength of spirit as they deal with such devastating loss of life.
  • Comfort for those grieving over the loss of loved ones.
  • Hope for the future for those who face such devastation and tragedy.
  • Wisdom for those who have the responsibility to plan development and rebuilding.
  • That God be glorified in each breath of every believer in Nepal to be the face of Jesus to the Nepali nation.



I am unsettled.

It is the day after Palm Sunday, and while it seems that the rest of the world celebrated Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, waving palms and singing songs of rejoicing, I am unsettled.

Would I have been one of the crowd celebrating Jesus coming into the city?

Would I have even known he was there, riding on a little donkey?

Maybe I would have been at the other end of town, watching the Romans parade in with all of their might and pomp and glitter and swords, and war horses.

Would it have mattered?

Had I been ignorant, not even aware of this Jesus, would I have been any less guilty of his arrest, persecution, and death?  For the ones who greeted him into the city with palms and rejoicing were the same ones who yelled “Crucify Him” just days later.  Would I be any less guilty of denying him like them, or like Peter?

Today I wonder the same.

Today, I try to know Jesus more each day.  I wake in the morning with the greatest intentions to praise and listen and follow Jesus. But at the end of the day, I have certainly denied him three times or more.  I have not loved my neighbor as much as I could have.  I have likely been sarcastic, unkind, and unloving… all before lunch time.

Now,  I move towards the end of the week,  knowing I am fully capable of shaking my fist at God and turning my back on what I should do to glorify God and instead waste my time on meaningless things.  All I want to do this week is to be crumpled at the foot of the cross with a broken heart.

Broken for the grief Jesus felt those last few days.

Broken for those who don’t know God.

Broken for those who have  intentionally turned their backs.

Broken for each of us as we wake each morning with a renewed sense of hope, yet fail miserably.

As hearts break, so are they healed.  My great Healer came to the earth fully God and fully human.  His feet got dirty, he ate, he burped.  He loved, he wept, he laughed.  He fully experienced each hurt and pain and joy that we would.  He was perfect, living in this imperfect world, and he died a painful and humiliating death for me.  For us all.

Crumpled at the foot of the cross, broken hearted, I have hope.  The tomb is empty, but the journey from the triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the resurrection is one that is unsettling each year.  I am thankful that I have the space to experience it for the sacred time that it is.  To God be all the Glory.

I originally wrote this April 2014.  Rereading it this year, I needed the reminder…

A Letter To Christians In Indiana, From Jesus

I love John Pavolitz’s blogs. This one make us all take a look at ourselves.

john pavlovitz


Dear Christians In Indiana (and those elsewhere, who might read this),

I’ve seen what’s been going on there lately. Actually, I’ve been watching you all along and I really need to let you know something, just in case you misunderstand:

This isn’t what I had planned.

This wasn’t the Church I set the table for.

It wasn’t the dream I had for you, when I spoke in those parables about the Kingdom; about my Kingdom.

It was all supposed to be so very different.

It was supposed to be a pervasive, beautiful, relentless “yeast in the dough” that permeated the planet; an unstoppable virus of compassion and mercy spread person-to-person, not needing government or law or force.

It was supposed to be that smallest, seemingly most insignificant of seeds, exploding steadily and gloriously with the realized potential of my sacred presence, becoming a place of safety and shelter for all people.

It was supposed to be…

View original post 1,225 more words

Losing Status

I lost status on March 1, 2015.

Delta Airlines told me so.

The gold status that I had so richly earned and enjoyed for one whole year, well, expired.

The rules changed, and it is likely that I will no longer earn gold status.

Ever again.

No more SKY on my boarding pass to get on the plane early from a special boarding lane.

No more free upgrade to Economy Plus.

No more “Priority” tag on my luggage so it comes off the baggage claim right away.

No more “Thank you for being a priority member” from the ticket agents.

No more “sniff sniff” gold status.

I have been reduced to silver.

Oh, I can still get a free checked bag.

But I have to board in zone 1 now.

I have to pay a bit for upgrading my seat so that my knees aren’t wedged into unlucky passengers back in front of me.

I have to **gasp** wait 5 minutes longer for my bag at baggage claim.

Of course, it could be worse.

On United, I have no status.

I am just “a member”

One who boards last.

One who pays to check a bag. Each direction.

One who pays LOT to upgrade for a little leg room.

One who PRAYS there is enough room for a backpack in the overhead.

Oh wait….

My status in life isn’t defined by how much I pay for something, or how far I go to get somewhere, or even where I am placed in the plane.

My status in life certainly isn’t defined by Delta or United Airlines.

It is not defined by my job, or my title, or my education.

It should not be defined by my ethnicity, gender, citizenship.

My status is completely and only defined by the God who loves me beyond definition, who knows me through and through.

That status is “beloved child of God”, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

“The word beloved in 1 John 3:1-2 literally means “ beloved, esteemed, dear, favorite, worthy of love”. It’s a word indicating an action on the part of the one doing the loving. The God of the universe, the same God who paints a sunset, shapes a mountain and plans the waves at the beach, has chosen to love us, not because of who we are, but because of who He is. Our role in this is to BE-LOVED. “Ron Edmunson

Beloved child of God is hard to remember when the world defines us, categorizes us, and we believe it.

It’s hard to remember when….

The bully in your own head tells you how bad, or stupid, or inferior you are.

You are picked last in gym class

You fail a test, or a class, or drop out of school

You are laid off

You are tired, worn, frustrated, and giving up

Need a reminder?

Stick a post it note on your mirror. Stick one on EVERY mirror! “This face belongs to a BELOVED CHILD OF GOD”

Sign your name with the initials BCoG (Beloved Child of God) after it.

Read Psalm 139. You ARE fearfully and wonderfully made.

Read 1 John 3:1-2. We are beloved children of God.

Be encouraged, and believe that you are a beloved child of God.


Angela, BCoG

To Be, or Not to Be

I could be invisible.

Well, not literally. I don’t have a magic cloak or anything.

But I realized yesterday that I could go through a day or more without seeing or talking to another human being.

My husband travels, so when he is gone, I am home alone.

I work out of my home office, alone.

I communicate via email, skype, facebook, text, and phone.

I could actually get through a day without speaking or seeing anyone.

Banking? Direct deposit, online transfers, and ATM’s.

Gas the car? Self Serve.

Post Office? Self Serve

Eat? I can go to the self check out line at the grocery store.

If I don’t want to cook? I can go online to Panera Bread, order my food for rapid pick up, pay with a credit card on line, and then run to Panera Bread and pluck my order off of a shelf without talking to anyone.

My life could be reduced to keypads, keyboards, and credit cards.

All for convenience.

All for saving time.

All for the sake of modern technology


Although sometimes being invisible sounds really inviting, it’s not healthy. It’s not sustainable, and well, it’s just plain BAD for you and it’s bad for others.

Arguably, one could be in the middle of a crowd and be invisible. One could even be with one other person and be invisible. Watch people at a restaurant… but I digress…

We are human beings. BE-ings.

Be what, exactly?

Be alone? With over 7 billion people on the earth now, we are hardly alone.

Be secluded? Difficult, but not impossible.

Maybe God invites us into BE-ing with others.

Be a kind word.

Be a gentle touch.

Be an encourager

Be an interested listener

Be a compassionate heart

Be the eyes of one who cares

Who can you BE somebody for today? You don’t have to be groundbreaking, super holy, awesome to just BE.

Maybe that cranky clerk at the DMV needs a friendly smile. You may be the only person who will see past the crank and into the heart.

Maybe the high school kid at the fast food place is bullied. You may be the only person today that looks him in the eye and makes him feel valued.

Maybe the clerk at the grocery store just had a customer yell at her. Your kindness and patience may soften the harsh words she just heard.

MAYBE by interacting with people instead of keyboards, self-serve and self check lines, and online ordering, you (and I) can make a difference in someone’s day.

Dare ya.

Double dare ya.

Be a human being today.

Rock someone’s world.