Out of the Woods

216 North McDonough Street Jonesboro, Georgia 30236                                                                                     571-447-2539

The Abundant Life Blog

view:  full / summary

Shining light on sexual assault

Posted by [email protected] on October 30, 2017 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I was just looking over the blog from 2014 and noticed a blog I wrote of sexual assualt following allegations against Bill Cosby and university students which sparked outrage at the time. Here in 2017, a new set of allegations spark outrage. While there is a place for outrage, I would contend that there is also a need for outreach. 

Sexual assault is one of those things that causes extreme struggles with shame and as a result, it is kept secret. Secrets that hurt. Yet we know that bringing these things to light is key in stopping the behavior. Those who assault get help or restricted from hurting others (e.g. they go to jail). Even when this does not occur, bringing it to light helps reduce the likelihood of others being hurt. 

So here is the challenge, lets support those who need to speak up. Pray for them. Support local charities that support healing from sexual exploitation. Refrain from jokes and questioning if victims are faking it (faking is very, very rare). Create an atmosphere in which victims can heal and move from being victims to being survivors. 


Posted by [email protected] on January 28, 2016 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)


Productivity.... it is such a challenging word. On the one hand, we want to be able to accomplish as much a we possibly can. After all, an idle mind is the devil's workshop. Right? It would seem that we are given a relatively short amount of time to do all we can with all of our gifts so that we can bring as much glory to God as is humanly possible.

There is of course another side to this. A side that says there is value in the down time. That there needs to be a place for rest and relaxation. Did not God Himself take a day off? 

Perhaps the reason this question of productivity is such a question is because of our culture. We have moved from a culture of manual labor to one where many are engaged in sitting still while producing goods and services.  As our work has changed, our attitude has change regarding producing a particular product. I can recall my mother complaining about the push for teachers, her profession of choice, to produce certain test scores. She was certainly right about many aspects of the problem. In part because she was a teacher with over 35 years of experience and also because, well, she was my mother. There are simply some things that cannot be measured. Some work for which there is not a defined product. There is nothing tangible to produce. 

I am convinced that in an age of modern conveniences we have become so comfortable and so accustomed to work without the need for a tangible product, that we have slowly become less productive as a society. It seems like we have more holidays and more vacation time and more ways to take sick days and then we simply do not get anything done. 

Let me use another example. When I was growing up, you went to school or work with a cold. If you had a fever you stayed home. Now, if I sneeze once, someone at work is trying to send me home. Germaphobe? Perhaps? Or perhaps the idea of working through difficulties has been replaced with an attitude of working the bear minimum. The idea of "Work hard, not smart; Work smart, not hard," has created no work at all, smart or otherwise. 

I would therefore like to propose a call to work... hard work... the kind of work that causes us to be so tired at the end of the day a sleeping pill is not needed.  Work that shed pounds. Work that is above and beyond. The kind of work that pushes us and grows us and makes us stronger. 

Toxic Television

Posted by [email protected] on March 2, 2015 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Every so often the news of the day takes on a particularly unhealthy tone. The death and distruction of day to day life in certain parts of the world can cause significant distress to those who are trying to be good citizens by staying informed. I call this Toxic Television because of its ability to fill our minds with such negativity we are unable to function as we stress about life. How can we both stay informed and still sleep well at night?

  1. Take your worries to the Lord in prayer. Sometimes the evening news is a catalyst for prayer. Imagine the power of thousands of believers petitioning the Lord over a situation on the news.
  2. Get news from the radio instead. The graphic images seen on television reenforce the depth of the horror victims face when there is a war, natural disaster, or other mass loss of life. Allowing one's own imagination to create the images results in less horrific images for most, thus reducing the likelihood of stress. 
  3. Consider a temporary television fast. It is important to be informed. That is part of being an educated voter and a contributing member of the community, but if watching the news is causing you to lose sleep or your appetite, maybe it's time to take a break. 
  4. Let the news inspire you. There is so much that needs to get done. If crime or drugs or terrorism are bothering you, perhaps it is time to prayerfully consider what your contribution to the solution needs to be. 
The stress from Toxic Television is 100% preventable, just turn it off. For the person who really needs to get their news from television, during times of world chaos, it is important to be mindful of the impact television news may have on our lives. 

Stop surfing and pray

Posted by [email protected] on February 11, 2015 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Earlier today President Obama presented a resolution to Congress seeking approval for increasing the US efforts to fight againt the Islamic State.

Earlier this week family members of Bobbie Christiana Brown gathered at her bedside wondering how she ended up fighting for her life. 

Earlier this month a well-loved couple seeking a classic Mustang lost their lives when a Craigslist advertiser attempted to rob them. 

Our world is full of trouble. We can strain to find answers to the questions of the day or we can ask the One who already knows the answers. But Cyndy, I don't know what to pray about. I don't know how to do it.  That's okay. Pick up the bible and start reading. The Holy Spirit will move your heart to pray. The point is, we spend a lot of time surfing the internet. Learning new infomation and passing information to others when maybe all we really need to do is stop and pray. 

6 Tips for Healthy Christian Relationships

Posted by [email protected] on January 3, 2015 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

Seasons of Change -- Monthly Resolutions

Posted by [email protected] on January 2, 2015 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

It's a New Year and across the country gyms are filled to capacity, houses are being cleaned out, and new habits are being taken for a test drive. We have a tendency to forget all this stuff fairly quickly. Let's not let that happen this year. Let's make 2015 different. There are lots of reasons we are not able to consistently stick with our resolutions. Perhaps some of these resonate with you.

  • Poorly designed, unrealistic goals.
  • Improper or inadequate preparation.
  • Lack of internal motiation.
  • Other things come up and take priority
  • Lack of funds to complete goals. 
  • Lack of support or accountability.
I bet you can add a few more. There are lots of reasons we fail year after year in this endeavour. I'm going to suggest that one of the reasons is because trying to change at the beginning of the year is not frequent enough to sustain interest. In other words, if we made resolutions more often, we would be more likely to follow through because there would not be a long lang time between failing at task and making a new resolutions. 

Here's an example of what I mean. Suppose the New Year's Resolutions is to exercise 3 days a week and by the end of February 3 days a week has become 1 day every other week.  Traditionally that person would not try again until the following January a full 10 months later. What if instead, the person was making New Month's Resolutions. Every first of the month, going through the process of making resolutions for the month. Then the person in our example, is making a recommittment to their goal February 1 and March 1 and so on. So if they slacked off in February, that's okay because they will get back on track March 1. 

Can you do it? Can you commit to making monthly resolutions?

The New Year is coming...

Posted by [email protected] on December 30, 2014 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

So 2014 is almost over and 2015 is right around the corner and collectively as a nation we will begin to create a list of things we are going to do different and then forget about around February. I'm not certain I even want to try to go to my Zumba class next Saturday. It always seems so odd to me that year after year, we as a nation go through this ritual.  I could understand if one or two people did it, but millions of people make these resolutions and do nothing about them.  What is it about human behavior that we cannot break even the most basic of habits? 

So with 2015 right around the corner, have you made any resolutions? I know I have. So what will make 2014 different from 2015? What will we do different?  How can we plan different? What types of supports will be different? What changes will we make in our personal investments to make 2015 a year of great impact?

You know your goals have to specific and realistic. You've master that. How about accountability? Is there someone holding you accountable for the actual tasks necessary to follow through with your goals? Have you invested the time and funds needed to do the job right? Sometimes we don't give ourselves enough time to complete tasks. Don't make that mistake in 2015. Plan extra time – perhaps as much as 20 to 30% more than what you initially expect. Sometimes money must be spent. If you have it, spend it.

Was God a part of those 2014 resolutions? So often we leave Him out of our plans and then we wonder why we don't accomplish our goals. There is time though to seek His face and His desires for our focus in 2015. In some cases the plans He has for 2015 will look very different than the plans we have. Of course we will never know that if we don't ask Him.

God bless the child who prays

Posted by [email protected] on December 15, 2014 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Today, overall, was not a good day. The flu that had been staying just below the surface for the past few days decided to make a grand appearance today. My daughter was home from school because although her battle with the flu was almost over, she had a fever yesterday and the doctor said to wait one more day. On days when a lot of bad things are going on, I like to try to focus on what went right. Here' what went right.

As I lay on the couch, unable to move because I had become very weak, my five year old daughter comes up behind me and ask if it is okay to pray for me. "Sure," I said trying hard not to cry tears of pride. She prayed...like someone who God and knew me and knew just what I needed. 

I hate having the flu, but hearing my daughter pray like that was worth all the pain.

Oh, and I am feeling much better. 

Christmas Shopping

Posted by [email protected] on December 12, 2014 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Last year was so easy. I just went online, loaded my online shopping cart with an assortment of Veggie Tale DVDs and waited for them to show up at my door. Instant Christmas. My daughter loved her "Very Veggie" Christmas. Earlier today, I stood in the Christian bookstore with a glazed look on my face. The salesperson came by. "You look overwhelmed," she commented. She seemed eager to help, but there was nothing she could do for my problem, "I'm trying to find something my daughter doesn't already have," I replied. 

On the one hand its kind of a nice problem to have. I mean we have enough income that I was able to buy my daughter almost every Veggie Tale and a good number of the associated toys.  God has blessed us. On the other hand I thought to myself, "My daughter is 5 and already she has everything?" I thought I was doing a really good job of not spoiling her, so this was a real eye opener for me.

I left the Christian bookstore (Adventures in Odessey in my bag) and headed for Toys R Us. Not a good idea. Sure they have some great toys for children and adults like me that can't let go of childhood, but there was so much garbage there too. It was really depressing. Why would anyone want their daughter to dress up in skulls? Why would I buy my child a doll dressed like a streetwalker? I couldn't get myself to go down the aisles for the boys. The violence in those aisles were visible from a great distance. My son ended up with a bunch of cars.

So I get home and start thinking all of these things through. What, if anything, does my trip today have to do with Jesus' birthday? Well, the whole ordeal reminded me that I have to be deligent in prayer and since Jesus came so I can have a relationship with the Father, my take away from today is that my present for Jesus on His birthday is my committment to pray. It's not much of a gift since it is commanded anyway, but its what I have to give. 

Sexual Assault in the News

Posted by [email protected] on December 9, 2014 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, it's all over the news right now... from reports of gang rape at the University of Virgina to allegations Bill Cosby drugged and rapped over twenty women.  Everybody is talking about the problem of sexual assault. Politicians to football players are trying to figure out how to make a difference in what is appearing to be a growing problem. 

Sadly, while a lot is being said, little is being done to spred the news that survivors of sexual abuse can overcome. They can have wonderful, meaningful relationships. The self-esteem once lost can be restored. Sexual abuse especially when the victim is a child, is particularly devestating, but there is hope. 

One of the most powerful ways to start healing is by shedding light on the reality of the abuse. I don't know what happened at UVA and I certainly hope all this Bill Cosby mess isn't real, but the best thing that can happen is for the truth to come out. If you survived a sexual assault or abuse, shine some light on it. Let people know it is okay to come forward. Be the one that inspires someone else to come forward. Let's make a difference.