Archive for the 'Grow Your Faith' Category

Published by Kelly Wilson on 17 Aug 2021

Volleyball and Christianity: Keys to One helped me with Keys to the Other

I really enjoyed the Olympic games this year. I was on the edge of my seat on so many occasions. Simone Biles, choosing wholeness over possible self-harm do to the twisties. Alyson Felix showing the power of hard work and the pride of motherhood. I loved seeing how the US Women’s Indoor Volleyball Team worked as a true team, stepping up with different players when injury struck. They continued to fight through the tournament to become Gold Medalists.

These moments reminded me of watching Olympic Volleyball during the 2016 Games. Back then I was viewing with a specific purpose. I watched intensely because I was having the privilege to coach my daughter’s fifth-grade volleyball team that year. Ironically, I am a short lady, and I hadn’t played volleyball since Junior High. But our school needed a third coach because a large number of girls wanted to play that year, so I grabbed the opportunity to serve and share the experience with my daughter and her buddies.

I watched every indoor and beach match, I could, whether male or female to try to figure out what would be the keys for our students to have a productive and enjoyable season.

And I prayed, asking God to make the keys to volleyball success obvious and allow me to communicate them to fifth graders well. At some point He gave me some patterns that made sense. The following is what we had to do:

  1. Serve well.
  2. Return well.
  3. And volley as a team.

I spent weeks talking these concepts with our team, over and over. We would repeat them every practice. With support from many other parents, we taught them specific skills. If we served tough, at that level of volleyball the other team wouldn’t be able to easily return the serve and we could score lots of points. In many causes we could “ace” the opposing team, as they couldn’t return the serve at all. But in contrast, if we could return “tough” the serves of our opponents well, then we could keep them from scoring “aces” and potentially score a point if we volleyed the ball as a team. For us, that meant – obviously getting the ball over net in three hits or less – but also knowing who should be doing what and how to place the ball so that we could score points while having fun doing so.

These simple keys helped us have an outstanding season. Despite many twists and turns, we made it to the Championship Game. Though we were underdogs we ended up with the “silver medal” losing by one point in the third set to a team who was a local powerhouse.

This year, God brought my faith to my mind as I watched Volleyball. I kept wondering if there were three simple keys that could help believers grow and develop like our three volleyball priorities helped us. After some prayerful pondering, here are three for your consideration:

  1. Read the Word (your Bible) every day.
  2. Do what it says.
  3. Be regularly integrated into a community of believers.

I think these are even stronger than the ones we used for the fifth-grade season.

Start by reading the Bible every day. The majority of believers who live in the United State are fortunate to have access to the Bible in its entirety. We can easily read or listen to the very Word that God has given to us as His set of instructions and inspiration for a godly life. And because there are so many other voices speaking to us daily from so many vantage points and motivations – we really need to hear from our Creator daily to get “tuned” to His voice. My routine is to read in the morning before I do anything else. I ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand what I am about to read so that the Words can give me life and whatever God wants me to have in that moment. I am a huuuugee fan of the One Year Bible ( and use it, but know this might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I would say that each of us has 5-7 minutes that we can take to read at some point in each day. May I suggest beginning in the Gospel of Matthew. Pray and then set the timer on your phone for seven minutes. After you finish, put a bookmark where you ended. Maybe take a moment to ask God what He wants you to carry forward and then you are prayerfully ready for the next task of your day. Pick up the next day where you left off reading so that you can read in context for greater understanding.

(Read through all four Gospels and then the book of Acts and you will have daily connection to the time when Jesus was walking the earth, what he said and did, and also you will learn in Acts about the early church and the move of the Spirit of God in it. If you are ready to read other parts of the Scripture that is fantastic and if you want to stay in the Gospels, there is great benefit to doing so.)

Once we begin to know what the Bible says, we should make it our practice to do what it says. God’s Words give us the information to live lives that are meaningful, productive, and have measures of peace and joy, even in challenging times. And maybe most importantly the Scriptures lead us eternal life, which is the wonderful life that last forever with God, after life on this earth is complete. 

I suspect obeying God’s instructions in the Bible are like when a child obeys a good-godly parent’s instructions. Toddlers, children, teens and young adults, grow and learn as we get rewarded and corrected. We gain self-control and honor the instructions that are set out for our good. By God’s grace we mature into well-functioning people who have lives that we are glad to have. Of course, there are stutter steps and wipe-outs along the way, but these are part of the process. Thankfully we can ask for help from the Holy Spirit, and He will do so, especially when we have a heart and desire for obedience to our Lord.

The last thing is to be actively engaged in a community of believers. Ideally, that is your church home. Or maybe this is more accurately described a small group with the larger church. It could be a Bible study group, your family members or a handful of faith-filled friends who do life together. These communities of believers will help you remain accountable to do the first two things and these relationships are going to give you opportunities to expand in your knowledge and experiences. Importantly, the people in your community of believers will ask you to pray about things and they will pray for you about things. Candidly, some of the encounters with them will likely force you to pray because you may become frustrated or annoyed. Prayer will be a natural outgrowth of being actively engaged in relationship with other believers.

Another great benefit is just the joy of having people to live life with; it is beneficial to be with folks who are headed in the same “heavenly” direction.

For many of us, Autumn is volleyball season for school-based athletics. The next time you see a match, I hope you will cheer for your favorite team and be reminded of the above three keys to growing in Christ that were cultivated from a special silver-medal volleyball season. If you would like additional tools on how to thrive in your life from Christian worldview, please visit

Published by Kelly Wilson on 07 Jun 2020

A most effective deception…

Racism is evil. To hate or systemically oppress a people group because of the way we look is of the devil. For skeptics, the events of the past several months in the US, should be undeniable evidence that racism is very real.

This hatred and oppression is rooted in a most effective lie. The lie is that there is more than one race of human beings. Yep… I said it and I imagine many of you are scrunching your faces in disbelief.

I’m writing this post from the vantage point of being a black woman, a descendant of: people who were enslaved in the United States, and of Caucasians who had children with these people and of Native Americans who married and had children with these people and of at least one brown Cuban woman who did not marry, but had a child with one of these people. I am quite like the majority of black people, who are really brown in hue, that I personally know who live in the United States. We are people with a distinct and tragic arrival to the US. We are people with diversity within our broader culture. Because of our complex ancestry we have a multiplicity of beautiful shades of brown.

My statement about there being only one race of human being comes from what the Bible says. And there is plenty of scientific data that says the same thing. The Bible is pretty plain about this if you just read the verses. But I warn you – you must put on your thinking cap.

The Bible opens with this declaration.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 NET

On day six of the creation story…

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.” God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27 NET

Chapter 2 of Genesis puts a spotlight on Chapter 1, giving us more of the details on how this event happened.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion for him who corresponds to him.” The Lord God formed out of the ground every living animal of the field and every bird of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them, and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man named all the animals, the birds of the air, and the living creatures of the field, but for Adam no companion who corresponded to him was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and while he was asleep, he took part of the man’s side and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the part he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Then the man said, “This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife, and they become a new family. Genesis 2:18-24 NET

I know this is hard for many of us to fathom, but God fashions the first wife from the first man. It’s like He did a cloning of sorts. Did God give the woman Adam’s DNA but with female genetics? It is a miracle. But not as big a miracle as making a man out of dust and turning him into a breathing, thinking, loving human being.

Fast forward a bit and Adam and Eve have children. First there is Cain and then Abel. But later there are more children. And all would have Adam and Eve’s DNA. But really, all would have Adam’s DNA – because Eve was fashioned from Adam.

In fact everyone – at that point would have been coming from a very tight gene pool. Adam.

Now I personally cringe at the thought of the boys in the family marrying the girls in the family. But God either made that acceptable during the early years of the earth. Or maybe God fashioned a wife, from a husband on more than one occasion. Either way, there is only one “race” of human beings. And we don’t know what their appearance was when the earth was new.

Ironically, more evidence is found about Adam’s family in the third chapter of Luke as Dr. Luke gives a reverse order of the genealogy of Jesus.

…the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Kenan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. Luke 3:36-38 NET

I shared the bottom part of the genealogy list just to show that the connection between Adam, Noah and Noah’s son Shem, along with acknowledging all of the corresponding mothers that are still related in some way to Adam. I mention Noah and Shem specifically because there is going to be a big situation coming, but according to the list above, at that point there is still only one race of human beings who all came from Adam.

The big situation is called the great flood. It is described in Genesis 6. God was so grieved by the evil all over the earth that He choose to start over. (I suspect that God is grieved by evil today and I am so grateful that He promised that He would not send another flood of that magnitude.) Thankfully God saves an extended family to begin again. That family belongs to Noah, Adam’s “grandson.”

The Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, for I consider you godly among this generation. Genesis 7:1 NET

On that very day Noah entered the ark, accompanied by his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, along with his wife and his sons’ three wives. Genesis 7:13 NET

God showed great mercy and grace to those eight human beings. He kept them throughout the flood, allowing them to be the ones repopulate the earth. And… they were all pretty near descendants of Adam.

But wait… some of you say, what about the tower of Babel. So let’s read it together:

The whole earth had a common language and a common vocabulary. When the people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” (They had brick instead of stone and tar instead of mortar.) Then they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves. Otherwise we will be scattered across the face of the entire earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the people had started building. And the Lord said, “If as one people all sharing a common language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be beyond them.

Come, let’s go down and confuse their language so they won’t be able to understand each other.” So the Lord scattered them from there across the face of the entire earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why its name was called Babel – because there the Lord confused the language of the entire world, and from there the Lord scattered them across the face of the entire earth. Genesis 11:1-18

Because the human race was seeking to build for its own glory and purposes God gave people different languages and this did serve as a barrier. But, I still see no new “races” being created.

The concept of race as it is used today, began with the colonization of the United States. It was established to allow one group of people to treat another group of people as less than human for personal and corporate gain. It would have been impossible to treat an equal human being as an animal if they were not of a  “different” – really meaning “inferior” race. Just as with many recent examples one could not murder another human with malice and no just cause, unless his or her skin color or hair color or way of being, were not of a different, meaning inferior, race.

And the devil wants nothing more for us human beings to keep behaving this way because it grieves the heart of our Maker.

One of my favorite verses is written by the Apostle John as he sees a vision of the heavenly realm. He writes about this in Revelation 7:9.

After these things I looked, and here was  an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe,people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes, and with palm branches in their hands. (NET)

In this passage God is confirming that even in heaven we will be able to tell what people look and sound like… and these distinctions are certainly real and maybe even create challenges on earth that we must work through. But race is not listed, though we have accepted and talk about this concept often. It is lie that there is more than one human race.

As I finished this post… I am including an excerpt and link to a blog post from Vivian Cho, a Ph.D. candidate in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard Medical School.

She writes, “The popular classifications of race are based chiefly on skin color, with other relevant features including height, eyes, and hair. Though these physical differences may appear, on a superficial level, to be very dramatic, they are determined by only a minute portion of the genome: we as a species have been estimated to share 99.9% of our DNA with each other. The few differences that do exist reflect differences in environments and external factors, not core biology.” Science is consistent with what the Bible says.

We are all Adam’s children.

And because of such, when you ask, you don’t want to know my race. You can assume I am a human being. But you may want to know my people group, tribe, nationality or language. And I lobby now to change every document that asks for a person’s race. Let’s assume the person is a human and then ask the other questions.

We can fight racism more effectively – if we can bring truth to the lie.

More food for thought…

If there are different races of humans, why can people receive a blood transfusion from anyone who has the same blood type?

The same for organ donation… shouldn’t a person need to get a kidney from a person of the same – ethnicity?

If there are different races of people – why can they successfully have children together? And then those children can have children?

For the Bible scholars who are thinking, what about Nephilim; these beings are listed in Genesis 6 which occurred before the flood. I am thinking that God called Noah’s family “godly” and they did not have any Nephilim genes to take forward into the new world.

I close this long post, using words from the Apostle Paul as a prayer… For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. Galatians 3:26-28 NLT

These words don’t mean that the distinctions don’t exist – or shouldn’t be seen. Instead they should be seen and valued knowing that Christ brings us together into His and Adam’s family.

Published by Kelly Wilson on 10 May 2020

Mother’s Day: Sweet, Bitter & Bittersweet.

Mother’s Day 2020. The sweet. I am so grateful for my children. They are an eternal blessing. Just last evening my 14-year old daughter Koah, was doing a school assignment. She had to recreate a famous masterpiece for art class. She chose to emulate the “Last Supper” so she and her brother Kyler started taking photo after photo with costumes and props.

Later in the evening Koah showed me the finished art and I start laughing so hard I began to cry.  See it for yourself below.

At some point in the photo shoot, my older son, KJ came into the room and asked if he could have a piece of the pound cake I made from scratch on Friday. I said, “Shouldn’t there be some sort of Mother’s Day song before we cut it?” I thought he was going to turn the melody of “Happy Birthday to you” into “Happy Mother’s Day to you.” Instead he grabbed his phone and started to sing a song called “I love my mom” by Blake Rules.

The above is a snapshot of my life with my children; they are creative, smart, kind, funny, love me and their dad and most importantly, God.

I am so grateful to have the privilege to be their mom.

The Bitter. For many woman, Mother’s Day is especially hard. They long for children and don’t have them. The hurt from difficult memories with a mother who was not able to mother well or at all. And there are mothers whose child has preceded her in death. This is sadly my reality too.

Our daughter, Kennedy Anne Wilson, died after 25 days of life on September 29, 2003. She had such a short time of earth, but she changed my life forever. The days following her passing were so hard and bitter.

Losing her placed me in a sisterhood of women that may be mourning as others are celebrating and I just want to acknowledge you and pray. Father please give beauty for ashes. In Jesus’ name.

The Bittersweet. So much of life is actually a mixture of these tastes and emotions. As my husband and I remember our moms, who are both with the Lord. We laugh above the funny things they did. How kind their affection was to each of us. How both moms stabilized us with their love. And we wish they were alive to see the antics of their grandchildren…and children. (As we miss our moms we acknowledge our “bonus” mom, Wanda Wilson. Happy Mother’s Day!)

Ironically I was reading my Bible yesterday and the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 was covered. I believe there is a special mom hidden in the passage.

John chapter 6, verses 3-9 say “Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him. (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.) Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 6He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.

Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”

Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up.

“There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” (NLT)

I often smile as I read this passage and think about a godly mom who says, Matthew, don’t forget to take your with you. I packed five loaves and two fish. Maybe the boy smiled as he ran out of the house. Or maybe he rolled his eyes, like five and loaves again. Maybe that was a very generous helping that could be shared. Or maybe is was barely enough to push away hunger pains until dinner.

But the account shows that this mom was raising a child who cared about the things of God, why else would he be listening to Jesus. We know he had some level of boldness as he spoke up and told Andrew about the specifics of his lunch.  And he was kind and did not keep it for himself, but had faith to give it as an offering to the Messiah.

After Jesus uses the lunch to feed the crowd of 5000 men, and the women and children that were also there.  Jesus has leftovers. I would bet that He made sure that at least one of the twelve baskets of leftovers was sent home with the young boy. And whether she was there on the hillside or at home, I bet he ran straight to his mom…

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