Back in 2014 I announced in a blog that I was going to write a book. Well, five years later, START SMALL is published and on AMAZON.

My goal in writing: I want to inspire this present generation to begin, once again, to seek His Kingdom.

Here is an excerpt of one of my chapters…I hope you enjoy:

Chapter Five: Start Small

Jesus often did, said, and suggested some pretty crazy things, and I have often wondered if He enjoyed raising the eyebrows of his onlookers and freaking out His listeners!

One of His most unconventional discourses took place on the day He sent out His twelve disciples to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons. All in a day’s work, right?

In this interaction, Jesus sounds like a tried-and-true army general shoring up his rather green soldiers.  Yes, they were trained and ready, but Jesus was making this real.

The final instructions Jesus gives them for this particular mission put everything into perspective:

This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance.

The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.  Matthew 10:42 (MSG)

Seeking the Kingdom can be puzzling. However, giving a cup of cool water is not. It’s easy. It’s an attainable task. Even a green recruit could do that.

So, I did that.

A True Apprentice

July in Alabama is hot. Real hot. Like choosing to stay inside where it is air-conditioned hot. 

I was looking out the window while washing dishes inside of my climate-controlled house when I saw a middle-aged, uniformed gentleman crossing my neighbor’s yard. I quickly concluded that he was not a thief, but likely a meter reader. God highlighted him to me and the thought came, “Take a cup of cool water to him.”

I didn’t hesitate. This was doable. I shook the bubbles off of my hands. I ran to the fridge and grabbed a bottled water before heading out the door. He was, indeed, the meter man and he was crossing the street into my yard. I also noticed he was dripping sweat. Prime!

I slowed my eager pace down a bit so as not to scare him. “Sure is a hot day, isn’t it?” I casually asked. 

He responded with a slight smile and a nod.

I held out the water to him. “Would you like some water?  I want to give it to you in Jesus’ name.” Dang. That sounded so religious. The words felt wrong even as they came rushing very unnaturally out of my mouth. I should have left off the last part. 

He took the cool water with a “thank you.” I smiled, turned and hightailed it back into my house.

Handing someone a cup of cool water was more dicey than I had anticipated. Yes, the task was easy, but I made it religious. I felt stupid.

However, I had done it. The door was open. I was a true apprentice who really had a lot to learn. I would not turn back.

The Kingdom is expansive and eternal. It is practical. It is not religious. It is not limited by space nor time. God invites us to partner with Him in it through the means of seeking it first.

It truly is best to simply start small.

Start Small: A Quick Start Guide to Seeking the Kingdom

by Karen S. Dilbeck

I do not believe in discipleship

The concept of discipleship was ingrained in me early on:

Who is discipling you? and who are you discipling? were familiar questions.

It was normal to be in a discipleship group–a group that taught the ways of Jesus. The motive was (and is) pure and good.

However, over the years, I have discovered that neither the words ‘discipleship’ nor  ‘discipling’ are in the Bible. From all I can surmise, we made up those words over time to describe what we are doing.

Apparently we in Christendom, pure heartedly, have veered off course. Way off course. Let me explain my point of view.

At age 24, I went to seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. I had been working with teenagers since I was 19. I had quite a bit of favor with teenagers (youth) but no education in that area. The next seemingly apparent step was to earn my Masters in Religious Education.

Early on during my time at this fine institution of higher learning, I found a church that I liked.  What I really, really liked most about this church was my Sunday School teacher. His name was Dr. Stan Lee. He and his wife, Marlene, were real life missionaries in a foreign land. For some reason, though, they were temporarily at this church. While there, Dr. Lee taught Sunday School.

Each Sunday I, along with a few others, went early just so we could watch him as he prepped to teach. He would stand in front of two chalkboards for a bit and just stare at them.

And then, as if an unseen checkered flag dropped, he began to write—he wrote and wrote until both chalkboards were filled up. And the words he wrote were full of RAW LIFE. Then Dr. Lee took the next 45 minutes or so and spoke about all the words on the board. Again, LIFE. I was mesmerized, challenged, and hungry for more!

One Sunday I got up the nerve to wait after class to ask Dr. Lee one simple question, “will you disciple me?”

Side note: I was naïve about the obvious taboo male/female discipleship thing. However, I was very pure hearted and eager to get more of this life-filled teaching, which is what I believed discipleship was.

Awkwardness appeared. Dr. Lee looked angst. Yes, my query was definitely troubling him.

He looked away, looked back at me and looked away again. He opened his mouth, closed it, and after a few more seconds, he spoke slowly methodically and this is what he said: “Only One disciples. And his name is Jesus. I disciple no one.”

I smiled politely, curtsied and excused myself. (Okay, I didn’t curtsy, but I did hightail it out of there.)

I was so embarrassed. What the heck did he mean?? I had asked a very common Christian-type question and he, figuratively, slammed me.

Yet, I really heard what he said. I thought about it a lot. And over the days, weeks, months, and years to come, it resounded. It resonated.

And it altered my life’s trajectory. 

That very day, Dr. Lee contributed to making me a disciple as well as giving me a much greater understanding to actually what making a disciple meant and means.

“Go and make disciples…” was the very thing that Jesus told all of us to do in, what we call, the Great Commission.  Disciple means a devoted follower. Dr. Lee didn’t mind teaching me; he simply did not want me to follow him.

Jesus did NOT tell me (or any of us) to disciple anyone.

If someone is discipling me, I am following them.

If I disciple someone, then they are following me.

If I am making disciples (devoted followers), then I am pushing them (or compelling them) to follow the One and only person that God wants us to follow, that is Jesus.

Over time, I have learned the simplicity of what it means to go straight to Jesus. I am still learning how to walk with him and talk with him and most of all, listen to and follow him.  

I have learned that he is life and gives his life freely. I have learned that his yoke (teachings) are easy (oh, so easy) and the burden (expectations) he places on me is oh. So. Light.

I am his disciple. And the way I make disciples is to push others (believers and unbelievers alike) to him. Again, I am here to push people to him, not to bring them to me.

Yes, I teach. (And listen to other’s teachings.)

Yes, I equip. (This is what I think most people are actually doing when they are discipling others. I do think the semantics are important.)

Yes, I mentor. (And have a few mentors that I can call on.)

Yes, I make disciples. (That is now normal, and very easy.)

But, no, I do not disciple, because that is not what he asks me to do.

Thank you, Dr. Lee, for not discipling me, but instead for doing what all of us are called to do: for (contributing to) making me a disciple.

So many squash so little time

8a075e50-ec1c-430f-9116-983ed0dd1edaI love summer and all the fresh foods that it brings: tomatoes, zucchini, ocra, corn, herbs, and SQUASH! Lots and lots and lots of squash.

I love to cook-it-down in bacon grease in an iron skillet or slice it, toss in corn meal and fried it along side onion rings in hot grease.  I’m drooling as I type!

However, sometimes there is just SO MUCH SQUASH with only a limited number of ways that my family will not only EAT but ENJOY!

A few years ago I found a great recipe that my whole family loves and, admittedly have tweaked it a little. It is easy and, strangely enough for our clan, HEALTHY–of course, anything is healthier  than all my bacon grease and canola oil…

Go ahead, print this one out now.  I tried to make it the right size to fold and put in your recipe box but who knows what the In-ternets will do to it!
Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 11.08.49 AM

IMG_1141FullSizeRender-1I also love growing and cooking with herbs.  So, I was able to jump off my porch and harvest (fancy word for pinch off) some basil and thyme.  And yes, I washed it first.

Most of the other ingredients came from the local grocery store, but our squash, zucchini and tomato plants are growing as fast as they can so it won’t be long before I have fresh ingredients for my kitchen.

I also took the above photo of the veggies on a cutting board that my son made with his own two hands. So proud!









Oh, well. That’s it!  Please let me know if you make this recipe–or even if you print it out.  Heck, let me know if you even read this.  What joy it would bring to my beatin’ heart!

Hugs! Summertime, summertime, I do so love summertime!