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July 31, 2014 / The Vine Community Church

The Photoshop Effect

Check out the photo of this young woman.

Photoshop Effect

What do you think? She’s cute, right? Big brown eyes, adorable little nose, big, bright, white smile. Would you like to meet her? Get to know her? Be friends with her? Maybe work with her? She seems professional.

Spoiler Alert: That’s not what she looks like in real life!

Keep that in mind. We’ll come back to our friend here.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked with the Jr High students about true beauty and the lie that Hollywood, media & society are telling us. We started out with a little game to get things rolling. Here are a few of the questions they were asked.

How tall in Tom Cruise?


How old is Rob Dyrdek?


Who in this group of women is older?

IDINA_MENZEL_web-460x2761Katy-PerryFROZEN Premieres in Hollywood

Identify this celebrity without makeup.


The answers might surprise you.

Tom Cruise is 5’7”. (He’s an inch shorter than me!) This is hard to believe because his movies make him look larger than life. In fact, he’s the same height at Simon Helberg, who plays Howard Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory.


He’s also the same height as…

Rob Dyrdek, who is 40. Other stars that turn 40 this year include Alyson Hannigan, Eva Mendes, Jimmy Fallon, Kate Moss & Leonardo DiCaprio.

Also 40…


Idina Menzel, who is the oldest of these ladies.

Katy Perry is 29 & Bailee Madison is 14.

Lastly, this is Tyra Banks.


Let’s get back to that cute little girl we saw earlier.

Photoshop Effect2

Wait…that’s not her, is it?

Yes, it is. This is The Photoshop Effect. Photoshop is a computer program used for creating graphics. It allows you to edit any digital image and the possibilities are seeming endless. After hours of editing, she looks like this:

Photoshop Effect

This is Hollywood in a nutshell. No wonder our sense of beauty is off! No wonder our self worth is in the gutter! Because we’re trying to be something that doesn’t even exist. This is what you see in movies, TV, magazines, on Billboards, etc. Everything has a filter!

We are constantly fed lie after lie after lie. We’re not tall enough, we’re not pretty enough, not muscular enough, not thin enough. We’re too old, too young, whatever!

But God says we are enough.

Song of Solomon 4:7 ESV – You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.

God sees us as beautiful. He is our creator & He loves his creation. So, we should be happy with ourselves no matter what we look like.

I recently went to my cousin’s graduation in Arkansas. We were out at the creek in our bathing suits talking and we started talking about our flaws. My cousin Jason (man, I admire this dude’s ability to not care what others think) said, “you guys need to quit worrying about what you look like and have some confidence.”

Hello! Eye-opening. (At least it was for me.) Was I really trying to hide myself around my family? Around the people who seriously love me no matter what?

I realized, I am 30 years old. I’m a photographer. I have seen what computer programs can do. I’ve seen men & women go through plastic surgery, cake on makeup & workout like mad dogs. All for what?


He was right! Who cares what I look like as long as I’m happy with myself? And, am I really still struggling with this at my age? Am I still believing the lie even though I use the same computer program the big shots use? Yes I am. I still have days where I feel ugly. I still desire to rock my new clothes and cute shoes and straighten my hair and work out…but no matter what I have to be happy with me. (And if I can be honest, I’ll choose the cheese fries over the salad every time.)

Psalm 139:14 ESV – I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

I think many times, we need the reminder of our beauty, no matter what age we are.

I say #NoFilter. And some days that is easier said than done. But, I want to encourage you to learn to love yourself. You are beautiful the way you were made. Let’s help each other feel beautiful rather than tearing each other down.


See the full photoshop transformation timelapse video of the photo here.

Check out Colbie Callet’s video for her new single Try, where she strips off her makeup for the cameras.

July 28, 2014 / The Vine Community Church


Sunday’s message: #NoFilter

July 24, 2014 / The Vine Community Church

When God Says…

Okay. So, you’ve been there. I’ve been there. When you were a kid and you wanted that new toy and didn’t get it. When you were a teenager and wanted to go to that party but weren’t allowed. When you are an adult and want that position and someone else is promoted.

So, have you? Are you there now?

I have. We will be again.

My youngest son, Timmy, (age 3) loves jumping. Big surprise right?! Jumping on the bed, jumping down the hall, jumping off the couch…you get the idea. We have instructed him numerous times, “don’t jump on the bed! Stop jumping off the couch! Timothy!”

We tell him these things for obvious reasons, all for his good, from our love. He could get hurt. Yet, he doesn’t understand. All he knows is the fun and joy he feels while he is doing it. He, being so little, is not mature enough nor even possesses the cognitive thinking required to think ahead to the various outcomes of his actions. For example, a broken leg, broken arm or a head injury. We as parents see this because we have matured in our understanding. We love him and want to protect him, not take from him. 

This became clearer to him just a few days ago. He came into my room and began jumping on my bed. I began to dialogue with him, “Timmy, what has mommy and daddy…” I couldn’t finish my statement before his knees buckled and he began to cry. He had hyper extended his little right knee. After that, he couldn’t walk for a couple of hours. He needed carried or he would simply crawl from one side of the room to the other to play. (He is better now.)

Maybe you are instructing little ones, maybe its teenagers, grandchildren, students. When you say “no” it is for their good, from your love. When you say “wait” it is for their good, from your love. When you say “yes” It is for their good, from your love. Right?

Our Heavenly Father is the same, yet perfect in His love. His Word in Matthew 7:9-11 says; 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

If we have met Jesus and He has saved us, we are His children whom He loves. He wants good things for us. Now, please don’t confuse “our good” with “happiness, perfection, comfort or lack of difficulty and suffering.”

The Bible says,

10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:5-11

What I am saying is this: when we want something and God says “no,” it is for our good, from His love. When God says “wait,” it is for our good, from His love. When God says “yes,” it is for our good, from His love. He loves us and wants to protect us, not take from us.

This isn’t an easy thing to accept. We believe we know what is best for our lives based on “our“ understanding and what we think will bring us the feeling of most joy. Based on what we know, what we can see, what we can do, what we feel. How do we navigate this kind of difficulty? Feeling vs. truth. Seen vs. the unseen. Now vs. eternity.

We must trust. Trust the God who is timeless. Trust the God who is eternal. Trust the God who is unchanging. Trust the God who sees all. Trust the Word of God that is inerrant. Trust the God whose ways are not our ways. Trust what you know to be true of Him, not what you feel at the time. Trust the Father that calls us son or daughter. Trust Him because, 28 “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Let us humbly reply as Eli replied to Samuel after he had received a vision. “It is the Lord; let Him do what seems good to Him.”

If He says, no, wait or yes, it is for our good, from His love.

And ALL, for His glory. He is Lord.



July 21, 2014 / The Vine Community Church


Sunday’s message: #Doppleganger

July 17, 2014 / The Vine Community Church

Fret Not Thyself

Oswald Chambers only lived to be forty-three years old. Born in 1874, his life reflected an intense struggle to know and follow God’s calling on his life. Granted, some of his terminology might be hard to grasp, but his over all message about worrying is a lesson most of us need to adopt into our lives.

One sentence in his article spoke to me profoundly, (I underlined it for you). After giving it some careful thought, I had to admit most of the things I “fret” about are just things I believe I need to have some control over. In retrospect, I realize how foolish that really sounds. The God of this universe really doesn’t need me to figure out tomorrow.

One of God’s Great Don’ts

“Fret not thyself, it tendeth only to evil doing.” Psalm 37:8 (R.V.)

“Fretting means getting out at elbows mentally or spiritually. It is one thing to say ‘Fret not,’ but a very different thing to have such a disposition that you find yourself able not to fret. It sounds so easy to talk about ‘resting in the Lord’ and ‘waiting patiently for Him’ until the nest is upset – until we live, as so many are doing, in tumult and anguish, is it possible then to rest in the Lord? If this ‘don’t’ does not work there, it will work nowhere. This ‘don’t’ must work in days of perplexity as well as in days of peace, or it never will work. And if it will not work in your particular case, it will not work in anyone else’s case. Resting in the Lord does not depend on external circumstances at all, but on your relationship to God Himself.

Fussing always ends in sin. We imagine that a little anxiety and worry are an indication of how really wise we are; it is much more an indication of how really wicked we are. Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way. Our Lord never worried and He was never anxious, because He was not ‘out’ to realize His own ideas; He was ‘out’ to realize God’s ideas. Fretting is wicked if you are a child of God.

Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God? Put all ‘supposing’ on one side and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty. Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about that thing. All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.”


July 13, 2014 / The Vine Community Church

June 29, 2014 / The Vine Community Church

God’s Counsel


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