The Kitchen Table #31: Pursuing Meaningful Friendships

This week on The Kitchen Table podcast, Shine.FM’s Ministry Director Brian McIntyre Utter and his son Jake dive into a conversation on meaningful relationships and why an inner-circle of friends is important. In Music Matters, new music from Switch, Kings Kaleidoscope and an oldie, but goldie from Mylon & Broken Heart. In Culture Shock, what Netflix star Marie Kondo gets wrong. Be sure to subscribe to get all our Shine.FM podcasts.

The Kitchen Table #30 – Is Hope Necessary for the Christian Life?

Is Hope really necessary? This week on The Kitchen Table podcast, Shine.FM’s Ministry Director Brian McIntyre Utter and his son Jake talk across the table about why hope is essential to the Christian faith. In Music Matters, new music from Steven Malcolm, a live acoustic song from Needtobreathe and an oldie, but goldie from White Heart. In Culture Shock, do your children have any of these apps on their phones? If so, remove them immediately! Be sure to subscribe to get all our Shine.FM podcasts.

Try Me

Esther 4:12-16

“When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: ‘Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?’

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’”

 

I love this passage. Stories of these incredible women in the Bible – Esther, Ruth, Mary – have inspired me ever since I was a little girl. A powerful and loving God elevates men and women alike.

Esther always seemed to me like a timid and gentle woman. She wasn’t really interested in stirring the waters. She did what she had to do. Throughout her story, Esther’s choices seem to be made for her and Mordecai always seems to be guiding her path. Even in the first part of this passage, Mordecai is warning Esther and telling her that she should take action. The strength of Esther’s reply catches me every time. I don’t know if I would be capable of responding with that much confidence if I was being required to do it. There had to have been a willingness, a faith, and a determination that Esther held.

That last sentence – “And if I perish, I perish” – seems unreal. This woman was ready to stand before a king who would surely kill her for speaking out. And what was her response? If I die, I die. So be it. Kill me.

I don’t know if this is faith, courage, or desperation, but whatever it is, it is admirable.

A theme in my life lately has been faith. A faith that releases worry, stands firm, and touches every part of my life. It is so far from a perfect faith. But when I hear those words from Esther, it gives me something to strive for. I want a faith that looks into the face of death and says, “Try me.”

Isn’t Much

Matthew 14:15-22

“As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.’

Jesus replied, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.’

‘We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,’ they answered.

‘Bring them here to me,’ he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.”

 

Sometimes, I don’t have much to offer. I feel used-up and burnt-out. I feel like the disciples who turned to God with what felt like empty hands. “All we have are these few pieces of bread and fish. It’s barely anything. What could this possibly accomplish?” On some days that’s how it feels to put my faith in God. I hold out my little, fractured pieces of trust and think, it isn’t much, God, but I’m giving it to you.

And isn’t that all he asks of us? The faith of a mustard seed?

To offer up what we have, even if it’s small, tattered, and seemingly worthless. I like to imagine that God takes the pieces from our hands and thinks, “Oh yes, I can work with this.” He looks at us and sees unlimited possibilities because we are dealing with the creator of the universe. He is the master designer. This is the same God who made light out of darkness and life out of dust. Jesus took those five loaves of bread and two fish and fed 5,000+ people. And they had 12 baskets of leftovers.

If he can do that, he can make something beautiful out of the little that I have to offer, even when it isn’t much.

Eyes Up

Matthew 14:25-33

“Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’

‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’
‘Come,’ he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’

And then they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”

 

This is one of my favorite Bible stories. It is one that shows the truthfulness of human nature.

Peter is such a relateable disciple. Here’s a man who truly believes, and is vocal about his desire to follow Christ. His heart is fully in the Lord. So then, why does he fall?

I find myself coming back to this story for several reasons.

First of all, Peter had good intentions. He had faith that Christ was who he said he was, and could do what he said he could do. There are days when I feel so close to God and so confident about who he is that I can’t find it in myself to worry about anything. I believe in the power of Christ. I believe he will take care of me.

However, as the story continues, we see that Peter started to look around. He took his eyes off Jesus and turned his attention to the wind and the waves. In my life, the wind and the waves look like work, finances, relationships, school, and responsibilities. The wind and the waves look like the future and the unknown. And just like Peter, it is when these things capture my attention that I begin to feel like I’m sinking. My vision is crowded with other things and I struggle to see and hear Jesus through it all. And if we’re honest, it does feel like we’re drowning.

But the most important part is that Peter cried out to the right person. He didn’t turn back and call out to the disciples to save him, and it doesn’t say that he tried to fight the storm on his own. He called out to the one person who could lift him out; “Lord.” Sometimes I struggle with this one. I waste too much time trying to fix the situation on my own before turning to Christ. I have found time and time again that calling out to Christ and refocusing on him will lift me out when I cannot do it on my own.

I love the word that is used when Jesus lifts him out; “immediately.” As soon as Peter called out, Jesus reached down and lifted him out. He didn’t scold him first, he didn’t get angry at Peter for failing. He immediately pulls him out and then reminds Peter of who he is. “Why did you doubt?” Christ does not get tired of us. He doesn’t get angry when we fail. He is excited about our attempts! Like a father teaching his child to ride a bike, he picks us up when we fall and encourages us to try again.

I read this story all the time, and I never get tired of it. This book is not outdated, ancient, or expired. The truths that Peter learned that day in the storm are the same truths that I need to hear today.

As you face the storms in your life – as you are tempted to glance at the wind and the waves – remember; eyes up.

The Kitchen Table #29: Sibling Guilt – Living with a Special Needs Sibling

By far the most raw and emotional episode of The Kitchen Table. Join Shine.FM’s Ministry Director Brian McIntyre Utter and his son Jake as they share their own personal story of the guilt and emotions of siblings in families with special needs children. New songs in Music Matters from Elias Dummer, Ben Rector, and a 1994 oldie, but goldie from Clay Crosse. In Culture Shock, the lessons we can teach of children when sports figures have a major failure. Subscribe today to get all the episodes.

Shine 180: Linette

Shine 180…stories of lives transformed by God because of your faithfulness. We are all on a journey. We are all at different points on our journey….and that’s OK.  The purpose of our journey is simple, but sometimes difficult…keep moving forward becoming more like Jesus. Linette’s demonstrates that the journey to Salvation is not always a smooth one. Don’t give up. God is not giving up on you.

The Kitchen Table #28: Response to the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

On this week’s episode of The Kitchen Table Shine.FM’s Ministry Director Brian McIntyre Utter and his son Jake have a conversation about the Christian response to the legalization of recreational marijuana. New songs in Music Matters from Joel Vaughn, All Sons & Daughters, and a 1993 oldie, but goldie from The Imperials. In Culture Shock, Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas message and what the 2018 Box Office Queen says about God’s blessings. Subscribe today to get all the episodes.

The Kitchen Table #27: It Is OK for Christians to Curse?

On this week’s episode of The Kitchen Table Shine.FM’s Ministry Director Brian McIntyre Utter and his son Jake have a conversation about if it is OK for Christians to use profanity or not. New songs in Music Matters from Ryan Stevenson, Elevation Worship and a 1992 oldie, but goldie from Michael W. Smith. In Culture Shock, what does how we spend money on extravagant things say about of Christian witness. Subscribe today to get all the episodes.

The Kitchen Table #26: As Followers of Christ, How Do We Deal with Divorce?

This week on The Kitchen Table, Shine.FM’s Ministry Director Brian McIntyre Utter and his son Jake welcome around the table, Shine.FM program director, Don Burns, as they look at the issue of divorce, the effects it has on children, and what the Bible has to say. In Music Matters, new music from Lincoln Brewster, a Christmas song from Chris Tomlin & Audrey Assad and an oldie, but goldie from Wayne Watson. In Culture Shock, some important things kids should know about Christmas. Be sure to subscribe for all the latest!