Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What Do We Do With Our Shame?

Hi Friends,

On Sunday, Bryan and I will be preaching out of my upcoming book, Reaching for Wonder. Specifically, we'll be talking about the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at a well. They talked of living water, of the Messiah, of worshipping God in spirit and in truth. But those are all tangents. John 4 isn't a story about theology, it's a story of a woman whose shame and pain was transformed to glory through an encounter with a stranger at a well. Perhaps we will encounter him too ...

Here's a bit from the chapter to consider ...

Who Is This God?
There’s something about empty jars at Jesus’ feet. The Samaritan woman by the well, the woman who wept and dried Jesus’ feet with her hair in Luke 7. In that passage of Luke, we read about a sinful woman who brought an alabaster jar of perfumed oil to the house of a Pharisee and, after crying and wiping Jesus’ feet, she kissed them, and poured out the perfume from her jar. She emptied her jar. “I tell you that her many sins have been forgiven,” Jesus said in response. (Luke 7:47) She came with her sorrow and her sins and she left her jar at his feet. She left forgiven and filled with new hope.
There is something about leaving our emptiness with him. Something about leaving all our shame, guilt, ugliness of the past . . . and we walk away new. And that’s what it means to drink of the living water. That’s what it means to worship in spirit and in truth. We pour out our jar of perfume at his feet and worship him. We drop our jar, and our shame, and worship him with the words, “Come and see a man who has told me everything I’ve done!”
         Our God is the God of the Empty Jar.
         We must only bring our hidden shame, our hidden pain, our emptiness.
         Jesus is waiting for you, for me, at the edge of the well in the heat of the day. Will you bring your jar to him?

Lord, help me to trust you enough to come to the well
and leave my empty jar at your feet.
Uncover my shame and transform it for your glory.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

When Life Beats You Up

Hi Friends,

Sometimes it just feels like life is beating you up. And sometimes it feels like the choices of others are making it worse. And something it seems that God just won't make it stop. Here's some help from Reaching for Wonder (which you can pre-order now!)


Isaiah 28:28-29 says:

Bread grain is crushed, but the thresher doesn’t thresh it forever.  
He drives the cart wheel over it; he spreads it out but doesn’t crush it.
This also comes from the Lord of heavenly forces,
who gives wondrous counsel and increases wisdom.

Threshing is “the process of loosening the edible part of cereal grain (or other crop) from the scaly, inedible chaff that surrounds it. It is the step in grain preparation after harvesting and before winnowing, which separates the loosened chaff  from the grain.”

Threshing is difficult. Sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes it feels like a beating, as if the oxen have been stomping you forever or the threshing wheel crushing you over and over and over. And yet, Isaiah assures us that the threshing will not go on forever, because threshing is for a purpose. It’s to get rid of the chaff. It is to prepare the grain for making bread.

It’s not about blame. It’s never about blame. It’s not about excuses for staying stuck. It’s about the purpose of the threshing: to make something new, something useful, something good.

Psalm 104:14-15 says of God:

You make grass grow for cattle;
you make plants for human farming in order to get food from the ground,
and wine, which cheers people’s hearts, along with oil, 
which makes the face shine, and bread, which sustains the human heart.

Our God is the God of Bread-Making. He doesn’t thresh us forever. Instead, he makes us into bread to bless and sustain others.

We can only be all we need to be in Christ when we accept the God of Bread-Making. It’s not about who’s to blame for what happened before. It’s not about who’s to blame for what might come. It’s about what God is doing right before us, right now. It’s about him asking the question, “Do you want to get well?”

Do you want to be made into bread?