Posted in Faith

What’s Wrong With Being the “Crazy” Church Lady?

Woman sitting on a wall holding a bible.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Mark 16:15, NIV

I think we can all agree that evangelism, or witnessing to others about Christ, is one of the core duties of a believer.

The bible calls this, The Great Commission, as recorded in Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:18-20 and Luke 24:46-47.

But how many of us actively spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the rest of our community? Do we censor ourselves around our co-workers and non-Christian friends for the sake of their comfort?

A few weeks ago I was talking to one of the parents at my sons swim practice. She was venting to me about one of the new instructors at the YMCA.

According to her the lady was former military, which made her a bit rough around the edges. Plus she didn’t like the music she played during the class.

I casually mentioned that my father is pastor (yes, I’m a pk), but he is also former military, which makes his job as a pastor difficult at times. Military people in leadership positions can often come off as too direct and offensive when leading civilians.

I assured her that the new instructor would get the hang of interacting with civilians as time went on.

Little did I know that this brief exchange would lead down a new path one I was not expecting.

I was swiftly assured that one of this woman’s many problems was that she was in fact a pastor’s wife, which made her “very religious”.

In her experience religious people are the worst. Her sister was very religious, always sharing scriptures and what not. Her sister got on her nerves.

As a Christian, I was somewhat offended and taken aback by this woman’s comments. However, at the same time, I could see her point of view.

I think everybody knows or has met that “ very religious” person or “crazy” church lady that we all try to duck and hide from.

But are these people really so bad? After all they are actively sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the rest of the world.

How often do you (myself included) share the gospel with those around you? Are we vocal about our faith or do we censor ourselves around friends and family for fear of alienating them?

Should we be like the crazy church lady when it comes to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ? Let’s take a closer look at this issue.

Following the Great Commission

As a Christian I often find myself torn on how to interact with nonbelievers or people of a different faith.

It’s easy for me to talk about my faith and share scriptures with other believers, but with strangers, I would say that my efforts are less than stellar.

It would seem that I’m not the only person out there that struggles with this issue.

According to a report entitled, Reviving Evangelism, 47 percent of Christian Millennial’s believe that it is wrong to share their faith with others.

47% of Christian Millennial’s believe it is wrong to share their faith with other people.

Reviving Evangelism

Despite the fact that 86% of Christian Millennial’s feel that they can answer questions about their faith, 73% say they are gifted at sharing their faith, and 96% of them believe that witnessing about Jesus is part of their faith. (You can find a part of that report here).

While I’m not a Millennial, they are not the only generation of Christians that have problem sharing their faith.

The problem with the belief that evangelism is wrong, is that it is in direct conflict with scripture.

The Apostle Paul asks these important questions, ”How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them? (Rom 10:14, CEV).”

Based on the study Millennial Christians believe evangelism is wrong for the following reasons:

  • They are more aware of the cultural climate towards spiritual conversations.
  • They believe that people today are more likely to be offended if they share their faith.

What does scripture say about how we should deal with cultural sensitivity and offense.

Dealing With The Culture

Since the time of Christ, there has been opposition to the preaching of the Gospel. The Pharisees and Sadducees sought to kill Jesus and eventually crucified him. Afterward, they sought to kill and persecute the early members of the church.

What was so wrong with the message of Christ? It was counter-cultural. Everything Jesus stood for and preached about went against the cultural norms proposed by the religious leaders.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:9, “ “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”

The current cultural climate in America is one of acceptance and tolerance for almost anything and everything. That is where sharing the gospel can cause conflict between Christians and their non-Christian peers.

Unlike other countries where Christians are and can be persecuted for their beliefs with physical harm, imprisonment and other social injustices. Persecution in the US takes a different form.

While we are not imprisoned or killed for our beliefs we are often ostracized from our close family, friends, and co-workers.

You know that crazy church lady that we were talking about earlier. The one we avoid. (ouch)

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household (Matt 10:33-36, KJV).

As Christians, we are not called to just go along with whatever the culture declares right and just. Everything we do should be balanced and tested against the word of God.

That means that there are parts of our faith that will make us unpopular with the world around us.

In a culture where you are expected to accept the status quo as true and accurate or else be branded as a bigot or intolerant it can be hard to stand on your faith.

However, the only way to stand against the culture is to continue to stand on your faith and your beliefs as Christ did.

Which means that our faith will cause us to be persecuted and will cause us to lose friends and family.

Dealing With Not Wanting to Offend Others

Man holding a sign that says Jesus facing another man.

…but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

1 Peter 2: 7-8

All Christians need to understand that the gospel of Christ is offensive to those that do not believe. The only way you can not offend someone with the gospel is to not share it.

This is just what the enemy wants is for us to be silent about our faith because we don’t want to upset or disagree with someone.

This is the exact reason why the “overly religious” Christian is treated with such disdain by non-Christians and even fellow believers.

Could it be that being around those people causes us to be convicted because we aren’t sharing our faith enough?

Have you ever stopped to think about how often the world freely and often offends Christianity? Yet, we remain silent because we don’t want to offend those around us.

We should not be afraid of offending people. Because that is going to happen. What we should instead be focusing on is the way we share the gospel with those around us.

How We Should Evangelize

Two women sitting on the couch facing each other.

Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

We know that the gospel is going to be offensive to those that don’t believe.

While this may be true, that doesn’t mean that we have to present the gospel of Christ in an offensive manner.

The reason why most people run from the “crazy” church lady is because of the way they share the gospel.

Even though their intentions are well meaning they often come off as rude, preachy, and unauthentic to other people.

Instead when we evangelize we should strive to do the following:

1. Be Kind and Respectful

We should follow Peter’s advice.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…(1 Peter 3:15,NIV).

We should be able to present the gospel of Christ with humility, gentleness and respect. Not with condemnation and self-righteousness.

When the religious leaders brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus he did not yell at or berate her. Instead, he forgave her of her sins and told her to sin no more (John 8: 1-11).

When you are acting like a jerk or snob nobody wants to listen to what you have to say.

2. Don’t Argue With People

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful ( 2 Tim 2: 23-24, NIV).

As I stated earlier the gospel is offensive and many of the moral standards taught in the bible go against the cultural norms. There are times when you will run into people that will challenge and attack your faith.

If you can not defend the gospel in a calm and respectful manner, then walk away from the conversation. This allows you to maintain your integrity and ability to try to witness to this person again.

3. Be Real and Authentic

You don’t have to act super spiritual to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with non-Christians. The best way to share the gospel with someone is to share your own testimony with them. This makes you real and relatable.

Jesus, even though he didn’t sin, was still able to relate to his disciples and the people that followed him because he knew the struggles we as humans faced. His life here on earth may have been a sinless one, but it was not without hardship.

4. Keep It Simple

Don’t try to complicate the message of the cross. Keep it simple. Now is not the time to give a lesson on theology. Start with Christ and end with Christ. Cover the who, what, when, where and why of the Gospel.

5. Have Compassion & Patience

As we grow older and mature in our faith we can often fall into selective amnesia about our past life before Christ. This can lead us to be impatient and our compassion towards the unbeliever begins to wane.

We are called to care for our fellow man whether they come to accept Christ or not. Jesus had compassion on the crowd of 5000 people that had come from far and wide to hear him speak.

I can guarantee you that there were people in the crowd that were not his disciples and had no desire to become his disciple. I’m sure their were a few religious leaders hiding in the crowd.

But Jesus took compassion on the crowd regardless of who was in it. He took 2 little fish and 5 loaves of bread and feed them all.

Remember we were all once sinners. Someone had to have compassion and patience with us. We should extend it others as well.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for tips on how to share the gospel without being offensive you can read this article .

Personally, I think most of us don’t share the gospel because we are afraid to be classified as the “crazy” church lady or that super religious friend that doesn’t get invited to anything.

But it seems like maybe the “crazy” church lady or that religious friend is exactly who we should be. Just the kinder, gentler, and more compassionate version.

I’m not saying that you have to quote scriptures every 5 minutes or that every conversation that we have should be about Christ.

If he truly is our Lord and Savior and we are really grateful for all he has done for us we shouldn’t be afraid to share what he’s done for us with the world around us.

When you eat at a great restaurant you gladly tell your friends, family, and even strangers about it. We should take that same attitude with us about Christ.

He is depending on us to go out and share the gospel with the whole world.

How do you feel about evangelism? Do you know any “crazy” church ladies or gentlemen? Have your feelings or beliefs on evangelism changed? Please share your stories with me in the comment section.

Don’t forget to hit the like button and share this post on social media. If you’re not already a subscriber consider subscribing to my blog.

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Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Crafting Corner, sewing

Cute Boxy Make-Up Bag Sewing Tutorial

Have I mentioned how much I like making zippered pouches? They really are fun and easy to make. Not to mention the different ways they can be made.

If you haven’t read my previous zippered pouch tutorial you can find that here. If this is your first time making a zippered pouch I would suggest that you read it.

It contains useful tips and hints that will make putting this pouch together easier. Today I’m going to share with you how to create a cute flat bottom zippered pouch aka cosmetic/make-up bag.

Flower themed zipper pouch in front of white roses.

Materials

Supplies needed to put your zippered pouch together.

This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a small fee, at no additional cost to you, when you purchase items using the links provided. As an Amazon associate I  earn from qualifying purchases.

  • 2 Fat quarters (coordinating colors)
  • 7 in zipper (or zipper of any size)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Clear Ruler
  • Pins/Sewing Clips
  • Zipper Foot

Optional Supplies

  • Seam Ripper

Important Sewing Terms

  • Zipper foot- type of presser foot that is used to attach zippers.
  • Right Side (rs)- The pretty side of the fabric
  • Wrong Side (wr)- The plain side of the fabric
  • Top stitch- stitches placed on the right side of the fabric for decorative purposes
  • Seam allowance- area between the fabric edge and the line you stitch
  • Interfacing- used to make an area of a garment more rigid or give it body.

Tutorial

1.Prep Materials

Before you start sewing you will want to do the following things:

  • Iron fabric to get out all of the wrinkles. Make sure you iron your fabric on the appropriate setting.
  • Attach your zipper foot to your machine.
  • Thread your bobbin with your coordinating thread colors and thread your machine. Change your needle if you have already used it a few times. If you are using thick fabric you may want to use a bigger needle. Check your manual to ensure you are using the proper size needle for the fabric you will be using. 

2. Cut Your Fabric

Cut  two 8.5 in x 7.5 in rectangles from your lining fabric, outer fabric, and your interfacing. You should have six rectangles (2 lining fabric pieces, 2 outer fabric pieces, and two interfacing pieces).

Tip: An easy way to save time on this step is to layer your pieces together and cut them all at once. If you have a rotary cutter set it makes cutting multiple layers of fabric easier and quicker.

Cutting fabric using the self healing mat, rotary cutter, and ruler.

 Tip: If you are using a different size zipper you will want to cut your fabric the same length as your zipper. If you brought a 9 in zipper add 1.5 inches to the length of your fabric.  The 9 inches doesn’t include the material at the end of the zipper. 

3. Attach Interfacing

Cut your interfacing to the size of your fabric.

Once you’ve cut out all of your pieces attach your interfacing to the wrong side of your outer fabric. Follow the directions that came with your interfacing.

I used clips to hold my fabric and interfacing in place until I could attach it to my fabric.

Clip the interfacing to the wrong side of the outer fabric until you are ready to press it in place.

Note: If you are using a thick fabric you may not need to use interfacing. The interfacing is used to stiffen the fabric so that the pouch will hold it’s shape.

4.  Create A Zipper Sandwich

This is one of the most important steps of the process. Take your time and make sure everything is lined up correctly and facing the right direction. You can find detailed steps on creating a “zipper sandwich” here.

Line the zipper up with the edge of the lining fabric.

Line the outer fabric up with the zipper and lining fabric.
Use your clips to hold everything in place.

Now you have a zipper sandwich! Well at least one half of it. 🙂

5. Sew The Pieces Together

First half of fabric is placed in the sewing machine.

Place your zipper sandwich on your sewing machine  and sew a straight line down the length of the zipper.  Make sure to remove the pin/clips as you sew. Cut your threads.

Tip: Before you get to the zipper pull. Place your needle in the fabric and unzip the zipper. Continue sewing.

6. Repeat Steps 4 & 5

At this point you should have one side of the pouch attached to the zipper. You are going to repeat steps 4 and 5.

Line up the outer fabric piece with the zipper.
Place ling fabric rs and line up with the edge of the zipper.
Second half of the inner and outer fabric are clipped to the zipper.
Place outer fabric rs down on top of the zipper and clip together.

Your finished product should look like this:

Inner and outer fabric attached to the zipper.

7. Press Your Fabric

Press fabric down and away from the zipper.

Press your fabric. Make sure that you are pressing away from the zipper on each side.

Note: If you are using a metal zipper be very careful because the teeth will get hot and burn you. 

8. Top Stitching

Take your fabric back to the machine and place a straight top stitch on each side of the zipper.

I usually line the edge of my zipper foot up with the top edge of the fabric.

Fabric is placed in the sewing machine to add top stitch.
Top stitch on each side of the zipper.

9. Match Up The Sides

Fold the fabric so that the right sides of the inner and outer fabric are facing each other. Pin or clip the sides together.

Fold the ends of the zipper so that they are facing the lining of the fabric and pin/clip each side together.  Unzip the zipper halfway before clipping both ends together.

Edges of the fabric are clipped together with binder clips.

*All you should see at this point are the wrong sides of the fabric. 

10. Sew It Together

Starting at the top of the lining fabric using a .5 in seam allowance sew around the perimeter of the fabric.

The perimeter of the zippered pouch is sewn closed with a small hole in the linning fabric.
You will need to leave a gap at the top of the lining fabric large enough to stick your hand through.  DO NOT  SEW CLOSED.

 Tips:

  • go slow when you get to the zipper area you may need to use the hand wheel to sew through this area because it will be thicker than the rest of the fabric. You do not want to hit the metal part of the zipper. 
  • Leave your needle in the fabric when you are turning the corners. 

11. Create The Bottom

Now we are going to create the bottom of your pouch. In each corner draw a .5 in square.
Note:You want to measure your squares inside the seam allowance.

Squares are drawn in the corners of the inseam.

*Tip #1- If you want a smaller or bigger bottom to your bag take the width that you want the bottom to be and divide in half. Use that number to determine what size your squares will be. (ex: 3 in bottom: 3/2=1.5 in square.

Once you have marked your corners trim off the excess fabric and cut out your corners.Trim the excess fabric and cut out the boxes of the pouch.
Carefully fold and match the end of each corner together. Pin the corners in place and stitch closed.

Make sure you use the same seam allowance when you sew all of your corners or they won’t be even. Trim off any excess fabric.

If you would like to try another method of boxing the corners or need a visual aide there is an excellent video tutorial here.

Align your seams before sewing the corners together.

*Tip #2- Before you sew your edges together make sure to line up the seams. This will keep your seams even all the way around your bag.

12. Time To Flip Out (The Fun Part)

Hopefully, you remembered to leave a hole in your lining fabric and you left part of the zipper unzipped.

Reach your hand into the hole of your lining fabric and pull the outer fabric through.

Viola! You have a cute little zippered pouch that will stand on its own. But before we can use it we have to do one more thing.

Pouch seamed are correctly matched up on the side and bottom of the bag.

13. Sew the Lining Closed

Tuck the ends of the fabric in (the should do this naturally) and sew the hole closed.

Inner zipper pouch lining is sewn closed.

14. Finishing Touches

  • Using a pencil or another blunt object push out the corners of your bag.
  • Zip the top closed and press your bag to give it that professional touch. 

Flower theme zipper pouch

Congratulations you have made your first flat bottomed zippered pouch! These are really easy to put together and make excellent gifts for kids and adults.

If you have any questions or need clarification please don’t hesitate to leave me a message in the comments area.

If you found this tutorial helpful please don’t forget to like and share it on social media.

Until next time,

The Crafty Afro

How Can I Help You?

To My Readers,

I need your help. Over the past few weeks I have been doing some reflecting about my blog. Some questions I’ve been asking myself are:

  1. What is the purpose of The Crafty Afro?
  2. What do I want to do with this blog? Do I have any specific goals for this blog? (if you haven’t read my post on making SMART goals, you can find that here)
  3. How can blogging help my family?
  4. How can I make this blog better?

But I’ve been wondering how I can help you my readers?

The tag line for this blog is faith, family, and my craft corner. I’m sure many of you decided to follow this blog because you were drawn to a post that was written in one of those three areas.

Or maybe you followed me hoping I would follow you back and that’s okay too.

Either way I would like to be of some assistance to those of you that take time out of your busy day to read what I write.

So, how can I help you?

What topics would you like to read more about on faith, family and crafting? What do you like or dislike about this blog?

Leave me a message in the comments section or if you’re shy and don’t want to make a public declaration you can fill out the form below.

In the coming weeks and months, as I continue to reflect on my own questions and your feedback, I am sure this blog will change into something new and better.

Until Next Time,

E.J. aka The Crafty Afro

Posted in blogging, Crafting Corner

9 Practical Tips To Help You Overcome Writer’s Block

This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a small fee, at no additional cost to you, when you purchase items using the links provided. As an Amazon associate I  earn from qualifying purchases.

Have you ever suffered from a case of writer‘s block? You keep pounding away at the keys hoping that a topic will come to mind. You keep writing and writing the same post over and over again, but you just can’t seem to get it right.

I think we’ve all been there. Whether you are a blogger, author or a student writing a paper for English class, writer’s block doesn’t discriminate.

 It seems like the more you try to write the more frustrated you become. The good thing is that there are a few simple tricks to help you overcome writer’s block.

1. Walk Away

If you’ve been working on a blog post a few hours or days and aren’t getting anywhere your best bet is to walk away  for a little while. 

Get up from the computer and continue on with the rest of your day. Who knows maybe inspiration will strike you while your out grocery shopping. 

2. Exercise

Get out the house and walk around the neighborhood or go to the gym an do a quick workout. The exercise will get your blood pumping and release endorphins that can help boost your mood.

3. Change Locations

Sometimes you just need to change your surrounding to find inspiration. If you’ve been working in the house all day take your computer and go outside or go to a cafe.

4. Listen to Music

When I was in college I did my best work when I was listening to music. I would just put on my headphones, crank up the volume and just zone out. It was just me, my tunes and whatever it was I was studying that night.

5. Read A Book

Take a few minutes and sit down with your favorite book. Get lost in the story for a little while. 

6. Coloring

Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. It is a great way to relieve stress and get your creative”juices” flowing again. Don’t worry they have coloring books for adults.

7. Play

Step away from whatever it is your writing and take some time to play. Whether you play with your kids, play a video game, or a card game. Go out and have some fun for a little bit.

8. Take a Shower/ Bath

Sometimes the best ideas come when you’re relaxing in the shower or tub. In my opinion there is nothing better than a hot shower to calm your mind.

9. Eat a Snack

Thinking uses a lot of energy. Take a time out and refuel your brain with a healthy snack.

Final Thoughts

Writer’s block can cause you to become stressed and unable to think.  When you get frustrated take time to step away from the computer and relax. It will help you refocus and get you back on the right track. 

Do you have a special technique that you use to overcome writer’s block? I’d love to hear it. Please feel free to share it in the comment section.

Don’t forget to like and share this post to social media. If you haven’t already, subscribe to my e-mail list.

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Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro