Shaka 🤙🏼 the World

Hello, from Kanakuk K-Kauai family Kamp!

This week my Trotter tribe is putting the cherry on top of our summer at one of our favorite places on the globe. We are spending the week with each other and dear friends from all over the country learning more about each other and the God who loves us. Coming to Kanakuk {a Christian athletic camp in Branson, MO} each summer is like coming Home for my Tribe.

This year the theme is”Shaka the World” and our prayer as a family is that it would be more than a theme, more than just a fun week to dress up in silly costumes to party hard and play hard. Our prayer as a tribe is that 1 John 4:4 would become something we truly believe and live out, that because God has overcome the world – we can overcome anything we might face. Because what is Alive and at work in us is much greater than what is at work in this world to discourage, destroy or defeat.

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

-‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:4‬‬

I know we have one more video for our Becoming Book Club {Chapters 11 & 12} and that will post NEXT Monday.

Have a great week!!

 

 

Let’s Chat Chapters 9 & 10 | Becoming Book Club

Chapters 9 and 10 Discussion from Cari Trotter on Vimeo.

Hey guys!

Welcoming you into chapters 9 and 10 of our little book club….to be honest, this week’s video is worth the watch just to hear me stumble through pronouncing “Macedonia” {ha!}. We have tons of ground to cover in “When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy”. This week we will push our spiritual lives and uncover the importance of our prayer life. Prayer is a great heart revealer. Prayer should be our continually moving river of communication with God. 

“Prayer is the human expression of treasuring and trusting the Spirit of God.” {pg 148}

I talk in our video this week how I am not necessarily discussing the value of our surface prayers of protection and provision. This week John Piper is opening our spiritual intellect to consider the importance of deep, consistent prayer and meditation. Like, I’m talkin’ praying down the Hound of Heaven on your behalf kinda praying. This aspect of our spiritual life couldn’t be more important…..prayer is our open dialogue with the Creator of the Universe.

“If we are going to be fruit-bearing people, and not wither under the pressures of idle, fainthearted, weak, and hurtful people, then we must fight, as 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, to “rejoice always” or to “delight…in the word of the Lord….day and night” {Ps. 1:2}. And to do that, as verse 17 says, we need to “pray without ceasing.” {pg 157}

Love how Piper goes on to breakdown three ideas on what exactly praying without ceasing means. {all listed on page 157}

  1. Praying without ceasing means that there is a spirit of dependence that should permeate all we do. This is the very spirit and essence of prayer. 
  2. Praying without ceasing means praying repeatedly and often.
  3. Praying without ceasing means not giving up on prayer. Don’t ever come to a point in your life where you cease to pray at all times. 

“Lean on God all the time for the miracle of joy in your life. Never give up looking to him for help. Come to him repeatedly during the day and often. Make your default mental state a Godward longing for all that you need, especially for spiritual desires.” {pg 157}

Discussion Questions and Journal Prompts for the week:

  1. Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-4 
  2. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18
  3. If prayer is ultimately “an offering up of our desires unto God” and a heart revealer…..have you spent time giving over your desires to God? Have you pushed past superficial desires to identify what you REALLY need to see God do in and through your life/circumstances? Spend time doing just that today. Take a risk and trust God with your desires. 
  4. Have you been pleading for some time and not seen answers? Do you feel the threat in your flesh to give up praying? Don’t give up, friend! Take a big risk today….keep praying. Allow God the chance to reveal something fresh to your heart. By faith speak His Word and Promises back to Him. He will unlock new perspectives, and when He does write them down. 

“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end – it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” {Habakkuk 2:2-3}

Chapter 7 and 8 video is UP! | Becoming Book Club

Chapters 7 and 8 Discussion from Cari Trotter on Vimeo.

Here is the chapter 7 and 8 discussion video FINALLY! Thank you for your patience!

Seeing the Measure of our Mighty Weapon | Chapter 7 | Becoming Book Club

Good Morning, all!

First, I must ask for your grace. The video for our chapters today is not uploading properly {insert my “ugh” face} and taking some time to fix. Deep breath. Instead of delaying our post for today I opted to post our written portion and then follow up with the video once it loads properly. Technology is a two sided coin, ya’ll – it’s a fantastic blessing one minute and then the next minute it can make you want to pull your hair out at the roots.

Grace upon Grace for all as this Monday morning heats up. 🙂

This week the chapters nail down how the Word of God authorizes and releases authentic and lasting freedom and joy in our lives. I loved the subtitle for Chapter 7 – Seeing the Measure of our Mighty Weapon.

“Christianity is not a settle-in-and-live-at-peace-with-this-world-the-way-it-is kind of religion. When Jesus said, “the truth will set you free” {John 8:32}, he didn’t mean without a battle. He meant that truth would win the war of liberation in the soul. Christianity is war. It is declaration of all-out combat against our own sinful impulses. The apostle Peter said, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” {1 Peter 2:11}. To become a Christian is to wake up to the reality that our soul – the eternal joy of our soul – is at stake. Therefore Christianity is mortal combat for true and lasting joy.” {page 103, When I Don’t Desire God}

My hope when you read chapter 7 specifically is that it would wake up the worth of being committed to knowing and loving God’s Word. With our video not loading just yet I decided to spend a heavy amount of time on Chapter 7 in this post and then plan to post more on Chapter 8 tomorrow. These last four chapters are some heavy hitters so taking time to work through them is important. At least I know for me I need a little more time!

I spend so many of the hours in my life speaking, preaching, writing, posting, filling journal spaces with, chatting about and developing content over this most important fruit of the Christian life – knowing and loving God’s Word. Not because I have this aspect of the Christian life nailed, but on the contrary I am so easily lured away from the refreshing nature of it’s Spring. My mental energies allow circumstances to cloud my perspectives at times and the Living Word of God is the only tool having the capability to slice through the delusions and adjust my heart navigation.  Without the Word of God at the helm to bring me back to life each day I would fall to the darkness of discouragement and sin no matter how “good” I think I am. My flesh is too strong, the enemy is too sly and the world is too distracting….we MUST develop the delight and desire for God’s Word above all other things to refresh, refuel and refocus our hearts. 

“A thousand interesting things compete for our attention to the Word of God. I confess that after fifty years of loving and reading and memorizing Scripture, I can be lured away from appointed times in the Word by something as insignificant as a new computer device. The illusory pleasure of newness can temporarily trump the far superior benefits of keeping my appointment with the Word of God. This is evidence in me of what Paul calls indwelling sin {Romans 7:17, 20, 23}. It is part of the remaining corruption lingering after the death of the old self {Romans 6:6}. I am not proud of it. It grieves me. At times it frightens me. It is part of the reason I speak so much of the fight for joy. I know this sinful inclination must be fought to the death. It is this fight Paul has in mind when he says, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you.” {Colossians 3:5}. We will speak shortly about how the Word helps us do that. But first we must fight just to keep our appointments with the Word.” {Piper, page 96 & 97}

I would love to think the only distraction from me making and keeping my appointments with the Word of God has to do with the newness of fun toys like technology or an adventurous trip or a new home…..but the reality for me is I am distracted by far lesser things producing a much greater domination in my heart. I can be distracted and tempted to walk out the door to life without a filling of God’s Word based on the quickness of my schedule, the expectations I want to meet with friends, the demands of maintaining a clean home, the allure that “I’ve got this”…..ALL of those nuances about my flesh to pull me away from God’s Word are danger zones and my life, my relationships and my sanity would ALL benefit from the time I commit to spending mediating on God’s Word.

I’m a real woman though. I am not John Piper. I am a coach’s wife. I am a mom to three kids. I am a sister, friend, taxi cab, chef, cheerleader, etc…you get the idea, right? Fill in the blanks for all the real life roles you play. We are real flesh and blood people and I can’t just stop the entire flow of my life, sit in a candle lit room and read scripture all day. Not my calling. However, what I DO feel God inviting me and ultimately inviting you into is this sacred dance of making His Word a constant flowing river in my life.

My Bible is always with me. I am constantly and intentionally making appointments for coffee with individuals who make God’s Word a priority. Scripture is up in my house where we can all see it at any given moment. If I missed my quiet time in the morning because life happens and I was up all night with a sick kiddo I simply work it in another time throughout the day. Don’t make this legalistic either, view time in God’s Word as the ultimate gift of love, grace and compassion you allow yourself to indulge in.

The point is we want to have this fixed thought every day – {ya’ll, this is literally what I repeat to myself on hard flesh-filled days}…Cari, “Come hell or high water I am getting my heart before the Word of God and allowing it’s truth to love me, lead me and take my hand to Jesus.”

Discussion question and journal focus for today:

  1. Piper lays out 10 benefits to the worth of Scripture. {page 97-113} Which do you connect most with? Why does it motivate you to keep pursuing God through His Word?

Low and Slow…a few quotes to ponder | Becoming Book Club

How ya doing, my friends?

This week we slowed down a bit to review some of the chapters we have been blowing through in our Becoming Book Club. It’s good to allow deep content to marinate in our souls, and holla’ at ya girl because Piper is FULL of deep content. I feel we often over stimulate our souls with such speedy exposure in this day in age we come to the point of numbing. Nothing could penetrate our racing heart if it wanted to because we refuse to slow down enough to think through how we really do feel about what we are reading or absorbing. I want this book to be different. I want us to be intersected in a way we didn’t anticipate and blown away by the glory and grace of obtaining the Real Joy of God. 

As promised, I’ve pulled out my favorite quotes from the chapters we have read so far in John Piper’s book “When I Don’t Desire God”….

Chapter One:

“This will happen when Christians don’t just say that Christ is valuable, or sing that Christ is valuable, but truly experience in their hearts the unsurpassed worth of Jesus with so much joy that they can say, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” {Phil 3:8}…..And this joy will hold us and keep us, if we have tasted it and fought to make it the supreme experience of our lives. Christ is supremely glorious and supremely valuable. Therefore he is worth the fight.” {page 21}

Chapter Two:

“Mere thoughts and mere deeds are manageable by the carnal religious mind. But the emotions – they are the weathercock of the heart. Nothing shows the direction of the deep winds of the soul like the demand for radical, sin-destroying, Christ-exalting joy in God. But having made my defense, I say again: God and God alone is the final, ultimate goal of our quest. All that God is for us in Jesus is the Object of our quest for joy. When I speak of fighting for joy, I mean joy in God, not joy without reference to God. When I speak of longing for happiness, I mean happiness in all that God is for us in Jesus, not happiness as physical or psychological experience apart from God. Whether we are desiring or delighting, the end of the experience is God.” {page 31}

Chapter Three:

`”The life of joy in God is not a burdened life. It is an unburdened life. The fight for joy is the struggle to trust God with the burdens of life. It’s a fight for freedom from worry. It’s a fight for hope and peace and joy, which are all threatened by unbelief and doubt about God’s promises. And since freedom and hope and peace and joy are good, the fight to preserve them is a good fight.” {page 38}

Chapter Four:

“Therefore, believing that joy in God is a gift from God is essential in our calling to live for the glory of God. It shapes all our other strategies. It makes them humble. It makes them into acts of faith. In everything we do in our quest for joy we are praying and trusting the grace of God for a gift. May this truth liberate the despairing soul and humble the proud.” {page 55}

Chapter Five:

“Make and trust a blind idol, and you become blind. Apply that principle to the modern world and think of idols of our own day. What do we make and what do we trust? Things. Toys. Technology. And so our hearts and our affections are like toys. The result is that we are easily moved and excited by things, computers, cars, appliances, entertainment media. They seem to fit the shapes in our hearts. They feel good in the tiny spaces they have made. But in this readiness to receive pleasure from things, we are ill-shaped for Christ. He seems unreal, unattractive. The eyes of our hearts grow dull…….Without the work of our omnipotent internal Eye Surgeon we would remain blind and unable to see. Oh, how we need the gift of spiritual sight! Whatever joy we have without this sight would not be spiritual joy. It would not be a spontaneous response to seeing the beauty of Christ. And therefore it would not honor Christ. It would be superficial and fleeting.” {page 68}

Chapter Six:

“We never outgrow the gospel.” {page 91}

What were some of your favorite quotes from the chapters?

Half-time in our Becoming Book Club – Let’s review!

It’s half-time, friends! Yes, I’m a coach’s wife so basically everything in my life can take on a form of athletic terminology. This week is PERFECT to make a half-time call and review all the information we have been absorbing from this phenomenal book.  We’ve covered some serious ground, girls! Matter of fact I am inclined to think we have read so fast our spiritual brains could be tempted to explode. I woke up today wanting us to slow down a bit and allow all this goodness to really have the time to marinate in our souls.

Let’s do a chapter video review! The books and spiritual stakes I have remembered the most in my life have come when I have actually allowed myself the space to REALLY know the material. Not just breeze past it like a spiritual whirling dervish. 🙂

I want to challenge ya’ll to go back through each video with spiritual intention to absorb all the aims and goals so far.

Click each chapter to hop back over to the video post :

Introduction

Chapter 1/2

Chapter 3/4

Chapter 5/6

As I was doing this myself, I also cataloged all my favorite quotes/scriptures from each Chapter and I will load those up the rest of the week as we settle into our half-time review.

I am fairly certain the quote I have found myself repeating into my reality most and praying my heart is building a habit of exercising is from Chapter 2…

“Whether we are desiring or delighting, the end of the experience is God.” {page 31}

What has spoken to you MOST out of the first 6 chapters? 

The Fight for Joy is a Fight to See | Let’s chat about Chapters 5 & 6 | Becoming Book Club

“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!” {Psalm 34:8}

The fight for Real Joy is a fight to SEE our realities with God’s perspective.

My challenge for us this week is so simple…..ask God to SEE. To really SEE what He sees, so we want what He wants. Piper talks in these chapters about wanting the wrong things in the wrong way and then sometimes we want the right things in the wrong way…or at the very least I feel that I experience time and time again wanting the right things in the wrong time-frame.

We need God’s sight to truly experience God’s glory and know His heart. On page 58 Piper gives a pretty hardy challenge to us regarding the need for spiritual sight.

“In other words, the heart and its eyes are failing in their appointed task. In the book of Revelation, Jesus saw this happening in the church of Laodicea, who thought they needed nothing. He said to them, “You are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.” And he counseled them, “Buy from me….salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see” {3:17-18}

This divine “salve” must be what Paul was praying for in Ephesians 1:18 when he asked the Lord that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened to know our hope and inheritance and power. Without this work of our omnipotent internal Eye Surgeon we would remain blind and unable to see. Oh, how we need the gift of spiritual sight! Whatever joy we have without this sight would not be spiritual joy. It would not be spontaneous response to seeing the beauty of Christ. And therefore it would not honor Christ. It would be superficial and fleeting.”

Discussion questions and journal prompts for this week….

  1. The only way we will have spiritual sight is by asking God for it with a surrendered heart. Maintaining our spiritual sight involves a daily habit of confessing sin, admitting our need for Jesus and asking for revelation to His movement each day. I am asking us to put a pause on life long enough to truly ask to SEE with spiritual eyes today. To see our families with spiritual lenses. To see our friendships through spiritual lenses. To see our parenting through spiritual lenses. List out all the areas you need to see God REVEAL Himself, and ask for the sight to see Him moving. 
  2. Read and write out Ephesians 1:17-23 and Philippians 3:12-16

“Together this spiritual seeing of Christ and enjoying him – or this spiritual sense of his beauty and corresponding pleasure in the soul – refer to what Paul calls “knowing” Christ. Paul prays in Ephesians 3:19 that we may ‘know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.’ And he says in Philippians 3:8, ‘I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.’ This knowing is no mere intellectual knowledge. The devils have such knowledge and tremble {Jas 2:19}. This knowing ‘surpasses knowledge.’ This knowing includes tasting and seeing. It is the knowledge of honey that you have only when you put it on your tongue and taste that it is sweet. Therefore, knowing Christ in this way means seeing him for who he really is and enjoying him above all things. Therefore the prophetic challenge, “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord” {Hos 6:3} is the same as the challenge of this book; Let us fight to SEE; let us press on in the fight to see and enjoy the glory of Christ.” {page 69, When I Don’t Desire God}

 

It’s a Fight for faith to gain Joy! Let’s Chat about Chapters 3 & 4 | Becoming Book Club

Hello Monday, sweet Book Club friends!

With another amazing week of reading under our belt Chapters 3 and 4 give us a host of sparkling treasures to uncover and place deep in our hearts. My favorite bullet point, and bolstered faith challenge, of the two chapters comes in Chapter 3, page 40…

“Take up arms and fight for Joy in God.”

I feel that these two chapters challenge our tenacity and willingness to fight DAILY for joy in God. I forget just how vigilant my soul needs to be in the fight to obtain activated Joy in all circumstances. Not just when it’s easy, but when it’s difficult. God desires us to build an internal joy with the ability to rise to the top of all peaks and valleys. We won’t be able to “kind of sort of fight for joy” – we must TAKE UP ARMS and LOCK INTO the Great and Lasting Joy God is offering. If you have heard any number of my teachings you know I have a vision to see believers have a faith life made up of a little more “elbow grease” able to stand against the schemes of the enemy with gusto and passion…if joy came easy it wouldn’t be such a beautiful gift. Because there is a valiant fight at hand it makes the treasure of obtaining it all the more important. Love how Piper describes this very idea on page 37…

“Joy will not be rugged and durable and deep through suffering where there is not resolve to fight for it. But today, by and large, there is a devil-may-care, cavalier, superficial attitude toward the ongoing, daily intensity of personal joy in Christ, because people do not believe that their eternal life depends on it.”

Oh friends…..nothing could be more consequential to finding deep, abiding, satisfaction in this life than the fight for Joy! We are facing and warding off all alien joys. We are allowing pleasurable experiences in life to only compound on the joy we have in Jesus! It is BECAUSE of the Joy we find in HIM we are able to experience REAL JOY and discount all alien joys.

And our fight for joy is ultimately a fight for faith. If the enemy can discourage your faith, he can certainly steal your joy. Remaining vigilant to provoke your faith life every single day is HUGE to maintaining active Joy. But we just cannot timidly go about it.

“Joy is spontaneous, but fighting is planned.”

Our discussion questions and journal prompts for this week are….

  1. How do you strategize your fight to provoke faith every day and as a result maintain activated Joy? By reading God’s Word? Prayer group? Meeting for coffee? Posting scripture throughout your home? Share below your strategy – faith builds faith so we will all grow from fresh perspectives!
  2. Read 1 Timothy 6:12 and take the time to write it out and consider ways in which you are TODAY choosing to maintain an attitude and posture of Joy found wholeheartedly in Jesus.
  3. Sometimes our greatest weapon against the enemy is remembrance. Recall times in your life when your faith life was challenged and you overcame with Jesus and saw mighty works unfold? Recall times when you’ve witnessed the great dependence and desperation of another’s faith journey – other’s can provide perfectly placed inspiration for our faith.
  4. Read through the following 5 Reasons to Believe Truth Piper gives on pages 54-55 and discuss/journal your thoughts on each.
    1. The first reason is that the Truth Matters, and we should believe and embrace it whether we can see how it benefits us or not.
    2. Second, when you believe this Truth, our Joy in God is multiplied because it is compounded with gratitude.
    3. Third, when we believe this Truth, we will seek our Joy from God with greater urgency than if we thought it was in our power. This Truth sets us to praying as never before.
    4. Fourth, believing this Truth will prevent our strategies in the fight for Joy from degenerating into technique and legalism.
    5. Fifth, believing that joy is a gift of God will give all the glory to God.

LOVING how you are responding and connecting with this book. This is a BIG week and I do so hope you will take the time to watch the video and concentrate on each point made. I’m praying for you. I’m cheering you on. I need you, sweet friends. Keep sharing your comments below. Love growing alongside you in this way! 

 

Let’s Chat about Chapters 1 & 2 | Becoming Book Club

Chapter 1 & 2 Discussion with Cari from Cari Trotter on Vimeo.

Good Morning, friends!

It seems as if I have been waiting for a 100 days to get into Chapters 1 & 2 of this incredible book with you!! These opening chapters waste no time diving right in to the depths of God’s desire for us to seek Real Joy. If you missed the Introduction Video that’s okay – it is still up on the blog and you can watch it anytime. Also up on the blog is the post with my four Introduction Journal Thoughts and you can read those along with the scriptures posted anytime. I am so hopeful you have been able to get your book, a good highlighter and dive headlong into it. I am LOVING your feedback and have been so grateful to read your comments here, over on Instagram and Facebook, and several text messages over just how much this book is speaking to your specific season. Our faith life has the potential to gain great tenacity if we will allow our entire spiritual weight to lean in wholeheartedly. It is a true gift knowing we are fighting for Real Joy TOGETHER. Sooooo….what did you think about Chapters 1 & 2?!

I mention this in the video above, but page 19 held substantial heart treasures for me. It also carries the theme I believe John Piper wants so desperately for us to negotiate deep down in the marrow of our souls.

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Which means they are finding that their desires, not just their decisions, really matter. The glory of God is at stake.”

I want us to take notice anytime he mentions what his “aim or goal” is in each chapter and the book overall. Those will become good aims and goals for us as well. Page 21 starts us out with what I believe should be more or less a life mission as we allow this book to challenge our spiritual lives.

“The aim is that Jesus Christ be made known in all the world as the all-powerful, all-wise, all-righteous, all-merciful, all-satisfying Treasure of the universe….

….and this joy will hold us and keep us, if we have tasted it and fought to make it the supreme experience of our lives. Christ is supremely glorious and supremely valuable. Therefore he is worth the fight”

Again, and again in Chapters 1 & 2 I felt the theme of both seeing and savoring Christ come through. Jesus is the Promise. His Presence is what we are after in all things. Delights should get us aimed towards a more intimate walk with Jesus. Desires should place our surrender to an unlocked perspective of God’s heart.

Our discussion questions and journal prompts are…

  1. If Jesus is the Promise and our goal is to see and savor Him….how are we actively PURSUING His Presence? In our daily quiet times? In our jobs? In our friendships?
  2. Read Exodus 33:12-18
  3. Let’s take a good look at where our delights are aiming us…is what we delight in developing a more intimate walk with Jesus?
  4. Let’s take a good look at where our desires are aiming us….is what we are desiring giving us an unlocked perspective of God’s heart?

I want so much for you to make your relationship with Jesus and His Presence personal. Challenging us to spend some time in prayer asking the Lord to cultivate our desires and delights to be in Him and through Him. I love you so very much and I am specifically praying God reveals how His Presence is as near as a whisper to you all day!

“God and God alone is the final, ultimate goal of our quest. All that God is for us in Jesus is the Object of our quest for joy. When I speak of fighting for joy, I mean joy in God, not joy without reference to God. When I speak of longing for happiness, I mean happiness in all that God is for us in Jesus, not happiness as physical or psychological experience apart from God. Whether we are desiring or delighting, the end of the experience is God.”

 

 

Book Club Introduction Journal Thoughts

Hey hey, sweet friends! How’s the week going? What did you think about the Introduction reading and video for our very first Becoming Book Club?!

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