Cartography- a word that gets you where you need to be like Steve Thomason

Cartography- a word that gets you where you need to be- like Steve Thomason


I didn’t know what a cartographer was until I looked up the word ‘mapmaker’.  Cartography (from Greek χάρτης khartēs, “map”; and γράφειν graphein, “write”) is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.

I’ve always thought of life as a journey. God has moved me around a lot, I’ve been scattered and gathered. He’s called me out then shown me the way to go. His word is our map and His Spirit our compass. But often it’s God’s people who help explain the directions.

This year God connected me to “cartographer” Steve Thomason.  His visual art-theology website was like mousing into Disneyworld. Where do you go first? It’s wonderful. It’s deep yet simple. It’s thought provoking teaching from a authentic and vulnerably courageous voice. I’ve learned so much from Steve.  He is a map-writer that communicates spiritual direction effectively. And he’s not afraid if you see things differently – he loves Jesus and he loves God’s people.

Like a map, Steve Thomason points to the direction of exciting things.  Look, over here at what the Bible Project is doing at this video on HOLY.   Or like a Scout he lets you into his personal journal to read his journey notes on the current scenery of how his PhD dissertation-Missional Spirituality in the Suburbs– is going – I can’t wait to refer to him as Dr. Thomason-so cool.  He even lets you into the ‘situation room’ that place we see in the White house on the TV dramas where the top secret stuff is happening. He’s brave enough to let us know he’s ‘living with disagreement and mapping out that conversation’.  Someone pointed him to Brene’ Brown’s TED talk and he put “the power of vulnerability” on the map for me.  Thank you Steve.

We all want maps. I hate wasting time and getting lost, don’t you? We want to know where to go, which way to turn, what’s a seriously dangerous dead end or an exquisitely glorious lookout.  And YOU’VE been somewhere I want to go. We all need to Map-Write more. We all need to be spiritual Cartographers who model ways that communicate the truth of Jesus Christ and the journey of spiritual transformation in Him and tell about the practical places to find it in God’s word or through God’s teachers.

Don’t keep the good news to yourself, be brave and share it.

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” Romans 10:14-15

PLEASE, post a comment if you have something to point us to.


FURY Book Two ECHO by JL Kelly
FURY book two ECHO by JL Kelly

Now available.


Witness Through These Words

Thanks for following along with me this Lent
in the Witness Through These Words blogs.

These 47 Words through Lent gave me a lot to think about each day and I hope they inspired you as God inspired me.
Soli Deo Gloria.

it's a new day choose joy

Remember, Easter is our chance to start a new.
To return to the Lord. To be, renewed.

God became flesh in His Son, Jesus Christ and at the cross, He took all the sin of humanity on himself, bearing it in His body until He became sin and offers us to count sin dead and buried with Him, believing that in the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus came back to life, conquering sin and death in resurrection to give us abundantly life today and eternal life tomorrow.  Believing by faith in this truth we make the great exchange with Jesus and receive His free gift of salvation. Now God no longer sees us as sinners, but as righteous in Christ.

I love how Steve Thomason taught that, “On Easter God hit the massive “Restart” button on the universe”, and we all have a chance for a mighty do-over, to begin fresh, free from guilt and shame and live loved.

I pray that my witness of these words through Lent was a springboard for your own meditations.

Sign up (on the left) to get notified by email of new blog posts as I continue to write as a witness to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Or follow my Pinterest board for short recaps of the blogs.

And FURY book two Echo is coming soon.

FURY Book Two ECHO by JL Kelly

ECHO should sound familiar. Book Two of the FURY series resonates with the aftermath of adversity after Jaclyn Cooper’s rescue and return. Recovering in her father’s house, her recent abduction feels like a bomb blast. The initial explosion of Eros leaving concentric circles of destruction. There is wounding shrapnel that leaves scars, explosive heat that burns like anger and a force of energy that leaves her strangely numb even as the nightmares echo like ringing in the ears. Then almost instantaneous there is the mysterious countering blast wind that fills the void with an equal and unstoppable force. Echo proves that God is the FURY of the blast wind, always counterbalancing and equalizing the force of evil in a believer’s life and through the Spirit’s sanctification, causing all things to work together for good.
In Book Two of the FURY series, Jaclyn Cooper is learning to accept the new normal of her life. To heal she must move through the stages of numbness and anger, to choose forgiveness over vengeance and realize the divine deliverance of God’s presence. God. With you there. Yes, even there. In the unimaginable horrible moment when He allowed the worst adversity to come against you.
Echo is the story of sacrifice, rivalry and revenge. It is the recovery process of finding the truth a midst the rumbling distractions of feelings and expectations.
Echo reminds us we all must remember. And in the Hebrew tradition, make present God by rehearsing our story in His story until we find the reality of the truth—God was always with us. Even there. When normal blew up and a new normal was formed.
Echo is the parable of how God turns evil’s wounds into victory’s scars.
FURY Book Two Echo continues the intense epic where two worlds collide in a gripping love story of rescue and redemption.
Echo is an intense and original perspective about the furious healing love of God.


ABIDE. Day 19 of Lent. Christ final lesson.

ABIDE. Christ Final lesson.


John 15 records Christ final lesson to his dearly loved disciples.  They like many of us, still think God does His transforming work through our efforts and on our terms.  I believe these men were frustrated, confused, and even resentful that the Messiah was not living up to their expectations of becoming King and overthrowing the oppressive rule of the Romans to give them freedom but instead was talking about service and sacrifice. I think many Christians have the same look on their faces today.  Living this Christian life has turned out differently than you expected. You’ve tried so hard but freedom from habits and sin hasn’t been found.  Maybe today, if we can step into John 15. Be there in the vineyard. Hear, with spiritual ears, the Lord’s teaching of what is required of his followers we might find ourselves in that sweet spot. The Great Ah-Ha Moment that fans into flame a paradigm shift of the soul.  May God’s Spirit in this moment speak to your spirit in a way that you can grasp this truth.

I give the honor of the presentation of this message to one of my favorite teacher/pastors, Steve Thomason.  He is a gifted artist and his visual imaginative teaching of this passage is phenomenal.


SPIN. off

One third of the way through the 40 days of Lent I’ve had a SPIN off.  Did you know hell can actually be found in a 45 minute spin class?

spin off

Let me explain the 4 day sabbatical.  Last Tuesday I got a foretaste of hell.  The craving began back in January when I turned 50. Thanks to my study of the enneagram (see great explanation of enneagram by Steve Thomason), over the years I have had an increasing understanding of myself (type 4). Now this is important for the story- I feel (heart) first, think (head) next and act (gut) last. My feeling/thinking are so dominate that God was revealing to me that I was out of balance. My current  lack of exercise had me severely out of touch with my body- (ie I was tense and didn’t know it. There was an increasing disconnect with my physical body.) And with the recent move I was also lacking community so my pastime of jogging alone through the neighborhood needed to be adjusted to a group activity. There were some fantastic new boutique workout gyms to discover near by so last Tuesday I hit one of them. Hard.

I was proud of my focus to pass the lobby decked out in bright workout gear and head straight for the studio-a four level amphitheater style room where I had ‘booked’ what they called ‘the ride of your life’ . The room was dimly light and peaceful with the faint track lighting and soft music. I found my bike on the top row in the back corner well out of notice.  I was out of shape, a newbie to this sport and a bit unsure how this all went down.  You get shoes for this workout. You know shoes make me happy and I clipped those little black darlings into the pedals. The class started with Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” as the instructor called out the count of “left, right, left, right.” We were to pedal to the beat as we warmed up. By the second song the call was to get out of the saddle and stand up as we went “left, right.” Oh. Yeah. Those are my thighs…

I was suddenly ‘connecting to my body’ again.

Did you know there are 4 muscles in the quad? Three of mine are seriously underdeveloped. I had this moment when my legs gave out and my seat hit the saddle and i felt old and weak and ridiculously began to cry because of all the fore-mentioned just hurt my feelings. Then my brain began to shout like a drill sergeant at my feelings, “You out of shape pansy, are you really going to just cry!? At least keep pedaling. Anyone can pedal for 45 minutes. DO NOT STOP.” Thinking it all through so logically, my legs kept pedaling.

Somewhere about minute 30, I experienced hell.  I was no longer connected to feelings or my thinking or my body. I was just pedaling in some kind of zone of never ending cyclical torment, spinning pride and fear and anger round and round and round as I experienced regret- of ever stopping my work outs and pain that my 50 yr old body wasn’t as strong as it used to be and the stupidity of shame that I could not stop pedaling or I’d hate myself.  I really told God this was a foretaste of Hell- eternity without Him- where I was sentenced to be alone with myself forever in excruciating pain. I’m so glad I know the Lord Jesus Christ.

I proudly finished the class. Humbly wobbled my way out. Knew I was in trouble when my right leg gave out on me 3x on the way to the car. The next day it was beyond the ‘feel like you just did 5000 squats’ thigh ache.  I could not sit down on the toilet let alone get up off of it.  I could not stand but I could not sit either.  I did not sleep. The next day my urine was the color of coffee. I had Rhabdomyolysis-rhabdo=skeleton/myo=muscle/lysis=breakdown .  I had broken down the fiber of my muscles and it was spilling into the blood stream and the kidneys were in charge of filtering it-an IV was needed to correct the problem.

The husband was beside himself. “Why didn’t you just get off?” There was a lot of scolding.  And I was enlightened not to my perseverance but my pride.  Close friends had to deal with the handicapped at a retreat that I had been looking forward to and the weekend was overshadowed with the physical complications as I was just off.

Through the last few sleepless nights I’ve been trying to find the lesson in this.
Be in shape before you attempt a spin class.
Know when enough is enough (be smarter), know your body & get off the bike.
Shame is something I need to work with God to be free of and pride cometh before a fall.
Or is it that God allows us a foretaste of hell to understand what being disconnected with Him feels like. He was still there. Right there with me. Maybe I couldn’t feel it. My mind too overwhelmed to know it. My body so weak that pain was ruling the moment. My pride so great and my shame so humbling that only my Creator could understand the crisis I was caught in. But God was there. Doing something in that moment. Spirit to spirit that I might never understand completely.  I am more connected to my body, every ache, flinch of tension, failure to exhale, has my mind and feelings dealing with the physical part of myself again.  I’m also aware that my feelings and thoughts need to take better care with my body.  It’s the lesser of the three the way I’m made.  And a week ago I might be feeling ashamed, that I failed to keep my commitment to my 40 days of Lent but God, when we are abiding with Him sometimes there are spin offs to our best intentions and plans.  And today I’m right where He wants me. A little off but more connected.