About the Author

Amber C Haines, author of Wild in the Hollow, has 4 sons, a guitar-playing husband, theRunaMuck, and rare friends. She loves the funky, the narrative, and the dirty South. She finds community among the broken and wants to know your story. Amber is curator with her husband Seth Haines of Mother...

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  1. Amber, what you have said is so much of what I’ve been feeling in the past couple of years. I was in a serious car accident two years ago and since then I’ve poured myself into the Word in a way I never had “time” for in my busy, overachieving life that I had created. Now I see what I have been missing, what God has wanted to show me all along and it wasn’t until I humbled myself that I was able to see. Now I see so many flaws in the church of our society, those who (like me until recently) have been life-long church goers, but do not see the relevance and the need for Christ in their lives. As you said, materially, they already have every thing they need (or so they think) and so I see that another generation of of these luke-warm Christians is being created and those I’ve talked to about it, just don’t see it. I am concerned with the children and teenage youth that we are sending through our churches and into the world, that are not being ‘armed’ with the truths of the Word, but are only learning ‘stories’ and crafts. I fear for those souls that are lost with out even knowing it! I think there is a much bigger problem in our Canadian/American cultures than anyone is aware of… I only wish I knew how to respond to it!

    • It’s so interesting that a time of suffering brought you to scripture. I’m beginning to see that it really is our weakness that gets to see God’s strength.

      I think the way to respond is continuing to submit and ask the Lord to fill us. Only then will the world see.

      • And in the Word, I found my answer this morning- Colossians 4:2-6 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are on the outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” – thanks again Amber, for asking this, in finding your post, praying and now finding this answer, an earlier hopeless problem seems full of promise!

    • Erica, I am 49 years old and I have just begun to see this picture too. Like you, it took a tragedy to bring me to this point. Thank you for sharing!

  2. You just confirmed it in your own testimonials right here. Its what I breath every single moment am alive. Is the essence of my being, so very relevant at least to me personally as long as I live and through to eternity. Everything changes but God’s word and which is the embodiment of God Himself revealed to man as Emmanuel God with us. God is His word, the same yesterday today and forever; is eternal. So much so relevant today as it was first spoken.

  3. Amber, you are so right! There are so many who have forgotten the transforming power of God’s word…I am not the same person I was four years ago, much less a month ago! I have experienced the dulling of my spirit due to comfort and ease, and understand how easy it is to not see relevance, but what a slippery slope that is!! I pray your words will strengthen those who hear them and also challenge those who question them! Many blessings to you and keep speaking!!

    • Jean, it’s interesting that you call it a dulling of your senses. I keep reading over and over again to WAKE UP! There’s more going on here than what meets the eye.

      Thank you for encouraging.

    • Jean, you hit the nail on the head with “comfort and ease.” May our senses be sharpened by your iron!

  4. Amber, I’m knocked to the floor with you! The thought of a Righteous God being *willing* to fill me with His righteousness… My word! How can we not be in awe of that? I love that you came to us “as is” and just shared your heart with us. I hear this same conversation being uttered by many in our circle of friends too. It seem that as more and more in our culture becomes irrelevant, the more and more important it is to hang our hats on the Very Relevance of Christ in our lives. I pray that this knocks us all to the floor with you. Again and again! I so enjoyed your video post today.

  5. Amber,
    I’m 58 years old and have been a born again Christian sense age 8. As I listened to your blog I cried because it hit me that so many people today think the gospel is not relevant. That is what is wrong in our world today. We have taken God out of every aspect of our lives. It saddens my heart, I can’t begin to imagine how God must feel. Scripture is what gets me through the tough times, it gives me strength and hope for another day. Satin has blinded so many people and we need to pray that God be brought back into our lives and by the blood of Jesus satin be cast into the deepest darkest sea and all people be filled with the Holy Spirit opening our eyes to the truth and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our nation was founded one nation under God, take God out of that equation and we are left in darkness. That is what’s happening in our world today. If you are reading this and you question the importance of God today. Please say,this prayer: Dear Heavenly Father I come to you with an open heart, please forgive me of my sins, open my heart and my mind to your love and your ways oh Lord. Show me the direction you want me to go and guard my heart and my mind in Lord Jesus. You are the way the truth and the light. In Jesus name Amen. May our Heavenly Father bless you as you are reading this today.

    • The reason I love Romans 1:16 and 17 is because it talks about the POWER of God for salvation. We must exhibit mercy and justice as Christ has taught us, but it the gospel that has the POWER to save.

      Blows me away.

  6. Thanks, Amber. Yesterday in church was a blah time for me – somehow all that was going thru my mind was criticism and weariness of the “same-old, same-old”. The Gospel felt far from relevant. Yet that is the danger, isn’t it, that “felt”. The blindness of eyes dazzled by self. Too often our Church is seeking hard after those things which make US feel good, rather than obedience. We are satisfied to be full and “happy”. We are moving through Lent, Jesus is marching towards the Cross…the greatest good ever accomplished by someone who was willing to give up all He had. Thanks for helping me put my focus where it belongs.

    • Over and over again, we are called to die to self, take up our cross, and surrender. You’re right that the church of our culture doesn’t always preach true gospel. I think the only cure for it, though, is to call on the name of Jesus and beg He that He fill ME! It starts with me. I know that.

      Thank you so much for coming here, Lisa.

  7. Hmmmm….great words, Amber.

    When I studied Romans, those verses (1:16-17) reshaped my view of the gospel. The Greek word for “power” is where we get the word “dynamite.” Not only that, but in the context of the passage it also means something new, descending from above (paraphrased). In Paul’s context, that spoke out against being chained to the powerlessness of the Law, and its inability to save. In ours, it speaks out against the religious aspects of Christianity. So many people grew up in church only aiming for perfect attendance, but never really coming across the power of the gospel. I know, I was one of them.

    It’s the power to give the slave freedom. It’s the power to heal the wounded. It’s the power to show all of creation the righteousness, the justness and justice of God.

    Even today in all of our comforts, we still fight sex trafficking and extreme poverty. Is the gospel relevant today? Yes. It has to be. Because the gospel is the only thing powerful enough to make a difference in these areas. It’s the only thing powerful enough to heal the hearts of the wounded, oppressed and abused, so that they would then be able to turn to God and say “Despite everything I’ve gone through, you are good.”

    • Such good words, Don!

      Boom. that power to blast away our sin, the things that enslave us. The gospel is the power of God for salvation, not any organization, establishment, or movement.

  8. I too see the difference between stopping with that first acceptance of the Gospel {followed by own prodigal years} to today, where I am constantly transformed by the Gospel. There is more to this Holy Spirit business living in us, tutoring us, renewing our minds, than I was ever taught in the churches of my youth. He gives me the ability and power to do what only He can but also, He gives me a Spirit that makes Him relevant for my everyday life.

  9. In the comforts of our lives, our needs are met…is God needed? yes. Because these last 10 months I have had all thoe comforts and physical needs met yet I have been so up and down emotiinally and spiritually. We moved and into country life and isolation has been hard. But God has been here the whole time, even when I ignore him. So sad I do that.
    But when I allow him to go there with me, he fills me. Just enough to get me off myself and on with life. One step at a time. It usually is by song or reaching for my bible or a word from a friend or drop to my knees in tears or a tragedy a friend is experiencing dropping me to knees to pray…and I feel something bigger than me saying go on. Its subtle usually but God. Telling me to go on with life. One step at a time. Nothing dramatic.and yet the shift inside makes all the difference. Even if 5 min later I feel back in the same spot and have to go all over again to his feet. That is life. That is the gospel. Every moment choosing to fix our eyes on Jesus. It is a choice and Id not go without him. My spirit cannot. For satan is always attacking the heart but Gods spirit in us constantly battles it. Yes my physical needs and comfort are generally taken care of based by where I live and how I grew up in America, but without the gospel the desire to be better do better and even live would be dead. Thank you for this question and being real. I needed the reminder that God doesnt call everyone to huge ministry, sometimes it is simply the daily walk, serving those around you and praying deeply for those all around the world. I tell my girls my biggest prayer for them is to know jesus deeply, let him guide every step in life and be undaunted to walk where he asks even in danger. Because God is our safe, for what can man do to us when we have life in the creater of life. That should be enough to fill joy in all of us no matter our circumstances. I pray I learn this lesson every single day.

    • “yet the shift inside makes all the difference” YES! I totally agree. I think sometimes we can go a long time without seeing others live this radically transformed lives that we begin to lose hope. That’s why it tells us to remind each other daily that He’s coming, and also Romans 10 shows that FAITH speaks. It’s not just so nonbelievers would believe. I think it’s also so that we don’t lose heart.

  10. I have recently been convicted of the inerrancy of Scripture and it has transformed my devotional times. I’ve been reading the Bible voraciously. Suddenly, God’s word MATTERS. Suddenly, it IS relevant because I believe it to be so. Amber, you are a light in a dark, dark world. Keep shining, sister.

    • Oh yes! Scripture matters. It’s how I renew my mind and remember there is so much more than what I see right now. Ancient of Days leads us through it, and the Spirit gives us understanding to know God’s heart. I’m so grateful you’re my sister, Emily.

      God’s righteousness is the crux of it all.

  11. The Gospel is relevant, because we all carry Jesus with us. If we believe on him.
    The Building that is gone to and the middleclass materialism is not “The Church”.
    Doing church is not what make the world change.
    It is the commitment and connection to Jesus, soul and spirit, with a depth and understanding that without Jesus we are unable to function at any level.
    As the Lord’s prayer says,” Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
    When we accept Jesus we become part of bringing heaven to earth, we are what brings heaven to earth, so yes the Gospel is still relevant.

  12. Reading through the Bible you find it very relevant to any issue we are facing. It can be hard at times to feel God or wonder where He went. Truth is He never went anywhere we misstepped. The silent times of waiting should be used to pray, pray and pray some more for an expected outcome! I find the more I read & pray the better I know & understand how relevant the Bible/Gospel is! 🙂

  13. I think the bible is totally relevant today considering what we face as christians today!!
    I know for myself that if I did not have gods word to turn to each day it would be so hard
    to face what is out their each day. It would be so hard to get through each day without his word tucked in m heart. I know that if I did not have gods word it would so hard to get through those hard days when you don’t feel him with you! I know on those days all
    I have is his words to cling !!!!!

  14. The problem is, is that the Bible SHOULD be relevant for all Christians today, and many do not make it so. It is the ‘living’ Word of God, giving us life every day, We need to read it every day to encourage us, to learn to know Him better, to see the power behind every verse, and to show us the path of life. But so many have not learned they NEED it every day, and would rather enjoy instead, what the world would show them… People are missing out on ‘hearing’ the God who made them…missing out on the ‘abundant life’ that He has to offer. The more you read the Bible, the more you want to read and study…to feel alive in Him, every day.

    • Before I believed, I read the BIble every day, but I didn’t get it, and there have been times as a believer that I’ve read and not felt a thing. Lately I beg that His spirit never leave me, though I believe the Holy Spirit is my seal. But still He is so precious to me. I have come out of times where I didn’t feel God at all, but I know in that, too, he will meet me.

      I think our culture has such pain that we have resorted to numbing ourselves so many ways. The Bible is irrelevant to those who are numb, but the GOSPEL is the Power of God to save us from ourselves.

      • I think you’re rally hitting the nail on the head here. It’s not about how we feel. As a person who suffers from depression, I know very well that to trust my feelings as a guide would’ve been to kill myself years ago. God is trustworthy–the heart, not so much.

  15. The gospel – The True Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only thing that is relevant in this muddled world we live it.

  16. The only thing about God’s word that I find irrelevant, is our tendency to argue over the translation of it. If we truly believe the Word itself is innerant and God breathed, then we should live like it, which means embracing its power to live a life of love and relentless grace.

  17. Is the gospel relevant? Was it relevant to those who watched it unfold? For the teachers of the Law and the hypocrites, no it was not. It was offensive and, for some, murderously enraging. For the broken-down, the prostitutes, the outcasts, and the rest of the “poor in spirit,” it was the miracle of unbelievable miracles, the sun bursting through the clouds and grace raining down, a death sentence repealed.
    For us? Are we teachers of the law? Or broken-down beggars? Well…maybe that’s the problem. Middle class America is…comfortable. Luke-warm. Not “godly”, but not so very bad, either. It isn’t so much that the Gospel is relevant or irrelevant in this day, I think. I think the real question is: will you admit your own brokenness and arrogance? Do you even see it? Because until you achieve even that small honesty, nothing will be relevant to you at all except your own comfort.
    It’s a good question, Amber. Thank you for speaking for it so eloquently.

  18. I’ve always loved your posts, Amber. So when I read the very short one that came to my inbox this morning, I must admit, I thought, “Oh, no! Amber’s in crisis! She’s losing faith!” Thank goodness I came on over to incourage and saw your video. Whew…

    Raised Catholic, I was not taught to be as fully immersed in learning Scripture as I believe Protestant faiths are. So, a few years ago, when my world was falling apart and I was being challenged beyond what I THOUGHT I could bear, I turned for the first time to Scripture alone. It became my comfort. My shield. My hope. My passion. Each day I read more and more. And each day I become stronger in my faith…closer to God…more seeking of the Holy Spirit…more convinced of Jesus’ love for humanity.

    I am teaching my children – also being raised Catholic – the power of the Word in our lives. That coupled with daily thoughts of gratitude and enduring prayer are proving to be the very strength that our family needs. We are endeavoring to spill these habits over into every life we touch. So, yes, the Gospel is needed. His Word is a lamp unto our feet. And a balm to our world.

    Thanks for making me take a moment and think.

    • It always surprises me to read about Catholics who feel that they were not encouraged to read the Bible. We were very Catholic and the Bible was the book I learned to read from. You’ll hear far more Scripture read at Mass than you’ll ever hear in most evangelical churches.

  19. why wouldn’t the gospel which is truth, immovable, unchangeable principles not be relevant when human beings nature and proclivities haven’t changed? It’s an excellent post that provokes heavy pondering about how we are applying His truth.
    Sincerely Deborah

  20. I read/watched this earlier and hearing you talk about the righteousness of God started something brewing that I am still working on. And honestly it is not so much what you said- already I would have to go back and listen again. It was more the transformation you can see in your face, and the many that have been obvious as you have laid your heart bare to your faithful readers. The gospel has relevance, to be sure. I have a skeptics heart and will always struggle with the ins and outs, the hows and the whys. But the proof is in the lives changed. It is visible and undeniable, if not explainable. I find that I can always rest there when questions go unanswered. I could not cover up the power or the imprint of the gospel in my own life, even if I tried. To be honest, I have.
    The other thought that struck me while watching is “Wow- I get to pursue this!” So often I struggle with feeling like I don’t know what I am supposed to be doing. Pursuing His righteousness. That is what I am supposed to be doing. I have the opportunity to do that every day, in every way if only I will. Maybe the struggle with this question is that so often we try to apply the gospel where needed to chase after our own pursuits. The gospel is not a means to an end. The details of our lives are the means to an end. It begins and ends with the gospel and the rest is just details.

  21. What a powerful message! Is God’s word relevant today? ABSOLUTELY!! God and His word are unchanging, they are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow! And I know that I could not put one foot in front of the other most days without Him. My challenge is fully dying to self every day so that He can fill me up with all that He is in order for others to see Him through me. Tough to do a lot of days. Thanks so much for your encouraging words.

  22. What would be of me if I didn’t have the goodnews of the gospel to comfort me and give me a purpose! I’m so glad I have the warmth of a local church and great leadership. It doesn’t mean that everything is perfect, but I have the feeling of belonging to the small community of believers.I can cry the whole day but at the evening I’m comforted.
    During the week as I go through daily tasks, the Incourage blog and Meet Me in the Meadow and other blogs give me the stamina for the time. I feel soothed in knowing that others deal with the same issues of faith, pacience, endurance, and hope. it’s not only about eternal life but life now.
    What would be of me if I didn’t have the gospel in its full dimension to get me through these days of mourning and waiting.
    Love you!

  23. I don’t have any thing profound to say, but this is deep and has touched me. Really touched me on so many levels. God BLESS you Amber.

  24. my favorite thing about you is your transparency. this video made me feel like we were sitting knee to knee talking jesus over coffee. thank you for sharing his presence in your life.

  25. Studying Romans here in PA in Bible Study. And being transformed.
    Thanks for your words Amber and transparency.
    I have been deep in prayer for my fellow believers and our local churches.
    And Oh Yes! Believing mightily on Transformation power of the Gospel ! That is so relevant today and anyday.
    I believe feelings of comfort and the pursuit of it will not lead to transformation.
    Jesus did not leave us with His Holy Spirit to pursue middle class American dreams,
    but to bring us eyes to see as He sees and soft hearts to love others as we love ourselves and be filled with the Living God.
    That is transforming power…dynamite. Many of us middle class may be well off materially, but very poor in Spirit….utter poverty.

    Lord, I believe, help and redeem my unbelief and fill me with Your Spirit . For I will
    not go along my way without it. I am desperate for your presence Lord Jesus.

  26. yes…i love this Scripture…These things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!–Habakkuk 2:3 TLB…i wrote about it on my blog… http://ow.ly/je0WI