I asked this question on Facebook to help me process some thoughts for a retreat coming up:
"I need your help. I'm thinking through some things for a retreat, and I'd love your honest input. Friends that don't go to church, what are your reasons? I want to know even if the answer is tough. Friends that do go to church, what reasons do your friends give for not going to church? Make this a safe place to be honest, friends. :)"
I got some very interesting answers. Click here to see.
I started thinking a lot about how each of us really want to be loved. We don't want to just be someone's project, but we want to be part of a group who really cares about us.
In John 21, I love how Jesus not only gives Peter a second chance to reaffirm his love and commitment, He instructs Peter about how to lead His church.
"Feed my lambs."
"Take care of my sheep."
"Feed my sheep."
Jesus didn't say "Rule my sheep" or "manage my sheep". He didn't say "Organize my sheep" or "Schedule my sheep."
He used the words of nurture--feed, take care of.
My dear pastor preached his last sermon before retirement last Sunday. Over and over he said how much he has loved being our pastor and loved each one of us. It's true, and it was evident.
There are many pastors and parishioners who don't follow Jesus' plan for leading His people (see Mary Demuth's excellent post on spiritual abuse), but my faith has been strengthened by my pastor and how he loved our church.
Now I'm on the pastor search committee, and we're looking for another shepherd who will follow Jesus' direction to feed and care for us. It's exciting to wait in anticipation for that God's provision of our next pastor.
Friday, September 30, 2011
I asked this question on Facebook to help me process some thoughts for a retreat coming up:
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
In the interest of full disclosure, I want you to know that early in my life I was a rabid feminist. Until I was 16 and God revolutionized my life by showing me that His ways and His thoughts are so very much higher than my ways and my thoughts, I wore a militant attitude for women on my leather studded (just kidding) sleeve.
In the interim, between my teenage self and my understanding of myself as a Christian woman today, I've been reluctant to talk a lot about women's issues. I didn't want to be misunderstood.
Maybe it's because I'm in my 40s or maybe it's because God has been reconstructing my confidence to be soundly in Him, but I feel some sass coming on in what I hope is a good way.
I no longer consider myself a feminist, because I think America's version of feminism has done more to hurt than help women. Don't get me wrong. I'm thankful for the movements that won the vote for me and for women who have sought equal rights for us in education and the workplace. I'm eternally grateful that my husband and I can be partners with different but complementary roles.
But I see some lies that have hurt women. Being sexually "free" isn't freedom at all, and I see women being exploited sexually in ways even more heinous than the past (who are those Victoria's Secrets fashion show for anyway?). I see women exhausted and torn by the pursuit of "having it all" and probably having less in some ways than ever.
Still, American women have been given so much in the way of freedom and respect.
It's easy to forget women around the world.
The 70 million girls and women in Africa who are still suffering the pain and humiliation of female genital mutilation.
The girls in India who die at a 50% higher rate than their male counterparts between the ages of 1-5.
The woman in Jaddah who was sentenced to 10 lashes after driving herself to the hospital in a medical emergency.
The more than 400,000 women raped yearly in the Congo.
As American women, we carry our blessings so lightly. I'm going to be looking for ways to make a difference in women's lives while I'm in India. How can you make a difference for your sisters?
Monday, September 26, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
If you're visiting today from Women's Ministry Net, welcome! I'm so honored that you'd come to hang out in my little corner of the world. I was a women's ministry director for several years, so I love and appreciate women's leaders. You are some of the hardest working most passionate people I know! Please make yourself comfortable here and stay a while.
You might want to read here if you're feeling called to speaking to hear a little more about my journey.
Or here if you want to read about my upcoming trip to India. I told you I love to travel!
Or here if you'd like to know about upcoming conference calls for speakers and writers sponsored by Proverbs 31 Ministries.
If you and I are already old friends, I want to introduce you to my new friends at Women's Ministry Net. I had the pleasure of meeting Judy Patterson and Karen True this summer at She Speaks and fell instantly in love with the two of them and their ministry. Jennifer and Phil Rothschild started Women's Ministry Net as a resource for women's ministry leaders, and the team has outdone themselves. The website is filled to overflowing with information on every topic necessary for leaders. You can subscribe to have access to all the information or sign up for their FREE weekly tips.
Today, you'll see my face as I share my best tip for overcoming your nerves and an article for novice speakers. Pop by and visit. I want all my friends to meet!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Each year after the She Speaks Conference, Proverbs 31 Ministries hosts a series of conference calls for writers and speakers. This year we're opening them up to everyone--She Speaks is not a prerequisite. Here's all the scoop. Note: Please call the Proverbs 31 office at 1-877-731-4663 to register or to ask questions.
Don’t miss this exciting new training opportunity with Proverbs 31 Ministries. If you felt inspired by what you learned from our annual She Speaks Conference, you will want to continue to pursue your speaking and writing goals by signing up for “She Speaks 201.” This is a way to further your training after you return home from She Speaks by utilizing our conference call coaching format.
It’s Practical: Right from the comfort of your own home, your business, or your cell you simply dial in with the code you will receive from us. The training sessions are held once a week for five consecutive weeks. Each call lasts between 60-75 minutes and will have an easy to follow outline that will be e-mailed to you prior to your weekly conference call.
It’s Personal: After each training session, the coach will open up the call for a Question and Answer Session. This will allow the participants to get their individual questions addressed and will enhance the teaching time for everyone.
It’s Professional: Each conference call session is led by people who have training, experience and passion for the subjects they are addressing. These calls will be a great investment to help you take the next step in your calling.
It’s Powerful: Its one thing to sit and read a book about how to pursue your dreams but it’s so much more powerful to have the opportunity to walk alongside someone who is living out the calling you are pursuing. You’ll hear personal life stories woven throughout the teaching points that are sure to instruct and inspire you!
It’s Productive: Don’t loose the momentum you had when She Speaks ended. Stay motivated and encouraged to continue to walk the path of obedience God has placed before you. Learn the next crucial steps for you to take and some creative ways to maximize the impact of your efforts.
What Will I Learn?
You will learn taking the next step is not as hard as it might seem. We will be presenting the following exciting topics for both speakers and writers. Because speaking and writing work so closely together in ministry endeavors, you may want to consider signing up for both. However, we don’t want you to get overwhelmed, so pray about what the Lord might want you to do next.
Topics for Writers
Week One: Hit the Ground Running (Tue. Sept. 27, 2011)
Practical Steps for Writers to take when you return home from She Speaks. We will cover how to design a marketing plan for your writing and create a platform that will be attractive to a publisher. You will learn how to use various forms of networking to help establish yourself as an expert in your field of interest. Taught by Glynnis Whitwer.
Week Two: Creating Winning Websites(Tue. Oct. 4, 2011)
Every writer or speaker needs an online presence in today’s internet-driven world. In this session Rachel Olsen will teach you how to craft a successful website or blog and attract visitors to it.
Week Three: Voice: What Is It And Why Does It Matter? (Tue. Oct. 11, 2011) Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, your voice is one of the most powerful tools needed to share your story or message. This session will teach you how to find your voice and how to adopt an authentic tone so that you or your characters can communicate effectively. Taught by Marybeth Whalen.
Week Four: English 101 (Tue. Oct. 18, 2011)
Revisit those tricky rules of grammar that trip writers. This session will empower you to be a more polished writer and build your confidence as you pursue publishing. Taught by Glynnis Whitwer.
Week Five: The Writing and Speaking Partnership (Tue. Oct. 25, 2011)
Learn how to save time, multiply your efforts and maximize your impact by using your messages and life lessons in both speaking and writing. The secret to staying on course with both speaking and writing is accountability. Learn some things you can put into place to keep you on track with the daily disciplines of successful communicators. Taught by Lysa TerKeurst.
Topics for Speakers
Week One: The Writing and Speaking Partnership (also writing call #5) (Tuesday, October 25, 2011)
Publishers are looking for writers with a platform. Learn how to establish your platform in a way that defines your niche and fits your calling. Time is a factor for everyone. Learn how to save time, multiply your efforts and maximize your impact by using your messages and life lessons in both speaking and writing. The secret to staying on course with both speaking and writing is accountability. Learn some things you can put into place to keep you on track with the daily disciplines of successful communicators. Taught by Lysa TerKeurst
Week Two: How to Start, Lead, and Maintain an Effective Online Bible Study (Tuesday, November1, 2011)
Many women are too busy, intimidated, or inconvenienced to join a face to face Bible study group. With growing opportunities on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and individual blogs, the internet has proven to be a great option to study God’s Word and help women feel accepted and valued as a part of a group. In 2011, Melissa led close to ten thousand women in her online Bible studies. In this session you will learn how to:
Start and lead an online Bible study
Manage registration and mass emails
Integrate video blogs and conference calls into your study
Maintain a large group while giving it a small group feel
Encourage your group to get involved and serve in their sphere of influence
Create small groups within your larger group
Share your love and the love of Christ with thousands of women
Taught by Melissa Taylor
Week Three: Communicating with Event Planners (Tuesday, November 8, 2011) Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the details and planning? From inquiries to contracts, this session will help you communicate with event leaders so you can:
Ask key questions to gain important details for each engagement
Identify the event planners expectations and goals so you can meet them
Utilize worksheets and planning tools so everything you need is at your fingertips
Develop a communication timeline to keep you on track.
Taught by Renee Swope
Week Four: Finding Topics that Fit (Tuesday, November 15, 2011)
One of the first tasks a beginning speaker faces is choosing a topic. This session will help you discover what topics naturally fit you, and how to make those topics fit your audience or event. We will find topics in your passions and experiences, learn to narrow and focus those topics, and learn how to choose titles that capture immediate attention.
Taught by Rachel Olsen
Week Five: Balancing Speaking and Family Life (Tuesday, November 22, 2011) As a busy mom, Karen has learned through trial and error what it takes to maintain her priorities and still keep speaking. Karen will share how she balances the ministry life of speaking with family responsibilities through her own personal experience, as well as the experience of other women writers. These proven tips and encouragement will equip you to identify your priorities and keep them in a God-assigned, healthy order! Taught by Karen Ehman.
Please note: Week Six for Writers and Week One for Speaker is the same session. The two series’ overlap with a session applicable to both sets of conference calls.
What are the upcoming dates and times?
Week One: Week Four:
Tuesday, September 27th, 8:00-9:15 pm EST Tuesday, October 18th, 8:00-9:15 pm EST
Week Two: Week Five:
Tuesday, October 4th, 8:00-9:15pm Tuesday, October 25th, 8:00-9:15 pm EST
Tuesday, October 11th, 8:00-9:15pm EST
Week One: Week Four:
Tuesday, October 25th, 8:00-9:15pm EST Tuesday, November 15th, 8:00-9:15 pm EST
Week Two: Week Five:
Tuesday, November 1st, 8:00-9:15pm EST Tuesday, November 22nd, 8:00-9:00 pm EST
Tuesday, November 8th, 8:00-9:15pm EST
What is the Cost of the Calls?
Writer’s Track $125.00
Speaker’s Track $125.00
Both Tracks $200.00
Please note, these calls may be a tax deductible business expense.
How do I register for the calls?
Call our office toll-free at 1-877-731-4663. Anyone in the office can take your registration over the phone. However, for staffing purposes, it would be helpful if you could call on Tuesday or Wednesday and speak with Sheila. Please have the following information handy:
Which track(s) you are registering for
Phone Number (where we can reach you if we have any questions about your registration)
Phone Number(s) you may be calling from when you join the conference calls
(Please note: these calls are not toll-free. We use free long-distance that is part of our cell phone plans when participating in conference calls.)
By registering, you agree to keep your access code for my personal use only and will not share the code nor allow others to use it to gain unlawful access to the “She Speaks 201” conference call coaching program.
If you are unable to participate in some or all of the calls due to scheduling conflicts, each call will be recorded and made available to you the day after each scheduled call. These downloads will be available for 30 days following each call.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Occasionally my own words come back to haunt me. Today was one of those days. I hope this encourages you if you're weary today.
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’”
Lamentations 3:22 (NIV)
It was going to be one of those days. I had gone to sleep with the long list of things to do rattling around in my head, slept fitfully and awakened with a knot of anxiety. I’m sure that each of you knows exactly what I’m talking about. I was facing a day with more list than time and none of it could wait. I drug myself out of bed and through the morning routine with my children.
As I walked back into the house from the bus stop, I was tempted to skip the one thing that I can’t live without. “But, Lord,” I argued silently, “you know that I’m dust.” (Yes, that’s scriptural, but also one of my favorite cop-outs.) “You’ve given me most of the assignments on my list today, so I know that you’ll understand if I skip my prayer and Bible study time.” Even while I rehearsed the argument in my head, I felt the draw of the One who could bring order to this chaotic day.
At this point I need to say that many times I’ve made the argument and gone straight to my check list. On this particular day, however, God brought to my memory something that Lysa had said many times. She encouraged us to ask God each morning for our assignment and then ask Him for our portion. Asking for my portion was a phrase that had really stuck with me.
Scripture has a lot to say about how God feeds and strengthens His children. When Jesus was teaching His disciples to pray, He instructed them to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matt. 6:11 NIV) Notice that He didn’t say weekly bread (as if we could get everything we need at church each week and live the rest of the time on our own), monthly bread or yearly bread.
The picture I love most, though, is that of the Israelites in the desert gathering the manna that God had provided as food. God’s direction was to gather as much as they could eat for the day but not to try to keep it over night. Some ignored this last part of the instruction and found themselves left in the morning with stinky, maggoty leftovers! (Exodus 16). God wants the same thing for us as He wanted for the Israelites. He wants us to trust Him each day for what we need. He wants us to be dependent on Him each morning as we face the day asking our Provider for our portion.
I recently heard a question that I’ve been chewing on for some time. If I could knock on the door of God’s office and ask for a look at His heavenly calendar, what would be on it that day for me? The speaker followed with an even more piercing question—what would NOT be on it that day for me? God clearly extends mercy to His overextended children, but I think that maybe the portion is for the items that He divinely has included on my daily agenda.
That morning I took the lesson to heart. I spent some time on my knees crying out for my portion, for God’s order for the day and for a change in my own rotten attitude. Friends, I want to testify that He is faithful! The day went smoothly, and I even had a few minutes to put my feet up, to close my eyes and to thank Him before the bus returned to bring home my next assignment. He is good!
Dear Lord, I thank you that you promise to provide just the portion of strength and faith to face each day. Help me to come to you trusting that you will be my Provider. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I think the most fun thing about being Oprah must be the ability to make the announcement, "THE WHOLE AUDIENCE GETS A CAR!!!!"
I'd love to do that.
But I can't.
I still love to give, though, so I love an opportunity to give when a little gift means goes a long way into eternity. I want to give you an opportunity like that.
On Oct. 22, I'll be traveling with a team of 3 other women and one very brave man to help lead 2 women's conferences in Kolkata and Siliguri India. It's an amazing opportunity on so many levels, but I most love that we are going to minister to women. An Indian woman's reality is complicated at this point in time. This article tells how much stress is part of her life as she is both entering the work force and expected to maintain her home in the traditional ways.
A recent news story on NPR, a traditionally liberal news outlet, that I heard just last week made me know that I was headed to the right place to do the right thing. The article reports in recent years in India, there have been more boy children born than girl children. Why?
Here's an excerpt from the article that you must read for yourself:
"India's latest census revealed a disturbing trend: There are far fewer girls born each year than boys.
Activists say the disparity is deliberate.
Much of Indian culture regards boys as assets to families and girls as liabilities. Some families are using ultrasound technology to determine the gender of fetuses and then aborting the females.
The process has been going on for decades, leading to a shortage of marriageable girls that is beginning to make itself felt all over India."
The trend necessitates billboards like this (that send chills all over my body):
From the very beginning, our team has felt led to tell the women that we're privileged to speak to how treasured they are by God. That's our conference title.
The women in Siliguri are very poor, but they are being asked to pay $2 to attend the 3-day conference. $2 goes a long way in India, but not that far. As a team, we are generating scholarships to help the sponsoring church subsidize the cost.
So how can you help? You can pay for the cost of one scholarship which is $10. In the US, donating $10 probably means giving up Starbucks for a couple of days or packing your lunch this week. In India during the week of Oct. 22, it could mean a life that is changed.
It could mean a woman who has always considered herself unimportant, a "liability", trouble, and unloved finally realizes that she is created in God's image, loved, desired and called.
She is Treasured.
$10 is all I'm asking you to pray about--not an audience full of cars. Will you pray about sponsoring 1 woman (or 2 or 10)?
You can send your tax deductible gift to:
Encouraging Words, 601 Old Farm Dr., Graham, NC 27253
Just write the words "Treasured" in the memo line.
Thank you my, friends. I surely treasure you!
Note: One of my blogger friends asked a great question in the comments about some confusion that I created about the cost of the conference. Make sure you read that exchange for if I confused you too!
Monday, September 12, 2011
When I was in college, I was part of a church that created an unhealthy picture of calling. Although it was unspoken, it was clear that there was an underlying belief that vocational ministry was the only career considered "a calling"--higher, better, more sacred and holy. Everything else was "just work" and usually only a holding pattern until you were "truly called" (into the higher, better, more sacred and holy position of vocational ministry, of course.)
I saw brilliant people with numerous degrees working in jobs outside of their gifting, and looking back I believe it was for one reason. To work inside their gifting would be less than "a calling" and would admit defeat. The ultimate defeat would be to recognize that you weren't "special enough" to be called into vocational ministry.
As my last word on calling today, I want to encourage you that we all have one ultimate calling. That highest calling is to love God and His Son Jesus with all our heart, will all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength. Out of that call to love flows our ministry,.
We're all called to the ministry of reconciling the lost to Jesus. For a few, that call may translate to paid ministry positions. For most, that call is gloriously displayed in classrooms, chemistry labs, retail stores and factories. Our calling is fulfilled by homemakers, salespeople, personal trainers and mail carriers.
Bloom where you're planted. Let His light shine through the gifts He's given. Reach out to the lost in your sphere of influence. Fulfill the call. (I'm smiling just thinking about you doing it!)
Friday, September 9, 2011
I'm on my way out to have lunch at Iron Sharpens Iron, a group of women's leaders in Wake County. If you live in my neck of the woods and are interested, please contact me via email, and I'll make sure you get an invitation to next month's lunch. It's fantastic.
In the meantime, I was to give you a little light reading (ha!) concerning The Trinity in Jesus' own words. I've been rolling it around in my head and heart all morning, and God is magnified even though I can't wrap my feeble understanding around it.
John 16: 12 "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. "
Go with the blessings of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit today.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
I’ve had people do things over the years “just because” that have so encouraged me and touched my heart. Today I’d encourage you to pray and ask God to give you a name to receive a “just because”. Here are some simple ideas to get you started:
1. Write a note of encouragement—Handwritten, snail-mail notes still speak of care and thoughtfulness. They’re also easy to stick in a safe place to re-read when discouragement hits.
2. Open your home—Recently a friend invited me into her home for a very simple sandwich lunch. Even though it wasn’t fancy food, there was something so special about being in her home. Hot tea and store-bought cookies work too! It’s the time that counts.
3. Perform an act of service—Offer a few hours of free babysitting for a tired friend. Volunteer to rake your elderly neighbor’s yard. Serve dinner at a homeless shelter and then sit with some residents to listen and interact. Intentionally look for a need and meet it.
4. Notice someone—Think about people that we can tend to treat as invisible—service workers like wait staff, cashiers, custodians or the homeless or the elderly) Take the time to smile and give a kind word of encouragement. Depending on the setting, maybe you could sit and talk for a while.
5. Become a mentor—There are so many people around you that need to know what you’ve learned on the path you’re traveling. Take time to share. This can be as involved as joining a community mentoring program or as simple as taking your granddaughter to a special lunch.
6. Share your resources—In this time of a struggling economy, the financial needs are great. Even if you don’t have disposable income yourself, watch for ways to share what you have and may not need—clothing, food from a garden, gently worn furniture or household goods, skills like car repair….
This website has over 200 ideas for acts of kindness if you don’t find any that appeal to you here! I’d also love to hear your ideas and “just because” acts that have been done for you. (Or those inspired by today's devotion!)
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
It's this generation's, "I'll never forget where I was when I got the news."
I was in Tuesday Mornings when everyone in the store started talking about planes flying into the World Trade Towers. Chills covered my body as I listened to radio reports on the way home and then watched the videos in disbelief and horror.
It's hard to believe that the 10th anniversary of that terrible day is coming this weekend. Every year it seems fresh all over again, and this year as I prepare for a trip out of the country to India, it's a struggle to overcome the anxiety and vulnerability that now comes with being American.
Lauren Manning, author of the newly released book Unmeasured Strength and survivor of the attack on the towers, spoke on the Today show this morning about lessons that she has learned through her experience and long recovery.
Lauren was burned on over 80% of her body and endured 25 surgeries and years of physical therapy to restore her body. She looked beautiful this morning as she described her "new normal" and gaining a comfort with the body she now inhabits.
"We are all touched by wounds in some way," Lauren said, "...illness, violence.... We are all touched by it but need not be held by it."
She is such a testament to the power of the human spirit. Although she didn't speak of faith, her life speaks of the God-image that is present in each of His creation. It's the part of us that loves life and battles against death. It's the part that clings to hope against tremendous odds. It's the part that loves family and fights sacrificially to maintain those relationships.
As we remember this weekend, I want the Source of our "unmeasured strength" to be praised.
Thank you, God, for being the Redeemer even in this terrible act. We pray that you give strength to the victim's families this weekend and strength to the anxious hearts of Americans as we face our enemies. We pray that Your love fills our hearts so that we can fervently pray not just for our own protection but also for our enemies' salvation. Your strength is unmeasurable and we pray that as you fill us that we'll recognize You.
Friday, September 2, 2011
I feel like I've returned to Christian Kindergarten. Remember Kindergarten? It was the place where you're supposed to learn the basics.
Hold your pencil with your thumb, second and third finger.
Share when you're in the housekeeping center.
Share everywhere you go.
Raise your hand and use your indoor voice when you have something to say.
Close the door when you go to the potty.
Important stuff like that.
In Christian Kindergarten there are two basics. God loves you. You can't save yourself, but His grace can and it's enough.
How can I possibly be into my 33rd year of loving Jesus and need to relearn these simple truths? Because I never really "got" them to begin with. In her new book Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman says, "Somewhere along the way, I got the message that salvation is by faith alone but anything after that is faith plus my hard work and sweet disposition. I lived most of my life under a system I designed for myself and I labeled it The Gospel."
How DID that girl crawl into my head?
Along the way, I became a human-doing instead of a human-being. A human-being is someone who is saved by Grace, rests in that grace and revels in God's love. All doing flows out of that rest and reveling. A human-doing is someone who is saved by Grace but often then ignores the gift she's been given and begins working like crazy as if it's something to be earned. All her doing comes out of a desire to perform in order to earn something with which she's already been lavished--God's love.
So I've been back at the beginning, relearning some basics. I've learned a lot in the years since I prayed for Jesus' grace as a 10-year-old girl laying alone in her bed, but all of it is nothing if I miss love and grace. Nothing. The funny thing is that it's still my temptation to try to work hard at learning it. Ha! God is forcing me to learn it slowly as He unfolds it to me. I'm learning to rest even in the grasping.
This morning in reading John I got a fresh glimpse of where I'm being led. John 15:5 ,9 say, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing....As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love."
I am loved by Jesus in the same way, in the same amount, in the same lavishness as Jesus is loved by the Father. Now that is amazing, life-altering news if I can start to wrap my mind and heart around it. By just remaining in relationship with Him, being a branch, I will produce the fruit that my heart longs to produce. No work, no effort, no striving can produce that fruit. Only abiding. Only grace. Only love.
I think I'm on my way to being a branch...and a human-being.