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Thursday, April 22, 2010

This is a video from a friend's facebook page. I think it's powerful and worth the watching time required. What a sweet Father in Heaven we have who does not leave us as we were found. Not for a day!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Song in Our House

Tonight, God displays His glory at sunset: The Palo Verde just beyond our fence.

The Northern Mockingbird gives the signal with a song. It's night time. The water is running to supply the evening baths. The cool air pushes its way into our home a bit more intentionally. The bath music is on, practically its own genre at our house. This day is over. Through the unexpected events of this day our God has kept us, and literally, held us up. The dust has settled, and now, I'm taking on no more responsibility except to be His daughter.

Lord, please sing your song over me. What would be Your night time song, Lord? What would you sing? Your nearness is my good. You have shown me I need not fear anything. I cling to Your great heart. Somehow I sense you could roar over injustices done to us, and that You surely are as a Lion. Your comfort is my quiet and certain song for this hour. You are fierce for us, my Lord. This I am sure of.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Praying Even Now

This is the prayer the Lord gave me for the Worship Team. I thought I would share it with you because I believe the Lord has great & glorious things prepared when we come together, things that will blow our minds and reset our expectations. (It could come so quietly, like a soft rain. Or, it may come as a torrent.)
"Father, may our hearts be ready to soar on the wings of your powerful Holy Spirit. May we be free of encumberances and distraction. May our minds and hearts be filled with pure and flowing love for You. We anticipate our expression of that love in our own worship, & our worship leadership with our beloved congregation. Bring the lost, restore the prodigal in our time together. In Jesus name, AMEN!"
Do you have expectations of the Saviour of the World? One of the things I most expect and am certain of is His faithfulness to His local church, His beautifully restored Bride. Just being in His presence is a gift, an amazing gift. While this is a daily thing for us, gathering together-fully forgiven as we are- He plans to be Lord among us. I look for that...His Lordship, and I look for it any way He wants to display it.

Humbly His,

Slowing Down to Make a Mess plus Taking Daddy Down

Begins this day in our home: an early call for coffee. Coffee in hand. Soul at rest as the son in the house descends into my quiet place. Now, with joy and smiles, we agree it is time to make the grocery run for cinnamon rolls and hot apple cider. He and I, off we go together.

Appetites settled, visits with best friends over coffee, a few games of air hockey under foot, and the cupboard cleaning venture begins. Daddy feels rested and heads upstairs for Legos. Then it starts: talk of Taking Daddy Down! The outdoor game of wrestling, some screaming, & lots of laughs as Daddy is Mr. Tough Guy for a little miss and a little mister. There is NO taking Daddy down! But they try and squeal as they do so.

The inspiration of the fresh corn on the cob I found at the store rises in my mind. The hamburgers go in the frying pan (my Mom's style), the cooking, the smells. Who cares about the emptied cupboards all over the counter, the clutter, the mess. The joy is more fragrant and appealing and more consuming than my need to fix any mess I may have made. For all this is happening while our blessings are trying to take Daddy down.

Friday, April 16, 2010

An Astonishingly Clever Idea!

"Complaint Free Friday is upon us once again. If you MUST complain, write it down and send it to me attached to a Bass Pro Shops, Home Depot, IKEA or Williams-Sonoma gift card."

One of my Nashville friends posted this on his facebook status this morning, and it brought out the chuckle in me. I thought it was pretty clever.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Notes About Unity, Part 1

Monday and Tuesday of this week I led worship at an Associational Meeting for Pastors & Church Staff. The Lord was so faithful to His girl, Kathy, because He loves His sheep and those who shepherd them. He wants to feed us well, and that He did.

A wonderful couple came and shared in an amazing "tag-team" fashion on the topic of Marriage. They are licensed marriage therapists filled with the Lord and a love for His people. This week, my goal is to post my notes in bits and pieces. Here's the first installment:

Marriage is a re-enactment of the Gospel, and the strategy of Satan is to keep us from the cross. Instead of running to the cross we'll often choose to re-name our sin because death is painful. Renaming our sin, i.e., "I'm just wired this way!" excusing the sin of anger, for example, is safer and less painful than dying. But in marriage and in holiness and oneness before the Lord, freedom is better than safe. The cross brings freedom to a Godly marriage. We want the freedom that Christ paid for at the cross on our behalf.

Hebrews 12:2 says, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Anything that keeps us from reaching the cross together needs to go.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

When Does Worship Matter

Hello Friends,

I am posting here the same piece I wrote for our Worship Team Blog. It's more than a piece, it's my passion. By way of conversation, I found myself propelled upon my stump. So, I'm trying desperately to come OFF of the stump, but not sure I want to. Even if I do, it's temporary, because praising God in Heaven is FOREVER, and it's about HIM!!! Here 'tis:

"When does worship matter? Consider the following scripture in Revelation:

"Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." - Revelation 4:8 (NIV)
On earth as it is in Heaven, right? Okay, let's start with this one scripture alone that is written about a perfect place we know to be Heaven, the presence of the living God where Jesus Himself is sitting at the right hand of the Father. THEY NEVER STOP SAYING....not singing, not shouting, not humming or contemplating, SAYING! Hey folks, in Heaven they never stop saying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Why? Because He alone is worthy of praise. God is so Mighty, and so highly exalted that His worth is constantly spoken of.

Now about the singing, dancing and's happening. Think on this:

" Sing, O Daughter of Zion;
shout aloud, O Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
O Daughter of Jerusalem!

15 The LORD has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.

16 On that day they will say to Jerusalem,
"Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.

17 The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing." .....from Zephaniah 3.

I believe Heaven is a very busy, vibrant, & holy place. It's all of those things because it was made to be so. A little bit of reading in almost any spot in the Bible gives way to the understanding that living for Jesus is active and happening, and it's intended to be that way here, on earth, as it is in Heaven. What a wonderful thought. What a wonderful truth. (Okay....I misspoke....this is not comes from the core of my being!)

If you lived on a deserted island, no Albertsons, no Blockbuster, No Starbucks (is there such an island?), and you lifted up a holy praise to our God, if you never stopped saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty", would it matter? Yes. Would it matter only if someone heard you? No. Would it matter only if you were really good at it, called, so to speak? I hope you already know the answer. Of course not, Now, would it have significance? Still yet, does it make a difference? The answer is a yes, yes, yes! If you whisper His name and no one hears, it matters. It has significance. If you were mute and could only trace His name in the sand would it matter? Yes! Because you're doing what He made you to do.

Worship is beyond a calling, it's a mandate! And it's for ALL of us. Sing it, read it, hum it, trace it in the sand, but He is worthy, and MUST be praised by us, or guess what. There's a rock with your name on it, or my name on it, and it's going to cry out aloud because He must be praised. It's His day, not ours. It's His glory alone, not ours. It doesn't matter if ANYONE sees you, but it DOES MATTER. Are you catching my point? Don't get caught in the trap that it doesn't matter. THAT is the enemies snare set up for the likes of you, and of me. Let's not fall in that! Hey, Worship always matters.

A total aside here: I believe God gave us songs & song writers because He knows that some need help expressing His worth. We're not all called to write. For the writer, it's in them to write, they can't NOT write a song of praise. God put it in them to seek and find that one word that will say it, that chord that will touch them and others in new ways. But, music isn't the only way to worship Him.

BUT, IF IT WAS....that oughta be okay too (an official rabbit trail!).

Worshippers, your part in ministry matters because someone, you specifically, that HE created for His purposes is doing what He designed you to do, from a pure heart, of course. Do it, it matters. Punch the buttons & turn the knobs, sing out O singer, write O writer, display those it all for His glory alone. IT MATTERS AT ALL TIMES because it's about our blessed redeemer, Jesus Christ.

"Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." - Revelation 4:8 (NIV)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Unexpressed Love

When I came home from our homeschool Park Day today, my heart was weary. Very weary. The needs are astounding. One Mom has had both her Dad and her Father in Law pass away in the last 4 months and is heartbroken. One mother's husband may be terminally ill. One mother is suffering a crisis in marriage; a huge crisis beyond belief. After hearing of those needs and praying with one of the Moms in particular, I came home and settled into my own afternoon routine. My plan for the day: to plan.

With two out of the norm Worship events coming up, my own hands feel quite full. Selecting the right songs, wanting to hear the Lord, and then throw my unfamiliararity with powerpoint into the mix, and you'll find me on the floor in a pool of tears - your basic self pity. Of course I am exaggerating to make my point. I was yanked back from pity into reality when I reached into my desk drawer to find a piece of paper, just anything, something to write down the name of a song that had come to mind that I didn't want to forget. An envelope: no,not that one. It looked too new. Then my hand drew out a card, one I had purchased about 2 years ago when a friends Father had passed away. Now, who was that for? Was I sure it was her? Now, I really am not sure. Why didn't I send it then? Unfortunately, this is not an isolated example. I have drawers full of unsent cards for Birthdays, well-wishes of various kinds, sympathy and the like. I allowed the thoughts of love, care, and joy to go unspoken. Life, my own, became its usual distraction. The card never made it to its intended destination, and the opportunity to reach out in Jesus name was left undone.

Lord, today, make me different. Shake me from my own complacency to live sacrificially for others. A stamp, words of love, and a trip to the post office hardly qualifies as sacrifice, but let me take the time to do what it takes to be You to someone, in word or in deed. Thank you for grace. Help me to sufficiently express Your love to those around me, and please meet those very present needs of those around me. Amen.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Our Free Time

I love to watch the children and see what they choose to do in their free time. And what about me? Since you asked, here's the list so far:

Play The Adventures of Star Wars as it could happen in the back yard (Bethany and Daniel), Read almost anything and everything like....a book on the history of hymns titled, Then Sings My Soul (Bethany). Then you could also get out the hymns CD and locate the hymn you're reading about and take a listen (Bethany). Go to the storage shed with Daddy (Daniel). Cook up a Portabella Mushroom (in margarine, seasoned with Mrs. Dash) and serve it up as a snack for your sweetie! (Kathy), whine at the door (the dog), celebrate school being completed by a stint on Blogger (Kathy), stop by Quik Trip to add to the good day - will probably purchase a slurpie! (Danny & Daniel), Give thanks for crockpots (Kathy). Sing and dance with joy over your beloved creation (God!). Say Amen to all of this, and subsequently, give thanks for your own blessings (You!).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Therapy of a Post, & One of the Songs We Lifted High!

Ever notice how God manages to slip in some funny stuff into what we had hoped would have a more majestic tone? A slightly more regal influence? Take a peak into our morning service today at Covenant of Grace. I recently posted this remark on a thread of other comments about a typo in our lyrics this morning. What happened? Who dunnit? I dunno! I didn't SEE any typos. I was too overtaken by this:

I wrote, "What's the difference between using a pipe organ setting and a jazz organ setting? Well, it depends. If it's "Christ Arose" as I played it this morning, then He arose to a jazz organ instead of pipes. I just played and sang as loud as I could and hoped no one would notice! The organ sounded like that one on the radio program "Unshackled." 3 minutes of misery. The middle of that anthem is NOT the time to change the setting to pipes, trust me. : ) Oh yes. Christ arose, and whew am I glad!!! : )"

Me and Organs just don't get along. Now, I can play one if I must, and I've "must"ed on several occasions. It's typical that I would select a pipe organ setting for Christ Arose, one of my favorite Easter hymns. And I did. Of course I was so thrilled that the first three selections of our morning worship did indeed utilize an organ setting on our keyboard. Oh hooray. I could just use the same setting on all three. Life was wonderful right then and there! (Christ Arose-Pipe Organ. But Chris Tomlin's Happy Day and John Egan's I Am Free. Please, no pipes. Not for those. That would require a jazz organ sound. ) So I double check my settings before worship begins, and I collect my purse to store in the prayer room during worship.

By any chance did the look on my face match that horrible feeling in my gut when I heard the first blare of jazz organ? A Hammond B3 sound on Christ Arose??? NO!!! But yes. And why not? Why not make the Worship leader sweat for a few bars. One of the cool things about the hymns is that we play 'em like they're written. Three rapid verses later I brought that train to a stop. Unlike a contemporary worship song where we may linger for a good 6 to 8 minutes. I can say I hastened the ending for my own sanity. Thought process: Sing loud, play loud, sing faster, hurry up band, this song with the jazz organ but needs pipe organ setting must end!!! Soon!

Oh, the humor. Oh, the overriding joy that shadowed that dim moment. What a wonderful, wonderful day we had in the Lord. Wonderful worship, wonderful word from Romans 8, wonderful fellowship at our home afterwards. Oh Lord, You are wonderful. You do all things well. You bring humor and balance in at just the right time. I forgot about my error quickly, I trusted you, I thanked you, I worshipped You, I loved having You in the middle of everything I got to do today. Don't ever go away, and You already said you never would. I love that about You, Lord!

May I also add for the reader this small error was like an itsy bitsy drop of temporary, personal embarassment. The rest of the day: nothing short of glorious! Okay, I feel better now!