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Saturday, October 11, 2008

I don't want to do the show

*Quick disclaimer for those of you who follow me closely on facebook. Somehow I have accidentally added a dating application...don't ask - it's complicated...and I can not figure out how to remove it. Just wanted to make sure that everybody is aware that a. I am stupid when it comes to technology, b. I am not shopping for a new husband....I really like the one that I currently have. He's pretty stinkin' awesome!


Here's what I'm pondering tonight.....thoughts on worship and life.

I had not really taken time to read the September issue of Worship Leader magazine after being so woefully disappointed in my first issue. It has lain literally untouched on top of the piano for several weeks. I finally grabbed it today and flipped through a few of the articles. It was like God had planned the timing of the reading. Many of the authors were on the exact same page that I have been lately about "the show" versus "real church".

Francis Chan wrote an article, "Why are They Leaving" about youth leaving the church. A couple of his points hit home with me. "Our job is to create sacred space, so He can reveal Himself. Could it be that, in our quest to creatively make Jesus cool ....we've actually hidden Him? Do we plan meetings that are so busy and overproduced that we crowd Him out?" The article addressed some of the differences between the early church and the contemporary church. The difference between relationships and community and putting on a show. "Something real was happening in the early church. It was something of the Spirit too powerful to be replicated by human effort. Imagine taking a young person to one of their church gatherings. Your friend might not experience a smoothly run, professional service. But there is one thing he or she would experience: God."

After reading this, I thought long and hard about church. I am conditioned to setting the stage and getting ready for worship and preparing to worship and making sure all the pieces are in place. And yet....a majority of my most incredible encounters with God have not occurred in a worship service. Oh, there have been some...some ecstatic and excited, some repentant and broken, some confusing but beautiful. However, I am much more likely to hear from and experience God in other places and at other times. As I have been contemplating "the show" over the last few weeks, I am wondering if I am still subconsciously more worried about "the show" than about God. I don't want to miss out on God. I don't want to plan God out of "the show".

Now.. .pausing for just a moment of the Crossroads, I think we are doing a great job of trying to avoid a show and seeking God with all that we are. This is simply a personal journey and a needed reflection for me on where church is going and what I need to do to make sure that I am ready when God shows up...not a reflection on either one of you guys leading at the Crossroads. You're doing a great job and I am privileged to serve with you. Definitely a member of your fan clubs.

So here on Saturday night, thinking about worship tomorrow, I'm spending some time in prayer...................................................................................................

God, you are moving across the globe. Everywhere that I look, everything that I see and hear is pointing to a God who is on the move. I know that you are ready to do great things. I am excited about seeing the hugeness of your mighty power. I am excited to hear the rumblings of your presence.

God, I was so convicted by Chan's words. Please, I don't ever want to be so caught up in selling Jesus or in making Jesus look cool that I don't leave room for his presence in worship. I know that Jesus does not need my marketing strategies (good thing, since they suck) He does not need my technology or my talent in order to do big and mighty things in the world. God, I'm laying before you in humility and surrender. Everything that I am is yours...all of my possessions, abilities, talents, and relationships. It all belongs to you...use it for your kingdom.
Meet with us tomorrow. Meet with me. I want to see your face. I am not content with shallow....teach me to swim in the ocean of your great and mighty presence. I can't wait to see you there tomorrow! "Come like a rushing wind. Fill us with power from on high. Now set the captives free. Leave us abandoned to your praise. Lord let your glory fall. Lord, let your glory fall." Echoing Tim Hughes. I want to be abandoned to your praise tomorrow. Because you alone are worthy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Odd God moment

One last thing....three blogs in one day makes it up to those of you who panicked when I skipped a day, right?

Last night I felt the tingle of a migraine start up about 4:00. When I got home, I drank some coffee....sometimes helps. By the end of band practice, I would have cut off my own head if I could've. I drove home with my knees so that I could apply pressure to my head with both hands. Took migraine pills - lots of caffeine. So after the headache abated, I laid pointlessly in bed waiting for sleep until about 2 a.m.

This is not the point...just setting the stage for how come I was awake at 2. The odd God moment was this. From about 11 until I went to sleep around 2, the music in my head was so loud that I could not consider sleep. It was all stuff I knew, not like a songwriting moment or anything. It struck me as strange that no matter how hard I tried to form thoughts, it was completely impossible. But then this morning when I woke up, I felt strangely refreshed and renewed. It was as if somehow during the night, my entire soul had been cleansed. I did not understand until late this afternoon when I was thinking about it....Zeph. 3:17 - God sings over us. Just had the random thought that maybe the music in my head was God's way of singing over me in the night. It certainly had unusual effects the next morning. Don't know - maybe this doesn't even make sense - sometimes the medicine does do loopy things to me. But it was cool.

Just for Rachel....toilets and sand writing

Just cause I love you, I'll do a second runner up to Reader's choice.

What does God have to say about toilets

Many years ago when I was a stay at home mom, I was on my knees scrubbing the toilet in the bathroom when God spoke to me. He did not often speak to me back then, and I was not sure it was really him at first. He said, "This is what I meant by washing each other's feet."

Me, "Huh?"

It took me weeks to ponder it all out...but basically I came to understand that when Jesus told the disciples to wash each other's feet he was telling them to dig in deep in relationships - into the nasty, dirty, stinky parts of life and to love people there. I came to understand it not through Jesus bending over my feet with a wash basin, but by bending over a toilet, scrubbing up after the kids. People need us to love them....even when it's all crap. That's where real love and ministry happen.

Tales from the trenches

Here's some random tales from the life of a teacher.

Today I was fussing at a little girl. She got angry about changing her color and said to me in a sassy voice, "Mrs. teacher at my other school was nearly as cool as you."

I don't know that I have ever gotten so angry at a funny situation at school as I did yesterday. I have a young man who doesn't like to go home at the end of the day. I noticed that he was being a slow-poke about going to P.E., but assumed he would be along shortly. This was me being dumb. When we returned to class, we had about 3 minutes to get packed up and catch the buses. Suddenly my children were yelling, and there was crying. I looked and the boy had apparently tied backpacks together with their adjustable straps. In double knots. So when the children got their backpacks on, they were tied up to another child. They are six. Their instinct was to pull away from each other as hard as they could. Then the knots were tighter. I was frantically trying to untie the children so they could catch their buses. In hindsight, it was a pretty clever move....and the chaos was probably pretty funny.

Journal reading....little girl opens up her journal and begins sharing....Friday we took my dog to the vet to have her neutered. Complete with pictures! Try explaining that one. (just glad she is in the class next door)

One of my teammates made a comment that led me to loudly break into the song, "Won't you be my neighbor." At which she looks at me and says, "What's that from?" It would seem that she is too young to remember Mr. Rogers.

Romance begins early. One of my little guys is an absolute cutie pie. He is such a doll. Today I was eavesdropping to him putting his move on the sweet, shy little girl sitting next to him. Here's how it all went down.

Boy (with smile and flattering looks) "Did you sign up for basketball?"
Girl (shyly), "yes"
Boy, "Which kind - the one at the bank?
Girl (shyly), "yes"
Boy, "It's fun"
Girl, "yes"
Boy (desperate for this conversation to go somewhere), "Be careful - don't break a leg."
Girl, "okay"
Boy (craving girl's attention ), "I broke my arm - see, it still hurts."

Yeah - no injuries....just amused me that the pattern starts so early....boy trying to woo girl with show of concern and tale of injuries.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wanderings and musings of a worshipper.

I have mused about worship quite a lot today. It is such an interesting phenomenon. People of all nations and races seek a worship experience. It seems to be an inborn hunger for us all. Worship encompasses so much and is such a huge and unfathomable thing that I have trouble even beginning to grasp it at all. But here are some of the meager thoughts that were wandering around in my head today.

There is the emotion that is tied up in worship. I typically picture raised hands and warm fuzzies. And often it is exciting and awesome and amazing but sometimes worship is painful and heart breaking and hard. Some of my most incredible worship experiences and most intimate encounters with God have been very dark and very messy. Sometimes worship flows easily and is not containable and the joy is contagious and beautiful and sometimes worship is an act of obedience and discipline because God is worthy of worship, even on the days that I don't feel worshipful.

I frequently connect worship with music, but there is so much more to worship than just a few songs here and there during the week. Worship is about seeking and finding God throughout the week. Loving him intimately and being surrendered. I guess that's the one word that I tie into worship the most often - surrender. Worship is all about God and realizing as much as I possibly can just how big and amazing He really is. I cannot grasp God's character and qualities and power when I am busy trying to focus on me. It is only after I am emptied, that I can be filled with Christ and worship him completely.

I am interested in how differently people are wired into worshipping. Some of us most easily find God through music....and there are thousands of styles of music on the planet that people are using to enter into worship. But many people find God most easily through Bible study or through experiencing His creation. I am curious about why God did not necessarily make it easy for us to lead people into worship. It would be easy, (but probably stale) if everyone found intimate connection with God through the same avenues. It would make leading worship a piece of cake if the same formula worked every time.

Ps. 89:1-4, "Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of your love- how you built the cosmos and guaranteed everything in it. Your love has always been our lives' foundation, your fidelity has been the roof over our world...." I love those first words of this Psalm...."Your love, God, is my song." It is not some famous songwriter's song that leads me into God's presence. It is knowing God's love song that allows me to enter his throne room in worship. Sometimes I am guilty of being so caught up in the latest trends in worship that I forget that the only necessary ingredient for worship is knowing the right love song. The great love song that was written before time began and that God sings over my life (Zeph.3:17) like a lullaby.

There is so much more in this Psalm about God and who he is and how he has acted in the past. Such as, "The holy angels are in awe before him......God put the arrogant ocean in its place.....God owns the cosmos and made everything in it."

Then check out this description of a worshipper, vs. 15-18, "Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise, who shout on parade in the bright presence of God. Delighted, they dance all day long, they know who you are, what you do - they can't keep it quiet! Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us - you've been so good to us! ... All we are and have we owe to God, Holy God of Israel, our King!" Yeah, that does kinda make me want to dance and sing just reading about it!.....What a beautiful verse....."Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us." How true....anything within me that is at all beautiful is from God. And it is cool how he continually works to weed out the darkness and replace it with beauty. Beauty from ashes, hope from despair....seems like I know a song about that.

Let's be the people this verse is describing, "delighted, they dance all day long, they know who you are, what you do - they can't keep it quiet!" Come on....I dare you to live life like that! Chase the lion!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Not Much

Not much tonight. I am really tired and need some sleep. I promised something spiritual, but I don't have anything that I am really free to share yet. God has done some really big things in some of my friends' lives this week, and I am looking forward to being able to share about his mercy and grace when they are ready for me to. I also have several friends who desperately need to experience God in their lives. They are in great pain and turmoil. Pray for them. God knows their situations.

I was reminded today about how God walks before us and prepares a path for his sheep. He does such big stuff in our lives, usually before we even realize just how amazing and how awesome it all really is. It is so beautiful to watch him do his thing. I really love to watch him do big stuff with my friends. He's cool like that!

I promised you the answers to the text abbreviations. How'd you do? These are the ones that I guessed correctly during inservice on Monday.

1. lol - laugh out loud
2. j/k - just kidding
3. UR/DED - you are dead
4. F2Face - need to discuss face to face
5. BU^ - beat you up
6. CTN - can't talk now

These are the ones I did not know
1. UBS - you'll be sorry
2. PG11 - parents in the room
3. TDTM - talk dirty to me
4. IPN - I pose naked

Here's a website with more if you have a teen that you are concerned about and want to check up on, or if you have friends that text you and it doesn't make sense to you. I haven't checked this out, but it was highly recomended by our trainer who said that cyber bullying and cyber sexual harassment is a huge issue - especially with middle school and high school kids. She said that teacher ignorance and parent ignorance make this a very easy form of bullying.

So not such a winner blog tonight....some days are just like that.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Reader's Choice

I have several ideas floating around in my head. I thought you readers might like to vote. Comment here, on my facebook, email or text. I'll pick the winner and blog about it tomorrow. Reader's choice.

My top five best dates.

My top five worst dates.

What God says about cleaning toilets.

Updates from the kiddie pool....about the men

updates about things women say

The pros and cons of wearing thongs

how one of my friends was injured while watching the cowboys game

What's in and out for men's fashions

Matthew 17 - glow in the dark Jesus - action figure waiting to happen

The mysterious writing in the sand by my car Saturday night.

A funny first grade story

Music blog - something from Paste

Something serious, dark, and introspective.

My favorite movie.

Cast your votes quickly. I'll blog tomorrow night about the winner.

Have a great Monday.....LaRissa