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Saturday, October 25, 2008

crazy love, chapter 2

I wasn't as excited about chapter 2 of Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Could be because it was an entire chapter dealing with death and living our lives with purpose due to the knowledge that we are but a vapor. I really kind of prefer to not dwell on my mortality too much.

funniest statement: "I resisted because I'm stubborn and that's who I am." not like I can identify with that or anything. :)

most convicting statement: Worry implies that we don't quite trust God to be big enough. Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to excuse our behavior towards others. "Worry and stress reek of arrogance." Oh..... That really caught me off guard. I wasn't sure that I agreed at first, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that both of those things result when I am trying to be in control and be my own God. My problem....I can often avoid acting on my emotions, but I don't know how to control the feeling of stress that is such a miserable emotion. I had never thought about throwing it into the same category as worry and to link both with arrogance makes me just really embarrassed and pretty sure that I have some major sin confessing to do. I seem to always be stressed about life, my job especially.

Most uplifting thought: "The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friends...a God thing

God really knew what he was doing when he made friends. And I am so thankful for all of mine. Thought I'd take a minute just to let you all know. To my friends who held me while I cried today, thanks.....To my friends who made me laugh later, thanks.....To my friends who said get over your negative attitude tonight, thanks.....To my friends who made me feel valuable, thanks....To my friends who are already planning how to help me through the next little bit while I go through some withdrawal, thanks... I love that God puts people together with different abilities, talents, and personalities and teaches us how to love each other so that we become better people in the long run. I am glad that God invented friends...especially on the hard days.....Thanks again for loving the good, the funny, the sweet, the rude, and the wrong stuff about me and thanks for letting me love all of you.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

just a tear in the driving rain

I've been listening to the Tenth Avenue North CD today. I've never quite experienced anything like this. It is as if this band crawled into my mind and my soul and wrote lyrics for my thoughts and my emotions. I think that if I could afford it, I would consider flying to see them in concert and worship with them.

Tonight God asked me for something really hard. Here's the lyrics that played while God talked in my head about surrender and obedience and a new path.

"Break Me Down"

"I feel you falling
Like rain against my skin
I hear you calling
Your voice like thunder in my head.

But now I'm stalling
'Cause I'm afraid to let you in
Come break me down with Your mercy
Come break me down again.
I'm Yours tonight."

Then there's "Hold my Heart"

"One tear in the driving rain
One voice in a sea of pain
could the maker of the stars
hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life, that's all I am
Right Now I can barely stand
if you're everything you say you are
would you come close and hold my heart."

Before you freak out, what God asked me for is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things - in fact, I'm a little embarassed to admit to being horribly upset about what He had to say. It's not life-altering, or dangerous, or destructive. It is just not what I wanted and planned. And tonight I'm crying hard because I am selfish. But it's not about me and my feelings. I said yes to God, and will wait for my emotions to surrender as well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The other stuff

What, two blogs? Yes, I thought I would separate my other random thoughts from the Crazy Love blog. For those of you who like to keep things neat and organized, here's my other random thoughts tonight.

*listening to Nevertheless, "Rest". Love it. Maybe even more than "Sleeping In." Also picked up the new tenth avenue north CD. Looking forward to checking it out.

*Have a friend who was standing up in her rocking chair to staple something to the wall. Fell. Her daughter said, "Have you heard, my mom fell off her rocker." Funny!

*Just to show my insecurity a trip at Target tonight. I needed to grab a couple of things for school. I was walking past a sale rack and spotted a pair of black jeans that I liked. They were a size that I've not had on in about 8 years. I bought them and took them home with me because I was too nervous to try them on at Target. Like cold sweat, butterflies in my stomach nervous. Don't know why, that's just the way I am, didn't want to get my hopes up. Trying on clothes is a traumatic event that I dread and avoid as much as possible. But excited to say that they fit. No tears tonight.

Crazy Love, Chapter 1

Francis Chan just says a couple of things really well that I think you fellow worshippers will appreciate. p. 31, "Isn't it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?" I wish I had come up with that! God is bigger than any good thing we can think or say or imagine about Him! WOW!

In discussing our discomfort with God's hatred of sin, p. 34, "He has to punish those guilty of sin. Maybe that's not an appealing standard. But to put it bluntly, when you get your own universe, you can make your own standards." Totally laughed out loud because it is so true that I often want God to conform to my ideas of right or comfortable instead of accepting that it's his universe, his show, his rules, and I am owned by him and was created for his uses only.

Awesome first chapter. My pen was flying in the margins, but it would take forever to share it all with you. Here's one last thought I had in this chapter as I read Is. 6 about the angelic beings who worship God continually. What an amazing thing. The most incredible, awesome, most powerful beings in the universe have nothing more important on their agendas than gathering around God's throne to worship him continually. New perspective on priorities, huh?

I'm on page 39, ready to start chapter 2, if you're reading along.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Standing in line

Here's my deep thought for the day. I spend the most time at school, discipline wise, on a skill that is absolutely worthless in real life. We maintain a perfectly uniformly straight line when walking down the hall. Oh, don't forget silent. I am very mean in order to maintain the expected level of "hallway behavior." No running, skipping, touching, or veering out of line. Kids hold a bubble in their mouth (looking like chipmunks), and clasp their hands into a "duck tail" behind them. Required. Expected. No gaps..etc.

So I began to think about how useful this is in real life. Obviously it's used all the time. When I wait in line at a Ranger's game for the restroom, I hold a bubble in my mouth, put my hands in a ducktail, and remain silent. Or when I go to the movies. Nobody talks in line, everybody is single-file, and has a bubble in their mouth. If you talk, you are immediately sent to the end of the line for misbehavior. If you veer out of line, you are sent to the end of the line. Are you laughing yet....what about lining up for communion in a worship service. Accidentally touch the person in front of you, you are denied communion.

Seriously, I began thinking about real applications for this skill and came up with nothing. Who cares if you talk in line? Who cares if you want to skip down the hall? Who cares if you walk in the fourth square out from the wall or not? It will never come up on a job application, ever. So why do I spend countless hours every year honing the important skill of lining up? Hmmmm........yet another thing that I love about my job.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Crazy Love

No, it's not a blog about my amazing marriage, but about a new worship book, "Crazy Love, overwhelmed by a relentless God", that I picked up the other night by Francis Chan. I am forcing myself to read slowly, a section at a time, so that I can contemplate and absorb what I'm reading. I'm one of those people that picks up a book, reads until it's over, looks up and realizes 12 hours passed by unnoticed. Very similar to sitting down to practice at the piano and time stands still until my children literally yell loud enough to get me to come back to earth.

Oh, wait, I got off track. The book. That's what this was about. I picked it up tonight, read the first sentence of the preface and went off to hunt my pen. I think my notes have taken over the book. Lots of stuff absolutely reaffirmed what God has been saying to me lately. Stuff about Christianity focusing on the narrow aspect of avoiding sin instead of God-pursuit, about surrender, about relying on technology instead of community, the show thing, and God's creative personality. It's like God was saying...."You are not alone in your quest for me. Be patient. I will be found. I will satisfy your hunger." Chan writes eloquently, with passion and wisdom. I am excited about reading this book. I'll let you know how it goes. And I will try to go slow. If you are reading along, I'm on page 30.

Life Blurbs:
*I made supper tonight...totally bribed my children...."I made brownies for anybody who doesn't complain about my cooking." What do you know, no complaints! I did forget that I had hidden dirty dishes in the oven until I smelled plastic burning when I was preheating the oven. No permanent damage done, just a funky smell in the kitchen.

*Testing students again this week. Exhausted, but pleased with their progress.

*One of my teammates dried her Tshirt. It is now Abby sized. Very funny drama about these shirts.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Some Freakin' Awesome music.

Yeah, I know I already blogged tonight, but I was hangin' out putting off schoolwork when I found some music I was really excited about. I was finishing off the September Worship Leader Magazine, going to referenced websites and checking out bands and stuff. I stumbled across some freakin' awesome bands. I added most of them as friends on myspace to help my musician friends find them as well. Here's my favorites - worth a listen if you're ever bored.

Nevertheless -
*occasionally you find a band with incredible talent and songs with lyrics that really hit home. That's this band. I've been listening to "Sleeping In" for weeks on the of Shawn's favorites, but tonight listened to some of their other stuff - absolutely freakin' awesome - WOW!

Above the Golden State -
*touring with Starfield - says a lot about their musical style

Jon Foreman -
*former lead for switchfoot - Very different sound - is folksy the right description? - than I usually choose, but I would definitely love to download some of this stuff.

Article One -
*pretty rockin' - some good stuff

A New Aboliton -
Especially liked "You Remain"

Bryan Brown -
*some great worship stuff - much softer than my usual slammin' tastes.

Monday Morning Updates

You know, "stuff" at the Crossroads is going well. We have an excellent launch team, an incredible pastor, and a phenomenal worship team. Shawn and Worship Dude are certainly a dream team as far as ability and talent and heart go. We have reduced set-up and break down to a fine art. We just seem to be having a hard time really getting our growth off the ground. Honestly, I was pretty discouraged this week that we only had two families that were not launch team members in attendance. Rationally I know and understand the ebb and flow of attendance in church planting. I understand that next week could be totally packed. But today, it was hard to be abandoned in worship in front of row after row of empty chairs. It shouldn't matter, right? Because God is present and he is the recipient and the audience of our praise. But it did matter. I was shallow today.

I am secure in the call to church planting. I have seen God moving in awesome ways through my job and connections in Anna. He is speaking in my life in ways that he never has before. He is very near, and real, and present in my life, and I can see his hand all over my friends and their lives as well. I am just disappointed by how slow the growth is at the church plant. I so desperately want to do big things with God and see lives changed. Maybe that's where I'm screwed up in the head. Maybe God measures big things differently than I do.

Here's the words to one of my favorite songs that I'm singing right glad that this is text only without prayer tonight.....after all, praise is the antidote for discouragement.....

"I lay it all down before You, didn't know how much I could love You
You saw me when I was lost in darkness
and as long as I have breath
I will praise you.....

I will praise you, my Jesus
I will praise you, my Savior
You changed my life when
You took all my sin,
And as long as I have breath.....I will praise you."

I am so hungry for God's presence. Are you?