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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Awesome concert

I had the opportunity to go see several of my favorite bands at the American Airlines Center last night. Addison Road and Tenth Avenue North were the opening acts. I love these bands. I was bummed that they were openers and didn't get to play long. But still loved getting to hear them.

Hawk Nelson was up next.....This is not my favorite band. Excellent bathroom break time!

Then Jeremy Camp and Mercy Me. Some pretty wow worship going down. I really enjoyed being able to just worship. To allow myself to be totally and completely consumed in God's presence. I absolutely love being in a band and playing on stage. Sunday is my favorite day of the week in large part because of this. Saturday is a close runner up because I get to go to band practice. However, when you are on stage, you engage and release in worship - but you also have to keep an eye on the crowd for cues and an eye on the worship leader to see where you're headed next and an ear open to the other instrumentalists to see what you need to play. I have to constantly check myself to make sure that I do not so totally lose myself in worship that I forget where I am and what I am doing. Because that's what happens to me when I worship....I totally lose track of what's going on.

And so, it was good just to be poured out in worship last night. No eyes on audience watching to see how I was responding....Just me and God. I pretty much rudely ignored everybody around me and blocked them out. I know Shawn was worshipping, only because he was next to me....but I really didn't even pay much attention to him. I couldn't tell you a thing about anybody else there....hopefully they were also able to worship....but I have no idea.

I'm ready for Sunday. Ready to meet with God again. Thankful that God placed me in a church where worship is an every week event. Where I do not have to totally rely on special worship events to see God's face. I'm looking forward to the Big Easter Egg Hunt this weekend. Pray for good weather and great crowds. Pray for God to move in Anna.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

100 one hit wonders from the 80's.

The last two nights, I've been watching the 100 one hit wonders of the 80's. I remember lots of these from back in the day. It's funny to watch the cheesy videos. I thought they were so cool when I would sneak over to watch MTV at friends' houses.

And the hair. I had big hair, but nothing like this. Don't get me started on the guys' hair! Mullets, with teased tops. Long, with wild layers. Big and bleached. We thought this was cool. My friends had posters of these boys all over their walls and ceilings, and we spent hours talking and fantasizing about these bands with the big hair! It's embarrassing to confess.

I have caught myself laughing out loud at some of the fashions. I had forgotten about stirrup pants and bubble skirts. Or the dude in the leopard long johns! Oh, my gosh! Can you wear that? Where were the fashion police?!?

The whole idea of one hit wonders got me to thinking. Life is just unpredictable. I remember the sensationalism surrounding some of these songs. It seemed like some of these bands would be the next huge thing....but then they faded away into the distance. The stars as they are interviewed seem to have two opinions: 1. They thought they had arrived and are a bit bitter that 20 years later they are still trying to arrive or 2. How cool is it to have had a hit....that's better than never having a hit at all.

I think I want attitude number 2. I don't know what the future holds. I just want to go along for the ride and enjoy it as much as possible and do everything in my power to make my life count. But at the end of life I want to be thankful for whatever "hits" I have in my past, and not be bitter about wishing for more.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Psalm 5 (I got nothin' on a creative title)

I love the Message translation of the Bible for fresh perspectives on the narratives in the Old Testament. It really brings new life to old, familiar stories. However, I must say that the Message translation leaves lots to be desired in the translation of the Psalms. It pretty much destroys the poetical language.

I tend to laugh instead of focusing on the meaning. Remember these are songs to sing. I have a habit of trying to imagine using the lyrics in worship. This could be why the giggling is such an issue.

Try this out:
Ps. 3:7, "Up, God! My God, help me! Slap their faces, First this cheek, then the other, Your fist hard in their teeth." Chris Tomlin try that one out for size....dare you to work that into a worship song!

Or how about Ps. 1:1, "How well God must like you - you don't hang out at Sin Saloon, you don't slink along Dead-End Road, you don't go to Smart Mouth College." That's the best translation of that you can come up with...Smart Mouth College? Seriously.....that doesn't even read well. I don't think I could read that aloud in a worship service.....I couldn't read it out loud with Shawn during our quiet time without laughing.

I tend to giggle my way through my quiet time as I try to picture the band setting these lyrics to music and using them in worship. I think I will stick to NLT for the Psalms, thanks. I miss the poeticism.

But on a serious note, I did like the translations of Ps. 5: 1-3, "Listen, God! Please pay attention! Can you make sense of these ramblings, my groans and cries? King-God, I need your help. Every morning you'll hear me at it again. Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on the altar and watch for fire to descend."

I love this thought that daily I have to re-offer my life to God. Not because God needs a fresh committment, but because I need a fresh reminder. Every day I need to sacrifice my life, my desires for God's dreams and desires for my life. And I like that sense of expectation. As I lay my life down, I wait for God to consume it and use me. I expect His presence. Very beautiful thought to me.

I also really liked vs. 11, "But You'll welcome us with open arms when we run for cover to You."

At the end of the day, when I go pick Abby up at daycare, she comes running toward me full blast with her little arms held out to me. I scoop her up into my arms and hug her tightly. I like that picture of God holding open His arms to me...waiting for me to come running.

So some good stuff .... just have to wade through the yucky language to find the beautiful passages. Who knows, by the time I finish the Psalms....I may be much less critical of this particular translation.

Singin' lullabies and saying tiny prayers

One of my favorite times of the night just ended. I love when the kids all pile in my bed to pray. Then every single night, the little girls want "The Angel" song. I love singing and praying with my babies. It's such a beautiful part of my life. I never expected this routine to matter to anyone outside my family.

However, yesterday, one of my students was complaining about his toddler siblings keeping him up at night. He has a rough life, and ends up tending to his siblings a lot. Apparently, the babies come get in bed with him when they get scared at night. He was exhausted and asked me, "Mrs. Kemp what do you do when Abby gets in bed with you and won't go to sleep." (A first grader asking for parenting tips just broke my heart.) I told him about singing and praying with the kids at night.

Today this little guy came to my reading table. He said, "Mrs. Kemp, have you noticed that I'm being good today." (cause he's usually very much not.)

I said, "Yes sir, you are making good choices today."

He said, "It's easier to make good choices when I'm not tired."

I said, "I'm glad you got some rest last night."

He said, "Yep, I tried that thing you told me about."

I was totally confused and had no idea what he was talking about. I responded, "Huh?"

He said, "You know, singing to the babies. When they got in my bed, I put one on each side of me. I rubbed their backs, and sang them that sunshine song that you sing to us in our class."

Me, "What sunshine song?"

Him, "You know, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray... but that's all I could remember so I just sang that over and over to them until they went to sleep. Can you teach me the rest of that song?"

Me, "Absolutely." So I put off reading group and taught my student the rest of the song, so that he could sing the rest to his baby siblings. Because they don't have anybody else to sing to them. And I tried hard not to cry. I made it until school was over, and cried on the commute home.

So tonight as I sang over my children, I was thankful. Thankful that life has granted me the blessing of a beautiful family. A family filled with love. Where I get the great privilege to be the one singin' lullabies and saying tiny prayers with my babies. Thankful that tonight Abby is laying between her Mommy and Daddy who love her and love each other. And my heart breaks for my students who don't know what that kind of love looks like. My students who beg me to take them home. My students who cry on Friday afternoon because they can't come to school to be with me. "Because you love me, Mrs. Kemp."

Teaching is a tough gig. Once again, I don't want to spend 27 more years in the classroom. I don't love my job and daydream about other opportunities. But God uses me in great and mighty ways in my students' lives. Not just educationally, but so much more. Every year he has granted me the grace to love my students ferociously and passionately. For many of them it is the first time they have ever experienced unconditional love. It is in this environment that I see impossible academic gains occur. And so I am thankful, that for this season in my life where God has placed me in the classroom that he has gifted me for the task. I wish it was a little easier. A little less stress, and less exhausting so I could be a better mom when I got home. But I can't argue with the way God has, and is moving among my students.

(For you teachers out there, I had to do another happy dance today....a little girl who came in reading a 4 moved into a level 20 today. That's the kind of amazing stuff that God's doing, that I have no explanation for. I wish I could say it's just me, but it's not.)

Monday, March 30, 2009

And to all a good night

It's incredibly late, but I know that tomorrow night will be even later after Bible Study is over, so I'll keep this one short.

Pray for our Easter Egg Drop. We have 10,000 eggs with plans to drop them from a hot air balloon at the city park in Anna. We will also do a very short service. That's this Sunday, April 5, at 5:00. This is a big event, and I am nervous about having all the details planned out. We are learning about event planning kind of as we go in the church planting stuff. I would say that we have an awesome team and so far, most of our events have turned out really well. We are hoping to continually plan events that reach our community and draw them closer to each other and to God.

It's a crazy time for a pastor's family. Easter and Christmas are the two big times of the year. Pray for Shawn's health, his rest, and his stress level. Pray that he will be able to clearly hear God and will be able to lead us all with vision and excitement. Continually pray for God to guard our family....our time with each other and our relationships with our children. We need great wisdom in balancing ministry and family.

I appreciate so much those of you who read every day. I know that some of you read primarily for the funny posts (which seem lacking lately.....could use some inspiration), while others of you read to primarily keep up with our ministry. This blog is crazily random at times, but many of you have stuck with me. But what I appreciate most is your feedback about what God says to you through the blogs. Lots of you send me emails and phone calls. Thank you. Knowing that you are praying for me and my family on our big adventure is humbling, exciting, amazing, and touching. Keep lifting us up.

And to all a good night.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Monday Morning Update 3.30.09

Sunday at the Crossroads. It's definitely the best day of the week. I was in children's this week, so I missed most of the grown-up action. Our lesson was about the ten commandments and how they correspond with Jesus' command to love God and love others. Good Bible story, my follow up activity was a little weak....and I had like 4 or 5 activities that I never even touched. I always plan way too much and have way too little time.

I hear that it was an awesome day in "big church". Shawn preached a message on the cross. I read his sermon notes and it sure sounded good to me. I will look forward to listening to it later this week at

We had 16 new people today. That's awesome. I am excited to see God using us to reach the community. And that's our heart. We want to see our community grow together in loving one another and loving God. Any way that God can use us to fulfill that purpose is awesome!

I hear the worship set was great. We had a new guitar player sit in with the band today. He seems like a really talented guy. I'm looking forward to jamming with him next week. Everybody's been talking today about how awesome the band sounded and how they really felt God's presence.


Opener : I Will Go (Starfield) - great band, lots of cool stuff

Middle set: By Your Side (Tenth Avenue North)
Beautiful One (Jeremy Camp)
Love is Here (Tenth Avenue North)

Closing: Wonderful Cross

I am excited about the big Easter Egg Drop next weekend. 10,000 eggs from a hot air balloon. Hope God really uses the event to reach our community.