Saturday, April 17, 2010
It was an amazing line-up of bands last night. Sidewalk Prophet, Fee, Francesca Battistelli, Family Force 5, Crowder, and Mercy Me. Crowder had to be my favorite. In spite of seeing him many times in concert, I still enjoy every time his band takes the stage. He always makes the audience feel comfortable and at home, then pulls us into worship. He has the gift of making a large crowd feel intimate. I also absolutely enjoyed Fee and Mercy Me. Family Force 5 was a great rock show, but I guess my age is showing. It was a little heavy rocking for me.
It was such a great gift to be able to completely release in worship last night. I didn't have to worry about when to come in with the keys, or watching the worship leader for cues, or reading the audience, or listening to the rest of the band, or adjusting my volume level, or changing the sounds on the keyboard. I just worshiped. I just completely let go and worshiped. And it felt great.
Don't misunderstand me. I love being a part of a worship band. I love being on stage every Sunday and being a part of leading people into worship. I can't imagine anything else that I'd rather do musically. However, even in times of intimate worship, when I am onstage I still have to keep track of what's coming up next. So that moment of complete and total release into full up, all out worship, with nothing held back, comes very rarely. I worship while I am onstage, but it's not quite the same.
I absolutely enjoyed every second of the experience last night. I opted out of the after party with friends to come home and try to sleep off my headache. I feel much better this morning, except for the grogginess that lingers after a headache is finally gone. And the grogginess that comes from sleeping in a bed full of tossing and turning little girls and being awakened by the tiniest one prying up my eyelids at daybreak to say, "Mommy are you awake?"
It is gently raining, and I am pretty sure that I'm going to slip into my shorts and a t-shirt, throw on the sneakers, shuffle a little Crowderband on the iPOD, and spend some time this morning worshiping God on the street.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I had to run to the store to grab a present for Shawn (nothing like waiting till the last minute), so I assigned my children some chores - hide the dirty laundry, put away the clean clothes, wash dishes, and sweep. These are chores they know how to do and are capable of completing in just a matter of minutes.
My trip to the store lasted much longer than I had anticipated. When I arrived home 15 minutes before our guests were due to arrive, the house looked precisely the way it did when I left. I was furious that they had postponed the chores until it was too late instead of taking care of business immediately when I left and used their leftover free time to play. I was yelling, "Why didn't you do your chores. You knew that I would be returning. Why didn't you do what I asked you to do while you had the opportunity?"
God interrupted my tirade, "Exactly."
I stopped abruptly. "What?"
Mark 13:34-37, "The coming of the Son of Man can be compared with that of a man who left home to go on a trip. He gave each of his employees instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. So keep a sharp lookout! For you do not know when the homeowner will return - at evening, midnight, early dawn, or late daybreak. Don't let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. What I say to you I say to everyone: Watch for his return!"
Luke 12:35 - 48
35 “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. 37 The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! 38 He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn.a]">[a] But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.
39 “Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”
41 Peter asked, “Lord, is that illustration just for us or for everyone?”
42 And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 43 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 44 I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. 45 But what if the servant thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? 46 The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful.
47 “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. 48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required."
Oh my. I put off the tasks that God has asked me to do so that I can do what I want, or perceive, that I need to do for myself and my family. It's that same question I was asking my kids, "Why didn't you take care of business while you had the chance?" Talk about conviction. I didn't like that God was reminding me that I have let my busy lifestyle once again interfere with kingdom business.
The kids got off pretty lightly, especially since I totally lost track of where I was in my tirade while God was showing me my life in a mirror. Ouch.
And we recovered the house. The kids hid the dirty clothes in baskets, washed dishes, swept floors, and threw my clean clothes under my bed.
Monday, April 12, 2010
The worship set was great. It was not anything new or different, but it struck me pretty deep this week. There are weeks that for some reason every lyric of every song carries great weight and meaning. Maybe because they were familiar songs, I was more easily able to focus on the lyrics and the meaning and being genuine in singing them to my Creator. Who knows, but for whatever reason, for me this week, it was a great time of connection with God.
I loved Shawn's sermon this week. He was talking about knowing who and whose we are. I love to hear him speak about how beautiful and valuable we are to our God. We are His own children. He loves us more than we could ever love our own children. That is unfathomable to me. God spoke to me in several of the scripture passages that Shawn used this week.
I John 3:2, "Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children, and we can't even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he come we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is." In turning 35, I have confronted my mortality all of a sudden. I don't know why it has hit me that I'm aging. Maybe it's all the gray hair and needing to dye it. Who knows. But whenever I try to picture eternity, I hit a brick wall. I can't seem to imagine life with God, and then I panic a little at the unknown. It was great to see this verse- that even one of Jesus' best friends, John, couldn't imagine life after Christ's return either. So that made me feel a little better - that it's okay that I don't understand it all very well yet.
Galations 4:4-7 brought tears to my eyes. It talks about us being bought as slaves so that God could make us free. That concept is nothing new - but it made me teary eyed in vs. 6, "now you can call God your dear Father." Don't miss this. God who formed the earth, who made the oceans, who named the stars, who is surrounded eternally by angels singing His praise - that's the God that loves me. He says that I can call Him "Abba", or "Daddy." All majestic, powerful, wonderful, worthy God - says that I can call Him, "Abba," as a beloved child. WOW!
Ephesians 5:1, "Follow God's example in everything you do, because you are his dear children." The version Shawn used said that we should be imitators of God. That reminded me about our son James trying to imitate his daddy when he was a little boy. He would put on his tiny toddler feet into his daddy's shoes and stomp around and pretend to go to work. James was imitating Shawn, just the way we should imitate God. I worry lots about finding out what God's will is for my life. Imagine how amazing my life would be if I just mimicked the things that Jesus did in the New Testament. Ministering to the sick - helping the poor - loving children - sharing hope with the hopeless - if God never spoke to me again to give me any other guideline than to imitate Jesus' ministry, it would still be more than I could ever fulfill in my lifetime.
I absolutely loved this sermon. Tonight as I write this, it is at the end of a hard night. When I am exceptionally tired, old demons come back to haunt me. Some experiences and insecurities at the gym tonight coupled with some other recent events have left me broken and uncertain. Tonight I am hearing the voices that are certain that I am too old, too weak, too fat, too untalented, too hopeless, too sinful, too stupid...... that I can never be who God wants me to be or accomplish the things that God needs me to accomplish. All of my dreams are for nothing, and I will never be anything. Rationally, I know that all of this is a really big load of crap, but it does not make it any less loud or any less painful to hear in my head. Going back through these verses is like cool water on a hot day. It soothes the pain and helps me to sort out lies from truth.
Oh - and one last part of the Monday Morning Update - tomorrow is Shawn's birthday. For his birthday gift, some of the families from The Crossroads went together and bought us tickets to the Bon Jovi concert in Dallas Sunday night. He was completely surprised and thrilled. We had such a great time on our date! And how cool is it that we are a part of a church who blesses their pastor with rock concert tickets! Now that's just fun!