Sunday, August 31, 2008

See you later - Church

It seems odd to come home from church and write this, but I want to write it while the emotions are still fresh.

I have hope. I have hope in a better relationship with God. I have hope in a better fellowship with my brethren (even if I.. um.. don't have any right now).
I have hope.

I've been too quiet.
Hindsight being 20/20 tonight, I unloaded just a little bit before I left the church (nothing violent or regrettable, just some concerns that I've kept to myself) and I realized how much better life would have been if I had talked to people months ago. I have foolish thoughts sometimes that can only be dispelled by bringing them into the light of day. But at some point I stopped talking to people. Never once saying "Hey, this concerns me."

I love my church, my people, I love how they sat in the heat and watched the icing run on their cakes just to sell stuff to get a sign for the church. I love how they sweated in the heat to mow the yard and clean up stuff around the church.
I love how they held Bell, and loved on her.
I love how I know, without a doubt, that if I had ever called on any one of them and said I had a problem, they would have prayed. Regardless of the hour or the strangeness of my problem.
I love how I know that they pray believing - and that especially when they get together on something, their prayers are often answered. A few times, they've even been answered in ways that should have been published in a newspaper in my opinion.
I love these people.

So what I'm about to say, is simply voicing fears and doubts. I don't have one complaint against these people.

I worried about worshipping God there. Worried that by worshipping with all that is in me, I would interfere with their worship. Twice in the last few services I was only one standing up or clapping during a song service and I kept wondering if it didn't dampen their ability to worship. It seems foolish to write it out, but when everyone in a church worships one way, and you worship in another way - it just feels like your worship is intrusive.

That fear seeped into the way I played as well. I wanted to play with everything that was in me - and most often I did anyway... but as I left I kept thinking that I'd been too loud, made the song too fast, and just put too much into the song. In the last month or so, as I've been trying to truly give the worship services my everything, I would literally be tired as I left the piano. I had worked up there, poured myself onto the piano and worshipped as best I could with those keys. But, there, my worship still seemed different from others.

I came in tonight, and most of the congregation was gathered around a little, (absolutely darling) little girl singing "Jesus Loves Me". And my mind goes back to singing with my niece and nephew and how our favorite song was "We're goin' up to the high places (to tear the devils kingdom down)". And it was just one more cue that said to me that everyone in this church is singing one song, and I'm singing a different tune.

All my other concerns, fears, and confusions are just things that can and should be ignored. But the one thing that can't be ignored is that I don't belong there. I've burdened them with children they really didn't have anyone to care for, I've pushed where pulling was required, I've probably judgementally demanded change from people as I wished they could sing my tune. I've wanted to be loud. And they want quiet.

My apologies go to them, I'm sorry for everything I've put you all through this past... however long it's been since I joined that church. I'm sorry I can't fit into the mold that the church majority obviously wants.


My biggest apology is that I believe, firmly, that I'm going to come back. And when I do, I'm going to once again burden you with children you don't have people to care for. I'm going to be loud, and worship to my different tune than you all. I'm going to keep pushing to your pull, and probably aggravate you with my piano playing - because even though you may have a piano player by then, I bet I'll still get to play once in a while. And I'll be so grateful to bother you.

I'm going to whine and moan probably, and scare myself even a few times. But I know my Savior loves me and leads me through paths of righteousness for His names sake. I'm here. I'm His, and He is mine. I'm going to go away now church, and grow - I believe I am really going to grow - but I'll be back.

I'll be back because I want to keep growing. And I've grown more at this church than any other church before. I've received the gift of tongues while attending this church - and this very morning, when a message in tongues was given, I received an interpretation. I doubt I would have been bold enough, this first time, to give the interpretation, but I knew what it was and it perfectly matched the words of the interpreter when it was given. I want more. And you, my quiet, other tune singing people, that I love dearly, have blessed me.

Take care of yourselves, all of you, I need you to be there when I come back.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Intentional growth

Despite how nervous I am about the future - I wonder if this might be the greatest time of spiritual growth in my life. Of course, that's if I survive it. :)

The reason for that thought is simply this:

If I grow, it will be because I did it intentionally.

There will be no routines or scheduled traditions that just accidentally grow me a little bit during each service or something.

It'll happen because I decided to grow, and put great effort into it.

I think, a lot of Christians grow, slowly, barely, because they're just doing what they do, and sometimes, randomly, small doses of growth just happen.

I won't have that luxury anymore.

Are you basking in that luxury? Or have you decided to grow?

It's the difference between "I have decided to follow Jesus" and "I have decided to sit around other Jesus-likers."


Ok I'm really enjoying the new blog I found. If you'll notice, his blog is taking over my google reader shared items. A plug once again, for "Christ Is Deeper Still"
I'm going to have to stop just because moderation is always a beautiful thing, but I wanted to share one more video I found at his site.

I watched it waiting for something to happen,... about 20 seconds into it I realized what was happening and I spent the remaining seconds with goosebumps.

This, again, is awesome.

On his blog it was titled Psalms 47:1 in Africa.

I found a new blog

I discovered a new blog thanks to Bob over at In The Clearing.

The Blog is called "Christ Deeper Still", so far, everything I've read has been really really GOOD. I'm hoping to dig further, but one of the very first things I hit on the blog was this video. And it was just incredible.

Watch the video... you've got a few minutes, it's certainly worth it. And, if you're just stuborn and won't watch the video take this quote from it at least:

"May the Lamb that was slain, receive the reward of His suffering!"


I was watching a movie this afternoon, and in it, some of the characters were publishing a magazine called "Perfect".
Every article they produced told you how to live the perfect life. How to eat right, how to organize, how to make the best decisions, how to follow your heart, how to deal with past regret,... perfect. A Perfect Life.

For the past 6, almost 7 years my life has been anything but perfect. And thank God.

I serve an awesome God who is King over the sloppy. My messy decisions, my messy praise, my messy love, my messy hopes, my messy unrefined life. He's King.
In all the messiness, I bet He doesn't care where I go to church. Yet He cares a great deal where I follow Him to church.

He's King, through my every mistake, through my uneloquent prayers, and through my sappy attempts at witnessing. He's King, when I play the piano too loud during a quiet worship service. King, when I can't find anything to say to someone that's hurting. King, when I praise Him, then sin.

He's King of sloppy lives.

He's King even though I sin, and let Him down. King when I don't spend enough time with Him. King when I fail to listen to Him, King when I hurt someone else. He's King over my sloppiness. I think He may have even created me to be so sloppy. He created me to sit on the grass in my good jeans.
He created me to be late to something if I need to help someone. He created me to wipe up baby poop, snotty noses, and hearthurt tears.
He created me.
He created my relationship with Him, and teaches me daily how to develop it.
He created me to play.
He created me to dance.

He didn't create me to fear, and doubt, and worry and hurt - but He did create all the sloppy people that caused me to do those things.

He created me to believe, and hope, and forget the world while focusing on the people in the world that need Him. He created me to believe for the impossible. Unfortunately, He created in me a nature that has me believing in the impossible in the sloppiest methods possible.

I believe in foolishness.

And, He created a book on how to live a perfect life - but He defined perfect far differently than we did. Because His book on perfection is full of sloppy people.
Sloppy people just like me.

Helpless - Control - Links - Church

This is my last Sunday at my church.

The most interesting thing about it is how I feel. I'm not looking forward to leaving, but I know I can't stay. In a way, I've got a rather sinking feeling that what I'm about to do is bound for failure. I think without having a stable church to go to, that going to church, getting up on Sundays and choosing to go somewhere, even though I don't know where... will be the hardest thing to choose.

And I think there might be days when I simply choose not to.

Those are the days I worry about.

I'm nervous about the discouragement that comes from not having a church family.

Someone called "A Credible Source" commented and so I trucked over to see their blog, and one of their posts caught my eye. It was called "Control" and it was about the twists between control and helplessness.
The authors words about being helpless and the verse they quoted really spoke to some of the things I've been thinking about lately.
It climbed right in the boat of thought with something that Steven Furtick said on his blog about how our steps are ordered by God... including our failures.

The future, only looks hard. It looks a little bit lonely. And I hope I somehow come out of the next year more graciously than I've existed in this year. Cause lets face it, I didn't look too good this year.

God sees though, and He's powerful enough to hold onto me.
The whole reason to step into this next year though, is simply because I'm trying to walk in His will. Am I helpless? Nah, I could stop at any time, go back to the safety of my old church -assuming I manage to not alienate people with my exit - and simply be 'ok'.

I don't want that though. I want so much more. I want to walk down the steps God orders, even if it means I get confused in my efforts and fall on my face. I want to .... so many things, so very much...

I want it all.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Singing with your mind too.

If you could see where Jesus brought me from, and where I am today, then you would know the reason why I love Him so. From "It's My Desire"

I've always loved that line from the song "It's my desire" It's the best part of the entire song, though the verses have great words as well.

Maybe I'm just too much of a hanger-oner, but I've got a lot of picture memories locked inside my head. As I sing "If you could see where Jesus brought me from" I can close my eyes and easily remember the countless times I would drive home from church, park in my driveway and then simply lean against the steering wheel and cry because I just couldn't get what everyone else seemed to have.

When I sing "Amazing Grace", every time I get to the verse that mentions "through many dangers toils and snares, we have already come" I can close my eyes and remember walking through the airport corridor on September 10th, 2001 unable to make my flight to Buffalo NY, where I would have been stranded for quite some time.

When I sing "When I think about the Lord" and I get to the line "how He filled me with the Holy Ghost" I remember driving in my car, on the way back from foster parent training and beginning to sing in the Holy Spirit - my very first step into tongues.

So many songs that I sing, have me thinking to myself through much of the song. From "At Calvary" I can't sing "Years I spent in vanity and pride caring not my Lord was crucified" without nodding to myself and saying what a jerk I was back then.

From "Look what the Lord has done" I can't sing "He saved me just in time" without thinking of the many times I thought about giving up on life.

I guess that's why I'm so into music. Music, the words, mean something. Sure they were put there because of the rhyme, or because they fit timing-wise, but they still mean something. The words are not meant to just be sung. The words have already been lived and now they're just meant to be remembered".

No one ever just looks at a photograph and doesn't connect themselves mentally to "that's my uncle bob" or "just after Joe took that picture, Jane sneezed so hard her glasses fell off"
Photos help you relive moments that you might have forgotten about. They bring back details or who was there, or what the place looked like, or how sparse the Christmas tree used to be when you were only 4.

That's exactly what music can do for you too.

When I sing those words "If you could see where Jesus brought me from" and I remember the feeling of just not being able to grasp onto God, of not getting what every other Christian 'got', the hopelessness and futility of trying to be accepted by a God that I could only assume had gotten tired of me and my sinful self - I can't help but shake with utter relief as I reach the words "Then you would know, the reason why I love Him so."

Sing. Live. Relive. Glorify Him.

Good News/Bad News

The Good News:
Something has definitely died at my house, and I'm hoping it's that stupid mouse.

The Bad News:
Something has definitely died at my house, and I'm thinking it's that stupid mouse.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


800 posts. This is post 801. I've been posting, fairly regularly since September of 2005. 3 years.
And yet still some things simply don't change.

I need God. More today than yesterday.

At church Sunday night, we were watching a video of a church service and at the end, they had an altar call. As they sang "He Touched Me", I sang quietly along to song "...He touched me, and made me whole" until it finally hit me.

I'm not whole.

And I know a lot of people, Christians, that just aren't whole. We sing that song, and we love that song, but it's just not true.
Maybe not every one of us, but, a large portion of the ones that I know well enough to know their stories, are still broken. They still wake up fearful in the night, have trust issues, anger issues, and warped views of God. They still hold people at a distance, or drag people too close because they're afraid to let go. You still have to walk on eggshells around them because you can't accidentally step on their issues - a mistake that could leave both of you bruised.
We're still broken.
I'm still broken.

There are times when even I think I'm whole. Two years ago, my writing had a very different tone. It felt like with every post I was growing and healing, and timidity was going away as strength and boldness just seemed to seep out of me. With every passing day, I felt more and more whole.

That's the special thing about tension and pressure, it exposes the cracks. You can fool yourself, right up until you put the pressure on and that's when you see the smooth finish isn't what you thought it was, as the gaping cracks mar the surface.

I don't just want glued cracks. I want to be whole.
And I don't just want me to be whole.
I want you to be whole too.

I know too many Christians that can't get past that event that happened when they were 7, or 12, or even 40. They can't get over that divorce, the guilt of the addiction, the shame of the adultery, the childhood, the betrayal, the abuse. Whatever it is, no matter how many times you sing "He Touched Me, and made me whole", it still won't be true.
Till He actually makes you whole.

In the Gaither Homecoming video "Heaven" (thanks JW & Glenda for the video so I didn't have to keep watching my TIVO version) Joni Erickson Tada says something along the lines of how it's not that our memories will be erased when we get to Heaven, but that we will still have our bad memories - but there will be no need to remember them. (video link to her quote)

And I wonder if that's not more what 'Whole" looks like. It's not about not having cracks, but that the cracks don't go all the way through to your spirit, the part that actually makes your judgement calls, or tells you what to think or say. But they are there, should the opportunity arise where you would need to remember, you'll be able to use your experience to help someone - but it no longer has the power over you for the worse.

I want to be whole. I want you to be whole. I want Jesus.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Foster Parenting

So, this weekend I turned around and discovered, much to my surprise, a good sized wad of poop lying on the floor. I feel the need to state that it was fresh... it's not like guests walk in and randomly find these little presents. It is one of those things that I'm assuming most people that have toddlers can find themselves nodding in complete understanding.
It's one of those memories though, that once the clean up is done it leaves you chuckling with the strange twists a day can take.
As I grabbed some cleaning supplies though, the song "One day at a time" came to mind.
One day at a time sweet Jesus
That's all I'm asking from you
Give me the strength to do every day
What I have to do

Then tonight, CPS came into my house and said a word that for this entire placement - 43 days- they hadn't mentioned. Prior to tonight, I felt safe. I imagined my awesome Bell being here for quite some time.
Tonight they said she could be gone in 30 days. Possibly less.

I have a lot of thoughts running through my head. Today, a Monday was a crazy busy day at work, mental scheduling to 20 new hires, timesheets, overdue timesheet reports, audits, 2 checklists that need to be done, 1 huge list that needs to be done ASAP, dinner for Bell that won't upset her stomach, school supplies since daycare gave me a new list, oh, laundry, where's that blanket? when's this next appt.?cps comes tonight when does arrow come next? do I have arrows reports done? training hrs, I bet I need to get in for infant cpr/first aid soon....

I almost can't control those thoughts. They just burst through every moment of every day. And those are the easy ones. Yet when Ms. CPS said her magic little word - every thought came crashing to a stop. Every ounce of my attention focused in that moment. It's funny how someone can sit on your chest, without ever touching you.

Every night, praying with Bell before bedtime, we pray, fervently that Gods will would be done in her life, and her situation. His perfect will, done on earth as it would be in done in Heaven.
It was harder to pray that tonight. It just took me by surprise.
It's the nature of the work though.
Smile, love with everything you've got, and pray God's perfect will anyway. No matter where it leads you.

We finished up bedtime prayers and I went about all the crazy little chores that get done after she's off to bed and then, out of nowhere, the rest of the song came to mind -
Yesterday's gone, sweet Jesus,
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Help me today,
Show me the way
One day at a time

I've got a good God. He sees little Bell, beautiful, smiling, happy Bell. I wish I could show you my favorite picture of her, so you could see this gorgeous smile. As much as I've claimed her, and she was very easy to claim, oh so easy to claim, and love, and cherish, she's never been mine. Only Gods. He will not abandon His girl now. Whether I've got her or not.

Jesus here's another child to hold
Keep this child safe and warm
This world can be so cold.
Take this child in Your arms,
And never let her go -
Jesus here's another child
Jesus, here's my precious child,
Jesus here's another child to hold.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Random Question

When you intercede on my behalf, Jesus, what is Your prayer?

Growing pains.

They called and said "Her temp is at 102. something" I told them what to give her and that I was coming.
Not 5 minutes later, they called back and said it was 103.6.

I thought that I knew what was happening, so I wasn't overly concerned, but I did want that temperature down. I prayed the medicine they gave her at their first call would work quickly.
I drove to get her, praying that God would touch this precious tyke.

I picked her up, and they gave me the stuff she'd thrown up on, so I could wash it.
I held her and immediately saw what I expected. Her cheek was swollen.
For the last two days I thought she'd started cutting a new tooth.

I brought her home, and we rested. We curled up in a huge chair and slept. Her temperature broke, but the pain was still obvious when she looked at me and squinted her eyes.

I babied her, and held her, kissed her, doctored her, and did all the typical things of sticking my finger in her mouth looking at her stubborn gum that was screaming at a tooth struggling to break through.

She sat, and she rested and whined.

Then I toughened up and said this baby needs a bath.
We can sit here whining and moaning about these growing pains, or we can keep going. So we kept going. She's moved from whining and crying to singing some song I don't know, rather loudly, in the bathtub.

Growing pains are hard. That's why they call them pains. But, spiritually speaking, every time a growing pain hits, I can't just sit down and doctor the pain. There are things to be done, I have to keep myself clean, I have to buy supplies for next week, I have to start the laundry or no one will want us around next week. Growing pains are not injuries that should hospitalize you until you regain your health. And despite the fever and vomiting, growing pains are not a sickness that requires a week of bedrest.

They are simply what they are. Growing - and pains.
Growing hurts.
So if you find yourself hurting, wondering where God is, wondering where faith is, wondering where hope, grace, mercy and trust went - it could just be you're going through growing pains.
If you find yourself helplessly lonely and wondering why God has forsaken you - it could just be you're going through growing pains.
If you find yourself hurting, desperately broken and unable to find your foundation - it could just be you're going through growing pains.

Here's the clincher.

Bell has a little bit of a cold right now. A cough, and a runny nose. So I could easily assume the sudden fever and vomiting are because of that.
But I know it's not. Don't ask me how I know. I just know. I know the fever and sickness were because of this tooth.

It's important, to know your life, your spiritual life, well enough to figure out what is sickness and what is growing pains. (I say that, easily, knowing that in my own life that discernment is far lacking.)
It's also important to realize that growing pains don't just happen when you're well. It's not just one or the other. Though I typically lump all lifes issues into one bundle.

Life, is awesome. God is awesome. But, if you ask Bell.. and if she could really speak.. she'd tell you that sometimes life doesn't feel awesome. Sometimes it feels whiny.
She'd also tell you it's fun to play with the bathtub stopper. Even when you're sick.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hard is better than easy.

It's a little hard to trust God with me.

Sometimes, on the darker days, I wonder if God's just forever focused on the list of things He wants me to do, that He's forgotten about me. In other words, I feel much akin to how a 4 yr old feels when his new baby brother or sister shows up and steals all the attention. In other words, it's childish. I understand that.

On the best days, I'm right there with God saying "Let US do this" I'm into Gods plan and it's become my passion as well. It's a passionate, exciting and beautiful thing. It gives you energy, and hope that the world can actually change.

On those other days, days like this one, I sit, wondering about the will of God. Confident, at least in this moment, that where ever He leads me, I'll survive. But here's the kicker... trusting Him with other people.

I really believe that the coming season is for a reason. A very good reason. But my heart is aching with the knowledge that I've discouraged people by telling them I'm leaving. I'm not a pivotal figure in the church - the church won't fall apart without me, there are other people that can play the piano so they won't go music-less... it's not that big a deal.
But, just based on what I've seen so far, my most earnest prayer is that those I leave behind won't be discouraged. That God would grant hope, and peace, and faith for a beautiful future that really might need me out of the way in order to come to pass.

It's hard to trust God with them. It's hard to imagine them going through sorrowful times in this next year that I be going through it beside them, it's hard to watch the sorrow I see so many of them going through right now (over other things - not me, I'm not that arrogant!) already. Whether they're learning great things "walking a mile with sorrow" or not. It's harder to trust God for other people besides yourself.

Not to say He's not trustworthy, not to say He doesn't take care of them, not to say even that I don't spend half my thought life imagining that He's probably happier with each of them than He is with me. All I'm saying is that it's hard.

But that's a good thing. If it were easy I'd get all torn up wondering why it was so easy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What's wrong with trying?

I've heard a lot of emphasis on how Christianity isn't meant to be hard. You shouldn't have to 'try' so hard. God's pleased with you anyway. God loves you anyway. It's not about your try try try. The work is already finished. And it's not your work to do anyway.

But, tonight I must be grumpy, because I'm grumpily wondering what's so blasted wrong with trying? Trying to do better, trying harder to do the right thing, trying to change, trying to be what you're suppose to be.

There have been some miracle moments in me that God has worked where, what I'm suppose to do has just come easily. I wanted to do it, I didn't want to not do it, and I was happy to be able to do it.

But a lot of times... well, it just hasn't worked that way.

Sometimes, I wake up and I don't want to read the bible, I'd rather hit snooze than pray, and this afternoon, when it was raining and I was on my way back to work with lunch - I didn't want to stop and pick up the two folks walking down the road. Cause my food would've gotten cold.

I could blithely stand back and say "It's not about me trying" "The work is done", but the truth is sometimes doing what you're suppose to do means doing something you don't feel like doing. And every time you fail, sure, you pray, but you also try harder.

God's never woken me up 30 minutes early, turned my light on, propped me up against a wall and laid a bible on my lap open to the chapter and verse he wanted me to read.
He's never struck me mentally incapacitated when my mind turned towards sinful thoughts.
He's never kicked me in the back of the knee, causing me to fall into a kneeling position.
He's never once, unfortunately, caused my phone line to die, before I said something foolish to a friend.

There's a reason Paul uses the word "press" toward the mark. He didn't say he strolled toward the mark. He didn't say he 'went' 'sauntered' 'walked' or 'cheerfully danced'.
He pressed.

My salvation, sure, it's covered. That work is done.
But MY work, isn't. And God really does have a work for each one of us here on this earth. He's done his ultimate part, but He still helps us do our part too. My salvation might not be dependant on me trying hard enough to do what He wants me to do. But, what if someone elses is? What if whatever height He's trying to get me to attain to is the exact spot where I'll me John Doe and my life, thanks to God and a lifetime of trying, will be just the witness Doe needs.

I don't know.

You don't know either.

So stop telling me not to try or that it's not necessary. Because, my fellow Christian, pressing toward the mark is hard enough without you telling me to chill out.


Imagine pulling out a nice tupperware bowl, heading over to your fireplace or bbq grill, and filling up your container with ashes. You then take great pains to wipe off the edges of your container, placing the lid tightly on so that you don't lose anything.

Then, you place your tupperware container full of ashes gingerly in your car and drive to the grocery store. You load a small handbasket with just the basics, you need milk, bread, and some lunchmeat. You take your basket of goods, and your tuperware container of ashes to the checkout counter.

The girl behind the counter informs you that will be $5.72 please.

You hand her the tupperware container of ashes as payment.
I'm sure you have a good idea of what would happen.

But what's God do?

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3

Monday, August 18, 2008

I walked a mile with pleasure

I was listening to a radio preacher this evening and heard this quote attached to this verse. I just thought I'd put it together here, because I thought it was really good.

I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.
Robert Browning Hamilton

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. Psalms 4:1

Just keep walking...

It's about obedience.

What are you not willing to do?
What one thing do you put before God in your heart?

We all have those taboo areas in our lives where we wish we could keep God out. And it's those places that He most wants to enter. It's those places, that regardless of how mundane, or small sounding they are... the are the huge craters that gap between us and God. Even though we consider them as petty little dips in the road.

God has a different measuring scale than we do.

Something I've definitely learned from being a parent. When a child is put in strange, and unusual situations they reach out for the #1 person they know they can trust. They'll cling, and stay close.
They're also unpredictable. Prone to crying fits, and tantrums.

Same thing applies to crazy adult kids like me. Take me away from home Lord, and I'm going to cling. But I might cry too. But in this time, I'm going to hold onto You harder than ever. I need something I can trust, and know is sound. I need something, that no matter what else changes in my life, I know will never change. And someone that, regardless of my opinion on the changes, I can still trust to be working the best for me.


I heard a song today that I just couldn't seem to fit in my understanding. The lyrics just constantly repeated about how they would love God, serve God and whatnot through the bad times. It was one of the few songs on the radio that I just couldn't sing along with. It just sounded self-glorifying. As though God should feel honored that we wouldn't quit.

Bully for us.

I think songs like that are best sung in... and only in a storm. Because, as I've learned, you really don't know what you'll do in a storm. No matter how well you do, no matter what you've promised or sung to God... you never know when you'll find yourself out of the safety of the boat looking down at the waves and realizing danger is all around you.

So I guess I wouldn't sing that I'll praise God in the storm. But just pray that God will prepare me for the storm. And hope that in the storm, I'll sing His praise.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Don't leave me.

My beautiful Bell. I'll have had her 5 weeks tomorrow. And she's been absolutely fantastic. Once we got past the first week of awful - life could not have been more pleasant with my new beautiful, fearless, helpful, and super smart babe.

Then yesterday, we were going to go out to eat with someone so I moved her car seat from my car to the other persons car.
It seriously, seriously, freaked her out. She screamed and cried, and gave me that look that I just can't describe for you. I told her specifically what was going to happen.
"We're going to put the car seat in here so you can ride, then we'll go eat lunch, and then we'll come back home, to here, and you can go take a nap in your bed."
I buckled her, screaming, into the car continuously telling her what exactly was happening and that everything was ok.
I walked around the car and climbed in and sat down.
Instantly the crying stopped.
She took one of those pitiful shuddering breaths and held her hand out to me. With a sober and tear-stained face, she watched me and held my hand.

Remembering her intense fear at what she deemed was going to be a change, still grips my heart. But in there, also, I saw a lesson.

Whatever happens God, where ever I go, who ever I go there with, don't leave me or I will fall to pieces too.

2 more Sundays

It's interesting the contradictions that go on around me. In the last several days I've heard lots of different messages.
"People say they've heard from God, but it was just their emotions."
"Go where God leads you."
"Sometimes you can head into something and realize God wasn't in it at all."
"Trust God, and He will make a path for you."

And then, the next day, I kid you not, I heard a sermon on how God puts you on a path sometimes that leads to a dead end, frustration, hurt and confusion. He does this to teach you. So you can't tell if the path is Gods or not based on how easy the path is.

As the day gets closer - I've only got two Sundays left - I find myself tensing up. Am I sure this is God?We had a guitar player start trying to play this morning - if I leave will he still feel confident enough to play with someone else? Or will he be too nervous to play and quit if they try and have him play by himself since no one else really wants to play the piano?

We've had new people show up in the last few weeks, and this seems like a rotten time for me to walk away.At the same time, I've told myself several times that God doesn't need me. I mean that in the best way. God isn't up there wringing his hands wondering what He'll do if I leave the church. Or grinding His teeth wondering if so-n-so is listening to his call to come to the church so they'll have another piano player.

On a personal note, a deep black personal note, I realize that my absence as a piano player will be noticed. But my absence as a person... not so much. As kind as they've been, their great loss will be the loss of a piano player - not me.
I never really gave myself to the church I suppose. And in the last months, as I grew more and more unhappy, I really stepped away from these people that were suppose to be my family. Maybe sometime in this journey, I'll learn how to be a person. Not just a talent.

Today feels bittersweet. We had our church fellowship today and it's the last one I'll have the pleasure of attending. Two Sundays left. It's more bitter than sweet.
What am I doing God? Are You sure? Am I sure? Even if this ends in utter failure, and proves to be a mistake - remember Lord, that this whole thing is done just to be pleasing to You. The people in the wings, in the background, aren't sure about the show I'm putting on. Maybe I've got the wrong script. But watch and see Lord, for this performance is entirely for You. And if I'm on the wrong act, give me the words You'd rather I be saying instead of what I'm doing now.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

An Audience of One

If you google the term "Audience of One", a lot of stuff comes up. "Audience of One" is a documentary, a devotional, a song, a website address, a singing group, a book, a blog, a worship ministry, and a website design company. I'm sure it's more, but I got tired of making the list.

I happened to see it, originally, on the website of Steven Furtick. He was talking about a new book called "200 Pomegranates and an Audience of One". And I guess, for me, and so many other people that liked the term well enough to name their ministries after it, the term really stood out.

This week I've slowly started telling people that I'm leaving my church. And I got a very strong reaction. I actually made someone angry at me. They said I was needed at my church. And, seeing as I was not moved by the weight of obligation, they began listing reason after reason why I shouldn't leave.

There's nothing better out there.
Gas prices are too high to go driving around looking for churches.
You're needed there.
There's no reason to leave.
I'll get really discouraged not having a home church.
A person needs a home church.
There just isn't anything better out there.
You're needed there.

I don't get upset about people being angry with me, as a general rule. It's the fact that they don't agree with me that bothers me. The fact that they're angry seems to be more their problem than mine. Well, most of the time anyway.

But the weight of their frustration with me seemed to be like a chain that was really dragging my spirits down. Until I read the phrase "Audience of One".
It's hard to always remember who you're audience is. There's so many people in the background of your life, that you tend to fill the audience with those people. It's harder to imagine walking out on a huge auditorium and performing to a massive theatre with literally thousands of seats, yet only one is filled. (Or three if you want to include the Trinity) :)

I want to put my church in the audience of my life, my friends, my family, my co-workers, my foster kids,... for cryin' out loud, pretty much any random stranger that can see me from a distance I want to put in that audience.

But when I'm on this stage called life, all those people, are suppose to be behind me, hiding in the curtains crossing their fingers that I get my lines and movements right. And as my life plays out the only person really there to see the show - is God.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What's up.

Just a few updates.

I turned a baby away. She's 2 days old, doesn't even have a name, and I can only pray to God that she's ok. I'll be the first to tell you that all foster parents aren't evil perverted creeps that hurt kids and neglect them while trying to get a paycheck from the state.
But, based on some of the phone calls I've received, I'll be the first to tell you that there are a lot of evil perverted creeps that hurt kids and neglect them while trying to get a paycheck from the state.

It literally made me sick to my stomach to say that it just wasn't feasible for me to take her. I pray she's ok.

Jesus here's another child to hold
Keep this child safe and warm
This world can be so cold
Take this child in Your arms
And never let her go.
Jesus here's another child to hold.


Beyond all that, I've taken over part of my brothers paper route while he's on vacation. I worried a lot over how it would affect Bell, and have to give God a lot of credit as to how well it's gone. The weekend will be here before we know it and it will give us both time to catch up on lost sleep - and next week, after Monday, we're through.

I forgot how much I enjoyed the paper route. Driving the streets of the city at 3am is really peaceful.

Meanwhile, I'm too sleepy to write coherently. Goodnight.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The next best thing

There are so many best things about being a Christian, that my title is meant to reflect that this is just one of many best things. Not the second to the best.

And it is -

Get this:


I've written a couple of times about how I just didn't feel like I could take communion. I don't feel that way anymore.
SLW referred me to a blog and as I was reading through, the writer, Julie, talked several times about the joy of communion. And while I spent half my time at her blog kind of squinting at things that I didn't jive with too well, her posts on communion did remind me of something that I'm looking forward to.

I'm thinking we might have it tomorrow, because I believe we were trying to get on a schedule of the 2nd Sunday of the month. Just in time. :)
I could be entirely wrong, but I can wait if I'm not right. Either way, whenever we take it, I'm ready.

It's been a sucker punch each time, looking at the wafer and mini cup of grape juice, just sitting on the piano. Untouched. I've never had the heart to put it back in the trays after church, but by evening service they're always gone.

Not this time.

This time I'm going to remember. I'm going to remember what He's done for me. And I'll remember that it has been and will be enough. It's been enough to keep me through the darkest of nights. It's been enough to keep me when I couldn't believe. I'll remember that He loves me. He really does love me, and that the entire gift is just his grace to me that I can't earn no matter how good I am, and I can't lose no matter how many times I fail. (Failure is different from rejecting God.)

I'll remember.

The body and the blood - Video
This is my body, broken just for you.
For all you've been, and all that you've been through.
This is my blood
And when you reach the end
I'll offer you again
The body and the blood.

Renewing my mind

I've been praying about my job. Simply put, I'm not a huge fan of the one I've got.
I love the people, and I enjoy the work, though obviously timekeeping isn't a passion of mine. In the 10 months I've been there, I've discovered that I can definitely do the job. Unfortunately, the only way to get it all done is with lots of over time.
So I've been praying.

This week, the district attorney called me.

Back in September, when we received notice that our office was going to close, I applied for a position at the district attorneys office. It was an administrative position that I had an idea that I'd really enjoy just because of the diversity and the field of work itself.

So she calls me up and said I hadn't left her mind since I interviewed that day, and that I'd been her first choice until someone else had come along with a bachelors degree and some other qualifications that blew everyone out of the water. She told me that the position had opened up again and she'd like for me to apply. She reminded me of the details of the job and I said I'd look into it.

Later that day, I told God that the wage she quoted was just too low for me to make that kind of jump.

She called me back the next day to tell me that the wage she'd quoted was wrong and it was actually higher.

I've spent a lot of time praying about it. As I remind God that His will is good, and pleasing, and it's perfect as well. I like perfect. But I also like pleasing. So I've prayed that He'd renew my mind, transform my mind into something that sees His will more clearly than I see my own - that I'd be able to test and approve His will as I see it.

That's why I didn't want to skip over the scriptures I quoted yesterday. Yesterday I went straight to the end of the scriptures and this time I want to make note of the changes that those scriptures talk about.

Ephesians 4:22-32That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

It's about that new man and the old man again, being a different person. A new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Our new man was created in holiness. It's interesting to see that in this verse, it doesn't seem to say that our mind is renewed by putting on the new man. But first we take off the old, renew our minds, put on the new. Or possibly, another way to see it is that by putting off the old man we renew our minds. Then put on the new.

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

So this is what a renewed mind looks like. It's letting go of the bad things, getting angry, but not letting that anger rule you/change you (that's why I highlighted up to the "LET NOT"- it's your choice), it's sharing the grace that you've been given with others through words of edification. (Which, ironically enough, has in it's definition to erect a house - so it's building up . I suppose, based on my little knowledge of building, that no builder builds by only ripping out the bad wood. But by ripping out the bad wood and replacing it with something good.)
I get now, why grace people are so big on grace. Because it's a beautiful, noble thing that just takes your breath away and yet confuses you with it's simplicity and strangeness. But it doesn't just leave you with grace, and the ability to sin some more because of grace. It leaves you wanting to build that house. A beautiful grace-filled house. But first, you've got to put that old man off so your poor little dirty mind can be renewed. Only then, will I be able to see that good, pleasing, perfect will of God through the eyes of His grace towards me. Because sometimes, it takes awhile to see that the will and way He's directing you too will be good and pleasing.

Meanwhile, I'm going to keep using that grace to help me get rid of the old guy I've been dragging around that is slowing me down.

Saying Yes

One of the few preachers I listen to pretty regularly is Steven Furtick. He wrote a post on his blog yesterday called "God Wants A Yes", and as the title implies it's all about saying yes.
It was an interesting post - most of his posts leave me wishing I could experience one of their services just to see what all that he talks about all the time, really looks like.

Here's a link to his post.

And then this morning, I received my daily quote in the e-mail, and it had a quote by Jean Anouilh and I just thought it was an interesting addition to Furticks post.

To say yes, you have to sweat and roll up your sleeves and plunge both hands into life up to the elbows. -- Jean Anouilh

Friday, August 08, 2008

I have a dream.

I say have, not had, because I'm waiting for it to come to fruition.

But, this week I had a dream. I cannot post about it, because the person involved reads my blog and I don't want to do anything that would seem like "helping" God in this instance. But I did want to document it as much as I can.

In the year 2008 I expect to see it happen.

The best part of the whole thing is my beginning confidence in these things. In the last two weeks, a lot of things have happened. Life changing things that really have just come out of the blue. But they came out of the blue after I asked God specifically about them. It's really just opening me up to expect God in more and more as I experience new things. And when those nudges come, I'm beginning to give them more credit than I normally would have before. And now I wonder how far off base I have been as I sought so much of Gods power - and not enough of God.

It's not about seeing God do something, it's about seeing God, while He does something.

Tell me God doesn't speak to me through my blog.

Go ahead. Tell me. I'll laugh. Or roll my eyes. I'm not sure.

Today, someone new visited my website, twice. Each time they googled the same term and came to the same page. It was a post I wrote back in 2006 (2006! I've been blogging that long?).

It was called "When Sin Creeps In".

What was the main topic? Well, I was struggling with something at the time and started thinking about renewing my mind.
Yep, renewing my mind.
A topic I'm just now thinking about again this week, and here comes someone directing me to my post on the same subject.


Just in case there's someone else out there that can benefit from the scriptures I ended up posting on that last post I'm going to post them again.
Here is just a clip of what I wrote:

I started thinking about how I needed a renewing of my mind (anything to get my mind of needing a repentance from disobedience!) and did a bible search for "renew mind" And it gave me two hits, but the best one was Ephesians 4.

Ephesians 4:22-32That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

For Christs sake, He's forgiven me.

I believe God speaks in whatever works best with you. And one of the ways He speaks to me most often is through song. Random songs will pop into my head as a face situations - you can laugh it's ok - and I find myself scrolling through the words in my head trying to find the redeeming value, the message to the song that is meant for me at that moment.
And today, I woke up with Celine Dion's song "A new day"
This is getting long - so I apologize. But I wanted to share the lyrics (or at least some of them):

I was waiting for so long
For a miracle to come
Everyone told me to be strong
Hold on and don't shed a tear
Through the darkness and good times I knew I'd make it through
And the world thought I had it all
But I was waiting for you

Hush, love
I see a light in the sky
Oh, it's almost blinding me
I can't believe I've been touched by an angel with love
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come

Yesterday, it was raining as I came home from work and so Bell and I took the opportunity to be silly. We stood in the rain, arms raised, spinning around in circles - before we finally wandered over to the playground and let Belle slide down the slide over and over. While we were out there my mind kept wandering to all the songs that talk about the Holy Spirit and rain. Let me tell you, Celine Dion didn't hit that list! But when I woke up this morning I just kept going down the words until I hit upon that one line

"Let the rain come down and was away my tears, Let it fill my soul and drown my fears, Let it shatter the walls for a new new sun."

I don't know about you, but sometimes I just have to stop and smile at God.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

What it's really all about.

Every day.... every day.... it just gets better.

I wish I could really describe for you the difference. As much as one month ago, there was so little hope, what hope there was it was forced, efforted. Church, life, living, loving, believing, ... everything, every bit of life was drained by disappointment, discouragement, hopelessness.

To go from that, to sitting here feeling the beginnings of that old passion and excitement burgeoning again. And it's in those moments when I'm just sitting and breathing, thanking God that whatever was holding onto me is gone, that I wonder what on earth has taken place.

July 24th, 2007 I wrote a breakthrough post. At least it was a breakthrough post for me. It was the first in a couple of posts called "Trouble the waters". God did something that week for me, and I fully, and wholeheartedly agreed with what He was speaking about troubling the waters - (in case you didn't go back and read the post, the troubled waters reference is to the pool of Bethesda where the sick folks waited by the pool for the Angel to trouble the waters, at which point the first one in would be healed of whatever afflicted them.)

July 24th, 2008 I wrote a relieved post titled "Something IS Giving". And that was the first in what I hope will be a long line of 'coming back' posts. As I try and find my footing again as the ground becomes more and more firm beneath my feet - finally.

What a difference a year makes.

But still... I don't want to go back to the passion and excitement I had experienced before and just embrace that. I want to dig even deeper. Because there's something incredible out there that I want more of.

I've listened to a lot of lies this past few months. A lot. And I just didn't have the strength to disbelieve them. And it cost me. But here's where it takes me now.

...I don't know how many people this applies to, but just because of how I was raised, I've grown up believing that Christians shouldn't make mistakes. Mistakes are punished. And if you don't come up to snuff, you're an object of shame.

If there was ever a time that I didn't come up to snuff, it was in the last year. And now, in this - finally new - moment, I'm holding onto grace. And that's never something that I would have said before. Sure, it's one of those things that all Christians probably say - but it wasn't a concept I really held onto.

And now, it's really all that I've got to hold on to. It's not about my works anymore, I can stop trying to boast. It's not about my passion, or faith - because for a year I was losing all of that. And yet still, He held onto me.

It's all about Grace.


Completely off topic :

My house now holds a well hidden, half bald, severely traumatized mouse, and 1 entirely useless glue trap.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Finding the good, pleasing, perfect will of God.

Ok... tonight it's a twisting road as a lot of different things get put together.

First, I've got a favorite reader. I don't know who they are, don't know how they get here, and don't know how they found my blog. My sitemeter that tells me my blog stats usually tells me how someone arrives, and what page they arrive on (typically it's always the main homepage). But this guy/gal, whoever they are, they always just pop up onto a blog page. Then, out of curiosity I go and read that post. And every single time, it gives me a word that I needed just for that day/moment.

They don't come every day, their visits seem truly random. But I've never failed to be impacted by what they go to read. Best part is, it's my own writing that is usually reaching me. It's kind of funny in the odd sense.
Today, they arrived and went to one of my older posts on the cost of power. Read it again, it's ok. :)
I would stop here and say more about that, but I want to mention the other things that pulled everything all together today.

Terry L. over at "A Disciples Thoughts" wrote a post called "The Power Behind the "Get To" Lifestyle" and in it he quoted something that really stood out. It was from Romans 12
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing, and perfect will" (Romans 12:1-2).

And immediately I thought about how I'm seeking Gods very clear will concerning leaving my church. And this verse is pretty plain about how to figure out Gods will. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then I'll be able to test and approve what God's will is -- His good, pleasing and perfect will.

So I pondered 'not conforming' and 'being transformed' and 'renewing my mind' when I came across this post by Joe Thorn called "Rebooting Your Prayer Life" (thanks to Bob at In the Clearing for the link to the post).

Altogether, the entire day was just one reminder after another that what I'm aiming for is something awesome. It's not a Sunday thing... it's an all consuming thing. It's a transforming thing, it's a miraculous thing. Or at least it can be. But it involves a revamping of every tiny little crevice of my life. Not that that work is something that a person just efforts your way through on your own. But the work is done in you, as you simply work to surrender and stay open to what God wants done in you. Even when it hurts.

It's praying, it's paying the price for the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, and turning your back on the very idea of conforming to the things of the world choosing to be transformed, and allowing Christ to renew your mind.

It's exciting. But until it becomes natural, it's something you need to remind yourself of in order to stay on track. Make the habit, change the life, then you'll see the good and pleasing, perfect will of God.

I'm excited, I really am. I wish I could explain how whatever misery enveloped me before has just simply faded. I really wish I could. But the difference now is like night and day. And an utter relief.

God is good.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Life is changing

I think that's the trick... the key to all this that I need to remember.

I apologize, but I'm starting this post mid-thought, my fingers just don't have time to go back into the entire thought process and catch you up. If you read long enough you'll find me.

It's easy to say I'm craving worship, and while that's true.. that's not why I'd even remotely consider leaving my church.
Every church I've ever been to has worship issues. We're stale, routine and too wrapped up in the normal time frame to worship instead of sing ( typically).

The whole reason to leave is if God wants something else for you, or them. If it was just the worship, then you stay, you worship at home feeding yourself and praising your savior when others just can't get in. You do, alone, what the crowd can't. Not because you're somehow spiritually better than everyone else, but because something inside you can't be satisfied until you've crawled into that worship vein and offered something to God.

It's about giving something back to God. Not coming just seeking. But coming to give as well. And from my experience, when you come to give, you receive so much more than when you come to receive.

Whether a church has that or not, whatever problems a church might have, it's a building, with people. Where ever you might roam, all you'll find is a building with people. God simply merges talents and gifts where He needs them. That's the difference. It's not about anything else ultimately. It's not. It can't be. It just can't be. If God puts you somewhere, you park there, sitting under your cloud until He moves it and then you get up and follow.

I've whined and moaned saying that I don't want to leave.
The truth is I'm just afraid of the unknown. At least I have people here that care about me. And when I wander away, following a cloud, well, sometimes you find yourself in a wilderness for awhile instead of at your destination.
And that's just plain not pleasant.

But, more than anything I don't want to leave just because I've said I'd leave. And I don't want to stay because people expect me to stay.

I want to find where God wants me to be. And then I want to just grow. I want to remember my prayers from before to love God and serve God unabashedly. I want to remember my hope and my faith, and the burning passion that said God was a miracle worker that worked today as well.
I want to move beyond the questions, and the doubts, and worst of all the guilt.

It's intensely hard to stand back up and start talking about strength and Christ - when the voice in your head reminds you that when the going got tough, you cowered on the floor and cried.
It's hard to get past that.

I want to though. I'm ready to press on now. I'm ready to press in.

There's a difference that I can feel in every single day now. Whatever it was that was clawing at my back is gone. It's easier to breathe. It's easier to sleep. It's easier to live, and easier to dream.

Life's changing. But change, just for changes sake is stupid. You change what God wants you to change, when He wants you to change it, TO what He tells you to change it to. No other reason. Even if it hurts.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Blog housekeeping tidits.

In the sidebar is now a nifty little tool that shows you the stuff I've starred in my google reader. If you click on "read more" you can see some of the other starred items as well. I've got way too much in my google reader that comes through every day but, in it, every single day there's at least one article that really makes me think.

So... thus the joy of the 'share' option. :)

Also, if you look at the links I've added, you'll see some people have gotten zapped off since their websites were no longer active. At the same time, some new links got added. "97 Seconds with God" is currently going through the bible chapter by chapter, and The Prodigal Jon (a site done by the same guy as "97 seconds with God" and "Stuff Christians Like"). The Prodigal Jon is right up there as my favorites, though not updated as often as his other blogs when it does get updated it's usually really thoughtful and interesting.

That's all. Housekeeping done. Have a nice day.

Holy Spirit Turkish Delight...

I've been wanting to write this post all day long now. Once the idea finally clicked, so many other things just fell into place and I've just sat, biding my time until I could finally sit down and put words to it.

The basic summary, and gist to the whole thing is this:

The Holy Spirit is like Turkish Delight.

Someone commented last night and reading her comment everything in me was wishing there was some way to make it sound like I wanted something more than what my church typically offered - without making it sound like my church folks were just unrighteous pew warmers.

Someone else was talking to me about it and they reasoned that the lack of life-changing worship in churches now days to the people having idolatrous hearts.

And, while I wish for so much more from church, my church, every church across the planet... I'm going to call it something else.
I'm going to call the Holy Spirit Turkish delight.

Probably need more of an idea than that, don'tcha. :)

For those that have apparently lived under a rock and aren't familiar with the Chronicles of Narnia, "Turkish Delight" is the treats that the White Witch offered to Edmund (one of the 4 main characters) that his intense hunger for it overrode his loyalty to family, and made him greedy for only one thing, one thing was needful and that was more Turkish delight. Nothing else mattered.

What we have at my church is good. It's nourishing, and sustaining like a relatively healthy meal.
But dear God, I know, I KNOW that there is so much more to be feasted on when I go into Gods house. There are the riches of plenty as His Spirit will never run out or be rationed. It's going in, and feasting of His presence, and offering everything of yourself back into Him at the exact same time.

The best worship in the world, is absolutely exhausting. And refreshing enough to get you through the hardest times. It's MORE than what you'll find in most churches now days ( at least in this area). And it's typically easier to worship by yourself than with a group because it's hard to move past where they've stopped at. "Life sustaining meal"

It's the difference between the widow woman making the last cake, and God offering the oil that never runs out. There is MORE. It's exciting, passionate, heart breaking, and convicting. Worship, can break you then put you back together again brand new every ---- single ---- time. Changing you, molding you, making you.
Not an exercise.

I think that's the best part of what David wrote when He said "taste and see" that the Lord is good. There isn't any condemnation for those that aren't tasting or looking to taste what I'm searching for. So don't take it as a criticism when I say from the bottom of my heart how I wish churches, my church included would taste and see the wonders that is available. I've tasted something incredible in my life, I've eaten of the Turkish delight, and nothing else can satisfy.

Oh Lord, I'm hungry.

Here's the controversial part though. I say, with everything within me desiring something better not just for myself but for you ALL of the you's reading this blog , that if you're satisfied with what you've got, then you haven't tasted what I've tasted. Not because of anything you've done or not, it has nothing to do with what kind of person you are or how your heart desires God. Maybe, all the churches you've been too never offered this amazing delight, maybe you've just never seen this particular gem of a treat and didn't realize that what you've experienced wasn't all there was. So I want to tell you to look, start searching, digging, asking God, for a taste of what I'm talking about even if you disagree with me. Because I've tasted it, and like the greedy Edmund, my eyes are set on that prize of Gods powerful presence. The kind of presence that leaves a fragrance in the air, the presence that blows through buildings with no windows open, the presence that drops onto people until they find themselves on the floor speaking in the Spirit seeing visions.
There's more than what we've got. An abundant, untapped resource of more.

It's real, it's for TODAY, and it's for us.

And I want it!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Throwing Jonah overboard.

We're too polite a society to throw Jonah overboard now days. Today, the entire ship and it's occupants would sink and Jonah, if he tried to jump, would be classified as suicidal and delusional and would be mechanically restrained for his own safety.

Because it's just not right to throw Jonah overboard.

But God doesn't feel that way.

Today, our church service saw two of it's best services in a long time. And I just can't help but wonder, if it's because I'm climbing to the ledge of the ship. I haven't hit the water yet... so I could try and tell myself that these are the types of miracles it would take to get me to stay, but I can't help feeling that this is the power that is going to come to these people once I've jumped.

I've got to tell you, being Jonah, feeling like the ship might sink because of you if you don't get off... it's not pleasant. But I enjoyed every minute of the services today, and I found myself saying "God?? why can't we do this all the time, and why can't I stay?"

But if this is what is in store for my family, these people that I really do love, I don't even want to stay till the end of the month. Give it to them now God. Let me get out of the way, and give them what You've got planned.
The last time I was gone for a few weeks, right after Little One was returned to her family, they also enjoyed a terrific service when a visiting group came to minister. I could be all noble and happy, but I guess I'm a bit like the Jonah that came out in the last chapter of his book. Sometimes I just want to sit under a tree and sulk.

At the same time, something that I'm clutching at as my heart breaks at the thought of leaving and going into the unknown, is that Jonah didn't jump off the ship and die. God had a plan for Jonah, a strange, crazy plan that people can hardly believe is literally true and not just metaphorical.

I'm self-centered, very much so. But very often I find myself looking at someone elses awesome plan and saying "Ok God, but what's my plan?" I want to know He's got a plan for me. That He's going to feed me too, and encourage me. That I'm not the only person like me on earth, but there's a people somewhere, that I can fellowship with and belong.

God just give me the strength to jump overboard.