Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What I'm Reading

I'm about 2/3 of the way done with this book ("Introverts in the Church").  It's got some great insights for both introverts and extroverts alike.  I'll write more about it when I'm finished reading it.
Next on my reading list is:  "Cross Talk:  Where Life and Scripture Meet" by Michael Emlet.
Oh yeah, and I'm reading "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" too. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Book is Closed

One of my favorite movies at present is "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium".  It's full of clever witticisms and some very touching moments.  [spoiler warning] When Mr. Magorium "departs" the narrator (Eric, the really cute/mature boy) says,  "All stories, even the ones we love, must eventually come to an end and when they do, it's only an opportunity for another story to begin".

Well, the book has finally closed for CrossRoads.  After seven years of hard work, much prayer, and many tears....  also a very tumultuous summer and an uncertain beginning to the Fall we have closed the book on what had been our dream.  Things have been dispersed.  Paper work is done.  The final checks have been written to our missionaries.  The government got what they needed.  That's it.

I am certain that God knows what He is doing.  He has been very careful in His watching over us.  We have experienced His grace and faithfulness in wonderful ways.  Nonetheless it was a kind of death for us. 
And yet, God is the one who brings life from death.  He is the Master at taking bad and turning it into good.  He never loses control.  He is always good and loving.   At the end of Genesis Joseph says to his brothers, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done..."  Thank God He is good! 

The good thing about closing one book is that you get to open a new one.  We learned quite a few lessons in the "last book".  The ending wasn't what we had hoped but we do have a new book to open.  I hope this one has a happier ending!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You Don't Define Me

"Who are you to tell me
That I'm less than what I should be?
Who are you? Who are you?
I don't need to listen
To the list of things I should do
I won't try, I won't try....

You don't define me."
-Barlowe Girl 

This song was written to a mirror... about trying to fit in to what society says we should look like, but the song also applies to us when others try to tell us what we should be and how we should act.  Unfortunately sometimes we Christians try to make others into our own image of what we think others should be.  God made each of us and gifted each of us how He wanted to.  Who are we to tell someone that they need to be different from what they are?   Oh that we would give each other the grace and freedom that God gives us!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Some of What Love Is

- does not exist in the abstract
- is a verb, not just a noun
- along with mercy and grace, are free and we should be generous with them!  (thanks, Myrtle Groggins)
- "Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." I John 3:18

We cannot say that we love someone and then not show it in actions.  Love professed and then not acted on is hypocrisy.  "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8. 

God has showered His love on us and we are grateful. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Edgy Church Breaks Old Rules, Insists on New Ones

Lark News does it again!  Good for a laugh!

"ROCHESTER, Minn. — At The Circle, a young, innovative church which meets in a renovated bus depot, there is no pulpit, platform or pastor, as such. The congregation rejects the labels "Christian" and "congregation," preferring "followers of Jesus" and "friendship community."
    There are no ushers, but rather "helpers."
    There is no worship team, but rather "God artists."
    And woe to anyone who affixes traditional church labels to any of it.
    "God's doing a new thing here," says Mitch Townsend, the leader of the church. He shuns the "pastor" label and insists people call him, "Hey, man," or simply "Dude." If someone slips and calls him "pastor," he bristles and gently rebukes them.
    "We got rid of all those old labels," he says. "There's no going back."
    At the church office, which they never call a church office but rather "the Hub," secretaries, or "community action facilitators" as they are called here, tap-tap on computers (which they still call computers) and take calls.
    When a visitor slips up and refers to The Circle's "sanctuary," Dude Townsend cuts him short.
    "Listen, it's not a sanctuary, it's a meeting place, a gathering place," he says, flushing red.
    "Sorry, pastor," the visitor says.
    "Not pastor," says Townsend. "Dude, or friend. Or just hey, Mitch."
    "Sorry, Dude Mitch," the visitor says uncomfortably, and slinks away. Mitch quickly goes to him and hugs him.
    "We're all about love and freedom here," he says. "I know it's hard to get used to."
    At a Sunday morning "gathering," as services must be called, people sit in chairs arranged in circle around a "focal point" (not a platform) and listen to the team of God-artists play instruments and sing "songs of adoration and devotion to the Creator," as opposed to praise and worship music. The gathered "posse of Jesus followers" is free to sing along and to express themselves in any way that seems "real and authentic."
    "We strive to be genuine here," says non-pastor "Hey, Jim" Richards, who in another setting might be called an associate pastor. "It's about being who you are, not fitting into a pre-determined box."
    Before Dude Mitch's personal sharing time (which markedly resembles a sermon), one visitor raises her hand and says, "Is there going to be an altar call? Because I really want to give my life to Jesus today."
    Dude Mitch answers quickly, "We don't have altar calls here; we have 'God moments' or 'Creator re-connects.' And we don't say 'give your life to Jesus,' but you may begin a lifelong love relationship with the Creator-Friend, if you like. But please wait until we are done with sharing time."
    After the service, "new friends" join in the "kick-back hall" for refreshments and conversation with the Dudes and other Hub personnel. They may also join a mid-week "hang-out crew" of 10-12 people which meets in a home, and which is steadfastly not referred to as a "small group."
    "Anyone who wants a break from normal, rigid church life is welcome at The Circle," says Townsend. •

All content © 2003 All rights reserved."

Auntie Em Gale: Almira Gulch. Just because you own half the county doesn't mean that you have the power to run the rest of us. For twenty-three years I've been dying to tell you what I thought of you! And now... well, being a Christian woman, I can't say it!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

i carry your heart

 This beautiful poem by e e cummings was set to music.  We are singing it at both of the schools where I work as accompanist.  It is absolutely gorgeous!   It is a real gift to be able to put wonderful words like this to equally rich and beautiful music.  I am privileged to spend most of everyday working on beautiful music such as this.

"i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

 i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010



Trust God.

Lean NOT on your own understanding.

The final chapter has not yet been written.

God sees everything, knows everything and will make all things right...

in HIS time.

Thursday, January 7, 2010



Rest, the Lord is near
Refuse to fear, enjoy His love
Trust, His mighty power
Fills every hour, of all your days

There is no need
For needless worry
With such a Savior
You have no cause to ever
Doubt, His perfect Word
Still reassures, in any trial

Rest, the Lord is there
Lift up your prayer
For He is strong
Trust, He'll bring release
And perfect peace, will calm your mind


Call Him
If you grow frightened
Call Him
With loving care
He'll lift the burden and you'll

Rest, the Lord is near
Refuse to fear, enjoy His love
Trust, His might power
Fills every hour, of all your days

Rest, the Lord is near
Refuse to fear, enjoy His love

Lyrics and Music by Phill McHugh
And Greg Nelson
Copyright 1985 River Oaks Music
Co./New Wings Music (a div. of Lorenz
Creative Services Corp.)/ Greg Nelson
Music (BMI) River Oaks admin. by Tree
International. International Copyright
Secured. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.

Monday, January 4, 2010

These are the words I hear.

 I heard this song on the radio this evening... had never heard it before but loved (love) the lyrics!  God has as way of encouraging us, and it's frequently through music.  God has been encouraging us in other ways recently but this song especially hit home. 

"Three in the morning,
And I'm still awake,
So I picked up a pen and a page,
And I started writing,
Just what I'd say,
If we were face to face,
I'd tell you just what you mean to me,
I'd tell you these simple truths,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

Last time we spoke,
You said you were hurting,
And I felt your pain in my heart,
I want to tell you,
That I keep on praying,
Love will find you where you are,
I know cause I've already been there,
So please hear these simple truths,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

From one simple life to another,
I will say,
Come find peace in the Father,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
Thank God for each day,
His love will find a way,
These are the words I would say"

~Sidewalk Prophets~

Friday, January 1, 2010

Let the Past Rest

"You shall not go out with haste,... for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard."  (Isaiah 52:12)

Security from Yesterday.  "...God requires an account of what is past" (Ecclesiastes 3:15).  At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise when we remember our yesterdays.  Our present enjoyment of God's grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday's sins and blunders.  But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future.  God reminds us of the past to protect us from a very shallow security in the present.
Security for Tomorrow.  "...the LORD will go before you..."  This is a gracious revelation - that God will send His forces out where we have failed to do so.  He will keep watch so that we will not be tripped us again by the same failures, as would undoubtedly happen if He were not our "rear guard."  And God's hand reaches back to the past, settling all the claims against our conscience.
Security for Today.  "You shall not go out with haste...."  As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness.  But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us.  Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us.  It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future.  Let the past rest, 
but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.  

Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step into the invincible future with Him."
~Oswald Chambers~