Saturday, January 31, 2009


I do believe this is my favorite book by the Apostle Paul. How do you say that for certainty? I like them all - and as I study them individually they all have their wonderful-ness. But, I have always loved Colossians.
Dustin, my pastor, is starting a series on this tomorrow. Well, actually - it was scheduled for tomorrow but with 'Ville Ice 09 we are just meeting together in our community groups tomorrow and reading through the book. How impactful is just the reading of Scripture.
Two of the most memorable worship times in my life were because of the reading aloud of the Word of God. Passion 2000, in Germantown, TN, before it actually began...they had a group of people reading through the Psalms. Yes, all of them. Nothing else - just the psalms. Being read aloud to prepare our hearts to worship our God.
The second time was earlier this fall here in a chapel service at Southern. David Platt, pastor of Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham. He spoke from Romans 1-9. Not just spoke from it, quoted the whole thing, not using the Word. The power of the Spirit was all in that chapel like I've not felt it before in any chapel service I've been a part of. Why - I think? Because the Word of God was placed center stage - where it should be.
So, why do I like the book of Colossians so much...I love the Christ hymn in chapter 1. I love the command and the scrutiny of the beginning of Colossians 3. Amazing book. I'm looking forward to studying it along with my church, Crossing gathered.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Acts and Community

I've now lived in Louisville about 17 months. There have been more natural emergencies here then I've ever been through living in FL or NC. Now, that may say something for the preparedness of FL and NC for these natural emergencies, but still. High heat (well over 100 for days), earthquakes, Ike, blizzard, ice storm...all these things.
What I have learned here is this. Community is so strong here in Louisville. I've had many offers of places to stay, food, space heaters, parties, sledding excursions, prayers, etc - all during this time of the ice and snow. I've had people offer me their empty apt for a warm shower and a place to sleep. I've been offered futons in a warm apt. I've been offered places just to go and hang out if I get bored of being in the cold.
Just to say what I am thankful for before I go any further: I am thankful for my little space heater from the housing office. I am thankful for an electric oven so I can warm my kitchen and cook food. I'm thankful that I still have power. I am thankful that I was able to take a hot shower moments ago. I am thankful for friends who have Extra Strength Tylenol and money for a Sprite while I was running check in for the boyce girls yesterday. I'm thankful for people who are making these decisions at Southern re: housing, work, staffing, food, etc. God has blessed me with so much - so even if my hands are cold - that is not complaining, just stating the obviouos.
But, back to community. Southern and my friends here in Louisville live out Acts 2.44-45. As Paul said about the early church - I say about my community around me and the people in other states who I know who are praying for the people here. There are still about 200k without power and heat, temps under 30, more snow on the way tentative for Sunday night.
And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sometimes I wish...

Do you ever wish your life was different than what it was? I do...(but on the REALity side, I know God is sovereign over all and my life is just how he wants it to be).

These are some things I sometimes wish for:
1. That I lived on a farm (really, chickens, fresh milk, cream, etc - how cool would that be) - but then I wouldn't want to get up at 4am like my cousins all my life.
2. That I had some grass of my own to plant a garden. Like my friends Joy, Bobby, my parents, my cousins in AL, the Joneses, and many more - I wish I had just a little - maybe just to start out with tomatoes and basil. Yummy!
3. I wish I had countless money - not to have it - but to buy groceries with, to have people over all the time, to give to missions so (right now) my brother and sister in law could go to Cameroon having met their monthly goal.
4. I wish I didn't have to work. I LOVE MY JOB and am VERY THANKFUL FOR IT. But, I wish there was a way that I didn't have to work: so I could go on mission trips whenever I wanted, that I could put more time and energy into the Word, my study of it, reading, cooking, home stuff, running, personal care, friends, coffee dates, traveling, etc.
5. I wish I were married. That is enough said in that.
6. I wish I were skinnier (but I am working on that).
7. I wish I could sing better than I do, and write better, and run better, and cook better, and love people better...(I think I can work on almost all of those).
8. I wish I had a jet plane (and a pilot's license, and all the money for upkeep), so I could fly and travel all over the place. Like going with my friend Maggie or Janel to one of their many trips to NYC, or just hop down to central FL for family dinners or St. Aug for youth events, or to NC to watch big games with friends there or for births of precious babies!
9. I wish I had the patience of my father and the creativeness of my mother.

Those are it for today. But, I am thankful for my life, my friends, the gifts that God has given me, and the work of sanctification in my life - and the promise that He fulfills all of our needs and grants us the desires of our hearts.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Borrowed from Touchstone: Blog Decalogue

One of the privileges I have for working for my boss is that I get to peruse many magazines that come across my desk. Touchstone came today. I found this interesting small article in it - I am highlighting from that list. (Found in Touchstone, January February 2009, page 7)

Blog Decalogue: (sort of a list of etiquette for bloggers)
1. You shall not put your blog before your integrity. This is very important. The Proverbs say many times about a good name - how that should be wanted. So many write things on their blogs, or send emails of jokes that aren't appropriate, or the whatnot, that would lead me to believe they are not the people of integrity I thought them to be. I may have inadvertently done the same. If I do, please bring it my attention - I'll remedy the occasion.
2. You shall not make an idol of your blog. I was talking to a friend about this. My question was how in the world do some people have 10k views and they've only been up a short time. I've had mine for almost 4 years now and don't have 1/3 of that. But, you know - how many views I have is not important. I use mine for the reasons I use mine. If God wants to use it for something else - so be it.
3. You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin. If you are going to leave a comment - own up to it at least.
4. Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog. I don't have this problem - but maybe I should consider this for facebook and email as well.
5. Honor your fellow bloggers above yourself, and do not give undue significance to their mistakes. Humility. Selflessness.
6. You shall not murder someone else's honor, reputation, or feelings. This one is probably the hardest for me - even in what I read. Most blogs are for opinions - and how do you share feelings and opinions w/o hurting someone else's?
7. You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind. Wow - another sin that permeates our culture. And you know - it isn't just a problem men struggle with - women struggle with it too. I heard once from a professor that married men struggle with this more than single men. Reason: once you are married you can have sex, but maybe you don't get it as much as you want. Single - its just off limits, so you come to live within those limits. I don't know if I whole heartedly agree.
8. You shall not steal another person's content. Plagiarizing is such a problem. This content is borrowed but I am siting my source. I am giving them credit. None of it is my own. If you are going to borrow or link to other websites - please tell people where you got the information from, don't use this as a way to dishonestly promote yourself.
9. You shall not give false testimony against your fellow blogger. This is the opposite of the above. Don't tell people you read something on so and so's blog if it is not true. I've met a couple of bloggers and they have lived up to their blog. Integrity is very important (see #1).
10. You shall not covet your neighbor's blog ranking; be content with your own content. Somewhat similar to #2. God has given us all gifts and abilities. He will use them for His glory.

If you have a blog - how will you use these ten "tips"?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fellowship So Deep

Wow - you are getting two posts in one day. God is good and faithful in everything.
The past 10 days have been up and down, horrible, stressful, good, a blessing, just very crazy. I've been faithfully reading in the OT and Psalms, looking for grace.
Tonight - heading into the PM service at Sojourn - a sat down next to a friend and we both sighed on our weeks. God is good even in that.
The first two songs I didn't really know - but I don't have to sing loud every one.
Then, before the sermon - we sang In Christ Alone:
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—Here in the love of Christ I stand
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—Here in the death of Christ I live
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—Bought with the precious blood of Christ
From life's first cry to final breath,Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man... (Those are just some of my fave lyrics tonight). The Getty's are coming in concert - I could hear them 2 nights in a row for free - I think I'll take them up on that!
Daniel preached on Gen 4-11. Sin, Judgment, Grace. Cain, Lineages, Noah, Babel, Abram...
This is what I wrote down with those three words:
Sin: unprotected heart (Prov 4.23), not thinking on truth (Phil 4.8), arrogance instead of love (1 Cor 13)
Judgment: pain, broken relationships
Grace: restoration to Him and others

Gen 4-11 is such a story of grace in a cycle. God favored Cain by letting him live. God favored Noah by putting him in the ark. God favored Abram by calling him out of idolatry into promised blessings.
God favored me by restoring HIS fellowship to me: (we then took communion, sang How Deep the Fathers Love for Us) then finished the service with this Caedmon's song:

For the love that knows no ending, in the wisdom of God's plan
For the light that was descending to revive the heart of man
Christ the Lamb was made to suffer and to die upon a tree
So that we, sisters and brothers, could know His fellowship so deep
Let us sing of our Redeemer and of His love that made us free

And know this gift is ours forever, a fellowship so deep A fellowship so deep
We can feel his love among us; we can sing redemption's song

We can hear the Spirit call us to a place where we belong
For His joy is in our laughter and His comfort in our grief
Let His love here ever after be the language that we speak
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia to the Lamb, alleluia to the Lamb Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia to the Lamb, alleluia to the Lamb

Caedmon's Call can write some songs! Thank for the fellowship restored. Not only to God Himself but also to the Body of Christ. If some of you reading this have no clue what I am talking about - then just go with the broad theme of restoration and healing. If you do know what I'm talking about - thank you. If you know the details of what I'm talking about - thank you for listening and for your grace and wisdom in my life.

Mastercuts Learning

No, I haven't picked up the idea to learn cosmetology. Yesterday, however, I knew it was time to go. No, I have still have to wait a bit to get my hair cut so I can then make it till May when I go to NC. But, I needed to get other grooming done, so I went there.
Sticking with my femininity (of the world, biblical) theme this year...I told the lady waxing my eyebrows that my face felt more feminine when she was done because it was nice, clean, and groomed. I loved it. I felt clean and trimmed. More feminine...(more later).
The lady next to me was getting her hair washed. Hairdressers are often known to be loud and gossip-y. This one was no different. I don't know who she was or even what she looked like (I had my eyes closed). But, she needed Jesus. She was harboring anger and resentment to her son's father and current live-in girlfriend. She kept saying she would never forgive him, bad mouthing him and her. I was just praying to myself that she would see her need for Jesus, come to be able to live an Acts 3.19 life, share her story as a hairdresser with all those people who sit in her chair (like Casey and Kathleen). Lord - whoever she is - heal her heart.
But, ok - back to the feminine. I've been in a funk the last week or so. Just kinda been heart-hurt, critical, eager for things to get back to normal, have that "spunk" back. So many things are going right. I am reading in the Word every night, focusing on grace, but just the attitude hasn't quite been readable on my face. I want to learn to live grace on my face and in my heart (giving, warm, a blessing spirit not a critical spirit) even when things aren't going right. When my heart is hurting. When life is tough. When things don't always go my way. God's ways are so much better!
Anyway...again - keeping thinking about the Word, grace, femininity, selflessness (oh, which I so need work on Jesus).
Thankful for: We sang this song last week at Sojourn and this week at Crossing (an old hymn which I love):

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
Refrain:On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Oh, how perfect timing this hymn the past two weeks in churches gathered.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fun Random Stuff About Me

I don't tag anyone, but if anyone wants to do it - feel free:
Bold the ones you've done:
1. Started your own blog (this one) - and my food one (see right link)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii (amazing!)
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train - in Russia
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon - but training for a 5k
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise (in Greece)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (my satisfaction doesn't come from money)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen - NYC and St. Augustine
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House - Just from the outside
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mercy, Grace, Giving, OT, and "Be Merciful to Me"

Last night I heard a new-to-me song. It is on Caedmon's second In the Company of Angels CD. But, very simple and lyrically rich - thought I would add them here:
Be Merciful to Me - Randall Goodgame

Out of the deep I call,
to thee oh Lord to thee
Before thy throne I fall

Be merciful to me
Be merciful to me
Be merciful to me
Through shadow dark and valley deep
Be merciful to me

From the garden to the cross
Thy mercy did endure
My soul purged of all dross
In blood made pure

Thy mercy lord is true
As ever truth shall be
And still I cry for you
Be merciful to me

Yesterday morning, Dustin preached from 2 Cor 8-9 about giving out of a grateful heart in response to the grace we have been given - in abundance. These were the key words I wrote down: grace (8.1), abundance (8.2), beyond their means (8.3), act of grace (8.6), EXCEL in this act of grace (8.7). These were very convicting to me. "How do I excel in this act of grace?" was my question to myself. The follow-up question to that was "How can my giving out of grace be a blessing to others?"
Then last night the second message from the BC series at Sojourn. I really hadn't seen so much grace in the 3rd chapter of Genesis before. We often hear it as the "First Gospel" or something to that effect, but last night the richness of grace came through. God curses Satan, but as Daniel pointed out - He didn't curse Adam and Eve - He cursed the ground, he said childbearing would be painful, that marriage would be hard, etc. But, he gave us grace. Also, to point out that death is grace. We don't have to live forever in this sinful atmosphere and culture. We can die and if saved only by Jesus - we can be in a perfect place that Matthew West sings so wonderfully about in "There Will be a Day". God is so gracious. I look forward to reading through the rest of the OT this year, then hearing it preached - so I can continue to learn more about grace in the OT. I call it underlying grace.
This song above was pre-sermon at Sojourn last night. I have no right in and of my own merit to stand and even sing with hands lifted to the Holy Creator of Everything God. That alone is mercy because I should receive death. But instead, I can call out to Him, plead with Him to show me mercy - and He gets blessed and He is magnified when I do that (see famous John Piper line).
I left renewed in grace last night. Loved the sermons yesterday that focused on grace.
"Your Sovereign bounty is the spring, where all my blessings flow. My God your benefits demand more praise than I can give." - Maker and My King - Sojourn.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Sojourn Music: My Rock and My Redeemer

This week has definitely been one of ups and down. Came off a great birthday weekend, then work, CG, reading in the OT and Psalms, Gator national Championship, training for my 5k, pilates routines, being tired, getting to bed too late, breaking a small weight plateau, having a messy house b/c of being tired, etc. Last night one of the songs I had put on a CD for my friend and former roomie (and Sooner) came on my iPod while running. LOVE THE SONG! And the Psalm that is comes from...Here you go. Brought to you by the fantastic people at Sojourn off an older album (they are working on 2 Watts projects for 09).

My Rock and My Redeemer:
All I feel is broken, and weary to the bone
I've given up the fight and found I have no strength to carry on
Let me run to you, Draw me close and hold me tight
Be the strength that I don't have, And in my weakness shine

You are my Rock and my Redeemer
My Refuge sure and strong, My faithful loving Father
You are my Shelter in the storm

I find myself a captive, Of the same old tired lies
The ones that say I'm hopeless, Not even worth a try
Let your truth run through me, Set me free I know you can
Take my soul, make me whole
, To seek your face again

Teach me Lord to trust You, Instead of my own strength
To find my worth in Your love alone. And my hope within your grace.

The words in red are the one that have reasonated with me this week. Mostly on Wednesday night after Community Group. To ask God of the impossible, and see it so often not answered in the way I would desire. But knowing and trusting God to be the everlasting incredible gracious and wise Father that He is is sustaining. "To find my worth in your love alone..."
This song can be found on iTunes - it is a great one. Acoustic in style, powerful in words.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

32 Birthday Weekend in Review

God has been extremely gracious to me the first almost full week of 2009. Here is a recap:
New Years Eve my boss let me off early. That was great. Got to cook and prepare for Eddy's Discorama for New Years! What a blast that was. Danced some, watched dancing some (sorta felt like Dancing with the Stars late 70s style), ate some, talked some, had tons of fun!
Slept in on the first and didn't do much of anything - which was very nice!
On the second friends of mine from Flagler paid me a visit on their way back to Northern Indiana. Chuck and I have been friends since my freshman year when we both served on the worship team for the Intervarsity chapter there. Then we had a couple of classes together. Then he met his wife - what a great addition she was. Corrine is a great teacher and very patient. Their kids: Genesis, Ashton, and Gabriel came with. We enjoyed a brunch and tour of Southern before we went our separate ways.
Then I drove to Mt. Washington and went hiking in the Bernheim Forest. My friends, the Dawkinses, went there this summer. Said it was great - minus the ticks. So, I went hoping there would be no ticks - and sure enough, there were none to be found. I enjoyed 2 hikes and loved not hearing many voices or sounds except for the crunching of dead leaves beneath my feet for about 3 hours.
On my way home I went to Kohls (although I didn't find anything), Barnes and Noble and get my two new journals this year (my Biblical Femininity one and one for 2009 on recommendation from Josh Harris). Then went to Cheesecake Factory for my annual piece of cheesecake.
Got home, did some work for church, and went to bed.
Saturday was training, cooking, movie-ing, shopping, then dinner with some professors I work with/for. They cooked me a great "Florida" inspired birthday meal and we played Cranium. It was a blast. I felt very loved! Then the Colts lost - not good. Oh, well, its just football.
Sunday (my actual bday) - I love Sundays as my birthday. I get to worship "gathered" on it. It was my first Sunday serving in a new role, so I got there early, helped with set up, sang along with band practice, then church. Ending the service with "How Can I Keep From Singing" by Tomlin - what an incredible song. Just worshipping with abandon. Great fun!
Lunch with Lilly at Cafe Lou Lou's - that was fun, ending with a great dessert. Then I hung out with Chris and Sarah and Kristin and Jenny for the afternoon sipping tea, coffe, or peach Fresca (imported).
Finally - to end the night with Sojourn Gathered. Love the music - especially "Sovereign Grace O'er Sin Abounding" and "Maker and My King" - great stuff! Taking communion - remembering the grace that has brought me thus far - for a complete 31 years!
God's grace is so HUGE in my life: the ministry He has allowed me to be involved in here, new friends, a great community group, fantastic job and guys I work for, family, financial good in this time of recession, all these things - most importantly - "sovereign grace, o'er sin abounding". As another song says:
"My God your benefits demand more praise than I can give" - Maker and My King - Sojourn.