Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Free Ben And Jerry's Day

I don't even know how blessed I am most days. But today I finally realized it - at the end of the day - while sitting down catching up with my roommate, Liz. I thought, ya know, she brings such joy and sound counsel to my life. And she brings out the best in me. She accepts me with my flaws and continues to loves me without giving up. She's willing to have the hard conversations with me too. It's hard to find friends that true in today's world.

I don't know where I am going to live come July, but I can think of plenty of friends I'd like to live WITH. Liz and I talked about how it's definitely more ideal to have an even number. Funny thing is, I've always had the three thing going on, even right now. It can be a problem sometimes, as someone inevitably feels like the outsider.

Something interesting is that lately God has given me much more confidence in being a leader. I got elected for VP of the VA Employees Association and accepted that position although it was a bit scary to me. I started discipling someone this year (not having a clue what I was doing), and am now starting to see the fruit of that as Maegan is totally going deeper with God and praying with coworkers and getting over fear of sharing Jesus with people and I'm not even totally over that either! Thank you Lord for using imperfect vessels. It's so awesome! And yet...I'm still afraid of being in leadership. The thought of leading a lifegroup makes me anxious. Sometimes I think I don't have the right personality for it. Other times I just doubt my abilities or feel there's someone more capable to do the job. But Jesus, I can do all things through the strength you provide. Show me how I can be a leader and when is the proper time for me to be raised up. Show me the areas you want me to step out in and give me the faith to do it. I don't want to miss out or sell myself short. I'm noticing that all the people I admire have taken the bold, non-easy route. They have sacrificed somewhere along the way to get to the good stuff.

During the last part of Elevate, we had our first real team meeting for the Indonesia trip (I'm going to East Java, Indonesia in June for 2 weeks to share the gospel with Muslims there and hopefully see house churches planted). Our group is pretty stellar! We had a powerful prayer time last night. God gave me a picture as I was praying of a dam. God said that he is sending us to this country to remove the barrier (dam) so that the knowledge of Jesus, salvation and love of God can rush like a tidal wave...like a tsunami!!...into Indonesia. Or if you prefer a volcanic reference, the face-melting power of God is going to erupt all over the islands of Indonesia! haha.

Shoan shared some really good scriptures to get us fired up. Here's a few:

"...but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

"And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people." (Acts 6:8)

"God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out." (Acts 19:11-12)

Jesus, I want to see your miracles! Even in Waco, TX it can happen. And does. There are weekly testimonies of God moving. Healing, restoring, providing, empowering. He is for us! He is for YOU!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

His Worth-ship

So two of my natural giftings are MUSIC (singing and piano mostly with a little clarinet in the mix and a few months of guitar) and HOSPITALITY (the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way)

What's neat is how God is highlighting both of those individually and even as a pair.

I love to worship God!! It is in that place, where there are melodies and heart cries and praise and humility and adoration, where I truly connect with God. Worship has the potential to bring people before God, and worship leaders, like doorkeepers, assist by standing at the door and welcoming people into God’s presence.

So it's a fusion of hospitality and worship leading. Coolness.

I feel like God has called me to both. And specifically I want to focus on worship leading. I want to learn more about chords and I want to resume practicing the piano. I want to write my own songs. Bummer is that I don't have those 88 keys at my immediate disposal. I went to Baylor's Music School the other day and wandered around until I found the practice rooms. It was so fun to revisit old songs I used to play and come to grips with the rusty but alive musician inside me. I left with a big smile on my face knowing that I want to pursue music for the rest of my life in some fashion.

Over the past week, God has really been highlighting that desire in me and it has been coming up a lot! He's been getting my attention :). Sunday's sermon last week at the Encounter service was on the subject of ANOINTING. I still don't know much on this topic, but one thing that struck me is that God has anointed ALL OF US with unique giftings and things that he has prepared in advance for us to do. Everyone wants an awesome spiritual gift or two. Something they feel they are naturally wired for and can use to support the church. While some mentioned in the New Testament are healing, wisdom, discernment, speaking in tongues, etc...Paul says we are to desire prophesy above all other gifts. But why do we desire these things? Why does God want to deposit his Spirit in us and work it out in various manifestations? I am convinced it's not to puff us up and give us a big head, but to edify others. Our anointing is not to be hoarded. It's not to be left undiscovered either. Therefore, if I have a voice, I do not use it to gain approval from men, but to glorify what God himself has given me, and to ask God how he wants me to use that gift...i what capacity. I learn about that gifting and step out now where I am even if I feel like it's insignificant or I don't know enough about it.

I am learning that worship is an offering and that each day, what I bring into his presence and what I leave with is not the same. When I have truly met with God, I know it. It can look so many ways though. There are times of joy in the Lord, and I can dance and sing loudly, even laugh! There are times where I can't help but be still and let his presence saturate every fiber of my being. When he calms the storms in my heart and brings an incredible peace. Then there are times when God is stern and reminds me of my sin. I am led to repentance and needing to get low before God and then I might be on my knees or even prostrate on the ground. Mostly in the Old Testament when they worshipped, they immediately fell flat on their face when they encountered the holiness of God. I believe that what we do with our bodies affects our souls. Just like what we declare with our mouths bears such a connection with our belief system. So it's good to thank God for his goodness and faithfulness OUT LOUD. There is no power when we just have a fleeting thought of thankfulness and we quickly move on with no expression of that gratitude.

It's so awesome when I feel like God is speaking clearly on something! On Monday (next day), Anna called me right before class (Elevate) and asked if I wanted to help lead worship with her (me singing, her playing guitar). Of course I was delighted! It went really well and God's presence was there...along with his grace since we didn't get to practice!

Then, God spoke again by arranging for our speaker that night to be none other than James Mark Gulley, who is our amazing worship leader for Sunday morning services. I've never heard him speak, only sing and play! But he had such a stellar message about "Normal Worship." I liked what he said: "How we worship should ask God the question, 'What would make you happy?' NOT...'What would make me feel most comfortable?'"

God has created us to be worshippers through our words, emotion, expression and lifestyles. Whether we direct that devotion and love towards him or other things/people is our choice. But we have to be ACTIVE. Another JMG quote, "IF YOU DON'T ACTIVELY GIVE GOD THE GLORY FOR THE GOOD IN YOUR LIFE, YOU WILL PASSIVELY TAKE ALL THE GLORY FOR YOURSELF." Soooo true. This is crucial for when we feel like we are getting good at our giftings!

I want to sing like I'm saved, dance like I've been set free, weep in his mercy and clap my hands with all of creation in order to show God that he is worthy and that I need him desperately! He will ENCOURAGE ME when I seek his face.

The Christian faith is not just a slow dance with God. He doesn't want our same bland offerings. He wants our renewed passion. Just like in a marriage.