Saturday, February 28, 2009

life is NOT a musical!!

I can't help noticing a rising trend in today's entertainment industry. Ever since the release of High School Musical back in 2006, we've seen an increasing interest in movies where people randomly burst into song. I will openly admit that I've seen all three movies in the High School Musical trilogy and my point is only further reiterated: no one resides in such an environment where it's normal to start singing out of the blue. Not only that, others will most certainly not join in and sing/dance to the tune that apparently is only playing inside your head.
Nick finally decided to cash in on this fad with a movie they premiered earlier this month, Spectacular. Though with a different plot line than the Disney films, one can't help but see similarities. However, despite the unrealistic idea of a musical, the movies do promote some good themes such as standing up for what you believe in, working together as a team and doing the right thing, even if it's unpopular - all important to instill in a impressionable tween.
While I'm hopefully not sounding as though I'm against these movies, because I'm not, I'm just saying I wonder how many teachers will attest to the face that their classroom has been disrupted by one or more children singing and dancing their favorite number from these movies? I'm just saying...

Thursday, February 26, 2009


This week has been...interesting but in an amazing kind of way. God has been opening doors for me and I'm to the point of just trying to catch my breath. It's as though God is showing me He does hear me (because there have been times I've felt as though my prayers don't quite reach His ears) and I'm excited at how these opportunities will play out.

So this morning I was getting ready for work and realized I ate my last poptart yesterday. I like a grab-and-go breakfast because I can eat in the car. Not able to enjoy my strawberry pastry topped with frosting and sprinkles, I opted for some Fig Newtons (not nearly as tasty).

When I arrived at work and walked through the door, one of the girls immediately told me they had all provided breakfast - biscuits, doughnuts, fruit, and orange juice. Maybe it was just a coincidence but I can't help but wonder if it's not God showing me in yet another way that He knows my needs before I do and will provide. I'm so glad He doesn't get tired of having to find new ways of demonstrating His love for me :-)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

sway, clap, sing (repeat)

One of my goals for this year is to boldly say yes to whatever opportunities God might place before me. I don't want to miss out on anything that could result from obeying by deciding to play it safe and promise myself that I'll say yes "next time." I was tested in this decision Sunday morning when one of the guys in the choir tracked me down, declaring there had been a "state of emergency" issued and all those in the choir were to find someone to sing that morning as well. Apparently the majority of those that usually grace the stage were sick, leaving lots of empty spaces - thus the "state of emergency." My first instinct was to say no but I couldn't ignore what I'd set out to do this I agreed. To say I only wanted to blend in would be hard to believe since almost everyone had on black and me? Yes, I was wearing pink.

Walking on stage, I was a little nervous, wondering what on earth I'd agreed to. Backstage, the choir director prayed and made some reference to helping those who were stepping out of their comfort zone. The girl beside me and I both started snickering since he was, without knowledge, referring to us. As we shuffled around in the choir loft, making room for everyone, it was cool to see the congregation from a different perspective. Once the music started, I had to try to juggle swaying, clapping and singing all at the same time (not as easy to do when you're not used to having lights and eyes on you). But it was a good experience. Will I do it again? I'm not sure but I don't think it's completely out of the question.

Let me wrap up the story by saying that yesterday I received a call from a school I had applied to substitute teach at. Is there a connection to me singing in the choir and the phone call? I don't think it was a coincidence. I think it might just be a little surprise, if you will, for saying yes to God.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


“Yes, our God, He is a consuming fire
And the flames burn down deep in my soul.
Yes, our God, He is a consuming fire
And He reaches inside and He melts down this cold heart of stone.”
- “Consuming Fire” by Third Day

Hebrews 12:29 says that God is a consuming fire.

Webster’s defines consuming as “very intense” or “to devour.”

A consuming fire is one that ravages whatever it touches; nothing is left unscathed. The flames stretch upward, seemingly forever, as they lick and sputter. The heat emanating from the flames is unbearable. Even standing a safe distance away, the heat is smothering, settling like a heavy blanket.

Keeping this image in mind, think about God. When we experience God, even obtaining just a taste of His presence, it’s as if that same fire is ignited within us. As we press in deeper, the fire blazes hotter and hotter, the flames spreading into every part of us until we’re consumed with it. The heat melts away all impurities, leaving only a heart hungry for God. When a fire touches something, it’s never the same; it’s forever altered. When God invades us, we’re never the same – we’re forever altered.

Friday, February 20, 2009

eternal vibrations

I wanted to further my thoughts from yesterday. One other key point that was brought up in the message Wednesday night is if you had thirty days to live, would you begin to regret more? Would you begin to treat those around you differently, knowing how little time you had left? Edwin Hubbel Chapin once said, "Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity." Every action, no matter how important or seemingly insignificant has the potential to either affect only you or countless others as well. If you did have only thirty days, wouldn't you strive to make every action touch someone else?
It can be so easy for us to let such a concept feel overwhelming and therefore we do nothing to change our lifestyle. It's by acts of random kindness (ARK - Evan Almighty) that we can begin to slowly take the focus off us (since we do tend to be a little self-centered) and onto others. Instead of such a task seeming daunting, we should let it challenge us to each day, find creative ways to touch someone else. It is then that we are SPENDING our time instead of merely LIVING it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

30 days

If you had thirty days to live, what would you do? Such a simple question but also difficult just the same. This was the topic in my youth ministry last night and the guy speaking challenged all those listening to not LIVE each day we have but to SPEND it. The difference is that by living, we're focusing on us and what we can get out of everything. By spending, we're investing in other people's lives so that when our time is up, we'll have made a difference in our corner of the world.
I think all of us want to be remembered for something but the question is what? Do you want to be remembered for accomplishing some great feat (think Guinness book) or for doing something that makes an eternal impression like leading someone to the Lord? All of us have a choice as to how we'll use the time we're given; either to live it or spend it.
This song is called 'Legacy' by Nicole Nordeman. It talks about living a life that's focused on more than just earthly goals but striving for eternal ones as well.

Friday, February 13, 2009

perfect fit

I read a blog the other day that I both liked because of the point brought up but didn't like for the very same reason. The topic was about this girl wanting a boyfriend but currently still single and her resolve to wait on God because He'll work it out in His time. The illustration she used was that of going shopping with her mom in search of a jacket. Finding what she feels is the perfect one, her mom firmly shakes her head, insisting they keep looking. It all boils down to not going with the first thing she sees but continuing to look until she finds exactly what she's looking for - not settling.

I think this same principle can be applied to anything we're believing God for. Anything that requires us to say, "Ok, God. I believe this is in Your plan for me and I'm giving it to You." And then we have to partake in the difficult task of releasing control and letting God work things out according to His timetable. What's the alternative? Ending up with a jacket that we either are only semi-satisfied with or waiting until we find that jacket that is just absolutely perfect...for us (please don't fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others because we all have a different path God has placed us on). Yeah, I think I'll go with the latter.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

#2 approval of others

“Life. Now.” Chapter 2 – What If No One Claps For Me?

The second obstacle that we must overcome in order to go after our dreams is the realization that we can’t please everyone and we have to do what’s right for us and not let what others think keep us from moving forward. Part of this is being able to just say no. We can’t be afraid of disappointing others that we are constantly trying to appease everyone. “We need to be comfortable outside of other people’s approval. Because if we choose to pursue our dreams and get from where we are to where we want to go in life there is a guarantee that other people’s approval isn’t something we will always have.”

The authors stress the point that we must stop feeling as though we need permission in order to say no. “We do not need to raise our hands and ask for permission before doing something like pursuing our dreams and what we honestly believe to be God’s will for our lives.” One of the key points from the chapter is that in some instances, approval from others can’t be taken as a sign that we’re making the right choice. “What we need to realize is that the approval of other people doesn’t always serve as confirmation that we are headed in the right direction. Many times the approval of others stands in stark contrast to the approval of God.”

The end of the chapter talks about how it’s sometimes in unexpected moments that we taste glimpses of our freedom. One choice leads to another until we begin living a lifestyle of not letting what others think weigh us down and influence our choices. The last sentence inspired me and I want to end with it: “You are on the verge of your emancipation. Step forward with boldness and embrace it – now.”

Thursday, February 5, 2009

final answer?

Q. What's your favorite thing about God's love?

A. Um...

A certain singer for our amazing youth worship band, Pursuit of Red, was running around the Student Center last night, asking people this very question. Admittedly when she came to me, I couldn't come up with an immediate response. It's kind of like, on a much smaller scale, being asked to describe the U.S. Where do you start? I mean, there's fifty very different states that comprise the country so how would one begin to explain such a vast subject? I think it's the same way with God. There are so many aspects to God and He's so...God, that to readily be able to answer the favorite thing about His love is difficult.

I ended up giving an off-the-wall response because she already had the standard answers and wanted something a little different. Yet the question still begs to be answered. What is YOUR (all those who may read this) favorite thing about God's love? Is it the fact that He loves us regardless of our mistakes or the fact that we'll make more mistakes? Is it because though we have done nothing to deserve His love, it's there for us? Is it because, as a sign of His great love, He sent Jesus to become our pathway to salvation? Is it because when you're going through a storm and it's raging on all sides, you can seek protection in His love? I don't think we're fully able to process the extent of His love, thus making it hard to be able to explain. It's hard to describe something that you yourself don't fully understand. All we have to know is that His love is there and yeah, it's pretty awesome :-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

roll with it

I had a very recent experience in a lesson on not freaking out when things don't go as you plan. Leading up to this event, I had spent a lot of time in preparation making sure I had everything I would need only to have all of that work go straight into the trash can as I had to improvise. I was driving home after the event trying to not feel frustrated that things had taken such a sharp turn. To put so much effort into something only to have it not go anything like you thought it would can make you want to stop trying so hard. Why invest the time and energy only to have it fall apart (I hope I'm not sounding too dramatic or negative - I'm ending on a positive note).
I finally realized that even though things didn't follow the exact plan I had wanted, the whole thing was behind me. I was nervous going into it because I didn't know what to expect but I can now be better prepared for the next time. I think if we look at things through the scope of "Oh, I'm not going to even bother trying next time since it blew up in my face this time!" or "What's the point?" then we're going to walk away not learning anything. I think in every experience we have we should find at least one positive thing to take away from it. By doing that, I can say, "Well, things didn't go like I wanted but I survived (if only you knew the details :-)."
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is about Joseph. His brothers sell him into slavery and he ends up working directly for Pharaoh and overseeing the rationing of food for the famine. His brothers come to him (after 10 - 15 years), not knowing the man before them is their brother from so many years ago. After a bunch of drama involving a silver cup and several treks back and forth, Joseph tells his brothers that what they meant for harm, God turned around for good (the exact reference escapes me at the moment). Life is full of the unpredictable but if we make the decision to find the positive amidst the chaos we'll be able to roll with whatever is thrown at us.