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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Angels from Heaven - I Want that Job!

Tonight my mind is dwelling on the angels that took part in the Christmas story. Here, read so we are on the same page:

Luke 2:8
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.10 And the angel said to them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!

Tonight I am pondering what it must have been like to be in the angel detail that was assigned to sing for the shepherds. It was the first big announcement of the Messiah's birth - that's pretty big! I don't think any birth announcement has compared since that time. I am sure the angels thought their announcement a lot more fitting than God's choice of birth places for His Son.

So it says that a multitude of angels appeared to the shepherds. I'm not sure what a multitude is in bible terms, but I know it was a lot. No wonder the poor shepherd's were afraid! But what a choir! I don't think you could put a price tag on that front row seat.

Then it dawned on me, the angels were doing what they always did, what they were made to do. They were worshiping the Lord. Sounds familiar, since that is what we were made to do as well. And when I really think about it, I want to worship just like they did, proclaiming God's glory to all who would hear, no matter the number.

I get to join them some day, as will those who know Jesus. What a day that will be, when we step into an eternity of nothing but worship. Makes me a little giddy just thinking about it. But until that day, I choose to worship every day, with all that I am. Join me, won't you?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Health Challenge Update #2

10 days out from Christmas and I thought it was about time to update again on my Holiday Health Challenge. I must say that doing this challenge is not having the out come I expected, so here goes...

On the spiritual front, I find myself NOT hating Christmas this year. YEA! I actually caught myself thinking about all the wonderful things I can get on the 26th to decorate for next year, after it all goes on 75% off! My Christmas decor leaves MUCH to be desired. It is about as old as my oldest child and not at all reflective of who I am any more. I did manage to freshen up the look of the front door yesterday evening with a 50% off purchase at Hobby Lobby. Unfortunately, not before one of my decorating muses dropped by unexpectedly to drop off some Christmas goodies. I just now thought of how embarrassed I am the she saw that nasty old wreath on my front door! YUCK!
True to the challenge, I have been immersing myself in the various aspects of the Christmas story and I really think that has been the key. Remembering the "why" that causes me to do the "what". So, Yea! for that.

Relational is a little bit more tricky. We have managed to have one real live grown up date in the last 2 weeks, which is really good. But date days have gone all to - you know where. It seems the last 2 Tuesdays have been filled with things that take us in opposite directions. I guess there is always next week to look forward to. Christmas Shopping! (no i am not done. ugh!)
On the bright side, I will get to spend some quality time with my oldest, Lauren, as I play nurse after her knee surgery. Working from home is the best!

Health... well - I think is going OK, although I have not been walking like I would like to do. It has been cold and other things seem to have crept up the priority list. (Sorry Holly!) I am hoping, however, that Friday can return to a more normal schedule now that festival is done and surgery will be past. I am happy that I have not managed to gain any "holiday weight" thus far. I am actually down a couple of pounds. Not the 5 I was hoping for, but the season is not over yet. I feel like I have been drinking more water (probably due to having it around during festival for everyone else) so that is another plus. It's not that I don't like water, I just forget to drink it unless it is in front of me.
I will admit to drinking entirely to much DP (yes, there is such a thing as to much) last week, but that and coffee are about the only things that gave me the energy to stay awake all week.

So, all in all - I think it is going well. If you have taken the challenge - how are you doing? post you blog or update link in the comments section so I can see your progress and cheer you on!

10 days to Christmas. YEA!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Power Trip

So today, in my reading, I read about the Wise Men and King Herod. Both examples of men with power but such different ways that power is used.

They say (not sure who "they" is) that knowledge is power, so using that as a premise - I would venture to say that the wise men were probably men in their own right. They obviously had money to give Jesus the extravagant gifts that they brought. They were also well known or esteemed enough that a king would listen to them when they came into his country speaking of the messiah. They also showed that they were constantly listening and watching for words from the Lord. It seems the start they were following at first took a little sabbatical from the sky and them reappeared just when they needed it. Also they were obedient to the dreams that God sent to them when telling them not to return to Herod.

King Herod, probably one of the most powerful people of his time - at least in his kingdom. People feared him and for good reason. He was known for his cruelty. When he was threatened - he just removed the problem, just like he tried to do with Jesus, killing lots of innocent children in the process. NO regard for the hurt it caused others, just get what he wanted at any cost.

Since my brain is not on "fully functional mode" after the Christmas Festival this past week, I may not be looking at this clearly, but when I asked God what he wanted to teach me out of this passage in Matthew 2, I felt like the question in my life that I have to answer is "Whose example of power am I gong to follow with the power the I have been given in my life?" Am I going to be generous and constantly listening for God's direction, or am I going to preserve my "right" to power at all cost, doing detriment to people along the way?

Lord, help me to always listen to you and remember that any position you have given is yours and I should hold it very loosely in my hands!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas - A Season of Giving!

Whose idea was that anyway? To give at Christmas... Well, someone would not have to look very far to find that answer, unfortunately I think most people stop looking and settle at the surface level answers of "because we always have" or "that's just what we do at Christmas." For most in America, Christmas giving has become synonymous with over-spending to over-indulge our selfishness (myself and family included), thought not really being willing to "call the spade the spade."

This year, I seem to have had a bit of a attitude change in this area. With my new found resolution to be in the TRUE Christmas story on a regular basis, I was reminded once again that the original Christmas giving was anything but what we have made it today. Let's work backwards in the story -

The wise men, gave their time and money to obey God and follow that star to the Christ child. They gave their status with King Herod when they chose not to return to him and tell him where Jesus was. One could also surmise that there were some people who thought they were a bit nuts to make a long trip following nothing but a star to find a King. For a "wise man" that was probably giving a little of their pride to follow through with this excursion.

The shepherds, some of my favorite characters because of their zeal in finding the baby, gave their time as well as possibly taking a chance on giving up their income by leaving their sheep to go see this new born baby-king. What would their employer have thought if they found out they left their post? And once again, I think we see the thread of giving up pride emerge, as they ran excitedly and told everyone they met about the baby Jesus. If I were someone on the street hearing their story of Angelic beings serenading and a baby in a manger bed being the messiah - I just might question their sanity.

Jospeh and Mary, where to start with how much they both gave for this first Christmas to happen!?! Thinking about the task that they gladly undertook, not only to fall in line with God's very different plans for their courtship and marriage, but to take on being the parents of God incarnate - now that just about blows my mind! Basicially they gave everything they had to God when they said "yes."

But all of this human giving pales in comparison to what Jesus gave when He left heaven and glory to enter this world of desolate humanity to give all of Himself for us. Talk about something that is mind blowing! When I dwell on how much He gave for little ole selfish, imperfect, can't get it right most of the time, me - I am overwhelmed. I realize afresh how much I not only owe Him, but how much I desire to give everything I have freely to Him. My time, my money, my pride, my life!

As I ask Him to show me today which areas in my life I am not giving to Him fully, I challenge you to do the same. Just as it was not an easy task for the Christmas story characters to give of themselves, it will not be easy to give what He reveals when I ask this question and take time to really hear the answer, but I am willing! Are you? Just think how different the world be if we all gave every part of ourselves FULLY to Him. I pray that you give well and fully this Christmas season. I bet you'll be glad you did!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Update #1 on the Holiday Challenge

Blog post #2 for the day - a true record. Just a quick update on my goals for the Holiday Health Challenge. See previous posts for more on this...

Physical: I only managed to walk 1x this week, but seemed to have dropped about 2 pounds. Yipee!! 3 more to go by New Years.
Spiritual: Have been in the word every day this week and blogged almost every day about what God has been speaking to me. Really cool!
Relational: Christmas decorations around the house are almost completely up (including the outside - which I only do for my kids!) AND... wait for it... I am going on a date with my husband tonight. YEA! I honestly don't think we have spoken 20 word in the last 2 days because we have been like 2 ships passing in the night (quite literally). I truly am lookin forward to some quality time tonight.

So, I think this has been a pretty productive first week. Next week may not look quite as good due to Christmas Festival - but I will strive to stay the course!

How you doin, if you are taking the challenge? Comment and let me know.

Just a Normal Teenage Girl

This Sunday at church we are going to hear the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus. As I sat at rehearsal last night, hearing the drama that will be presented - it struck me a fresh what an amazing story this is.

Just a normal girl, probably about 14 years old give or take a couple years, going about her normal everyday business and then her life changes - BAM! Hey Mary, guess what? You have been chosen to give birth to God! OMW!! I can not really even wrap my head around that. I am trying so hard to get my head around what she must have been feeling. Disbelief, confusion, fear, honor, worship... probably to many emotions to count all at once. Then after the angel leaves, she is left to process them all one by one. How did she tell her family? Her fiance? What would they think? Had she lost her mind? What a conversation those must have been!

At some point, I am sure it settled in that this was real and was happening to her. Resolution took over and the 9 months past. She gave birth in what I guess today would be the equivalent of a barn. Man! I wonder if she ever asked God why He couldn't have given her a better place to give birth to His son? A humble birth place for a humble girl and a God who struggles every day to find a place to stay in our lives.

Then, if all that is not enough, I come at it from the perspective of a mother. How the heck do you "mother" God? I mean really? He created her and she gave birth to him? Nursed him? Dried his tears? Saw him smile his first smile? Take his first step? Skin his knee? Grow up? Knowing all the time that He was no ordinary child. He was the Savior of the world!

I am in awe!

So, I ask myself once again what has God asked me to do for Him. Certainly not anything of quite this magnitude in my eyes, but what about in God's eyes? Has He asked me to do something that will have lasting effects on this world that I may not ever see, but that if I don't obey will have detrimental effects on something or someone somewhere?
- Giving my money that enables His ministry to move forward?
- Going on a mission trip to tell someone about him that may have never heard?
- Being a light that shines right here where I am at to someone that is in darkness?
- Singing my heart out for all to hear my passion for him and praying it is contagious?

Lord show me today what you have called me to and give me the strength to obey. Fully! I am your servant. Give me your eyes to see the world. Use me up for you glory!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Powerful Dreams

Today, in the quest for keeping Christ in Christmas, I read in Matthew about the birth of Jesus. Here is where Joseph and the Wise Men enter the story in detail. Read - Enjoy...

Matthew 1:18
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).
24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife,25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Matthew 2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,2 saying, Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.5 They told him, In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.
14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, Out of Egypt I called my son.

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.
17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.

But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
20 saying, Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead.21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee.23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: He shall be called a Nazarene.

As I was reading this, I was struck by the fact that although it appears from previous reading that the Angel of the Lord appeared to Mary and the Shepherds while they were awake, He chose to reveal Himself to Joseph and the Wise Men in a dream. Why the difference? I don't know!! But it makes me wonder if it wasn't to show us that God speaks to us all in very different ways, none more valid than another.

What made these men pay attention to these dreams and not just chalk them up to a bad pizza before bed? It is not clear in scripture, but I wonder what would have happened if they had not paid attention to these messages from heaven.

I can't say that I have had God speak to me in a dream (can't say that I haven't either) that I can remember, but I do know that I have heard the voice of the Lord in many different ways in my life. How many times have I second guessed what I thought I was hearing from Him? Passed it off as "to weird", "it must be my flesh talkin", or "bad pizza"...

So, once again, how about you? Have you heard Him speak to you? Did you hold on to those words and obey or did you write it off? I pray the Lord NEVER stops to speaking to me, to us, and I that my relationship with Him is strong enough that I will recognize Him when he does. I should be able to tell the difference between a message form God and bad pizza for Pete's sake!

Keep listening. I know I am!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Angels and Shepherds - an Odd Pairing

OK, so today's reading brought me to Luke 2. Probably one of the best known Christmas story passages. One of the things that struck me while reading it again with fresh eyes was the part about the angels and the shepherds. Here, take a minute to read it:

"8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.10 And the angel said to them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them."

So, you're sitting around the camp fire with the other shepherds, havin' dinner and relaxing after a long day of tending to the sheep and all of a sudden this (what I presume to be) huge and menacing angel appears in the sky above you. And to add to the spectacle, "the Glory of the Lord" was there to. Now, I'm not to sure what that means exactly, but if it is the "glory of the Lord" I am thinking about, it is probably the same one that made Moses glow when he saw it - or at least something similar. It's no wonder that the next line was written: " and they were filled with fear."

I think we have become desensitized to the pictures of angels we see in children's books or on our Christmas cards to think they are these beautiful women in flowy gowns with amazing wings and never a bad hair day. On the contrary, they are men and while they still probably never have a bad hair day, every time I remember reading about them it talks about the people being afraid. I imagine they are very are amazing but daunting creature that would set the manliest of men back a few feet. Got the picture in your head?

The scene continues and after the shepherd's have calmed down a bit and can focus enough to listen, the angel brings his message about the birth of Jesus. If all that was not enough to let them know this was no ordinary child, God ups the ante by sending a angel choir to serenade them for a little bit. Talk about an experience. WOW!

So, I am am reading this and I asked myself "why did God choose that particular group to give the news to first?" I think the answer is in the next part of the passage. It says that when the angels left, they discussed it for a few minutes and decided to take a little road trip to see the baby. Now this was not like waiting a couple days after the birth to let the mother recover and bond with her child and then visiting. It says they "made haste", booked it over to the stable to see this awesome baby. Then, they told everyone they came in contact with after that about their experience. Bottom line, I think God chose them because he knew he could count on them to spread the word about His son.

It makes me wonder how many awesome experiences I miss because God knows that I will keep it to myself and not spread the word to everyone I come in contact with or because He knows I will be to busy to notice.

I am quite positive that I would fall into the category of so many before me and be scared out of my wits if a choir of angels decided to give me a private concert. But I'll happily deal with the dear, if it means I shine so much from being in the presence of His glory that I can't keep my mouth shut about it!

Lord, open my eyes to extraordinary experiences from you. Help me to be found faithful enough that you don't pass me by because you know I will keep it to myself. Make me shine so everyone I come in contact with knows I have seen You!

Monday, November 30, 2009

John the Baptist - Again!

John the Baptist has always fascinated me. From before he was born, he was set apart for a purpose. His father was told as told by Luke - "15he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."

He will make ready for the Lord, a people prepared. That is the phrase that suck in my mind this morning. That was no small task! John lived out in the desert, ate a very strange diet of locust and honey and drew large crowds when he spoke about the coming of the Messiah. I mean, seriously, this guy recognized Jesus in the womb for Pete's sake!!

So, I find myself asking 2 things:
1 - Am I "a people prepared" for the coming of my Lord?
Man! I sure hope so. I don't think any of us can be totally prepared for that glorious event. But I am sure trying. I want to be found as one prepared for His coming on the day of His return. I can hear and feel the Lord beckoning me in different areas of my life to get ready for Him. So, I strive to do just that!

2 - If John was set apart for such important work, and God lives ALL of His children, doesn't it stand to reason that He would set us apart for His important work as well?
I believe He does just that. I hope and pray that every day I am doing the work He has set me apart to do. The work I am uniquely equipped for. The work He will have to divert someone else off their task to complete - should I fail. In order to know what that work is, I need to be like John in one very important way. I need to mirror the heart shown in John 3:30 when he said "He (Jesus) must increase and I must decrease." More of you God and less of me!

So today, I ask once again, "What have you set me apart to do today for your kingdom God?" I hope and pray that you ask the same of Him today. Just think what would be accomplished for the kingdom if we all asked that question daily. Imagine what it would look like if we all were "a people prepared" for His coming. Oh, what a world it would be!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Re-Discovering My Merry Christmas

Christmas used to be one of my favorite holidays. I loved the traditions we had as a family like decorating the house the day after Thanksgiving, buying a new ornament each year for each family member to commemorate the year, celebrating the birth of my Lord! Somehow, over the last few years, the joy of this season has been lost and I find myself wanting to "put away" Christmas the day after it is over. What happened to the joy the season used to bring? Well, I think it got swallowed up by the monster that is my work during the season. I began to be so busy with planning Christmas for everyone else at church that I forgot why I loved to celebrate it in the first place. I lost focus on the real reason for the season in my life. I realized recently that it started to take a toll on my family and I have stolen some of that joy of the season from them as well. What a sad thing to admit!!

So, this year I have decided to turn the corner and reclaim the passion for Christmas I once had. I am joining one of my favorite groups of people, at Ragamuffin Soul, in a 30 Day Holiday Health Challenge. This challenge will focus on 3 areas of my life: Physical, Spiritual and Relational. I have selected my goals and hopefully will get some accountability from both them and you by blogging 2x per week about my progress ( or lack there of). So, below are my goals for your viewing pleasure...

Physical - to walk at least 2x per week and drop my last 5 lbs.
Spiritual - Find 3 more life verses to memorize and be in the word EVERY day no matter how "busy" I am.
Relational - to be "off work" when I am off work. I make time to enjoy the holidays w/ my family and date my husband at least 2x. Company party not-included.

If you would like to read more about this challenge and possibly join me, check it out at . Please let me know by commenting if you plan on getting in on the fun! That way I can pray for you as well.

I think the line in Carlos' blog that really got me is this: "You let your serving God replace your knowing God." I must admit that in the busyness of the season at church, I have indeed done that. So this year, I am determined to really KNOWING God this season and not just being busy for Him. He desires my heart a lot more than He desires the checks on my To Do list.

So, MERRY CHRISTMAS season everybody! May the joy of the the birth of our Lord permeate all you are and do this season!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

It is Finished!

I know I probably could have come up with something a little more original, but hey it works as an attention getter. For all 3 of you who are following me... my nemesis - the Creative Coaching assignment video is finished. I have turned it in and will now proceed to move on. YES!

So, I have uploaded it and included the link for your viewing pleasure. Here are some things I learned from the process...
1. A girls has got to know her limitations.
2. A project is much more fun when you do it with people you like to work with ;o)
3. In order to succeed, you must surround yourself with people who know more than you do in areas you are weak. It doesn't mean you get to quit learning, it just means that God made everyone with different gifts and for you to try to do everything yourself is robbing someone else of a chance to share their gift.
4. An artists work will never be perfect or finished in their eyes. Sometimes you just have to say "enough" and hit the send button!
5. Sometimes it is less about the finished product and more about what you learn in the process along the way.

Over all it was not the most pleasant thing I have ever done, or the best art I will ever produce, but I learned a lot and hope to push myself in this area in the future. :o)

HUGE thanks to Joel Quinoes and Matt Bashore Sr. for their help in the production, JT for his amazing spoken word and delivery, Robert Stubbs for braninstorming power, and Holly Abshire for lending her ear while I compained!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Process

If you read my last blog post, you know that I have been assigned a task that I am not good at. I have 4 weeks to become a video producer (from start to finish). If you haven't read it - I'll wait. Go ahead, read it now - if you don't you'll be lost reading this one. (insert Jeopardy theme song here!)

OK, good! You're back. Now back to the subject at hand - becoming something I am not! So, those of you that know me will completely understand (and laugh) when I say that deep within my spirit there is something crying out that this project I am about to embark on has GOT to be USEFUL for something. I mean really, who would take 4 weeks out of their life and go to all the trouble of creating something that will be shown to the 5 other people in my group and then file it away somewhere never to be used again. That is just silly!!

So, that brainstorming begins...
  • How about a modern version of a bible story? I know one of the rules is that it can't be for church, but that is just MY church, right? Maybe when it is done I can sell it on Sermon Spice and some other church can use it. Then it would be worth my time. So, I start to rack my brain for ideas... nothin'. All shot down for various reasons, valid or not.
  • How about a cooking show? Now, what the heck would I ever use that for? NEXT!
  • How about...
  • How about...
...and on it went. All ideas leading to the same place - no where. At least no where that seemed productive enough for me to spend my time on. Frustration and doubt have sufficiently set in at this point. I feel like this is a task I am not equip to do and I am going to fail. And for me - failure is not something I face well.

So, last night as I was discussing my project with some friends, "wisdom" showed up and whispered loudly in my ear (sounding remarkably like an actor friend of mine), "Jan, what if the point is not the end product, but the process itself? What if this whole thing is not about what you learn about being a video guru, but about what you learn about yourself?"

Light bulb!! I get it. At least for me, this whole thing is pushing me to the place that I can see benefit in breaking from my norm, not being afraid to try something I am not good at (yet) and not focusing on what it will be used for in the future.(sigh) It is about taking the walls I have boxed myself in with, that I didn't even know were there, and breaking them down brick by brick until the space around me to create in is wide open. It is about not being afraid to fail at something and just enjoy the ride. It is about seeking out others I can learn from and quite frankly who do some things better than I do!

So - this is me - embracing the process! Unsure of where I will be at the end of it, but grateful for the journey and those willing to take it with me!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Disturb & Disrupt

Not words you normally like to hear, but those are the words we heard on our second Creative Coaching call with Carlos Whittaker. Our goal this month is to get us out of our creative comfort zone and challenge us to dabble in a creative realm that we are not proficient in. In my group, the disruptions of Carlos' choice were Ballroom Dancing, Photography, Illusions (magic tricks) and Video production. I must say - I think I got the short end of the stick on this one, drawing the video production card.

So, I am in need of you help. My assignment over the next 4 weeks is to write, produce and show (probably not the correct terminology) a 5 minute short film with a min. of 3 actors and 2 camera angles. Other than that, the sky is the limit. My issue is not seeing this project in my mind, it is the practical part of actually doing this! Other than giving my opinion on shoots and editing, and a little dabbling in imovie, I really have no idea how to pull this off.

If you have any time to lend your expertise in any of these areas (writing, acting, production, etc.) and would like to do a little creative collaborating - please let me know. The thought of this project is a little daunting, but I am excited about what could be at the other end of the process.

Remember, if you are a creative - disturb and disrupt to get out of your "normal" and enter the next level. Go do something that inspires you today!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rethinking ___________

What does it mean to re-think something? To take a thorough inventory of something, a good, hard, take off the rose colored glasses look, and think through what changes need to be made. At least that's the Jan's unabridged dictionary version. So why would one come to a place that they needed to rethink something? Maybe they, themselves have noticed it is not working or maybe someone else brought it to their attention. Maybe they have experienced a failure and are analyzing why it happened. Maybe they just look at some areas and know they could be better.

In the fall, we are starting a new sermon series called Re-thinking the Truth. We will take 10 truths of the Gospel found in Romans 1-5 and get people to take a good, hard, look at what they may have come to think they know very well. My bet is that most people will find that they don't "know" these truths as well as they think they did. They may not be living them, may not have them ingrained down deep in their soul, so that the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has so permeated their being, that it can be seen in and through everything that they do, say or think. They may be surprised!

Actually, I hope I am surprised too! I hope that even through this service designing process, I am challenged to rethink any area where I have gotten lax, or stale. I hope that my view of what Christ did for me and the truth of that sinks in so deep that it oozes out of every pore. I hope that I wreak of the truth of God in my life! All day, every day in every area.

Even using the word "rethink" is causing me to want to examine some areas in my world. Which ones are where they need to be, which ones need some tweaking, which ones need a giant overhaul. So, off I go on my new challenge, listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and praying that I would be open to rethinking any and all areas of my life - and then strong enough to change.

What about you? What areas, things, ways of thinking do you need to re-think today? May God give you the ears to hear His voice, the eyes to see what He pointing out, and the heart to be obedient to the change. Let His truth go deep in you today and every day!

Oh - and to all you creative peeps out there, if you have any ideas that might fit into the series (dramas, songs, videos, metaphors, etc.) don't be afraid to send them my way!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

7 Word Bio

For those of you that have been anxiously awaiting the revelation of my 7 word bio (& words that sum up who I am and what I do), wait no more! Here it is. Drum roll please (make the sound effects in your head now! ok...)

Service Designer catalyzing a passionate worship revolution.

I am pretty happy with it! Thanks to those who shot me words that I borrowed to create the whole. :o) There you go - me in a nut shell. It was actually pretty hard to come up with one that is EXACTLY 7 words. Why don't you give it a try~

Thursday, July 9, 2009

No more dry bones!

Well, after great anticipation, I had my first Soul Creative video conference today. Whoop! I feel truly blessed (and out of my league) to be in with a group like this. I am the only girl :o) and the only "non-media" creative in the bunch. So, it should prove to be very interesting. Already I can tell this is a group of people that I could easliy have lasting relationship with and learn much from.

Today we talked about God as the Creator. Not a concept I have difficultly wrapping my mind around, but I know some really struggle with remembering that part of Him. We tend to focus on Jesus as Savior and not marvel at His creation or creativity. And, being made in His image - our own creativity. If God created me in His image and he can make all the I can see (and not see) so beautifully and intricately, what can I do with what He has put in me? A bit of a daunting thought. Further more, what if I am not using what He gave me to it's fullest potential?

I feel compelled to ask the question, "God, what more do you have for me? What more do can I do with what I have been given?" Am I asking often enough? Am I stopping to listen for the answer? Probably not, but that is something I intend to change.

If there is one thing that comes form this group, I hope it is that I am confronted more often by them, and you, about pressing in and going for what God has called me to. I don't want anyone to ever be able to say about me that I could have done more or should have done more.

Here I am God! Use me! Make me in to the creative catalyst you have designed me to be. Keep me strong and bold for YOUR glory and fame!

Now, what are you going to do with what He has given you? Feel free to post your thoughts or comments. ;o)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Update on "The Big Day"

Well, after all the anticipation and preparation, the "big day" didn't happen due to Mr. Computer meeting Mr. Floor. (Not mine - Carlos') The bad news is, it was postponed till next Thursday. The good news is, I got my 7 word bio done. However, I shall not reveal it until next week. I love the mystery! (and I might tweek it again. lol)

I did have an interesting thing happen to me yesterday though. I was reading our scripture assignment yesterday morning, Ezekiel 37:1-14. I have pasted it below to make it easy for you to read. I'll give you a minute... (insert Jeopardy theme song in brain now)

The Valley of Dry Bones

37:1 The hand 1 of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and placed 2 me in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones. 37:2 He made me walk all around among them. 3 I realized 4 there were a great many bones in the valley and they were very dry. 37:3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said to him, “Sovereign Lord, you know.” 37:4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and tell them: ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 37:5 This is what the sovereign Lord says to these bones: Look, I am about to infuse breath 5 into you and you will live. 37:6 I will put tendons 6 on you and muscles over you and will cover you with skin; I will put breath 7 in you and you will live. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

37:7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. There was a sound when I prophesied – I heard 8 a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 37:8 As I watched, I saw 9 tendons on them, then muscles appeared, 10 and skin covered over them from above, but there was no breath 11 in them.

37:9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, 12 – prophesy, son of man – and say to the breath: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these corpses so that they may live.’” 37:10 So I prophesied as I was commanded, and the breath came into them; they lived and stood on their feet, an extremely great army.

37:11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are all the house of Israel. Look, they are saying, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ 37:12 Therefore prophesy, and tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to open your graves and will raise you from your graves, my people. I will bring you to the land of Israel. 37:13 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. 37:14 I will place my breath 13 in you and you will live; I will give you rest in your own land. Then you will know that I am the Lord – I have spoken and I will act, declares the Lord.’”

Pretty cool passage. right? It gets better. I was on my way into the office and I heard this song by Evanescense. Lyrics posted below for your reading pleasure. (insert Jeopardy theme song in brain again now)...

Bring Me to Life

How can you see into my eyes
Like open doors?
Lading you down into my core,
Where I've become so numb.

Without a soul,
My spirit's sleeping somewhere cold,
Until you find it there and lead it back

(Wake me up)
Wake me up inside.
(I can’t wake up)
Wake me up inside.
(Save me)
Call my name and save me from the dark.
(Wake me up)
Bid my blood to run.
(I can’t wake up)
Before I come undone.
(Save me)
Save me from the nothing I've become.

Now that I know what I'm without,
You can't just leave me.
Breathe into me and make me real.
Bring me to life.

(Wake me up)
Wake me up inside.
(I can’t wake up)
Wake me up inside.
(Save me)
Call my name and save me from the dark.
(Wake me up)
Bid my blood to run.
(I can’t wake up)
Before I come undone.
(Save me)
Save me from the nothing I've become.

Bring me to life.
(I've been living a lie.
There's nothing inside)
Bring me to life.

Frozen inside without your touch,
Without your love, darling.
Only you are the life among the dead.

(All of this sight,
I can't believe I couldn't see
Kept in the dark
but you were there in front of me)
I've been sleeping a 1000 years it seems.
I've got to open my eyes to everything.
(Without a thought
Without a voice
Without a soul
Don't let me die here.
There must be something more).
Bring me to life.

(Wake me up)
Wake me up inside.
(I can’t wake up)
Wake me up inside.
(Save me)
Call my name and save me from the dark.
(Wake me up)
Bid my blood to run.
(I can’t wake up)
Before I come undone.
(Save me)
Save me from the nothing I've become.

Bring me to life.
(I've been living a lie. There's nothing inside)
Bring me to life

I began to detect a theme for the day. So I had to ask myself, am I dead inside? Creatively dead? A creator made of nothing more than dry bones at this point? If I am honest - I guess I would have to say yes. But the beautiful thing to me is that God knew that even before I did. He sent me this opportunity with the Creative Coaching group, He sent me this Ezekiel passage, He sent me the song. I guess He wanted to make sure I didn't miss the fact that He truly does see me and have a plan for me that quite evidently includes bring brought back to "life". That my friends is truly exciting to me. You have no idea!! I can't wait to see what the future holds. Watch out - the headlines might read:

Creative skeleton brought back to life by breath of God and is loose in a church near you!

Stay tuned next week for other ways Satan is trying to stop this group for being loosed in churches all around the world.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Well... The mentor, hereafter know as Carlos, is back from the Saddleback Worship conference and has hit the ground running at full steam. At 9:24 pm last night I got an email with the details of our first call.

Tomorrow at 11:00 am, I will be embarking on adventure that I hope will prove challenging, rewarding and life changing (no pressure Carlos). I will meet my 4 new buddies face to face (via chat room) and off we go. I did notice in the email that Carlos' job title is "Experience Architect". We really gotta work on mine!! It just sucks compared to his & Blain's. Maybe that is a sign of a progressive church their job titles don't bore you to tears. LOL

Any way, I get to come up with a 7 word bio of myself, no more-no less, yea! And read Ezekiel 37:1-14. We are using a website called tokbox and it is a free video chat dealio. Seemed pretty cool when I was looking around it. Check it out.

Thanks all the update I got for today. More tomorrow after my call. Whoop! Hey, when you read this post a comment so I know I am not writing to myself :0) Thanks!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Let the Journey Begin

Well, Saturday night I got the email with my team assignment. It sounds like, from what little I know already, that I am getting ready to get my butt kicked and will be challenged to new levels I didn't even think possible.

My team mates are:

Blaine Hogan - Chicago, IL
Experience Engineer
Willow Creek Community Church

Jan Touchberry - McKinney/TX
Programming Director
McKinney Fellowship

Jason Widney - Chicago, Il
Media Arts Director
Park Community Church

Kellen Coldiron - Birmingham, AL
Creative Arts Director
Church of the Highlands

Mark Miller - Gilbert, AZ
Media Director
Central Christian Church

I am excited to start this adventure of learning and growing with this amazing group of creatives to fuel and inspired me. Our first "meeting" via video will be next week. Stay tuned for the next update. On my mark, get set, go!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

For H!

1. the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable.
2. Education. a policy of holding schools and teachers accountable for students' academic progress by linking such progress with funding for salaries, maintenance, etc.

I have had many "accountability partners" in my time, but none so faithful as my friend H. Some of you may be thinking, uugghh! Why would I want to be accountable to anyone for what I do or should be doing? I on the other hand actually appreciate this little group of 2 I have found myself in.

H has a special trait about her, a gift actually, that makes her the perfect accountability partner. She is kind and gentle and humorous, and yet gets the job done when it needs to be to hold me to the things I have said I would do. I think this is rare to find. In this day and age (I just sounded like my mother!), I feel like most of us, myself included, can get so self absorbed that we don't take time to think of those that are important in our lives, let alone check in to see if they are doing well on their goals and dreams. I know that this is an area I need improvement in for sure!

There are plenty of references in the Bible that warn us of trying to "do" the Christian life on our own. If left to ourselves, we will surly fail. But the whole iron sharpening iron thing is in there for a reason. (Prov. 27:17) I think it is an example biblical accountability. Making sure that our word is really our word. Something hard to find in most.

I would love to be known as someone that people can take at my word. And so, H is there to hold me to the things that I say and do. Kind of like my holy spirit with skin on.

Thank you H. I appreciate you more than you know!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Embarking on a New Adventure

The quest for knowledge and making ourselves better is one that is ingrained in most of us at some level. I find myself, probably because of my personality, hungry for new things to conquer and learn. If I learn something new every day, I consider it a good day. So, once again I saw an opportunity to grow and jumped in with both feet. I am getting ready to send the next 4 months learning and being pushed to a new level in a group of other "creatives" from all over the country (potentially the world). How excited am I? Dumb question!

In light of this, I have challenged myself with what I am going to do with all this new found knowledge. Besides the obvious answer of becoming better at what God has given me to do for His kingdom, I feel really led to impart what I am learning to others who would choose to absorb what I can give back.

This will primarily take the form of this blog. This in and of itself will be a challenge as evidenced by the infrequent posts in the past, but I am determined to conquer this lack of posting with all the motivation I will have as I go through this process. Who knows, maybe this will become a habit.

Next week I will be getting the syllabus for the course and my assignments and we begin full steam ahead in July. Stay tuned for updates and spread the word to anyone you think might be interested. Hopefully God will use this to grow many for His kingdom purposes.