Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Unqualified on Holy Ground

So, being the curious one that I am, I have always been intrigued by the passage in Exodus 3&4 where God and Moses are having a little chat (via burning bush) and God tells Moses to take off his sandals because he is standing on holy ground. I am not sure I would still be standing after being addressed by a burning bush, but if I was, I would certainly obey!

I haven't done a whole bunch of research on this request, but what I do know is that some scholars believe in ancient times, people used to take off their shoes as a sign of reverence, so as not to bring in the "yuck" from the outside world into a sacred space. Some also think it was a sign of submission since many slaves did not wear shoes. What ever the reason, Moses obeyed - knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was in the presence of the living God. He was looking upon holiness and he did not measure up.

So God and Moses have this conversation. God let's Moses know that He has heard the cried of the Israelites, enslaved by the Egyptians and He is ready to make a move. Just one problem, God was asking Moses to do something he felt totally unqualified for - to go before the Pharaoh of Egypt and ask for the release of his people. (You really should read the whole thing - it is great! Exodus 3 & 4)

I am keenly aware of what Moses must have been feeling during this encounter. Every time I stop long enough to put God in His rightful place in my life and myself in mine, I am aware how much I don't measure up. When I lead worship in more "relaxed" settings, I prefer to do so without shoes to remind myself whose presence I am entering. And, like Moses, I am awed by the fact that the Creator of the Universe has chosen me and set me apart for a special purpose, one that I am most certainly unqualified for on my own. Thankfully, He promises to be with me so I don't have to do it in my own power because I would surely fail!

What makes me sad, is that it seems that most people have no real sense of God's holiness or how honored they should be to be able to have a relationship with Him. They check off church on Sunday mornings like something on a To Do List. They come to worship unprepared to be in the presence of the Lord and not expecting much from their time with Him.

Someday, I will ask Moses about his experience with that bush, but until then I am sure of one thing, he would say that he left that place a changed man. How can anyone be in the presence of the Holy God and not be different from when they entered it?

So as you prepare for checking off church tomorrow, think about this - the Holy God is calling out your name and He wants you to come into His presence so He can talk with you. Will you go in humble reverence? Will you stand in awe of Him? Will you be prepared to hear what He has to say? Will you accept the job He has for you, knowing you will not be alone and that He will guide you and give you the strength to do it?

Come - expecting to be changed!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Name Change & Tattoos

I have been talking about getting a tattoo for years. My kids think I never will. I am still undecided, I guess just not sure I want to make that "rest of your life" kind of commitment to art. I don't really know what that says about me, maybe that I am non-committal or a number of other words people could attach to me because of my actions. I am not sure really like that idea very much. Being labeled because of my actions - hummm... But in reality, that happens to all of us every day. People look at us and our actions, sometimes without having all the information and they assign us a word. Most of the time we will never know what those words are and that is probably good, because I imagine I wouldn't be proud to be labeled with some of them!

This morning I was reading one of the blogs I have on my favorites list and came across an amazing story of a writer who is writing a book but not on paper. She is finding volunteers who are "accepted" into her project and get assigned a word (they have no control over what word they get) and then have it tattooed on their bodies, photographed and logged into the "living book." They are from that point on, not known by their name but by the word they were assigned. If you would like to read the blog and see the short film - click here. But promise to come back.

Now, I am not sure I am brave enough to let someone choose a word, seemingly at random, and tattoo it on my body only to be known by that forever. I think if I am going to be known by something, I would rather have a say in it. I guess maybe that is why I am having such a hard time committing to a tattoo. I am afraid I will pick the wrong thing and at some point in the future - it will cease to define me, and yet will linger as a reminder of what I thought I am.

In Isaiah 62, it talks about receiving a new name that is given directly by the Lord. Take a look:

2The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.5 For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

Oh, that I could have a preview to the name that God has for me. I know he has one. I just pray that it is one I can be proud to carry for eternity because He finds my faithful to Him and the call He has on my life. I would proudly wear that one tattooed on my body! (in a small discreet way of course)

So what about you? What names do people label you with by viewing your actions? What name do you label yourself with? What name will He give to you and will be be able to wear it proudly?

And on a side note - tattoo or no tattoo? :o)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Stand Up and Take It LIke a Man!

I seriously think that Job is my favorite book in the bible. I know, strange choice, but hear me out. Here is this guy who is prosperous on every front of his life. He has money, land and great family. He is looked up to by others in his community. He is an honored man. So much so that Satan begs God to let him mess with Job to see if he is a righteous as everyone thinks he is. Satan's bet is that Job will curse God so he can just die. So, God says "Sure, go ahead. I have faith in my man Job. Do what you will." And off Satan goes to systematically tear apart Job's life one layer at a time. He lost everything (literally!)

Now through all of this, I would say that Job had a very human reaction (understandable in view of what he was facing - I would be right there too.) Actually he had quite the pity party. He didn't curse God. Oh, but he did question him! A LOT! So, here's where it gets good. Around chapter 38, God gets a little sick of the "Oh woe is me" attitude and comes down to have a little chat with Job - from inside a tornado! Hello!! Did you get that part? From inside a tornado!!!!! I think that might have been enough to snap me out of it right there, but God says...

2"Who is this that questions my wisdom
with such ignorant words?
3 Brace yourself like a man,
because I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.

I love that! Brace yourself like a man! We're gonna have a little talk. So, God proceeds to ask Job a series of questions. You really need to read the whole thing, but I will put a few of my favorites here to wet your appetite...

4 "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell me, if you know so much.
8 "Who kept the sea inside its boundaries
as it burst from the womb,
9 and as I clothed it with clouds
and wrapped it in thick darkness?
10 For I locked it behind barred gates,
limiting its shores.
11 I said, `This far and no farther will you come.
Here your proud waves must stop!'
12 "Have you ever commanded the morning to appear
and caused the dawn to rise in the east?

18 Do you realize the extent of the earth?
Tell me about it if you know!
19 "Where does light come from,
and where does darkness go?
20 Can you take each to its home?
Do you know how to get there?
21 But of course you know all this!
For you were born before it was all created,
and you are so very experienced!

OK - I really must stop. But this kind of amazing question (and definite lack of answering) goes on for 2 chapters. Then, in chapter 40 God says,

2 "Do you still want to argue with the Almighty?
You are God's critic, but do you have the answers?"

Job replies with the only thing one could reply with after that... "I got nothin to say!" So, God continues his little question session for ANOTHER 2 chapters and finally (I guess he figured Job had finally gotten the point - thick headed human!) he stops. And Job's reply is where I want my attitude to dwell forever, take a look...

2 "I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you.
3 You asked, `Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?'
It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me.
4 You said, `Listen and I will speak!
I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.'
5 I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.

"Before I had heard about you, but now I have seen you with my own eyes!" How much of our time is spent just "hearing" about the things of God and rushing past them in our busy day? Have we really seen Him? I mean gotten a real good, up close, "Jobesque" view of Him?

Every time I read these chapters I am impassioned again to really see God for who He is and then live accordingly. I know I am only scratching the surface on that in my life, but I long to do better. I want to SEE HIM and KNOW HIM so well that the over flow of that would drive others to search out and find the same. It is only then that our lives have true meaning.

So today, my challenge to you is to "Stand up and take it like a man!" Read through these last chapters of Job and let God ask you the same questions. I bet you will join me in echoing Job's response at the end of it. I pray that you will see and know the magnitude of the God that created you for a purpose and loves you more than you will ever know!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Worship - On Earth as It is in Heaven...

We (McKinney Fellowship) are getting ready to begin a series called The Apocalypse which is a study of the entire book of Revelation. So, I am waist deep in planning services for that series. What a book to foster creative ideas for services!! I am loving it. (If you are a McFBC'r, just a heads up... You won't want to miss any of the 10 weeks! You never know what you're gonna get.)

Today I am working on the service for Revelation 4 & 5, which is the description of the Throne room in heaven and the worship that goes on there. What a scene that is. The colors, the sounds, the creatures, the worship. AMAZING! Here is an excerpt.

Rev. 4:2-8
At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.
3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!

If you have never read the rest of those 2 chapters, I encourage you to do so. I really never tire of reading them over and over. It gives me such hope for what is to come.

As I was reading and looking for music written from the verses in these chapters it occurred to me afresh that this is not a scene that was made up by John or something that will take place in the future. It is happening right now. 24/7/365 All the time these creatures with wings and eyes all over themselves and the elders with their crowns and the thunder and lightening and sea of glass making all of this envelop those in it... it is happening right now, as you are reading this and will continue to repeat itself after you finish. Over and over and over and over into infinity.

The are songs that we sing in church on occasion that are written from the words found here. Agnus Dei, Revelation Song, Holy Holy Holy, and several more. All of these songs always seem to "just work" when we sing them. People engage, they worship. Why is that? What is it about these songs that enable people to worship more fully than with some other songs? Want my theory? (Sorry if you said "no", it's my blog - you're going to get it anyway.) I believe they work because we are joining with heaven in worship of the Holy God that is already going on, has always gone on and will always go on . For just a moment in time, it is on earth as it is in heaven. What a thought that is. I almost can't wrap my mind around it.

I so long for the day I can be in that place forever. Worshipping with every ounce of all I am . So for now, I settle for getting as close to that as I can as often as I can for as long as I can. How about you? When is the last time you entered in to the throne room and spent so time casting your crowns down and worshipping your maker? Join me - won't you? Click here, close you eyes and just worship!


Friday, January 8, 2010

The Power of Social Media

Yesterday a friend to me I have been a "blogging fool" lately. I guess he was correct. It seems that God is re-igniting within me the desire to speak the things he is laying on my heart. I have wondered (and been asked by many) for the last 4 years or so why I have not written any songs. My answer has been that it seemed to me God had put that part of me to sleep for a while. I am not sure why, but I think it has been awakened but not to write songs - I have tried, they are not very good! I think God has awakened it to write this blog and share what He is saying to me using the social media outlets available.

Last night I missed a very powerful experience via the Internet and my heart breaks that I could not be there (funny to even say "be" there since it was taking place virtually.) My friend and mentor, Carlos Whittaker ( held an on line prayer service. I have taken part in one of them before and it is amazing. We spent 3 hours praying for requests that had been sent in via twitter, facebook and tokbox (so we could see Carlos.) I could have prayed another 3 hours I think.

Well last night, he and some others organized a prayer vigil for a little girl named Kate McRae who is suffering from brain cancer. I have been following this blog for the last 6 months and it has deeply affected me. ( Yesterday, Kate and her family received news that her tumor was not gone after months of treatment. I can not imagine the devastation they must feel. But the CHURCH united from across the world to pray for this little girl and her family in a way that will not soon be forgotten. People were asked to stretch out their hands to their computers to cover this hurting family and lift them up to Jesus - the Great Physician. The picture above is a capture of multiple screen shots.

This morning I in my reading plan, I continued through the book of Job. How this family must be able to identify with this book. The difference is that instead of being shunned by people and chastised by friends for the sin that MUST be present for such a thing to happen (like Job), this family is being lifted up by literally millions of people that they do not know. I am sure that what took place last night warmed the heart of God.

So, this morning, in going through my 21 Days of Prayer guide on You Version (, I came across this verse that I will commit to memory:
2 Corinthians 2:14
But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.

This verse renewed my passion to write about the knowledge of Him. My Jesus. My Savior. The one who heals lives. I want to spread the fragrance of knowing him to everyone who will listen. May it smell sweet and draw others to Him.

I might just hold a online prayer vigil myself. Want to join me? Leave me a comment so I will know who to contact about it!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Job, Prayer and Avatar

Yes, in my mind these things have a connection. Let me try to connect the dots for you. Read on...

Today in my bible reading I read in Job 11:7-9 these words said by Job's friend Zophar: "Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven--what can you do? Deeper than Sheol--what can you know? Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea."

I continually resonate with this way of thinking. Who am I to think I can even scratch the surface of understanding God? (Zophar goes on to say that "even a wise man will only understand God when a donkey colt is born as a man." He's one funny guy!) But back to the point, I can't hope to understand the ways and thoughts of God without His revelation of that to me. And I can't hope to gain any kind of revelation without a relationship with Him. I can't build relationship with Him if I don't communicate with Him and that can't be done without prayer.

Now here is where Avatar comes in. Late in the movie the main character, Jake Sully, goes to the god of the people he is among and endeavors to communicate with this god he does not know. (Prayer) He even starts out his conversation by saying "I'm probably just talking to a tree right now, but I have to try, so here goes." He then, with no particular form or fancy words, makes his petition to their god. (SPOILER ALERT) At the end of the movie it becomes very evident that Jake's prayers were answered and his understanding of his new god grows and the battle is won.

How like Jake Sully are we at times. Struggling to communicate with something we can not possibly understand because it is beyond us in our humanness. And yet, we push forward and press in because we know that it is what is needed to gain understanding and build relationship.

So today, I renew my resolve to push forward and press in to the one true God. The one who really hears and answers prayers. The one who goes before me and wins battles. I desire my understanding of who He is to increase everyday, so I read His word and I talk to him "without ceasing" with no particular grace of formality and yet with enough understanding of Him to have a proper fear and reverence.

Lord, make yourself known to me in new and mighty ways today so that I am able to make You known to those around me. Increase my understanding of who You are. Cause me to yearn to be in communication with You all the time. Open my eyes to see the tiniest ways You are at work today and every day and help me to be able to join you in that work. Let me not get so busy with my "to-do" list that I miss the seemingly small yet amazing ways you reveal yourself to us.

So, have you read about Him today? Have you talked with Him today? Take some time and do it now. It really will make the rest of your day work a lot better!!! And feel free to join me for the next 21 days, praying for His mission. Get more info here:

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Thoughts from the book of Job

So this year I decided to read through the Chronological bible reading plan. Something I have never done before is always good! Today's reading plunged me in to the book of Job. I know the story well, but in reading it afresh, something popped up that I had not seen before. It said that Job's kids got together and had a lot of parties and when they were done with each round of partying, Job would consecrate them before the Lord - "And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus Job did continually."

Interesting to me that Job would bring offerings before the lord for the actions of his children. I guess in the old testament, offering sacrifices on behalf of others was acceptable - even common practice.

Anyone want to comment on that? Anyone who knows more about it than I do?

Maybe it is no different that Jesus being offered up on our behalf. Thank God for His sacrifice for my sin.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sometimes there are just no words...

Tonight I am using this blog to process. I just finished watching a movie that I can't quite wrap my had around, "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." If you have not seen it, I will try not to fill this with "spoilers", but I can't promise totally.

In short, the movie is about a family whose father is a Commandant in Hitler's army and is put in charge of one of the concentration camps during the war. The son (Bruno) is a self proclaimed adventurer and when exploring stumbles across the barbed wired, electric fence that keeps the people in the camp. He makes friends with a boy his age and visits him on multiple occasions. The movie depicts the harsh reality of a part of war we all wish to forget about and the sweet innocence of childhood to quickly lost.

I began to think about all the horrible things that went on during that war and how many people just turned their heads to it all or worse yet, thought they were doing the "right thing." It seems almost incomprehensible to think about the atrocities that were committed against the Jewish race during that time. And yet, to God, what happened then is really no worse than any sin I commit on a daily basis. Watching that movie gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and it made me think about how sick my sin must make God.

Viewing my sin through that lens makes me so thankful for God's grace. I can only say that this was a fresh reminder of who I am without Christ and who I am becoming in Him. Thank you Lord!

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 - Here's to Another "Do-Over"

Happy New Year! These words roll around once every 365 days and with them comes the feeling of something new on the horizon. What will the new year hold? As I scrolled through my Facebook news feed today, I find it full of new year's resolutions - things that people will try to "do better" this year. A "do-over" if you will. The thought process is good - "here is where I see the need to change or doing something better in my life, so I resolve to change it this year." Nothing wrong with that.

I to have made made a new year's resolution over the years, and probably not kept any of them for more than a couple months. I guess maybe there are some people in the world that have actually had the discipline to keep their resolution, I just am not one of them. It is a fatal flaw I suppose. So, as I welcome 2010, I ask myself will I once again make new year's resolutions and this morning I feel like the Lord gave me a bit of clarity on the matter. In stead of make a resolution to "read the bible in a year" or "exercise 3 times per week" or some other all to familiar resolve, I feel called to make daily resolutions. What does that look like? I'm glad you asked! Read on...

As I was once again starting my journey to read through the bible (this time chronologically), I felt the Lord gently remind me that I am not promised a whole year and I need to be making the daily resolution to follow the plan He has laid out for me each and every day for as long as He sees fit to give me breath. I need to go to Him each and every morning and ask what His plans are for me this day, and then do my best to resolve to follow that plan.

I actually am very excited about this new way of thinking because WHEN i fail (which I will do because I am human), I don't have to wait till the dawn of 2011 to get another "do-over." I will have one the very next day.

So - Here's to 2010 and 365 "do-overs." May you take full advantage of each and every one to make Jesus' name famous in the world He has given you to have influence in. And if you think you have no influence in your world, that is the place you should begin today. Ask Him where He wants you to work for Him today.

Happy New Day!!! Now go do it!

Lamentations 3:22-26
Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish,for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say: The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good to wait quietly for deliverance from the Lord.