Friday, March 31, 2006

Gin and Bitterness

What I'm listening to: Reindeer Section's You are My Joy .

Don't get the wrong idea by the title of this post - I'm not a Gin drinker. Actually, I'm not a drinker. But that's irrelevant for the sake of this post.

But I am bitter.

Stanley Richards can write about how the two go hand in hand until he's blue in the face for all I care. But the fact remains for me: I let myself get bitter.

Not in that "I'm so mad at the world I refuse to shower" way or the "Chasing pills with Tequila" way or even the "I hate all people, especially men" way. It's none of those, in all honesty. This bitterness, however, has taught me a valuable lesson. But I don't think I will share that lesson with you tonight.

The fact is, everywhere I turn I get a "message" or "hint" to confront a person I don't want to confront. It's not my place to confront this person, I say to myself. It wouldn't matter if I tried anyway, I think. It will make me feel stupid and vulnerable and weak, I admit.

But what does Jesus say about this? Matthew 5: 23-24 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." Doesn't seem fair, does it? Why should the one who's been wronged have to face more potential hurt and humiliation be required to take the first step? We've all had experiences where we were up-front and honest with someone who hurt us and they in turn shake their head in wonder and say things like "You really over-reacted" and "I had a right to say those things" and my personal favorite "I didn't do anything wrong." (I've heard that a few times too many).

But by me thinking (and feeling) this way, am I am completely and totally self-righteous? By proclaiming my hurt, am I in some way saying that I am better than they are, just because they hurt me?

I won't leave you out of my will
But I will leave you out of my mind
for now

I won't be there to break your sweet heart
But not being there might break your sweet heart
You are my joy

If I could cradle you into my arms
I would cradle you tight in my arms

So don't be scared of all the hurtful words
Cause in the end they'll hurt themselves much more
You are my joy.

Listen to You Are My Joy

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I dislike books that are in a series (very much so)

What I'm listening to: Mainstay's Well Meaning Fiction

... but I will recommend this one. I haven't read the other two yet (I'm just barely finishing up this one) and as much as I hate reading books in a series, I may have to continue with this one. We'll see.

I'm not a fantasy/science fiction sort of reader. Never been my thing. This book has a lot of that and more, yet it kept my attention despite the "fuzzy white bats" the "glowing trees in red, purple and yellow" and the "naka fruit". Intrigued? Well, read it. It won't take you long. It's not a mind bender, but an entertaining read full of imagery and imagination. Blink is one of my favorite fiction books, so a friend gave me Black for Christmas. Interesting stuff.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Snow, Snow, Snow

What I'm listening to: KLOVE on my iTunes

So I walked to work today. That was interesting. Nearly two feet of snow and only two people bothered to scoop their sidewalks. So I spent most of the time walking in the middle of the street (not at all dangerous considering how this town is notorious for it's crazy drivers). I mean, I know Americans are stereotypically lazy, but come on. How much does it take to scoop your sidewalk? I don't know about you, but I'd rather scoop 8" twice than 19" once. But that's just me.

But I can't help it. I spent a good portion of yesterday looking out the window with a smile on my face. I love snow. The way it changes the brown landscape into the magical beauty of sparkling white wonderland. Call me a freak if you want, but snow makes me smile like nothing else. It's God's reminder that he can beautify even the most barren land. The world changes when it snows. We pull together to dig each other out. We laugh and joke about survival of the fittest. We shake our heads in wonder as the awning on a downtown furniture store collapses under the weight of this wet and heavy white beast. (Which actually did happen yesterday. Poor awning.) Children relish the day off and the chance to make snow angels and have a snowball fights while it's still daylight.

What a joy it is to have snow.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Speaking of smiles...

This just made my week.

Jessica Simpson snubs President Bush

What I'm listening to: Dvorak (New World) Symphony

Monday, March 13, 2006

How can I not share this?

What I'm listening to: ABBA's Gold (and I'm not afraid to admit it!)

It's hilarous.And I swear it has nothing to do with me being a Mac person.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Being Someone Who Matters

"Why would you want to spend your life where you aren't needed?"

A typically thoughtful question from a man known for well, his thoughtful and stirring questions.

Earlier this week, my friend Angie mentioned one acceptance speech stuck out to her as she watched the Oscars - Reese Witherspoon's. At one point, Reese said "People used to ask June [Carter, the character she played to win Best Actress] how she was doing, and she used to say -- "I'm just trying to matter." And I know what she means. You know, I'm just trying to matter, and live a good life and make work that means something to somebody." And Angie realized that's all she wanted, too.

I'm afraid that we sell out comfort for fear. I'm afraid that we choose complacency instead of a passionate life devoted to Christ. I'm afraid that people are so worried about how hard their life could be that they just settle for what they can get. I saw that in Angie eyes as she confessed she just wanted to matter. She just wanted a passion and direction. She's happy; I so see that in her, and she told me as much. But as I prayed with her and asked God to stir her heart and help her find the purpose he has waiting for her, her tears told me she was longing for something better. Something less comfortable. Something she could pour her heart into.

I've so been there, Angie. We all have, haven't we? The desire to want more than this life is simply a God-shaped hole in us, that tells us we are meant to live for more. But we lost ourselves in a valley of consumerism (even Tony thinks so). Our past failures, no matter how small, have broken us. And we've withdrawn to a place where there is no risk. We surround ourselves with things that inspire our safety, but don't inspire our hearts. We believe this God-shaped hole is about us longing for heaven, but I don't think that's the only thing we should long for.

I believe we should long for God to do a good work in us, a work that matters, a work that lets us be his hands and his feet on this earth. Let's not spend time investing in heaven. Let's spend time investing on helping people on this earth get to it. It may not be comfortable or easy, but at least it matters.

Welcome to the Planet
Welcome to existence
Everyone's here
Everybody's watching you now
Everybody waits for you now
What happens next?

I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened before

Welcome to the Fallout
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be

Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here

Monday, March 06, 2006

Saturday, March 04, 2006


What I'm listening to: Waterdeep's Live at the New Earth

I'm not called to be a worship leader.

Not that ever felt 100% confident to be worship leader...because if God spoke to me in a still, small voice or a loud boom, I completely missed it. Wouldn't be the first time.

However, I know I'm called to lead worship in the place on at at this time, but I'm certain I'm not called to do this forever. Don't get me wrong, I love to lead worship. It's a pleasure and joy to do what I do with the people I do it with. I'm just not called to it.One of the reasons I feel called to lead worship at this time and place is not just a matter of worship. It's about church health.

So this little epiphany (if you will) is not a huge surprise, but in a way it kind of is. God's done a lot to surprise me these last few years and maybe I always thought in the back of my mind that even though I didn't feel called to lead worship didn't mean God wouldn't bring me to that place at a later time.

But my passion isn't music nor is it leading worship. I do have a great passion of worship, but I believe in the importance of separating the two.

So what am I passionate about? I haven't fully been able to articulate it yet. I know what it is, and I know what I want to accomplish, but I'm unsure of what step to take next. So that will come at a later time. But it's nice this passion, it's nice. Nice to finally have something burn deep inside my heart that for once has nothing to do with my own selfishness. So, I say bring it on. Bring on the burn.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I stand and look around an empty place...

What I'm listening to: Canticle of the Plains

Last Sunday I went to clean my old place. To make it new and shiny for the next inhabitants. Start in the back, work toward the front. Top to bottom, work in a circle. I've always been taught that's the way to go through and clean a house. And somewhere in the middle of it all, I had to pause.

I spent the last five years in that place - where some pretty amazing things happened to me. Those pretty amazing memories criss-crossed in my brain as I scrubbed and wiped. Smiles crossed my face and all that. But more than anything, I actually took pause.

I've never grown emotionally attached to a residence before. Perhaps it's not so much attachment, but for the first time when I moved out of a place I actually stood and looked around after it was empty to say goodbye. It was so obligatory - done without thought as to why. Like I couldn't help myself.

God took me to a different place when I lived there. A place I never expected. Through pain and healing, through love and heartache, and very unexpectedly, though restoration. I am thankful. How could I ask for more?