I’m Not Behind, I Promise!

So I started the new Bible study two days ago, and I didn’t post yesterday. Here’s why: I went to the beach all day, and the group meeting wasn’t until 8 p.m. So I knew I’d prolly be too tired to blog afterward. It was a planned absence.
The group meeting went *so well* and it’s a group of people just like me— people who are passionate about the Lord, about following Him, about doing what we should and not what we could.
At the end of the group meeting, somebody said “can we partner up?” and suddenly we just were. I went to a new friend’s Facebook page to see if she would partner with me, and before I could type it she popped up on chat: “So nice to get to know you! Want to partner?”
Then we found out we had so much in common….and more…and finally she said “are you left handed?” and I burst out laughing, typing back YES. God has such a sense of humor. He put us together, and we fit like 2 peas in the proverbial (pun intended) pod.
Between the excitement of my new, much-like-me partner and the joy of my renewed faith that God will let me know what my ministry is–SOON– I thought I would never go to sleep.
I did find out that I was supposed to read the first 2 chapters first, and start with Day 1 on Aug. 1. So there will be a small delay here as I catch up. Maybe I will make a new video. 🙂
Be blessed!

Living from a New Heart Perspective

Something as simple as whether to blog about a book you’re reading can put you into a sort of tailspin. I read recently that if I’m blogging, as a Christian author, my posts should only be about: 1. me in relation to my book 2. the book itself 3. Christianity as it relates to my book. After giving this some serious thought, I decided that I’m a lot more dimensional than that, and my readers (ok. My one reader?) might appreciate some insight into the thought process. Besides, if I found a blog like that, it would be boring!

So this is my  first day reading a 30 Day book called The Faith Dare, by Debbi Alsdorf.  My online Bible Study group — a lifeline, now that I am without a church home (until we find one here in FL)–is doing it together. I’ll be journaling about it here on Hooked On Jesus throughout the entire month, though possibly not daily. 🙂

So. Today we’re talking about the heart: having an undivided heart, giving God access to all of your heart, becoming a woman of purpose (a single purpose!), and living out of your new heart. This truth is speaking to me strongly, as I know I need a single, focused purpose. Actually I have one–I just keep letting myself get blown around in the tide. I need to sail straighter. Living out of that heart…that’s a difficult thing; if you’ve had pain or trials in your life, sometimes you live out of the past instead of out of the glory in which God has made you.

Today, God asked me whether I was putting other things in front of my Bible reading. Not Bible studies — the actual  study of The Word. Obviously I’m guilty, or He would not have gently presented the question. So I think I’ll start the day with Bible reading, before I even get out of bed.

I also have some awesome CDs of the Bible narrated by some name actors, I love listening to it. It’s just since we moved there is no way to listen privately. I have to play it on my computer in the (shared) office, or in the living room. Blaring out through the entire house, as it’s an open floor plan. lol I’ll have to give that some more thought, as I really enjoy listening to the Bible on Cd. Sometimes I try to follow along in my Bible at the same time; other times I just sit back and enjoy the Word washing over me.

Goals:
Live from my new heart
Find a way to listen to Bible on CD
Read my Bible more
Stick with Faith Dare the whole 30 days

Sans Dieu Rien

This is a picture I made to hang in front of my desk….I was thinking it in French (Sans Dieu, Rien) but it came out in English, didn’t it? Never mind….it conveys the same message. Without God, I am nothing.

WIthout God, Nothing photo
Sans Dieu Rien

14 Ways To Handle A Christian Introvert

Wow! This was written by…. some guy who is my other self? He totally put into words the way most introverts feel, MOST OF THE TIME. And, like the author, I am often in a leadership or speaking position (and no, I can’t explain how I can handle that but become exhausted after 3 hours with a group of friends).

originally posted here: http://jsparkblog.com/2012/12/13/14-ways-to-handle-a-christian-introvert/
Read on:
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If you ever met me, you would think I was an extrovert — I preach, I lead praise, I talk to everyone, I talk too much, and you can hear me laughing from across the street — but I am a full-blooded introvert.

If it were up to me, I’d rather be in my boxers all day eating Godiva while browsing food photo blogs and bothering my dog and cracking up at YouTube videos of Whose Line Is It Anyway and leaving dry ironic comments all over Facebook while reading the latest theory on how Sherlock survived the second season finale.

I intensely guard my personal space and my private life. It takes a herculean effort to step outside my comfort zone and interact with messy, fleshy, real live human beings.

Here’s how you handle us.

1) In a small group or Bible study or cell meeting, do NOT make us talk.

Introverts are much more methodical and tend to process things. In a group discussion, our silence doesn’t mean we’re not listening. We’re just trying to fit the pieces together in our own head. We aim to be thoughtful and deliberate. Please be sensitive to our secret mind palace. We’ll talk when we dang well feel like it.

2) We just don’t sing like the front row.

It’s great that extroverts can freely express themselves during worship time. But introverts sometimes just read the lyrics, connect inwardly, and keep their hands inside the vehicle. If you see us raising even one hand and singing a few words, we are seriously pushing the gas pedal all the way to the floor.

3) Do not ever rebuke us in public.

Or you and I are done. Forever. You should never do this anyway.

4) Extroverts: be patient in conversation and don’t treat my every word like your personal victory.

Extroverts, it’s okay if you monopolize the conversation. We do like to listen. But please don’t treat us like your personal project with a precious pearl inside. And don’t try to squeeze out my life story as if you’re trying to save us. Earn trust by being a friend first. Unlike extroverts, we’re not good at being best friends on the first day.

5) Fellow introverts: find us quickly.

See me standing awkwardly on the side of the sanctuary watching everyone else have fun? Hurry up and find me so we can make amusing sarcastic comments about life and possibly grow a lifelong spiritual bond that these extroverts can’t understand.

6) We can do anything an extrovert can do.

I’ve seen an entire spectrum of personalities take the “front stage” of church. Not every introvert is meant for “behind the scenes.” Just coach us with extra grace.

7) We get super-tired around a lot of people.

My limit is about four hours, and then I actually get a headache from just hanging around human beings. My Sabbath rest is leave-me-alone-time with my non-judgmental dog. Give us that time without trying to counsel us about it.

8) Don’t be offended if we don’t reply right away.

Sometimes when we see a Facebook invite to that next big church event, we just let it sit there and think about it periodically throughout the week and then come back to it before committing. We do the same thing with text messages, emails, phone calls, and you showing up at the door.

9) Don’t be offended if you see me being extra talkative or friendly with someone else.

Sometimes introverts just interact with people in different ways. It doesn’t mean we don’t like you: it just means we choose to reveal that specific part of us to another pastor, another church buddy, or that cool introvert I just met five minutes ago. You should be cheering us for even opening up at all.

10) Please do NOT bring a lot of attention to us.

Not in the church bulletin, not the church site, not for my birthdays, not for that nice thing I did for the homeless — just please, no spotlight.

11) Sometimes we’re just moody. It’s not depression or a “spiritual attack” or “unconfessed sin.”

One word: space. Lots of it.

12) We don’t always know what to say, but we still care about you.

We use less words and we don’t always use them well, but if we chose to spend this time with you, that means we care.

13) When life gets hard, you don’t have to say anything. Just be there.

Sometimes we just get totally flustered and want to give up: but that’s not the time for lectures or theology or super-awesome advice. Bring a movie or something; bake a cake; bring cookies. Be there for the meltdown and we’ll eventually ask for the wisdom. We very much treasure your scalpel-like gentleness with us.

14) When we get hyper, we are weird and corny and loud and awkward — so be ready for that and embrace it.

On the third day of a church retreat or when it’s five in the morning at a lock-in, the inner-beast might be unleashed. But it’s not very cool and calculated and witty like an extrovert. It’s all kinds of nerdy and neurotic with a shaky voice and twitchy flailing, as if we’re learning to use our bodies for the first time: and in a sense, we are.

When that happens, please don’t humiliate us. Roll with it, laugh with us, and endure our horrible dance moves and bad impressions.

If you do, we are loyal to you for life.

What Happens when Christians become Divisive

….and what we can do about it. Please watch the video for a couple of my thoughts on this topic. Based on Galatians 5.

I’ll post a link here shortly with the “love” verses I promised. 🙂

God’s Name is Father

Does anyone have trouble referring to God as “father”? I did a little survey recently based on this question. I mostly found that people who are close with their own father, the earthly father, are able to relate to a heavenly father in a good way. They pray with a feeling of familiarity, a closeness.

But those who are less close to their earthly father have a hard time referring to God as father.They pray to someone distant.

And then there are those who take it way too far, calling him “the Man upstairs” or other familiar names. To me, this lacks completely and reverence and isn’t how we are supposed to address him.

So here’s my question to you. How do you personally make sense of the awesomeness of God when there is the ability to have such intimacy with him at the same time? How do you strike the balance without being irreverent?

Hint: This is part of my next book!

And thinking of “Our Father” reminded me of the Don Moen song, so here it is for you to enjoy. Don’t forget to leave a comment below!


How We Approach God

 

Do we approach God from a beggar’s perspective or as His cherished child? If we have any difficulty seeing Him as our loving Father, we need to ask Him to help us develop a healthy Father/child relationship. ~ David Jeremiah

It’s Decision Time, having trouble?

Do you have trouble making decisions? Whether big decisions or smaller ones, God wants to be a part of every choice you make. Do the little ones matter to Him? YES they do!

Every decision we make, large or small, has the potential to move us closer to God or further away. Rarely do we remain static. So …. when trying to discern His will, what do you do?

Watch the video for some answers. Verses are listed below that are mentioned in the video (I forgot to embed them on the screen!). The whole list is a good set of references for times when you’re trying to decide anything at all. 🙂

Verses, reading mostly from NIV:
Psalm 91
Proverbs 3:5,6
2 Chronicles 15
Isaiah 12:6
Jeremiah 33:3
Hebrews 11:8
James 1:5
Isaiah 30:21

One Song’s ability to Affect lives

For some reason today I was thinking about a time when I was Music Director at Elizabeth Chapel UMC. It’s been a few years ago now. I absolutely loved that church and its members.

One day we were warming up to sing the anthem, when I looked up at my choir. All their faces were strained, and their sound was…not good. It was my fault; I had given them something to learn that was beyond their ability, and then misjudged how quickly we could prepare it. I slammed my book shut.

“Would you guys like to sing something else today?” I asked.

Heads nodded, some ashamed, some relieved. All in agreement.

A quick prayer, then “How Great Thou Art?” I suggested.

So that’s what we sang. Now, this song has affected nearly every listener who’s ever heard it since it came out in its current version in the 1950s. It was particularly effective at Elizabeth Chapel, because while facing the choir I stood at the foot of a huge stained glass depiction of Jesus. Literally–at his feet.

Interestingly, during the song I felt the sudden wind of the Holy Spirit come onto the choir. Their voices were audibly different, stronger, almost as if there were more of them. My hands shook so hard I could barely direct. Afterward, many members came forth to tell us how moved they were by the song.

That was God moving among the congregation that day. I’m so thankful He gave us, you and me, music that we can love and enjoy and allow Him to use to break through to our oft-hardened hearts.

Here is a great video of Vince Gill and Carrie Underwood performing How Great Thou Art. If you aren’t covered in goosebumps by the end, I’d like to know why! 🙂