September 2012

Listening

Bryan and Katie Torwalt
CD Heaven on Earth specific songs – Glorious, Holy Spirit, He is Faithful (great church music)

Alabama Shakes
CD Boys and Girls (it’s just good)

Birdy
CD Birdy (dinner music)

Phillip Phillips
Song – Home – (PS no shame at all – I’m a fan)

Sleeping at Last
anything he does (heard them on SYTYCD)


Reading


Bright Evening Star by Madeline L’Engle
(I’m moved completely by this women’s voice on paper)

Divine Hours, Summer by Phyllis Tickle
(I need this prayer book to keep me grounded and feel connected)


Seeing


Weather changing
(beautiful to watch and feel. I just had to note)

Hutch finding and claiming his first “girl friend”
sweet innocence with love notes and pictures (too much for this Momma to take)

Batman, The Dark Knight Rises
(ridiculous – can’t wait to see again)

So You Think You Can Dance
(do I need to explain?! talent, art, heart, dedication)


Guilty Pleasure

GATOR BOYS.

(there I said it)

Secular Sacred

Secular Sacred

It is very hard for me to grasp the line between these two words or adjectives.  Somewhere in my past, this line was pretty obvious to me.  I was a “Christian” artist.  I made “Christian” music.  I won “Christian” awards.  So I could and would interchange the term Christian for Sacred very easily.   I later realized the judgment that was coming with that label or when I withheld that label from something.   I think that the broadening of my perspective has come mostly with reading, travel, and experiences.   What I would quickly term secular in my past, I then stumbled upon and saw God in.  Now I don’t think God just showed up there out of nowhere.  So this made me then begin to realize that God was there all along. Some of those “secular” things or places for me were music, books, art, movies, places and even people.  God was revealing Godself, at least to me, through a whole new kaleidoscope of ways and forms.  I chose to take the label off because I believe I was limiting my view of God.  Now I believe that as much as my life is to be worship, that all of life at life’s roots and intent is sacred.  Because if sacred means connected to God, or declared holy or good by God, or used of God, then that would and could include everything.  Now of course, we as humans profane and exploit things.  That doesn’t take away the original intent and it says more about us than about the object, place, or thing.  An example for me is I love that on the liturgical calendar there is built in to the events, ordinary time. I believe we too quickly wait for the big moments to recognize God, instead of realizing even in the everyday GOD IS. It’s the glory of the ordinary and I would say for me that reminder helps me see the secular sacred as well.

Our DNA is divine: Richard Rohr

Our DNA is divine: Richard Rohr

Let us make humans in Our image.

~ Genesis 1:26

Our DNA is divine. The divine indwelling is never earned by any behavior whatsoever or any ritual, but only recognized and realized(Romans 11:6, Ephesians 2:8-10), and fallen in love with. When you are ready, you will be both underwhelmed and overwhelmed at the boundless mystery of your own humanity. You will know you are standing under the same waterfall of mercy as everybody else and receiving an undeserved radical grace, which waters the “roots” of everything.

Without that underlying experience of God as both abyss and ground, it is almost impossible to live in the now, in the fullness of who I am, warts and all, and almost impossible to experience the Presence that, paradoxically, both fills the abyss and shakes the ground.

Christ, the Middle

Christ, the Middle

Christ, the Middle

by Sean Hall

As we eat together

Have a drink together

Friends, this is our worship

Christ, the middle of every part

Christ, the core of who we are

As we talk for hours

Share the love that’s ours

Friends, this is our worship

Christ, the middle of every part

Christ, the core of who we are

Living life together

Sharing dreams together

Friends, this is our worship

Christ, the middle of every part

Christ, the core of who we are

When we cry together

Laugh out loud together

Friends, this is our worship

Christ, the middle of every part

Christ, the core of who we are

When we kiss our lover

When we dance together

Friends, this is our worship

Christ, the middle of every part

Christ, the core of who we are

Say a toast together

Lift our cups together

Friends, this is our worship

Merry Christmas – Uncommon Light from Barbara Brown Taylor

Merry Christmas – Uncommon Light from Barbara Brown Taylor

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God”….Gerald Manley Hopkins

“Earth’s crammed with heaven”…Elizabeth Barrett Browning

So slow down, stop. Look. Take off your shoes…for holy is all around.

Risk getting burned, looking foolish, being wrong.  Drop what you are doing and turn aside, to look into every bush, every face, every event of your life—the big and the small, the hoped for and the feared, the bad and the good—look into every one of them for God’s presence and call.  Believe that whatever is going on, God is in it, and can be trusted.

Then, finally, if you are stilling willing, go the last step.  Once you have gotten the knack of seeing ‘burning bushes’ everywhere, consent to be set on fire yourself, to be for someone else the presence and call of God.  Like Moses without his veil, go ahead and frighten people with your shining face,so full of uncommon light, so alive with unimagined possibility that sometimes the fire scares even you.  It may or may not hurt, but we will not be consumed, and we will not be alone.  I AM THAT I AM is with us…will be with you—has been, will be forever, world without end.

It all belongs….

thanks to my friend Mike Malloy for compiling this from Barbara Brown Taylor’s sermon Uncommon Light.

 

Going Beyond – April 16, 2011

Going Beyond – April 16, 2011

I am with my friends at Going Beyond in Lynchburg, VA.  There is nothing like doing this with friends.  I have known Anthony Evans for 13 years.  We met when I auditioned for Liberty’s vocal group the Sounds of Liberty and I didn’t make it.  I was devastated and very young but little did I know the friendship that would begin and journey that I would take with Anthony.  2 years later – I got onto the Truth Bus – naive and excited – Anthony joined me as well as Jenifer (Blitch) Thigpen, Jason Jackson and Josh Hailey (among others but I’m singling them out  because we are together this weekend).  Oh the DRAMA of the TRUTH bus.  We laughed, we cried, we made fun of each other, we made each other better, we bonded over host homes, little money, hundreds of concerts, deli trays, songs, and a million other things you can squeeze into a 40 ft bus over 2 years.  Now here we are 11 years later, together still.  Going Beyond is a conference with Lifeway that is out of Priscilla Shirer’s ministry  (she is Anthony’s sister) and Anthony leads the music for it.  So he brings some of us back out so we can do it together.  There is something comforting about family.  We feel safe and it feels easy. I am thankful for these people and what they mean to me.  Added into the Truth group is Ashley Guilbert (blue eyed soul and amazing spirit), Chris Castillo ( drummer extrordinare and “bebo”), Jason Hardin ( amazing bass player and affectionately know as “Shades”) and Brandon Hood (country guitar PLAY-er and producer).  Good people.  Good Music.  Good Speaking.  Good Weekend.

Savor Life.  Savor Relationships.

Night of Worship Reflections

Night of Worship Reflections

My Monday morning started off this way…Everyone slept in until 7:45am, which considering that I have two small children, is not something that happens often!  However, after reveling in the small triumph of getting to sleep in, I walked into my kitchen and in the 20 steps that it takes to go from my bedroom to the kitchen, something awful hit me.  My house was a mess.  Not a small mess either.  But the kind of mess that makes you sigh, scratch your head and wonder how you’ll get it all done when your list of things “to do” for the day did not include cleaning the house. Then I realized that the sniffles had made themselves present to all of those living under our roof.  Everyone was tired and worn out.  Yet, the next thing that popped into my mind brought a huge, ear to ear smile to my face.  Today, this very morning, despite the mess and the sniffles, my heart was FULL.  It is a wonderful, almost indescribable feeling to have your heart feel full, isn’t it?  But just so we’re on the same page about how my heart felt that morning, here is what Webster’s has to say about the word…

“Full” by definition is being completely filled; containing all that can be held, filled to utmost capacity.  I would even go so far to add that full by definition means full to “overflowing”…

Overflow by definition is to flow over, flood, inundate.  (Those of you reading this who live in the Nashville area know what it means when something overflows…as we witnessed during the historic May flood this year.)

For me, these two words, (overflow and full) have been hiding in my heart for a few months now as I had been planning Gracepointe’s first “Night of Worship”.  And as we came together Sunday evening, corporately worshipping the Lord, these two words did not disappoint. I literally felt the fullness and overflow of worship in its purest form.  It filled the room to capacity.  The sweet fullness that only comes when we, corporately, truly recognize the Spirit and then together praise and exalt HIM.  From the first word spoken our hearts were united.  Hearts that had a great anticipation and that were quietly listening for the Spirit.  It was worshipping in Spirit and in Truth…

William Temple says, “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination with the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, and to devote the will to the purpose of God.”

Augustine says, “a Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot.”

Walt Whitman said, “After the seas are all crossed (as they seem already crossed), after the great captains and engineers have accomplished their work, after the noble inventors – after the scientists, the chemist, the geologist, ethnologist, FINALLY shall come the Poet.  Worthy that name.  The true son of God shall come, singing His songs.”

As we started the service Sunday night, you began joining us on the Hallelujah in “Our great God!” Then you continued to sing with full hearts and voices on “Marvelous Light”, “Sing to the King”, “Mighty Fortress”, and “Forever Reign”.  You listened and I pray you were reminded of God’s provision and comfort in “But Thou Oh Lord”. You sang joyfully on “Standing on the Promises” medley and listened and reflected during “I Will Praise Him.”  We all listened with expectancy for the day we will be united with Christ during “Glory”.  We watched as the video of a modern interpretation of the woman at the well’s story and knew it was our story as well.  We listened as God’s beauty and voice rang out clearly through the cello in one of the most intimate moments of the night. We listened and were all deeply moved by the reminder that “You are on our side”.  We opened our hearts to know that “our” included everyone, beginning with us, to the widow, orphan, wounded, poor, thief and whore.  We responded to Jesus individually.  We thought about the picture of Jesus sitting at the table of our hearts and inviting us to live life together. Then we responded during “Like Incense/Step by Step”  singing and proclaiming “Oh God You are MY God and I will ever praise You!”  Most meaningful and surprising to me was during the section of that song when we sang the oh’s – no lyric needed.  The room was full of people singing their song of praise with their hearts and mouths and hands uplifted.  Sometimes you don’t need a lyric because there are not enough words to articulate the overflow of your heart.  That was the moment.  We proclaimed His mystery in “Greatness of our God” and the assurance of His presence in “Never Let Go”  Finally we joined with what seemed all the angels, the saints who have gone before, the 2000 year old church, and the room to give the benediction of “How Great Thou Art”.  INDEED HE IS.

There is something special about not just being a part of such an amazing night – but to really know the people there with whom you shared such an amazing night with and therefore that made us not just “parts” but a whole.  To know the stories of triumph, pain, loneliness, cancer, job loss, hurts and trials.  To know these lives – full of brokenness and desire for more.  To know we are corporately choosing to lift up our heads, our voices, and our hearts together to God.  In doing so, we were all cohesively lifted.  I’m sure my heart will float back down and my life will dip a little below full eventually but that is why God gives us opportunities like last night.  I am thankful to ALL who made Sunday night what it was.  What a beautiful, corporate effort.  It can best be described with one word; FULL.

Where I am now.

Where I am now.

It’s been a long time since I have posted and forgive me for that. Life is full.  I wanted to repost something from my facebook.  Something that is convicting my heart and affecting my life and my ministry.

This is where I am. I believe the church for far too long has stood in the way of Jesus and crowded out his message of love with our own message of judgement and condemnation. The Church, or a lot of the church, myself included, at times have worried so much about pointing out sin, pointing out people, pointing out groups that we have decided are wrong and we have forgotten that we are supposed to be pointing all to Jesus. A friend reminded me about the story of Zacchaeus and if you remember he couldn’t get to Jesus. The crowd was in the way so he went and found a tree to climb up in to finally see Jesus. So, what if instead of the church being the crowd that is keeping people from seeing the beauty of who God is, we actually try and be the tree. Lifting up people to see Jesus. I believe His message, the good news, is LOVE. I have decided to leave judgement and other’s eternity in God’s loving, merciful, and gracious hands. I trust those hands with my life and this world. I heard someone say yesterday and I love this, “if we as Christians were going to err on the side of anything, why don’t we err on the side of love.”