Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Storm Stories

"Sometimes He calms the storm / With a whispered peace be still
He can settle any sea / But it doesn't mean He will
Sometimes He holds us close / And lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm / And other times He calms His child."
We had quite the storm move through the area last night; so, this morning we were sharing "storm stories." If you are going through a "storm" in your life right now, hopefully the stories of hope from those who have weathered the storm will encourage you today...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Soft Serve and Childhood Memories

Okay, I realize that it's October and I'm talking about ice cream - but, this isn't just any ice cream. It's chocolate and vanilla soft serve custard ice cream perfection.

I was so excited this weekend when I ordered an ice cream cone and suddenly found myself transported back to 1985 - I hadn't tasted that kind of ice cream in so long (the kind that is so good that you want to savor every taste but you still have to hurry before it melts but if you eat it too fast you get a brain freeze). After I enjoyed my ice cream cone, I called my Mom to tell her that I had found a place that served the same kind of ice cream that I remember as a kid and that for a moment it was as though I was 7 years old. I remember sitting in the backseat of that old blue Pontiac watching my Mom walk out of the Mile High diner in Grove, OK carrying 4 ice cream cones (one for each of us), then laughing with my sister at how good it was and listening to my Dad telling us to hurry and eat it so it didn't make a mess - a great memory enjoying summertime with my family.

I think we all treasure those moments that take us back to childhood. For a moment, we remember a time where life seemed less complicated and more carefree, a time before the stress and responsibility of adulthood took over, a time of childlike faith and hope where anything seemed possible.

There is a song from Jars of Clay that has these lyrics:
They say that love can heal the broken / They say that hope can make you see / They say that faith can find a Savior / If you would follow and believe / With faith like a child

We can still have that kind of childlike faith and hope and joy. I'm thankful that it doesn't matter what the day may bring with all of its grown-up problems - as a Child of God, I know that my Daddy will always take care of me.

"You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, 'Papa! Father!' Doesn't that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you're also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance." --Galatians 4:6-7 (The Message)

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'" --Matthew 18:1-4

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why I Think God Likes Musicals

The hills are alive with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hears

I love that opening scene in the Sound of Music where the overture is playing and the music is building and the scenery is so breathtaking and you can sense that the moment is almost there...and, finally, you see Maria appear and begin to sing. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best musicals of all time - in fact, the movie version won the Academy Award for best picture in 1965.

We were talking this morning about musicals and disagreeing about whether musicals were a good thing. I love musicals - some days I want to be a character in a musical - and, yes, sometimes I do feel like spontaneously beginning to sing.

I think God must really like musicals too. Throughout Scripture, we are told to sing and praise - to make a joyful noise and to make melody in our hearts; and, the Bible has many references of people breaking into song.
We know that David loved to sing - in fact, he sang with his harp while watching sheep in the fields.
After David kills the Philistine in 1 Samuel, it says that "the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes. As they danced, they sang: 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.'" (1 Samuel 18:6-7). Sounds like a show stopper to me.

Or, how about this story? It is midnight and Paul and Silas are singing - in prison (Acts 16:25). This was long before Jailhouse Rock; but, things did get "all shook up" that night. You remember the story - they were singing and, suddenly, there is a big earthquake - everyone is loose from their chains, the jailer becomes suicidal thinking he's going to lose his job or worse, Paul yells to tell him that everyone was still there, and then the jailer asks, "what must I do to be saved?"

Luke 19 says that if we don't worship that even the rocks and the hills will cry out. Isaiah 55:12 says, "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." It sounds to me like the hills really ARE alive with the Sound of Music.
The Bible even says that God sings over us - "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17) So, feel free to spontaneously break out into song and remember that God is rejoicing over you with singing today.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Amy Grant

We were so excited to have the chance to catch up with Amy Grant.

Ticket information is available at http://www.amygrant.com/tour/.

Listen to our conversation with Amy Grant:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Homesick

“Joy belongs to those who understand that earth is but a rehearsal for heaven. Nothing in life is wasted that remembers this.”
--Calvin Miller

We were talking this morning about things you miss from home or places you have to go when you go home or things you have to bring back for your friends and family. I think that we all have that list of things whether "home" is across town or down the road a few hours or across the country. Whether you get to go home frequently or just every once in a while, I think there are things we all miss from the home we remember when we were kids. They say that you can never really go home again; but, I think there are certainly days where we all have that homesick feeling.

The older I get it seems, the more I have those days of longing for "home." Not the small town in Oklahoma where I grew up (although it's nice to visit there too); but, the real home where my heart belongs. I long to see friends and family members who are already there, I long to live in a place with no sadness or hurt or pain, and (most of all) I long to look on my Savior's face and know that I don't have to be homesick anymore.

There is an old song that I remember singing as a kid growing up in Oklahoma that says,
This world is not my home I'm just passing through
my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
the angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
and I can't feel at home in this world anymore
If you feel restless today or as though you don't quite belong here or maybe you're exhausted by the sin and suffering in this fallen world, take rest in the fact that we are just passing through.

"But there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven! We're waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He'll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him." --Philippians 3:20-21 (The Message)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Deep Enough To Dream

Ever have one of those days where you are deep in thought, introspective, almost overwhelmed by big thoughts about God and big plans for life and realizing what a big mess we all seem to be sometimes?
That's how I feel today...and when I feel this way it seems as though song lyrics pop into my head to describe what I'm thinking and feeling. I'm convinced that more often than not my heart communicates and prays through song.

Here are some of the songs my heart has been singing this morning:
"Deep enough to dream in brilliant colors / I have never seen / Deep enough to join a billion people / For a wedding feast / Deep enough to reach out and touch / The face of the One who made me / And oh, the love I feel, and oh the peace / Do I ever have to wake up" (Chris Rice)
"From the rising to the setting sun / His love endures forever / By the grace of God / We will carry on...Forever God is faithful / Forever God is strong / Forever God is with us / Forever" (Chris Tomlin)
"Would dare you, would you dare, to believe, that you still have a reason to sing, 'cause the pain you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming / so hold on, you got to wait for the light / press on, just fight the good fight / because the pain you've been feeling, it's just the dark before the morning" (Josh Wilson)
"I need You Jesus / Come to my rescue / Where else could I go? / There’s no other name by which I am saved / Capture me with grace / I will follow You" (Newsong)

Music is such a big part of my life that sometimes I have to take the time to stop and notice what songs I am connecting with and realize how it relates to what is going on in my day and what God is doing in my life.

Today, if you are feeling lost in thought or overwhelmed or as though you don't exactly know how to pray, let your heart sing just as the Psalmists did - the good, the bad, the joy, the struggle, the proclamation that no matter what God is faithful and good and His love will endure forever.

"I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live." (Psalm 104:33)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

He Loves You Just As You Are

This morning we were giving you the chance to "brag on your kids" - to share those stories that make you laugh and smile and make your heart so proud. I was thinking about how God feels about us and how much we must make Him laugh and smile and how much I hope that I make Him proud. I'm thankful that He loves me and accepts me and treasures me just as I am.

I wanted to share with you a song that speaks to me and let you hear the heart of one of our artists. This video is Natalie Grant sharing about what she calls the most personal song she's ever written and performing "The Real Me" on the Gospel Music Channel.


I hope that it encourages and inspires you and challenges you to come to Him today just as you are. He sees the real you and He loves you so much today.

Monday, October 4, 2010

That "Monday" Feeling


Ever have one of those Mondays that just
feels like a Monday? Maybe you're having one of those days today. Well, if you are - here are some ways to get rid of that Monday "ACK!!" feeling (pick one or if you're ambitious and brave try all 3):

1) Be thankful. Put aside your "to do" list and take 5 minutes right now to make a list of all of the things you are thankful for OR take a moment to send a thank you e-mail to someone who you are grateful is part of your life.

2) Laugh uncontrollably. Okay, I know this sounds silly and you may not want to try this at work unless you have gotten a co-worker to join you in the venture; but, you definitely should try it. Laugh - it doesn't have to be about anything in particular - just start laughing and keep laughing. Try it now - funny things will come to your mind and then you'll be laughing because you are laughing. This works even better if you have someone to join you in laughing because laughter is contagious.

3) Think on these things: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is admirable, whatever is lovely, whatever is worthy of praise. The Bible says that we can set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2). We can CHOOSE what we spend our time thinking about - WE can set our mind. I don't know about you; but, I'm not going to waste my time feeling "sorry for my-Monday-self" any longer.

"Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise. You know the teachings I gave you, and you know what you heard me say and saw me do. So follow my example. And God, who gives peace, will be with you." --Phillippians 4:8-9 (Contemporary English Version)