Monday, April 21, 2014

easter {behind the scenes}

I rolled out of bed at 6:30 after two battles with the snooze button.
The day had promised to grow warm but the morning air still held a chill.
Was there ever a person who looked forward to exposing their warmed, under-cover skin to the cold on the other side?  Not this one.  I don't care what day it is or what is awaiting me, a cozy bed always has trouble letting me go.

The hot shower helped and then the contacts gave me my sight back.  With my bathrobe still on I was finally alert enough to do what I have purposed to do at the beginning of each day.  My knees cracked and popped on the way down and I settled my shins, then my forearms and finally my head down on the carpeted floor of my closet.
I breathed
in deep
out long.
I let the uncomfortable silence and stillness become comfortable before the whispered words began.
I offered thanks
dumped out worries
proclaimed truth
and asked for grace.
On that day, in particular, that Easter Sunday, I felt the power in praying to God not so that I could be heard and seen but so that He could be heard and seen.

Working for a church has made me keenly aware that there are 'things' that will straight up sabotage any effort to bring glory and honor to Jesus.  There will be obstacles every time you try to bring the truth and light and freedom of the gospel to others.  And so on a day when my church had planned to do just that for hundreds and hundreds of people, I knew my prayers held power over such 'things' because my God is all-powerful.

I slipped out of the house before little smoothie-covered fingers had a chance to stain my perfectly white pants and headed towards that old warehouse on Monroe Road.  It was there that I gathered with the other leaders of our church to bring each of our voices into collective prayer.  Less than an hour later the doors would open and people would flood inside.  We knew that for Easter to really mean something to them we would need much more than the efforts of eight people and their teams of volunteers.  For this reason all of our prayers were tied together with one pleading request...
     that the gospel would reach the heart of every person not just through our words and our songs and our programs but by the power of the holy spirit so that the truth would be planted deep within them.

And so the people came.
And more importantly...so did the Spirit of the Living God.

Over the nearly 5 hours I spent at church on Easter Sunday I witnessed resurrection story after resurrection story.
Life springing forth from people who were once dead.
Freedom from addictions that were killing them.
Escape from situations that were killing them.
Transformation of marriages that were killing them.
Release from fears that were killing them.
None of that was the result of the words we spoke or the songs we sang or the programs we offered.
It was the power of the spirit of God in the midst of those things that literally raised people from dark graves into new life and a living hope.

It's the precious truth of Easter...
Jesus didn't come simply to prove that He could rise from the dead.
He came to show you that you can too.

He took from us the death that comes from all our sin and depravity and gave us back the life that comes only from Him.

We bow down to Him so that we might rise up with Him...
     for eternity...and also for today.

How has God resurrected your life?

If you need some life infused into your dead places,
if your story needs a new beginning...
listen here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

depravity before prosperity :: a passion week post

{WARNING :: this post wound up longer than intended.  Every once in a while I feel compelled to do a whole lot of writing and not so much editing.  So I'm taking a deep breath and hitting publish.  Thanks for your grace.  And as always - I would love to hear your 'speak the truth in love' voice in this conversation.  I know I'm not alone in my wrestling so please, by all means, comment away!}
Depravity.

It means corruption but it goes deeper than that.  
Your computer can be corrupt.  A company can be corrupt.  
Depravity is the corruption of our very souls.

Acknowledging depravity in this world is acknowledging that something went terribly wrong shortly after perfect man was created in the perfect garden by the perfect God.  That 'something' is often called ‘sin’ and it immediately separated us from our God…our Creator.  
{Remember that whole bit with the sneaky serpent and the forbidden fruit?}
Sin reflects the depravity of man...and woman.  
You and me.

Yet even in that moment of original sin, when the bittersweet taste of rebellion was still on their tongues, God had it in mind to bring us back to himself.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

darkness before light :: a passion week post

From where I sit I can see the light breaking open in the sky like an egg in a frying pan.

It's one of the things that gets me out of bed in the morning.
My alarm goes off early and I wince.
Then I smell the coffee freshly brewed and waiting...and I remember that the sun won't wait.  If I want to watch it paint the first moments of the day I have to make my way downstairs and to my desk for my front row seat.
And so I rise.
To watch it rise.
And these last days leading to Easter I keep thinking about the One who rose.

We call it Passion Week.
By 'passion' we don't mean an intense desire or enthusiasm for something 
or an outburst of strong emotion, as Webster defines.
We mean suffering.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

high fives and my messy beautiful

If you saw me high-fiving my friend Mary outside of preschool last week this is why.  Allow me to set the stage...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

first friday finds :: april 2014

{It's #firstfridayfinds time again and here's this month's unedited, 15 minutes worth of truth.  Please share yours at the bottom too!}

I had just finished scarfing down a bagel in my car when I read it.  {Sometimes when the kids aren't around I eat something that is not gluten-free...shhhh...don't tell}

I thought to myself - give him an inch and he takes a mile.
I give him a mustard seed and he moves a mountain.
I offer a quiet breath of a prayer and he writes big bold truths on my heart.
I sit in defiance and self-reliance and his love comes sweeping in to rescue me.

It was just another crazy busy day.  We all have them...despite the fact that I feed myself the lie that I am the CRAZIEST and BUSIEST person EVER.  {How's that for prideful?}

I had 15 minutes between finishing one appointment and the opening of the library {where I needed to swing by and pick up a book}.  I was literally thinking of what other errand or task I could squeeze into the 15 minutes so that I would not waste one. single. moment.
Crazy.
Busy.
Get my drift?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

when freedom brings fear


The heavy iron gates clanged shut behind him, separating him from the prison that had been his home for years.  The suit he wore gave him a distinguished look more befitting of him now that he was no longer a convicted felon.  Despite being an old man he looked clean and fresh but his eyes told another story.  He gripped the seat on the bus with white knuckles…even the muscles in his face were unable to soften.  And as we watch Brooks Hatlen's painful transition back into the world his words are a haunting reminder of the effect years of imprisonment can have on a person...

Dear Fellas – 
I can’t believe how fast things move on the outside...  
The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry...  
I wake up scared  and sometimes it takes me a while to remember where I am...
Maybe I should get me a gun and rob the Foodway so they would send me home...  
I’m tired of being afraid all the time...  
I've decided not to stay.

Friday, March 21, 2014

5 minute friday :: joy

I've never written a '5 minute Friday' post.  I read them on occasion.  I never write them.  Today...when I saw the prompt was JOY...well...I knew it deserved at least 5 minutes of my time.
Blindsided...
it means to be attacked when in a vulnerable position...
to be hit by something you never even saw coming.

Yesterday I was blindsided.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

big important things

This morning I had the luxury of an extra long shower minus the audience of little people with their faces pressed to the glass...
so I did some good solid thinking.
Do you know what I thought most about?
You.
And this blog.
You may, or may not, have noticed that I have not posted here in over a week.
That's unusual.