Friday, August 25, 2006

I Will Survive

If you haven't seen this short animation clip, you should. It's quite humerous!

Alien Song <----- click this link to see the animation!

Monday, August 21, 2006

You Humble Me

Has God ever humbled you?
Even if you say no, He most likely has, and you just didn't realize that it was Him.

Ever had one of those times when you've spent uncountable hours studying for a test to the point where you feel like your brain is gonna explode? You walk into the classroom and you are 100% confident that you are gonna ace it. Then the moment that sheet of paper is placed before you, all of the information and knowledge that you worked so hard to store and retain suddenly vanishes as though someone had ripped out the hard drive of your brain and turned it into ash? And all your confidence and diligence is rewarded with nothing but a dismal grade.

Or have you ever been asked to sing a solo with your church choir? The song is beautiful and powerful, but challenging. You're touched and honored to be asked and you want to do a great job; so you practice everyday for 2 weeks learning the song. By the time Wednesday rehearsal rolls around (the first time the choir will hear you sing the song with them), you know the song by heart. You could sing it in your sleep. You're in the choir room; the choir director asks you to come up and grab the microphone. Everything goes fine, at first, then suddenly, your mind goes blank. You even have the music in front of you, but you can't remember the next phrase or find your place. Though you can't verify it, you are quite sure that your face has turned 3 shades of pink. The song is over and all you want to do is crawl under a rock, but none are in sight.
"What just happened?" you ask yourself. "Well, at least that's over."
Not quite... after rehearsing a few more songs, the choir director tells everyone to go to the sanctuary for a run-through of "the special" (aka your song) with the orchestra.
Your throat goes dry, your palms become clammy, and your heart is pounding in your ears. "Oh, God, please don't let me mess up again," you pray silently as you walk to the front of the stage. You run through the verses in your mind again and again. Though your confidence has been shaken, you are sure that it'll be all right this time... right?
Wrong! Even with monitors in front of you with your words, you botch it worse than the first time. Every fiber in your being wants to run away and hide, but you finish, and with as much dignity as you can muster, you go back to your seat and finish the rehearsal.

Want to know what just happened?
That was God humbling you.
Sometimes we get so caught up in being perfect and polished that we forget the reason why we do anything. To bring glory to God. We're all guilty of trying to do everything with our own strength, talent, abilities, knowledge, etc. God says, "Sorry to disappoint you, but you can do nothing apart from me." And sometimes, He has to do something to get our attention and make us correct our focus.
He loves us and wants the best for us, but we won't be useful to Him if our heart is not attuned with His. God disciplines those that He loves and whom He calls His own.
That Wednesday evening, I asked for forgiveness for my pride, and I thanked Him for humbling me. I had failed to remember that I am just an instrument and He is the musician. Whenever I sing, I desire for the congregation to hear God's voice, not mine. I cannot change a human heart nor touch a person's spirit, but God can!

When Sunday came, I was more nervous than I had even been in my life. So, all I could do was just continually and silently pray that God would give me peace and sing through me. When it came time for the song, I walked to the front of the stage. I prayed that the congregation would not notice that my knees and hands were shaking. The music started and... the rest is a bit of a blur. All I know is that God answered my prayers. I didn't mess up, and it was such a sweet and awesome time of worship! Some people told me after the choir was dismissed that during my song, the monitor-people missed one of the slides for my lyrics... I never even noticed. God was in control, and I give all the glory to Him. He was the one who was singing, not me.

So, I just want to encourage you. If you're going through a time where you feel like nothing is going your way or you just can't do anything right, turn your focus back to the Lord. Apart from Him you can do nothing, but surrender yourself to Him and there is no limit to what He can accomplish through you.
"Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven's lights. Unlike them, He never changes or casts shifting shadows." (James 1:17 NLT)
"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13 NASB)
"I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So, I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20 NLT)

You Humble Me
Artist: unknown

I see the cost of my unrighteousness.
The rugged cross You willingly embraced.
When my release demanded nothing less
than a holy sacrifice, You took my place
to set me free.
Oh, God, You humble me

I was the one who held the jagged spear
that pierced Your side
and broke Your wounded heart,
but grace flowed down and now surrounds me here.
And I'm overwhelmed that You would go so far
to set me free.
Oh, God, You humble me

chorus (2x)
I fall on my face
completely undone
confounded by grace, astounded by love
a love so amazing, love so divine
taking my place on a cross that was mine

How can it be that with Your final breath
You give me life?
I tremble at the thought
that I should gain some profit from Your death.
With the blood You shed, my pardon has been bought
to set me free.
Oh, God, You humble me
Oh, God, You humble me

chorus (2x)
I fall on my face
completely undone
confounded by grace, astounded by love
a love so amazing, love so divine
taking my place on a cross that was mine

You took my place
You humble me

Song information:
You Humble Me
Sue C. Smith, David Moffitt, Travis Cottrell
First Hand Revelation Music
Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Table For Two

I recently found an old song that Christi introduced me to a long time ago. It really ministered to me (and still does...), and I hope it will minister to you as well as you (as a single) continue to pursue your love relationship with Christ seeking to become the man or woman that God desires you to be.
Table For Two
By Caedmon’s Call

Danny and I spent another late night over pancakes,
Talkin' 'bout soccer
And how every man's just the same
We made speculation
On the who's and the when's of our futures
And how everyone's lonely
But still we just couldn't complain

And how we just hate being alone
Could I have missed my only chance
And now I'm just wasting my time
By looking around

But you know I know better
I'm not gonna worry 'bout nothing
Cause if the birds and the flowers survive
Then I'll make it okay
I'm given a chance and a rock
see which one breaks a window
See which one keeps me up all night and into the day

Because I'm so scared of being alone
That I forget what house I live in
But it's not my job to wait by the phone
For her to call

Well this day's been crazy
But everything's happened on schedule
from the rain and the cold
To the drink that I spilled on my shirt
'Cause You knew how You'd save me
before I fell dead in the garden
And You knew this day
long before You made me out of dirt

And You know the plans that You have for me
And You can't plan the end and not plan the means
And so I suppose I just need some peace
Just to get me to sleep.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Memories of England

Greeting loyal readers!

Yes, I made it back safe and sound last Monday night. I am glad to be back home in the good 'ole USA. Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home. Though I can't say that I missed the scorching weather. After week and a half, I think I have finally recovered from the jet-lag. ;-)
Well, as you can tell from my entries, I had an incredible time in England. God is so good, and He blessed us tremendously! The people at Thornaby were wonderful, and I am so thankful that God allowed me to go. Thank you all again for all of your prayers!
We didn't have any professions of faith while we were there, but I know that we planted and watered some seeds.

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:10-11 NIV)
I've gotten some email addresses from the kids at the Holiday Club and I'm hoping that I'll be able to keep in contact with them. They really were great kids! I could not have asked for better. = )

Here are just a few of many fond memories I have from my trip:

* Getting to relax and sleep in the really nice flight attendant seats on our flight over to England.
* Getting asked late-afternoon on Sunday (HC started on Mon) to do a part in the drama reading the part of "Wendy, the sister in the Watts family"

* While playing duck, duck, goose with the kids, I was sitting next to a shy, pudgy, little boy (about 7 yrs old). I smiled at him, and he smiled back. Then he suddenly scooted closer to me and hugged my arm. My heart melted. It was just too sweet!

* Maxine's recipe book perfect cuisine and her humbly saying, "Oh, it's nothing. I just threw it together."

* Being asked to present the Gospel to the kids and to the parents on Friday.

* Getting to IM some friends while in England.

* Getting to see "Chicago" live in London.

* Touring Buckingham Palace. The Music Room was my favorite! I came so close to busting out with either "The Hills are Alive" or "Amazing Grace." But I was able to restrain myself... barely.

* Getting some "alone time" when I let Michelle have my seat next to Kasey on both flights home. This time I was in the midst of the youth, but they were actually pretty quiet (most of the time). iPod is a wonderful invention, isn't it? ;-)

Well, I must call it a night. Until next time... grace and peace!