About Impact

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Worship Series, Part 3

After a couple stressful weeks of planning this series, it was nice to have some of my favorite people join me this week. My friends Jason, Jeff and Trace came to worship with our students. They did a great job and I loved worshipping with them, just like always.

Jason did a great job wrapping up the series. He took a brief look at Psalm 104, Romans 1 and Isaiah 6. He talked about how all of creation here on earth and in heaven is worshipping God. The reality is this worship is happening all of the time. We have the opportunity to join in an be apart of that worship.

I had some of my students in class mention how good “those boys” were. One student asked if Trace was from California. I found that amusing. I’m not really sure how they felt about the morning but I loved it. I get so excited when I have the opportunity to praise God with others I know that are passionate about praising him. It was a good boost to make it through the next week.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Worship Series, Part 2

In chapel this morning I spoke on the vertical and horizontal components of corporate worship. At the end I asked the students to write/draw a prayer to God about the attitude of their hearts when they come together to worship. Some of our students responded in amazing ways.

“During this chapel I have been humbled because I’ve realized that I have just been thinking and not acting. I also have been focusing more on myself and what I want in worship rather than what God wants.”

“Dear Lord, My life has been messed for a long time now. Help me to always focus on you and others rather than myself. Help me to regain that relationship. Your sinful child,”

“God, I ask that through worship, I might be able to lift my friends and family up, and that they would be able to lift me up as well. I also pray that YOU will lift us all up, and reveal your plans to us and your love to us.”

“Dear Lord, I haven’t cared about worship for a long time. That needs to change.”

“Lord, Thank you for the time this morning. I know a lot of times worship is focused on me and what I want out of it...”

“My attitude towards worship-I’ve always loved chapel but I struggle with going to church because that’s not what I want. But there shouldn’t be an I there.”

“I need to slow down, even more than I’ve already attempted to, and start ENCOURAGING those around me. They NEED to have this awe, this love for God, and I don’t’ want to stand in the way of them getting that by being self-centered. I want to HELP them come to know His greatness. Lord-help me remember-it’s YOUR will. Not mine. Amen.”

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tea and Silence

I came to Bella Vita to iron out some things for the worship series while enjoying a great cup of tea.

Instead, I sat in silence with God, watching the beautiful rain and enjoying a cup of tea.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Attitude towards worship

I think one of our school’s big struggles right now is our attitude towards spiritual development. There seems to be some very unique views of what spiritual development should look like and it is evident on every level. Probably the greatest result of this issue has been our attitudes and approach to chapel. As I’ve planned this series I wanted to be intentional about making the week on corporate worship a time where we could step back and be honest about our attitudes it. Since this week is more of a family time I didn’t want to bring in a new face to speak, which means I’m the one speaking. Umm…

I’ve struggled to find the right way to approach the whole thing. Worship is such a dynamic act and there is so much I would love to share. After a lot of praying, writing, praying, rewriting, and more praying I think I’ve got something to run with.

When I gather to worship, what is the attitude of my heart? How does my attitude affect my worship and those around me? What should the attitude or my heart be when I enter a time of corporate worship?

These are some tough questions. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave a comment or send me an e-mail. If you wouldn’t mind keeping this week in prayer that would be great. Thanks friends!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Worship Series, Part 1

At school today we kicked off a three-week worship series in chapel. I had a handful of students come up and tell me the really enjoyed chapel. One of my students even told me it was the best chapel we have had all year. We had some faculty members form a worship team and had a great time playing together. It was so nice to hear the students singing, clapping and WORSHIPPING!

Jeremiah did a great job setting the pace for the series and made me a bit more nervous about speaking next week. This week we talked about personal worship. Here are some highlights.

--We should want our worship to be our best.
--What is in our worship?
--Worship is about imitating Christ – Ephesians 5:1-2
--Worship is about maintaining purity – Ephesians 5:3-14
--Worship is about living as wise people so others can see Jesus – Ephesians 5:15-20
--Eric Christian’s definition of worship – Worship is acknowledging ALL that God is with ALL that we are.
--By singing songs together and to one another we are worshipping and sharing our faith in Christ.

After Jeremiah spoke we had the students spread out and spend sometime in worship reflecting on what their next step in their worship needed to be. Then we came back together and sang some more.

At first I was upset we couldn’t do this earlier in the year but I discovered today that really this was God’s timing. I pray that the rest of the series will continue to stretch our view of what worship is and help us recognize what steps we need to take to grow in our worship. Thanks for all of you who have been praying about this. Keep praying!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Crossroad Friendships

It clicked in my head today that some very important relationships in my life are at crossroads and I'm not responding in a very healthy way. It isn’t like there is a risk of losing any of these relationships. It is just that these friends, like myself, are at crossroads; no one really knows what the next step holds. Will the next step mean someone moves far away? Will it mean we get to spend even less time together? Will it mean we will see each other everyday? Will it mean we step into hard jobs or roles that may put a lot of stress on the relationship? Will it mean our friendship will be strengthened in ways we hadn't thought of before? It all is too uncertain for my liking.

In the past, my response has been to withdrawal and put up huge walls to protect myself. It is easier to say goodbye to friends that you are kind of close to rather than your closest friends. It is easier to spend less time together if you aren’t connected as tightly. It is easier to stop the pain from happening, or at least put if off, than preparing for it and living through it.

The problem is this response is very selfish. I “protect” myself at the cost of hurting these friends I care about. I push them away without giving any reason. I hurt them so I don’t have to deal with change. I leave them while they are trying to make tough decisions and work through the same changes.

I hate that I do this and I hate even more that I don’t realize I’m doing it. Even though it might mean tough goodbyes, rough transitions and hard adjustments later down the road, I’m going to try and be intentional about keeping the walls down. I figure it would be easier to walk through the change with friends you care about a lot than purposely force them to face the change alone.

God teach me how to be an unselfish friend. Teach me to show love in new ways even when I don’t know the next step. Help me trust you to guide my steps and my friends’ steps. Teach me to be more like you.

Saying I Care...

I have always been a firm believer that it is important to tell people you love and care about them. I don't think most of us take the time to say the things that we think are obvious and understood. Our actions and words should reflect those feelings of love and appreciation.

I have always tried to be encouraging to those around me. Lately, I feel like I've had a hard time conveying to people that they matter and I care about them. It is like I’ve said the same things over and over again and they are starting to become less and less meaningful. What can I do to let people know they are loved? How can I communicate that in new ways?

Does anybody else find them self in that place or is it just me?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Another Great Oasis

Last night was a great night at Oasis. Jeff ran the show and Seth spoke about being loyal and faithful friends. It was a great message. Our small group questions talked about what it means to be a loyal friend and examples of ones in our lives. I shared with my girls about a couple amazing and faithful friends in my life. As I was driving home, I must have thanked God a thousand times for those friends. It wasn't that long ago that I didn't really have any friends. And for everytime I thanked God, I asked him to help me be that kind of friend.

This was the first week I feel like we have actually had some conversation with depth in my small group. The girls shared a lot about what is going on in their lives. I think many of them on are the brink of some great things. They had awesome stories about how they used a dollar to impact someone else's life. I am really excited to hear a couple of the girls perform in their band concert next week. I love my girls! I just wish it was the beginning of the year instead of the end.

Praise God for his faithfulness and the blessing of friends. Praise God for the Relentless girls! They rock!

In other news...if you need something to do Friday night at 7, you should come hang out at our school's spring concert. If anything you can come laugh at me being a teacher!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

In a matter of seconds...

I am learning more and more each day how quickly life can change in a matter of seconds. It can change for the better or for the worse. You can find yourself flying to the top of a mountain or curled in a ball in the bottom of a pit. You can’t control those seconds of drastic change. You have a choice to stay in them or move through them and learn. Sounds so easy…

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Micah's Reminder

"He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
And to walk humbly with your God."
Micah 6:8

This year Fuller has spent their chapel services on studying this verse and I’ve discovered the messages have been good reminders.

Dr. Richard Mouw, the president of the seminary, talked about remembering our own need for justice and mercy. He talked about how God is just but he doesn’t stop there, he chooses to show mercy as well. I often wonder why it is so easy for me to forget that God is merciful and graceful. I deserve hell, yet God decided to show mercy and yet I can’t seem to show mercy to others. I needed to be reminded.

Dr. Doug Nason, did the second message focusing on the tone of Micah’s voice. Israel wanted to know what it was God wanted from them. So Micah tells them what they have already been told. Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God…DUH! I’m sure Micah was a little frustrated he had to tell them what thing they had already been told. Sure doing those three things aren’t always easy and don’t necessarily come naturally to us but it isn’t all that complicated either. But we forget over and over again, even the great Pharisees, scholars of the law, forget. I need to be reminded.

Unfortunately, I have to be reminded much more than I would like. The thing I have always loved about this passage is that it states it so simply. Micah doesn’t tell them to do all of these complicated, impossible things. I think the more we walk with God and remember what he has done for you, the easier it becomes to act justly and show mercy. Why? Because God is justice and mercy. The closer and more humbly we walk with God, the more we understand the depth of God’s justice and mercy. How easily I forget and lose sight of that! I need to be reminded.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Worship at Oasis

Last night I finally had the opportunity to play for worship again, as part of a band that is. I played keys at Oasis for the first time. Hopefully I'll be able to join them more again. It was very different than other groups I've played with but it was a great time. We gave the students time to just be with Jesus. They had time to sing and journal. I think it was exactly what our students needed. I am praying that they were able to connect in some way.

Last night as Judy was speaking, I looked around the room. There are some awesome students in that group. Imagine if that entire room of jr. highers got it. Imagine if they understood how much God loved them and wanted to be with them. Imagine the impact they could have in the lives of others. On my drive home every Wednesday night I pray that God would teach me how to show them that love. Tonight I think several of our students took another step towards getting it as they came to set their prayers at the foot of the cross. I'm pumped to see where God takes us from here.