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Monday, July 29, 2013

I've Got Your Back by James C. Galvin

I honestly would never want to read some boring book on leadership, but the word parable drew me in. I wondered what I might see wrapped in a story that I might not see in a guide book to leadership. As page built on page, I thought this was such a brilliant concept. The story made concepts and problem areas come alive in a way that no chart or diagram ever could. 

I could see myself in the people in this story. I could see my own struggles and reluctance. There were clear examples of how how being a good follower grows you into a great leader. James shows the types and levels of followership as well as follower abuse. Often, in the church and in ministry people abuse power and hurt those who are seeking to serve the Lord under them. This is an excellent resource for seeing clear to the type of leadership and follwership we are called to. It is also a call to cease complaining about our leaders and our jobs and follow well. Grab your copy. This is an excellent read.

This book was graciously provided for by the publisher for review.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Talk to me, Abba.


Adding to my saga of things breaking down, we had a blow out in my van last week. It was pretty intense. The headlight blew out of the car. The fender was knocked off by the tire tread. The front driver's side panel has the same appearance as though we hit a deer. The a.c. was knocked out. We were okay though. I feel as though God had his hand on us. Denbigh was able to maintain complete control of the car. Our girls never got upset even though they were hot and it appeared we were stranded. Our car was still driveable. We made it to camp for Denbigh to lead worship with literal minutes to spare.

As we were coming in to downtown Huntsville, I wanted to hear from my Abba. I needed to talk to him and hand another thing into his hand. I put my face into my hands and repeatedly whispered, "Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison." (Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy). I looked up to see a rainbow far ahead of us. I started shouting about the rainbow. I had to shout because the wind was whipping in the windows. I was also excited thinking about God's promises and his ability to keep them. As we drove closer and closer to our destination, the rainbow began to fill the sky. It became two. A double rainbow. We are generally only able to see part of a rainbow, but there I was staring at a full double rainbow. The windows were down with summer rain drifting in. I forgot about everything else and delighted in God with what he allowed us to see. Nothing else compares to the glory of Christ. 

Abba, you are delightful.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Unfinished by Richard Stearns

When I read The Hole on the Gospel, I was quickly enamored by Richard's heart for the least. I loved getting to see his heart develop and God grow his desires to love and care for the world. It has been no different reading Unfinished. Richard reminds us that we are not deciders of the gospel, we are disciples. Our task is to do what it says. Our mission is to populate the kingdom of heaven. The church in our day has the knowledge, the funds, and every conceivable thing to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. The mission remains largely unfinished. 

The book is full of stories of ordinary people called to use what they had to share the gospel. Some were called to give up everything and some were called to better use what they had. The point is that we need to be on mission wherever we are or wherever God calls us to go. Read this book and challenge yourself. 

This book was graciously provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers for review.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Talk to me, Abba.

Perhaps you saw a post about our tire blowing out, knocking out the head light, and ripping off the fender on Sunday. Jesus protected us from a serious accident, but there is much repair needed. Come Monday, we went to Discount Tire to get the tire replaced. We took two cars so we could get around while the tire was being replaced. We also came home in two cars. 

I was driving the van back and since it had no a.c., I decided to stop and get the girls and I a drink. I was turning the corner and I saw a couple that looked like they may be handicapped in some way. Then as I was sitting in the drive-thru, they walked in front of me with their little girl and a baby in a stroller. The little girl, about 7, looked at me and I just felt the craziest rush of love for her. The cashier was being a bit slow. That gave the perfect amount of time for God to impress upon my heart to buy them dinner. I had twenty bucks in my purse. God had twenty bucks in my purse. I asked the cashier to give the guy the money. Oh my. I enjoy getting to give away God's money. My heart was swelling with love and prayer for these people I had never met. 

Thanks for letting me share your joy, Abba. 

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Talk to me, Abba.

Sometimes, you feel like you are on the great hamster wheel of life when you have small children. You spend the majority of every day doing the exact same thing in an almost precise cycle. It generally culminates in a shed tear or two. This alone is enough to drive a person to their knees crying out, "help" to the Lord. 

Add in traveling with my husband and three small children to lead worship for months out of the year. I am in one hotel room with my children for ... months. Denbigh leads worship sometimes six times a day. Add practice. He comes home, a three and a half hour drive, on Sundays after a ten p.m. service on Saturday night. I never see him.

My van started making a horrible noise. It died while driving it down the road to get lunch. It started back up, but who knows.

During the last few months, we had kids swing on my daughter's curtains and bend the rod, get sharpie on her heirloom bedspread, get stripper on the butler pantry counter, the table, the buffet, the side table outside, broken (original wavy) glass in two french doors, a broken window, hours upon hours of traveling alone with my little girls, aging parents that need to be cared for, and hurtful comments from loved ones. My dad cancelled a lunch date with me because he didn't want to leave the dog alone too long after I had driven two hours to get there. A two and a half foot piece of our baby grand piano was broken off. Lulu's swing was broken.

Where will I find time to repair all of this? Can it be repaired?

I am a one on one type of a gal. There I was surrounded by hundreds of screaming campers when I found out that our huge tree had fallen. I didn't know the extent of it. Our tree had fallen. My favorite place in the entire world to sit and be with Jesus. 

People can come at you with a thousand encouraging words, but what I needed to know had to come to me from the heart of God. I needed to know if going in circles is truly what He desired for my life. Surely, He is making room for something. We've been talking. I have been slowly stripping the remnants of paint off of the windows in our dining room. While I am doing that, I just keep listening. Sometimes there is nothing said. Sometimes, there is this soft enveloping feeling like my Jesus is very near to me. Then, my heart turns to a verse. Remember when the psalmist tells us that he is going to be anointed and seated at the table. 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Sometimes, I forget the battle that is waged against fellowship with Christ. He is preparing a table for me. He wants me to prepare a table for you. He wants me to continue to work against all odds to make a place for you to sit and feel His presence. He is redeeming the moments. 

Then, a tree preached the gospel to me.

As I stared out the second story window through the tree that was hit by lighting, you can see a clear path headed straight to our backdoor. The tree absorbed the destruction. 

Monday, July 01, 2013

Help. Thanks. Wow. by Anne Lamont

Recently, while perusing books with my girls in Target, I grabbed Anne Lamont's newest book. I simply love her literary voice. She has a style of writing that makes me want to curl up and drink coffee with Jesus. It's a restful tone.

Now, before I go any further, I must tell you that Anne is no where near your usual Christian author. She has view points on things that make my skin crawl. Sometimes, she refers to God as "she" and many other things that most would balk at. I look past that to her searching and her story. 

You can tell that Anne has a deep yearning for Christ and is learning to rest in reconciliation. Her simple approach is profound. Say a simple prayer exactly as you mean it. When things are painful and dark and words seem so superfluous, ask for help. Thank him for what he has done. Then stand in awe.

 There are lines to take away from this.