Thursday, May 12, 2016

I've Gotta Tell it Like it Really is .......

I recently traveled to Costa Rica on a mission trip with my church, Highland Park UMC and I’ve been back home for exactly a week.  As I smile, I realize it’s taken me a week to mentally process my experiences.  Every time I tell someone about the trip, more facets of what I saw, felt, and heard come to the surface.  I asked myself a question, "What is it about getting away from normal life for a week that is so powerful?  Why do I get so much direction from the Lord when I get away for a week?  Why is getting away for a week a sure thing for me?"  I really think it’s because I want Jesus even more today than I did yesterday.  Sound desperate?  I’m OK with being desperate for Jesus.  I need Him.  I have faith that He wants to speak to me especially when I don’t have the other distractions of my normal routine.  I do something really elementary.  I ask the Lord to speak to me.  When I know I’m approaching a week that I’m taking off from my normal routine, I say, “Lord, I want You to speak to me this week”.  It works every time!

I’m not perfect with this, but on most mornings, I wake up around 5 AM, which is before my alarm goes off.  I get up, because it’s impossible for me to fall back asleep, and I go to my music room.  My music room is a room I’ve decorated according to my specific taste.  I’m comfortable and extremely at home in my music room.  I search for a worship song on You Tube and I start praying.  I pray until I know I’m in the Lord’s presence.  Then I hang out with God.  If I’m going through trouble, I tell Him.  I worship Him.  I just enjoy being with Him.  It has been my experience over the years that He’s always waiting for me and He leads me in the way everlasting in our time together.

In Costa Rica, the Lord turned on something in my brain.  He lead me into thinking I should help other people pray and hang out with Him too.  What am I afraid of?  What successful person wouldn’t want to hang out with God and be filled with His great love before starting their day?  I have a personal practice that helps me stay grounded, deal with stress, and get great direction.  "Why not tell everyone I know?!  While in Costa Rica, I had the opportunity to do some major construction on a building that will become a place where orphans can play and be safe.  I had the opportunity to lead worship, with two of my original songs, in Spanish.  That was amazing because I don’t speak Spanish but I figured God would do something awesome for people if I committed the time to learn two songs in Spanish.  I just knew He would do something unbelievable – and He did!  I had the opportunity to pray with the other people who were also on the mission trip.  They had a great time hanging out with God and I guarantee you, they will continue to worship and pray daily.

The Lord has provided me with everything I need to be successful.  Every time I lead worship, pray with someone, or share my testimony, I should give it every thing I’ve got as if it’s my last opportunity to do so.  My life is covered with His grace and He is my rock, my foundation, as well as my guarantee.  I have decided to do all I can to make the name of Jesus great in the earth.  I’m not afraid to try new things, I’m not backing away from impossible things, and I’m certainly not turning back on doing things for Christ that may not make much sense.  If it glorifies the Lord, I want to tackle it for the Him.  “Get out there and walk – better yet, run on the road God called you to travel!”  What is God calling you to do? 

In light of all this, here's what I want you to do.  While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk - better yet, run on the road God called you to travel!  I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands.  I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere, and mark that you do this with humility and discipline - not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.  Ephesians 4: 1-3

Video of "True Worship" in Spanish!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Psalm 23

God, my shepherd!  I don’t need a thing.  You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.  True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.  Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side.  Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.  You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.  You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.  Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.  I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.  Psalm 23 MSG

The 23rd Psalm is a great meditation for all people.  Many of the other Psalms are full of lists of complaints and different stresses of this world but this one calms me.  It still references the troubles we all go through but it seems to encourage us to look over our lives.  Pay attention to the direction we receive from God.  Realize how God is guiding our hearts, our attention, our lives.  And through this direction He is leading us in the way that is best for us.  Through His Words in the Bible, we find the solace we need during trouble.  Our joy is derived from His covering.  Not that everything is always running smoothly in our lives, but real joy is knowing He is always Lord and things will work out for the best.  I will have the best, you will have the best, your family will have the best and so on.  We will have God's best for us.  We are living testimonies of how God will keep us, restore us, and use us to spread His good news.  I try to always lead worship out of the reservoir of joy God provides for me.  I am convinced we should not spend so much energy making sure our lives our comfortable because our lives will never be comfortable enough.  We should instead turn our energies to connecting to the Lord who, through His tender care, will give us the joy we need to sustain us through our entire life.  His presence will be with us every day - always.

Enjoy this musical narration of the death, burial, and resurrection of 
Jesus inspired by the Book of John.
"He is Lord" is performed by myself, Dan Rixon, and Jordache Grant

Saturday, February 13, 2016

An Every Day Love

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.  I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!  Body and soul, I am marvelously made!  I worship in adoration—what a creation!  You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.  Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.  Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life.
From Psalm 139

Sometimes I need little reminders to focus on the details.  I received one of those reminders in my quiet time and that reminder took me back in time to college.  College was a fabulous season in my life.  I suddenly found myself with the freedom to be anyone I wanted to be.  Growing up, I was one of those kids that was at church almost every night of the week participating in Bible study, choir rehearsal, youth group, or volunteering with the worship team.  I was a busy kid with lots of interests and I enjoyed all my time at church.  When I made it to college, it was easy for me to develop a relationship with the Lord because church was always fun.  I had a great foundation to build upon.  I remember walking on campus to classes and having conversations with the Lord about my desired future.  I loved to worship and relished every opportunity to do so.  I believed the Bible without doubt and acted in faith according to my beliefs.  I remember having a group of friends that would get together for worship and prayer.  Not because someone told us to, but because we wanted to be close to the Lord.  There were times we ended up praying all night!  We were in love with the Lord and wanted to spend time with Him.  

Fast forward to now - I have my busy life, I have the husband & kids, as well as very fulfilling work.  My personal worship time is nowhere near as long as it was while I was in college.  But I have decided to make some changes.  There is nothing wrong with bringing back that excitement I've lost.  I'm going to allow the Lord to take me back.  I'm going to always look for good, always look for God working, always look for the next big thing God wants to do in my life.  I'll allow the Lord to take me back to being that young, excited girl that was fully in love with Him and lived life to the fullest.

Enjoy this medley performed by myself and Dan Rixon:

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Underground Chapel

I am so excited for the Cornerstone Band to have the opportunity 
to worship with David Luckey at the Underground Chapel.

Dan Rixon and I will join in worship
with Underground Chapel
at the HT Theater
February 3, 2016

Come Join Us!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Living With Purpose

But those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  Romans 8: 5b

I am drawn to Romans 8 because I'm looking for some guarantees and trying to answer some of life’s big questions.  One of the biggies for people of all ages is what is my purpose in life?  How can I be sure I have the life I was meant to have?  How can I make my dreams come true? Am I even worthy of dreaming such big dreams?  Romans 8 helps me gather some good insight about God and helps me answer some of life’s big questions.

1) Nothing separates me from the love of God – Romans 8: 38-39.  We throw around the word “love” all the time.  But God, our creator, conceived the concept of love.  He is interested in a deep relationship with us where we know Him intimately.  He knows everything about us.  This particular scripture is saying it is impossible to separate us from the One who has anointed us for a life of service to the Lord.

2) The Spirit of God lives in us – Romans 8: 5- 9.  This means we can have His nature if we are open to His leading.  His spirit brings life and peace.  Life and peace are connected and help us unite with God. God didn’t create us to live in bondage to fear.  Fearing that we aren’t fulfilling our purpose or failing to go for everything we want in life because of fear is the opposite of God’s will for us.

3) We are living according to the Spirit of God – Romans 8: 12-13.  Everyday, connect with the Lord in worship and prayer.  As we connect with Him, we allow Him to take the lead.  He will begin to direct our attention and we will begin to speak life and peace to others.  We will begin to live with purpose and direction from the Spirit of God.

Romans 8 helps me remember that I am permanently connected to God.  In fact, His Spirit is at work within me.  He is my teacher and is making sure my life is working toward something that glorifies Him.  If I can just keep moving with Him I will fulfill my purpose, glorify Him with my life, as well as realize my dreams.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

True Worship

I made it!  My first CD, True Worship, is finally complete!  The date for the concert is set and the planning for October 17, 2014 is underway!  If you are wondering what is most valuable lesson I’ve learned throughout this process,  the answer is the following statement: “God is Adonai”.  Now, let me explain.

This journey has been one of the most difficult paths to travel.  I’ve learned how to deal with problems, discouragement, disappointment, negativity, and anything else you can think of.  When you decide to tackle a huge project, such as starting your own record label and recording a CD, the first thing you must overcome is extreme resistance.  You learn to keep moving forward when you are told “no” and you learn how to keep yourself encouraged as the whole project looks as if it will crumble into teeny tiny pieces at any moment.  The reason you are able to continue moving forward is because of your faith in the Lord.  I try to be intelligent, capable, intuitive, forgiving, innovative, and I always try to learn from my mistakes.  But on my best day, I need a Savior.  I am a sheep and I must rely on my Shepherd.  My Shepherd knows the big picture.  He is watching out for me.  He is carefully seeing to the details of my life.  He is aware of the trouble I will face before I even realize I’m in trouble and He has a plan to help me navigate through the trouble.  It is the Lord who is my strength and will always be my strength.  It is the Lord who is mighty on my behalf.

Psalm 23  A psalm of David. (NiV)

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures,
 he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
  He guides me along the right paths
 for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk
 through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil,
 for you are with me;
 your rod and your staff,
 they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me
 in the presence of my enemies.
 You anoint my head with oil;
 my cup overflows.  Surely your goodness and love will follow me
 all the days of my life, 
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

This project seemed to be a gigantic mountain before I actually began to take the steps to record a CD.  Standing and looking up at a gigantic mountain can be extremely discouraging.  Now that I am finished recording and producing the project, I am moving on to the most enjoyable step, which is releasing the CD.  As I look back, my vision is clearer - what was a mountain is actually a small stepping-stone on the path of my life.  God has been faithful to me.  He has taught me to trust Him as Adonai.  Adonai is a Hebrew word meaning Lord or Master.  You and I have a Caretaker, a Father, a Lord.  I have learned the importance of trusting and being faithful to God.  He will never let me down.

I hope to see you Friday, October 17th at 7 PM for my first concert at Highland Park United Methodist Church.  A portion of the CD sales will benefit Love Ministries, a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization.  Love Ministries exists to build young leaders with integrity who are equipped to serve their community.  Also, on October 17th, the CD will be available for digital download in all digital download stores.

John 4:23-24 (NIV)

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.