“Where there is no vision…

… the people perish.”  – Proverbs 29:18

I went to Savannah, Georgia about a month ago.  The goal was to take a breath away from the crazy world that is New York City.  I had felt bogged down by all the tiny details that are a part of running a worship team.

I wanted God to speak to me on a bigger level, about both my team, and YEARofWORSHIP.

On my second day there, I found myself sitting in an old, beautiful church.

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I sat there thinking how beautiful it was.  And how the buildings where we gather in New York City look nothing like this.  I wondered how we make church beautiful.  God felt that was a good moment to chime in.

“I don’t need stained glass windows and ornate objects…”  He told me.  What I need is…  and what followed has since become the statement I have given my team about what we are building.

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“THAT is what will make my house beautiful” He said.

Well, okay.  Yes and amen.

 

 

 

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Goodbye Pride

For practically all of my life I’ve been a very ‘can do, and do on my own, I don’t need anyone’s help’ kind of person.

This can be incredibly problematic at times.

Example 1: I’m very short.  I often try to pretend like I’m not by doing things that a short person shouldn’t do.  It usually ends in injury or embarrassment.  (Or both.)

Example 2: I think I can handle far more than I can, then I overwork myself, get sick and frustrated, and turn into a not pleasant person to be around.

I like to do things on my own.  I am capable, I am independent.  Asking for help is almost as bad as my fear of spiders (arachnophobia, though I did google if there is a phobia associated with asking people for help.  There isn’t).

And then…  God messes with you.  He has this funny way of finding your ‘thing’, and prodding it until you give it away.

In March, God first suggested me taking a leap of faith, take a season to focus on worship, and raising sponsorships.

I said, ‘Absolutely not, God.  That’s lazy.’  And that was it.

Fast forward a month, in a tearful conversation with my lovely pastors Paul and Andi, where Andi says, ‘Why don’t you just take a season to focus on worship, and raise sponsorships…?’

Okay God, I hear you.

So yesterday, I held my breath as I published the post on Facebook about YEARofWORSHIP.  Some knew about it,  and were already partnering with me on the journey, which I have been so thankful for.  But, yesterday, I publicly said via social media…  I’m following God’s call, AND I NEED YOUR HELP.

And you know what’s cool?  Though it’s slightly nerve-wracking, I know God has this.  He’s asked me to do this, and I know he’ll provide.  And I know He will set aside people that believe in this call, and I won’t have to do it alone.  AND IN THE END, all the glory goes to God.

So, goodbye pride.  Here’s to following Him.

 

(PS-Check out the site, it’s pretty.)

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Forgiven

Brian Johnson – Forgiven

This song has been completely ruining me lately.

At our Good Friday service I struggled to sing any of it with our worship pastor, because I was a crying mess.

When I talked to our lead pastor Andi about doing this song last week to go with her “Forgiven” message, a tiny part of me was hoping she’d say no, because it overwhelms me (in the best possible way).

Thankfully, grace covers my emotion when I need to lead others, but man, I am so wrecked by His love. It makes no sense. It is good and abundant and covers us when we are both ugly and beautiful. When we are something to be proud of, and when we are not. When we are forgiving and unforgiving. When we are holy, when we are worldly. When we are kind and when we are mean. When we are generous and when we are uncharitable. His love always covers us. His love is always overwhelming.

I was listening to the Brooklyn recording of worship on my way to our Union Square service last night and I had an image pop into my head. It was nothing crazy, just an image of what the song is saying, but once again, I cried.

I saw myself at the foot of the cross. Beautiful, whole, and clean, wearing white and flowers, the perfect version of me, crying on the ground, being comforted and embraced by a bloodied, beaten and crucified Jesus.

That might sound a little brutal, but that’s what He did for us.  We are beautiful and perfect and whole because of the cross. It is incredible, and I am undone.

And this is why we worship. How could you not?  How could you contain a love like this?  How could you not be on your knees?  Once you know, you are never the same. Once grace, mercy and love catches you, you are never, ever the same.

God is so so so so so good.

Conduit

God has been up to something at Liberty Church.

I can’t explain it, but I’m glad I can’t.  The second I can comprehend what God is up to with my little human mind, He’s not really God anymore.  I’ve learned to embrace and love the unexpected.

Two pretty cool things happened Sunday night, one of which I shared with my Worship team, and I want to share with you as well.

I led worship at our Brooklyn Community on Sunday morning.  We did the song “Set a Fire”.  I was walking to my apartment, from the train, and praying those lyrics.

Set a fire, down in my soul.  That I can’t contain, and I can’t control.  I want more of you God.  I want more of you God.

I was praying and asking God for more of Him, in every second of my life.  To have more Words for people, to see more healings and miracles, to be full of Him in every single thing I do, and to be used for His glory.

Then I just heard God say, “a conduit.”

I knew what this word meant, but wanted to look it up when I got home to make sure I was right.  This is the definition.

con·duit

noun \ˈkän-ˌdü-ət, -ˌdyü- also -dwət, -dət\

: a pipe or tube through which something (such as water or wire) passes

: someone or something that is used as a way of sending something (such as information or money) from one place or person to another.

YES.  (God nailed it, as He does.)  That’s exactly what I want to be.  I simply want to be the thing that God has to pass through, (when He needs me to be that of course, otherwise i’m happy to get out of the way) to send his love, mercy, grace, Word, etc., to others.  That literally, I am a vessel that’s only used for Him to pass through, from one place to another, from one person to another.

When I’m leading worship, I often pray, and picture, that I am solely a vessel for what God wants to do on a Sunday.  That what comes out of my mouth is from Heaven, and goes directly out into our House.  That I am a pipe or tube voice through which something (such as water or wire anything God wants) passes.

God blows my mind, and I know He continually will, because He’s God.  He ALLOWS for us be used in this way, which doesn’t make any sense.  He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us, then chooses to partner with us to build His Kingdom.  He created EVERYTHING, and yet He lets us play a part.  This makes no sense, but I am forever grateful that we get to be used for His glory.

To be a conduit, from Heaven to earth, is a goal I’m incredibly excited to live for. 

Comparison

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This is one of the most true statements I have ever heard.

And I am more guilty of it than I’d like to admit.

Up until a couple years ago, I was an actor.  That world is grossly FULL of comparison.  People can get a part over you because of their eyes are bluer, they are 3 inches taller, they chose to do the triple pirouette when you only chose the double…   It’s a business, I get it, but it sticks with you.

It’s been a journey to adjust my thought process, and something I still work on daily.

Part of the time, I’m simply being ridiculous. But the other times, I have something else to blame…

The first half of John 10:10 says:

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.”

But luckily, the verse finishes:

“I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.”

We were not made to live in comparison.  God created us perfectly.  And we are to have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.  I’m very aware of how this is easier said than done.  But whenever this happens, and I realize how ridiculous I’m being, I remind myself of how much God absolutely adores us, and I realize, I don’t have time to live in that.

I am called to create, to worship, to sing, to praise, to laugh, to learn, to lead, to follow, to disciple, to love, to forgive, to grow… and  to do it all as me.  Oh, I’m not like that other girl?  GOOD, I’m not meant to be.

Like I said in Guide to Awesome : Part I, embrace who you are.  Because you were made in the image of God, and THAT, is perfection.

Happy 2014!

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That’s weird, but I’m excited.

I feel a lot of expectation around 2014, and I’m starting off the year by casting vision.

I put this on my wall, which is in reference to Habakkuk 2:2-3.

It’s a constant reminder for me to constantly dream, put it on paper, and pray to be in alignment with God for the vision He has for me, my life, and my calling in this new year.

I believe this will be a big one.  Our lead pastor, Paul, said the word God has continued to give him for the year for our church is unprecedented.

Heck yes, sign me up.

Happy 2014 friends!

Momentum

We had a retreat for our Visionaries in Washington DC a few weeks ago.

One of our guest speakers was Steve Dubbeldam, who has had many successful businesses.  One of the most current is Darling Magazine, which he started with his wife.

Something he said that really stuck with me was this:

“Don’t stop moving, don’t lose momentum.  God will redirect your steps if you’re moving in the wrong direction.”

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I believe if, with the right heart, you are found moving in the wrong direction, God will gracefully redirect your steps.

There can be moments, even seasons, in life where you know there are steps to be taken, but you’re just unsure of the direction.  What do you do without any new word or revelation?

I believe we need to continue on with the last thing God has spoken, and stay in that until he has called us to whatever is new.

Since Steve talked about this, I’ve been looking into the idea of moving forward in the Bible.  And I’m really loving what is said in Philippians 3.  Read the whole thing if you have a couple minutes, but I want to highlight verses 10-16.

 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope].  That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].  Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.  I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.  I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.  So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also.  Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that.

Mmmm, that’s good.

The end goal is to pursue Him.  I love verses 13 and 14…

I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.  I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward

In writing this, and looking into moving forward, and motion, I started to research Newton’s Laws of Motion. The first law, states this:

I. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

I do think we need to do everything in our power to continue moving forward, and having momentum in our lives.

But, take heart my friends, God can move in any circumstance.

…unless an external force is applied to it.

God is the most powerful external force that was, is, and is to come.  Ever.

So really, I just want to encourage you, if you do feel stuck, unable to move in any direction due to any reason, have faith that God can move anyway.  Let your faith partner with God’s ability to be the external force in any circumstance.

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Giving Thanks

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving.

Since it’s the day after, I want to share something I was thinking about yesterday.

During our dinner, we went around the room and talked about the things we were thankful for.  And I started to think about how these moments shouldn’t be special occasions.

I’m not literally saying we should go around the room every time we are all together, but about constantly, in all circumstances, giving thanks.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says:

Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 

In everything.  Always.

That is all, have a wonderful weekend. ❤

Guide to Awesome : PART I

I. EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE

I’m short.  5’1.5″ short.  I often say 5’2, but it’s a lie.

I used to wear shoes like the above constantly in high school in an attempt to fight my vertical challenges.  (Granted now it’s nearly impossible to find me in flats, but it’s not to fight the lack of height, it’s because I just reallllllly love my ankle boots.)

Believe it or not, there was a phase when I was the tall girl.  Yep.  Believe it.  I was the tall one in 5th grade.  I played center on my basketball team in 6th grade. Then everyone else continued growing, and I didn’t.  I went from playing  center in 6th grade, to forward in 7th, to guard in 8th, to…  dancer. (quit sports, shorties don’t rock in basketball)

Short jokes were annoying to me, and I was constantly cast as children in the shows I would do.

Then eventually I realized…  (this is pure wisdom, wait for it…)

WHO CARES?

Like, really?  Yes, I’m close to legally being a ‘little person’, I’m terrible at drawing, and I will always have to stand in the front of group photos.

More importantly, I’m a follower of Jesus, passionate, and incredibly loyal to the people I love.

Even without all of that, I’m a daughter of the King, and loved by the Creator, so…That’s the end of it.

Embrace who God made you to be, and do it with enthusiasm.

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”  –Psalm 139:13-14

Pessimism

“Expect the worst, but hope for the best” was a phrase I lived by up until relatively recently.

It felt safe to not dream too big, or hope for too much.  You cushion the eventual fall by not fully believing in good things.

I’m sorry, can we read that again?

…BY NOT FULLY BELIEVING IN GOOD THINGS…

What the what?  We are NOT called to that.

I was having a conversation with my friend Tim, several months ago, who very wisely put me in my place when I was defaulting to pessimism:

“I disagree when people say, “Don’t get your hopes up.”  Get your hopes up.  Turn that hope into faith.  Hope is all we have to sit on, and faith is all we can do for our part.  So get your hopes up lady.  So what if it falls through, you were living in a wonderful hope the whole time, instead of that expectant reality/facetiousness people seem so eager to prove they contain.  I don’t easily slip into pessimism, so I just ride hope like a horse.”

(it’s good to have friends like this, for the record.)

 Do not, for a second, do yourself (or God for that matter) the disservice in believing that nothing but amazing things are intended for you.  Choose to live in the ‘wonderful hope.’  I PROMISE YOU, the view is better from here.