Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top 10 Quotes From Corrie ten Boom

In honor of Corrie ten Boom's birthday, I've compiled my personal top ten favorite quotes from this amazing hero of the faith.  As not just a survivor of the holocaust, but an overwhelming conqueror of the enemy, her words deserve some mulling and pondering.  They are tools not just for a war fought 70 years ago, but for the age-old war we all live in...

"When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer."

"In darkness God's truth shines most clear."

"Trying to do the Lord's work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you."

"Love and obedience belong together."

"We are moons, not suns. The moon only reflects the light of the sun. We need only to reflect His light, then we live to His glory."

"Discernment is God's call to intercession, never to faultfinding."

"There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still."

"When we are powerless to do a thing, it is a great joy that we can come and step inside the ability of Jesus."

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."

"Every human being is either a missionary or a mission field. Have you never opened you heart to the Lord Jesus? If not, then you are a mission field, and I say to you: Be reconciled to God. Come to Jesus, and take your sins to Him. He died for you on the cross, and He says: 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' Matthew 11:28."

Author's Note:  If you haven't read any of Corrie ten Boom's work, you might appreciate this list of her books as a place to start.  All are available on Amazon, if not your local library.

  • The Hiding Place
  • Tramp for the Lord (my favorite)
  • A Prisoner and Yet
  • Amazing Love: True Stories of the Power of Forgiveness
  • Defeated Enemies

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Your Great High Priest

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin."    - Hebrews 4:15

If you've been judged for giving grace to a sinner...He has, too.  (Luke 7:36-50)

If you've been judged for speaking the truth in love...He has, too.  (John 6:25-66)

If you've been lied about and maligned...He has, too.  (Matthew 12:22-24)

If you've had your words twisted and used against you...He has, too.  (Mark 15:29)

If your intentions have been misinterpreted...His have, too.  (John 12:12-13)

If you've looked at the task you've been called to and wished there was another way...He has, too.  (Luke 22:42)

If you've been deserted by everyone who once committed to stay...He has, too.  (Mark 14:50)

If you've been betrayed by the one who professed to be a friend...He has, too.  (Mark 14:43-46)

If you've been pierced by the ones you're trying to help...He has, too.  (John 19:2, 18,34)

And then, from the cross, unrecognizable as a man, He prayed this prayer,

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  (Luke 23:34)

And you can, too.

Because your priest, the healer of your soul, was never buried into bitterness or apathy.  

He did not quit.

He rose. 

He rose from the tomb and into His Father's arms. 

He rose from the vile accusations of man and into the light of truth.

He rose from the disgrace of being naked on a cross and into the glorious realm that had never ceased to proclaim His majesty.

He rose to make a way for the very ones who scorned him to come to the Father.

And if the Spirit of this beautiful man has taken up residence in you, then you need not die by the criticisms or rejections of mankind.  You, too, can rise above them.  You, too, can extend forgiveness.  (Colossians 3:13)

And to journey forward, you need only look for approval from one pair of eyes.  Eyes that won't be hard to find if you refuse to stare into the gaze of judgment.

For they have never stopped looking at you.  (Romans 8:34)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Worship Leader's List of Inspiring Worship Artists

As a worship leader, I'm often asked about where I find music, what I'm listening to at the moment, what my favorite CD is...and I don't mind.  It's great fun to me to point people in the direction of quality, life-giving music. 

To that end, here is an incomplete (sorry, there are just too many) list of some of my most reliable sources of personal inspiration... (click on artist titles to link to website).

For personal worship and "soaking" times:

  • Laura Woodley Osman - A beautiful "free worship" style that stirs my heart every time I listen.  My favorite is the "In Love" CD.
  • Barry and Michelle Patterson - A married couple who have tapped into something amazing.  I have worn out one of their earliest projects, titled "Birth," for the last 10 years...and it still captivates me.
  • All Sons and Daughters - Another married couple who burst on the scene recently with an amazing rock/folk/worship blend I've never heard before.  There's not a non-gorgeous song in their line-up, and they all have powerful messages.
  • Rich Mullins - Yes, I still love him, twenty years after he's gone to be with Jesus.  I think he's probably got Heaven's choir good and warmed up by now, he and his hammer dulcimer.
  • Enter the Worship Circle - A ground-breaking group that changed how I approached worship about 12 years ago, and they are still making great stuff. 
  • David Nevue - He's one man on a piano who lets the keys sing for him.  His music brings rest to my soul, and he plays hymns the way I do in my dreams.
  • Shane and Shane - If I was a man and could play the guitar, I would name myself Shane and join this group.  They are sincerely good, and their acoustic stuff is their best, which is rare and wonderful.
  • Anthony Skinner - Not your average artist.  He has amazing insight in to the heart of the Father.  I also use a couple of his songs for corporate worship.
  • King David - Thousands of years later, he's still got it.

For corporate worship:

  • Bethel Music - Our church doesn't go a week without singing at least one song (usually more) from the group of artists that have emerged from Bethel Church, in Redding, California.  They not only record great sounds, they are capturing the heart of God for a generation of people.  The worship leader within their group that I find myself relating to the most as far as worship leading goes is Jeremy Riddle.
  • Brian and Katie Torwalt - A married couple who minister deeply to my soul while making my toes tap happily along.  They are pretty new on the worship scene, but already have some well known songs that are touching people's hearts every time we sing them.
  • Matt Redmand - I've learned a lot from this man about what it means to lead worship by being a worshipper first.  His ability to put sound doctrine to music is amazing, also.
  • Hillsong Music - I don't usually do a lot of their music on a Sunday morning, but I love listening to it, and there is no denying that they have shaped a large part of the worship culture world-wide over the last decade and a half.  On top of that, their newest song, "Oceans," is just a grand slam.
  • Rita Springer - Another worship leader who has taught me a lot just by setting the bar high and staying faithful to her God.  When I listen to this woman, I feel freer to be me.  It also helps that her voice is in the perfect range for me as a woman worship leader who is more comfortable in the alto realm.
There you have it.  Go ahead.  Just worship today!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

It Takes All Kinds

Our family came across a poster this last week that caused a good laugh in our house.  It read, "Introverts UNITE.....separately....in your own rooms."

Because we have a full house of six people that is also pretty evenly divided when it comes to introverts and extroverts, we could see the humor.  The extrovert bunch love to go and do, they love crowds, and they are energized by being around people.  The introvert bunch loves the moments of solitude (hard to come by in a house our size), intimate moments with close friends, and being energized by quiet reflection and creative endeavors.

Neither are wrong.  Just different from each other.

But, I also came across a passage by theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer this week that carries a warning to both.

“Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. He will only do harm to himself and to the community. Alone you stood before God when he called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God. You cannot escape from yourself; for God has singled you out. If you refuse to be alone you are rejecting Christ’s call to you, and you can have no part in the community of those who are called.”

“But the reverse is also true. Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.  Into the community you were called, the call was not meant for you alone; in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray. You are not alone, even in death, and on the Last Day you will be only one member of the great congregation of Jesus Christ. If you scorn the fellowship of the brethren, you reject the call of Jesus Christ, and thus your solitude can only be hurtful to you.”

“We recognize, then, that only as we are within the fellowship can we be alone, and only he that is alone can live in the fellowship. Only in the fellowship do we learn to be rightly alone and only in aloneness do we learn to live rightly in the fellowship."

“Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.”       (from Life Together, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

So, like everything else in life, balance is required. 

My introverted self needs community to be sharpened.  My extroverted friends need some quiet time to deal with their own hearts.

And we get to live life together...just sometimes in our own rooms.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Date Night, Part Three

Author's Note:  This is the last of a three part series on date night suggestions.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Date Night #3:  "The Cheap Skate Date"

  • Prepare each other a gift that cost you nothing.  Give it to one another as you leave the house.  It will set the "thrifty" tone!
  • Go to at least 4 fast food locations.  Order ONLY one item per person at each restaurant.  (Example:  your drink at Taco Bell, your appetizer at Wendy's, your main dish at Arby's, and your dessert at McDonald's)
  • If you have a smart phone that has a good photo app, take a picture of yourselves at each place and create a photo collage of your "dinner."
  • Find a free community event and attend it.  Choose something that you never would have attended otherwise--it'll make it more memorable.
  • Take a blanket to a scenic spot and watch the sun go down together, with a carafe of coffee from home!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Date Night, Part Two

Date Night #2:  "The Something Old Date"

  • Recreate your first date as closely as possible.  If you still live in the same town, this will be fairly easy to do.  If you live in a different location from where you began your relationship, you might have to substitute some things, but make the evening's agenda as close as possible to what you did the first time you went out together.
  • Talk about your favorite memories from the first days and weeks of your relationship.  What special things do you remember from your first few dates that endeared your spouse to you early on?
  • Bring along your wedding album and/or your box of photos/mementos from your dating days and go through them together.
  • If you still have a copy of your wedding vows, read them to each other again.
  • Bonus thought:  If you still have an article of clothing or jewelry that you wore early on in your relationship, wear it on your date.  Depending on its out-of-dateness, it may cause a laugh or two, but that will only add to the memory making! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Date Night, Part One

A couple of years ago, my husband and I realized we needed to step up our date night game.  The kids were getting older, we were getting busier, and it was becoming easier and easier to forget about taking time to be together. 

One on one time. 

Where we dressed up. 

And ate nice food. 

And talked about big people things. 

And laughed.

And had new experiences together.

And came home not just loving each other, but really, really liking each other.

So, now it's something we prioritize, which is harder than it sounds.  And what we've found is that the more time and attention we put into our date nights, the more they lend themselves to heart connections and the more memorable they are.  Not that dinner and a movie isn't a perfectly nice thing to do, but if it's all we ever do, the dates seem to run together in retrospect instead of sticking out as special highlights as one calendar page turns to another.

But, I'll be honest.  It's hard to come up with creative dates again and again.  Which is why I'm a big fan of taking other people's ideas.  So, in the spirit of generosity, "Treasure the Ordinary" will be offering three date night ideas for the next three days, leading up to Valentine's Day.  I pray they might be a blessing to you as you jump start creativity in your relationship. 

And if you happen to be someone who is without a significant romantic relationship in your life right now, might I offer this suggestion?  What would happen if you prayed for God to show you someone who needed encouragement, someone who is alone in this season of their life, and asked them to accompany you on a friendly outing?  You can take these ideas, make them completely platonic, and you might just change someone's outlook on life.

Date Night #1:  "The Something New Date"

  • Guys:  Bring your spouse a type of flower you've never purchased before when you come home!
  • Go to a restaurant you've never been to before.
  • Order something you've never ordered before.
  • Tell each other a story you've never told before.
  • Go to a bookstore and buy a "how to" kit for something you've never done before.  (Examples:  origami, playing the harmonica, paint by numbers, etc.) Go somewhere and tackle the new project together!
  • Stop in for coffee before heading home in a new environment.  This is a great time to try out a new, hipster coffee joint!

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