Wednesday, January 31, 2007


So, I've been dancing all my life. I danced for about fifteen years before coming to college, and then I stopped. But that's not the point of this post. The point is that I've been involved in the dance ministry with IV at UNCG, and sometimes I get so frustrated because I don't feel like when we dance in front of people that it comes across as worship. Even if I go into it with my heart set on worshipping God, and not on the people watching me, I feel like it still comes across to them as a performance. I've been trying desperately to figure out how to reconcile this because the last thing I want is for people to feel like I am looking to perform or get their praise.

And I realized, as I continue reading Unceasing Worship (long overdue to be back in the IV Office...), that I am putting worship into a box that is opened during IV, maybe during small group, and during church. It's the other times in my daily life that I'm forgetting that worship ought to be a lifestyle. "Authentic worship is continuous outpouring summed up in personal holiness...the Christian needs to hear but one call to worship and offer only one response." (Unceasing Worship)

"Authentic worship and continuous outpouring are to be undertaken by faith, driven by love, designed by hope and saturated with truth, whatever the context, time and place." (Unceasing Worship)

And as I prepare, choreograph and learn dances for Cornerstone, I wonder what it would look like, if those of us who are "supposed" to dance didn't choreograph ahead of time, but simply moved as the Spirit led us. Would other people feel more comfortable to worship in new ways? What would it look like for everyone in the room to be moving (or not) according, not to whether they felt comfortable doing so, but rather according to how movement became or could be worship for them?

"Worship is a voluntary act of gratitude offered by the saved to the Savior, by the healed to the Healer, and by the delivered to the Deliverer. And if you and I can go days without feeling and urge to say "thank you" to the One who saved, healed and delivered us, then we'd do well to remember what He did." (Max Lucado, In the Eye of the Storm)

It's not that a choreographed piece is therefore NOT worship; it's just not moving according to how God is speaking to you, because it's preconceived. Don't get me wrong; even when I am "performing" (and I can't think of a better word, but I hate using that word in this context) a choreographed piece, I am worshipping. I'm just not sure that it a) comes across as worship and b) is inviting to those who feel led to move, dance, jump, etc in a way that would allow people to step out of their comfort zones.

The more I think, pray and understand, the more I feel like, if we are to worship as a community of believers, it seems there needs to be a different way than choreographing every piece ahead of time. If only I could truly articulate this well to other people...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thought for Today and Every Day

"Everything is necessary that He sends. Nothing can be necessary that He withholds."
-Isaac Newton, author of "Amazing Grace"

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Blessings in Abundance

So, the kidney stones have made their presence known once again. For the last few months, they've hurt occassionally, like a quick, at most thirty-second, twinge of pain, but nothing like the last thirty two hours or so. Sunday night, I realized that I was experiencing THE pain again. THE pain that sent me to the ER last time. THE pain that is unlike anything else I've ever experienced. THE pain that the doctor said is avoidable in the future if I drink 6-10 liters of water per day (do you know how much that is, reader? I'd pretty much be going to the bathrom constantly!) But anyway, I felt really bad Sunday night, but I took some pain medication, which only served to make me dizzy, nauseous and a little loopy. But through the pain, God has proved to me once again that my friends embody and live out Christian community. Do you, O reader, have friends like these? Friends who will see you through the pain to the end, without regard for themselves?

I can't remember exactly why or how the idea came about, except that I returned from a trip to the bathroom (one of many, to be sure), to hear David tell me that they (he, Eric, Amanda #2, and KVP) were going to take turns staying up with me all night. I announced, however falsely, that I hated Christian Community, at that moment. I hate letting people do stuff for me; it's a common characteristic among our group...we call it "robbing someone of a blessing." (As a side note, I think the community that comes out of the bonds we share through Christ is invaluable and amazing, and these two semesters have showed me just what it means to be a member, both a receiving and a giving member of that community.) But anyway, David and KVP took the first shift; David reading The Chronicles of Narnia, me lying on the couch in the basement of our building... I was pretty much chugging the water. In fact, my body now expects constant hydration. So, I had to use the restroom every five to fifteen minutes, and the pain was dull and constant, but would occassionally flare up. But through it all, they were there. Holding my hands, praying, reading, pacing, or whatever. But mostly, I think, they just wanted me to feel better.

It was quite the night. I don't remember much, except that I drank A LOT of Water, and went to the bathroom more, and faded in and out of sleep.

The update is that everyone has been praying for me, for something to change. And today, I woke up, still in a fair amount of pain, but by lunchtime I was feeling a little better and after my 2pm class, I felt pretty good. There are still occassional twinges of pain, where I squirm a little because the feeling that shoots through my body is uncomfortable to say the least. But Praise the Lord, because I can function again. He is faithful and wonderful, and has provided not only solace from the pain, and prayerful support from those around me, but amazing friends to see me through as well. God is good.

Sunday, January 21, 2007 blessed

This week has been really eye-opening for me in many ways. On Wednesdays, Grace Community Church serves dinner to between 150 and 200 homeless people. This was my first week volunteering to serve dinner. I went, mostly because I'd heard about it, and I had really been affected by the soup-kitchen experience I had this summer in California. I had no idea, though, that I would be so affected by my experience at Grace. Maybe it was the children who have no where to call home. Maybe it was the gracious looks from the adults. Maybe it was the frigid weather outside. Maybe it was the realization that it wasn't just the food, or the warm building, but the love that we could offer through Jesus that might affect these people. I don't know what it was, but I was in tears by the end of the night. In tears because I had a warm place to lay my head, hot meals at school three times a day, and in general more material things than I needed, more blessings than I could count. I want to go back...because I don't want to stay in the college-bubble, of believing that I am "poor" or that I am not well-off or blessed. Because I am. And I praise God that my heart longs for these people to be blessed and to know Christ. I am grateful that my heart broke for these people, and I want it to continue to break because the need remains, and to ignore it or pretend it doesn't exist because it's too heart breaking is not what God calls us to do.

On Thursday night at InterVarsity, we talked about Silence. About how little time we spend in silence, and how we are looking for God to speak in a booming voice. And maybe, in doing so, we miss the whisper. Max Lucado puts it: "Because we look for the bonfire, we miss the candle. Because we listen for the shout, we miss the whisper. But it is in burnished candles that God comes, and through whispered promises that He speaks, 'When you doubt, look around; I am closer than you think.'" I am terrible with silence, or quiet time. I do spend time in the word and in prayer, but I think there's this idea of meditation that I'm missing. I have a tendency to fill up my schedule beyond belief, leaving no time for downtime. I don't want the thoughts in my head to flood my mind and overwhelm me. It's easier to be constantly busy than to deal with things that are hard, painful or uncomfortable. Zephaniah 3:17 says:
"The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing."

The story of Elijah from 1 Kings is something we touched on during IV: (1 Kings 19:11-13)

The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

This question was posed: "Is it possible that you've been searching for God in the winds, the earthquakes and fires and He's waiting to speak to you in the silence?

Jesus says in Matthew 11: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden in light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

I am guilty of always needing to be around people or of always needing to have noise. I walk around campus with my iPod in my ears. David actually called me out on it, telling me it makes me seem inaccessible/unapproachable. He said it's like having a big sign on my forehead that says, "Leave me alone." And he's right. I am not trying to be inaccessible, it's just my method for destressing. But yeah, so I'm going to work on that.

Last night we were playing Dutch Blitz (per usual), and my friend Anne from highschool had come to stay the night. It was fun and I like that my college friends (KVP, Amanda, Kelsey, Eric and David) like her. That makes me happy. But the things that get said when we're playing cards are certainly worth mentioning on the blog. I always tell them "that's going on the blog" (the blog they don't read...) but I usually forget the quotes before I have a chance to post. But I wrote a couple down last night.

"I feel a lot more mellow with Jack Johnson singing from my lap." (David)

Kelsey was heading for the bathroom when she turned around and looked at us. We were like: "What?" And she said, "I was going to wash my hands and I was going to ask if anybody wanted me to wash theirs, but..."

My friends are absolutely the best. And as David says God pretty much rocks my face off.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


So, I promised to talk about Urbana at some point, but most days, (today included), I feel inadequate to even try to explain the way God moved in me and the way He changed my heart at Urbana.

The first thing is that we had large group worship sessions with more than 20,000 people. Imagine, if there were a full football stadium, and everyone was singing praise songs, clapping their hands or raising their hands, dancing, jumping up and down...Just imagine. I think I got a little taste of heaven that day. It was uh-mazing.

A lot of the large group talks really spoke to me. There was one where the speaker asked if we had "settled." What she meant was: Have you convinced yourself that God is saying "no" when He's really saying "go for it, and see what I can do!" Are you settling for something comfortable, when God is calling you to a higher purpose.

"Ultimately, it's all up to God; we're just called to be faithful." Our lifetime is full of saying "yes" to God in little and big situations, to little and big choices.

I also started learning what it truly meant to serve God here on earth. One of the hardest things for me, (it really has been for a long time and will continue to be, I'm sure) is discerning God's voice amongst the noice of the world. Urbana didn't solve this problem for me, because there isn't a solution. The opportunity for us, though, is to grow and mature as children of God. There is a difference between a "good" idea and a "God" idea. We're going to become better disciples when we STAY at the foot of the cross. And I think it was C.S. Lewis who is quoted as saying, "The more I grow as God's child, the more I can trust the desires of my heart." Rick Warren said: "If you get usable, God will wear you out!" That's soooo exciting to me.

There's a Casting Crowns song that says, "How refreshing to know you don't need me...How amazing to find that You want me." That combined with Urbana helped me understand that I'm so thankful that God's grace, mercy and conversion of other people does not depend on me...because I would, without a doubt, FAIL miserably. That's just the truth. BUT the cool thing is that God WANTS to use ME!!! God made me for a purpose, ON PURPOSE. I was made by God, for God. In fact, Rick Warren puts it as: "You are NOT one in a million. You are one in SIX BILLION!" He talked mostly about Purpose. How there are three things that define how people live. People either live in the realm of survival...the realm of success... or the realm of significance. And significance, he explained, is what Christians should be aiming to live in...and significance comes from knowing and living out your calling. "If you're not going to be you, you're irrelevant. God doesn't make carbon copies; you are here for a reason." I just think that's so cool. It's really awesome that I am someone special, not a mistake and I have a purpose for my time on earth... a purpose outlined, planned and conceptualized by God. And that holds true for every person who has ever, is currently, and will ever live. Nice.

But how do you find significance? Rick Warren said there are five things that you can look at, in the acronym SHAPE.

S- spiritual gifts
H- Heart: what you LOVE to do
A- abilities, or your natural talents
P- Personality (you are unique here too. If two people are exactly alike and agree on everything, one of them isn't necessary.)
E- experiences (these shape who you are and how you view the world; your past pains will help you relate to others.)

In regards to pain, Rick Warren also talked about Sympathy, Empathy and Compassion. Sympathy is when you're sorry something happened to someone else. Empathy is when you hurt because someone else hurts. Compassion is when you are willing to do anything to take the hurt away from someone else.

One last thing about Urbana, though I will probably add more later.

WHATEVER- do whatever He tells you; you sign the check and let God fill in the amount
WHENEVER- always be ready to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you
WHEREVER- wherever He calls you, you go.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It's An Update!!!

My new classes have started and I haven't even posted about Urbana yet...Oops!

Quick update on the classes...I'm taking:
Sign Language I
Spanish 311 (Adv. Spanish Conversation)
Global Justice (my honors seminar)
Honors ProSeminar
Art 100 (Living with Art)
Biology 105 (Forensics and Criminology, mixed with basic biology)
Political Science 105 (Political Issues)

So far, I love all my classes, save my Spanish class, which I am enjoying but already stressing about. It will be interesting to see which ones I end up loving the most.

It's nice to be back in Greensboro. I have spent so much time with my friends the last few days that I actually feel empty when I'm alone in the dorm room or in a class where I don't know anyone...kinda scary there...In fact, I'm even beginning to take on their mannerisms and speech habits...
David has me saying "just a tish" (just a little bit, basically) and "back up off"
Kelsey has me saying "uh-mazing" (amazing)
Laura Jo has me saying "I kinda feel like..." (as in, I kinda feel like you shouldn't do that, or I kinda feel like that's not normal)
Katie hasn't gotten me saying "oh dear" yet but I'm sure that's bound to happen.
Everyone now has me saying "oh, sad story" or "oh, sad day" when something happens-- like a card I didn't want is played in a game or something

Saturday we played Settlers of Catan (best board game EVER) twice...and once on Sunday. On Sunday, we also played Dutch Blitz (best card game EVER) for three hours-ish. Monday night I had small group and we played Dutch Blitz for an hour or so. Then yesterday, we played Dutch Blitz for two and half hours, then we went to dinner. Then we came back and played Dutch Blitz until after midnight, with some Egyptian Ratscrew in there too. We're crazy, basically.

Amanda Coale (aka Amanda 3) said during Dutch Blitz last night: "Why can't there be homo amish people?" Probably the quote of the week, right there. But you'd have to have played the game to truly understand. Basically, two of the four colors of cards (green, blue, red and yellow) have girls on them and the other two have boys on them, and in one section of the game, you can stack the cards in descending order, girl on boy, or boy on girl but not boy on boy or girl on girl...hope that made sense.

So, we're all pretty much addicted to Dutch Blitz and Settlers. Last night we finally stopped because it was late; I was falling asleep sitting up and everyone else was tired. The only other times we really stop are for hall meetings, to stretch some (or dance, thank you Kelsey), to get food or...nope I think that's it.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I'm sitting at my computer right now, trying desperately to figure out how to convey Urbana 2006 to my few faithful readers out there.

I told someone that Urbana 06 was priceless and that it changed my life. And it did. But how can I express to you, oh reader, just what Urbana showed me, what it opened my eyes to, and how it changed my life.

It's hard to explain to someone the change that goes on in your heart, the way your relationship with your Savior is altered and the way your view of your place in the world has shifted. How do you express the way the lyrics of a song speak to you, move you to tears and perfectly sum up the feelings that have welled up in you for so long that you could hardly understand? How do you explain to someone the way something a speaker said spoke to you in a way nothing ever has? How can you ever describe what it feels like to look around a convention center and watch as 23,000 Christians worship the same God you are, raise their hands in praise, sway back and forth in emotion? Can anyone who wasn't there actually, truly, really understand what you felt, thought, and went through? And even if someone was there, can they understand the way it changed you personally?

The theme of Urbana 2006 was "Live a Life Worthy of the Calling." The theme was taken from Ephesians: "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." (Ephesians 4:1)

A few of my favorite things said at Urbana that I remember were:
-Isn't the gospel worth it?
-Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where all the fruit is?
-If you never leap off the cliff, how will Jesus ever catch you?
-So often we think we are hearing God saying "no" to something, but He's really saying "Why don't you take the risk for Me, and just see what I can do!?"

There's tons more to tell, but I don't have my notes nearby. I'll post more later as the things I learned, the things I've experienced, and everything I've felt and thought continue to churn away inside my head.