Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Making Things Matter

Love this woman.

She blogs here, about life and loss and faith and kids and anything else that crosses her mind.

She's one of the most honest people I know.

She hearts music.

I love the words that she writes, because she writes with the power of conviction that makes things matter.

You can get to know her by clicking here, or by checking out The Green Room, or just asking around at PCC. She's worth getting to know.

Common Sense Leadership

This is what I'm reading at the moment. I love leadership books that resonate with common sense.

After the introduction, I'm convinced that this sucker is FULL of that very thing.

If you've read it, what do you think?

Check back for a full report. Our entire staff is reading it, and we'll be discussing in a few weeks...

Monday, June 29, 2009

This Moment

I saw this film today while checking up on Sarah in Germany (via Facebook ). She posted it on her page.

I will go through the rest of this day with these images - this unbelievable contrast - in my head and heart.

"When we forsake the lives of others, we actually forsake our own."

I am so messed up. There is so much to do. There is so much beyond doing.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Love Like That

I woke up this morning after the best night's sleep I've had in weeks.

All three of my girls have been gone all week long. Sarah is still making her way around her new (albeit temporary) life in Germany, with new friends and strong new bonds with family. Shannon and Sydni have been in Knoxville all week with the World Changers group.

David was with a friend Thursday night and Daniel went up to see his dad in Mechanicsville. Last night, both boys stayed with their dad.

So I had the house to myself.

It is striking to note the difference in my life, my mind, my way of thinking - pretty much EVERYTHING - when there are no children in the house. I miss them - sort of - but I also have this sense of reclaiming my self. Longer, coherent thought processes. A complete night's sleep. No energy extended towards managing their lives, spurring them on to good deeds, referreeing disputes. A little less clutter, only my own trail of life left in the various rooms of the house.

Oh, and the laundry's done!

I love them deeply, profoundly. And when I get a moment to breathe, it seems that I can love them from afar in a way that allows me to find myself outside of that love, rather than immersed and overwhelmed by the actions it requires. That's a fresh perspective for me. It's easier, sometimes.

Peterson's take on a bit from Ephesians in the Bible is interesting:

"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that." Ephesians 5.1-2 The Message

"Mostly what God does is love you."

Love can be exhausting, in the 'giving everything' and the extravagance. It can be costly. If I'm to take this seriously, it seems that framing the intensity and distraction of my day-to-day life as a parent within the context of extravagant love alters the context somewhat. Rather than claim the current quiet of my house and my mind as 'normal'and the object of aspiration, perhaps I should consider it nothing more than refueling, refreshing and rest for the next round of love.

Like that.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Worship Music - What Works For You?

So I'm wondering, as I contemplate music for the rest of this series:

What THREE songs would YOU choose as those which best allow you to connect with God in an awesome worship experience at your church?

It's A New Season

This is Sarah, in Germany.

I'm so happy for her - what a terrific opportunity! We saw her off last week at Dulles - watched her walk through security and into a great adventure. I cried - just a little.

But when I saw this picture - capturing that somewhat shy smile, in a place I've never stood, I realized that my little girl is gone for what feels like a very long time.

And I cried - a lot.

But it's a good thing, isn't it - this changing of seasons, this growth and unfolding of a young life? She has so much to experience.

And my seat for this ride is a privileged one - and unique to me.

A new season of motherhood. It comes with some tears, but a great newfound joy as well.

And again, I know that I am, indeed, blessed.

Hello Diane Birch - Nice To Meet You

Really enjoying listening to this.

You can download the tune for free here. And free?

That's a good thing.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Art, Art, I Want You

There are some artists at PCC. You're seeing some of their work on Sundays, as they use the inspiration and imagination that God gave them to help us create an environment on the stage that suits the message and the series.

They're also creating things at home -cards, paintings, sculptures, graphics. They're serving in Power Jam and helping with Mega Camp.

They're everywhere!

Maybe you're one of them, too. In hiding.

We're having some conversations about how to bring more art to worship, more art to Powhatan - about opening the doors to some incredibly exciting and somewhat unbelieveable ideas.

We're dreaming big.

Want to dream with us?

Comment below, or find the PCC Visual Artists group on Facebook.

And take a look at this. It's extremely cool.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

This Is Why We Do It

These 50+ people went to the river today to be bapitzed and publicly declare that they were following Jesus. They waded into the water to stand beside one of our pastors. When asked, "What is your testimony?", they replied, "Jesus is Lord" or "Jesus is my Savior".

Then they dipped back into the water and came up drenched.

Some of these folks I know well. Some of them have shared their stories with me.

Some of them are acquaintances only; we worship together each week.

But we share the same community. We are brothers and sisters. And today, we celebrated together in the most amazing bonus I could ask for.

Glen Titus came up out of the water with a fishing hook stuck to his sandal. The line and a weight trailed out into the water. He unwrapped them and declared, "I'm keeping this! It's a sign! Fishers of men!"

Jesus is Lord. There is no greater thing.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

All Of My Life, In Every Season

What a weekend.

I'm sitting in an unusual pile of repressed emotions.  So much going on, so many life events and circumstances triggering varying emotional responses...I need a good cry, but I despair of having the time for that luxury.

My eldest child graduates.

My mom hosts the entire family - ex's included - for a lunch, gracefully offering hospitality and a huge dollop of forgiveness.

One of my dearest friends and favorite musical partner ever moves out of our arena and into his own; we sang together today for what might be the last time this side of heaven.

My emotional reserves are spent, with lots of social activities and interactions.  The introvert in me is huddled in a corner of my soul, hands over her head, shaking and pleading, "No more....please, no more..."

My hormones are raging in unfamiliar ways.  Something uncontrollable seems to be happening to my body.  All the internal, physical and emotional issues aside, the primary problem is that my clothes don't fit.  I hate it.

My life feels very cluttered and out of control right now.  I am longing for some quiet organization, some calm.

And yet - I could not ask for better circumstances.  

Isn't it interesting how we humans can become so absorbed in the little glitches of life, missing all the level-headed joy springing up all around us? John Ortberg once said, "Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to take a nap." I'm hoping that might clear out the clutter in my soul.  And I'm hoping that a little perspective will do the same.  The greatest truth I can find is in the undeniable existence of God.  Firm on His promise, I'll stand.

This is my prayer in the desert when all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger and need
My God is a God who provides

And this is my prayer in the fire, in weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved of more worth than gold
So refine me, Lord, through the flames

I will bring praise, I will bring praise
No weapon forged against me shall remain
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

And this is my prayer in the battle, when triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

All of my life, in every season
You are still God, I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

This is my prayer in the harvest, when favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be empited again
The seed I've received I will sow

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Confrontation 101

I had a great lunch meeting today. The food and atmosphere at Great Seasons Cafe in the Shoppes at Bellgrade were both top notch; it was great to see a friendly face (Ryan, my friend from Powhatan!) as I walked in. I highly recommend this place for lunch (the only option, other than Sunday brunch or catering). It was excellent.

The meeting part was great, too. A bit surprising, as I wasn't aware that my friend and co-leader from PCC needed to confront me about something. But she did.

This woman leads with grace and a ton of energy. She's positive and passionate and I have learned much from her. The real-life work she does affords me a glimpse into the life of a woman in business in a way that is foreign to me. I deeply appreciate her presence in my life and in our church.

Today, we talked over all sorts of chatty things and then she slipped in the primary reason for the meeting with a question. Turns out I had said something in a recent meeting that caught her by surprise. The topic at hand was in her area of leadership, and I neglected to give her prior knowledge of some action I had taken. She let me know that she was taken aback, was a tad bit concerned, and - without saying so - that I'd really screwed up. I stuck my foot in my mouth, big time.

I've been confronted before, for good reason. I've done all sorts of stupid, thoughtless things. But I have never been schooled with such grace and dignity. I sat down with a friend today who gently, without personalizing the offense, told me that I could have and should have done things a lot better than I did.

I apologized; it was due. I truly was sorry. But I walked out of that meeting with a deep feeling of gratitude because somebody took the time to carefully share with me the fact that I had made a mistake.

Too often, we are offended or we witness mistakes and we seize the opportunity to right the wrong and educate the offender. It feels good to be on the side of right, and our human nature might revel in that just a bit more than necessary.

Today, I was the recipient of grace, from a believer who is truly living out the concept of "love one another, as I have loved you." That lesson sinks clear to the depths of my soul. Makes me want to be a better person.

I think that's how we're supposed to be doing life.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"Less Clutter. Less Noise" Giveaway

And the winner is......

Libby, whose least favorite font is PAPYRUS. "Especially in logos."


Libby, I think I agree with you.

I must confess that David Brawley did NOT draw Libby's name - he is fast asleep. And I must apologize for the fact that it took me so dang long to get this done. But Sydni did the drawing, and better late than never!

It's a great book, Libby. I know you'll enjoy it. Direct message me on Twitter or email me (beth{at}powhatancc{dot}org with a mailing address and it'll be on it's way!