Saturday, November 19, 2011


I love ideas.

I'd go so far as to say discovering ideas is my hobby. I love spending my time finding new ideas and dreaming about all the things I could do, or that I could inspire others to do. I've realized it's more than just a general love of information, which I've written about before, but actually specifically I love thinking about, discovering, and especially sharing ideas that are helpful and generally brilliant!

Onto this stage of my life, with this setting of loving ideas, entered a new character: Pinterest.

Oh my goodness, friends, this website is incredible. It is completely about sharing ideas! At it's simplest, it is like the bookmarks you can make in your browser, except public and it uses pictures. You set up "boards" where you "pin" photos that link to different websites. Let me warn you now: this will easily eat up hours of your time if you aren't careful!

I have used boards for collecting ideas for my parents 50th Birthday Party, keeping track of decoration ideas for parties/weddings that I may help with in the future, my Christmas/birthday wish list, a list of more practical items I'd like to purchase, home decorating ideas, tips & tricks, recipes, and ideas for our future children to name a few!

I definitely see myself writing posts in the future about ideas I've found and used from Pinterest--so keep your eye out! And if you don't have an account and you'd like to be invited, I'd be happy to invite you. It is set up so that the pins that show up in your home screen are from boards you follow--so you can fairly easily eliminate the odd crude photo (honestly, I've only stumbled on like...two) by only following the boards of your friends or a few carefully selected other boards. (It's also good to note you cannot make a board private at this time.)

Ideas are incredible, and I am so privileged to live in an age where the internet has enabled sharing of ideas like never before. I cannot wait to see where this new technology and idea sharing will change, shape, and build interactions with people throughout my lifetime!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Powerful Love

I've started following Whitney's blog (which has the fantastic and memorable name of Elm Street Life) and wow, has it been encouraging or what! I had been lacking inspiration for my own blog, and she helped me get out of my rut. I'm not even sure how I stumbled upon her (maybe Pinterest somehow?) but I'm definitely thinking it was a God-thing.

Besides the clean layout style that inspired my blog's new makeover, she posts about real life in straightforward, well-crafted segments. It's not any one theme other than her own life, but she's so creative and I can tell she loves Jesus. I know its a long stretch to say after reading only a few of her posts, but my heart says we'd be "kindred spirits" if we ever were to meet.

Today I just had to share this powerful little clip she showed in her post "A Picture of Grace". I didn't have time to listen to the whole message from her pastor, so I skipped to 29:15 like she suggested. And wow. What an incredible picture of our Father's grace and love!

Lord, help me understand your heart towards me consistently. You are so good.


Monday, November 14, 2011

The Realities of Heaven

I am so favored to be alive in such a time as this!

That statement, I believe, is probably rarely thought in our country. The economy is doomed, schools are less successful and more dangerous, families fall apart at every turn, non-profits that care for the poor are carrying so much more that they are forced to close their doors, and not just in some abstract part of the nation: It's happening on many "Main Streets" in our country--even right here in Kalamazoo. The message is everywhere--the front page of the paper, the headlines on the news websites, and the conversation you over hear in the coffee shop: "FEAR." 

If modern news stories, conversations and your circumstances are what influences you, then you're probably dealing with some serious fear as well. Times are rough. Prices aren't going down. Hours at work aren't going up. So many of my friends and acquaintances are dealing with serious problems--from lack in finances, transportation problems, to relational issues and everything in between. "What if..." is a mercenary-thought just waiting to murder your day, week, and outlook on life.

But this is only a fraction of reality, only the surface tension trying to keep back the depth of the water life is!

God is moving in a powerful way. I am hearing testimonies multiple times a week of the wondrous ways He is working! More and more are praying as they drive and walk throughout their lives and are seeing real differences. My sister was miraculously healed of TMJ and was able to open her jaw completely without pain for the first time in two years. I know 26 people who were baptized a week and a half ago. 

God is moving His people across the nation in powerful ways! 

Last Friday (11-11-11) four major prayer events took place in the north, south, east and west of the United States. In the north, tens of thousands gathered from across America at The Call (led by Lou Engle) in Detroit to fast, pray and cry out to God to end abortion, end racial divides, and unite our nation under God. In the south in Dallas there was a citywide call to prayer at the Irving Convention Center. The culmination of 40 days of 24/7 prayer, worship and fasting led by James Nesbit in the east in Washington, D.C. ended that night. And to the west "a call for Unity, an Outpouring of the Holy Spirit and to see the Glory of God for Revival and a Harvest of Souls" occurred as thousands gathered in the Rose Bowl to intercede for our nation.

Powerful, life changing messages are being shared in local congregations and through nationally known speakers from Bethel Church in California and The Ramp in Alabama, to name two that God has use to impact my life.

God is calling us to listen to His voice in this time. And from what I have picked up "fear" is the last thing He's focusing on right now. Now is the time to press into Him; now is the time for new intimacy with our Savior. We must "set [our] sights on the realities of heaven...not the things of earth" (Col. 3:1-2). He is looking for the ones who are watching, listening, their ear ever tuned to Him so He can move in powerful ways. 

In order for this to happen, we are going through a refining fire. Those of us who have less than wholehearted devotion are experiencing distance, less tolerance, and pain--this refining fire burns hot.

The enemy is throwing trial after trial in our path and highlighting our every weakness in order to keep our eyes on the things of earth. If he can keep you consumed with the day to day life without Christ, then he has the victory. My friends, don't wait until you "get a moment" to tune into what Christ is doing. Make the moments. Listen to worship music every chance you can (I can recommend a few artists that keep me focused on Christ). Turn on a sermon podcast while you're doing the dishes or driving in the car. Open your Bible instead of checking your "Words With Friends" app (I'm guilty here for sure.) If we don't make the moments, we will miss out what the Spirit is doing now.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's Facebook In-Real-Life

Here I am, sitting in McDonald's with nine WorshipArts students. The layout of the restaurant, intentionally designed to accommodate the average American family of four (or maybe six if the generous parents allowed the two kids to bring their friends) didn't have a place where we could all sit together. So the Genesis team is clustered seven people around a four person booth, and myself and two others are at their nifty laptop bar.

Even though the Genesis team is officially meeting (and I know they are truly being productive) it's been interesting to observe them and the other WorshipArts-ers interact. What might seem a bit unusual is that half of this interaction is happening...on Facebook.

One person was on Facebook, and then hacked into another person's account who is here. They made a humorous status, and then another student commented on it. I've also posted and interacted with them on Facebook here, too. It's very intriguing to see the Facebook World and the In-Real-Life World crossover; it has taken "passing notes" to a whole new level. 

It is incredible that this group is so tight knit and laid back, that one of them just referenced the post, and the other eight people are all in on the joke already, and they laughed along. Then almost immediately they have seamlessly integrated back into their topic, back on focus and on track.

Yes, to the traditional teacher, this certainly looks unproductive. But WorshipArts is successful in obtaining its goals, and in addition their community is so strong, loving, supportive, and fun! I don't completely understand Peter's model for the program, but I know it works, and it is blessed.

Who knows how social networking will continue to become a normal integrated part of communication? Though it could look like the kids were zoned out once in a while on Facebook, they were actually building their own community. What looked divisive, was actually strengthening and unifying. And how will social networks effect and change traditional teaching? I certainly don't know, but I'm excited to see the growth and evolution of communication!

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