Monthly Archives: April 2011

ORANGE YOU GLAD… (i didnt say banana)

that stupid joke has been in my head all day… every time i read the word orange today. which was quite a lot actually, because i’m with the longhollow team at the orange conference in atlanta.

i was taught. reminded. and encouraged today.

i was taught, by anna simmons, to equip other leaders and spread out the work. as she walked through her production schedule and how to run a production meeting, there were so many great reminders about building relationships with those i’m working with, but also i was convicted about not training people up.

-i have not pushed the limits of excellence up and up to help people even reach greater heights in production.

-i have not put anyone in leadership roles of things that i thought should “be my job”… instead of realizing my job is to minister to my teams and make sure kids hear the eternal message of christ in the most effective ways possible… it is not my job to be at all 10 treehouse shows…

-it is good to give people ownership.

i was reminded, by chad and autumn ward)… to dream beyond the budget, not to fit the dream to the budget… at the same time, that it is dishonoring to God when you dont stick to a budget that has been set. it dishonors the conversation about the budget. awesome reminder as we make shifts and additions to our treehouses. and a great word to all of us in ministry. do you know that when i spend $3 on bouncy balls for our wednesday nigth game show… i think “I wonder whose tithe just went to buy bouncy balls?  i hope we use them to build relationship, like we’re planning too”

i was encouraged by andy stanley that it is crucial, to do the work of the church. it is crucial to continue to be a purveyor of this great life changing truth that we know. and leading people to that eternal life, also leads them to a better life, in general. proofs from history indicate that it is abundantly clear that christianity is most defininitely a factor in the things it touches. andy stanley brought a message on this concept tonite that is almost too big to articulate, too big to write about, to big to wrap our hands around… but so very awesome. christianity is the greatest gift you can share with someone, and it is a privelege to be in a line of work that allows that to be on my to do list.

and then there was this… something so great with social media. so a few months ago i “Met” a cool girl named kathryn macdowall on cmconnect.  we started chatting about some stuff. that cool girl told me about a curriculum her team had developed. i purchased it. have been using it… and really loving it. (hillsong big curriculum)… its fantastic.

today she sent me a tweet that her brother was at the same conference that i was attending. i said,g reat, tell him to send me a dm. she said, he doesnt tweet… then she said “listen for accents”. now, this is a conference with 4500+ people attending… sure, i’ll listen for an accent. so i heard this accent, finally. it was a man named peter lusk (i believe, just got a quick glance) with careforce church in melbourne. i asked him if he know this friend of mine’s brother… sue, who was with him, said she knew them and would be meeting up with them after the breakout! what do you know!! so… here is a picture of me meeting my friend kathryn’s brother…. i’m hoping to turn some of of my facebook/twitter friends into facetime friends this week… hope they’ll look for me too.

yoda takes on the holy spirit

but not like that… he’s taking on the role of someone who shows kids what the holy spirit is kind of like… 

we were in a creative meeting discussing the holy spirit. i, am in love with the holy spirit. when i realized the holy spirit is the element of God that is actually with me, reminding me, guiding me… letting me feel love and forgiveness… i fell in love with him. he is the one that gets stuff done on a day to day basis with me. and i am grateful for his voice. so… with that type of excitement i entered into a discussion with several of my team… when one of my favorite actors , harrison pasley, said this… “when i think of the holy spirit, i picture gandalf.” i thought… ok, that’s cool. we talked about doing a lord of the rings bit and kind of going at it from that angle… then it hit me … YODA!!!!!! everyone loves YODA!and we started to talk about yoda’s characteristics… he was mentor, he was wise, he had power, he had strength, he has honor,  and most importantly,  kids know who he is. plus, he’s their size… … sounds like someone else we know… yes, the Counselor, the Holy Spirit.

so this sunday… we’ve invited all the little jedi’s to come in costume (leave the light sabers at home, please) and join us for a weekend of celebrating that we are NEVER ALONE. kids will hopefully come to understand elements of the holy spirit that they haven’t understood before, by putting it in the framework of something they know. if they can learn about God’s love by looking at their fathers’ love… why cant they learn about the holy spirit from a well-loved pop icon ?!

i’m not sure george lucas knew he was planting seeds for christian curriculum, but i’m grateful. i love getting to use relevant ways to share about jesus. i love that the ways to share about him are endless. find your own ways to use things that kids know well… to introduce them to a God they are only just learning about.

you’re going to wear that?

my girls really really didnt want to go dress shopping… and my son, well, he wants to wear his uniform.. jeans and a quirky t-shirt… hm. what am i to do? i’ve grown up getting a new outfit that you wear for easter and you get your picture made. it’s part of the deal. i loved it then, and i love it now.

someone asked me this week what my easter traditions are… i would say that this qualifies as one of them. you get all dressed up.

now, i will tell you that all three girls found dresses that met their standards… we still have tomorrow to figure out quint.

but it got me thinking… why do we do that? why is it important to me? do i care that much about the outside… more so than the inside? the answer is no. i dont care more about the outside than the inside. you need only to check out my 6 yr old on a regular day (see photo to right… we call her style ‘punky-brewster chic’ – well actually, only i call it that, but it fits) and you will see that it is her spirit that shines through… not her perfectly matched ensemble (she doesnt really do those… she’s random and we love that about her)

the thing is, getting a new outfit marks easter as a special, separate day from all the other days. at least in my world it does. it’s like setting it apart… making a big deal out of the biggest day of our year. as believers in Jesus, easter is our everything. were it not for the resurrection and victory over death that happened on the cross, none of the rest of it really matters. now, this probably sounds silly, but i like what it represents. it represents that when we are reborn in christ we put on a new self, a new creation. the old has passed away and is forgiven ahead of time.

do you have to have new easter clothes … no, of course not. but for my family – they will and they will also hear this parrallel. they will celebrate what it means (if i have to make them :)). they will have their picture made so i can commemorate this holiest of days. they will most likely not be acting like their holiest selves, just saying.

however, since we have 3 full days of worship experiences… the other days they will be wearing the usual. new outfits will bust out for resurrection day. kind of excited to share with them the symbolism. they might say what they often say to me “mom, does everything have to be a lesson?!” to which i will reply… yes, as much as possible!

praying that churches and families will hear God’s call to them this weekend, loud and clear. if they are in treehouse, i can assure they will hear it loud and clear.

how will you get dressed up in your heart this easter … to present yourself as a living sacrifice to the one who gave his life for yours?

you’re just not good enough

you just aren’t. and you can’t be. it’s not possible.

is that discouraging? let me tell you … it’s the best news you will ever hear.

… this is holy week. preparations would’ve already been underway for Jesus and his disciples, leading toward the eventual death, burial and resurrection of our God. there are a ton of christian bloggers talking about this, sharing insight and beautiful reflections on what this represents… i’ll leave it to them for right now. they are doing an excellent job.

as i was doing my own preparing for the easter celerbation coming on sunday, this is the phrase that kept coming to me.

you’re not good enough.

i wrote a script about a girl who hears the church say “you’re not good enough”… but she misses the good part when she leaves to go relieve herself from the 3 blue slurpees she inhaled on her way into church. she missed the good news.

the good news is, because you are not, will never be, good enough… a perfect savior willingly took your place.

i dont know about you, but that is, like, the most comforting thought i can conceive. you see, it is completely out of my hands. i can’t earn heaven. i can’t earn eternity… i’m powerless to do anything but rejoice that it has been acquired for me… in doing so, it is my burden and responsibility to tell everyone i encounter about this precious gift. it will never run out. there is enough to go around. dont be afraid to share your Jesus, like he might run out of love… and not have enough left over for you. you can trust him, because he died for you.

this is one time in life that i can promise you it’s worth it to put all your eggs in one basket!!

rejoicing in his everythingness and my nothingness as i continue to embrace holy week and the extra ways that i’m guided back to the heart

dont be such a hard shell to crack... reveal your center

of God.

brain storm of immense proportions

where to begin… oh where oh where to begin.

this has been an interesting couple of weeks to say the least. a plan that i thought was in place, and planned for many months… was altered. i was given a box of pencils the same day. it should’ve been a give away, or a least foreshadowing. the change caught me unawares. but doesn’t most change? in an effort to avoid vagueness at all costs, let me break it down.

jason and i have been planning a family experience for vbs for months, complete with parent experiences and a reprise of double dare a la . we plotted and planned. we talked to multiple people and had volunteers lining up to join us for this experience. then we were told that it wasnt going to happen. the new look of vbs would have more of a retro 1970’s back yard bible club spin. to say that it was shocking is to understate the obvious.  let me just say that enthusiasm for the shift was not immediate. in fact, after a few days i explained to my boss that it was as if i had this baby that got shoved aside without regard… (i slid a notebook across a table and onto the floor while making this point – i slid it gently, though :)) however… after reconciling myself to the change, i found again that we serve a very kind God. one who loves me enough to show me some truths that i should’ve seen immediately, but also truths that are irrelevant in submitting to authority.

so, ultimately, the holy spirit pointed out to me that if we were going to call our VBS experience “CITY UPRISING” and hope to see our city transformed and drawn to our savior.. it would be necessary to go out into that city and call on the saints to rise up. rise up and serve… so that new believers would also rise up and follow the God that loves them so much he allowed his son to die on their behalf. now… i find myself chomping at the bit to run with it.

we’ve now got amazing plans to mobilize families ALL SUMMER…. calling it a SUMMER of UPRISING… families will have a plan for reaching their neighbors for the entire summer, culminating in our CITY UPRISING experience that will take place all across sumner county from july 25-28. think about this, would your neighbor be more likely to see Jesus by you inviting them to bring themselves to your church they may have never visited… or by spending a summer seeing you love their kids with weekly ministrations and then hosting them at your own home at the end of the summer. DUH! dont answer that. the truth of it, is obvious. with that idea in the works and conquered… let’s move on to today.

well, kind of today. really it began a couple of weeks ago, also. i attended a concert. one of my volunteers sent me a facebook message suggesting that i attend the slugs and bugs concert. i did this. at the end of the concert, which i thoroughly enjoyed, i met the artist. we exchanged a few words and thoughts, and messages. in the process, discovered some common passions for family ministry. knowing that jason(underhill) is also passionate about family ministry, we set up a meeting between the three of us to discuss the potential collaboration. today we had this meeting. with so many common goals and hopes for families, it was a natural  progression that led to us booking the artist for a long hollow experience.

if that wasnt enough… the conversation spun out into so many beautiful places. five hours of brainstorming and sharing later… i thanked God for moving us to nashville. i thanked him for the creativeness all around me. i thanked him for the paths he’s allowing me to travel down and through. i thanked him for preparing me for such a time as this. future projects will be forthcoming. and the tide is rushing into a place that i want to be. blackaby says to find where god is at work and go there… that is what is happening. i’ll share more as more becomes reality… but allow me to implore you – be on alert for people that are doing Gods work. watch for opportunities to use the things you’ve learned to advance the kingdom of god. find more ways to tell the story of hope that saves us. be aware as you see things that you cant explain that they might be things that a god who is much bigger than you are, has the capacity to bless and do.

At the end of the day, gods will will be done. we have to decide whether or not we are going to be part of it. in doing so, we reap blessing. in avoidance, we face disappointment and discontent.

gratefully looking forward to a continuation of that brainstorming session and totally stoked to see what happens next. today was a beautiful day.

ninja gummy bears… why?

gummy bears stick around. especially the ninja ones

writing a script today about how Jesus died on the cross for me. Trying to explain that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice because of his great love for us… to kids, K-5th grade. Of course… doesnt that make YOU think ninja gummy bears? oh, really? it doesn’t? that’s weird… because that’s straight where it takes me… well, maybe not straight there. this is what happened.

i started plotting out a script. i started thinking about what i wanted to communicate. how could i make the point of a great sacrifice. i thought about a character who really really really wanted something… and then didnt get it. then i thought about someone else who got the thing the other one wanted… and gave it to them. and then i thought about gummy bears. not really. what i really thought about was how my child is on a basketball team called the ……. “ninja gummy bears” and how someone told her they were bringing shirts with a big gummy bear on it and how disappointed she was when that was not true. she was really really bummed.

so – the character would really want to be on the NGB team. they would have done everythign in their power to get on the team. for example: they would do 95 situps while eating a gummy bear between each one. they would learn the ninja gummy bear secret handshake and cheer:

ninja gummy bears.
we’re hiding everywhere.
you can smoosh us,
you can shake us,
you can twist us,
but never break us.

ninja gummy bears.
we’re lurking everywhere.
you can’t smell us,
you can’t hear us,
you can’t tear us,
but you should fear us!

ninja gummy bears,
we’re sticking around.

and ultimately, they would not get on the team. even after all the prepartation. their friend, however, would make the team… GASP! NOT FAIR! this is a very highly sought after position.
they would complain and pout and be very sad….
the friend gives up the spot. sacrifices her own opportunity out of love for her friend.
Jesus gave up his life out of love for us.
see how that works?! hows that for ninja storytelling …