Thursday, March 29, 2007

Authentic Prayer

I have been thinking about public prayer a little bit lately. Alissa and I talked about this last week on the way home from Bible Study. Tonight, it ran across my brain while a lady was closing the discussion portion of the evening. Just thought I would share...

I think (and could be wrong) that we have learned how to lead a public prayer. I don't just mean men in worship either. Women in study as well. Very formal and without much expression. What if we prayed publicly like we do privately? I don't mean the bearing of our innermost struggles but the passion to which we praise, cry out, beg, and thank? What would that do for a body of believers? Can you imagine the growth and call to personal relationship? What are we so afraid of? Honest prayer? I know someone who wouldn't mind!

I heard a woman today pray over our group and I felt a sincerity in public prayer that I haven't heard in quite a while. No formulated words practiced over time. I knew she was talking to her savior and I wanted to draw in too. I have no doubt in my mind he was right there listening to all her of her sincere words and poured out heart.

What a blessing it would be!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Maybe It's Because I Live Near Austin....

I have been a "glass is half full" type of person for the majority of my life. I've slipped out of it at times but I always returned to my optimistic, realistic self eventually. However, lately I have noticed that my descriptions of life have been that things and people are "beautiful" or that "it is all about love". It leads me to one conclusion. I think that I have a little hippie in me. Not the flaky type of hippie but the "love everyone" and "life is beautiful" type of hippie. Like I said, just a little bit - not an overwhelming amount. I just hope it is more enduring than annoying....

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Tribute to Harry

Even thought I have never been a singer, I cannot tell you how much I love music. Probably not as much as some but it is there big time. I probably get that from my dad. Not a performing singer but a definite passion for the art is there. Along with the love of music goes that that one artist that you have followed for as long as you can remember. For me that artist is Harry Connick Jr.

Harry is by far one of the best musicians EVER! Big Band to Jazz, piano to singing to drums. Even if you don't like his style of music, you have to appreciate the amount of talent the man has! He introduced me to the standards and started my passion that would later lead to Michael Buble, Tony DeSare, Erin Bode, and Jane Monheit. He also introduced me to many songs that I would later meet again in the barbershop world. He is from New Orleans and has done amazing things for the city since Katrina by using his God given gifts. I am impressed constantly but him.

The first time I heard Harry, I was in 6th grade. I had an instrument lesson after school and, while we were waiting for my mom to pick me up, my band director played Red Light, Blue Light for me. From the first scream of the trumpet, I was hooked. Dad took me to my first concert at the Majestic during his Star Turtle tour. During the encore, he marched around the theater and unknowingly popped me in the hand with a drum stick. Dad was pleasantly surprised with how much he enjoyed the show. David Robinson was there and got on stage to play bass with the band. Total ad lib and really good! Then, when he played the Municipal Auditorium, Julie and I saw him for his Come By Me tour. Back to the standards and big band this concert. Good times!!

Last night I was checking my email and Ticketmaster sent me the alert that he is coming to San Antonio again! I am SO excited! As soon as payday hits, I am (hopefully) getting tickets. This is his Oh, My Nola tour so it will be filled with New Orleans style jazz. Here is hoping for a third concert!

So...who do/have you see repeatedly in concert?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Why We Pray

Tonight I was reading over Daniel 9 since we are starting it on Thursday night. I found something really beautiful at the end of vs. 18. Daniel, in prayer, simply says:

"We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy."

How true is that!? We don't ask things of God because we are wonderful beings. How arrogant and wrong is that!? We ask of God because, in His great mercy, He wants to bless us as we seek Him (and His will) with all of our hearts. THAT is why we pray!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bible Study Will Do This To You...

There are definite pros and cons to being 27 and single. I have thought about writing a blog describing the joys of your own apartment vs the not so joyous moments of living alone. One thing that Erin has encouraged has been going somewhere new and living an adventure. Every time she has brought it up, I have been reduced to tears while explaining why that is not as glamorous as she may think it sounds. Until recently....

A beautiful woman from my church home invited Alissa and I to join her in a study of Daniel via Beth Moore. I played catch up the past five days (that is 30 homework assignments - intense!) so I can be where the rest of the group is. I've been brought to my knees in prayer over so many things. My heart has been mixed with inexpressible joy and burdening concern for others. To say that my outlook on life has been changed is an understatement! What once sounded scary and baffling is now the greatest cause of comfort for me. It may sound sudden but I do believe that this has been in the plans for quite a while. I just hadn't opened my eyes yet.

I don't know what the future holds for me. I have made life decisions upon what I thought would be best at the time. I have been blessed along the way and I know that God worked through my decisions. However, I know that there is more out there that what I decide. I have begun to pray for God to lead me to where He needs me most. I'm talking location, occupation, church home - you name it. If God says "go!", I'll be there. I'm no longer afraid that I will end up somewhere alone because I know that I won't be. God is already there waiting. I may be sent somewhere totally unexpected or He may just want me to stay here. I don't know. Yet, I have such an amazing peace about it! I went to my principal today and told here that I am beginning to seek out other places to be for next year. I was not nervous at all and she gave me her full support.

So I write this to ask for your prayers. I covet them greatly! I ask for discernment to know what He says. I ask for peace and joy until I am told where to go. I ask for focus as to not be distracted along the way. You are mighty in prayer and I beg you to petition on my behalf. Our God hears and He will be faithful to answer.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Sharing Daniel

A few years ago, a group I was studying with was looking for a new workbook. I immediately recommended Beth Moore even though it was a mixed sex group. I explained that even though she writes with a focus towards women, she has been given a beautiful gift for the Word. The idea was tolerated long enough to humor me and then another study was found without true consideration for my opinion. Now, as much as it may sound like I am complaining, I am not telling you this to stomp my feet and whine about not getting my way. Here is what I am saying:

I am working through the book of Daniel using a Beth Moore series. I am being SO blessed by it! I've wanted to study prophecy for some time and I love the accounts of what happened during Daniel's time on earth. As I work through, I find myself being changed. Not so much by Beth but by the words God has given us. I find myself aware of the world around me and the role I play in it. I feel drawn closer to God in numerous ways that He knows I need right now. I feel a clearer sense of who I am being called to be in Christ. I feel an awareness of the world around me and what it would have me be. The two differ so much but I am being fed real, solid food to prepare me for whatever comes my way! I can honestly say that it has been a few years since I have been so eager to study my Bible.

As I work through the book, several names are being laid on my heart to take this study to. I feel burdened to ask them to honestly go through this study and grow closer to the God who spoke through Daniel. A few of these names are those of men. I fear that my recommendation won't be taken seriously because it was written for women and by a woman. This opens up a big can of worms for those who have a history in the church of Christ but I pray that they would look past that and see the lessons that are theirs for the taking. God is calling us to be more than we are. I hope I can live up to it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Beating Myself Up

Yesterday our principal sent out an email stating that we were needing to be more punctual to our duty times and that she would be taking note of those who did not make the safety of our students a priority. Lucky me, me duty is on Wednesday mornings at 7:30 - first duty after the email.

So I get up this morning and start to get ready. I realized that I had to go to Wal-Mart before work so I stepped it into gear. I ended up getting to campus at 7:25. So I had to get my stuff and two cases of water to my classroom, snacks for my team to the lounge, and me to the cafeteria for duty in 5 minutes. I've got everything on me except the water. I reach down to grab and lift. As I am putting my adrenaline rushed body behind 24 bottles of water, the plastic wrapping broke and my fist flew up to meet me. Basically, I punched myself in the nose! All I could do is yell, "Ouch!" and cup my hands to my face. I tell you what, I can pack a wallop! It took a minute to gain my composure.

I now had about 3 minutes and am still in the parking lot. I had tears sitting in my eyes and my nose was red and throbbing. I hauled booty and went straight to the cafeteria. (I found two students along the way to take the water for me.) As I opened the door (only 30 seconds late), kids start avoiding me because I look like I am very upset - watery eyes, sniffing, sneezing, and sounding stuffy when I talked. Honestly, I can't blame them! I let them believe I wasn't feeling well. Would you want to tell 9 year olds that you punched yourself in the nose!?

And you thought the title was just figurative....

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Politics and Religion - Dangerous Combination

Lately I have been disillusioned with many things in the government. I can't back anything up except that I know what I believe to be right and fair. I've been looking at various political parties to see where I might "fit". I find that there is one I am heavily drawn to. However, they have a strong stance for individual rights. We all know what this means and I do not agree with some of those rights.

Example: I was talking to someone in the medical field. They told me that they disagree with abortion with everything in their being but they will vote pro-abortion every time. When I asked why, the response that I got was that people will find ways to do what they want. We should at least make it safe for them instead of going to some shady, chop shop where they might seriously injure or kill themselves. While I'm not sure I agree but I do understand what they are saying.

I feel like imposing my beliefs on others opens a huge can of worms. After all, if I force my beliefs on other people legally, who is to say that the same can't happen to me one day?

So here is my BIG question: Does affiliating with a pro-individual rights party mean that I support what they are advocating? Does this make me a hypocrite as a Christian?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Politics in School

This week, my class has begun the task of exposing ourselves to as many types of text as possible to prepare for the dreaded TAKS test in April. One of the pieces we really sunk our teeth into was entitled "Global Warming". What an experience! The article discussed what it is, how it works, and possible outcomes if warming continues at the rate is currently is occurring. It freaked out a couple of the kids but we discussed that the extremes that the article presented was a long way away and not going to happen tonight. It seemed to calm some ruffled feathers.

The part of the article that struck me was a box on the side. It presented the Kyoto Protocol and how the nations were attempting to cut back on pollution. At the end of the box, it stated that President Bush was refusing to sign the treaty because it would be too expensive for American companies to make the changes needed and that America would do nothing to hurt our economy. Once we figured out what "economy" meant, the kids were full of questions. Does the president care more about money than the earth? Why does he want us to die? If we are big polluters, why doesn't President Bush want to help clean up?

I spend many, many minutes explaining that we don't know if global warming is a natural occurrence or if we are hurting the Earth. It didn't seem to help. I find myself lost in the debate but have reached the only conclusion that I can right now. The kids seem to agree so either I am as simple minded as a room of 10 year olds or I have a very bright class. The bottom line is that our Earth is our home. We must take care of it. If we are going to live here, we must respect where we are to the best of our abilities. We must leave our world in a better shape than we found it. In a way I guess I am saying, go hug a tree!

You can't tell me there aren't politics in schools!