Highest and Lowest

When worshiping tonight, I had the urge to lay down on the floor. I’ve never done that before, at home, in my kitchen. The rest of the family was out and I had a long, random Youtube video playing through my speaker – a One Thing conference worship session. After The Lord met me in a precious way as I interceded for some people, I dropped to the floor and stayed there for awhile. Not thinking of the dirt or crumbs. Arms out. I did wonder what my kids would say if they walked in. But they didn’t.

I noticed some things when I got low to the ground. I didn’t want to get up. I felt almost weighted. I just wanted to be silent, not move, and soak in the words. Or sing. Or yell them. My poor neighbors. Then be silent again and think about Him. All kinds of things about Him. I asked Him if He would give me a vision, but He didn’t. I am realizing I don’t really know how to be still for long. I don’t know how to quiet my thoughts…or let my mind go blank for Him to write on. But I’ve heard it’s possible and it sounds awesome. So I’m going to practice it. See what happens.

I remember this thought I had as I lay: It is right for me to be down here. So low.

Not like, “I’m nothin’ but a lowly worm” off-base humility kind of thought, but like, “Jesus, you are higher than all. And I cannot get physically any lower than this. How are we close tonight? How is it that I can feel you here with me like this?”

There was a rightness about it, this is difficult to explain.

The song ended. I wiped my tears with my sweater, got up a little weak, and started making myself a tasty fajita. All was well with the world.

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Memorial Day Worship Leading

This last weekend was very fun, but a lot of work.
There was some tension on the team, a change in the “pastoral moment” I felt The Lord wanted me to make a few days prior to Sunday, practices (one with no drummer), sheet music copying, and working through an old song that the youngins on the team weren’t too familiar with (Israel H.’s You are Good).

The night before the Sunday I was to lead, the enemy woke me up 2-3 times with ambiguous anxious thoughts that seemed much more crucial in the moment than they were in reality. I rebuked them.

God really came thru. Of course!
He even gave me a fresh word for the team before we practiced Sunday, about how often times God uses people in spite of brokenness or foolishness.

And here are some other humbling little snippets of conversation about the day…

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Watery Eyes

This morning, Angel and I did a little worship concert in our living room. We like to sing and dance, but even more so when we have the microphone hooked up to the amp & speakers. Kids jus love performing!
She’d copy my mouth as I sang, and my hands as I motioned.

When I put on Warr Acres’ song, “Hymn of Remembrance”, a song that really touches and ministers to me, about half way through, both of us experienced the same thing, at the same time. Our eyes started tearing up.
I asked if she was crying & she smiled and defiantly denied it, but said her eyes were watery.
I gave her a hug as she sat there on the amp, confused.

A few minutes later, I explained to her that God is spirit – and we have spirit too – our spirits are all invisible & live forever. God’s spirit was heavy in the room and that song made His heart happy …which made OUR spirits happy inside.
And that’s why we suddenly got teary-eyed.

I watched my 6-yr old’s smiley expression as I explained, and noticed she started to get teary again while she listened to me.
And then she was off to the next thing…a game of Temple Run 2.

It was there and then gone.

But what a special moment. What I like to call, a wink from God.

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My Visit to the local Women’s Prison, Coffee Creek

Well, I used to visit Coffee Creek Correctional Facility many years ago, when Grace Community started their prison ministry… (’01?) When we moved to Medford, I had to uproot from that ministry, but the Lord gave me a really cool opportunity to revisit, now that we’re  back in the NW. A few nights ago, I went with 3 others from Grace (now Horizon) Community Church, to be a part of and witness their annual baptism service. I had to remember the dress code: NO blue or red clothing. No jeans. No shorts above the knee. No jewelry, No flip flops & No under-wire bras.

What a wonderful time it was. My friend, Mary even asked me if I wanted to help baptize the last few gals (I think she was getting tired!); it was my first time doing that – very, very cool experience!  I sure wish they’d let us bring cameras in. God did an amazing work out there in the courtyard of that women’s prison. I was teary, and lifting my hands in praise…especially after each time a lady came up out of the water, and when I realized how many of them accepted Christ and wanted to follow Him for the rest of their lives.

For details, Beth Yancy wrote a report about what happened:


We had such a wonderful baptismal service at prison last night.

inmates attending = 40; ministry team = 4; salvations = 8; baptisms= 16

It was a beautiful, warm evening last night in the outdoor worship center at Coffee Creek.  Mary Dirksen and Chelan Russ joined the team to lead in worship.  Megan, our guitar player, had an emergency at the last minute, so all our singing was a capella.  All our voices praising the Lord was a wonderful way to usher in the Lord’s presence.

We had held a baptismal class last month, and 8 inmates had signed up to be baptized.  Six showed up, one had to work, and one was reportedly sent “to the hole” (maximum security for bad behavior).  Many more showed up who wanted to be baptized.  Chaplain had told us there would be a couple extras, so I planned to meet with them prior to the service and do a “mini” class.  Since there were so many, I decided to do a baptismal review along with encouragement from 1 Peter 2:9 in my message. We clearly explained what it means to make Jesus Lord of your life, choose to follow only Him the rest of your days and enjoy the benefits of being brought out of the darkness into His wonderful light.

When we prayed for salvations at the end of the message, about 8 ladies responded.  I was a little surprised, as some of them had towels with them and were obviously anticipating being baptized.  It’s a little tricky in prison because they want to do whatever they can to gain attention and stand out.  I do think these were genuine conversions though, as there were many tears of repentance and the Holy Spirit was moving.

We then sent around a sign-up for ladies who agreed with our criteria that they are now true followers of Jesus Christ and wanted to  be baptized.  Ten others signed up.

While we baptized the 16, the others all stood around cheering, hugging and giving encouragement when each one was baptized.  Some of our regular attendee were surprised at some of the baptisms, because they had just made commitments for the Lord that night and no one else knew.  They were all kind of amazed and definitely celebrating the goodness of God.  It was glorious.

We closed by praying for one of our regular attendees who was also baptized and will be released before our service next month.  She was in tears all night as the Holy Spirit was moving.  We sang another hymn, and then encouraged them to look around to see who other believers were who could pray and walk with them.

One interesting conversation I had was with one of the lesbian gals who had walked out of service two months ago.  She was all smiles and told me about her Pentecostal baptism in a creek as a child…

…I’m still rejoicing at the goodness of God,

Beth


The More I Seek You, the More I Find You

It brings me to tears nearly every time.

Such intimate lyrics…to think of having this kind of closeness with Jesus – this kind of honesty – it stirs me up inside. Easter Sunday at church, I was near sobbing, picturing myself at that last supper with Him. Next to him. As we took the elements of communion, I envisioned him – how, even in his invisibility, he is still so near me…so available to us all. What kind of love could be that deep to endure the excruciating pain at Golgotha? I am dumb-founded. When I am caught up in his deep love for me, I melt in his peace…a peace that cannot be duplicated or replaced or given by any earthly thing or person. Only Jesus.

What a curious mystery that when I seek Him, I do find him – and the more I find him, and see him for who he is, the more I really do love seem to him back…a love that in return, although genuine, seems so finite. So conditional. It makes me sad. And also sad to realize that there will probably come a day when these lyrics won’t stir my spirit like they do now.

Another song will probably take its place. That’s what’s happened in the past. Most wonderful songs have a sort of shelf-life for stirring. They still encourage and are engaging in the purpose of real worship but no longer touch me and drive me to the core of my emotions like they once did.

Some songs never reach that point. Some are timeless. One is “Why” by Nichole Nordeman. I hope this one remains as another. As you listen and watch this video, picture yourself right there at the table, with Jesus – lost in his love and acceptance…

The more i seek you, the more i find you
The more i find you, the more I love you


I want to sit at your feet,

Drink from the cup in your hand.

Lay back against you and breath,

Hear your heart beat.

This love is so deep,

It’s more than I can stand.

I melt in your peace,

It’s overwhelming

Last Night’s Jonny Lang Concert at the Paramount Theater

Wow.

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Wow.

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Wow.

Last night, Jonny Lang, in his late 20’s, 6-string, western snap-shirt and torn jeans, took the stage & delivered one amazing show. The band seemed entirely different than it was when we saw him at the Rogue Theatre in OR  3 yrs ago, but still unbelievably rocked. Especially his only BGV, Mr. Jason Eskridge  who just blew us out our seats w/his pipes on the Stevie Wonder cover, “Livin for The City“.  Loved the songs, If we Try & Thankful, but one part of the show that was jus’ jaw-droppin’ was when Jonny shared the stage for a guitar duet with Austin’s own Eric Johnson (to see proof of this guy’s other-worldly musicianship, you gotta watch this vid of him playing “Cliffs of Dover” @ Austin City Limits in ’05). Crazy, mad skills. One legend along side one in the making.

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Ricky & I were dumb-founded as to why it seemed PC to stay in your seat during most of the concert. I was dancin’ as much as a white girl can dance and still be seated, every song. I think I’ll skip my ab workout today.

And alas, there was, during the encore, a bold declaration of Jonny’s faith in the Lord. My favorite part. Tears just welled up & my arm was raised to heaven like I had magnets in my fingertips, in gratitude that this young funky soul, in all his fame & glory, would play a song for the glory of JESUS & to share his Inspiration w/ultimately thousands of blues fans, during this tour. (BTW, here’s a cool clip of an interview w/JL about his “Turn Around” tour. And for a more extensive interview/article about his past written by Christian artist, Sara Groves, check out a previous post i wrote in October ’08, here.)

So, back to the encore. Before playing a raw, acoustic vsn of my favorite of all his sec’l songs, Breakin’ Me, he played my favorite & classic worship song. I heard a solitary, “Hallelujah!” & one “AMEN!” about half-way through & I know the song & the Spirit resounded in the hearts of many who recognized it. I bet they remembered it from growin’ up in the church & a desire to please & live for Him returned. Oh, my Jesus, may every word out of my mouth & every song I sing “be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear”.

I love you Lord, and I lift my voice

To worship you, O my soul, rejoice!

Take joy, my King, in what you hear, May it be a…

(These videos aren’t from last night, but they are from the same tour. I also found the song, “I Love You Lord” which is titled as “Breakin’ Me Intro”).  Here’s the worship song in its entirety. Praise God.

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