Jul 3, 2003

I had a conversation last night with a friend and at some point we got on the topic of the different ways in which different people worship (in a collective setting) and how other people are not always accepting of that. I said something about how usually the "old farts" are the ones who get cranky about the way the younger people act during worship. And by "old farts" I specifically mean those older people who are so dead-set in the way they've always done something that they refuse to see the good in a new way of doing something; NOT just older people in general because there are plenty of wonderful and completely godly older people around. Anyway, today I was thinking a little more about all of this, and I look at it in this way. Different people, often categorized by their generation or age group, often approach God and worship God in different ways. Like way back in the day, say the early 1900 and even much later than that, the whole idea of church and worship was centered around being solemn and reverent. Jumping forward to my generation, the modern concept of worship is often with a band containing drums, electric guitar, electric bass, and so on, and often involves singing, the raising of hands, and even jumping around in some cases. I doubt very seriously that the people of the 1900s could have even imagined that to be worship. Yet both time periods were able to worship in their own way. [I would like to announce that I have no idea what my point is. I'm just writing till I find out!] One generation understood that God is to be reverenced and revered, yet failed to see that it is perfectly fine to get excited about the things of God as well. My generation, on the other hand, understands the getting excited part, yet I believe may often fall short in the reverence area. The true problem comes when a generation thinks their way is the best and that they "have it all figured out." The truth is we all have our strong points and our weak points. We should never think we are the group that has "arrived" at the perfect form of worship. Furthermore, the truth is worship is a state of the heart, and although what we do with our physical bodies during worship is somewhat important, we are commanded to worship God in spirit and in truth; not in body and in perfect form. My challenge to all of you as well as to myself is to worship God in the right spirit rather than simply conforming to the most popular "worship trend." And secondly, to be accepting of the next wave of worshippers that come along (and for that matter, the ones of the past generations, as well) because there may be something very valuable in their form of worship that is lacking in ours. I believe I've found my point, so I'll stop while I'm ahead! Later.

Jul 2, 2003

I love this song. It's so good. I posted it a long time ago, but it's worth a second time.

"No Sacrifice" by Jason Upton

To You I give my life;
Not just the parts I want to.
To You I sacrifice
these dreams that I hold on to.

Your thoughts are higher than mine;
Your words are deeper than mine;
Your love is stronger than mine;
This is no sacrifice; here's my life.

To You I give the gifts
Your love has given me.
How can I horde the treasure
that You designed for free?

To You I give my future
as long as it may last.
To You I give my present.
To You I give my past.
because... (chorus)

This is possibly my favorite poem. Or at least the one that I can most easily quote a certain phrase from!

Sonnet CXVI (116)

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, althought his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

I'm going to bed now. I promise!

Jul 1, 2003

I wrote this in response to Katie's post where she mentions that she feels as though she does not pray enough. I thought it would be worth posting here as well.
"I understand completely the situation you find yourself in. It is very similar to my own. I would like to say, however, that recently I have begun to see prayer in a slightly different way. Although prayer as we typically think of it--a deliberate time of conversation--is important, we should also be mindful of the fact that we spend every moment of our lives with God since He has said that He will never leave us. Prayer can be simple statements/questions/requests mentioned throughout the day, like if you see a car accident and simply say "God be with them" you didn't have to set aside 30 minutes of "conversation time" for your prayer; you just said it as if He was right beside you, because He is. Like in a human relationship, although times of serious conversation are important, they are no more important than the minute to minute conversations we have with our friend as we walk throught the shopping mall together. without the latter, the former would be, at best, awkward. don't neglect the latter in your pursuit of the former. I should take this advice as well."
Please tell me what you think.
There's appearantly a new movie about Jesus coming out in the near future with Mel Gibson in it (he's not Jesus). It's called "The Passion." Read here for details.
[part two]
On to Saturday. My weekend started at 6:00 am! (I haven't seen 6am in a long time!) The alarm went off and eventually I rolled out of bed around 6:15. I got dressed, cooked breakfast, and all that good stuff, and was at the church by 7:00. We, the college and career group, were going to Ichetucknee for the day, which, for those who don't know, is a river (or spring, or whatever you call it) that you float down on tubes or rafts or whatever. I had fun, but that's probably because I wasn't the victim of friendly tube-flipping. Poor Allison, she was the victim of the day! She only lasted the first half of the river and left at our lunch break. If the guys don't drive her insane by the time she's 25, nothing will! The first half of our day was quite cloudy and therefore quite cold in the 72 degree water. The sun finally came out after lunch though. As we got in the cars to go home, the rain finally hit and it poured the rest of the day. When I got home I was supposed to call Laci because we had talked about going out to a movie or something. I took my hot shower, got dressed, ate, and finally called her, sorta hoping that she had decided she didn't want to do anything because I was exhausted. To my surprise, that's exactly what she said--she didn't want to go out because she was tired from working all day. We did get to talk for quite a while on the phone, though, which was good. We did two months worth of ranting to each other in 20 minutes! Record time! It was good to talk to her again.

Sunday was Westside's "God and Country Day." It was good. First of all, I started going in Danny's new Sunday School class last week and I think I'll really like it, so I'm gonna stay while I'm here for the summer. The past two weeks he's just been sharing his heart as to where he wants the class to go. What I love about Danny is he gets a vision and will go after it with everything he has till he gets there. Tina, Philip, Erin, and JR are also helping out in the class in various aspects. I'm really excited about what's going to happen. I'll have to leave in September for school, but it will be cool to see where they are when I'm home on break.

During the morning service Bro. Keith preached from Jeremiah chapter 8. It was a really good message about the state of a nation, dealing with the Public, the Pew (the church), the Politician, and the Preacher. One verse he mentioned was 22 which says, "Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?" I paraphrased it this way: "Have I not given you everything you need to be cured (of your sin)? Am I not capable of healing you? Then why do you still live in sin?" The message dealt with a nation's "health" problem: the nation is sin-sick. Is there not a cure? Jeremiah proclaims: Yes, Christ is the cure, yet the people will not repent. They would rather hear the lies of false teachers who tell them that they do not have a problem. Bro. Keith's message was really good and really eye opening as to where our responsibilities lie. I always enjoy hearing him speak.

Sunday evening our guest speaker was Cheryl McGuinness, as well as her daughter. Cheryl's husband was the pilot of the first plane that hit the World Trade Center towers. I wouldn't necessarily say that Cheryl was the most powerful speaker I've ever heard, but the faith that she and her daughter displayed was incredible! It was so obvious how important their faith was to them and to their healing process. And their faith is what allows them to reach out and encourage others. My favorite part of Sunday night's service was when we (the choir) sang "It Is Well," as well as "How Great Thou Art" which was in a great arrangement. Those two songs are so powerful.

Monday I got called in to work, which is great because I need all the extra hours I can get. It was a full length shift, too, so I was very grateful.

The only other thing worth mentioning is God's incredible wisdom. He always seems to provide things for me that are exactly what I need, even when I don't know what it is that I need. The last few weeks have been full of things like that. I'm so glad that God always surpasses our meager expectations of Him.
[part one] (Here goes my fifth or so try for that post that got erased.)
I shouldn't be at a loss for things to say since I haven't posted in a while. I'll start with last Wednesday.

Wednesday night Bro. Mark spoke at Alpha and Omega. It was quite a good message. One of his first points was "Doubt is not a lack of faith; Doubt is being caught between two beliefs." That's huge! Some people may think that when Christians begin to doubt we've somehow lost our faith in God, but that's just not the case. It's good to know when doubt comes into our lives we can still rely on God to help us overcome that doubt. Mark was speaking from Matthew 11:1-6 where John is in prison and sends some of his disciples to ask Jesus if He is the real deal or if they should look for someone else. Mark equated John's questioning with doubt, which isn't necessarily how I would read that passage, but all the points he made about it were good, so I wouldn't make a big deal out of that. Mark pointed out that when John asked Jesus a question, Jesus didn't make John the issue; Jesus made Jesus the issue! In other words, it's not about us, it's all about Christ. One of the final points Mark made was when he quoted an author who said, "The person who finds the courage to go back to square one finds the strength to go on." He meant that when we begin to doubt we must go back to the foundational elements of our faith--the things we know to be true. Overall, it was a really good message.

Thursday in my devotions I read Proverbs 12:11-19. I wrote this: "This passage speaks much of the tongue, the mouth, and the lips, which all refer to speech. The speech of the righteous has been considered before it is spoken; it is healing and not hurtful; it is truth and will endure. The speech of the wicked gets him into trouble, is hurtful, and is fleeting." Then I wrote, "Make your words worth being heard. No one really listens to the person who talks all the time. Like James says, if you can tame your tongue you can do anything." This passage reminded me of something a friend told me during first semester this past year. She said something to the effect of "Megan, you never have much to say, but when you have something to say it's always valuable." That's so important to me. Without me ever really even putting much thought into it, it's always been one of my goals to be a person who only talks when she has something important to say rather than talking to be heard. It's not like there's anything wrong with being a talkative person; it's just that that's not who I am and it's better for me not to try to be something I'm not.

As my week ended, I planned on having a rather packed weekend, which is rare for me, but a few things changed. My friend Melissa from high school had invited me and some of our other high school friends to come over to her house to watch movies and hang out Friday evening. I got off work around 7:00 on Friday and called her to let her know I was going to stop to get gas and then come straight to her house rather than going home first. I called mom to let her know what I was doing; got on the interstate; got off the Wilson exit to get gas (the exit I normally take when going home); got gas; got back in my car; turned the key; nothing happened. Great. Tried several times to start my car and still nothing. So, I called home and dad headed up to the gas station to get my car started. He jumped my battery and followed me home. The only thing wrong was the battery had gone bad. I was really glad that's all it was because we've just finished spending a bunch of money on getting my car fixed and I couldn't imagine that there was anything left to go wrong! Anyway, by the time we had the new battery put in, it was too late to justify the long drive to and from Melissa's house, so I wound up staying home. I'm just glad I got gas near my house so I didn't have to sit for an hour at a weird gas station or anything.
I'm having trouble posting this new post I wrote, which I cleverly saved this time, so I'm going to try to post it in chuncks since it's so long. We'll see how that works.

Jun 30, 2003

I'm irate! I just typed up this huge long post about everything that's happened from Wednesday till Sunday and it got erased! I'm begining to be very angry with these Blogger people. This is not the first time this has happened. But this time it's with the new system, so I thought all the bugs would have been worked out. Oh well, no use crying over spilled milk, as they say. I'll try to redo it tomorrow (actually, later today). Later.