Tuesday, October 15, 2013


~~ Weekly Worship Team Devotional ~~
Jesus is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” ~John Piper
Yikes. I could probably write a sermon on this one, but I’ll do my best to keep it as short as I can.
There have been a few red letter moments in my life where I’ve felt truly satisfied; where the satisfaction runs deeper than my heart can see and my mind can comprehend. The kind of satisfaction that lasts for a while and leaves you with feelings of awe and disbelief. I feel like there are levels of satisfaction - like there is the satisfaction of a good meal, or a job well done, or an 'att'a'boy from a friend ---- these feelings of satisfaction are valid and even necessary at times, but nothing, NOTHING like the God-led satisfaction that hopefully you've experienced.
In order to be satisfied with Him, we have to know Him. In order to know Him, we must read Him and be in His presence. Satisfaction is not an independent emotion --- by that I mean that in order for satisfaction to occur, something has to happen first. In order for me to feel full, I have to prepare a meal; in order for me to experience a job well done, I have to have a job to do and do it well. See where I'm going? In order to be satisfied in Him, we HAVE to spend time in His presence.
When we spend time in His presence, we realize that there are things He wants us to do. There are ways in which He wants us to serve. There are people He wants us to minister to. Spending time with God allows us to hear the call He has on our lives. I've learned that most of the time when you are acting in obedience to your call, it feels natural. You are innately aware of your own shortcomings, but just as innately aware that God Himself will fill the gaps - and its easy to trust that when you are operating in your gift. Sure, you fail - we all do as we are NOT sinless and spotless as the lamb, BUT, you know that the failure was planned and that there is a lesson in it for you.
I say all of this to say that "Jesus is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." I believe that to be satisfied in Him, we NEED to have a relationship with Him. That relationship does take work. It takes effort. It takes time. There are growing pains - but in the midst of it all, we are seeking satisfaction in Him. At the end of our lives, when we stand at the gates we ALL desire to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant," right? There, my friends, is the ULTIMATE satisfaction. And if we live our lives preparing for that statement and finding our satisfaction in spending time with Him, hearing Him, abiding in Him, and serving Him, then we can rest assured that Jesus will be most glorified in us. This, my friends, is the light that others see. This is the true mark of someone who knows the Lord and is known by Him. This, my friends, is the prayer I pray for all of us.
The worship list this week is a journey - its a reminder of how blessed we are, its a lifting of our hearts to a God who knows me as intimately as He knows you, and its a surrender of the things that hold us back so that we can find satisfaction in Him and give Him ALL the glory.

Monday, September 23, 2013

How Many Times

~Worship Team Inspiration Devotional~

Mark 4:19 says: “But the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the Word, and it proves unfruitful.” In context, this is from a the parable of the sower (scattered seeds in different places, producing different results). As I read through it, I was struck particularly by verse 19.

How many times? How many times have we let the cares of this world trump the truth of God’s Word? How many times have we let our own selfish desires trump the Word? How many times have we put the advice of friends or family first before the advice of God’s Word and then been disappointed in the turnout? How many times have we placed emphasis on man or manmade things over the blessings that God has poured into our lives? How many times?

The good news is that God is not counting. He is not keeping a ledger with my name and yours next to it, tallying up the number of times we mess up. He is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow. He is sovereign, and He sits on the throne of our hearts… And just as strong as His hands were when they created the universe is as gentle His hands were when He crafted each one of us – down to the gifts He bestowed and the number of hair on our heads. His love is secure. It is steady. It is unchanging and ever present.

Today, do yourself a favor and celebrate the power and sovereignty of the God we serve. He is worthy of ALL praise.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Knotted Love

I have the absolute honor of being a part of the worship team at our church. It is full of amazing talent and incredible hearts. On the weeks that I lead (meaning - I get to pray and seek a list of songs), I write a mini devotional to go along with my song choices. Usually, there is a scripture that I run across that sets the course for the list, or perhaps it's a song that won't leave my heart until its sung. In any event, I like to tell my team why I went the direction I did...I feel like if I can share my heart with them, they will be able to join me in earnest prayer for preparation for what's to come on Sunday. Sort of the "when two or more are gathered in my name" philosophy.

In any event, I often write these mini-devotionals (as I call them) and then I wish I saved them because I'd love to go back to read them later on.


I've decided that I will post them here. They aren't too long and I know I will be happy to have them in a central place :)

Happy Reading!

Zephaniah 3:17 “ The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing”

Love. It’s on my mind this week. Not just ohhh-i-love-my-husband-love (cause I do J), but I spent some time thinking about how much we all NEED to be loved, and how much we all NEED to love each other (as unconditionally as possible, forgiving faults and accepting people for who they are right in this moment).

It would be nice if our love was like a straight, taut rope with perfectly gapped and tied knots that mark the journey of how we came to love the person it was tied to. One knot for the first time you met, maybe one knot for the first time you realized that THIS person (spouse, family, mentor or friend) was going to be a part of your life. But the truth of the matter is that our love for each other is nothing like a perfectly taut rope of knots. Its knots within knots tied around knots with varying spaces between. Love can be messy and tangled and confusing. And because love can be these things, we have to look to the One who created love to straighten them out. His definition of love is not the same as ours (1 Corin 13).

Rick Warren said: “God IS love. (1 John 4:8) He didn’t need us. But he wanted us.” I’ve realized that when I feel unloved, or perhaps better stated – when I feel not loved to the full measure of love that I feel I need at that moment, I need to look to Him that is love to quiet my restless heart. What I am missing is the unconditional, holy love that only Jesus can pour into us. His love pours and seeps between the tangles and the knots because His love is perfect love. His love is able to reach the places that human love cannot.

I love this concept that Jesus COVETS us and that His sacrificial love is why we are able to be heaven-minded. That I can safely submit to His authority and trust that He has loved, is loving, and will continue to love me in whatever stage I’m at. As humans, we don’t have this capacity. But He does. He WANTS us and has paid the ultimate price for us.

My prayer is that you are able to get lost in the wonder of His love for us as you move thru this week. Focus on seeing how perfect love is able to fill the space between where your heart is and where His heart for you is.

~ Love and light ~

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wherever I go, You find me. . .

So......I love music. Its probably a common theme you can see if you've read through my blog posts. Its also VERRRY obvious if you know me in real life. Every song is my favorite song (its true, though!). I love lyrics a ton too. I love to see how other people process emotion. I love to connect with strangers through the words that they privately penned to a page ... and I love that those same words could be called mine.

Have you ever had a moment where you knew something because you'd heard it a million times... yet you didn't really KNOW it, as in understand it? I can't be the only one, right? Tell me that has happened to you. Its like you hear it all the time. You even probably say it, but the true meaning of it is not something that your mind had wrapped itself around.


My heart recently has been burdened by a few things. Some heavier than others, but all of them together weighing a ton more than my heart is used to carrying. I frantically sought Truth in the pages of the Word, but rarely came across anything that shouted to me. I poured through song after song after song, yet didn't find comfort in what I was hearing. Until Monday.

As I was driving in to work, a worship leader out of Bethel Church in Redding, CA was serenading our God on my behalf. I was halfheartedly listening - the other half of my heart was deeply saddened and stuck in a thought process of its own. As she sang a song that is part of my 'private stock' worship, it was as if the music faded out and her words shouted in. She proclaimed "Nothing is hidden from Your sight; Wherever I go You find me; You know every detail of my life...You are God and You don't miss a thing."

[ INSERT SOB HERE ________________ ]

El Roi - the God who sees me. Heaven broke through in that moment. This God that I love and this God that I serve KNOWS me. Me. This crazy, obsessive, strong willed, not-always-obedient, random girl He created...He KNOWS me.

UGH... that means He knows ALL of me. Even the parts I keep hidden from myself. You know - the junky stuff sometimes bubbles out of nowhere that leaves even yourself wondering where it came from? He knows all of THAT stuff too... Ugh.

I realized in this very moment a bunch of things. The first one being that I found no comfort anywhere at all until this point because I was trying to figure it out all on my own. I was trying to be the one with the answers. I was trying to rationalize with God - yet, there is no need. He knows EVERY detail. I can't hide from him... and I realized that I was trying to. Instead of resting with Him, I was wrestling with Him. Instead of confiding in Him, I was hiding from Him. I was going about it wrong.

My God knows me - and he loves me anyway. He is the God who SEES me. He sees right through me. Past the outer courts of my heart into the not-so-holy place. He sees the things I place upon the altar and He asks me to clear a lot of it away. He sees my imperfections as perfection. He sees my motivations and my mistakes. He sees me running away to hide in a corner,  holding things in my hands that I should be putting into His. . . and He loves just the same. Crazy love.

We all hide things, right? We all hide things from other people and even from ourselves. Its a crazy thought that I could even hide from Him. What I realized in this undone moment on my way to work is that I can't... and I don't want to anymore.

The truth of the matter is that God knows every detail of our lives, and yet he still pursues us as though we were sinless and spotless as He was. We cannot hide from Him. We can ignore Him, but it doesn't change his omniscience. I've decided to embrace the mess I'm in and count it all as joy (and at this, I fail DAILY). I've decided that if God deems me worth knowing so intimately that I cannot hide, then I should just surrender. I've decided that if God himself covets us just the way we are, then He is worth every sacrifice we make to honor Him.

I am grateful that God is this way for everyone. He knows us ALL. When we go to Him, we do not have to justify any thought or action - we can just go. We can just be. We can just rest, mess and all.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Do you watch the TV show Chopped? For a while there, I was obsessed. I would catch every episode, every new show... I loved it when they brought the best of the best back and had them face each other. I loved the creativity, the intensity, and the beautiful results... My absolute favorite part, however, was the unveiling of the ingredients. You never knew what they were going to get. I can recall one of the shows having these delicious, interesting choices...and then a package of orange cheese powder from mac and cheese. You should have heard the chefs! They were not pleased - not one bit!

I have been prompted in my heart to draw parallels from that show to my life at this very moment. If you know me well enough to be in the 'inner circle,' you know that I am trying to figure out a solution to a problem that has plagued me for far too long. In trying to seek out answers, I have been spending more time in my devotionals and in prayer...I know that God will reveal it all to me in His perfect timing. "The Lord will fight for me, all I have to do is be still" Exodus 14:14.

Because I am trying to figure things out (even though I shouldn't be), I have had to really think about the changes that have happened over the past few years. Everyone changes, yes, but for me there have been some significant ones. For comic relief, I have been envisioning myself in a Chopped scenario. Here is what I see:

I picture myself as a contestant (remember: I was obsessed for a while!) and I have my wooden mystery box. I am anxious, excited, already planning what baseline to use regardless of my ingredients... I have my hands on the box top and I'm waiting for Ted to tell me to open it. But instead, God has asked me to open it. I open the box and stand in awe at my own reflection. In this moment, I realize that God has given me ingredients to work with. As I stare at the ingredients, I realize I have no idea what to make with this. I know time is ticking, I know that I probably should be sauteing or frying or steaming or infusing or whatever... but I am basically stuck to the ground, wondering what to do.

I try not to be a boastful person - it annoys me. But I also think that a healthy dose of self confidence is important. I am going to acknowledge that God has given me a few ingredients to work with in my Chopped box. If you know me, you may disagree. If you know me, you may think that the ingredients I see are not the best ones that you see... but regardless of that, I want to put the disclaimer out there that I am NOT being boastful, but rather telling you a few ingredients that God has put in my Chopped box.

Ingredient number 1: Psalm 96 - Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord, all the earth. I have always loved music - that is no secret. I grew up in a musically diverse household - everything from Little River Band to Linda Ronstadt to Frank Sinatra to Carly Simon...I was able to play an instrument in band and sing for chorus. It brought me joy - and I was actually OK at it. However, something shifted in my heart a few years ago and I began to want to use that love of music to share the love of the Lord. Since God is good and He is faithful, He placed the right people in my life who encouraged me and gave me chances even when maybe I didn't deserve them. He has given me a new song to sing. Just recently He gave me the opportunity to learn the piano - and while I am FAR from being good, I will say that being proficient is good enough for me. My whole life I have wanted to play the piano... and in just 4 short months, He has given me the ability to connect what is in my heart with what comes out of my fingertips. He is good.

Ingredient number 2: Viewing most things through a wide view lens. I most likely couldn't tell you what is going to happen tomorrow, but if you need to know what is going to happen months from now because of a decision you are making today, I probably could do it. For some reason, small details escape me - but long term effects are clear as day. The problem I encounter with this is that not many people are 'projectors' and so it is hard to line up my vision with most other people's vision because there usually isn't too much overlap.

Ingredient number 3: Writing. Habakkuk 2:2 "Then the LORD replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may carry the message to others." Like music, I have always loved to write. I remember writing a poem in 2nd grade and can still recite it. I wrote this incredible story in 6th grade once, I wish I still had it. Clearly, I love to blog ... but I also like to write in my own journal just for me. I can't share everything here. You can often find me writing out looooong emails that replace phone conversations, but that means more to me because writing helps me to process emotion. On my bucket list (and the bucket list of countless others) is to write a book. I have no idea what this book will be about, but I know it will glorify Him and I know that I will just "know" the right time to write it.

Ingredient number 4: No idea. This mystery box on my Chopped challenge has this one last ingredient..this one thing that I don't know how to work with, or what to do with, or even what it is called...but its SOMETHING. I have a feeling it is my "umi" ingredient.. the one that caters to the 6th sense of 'food.' I am trusting in the Lord to click the ligh bulb on at ANY moment about what this is...because I have to get cooking...

I truly still don't know what to do with all of this. My prayers always includes a sense of urgency and wonder at why I have been given these ingredients to work with. It always feels best to be using them, but there really isn't a way to blend them into being used all at the same time...and there is certainly not enough time to use them all independently to their full capacity.

The point of this post is to get you thinking. What did God put in your Chopped box? What are the ingredients that he has asked you to compose the perfect dish with? While I certainly don't have answers, I do know that unlike Chopped, we all do not have the same ingredients. And even if, by chance, we did... we would never use them the same. The TV show is proof of that.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Casting a Long Shadow

In a rare moment of stillness, I looked out my upstairs window. It was late afternoon, the sky was brilliant blue - almost too bright to look at without squinting or a pair of sunglasses. The clouds were scarce but refused to be completely hidden. While I noticed the sky, I also noticed the shadows. The tree branches, bare of leaves, left broken shadows across our neighbor's lawn. The cars parked along the street offered a a sideways slanted, narrow version of themselves on the street beside them. The one that struck me the most, however, was the one our house was casting.

The shadow our house casted on this day, in this minute, reached far. It went past our neighbors house and further on to their neighbor's back yard. Let me assure your our house is not large - its an average sized 1930's colonial on a small lot in a semi-suburb of the capital city. My  house had no right to cast a shadow this big. It was clear that the reflection it gave was one of great reach - it longed to break the boundaries drawn by its walls to spread further, fly higher...

Clearly, science tells us that the size of the original object is skewed because of the play of the light. Because of the angle of the sun, and the openness of the barren trees, our house obstructed the streams of light from the sun. Our house blocked the light. The light persisted. The light, this bright light from the sun, persisted over the house and pushed on. It persevered and was able to over shine what was in its way. In the process of this, what is seen is a false perception of what the house truly looks like. It is not a reflection, but rather a projection of what the light wanted it to be. It gave us two pictures - what is true (the house) and what is not true (the shadow).

I thought of the word shadow - and its meaning. Some would say that a shadow is like a reflection - mocking whatever the light is playing upon. Others would say that a shadow is like a covering - something that gives comfort and rest (think: a little baby who has her Mom affectionately nickname her 'my shadow,' or spending time in the shadow of a tree).

I thought about this image in terms of myself. Do I cast a long shadow? Do you? In my perfect (clearly made up) world, the shadow that I would cast would be one of truth; meaning, the shadow itself would be equal in measure to me in that moment. The prophet Isaiah talks about the 'shadow of a great rock in a weary land.' Would I want to be like that? Would I want to be the place where people found refuge when they are weary? Is it my job to cast a long shadow? Job says "As a servant earnestly desires the shadow," meaning, my job as a servant to my King IS to cast a long shadow so I am able to offer a place of rest.... not sure I'm cut out for that one, but if it is what we are called to do, to be????....then I guess we'll have to work on that one.

At the end of my thoughts on this, I realized that I truly desire to be both the shadow caster and the one to rest in a shadow. I want the Son to radiate so brightly that the overflow casts a long, far reaching shadow where people can find a safe, shady place to rest. I want to constantly find myself IN His shadow restoring and recharging and reflecting on how far my own shadow goes. Will you join me there?