It All Feels So Official

I spend a great deal of time & energy encouraging other people to pursue their dreams & ideas. Encouraging them to overcome the resistance…to fight the fear…& just do it. But I will be the first to admit that I almost always need to be looking in the mirror when I’m giving those pep talks.

When I moved to Nashville 7 months ago I figured I would probably end up doing freelance work but was hesitant to jump into it because I don’t consider myself a “business person.” I had a conversation in November that was a punch in the gut, get moving moment. But here is it the last day of March and I just not finally took the step that I’ve been putting off…launching nomoredirtywork.com – a website for my freelance work.

I am still fighting resistance. Fighting fear. Fighting the tension in it for me. But I’m blessed with incredible friends & mentors who push me to keep fighting. And I’m pretty grateful for them. With the website live & the business cards that also came in the mail today, I feel like I can officially call myself a freelancer. :)

What project or dream are you fighting resistance on right now?

Throwback Sundays – A Prayer to Remind Us it’s So Much Bigger

I love this entire prayer, but especially need to be reminded of these lines:

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Amen.

Read the rest of it here.

The Twenty – #9: The Best Style of Leadership I Know

“Yes, we need emerging leaders, but we also need emerged leaders who will work alongside them.”
The Art of Curating Worship pg. 51

A “good” leader. That seems like such a relative term these days. Even the term leader is tossed around haphazardly most of the time. Everyone seems to have their own variation on a definition which, most of the time, has been tailored to fit their own personal needs.

But when I strip away the world’s definition of a leader…even the church’s definition of a leader…I’m left with Scripture’s definition of a leader.

And I think that is a leader who humbles himself. Before God and those he’s* leading.
One who is eager to train and equip others.
Who is willing to admit they don’t have all of the answers but is walking in obedience anyway.
One who holds decisions with open hands.
One who encourages and empowers.
One who hasn’t made himself a leader but whom others have called leader.
One who has been given authority, not one who is a self-proclaimed expert.
One who at the end of the day is always willing to surrender to the whispers of the Spirit because he recognizes that he is just a steward, that he doesn’t own any of what he’s been entrusted with.

I like the quote above because an emerged leader who will work alongside emerging leaders exemplifies a humble leader. He is encouraging and empowering. He has been called leader and given authority. He is humbly walking in obedience while training and equipping others. I’m not sure what “style” label I would put on that type of leadership…but maybe that’s part of the point.

What is the best style of leadership you know?

This is the fourth post in a series of twenty. For more on the background, check out this post.

*Note: The use of the word “he” doesn’t mean I think leaders should only be men, it’s purely for simplicity of words & message. :)

Seeing God in Healing

Three years ago I literally spent the entire month of March in bed…minus three trips to the ER to get fluids because I was so dehydrated. What started out as the stomach flu turned into severe dehydration, pneumonia, a sinus infection, and more. I was physically wrecked. I finally crawled out of bed on Good Friday and managed to make it to church that night and Easter Sunday. But I was in bad shape.

It’s amazing how deeply physical pain can affect us. For me, the pain and suffering of a physical disease messed with me emotionally and mentally in ways I’m still not sure I fully understand. And I’m realizing that that may be one of the mysteries of God I don’t get to understand in this lifetime…and I’m okay with that.

But, I firmly believe I needed it. I needed to be broken. I needed that perspective anchor in my life. I need to be put through the fire to be refined. Spun on the potter’s wheel and shaped and molded so I could serve His purpose for my life instead of mine.

God used that pain and suffering to change the direction of my life. I firmly believe that. It’s not that He wanted me to suffer but He allowed it to happen. And if for no other reason than to display His glory.

Three years later and my disease is for all intents and purposes inactive. The pain I do have is minimal compared to that which I lived with 2, 3, 4, 5 years ago. I can walk up multiple flights of stairs. I can walk up hills. I can walk more than half a block. I can get up off the floor. I can even run.

Just tonight I walked up large hills…multiple times. I walked around downtown Nashville for a good two hours. I climbed multiple flights of stairs. I sat on the ground and was able to get up again.

Three years ago I worried about going to the grocery store because many days that simple mundane task was a challenge. Today I’m counting down to a trip to China in May. In all of that God is glorified. Only by His strength, His healing, His faithfulness, did I make it through. In my weakness He is strong.

Gary Molander presented a challenge in a recent blog post. His challenge: to write a blog post that finishes the phrase “When I look back at today, I saw God when __________.”

Well, when I look back at today, I saw God…I see God…when I can physically do things that three years ago…even 2 years ago…some even a year ago….I couldn’t do. When I can walk around a city with friends I see His healing, His provision, and His love. And that physical healing has done a number on the healing of my heart too. Seriously, His goodness leaves me speechless.

Beautiful Words

Mark Pierson opens a chapter of his book, The Art of Curating Worship, with this beautiful poem by Mike Riddell. His words describe beautifully the awakening that is needed and that I sense is coming. I can feel it. And I burst with excitement with I catch glimpses of it.

We come from far and wide;
We have our own stories to tell who we are
Stories of places and people and experiences
Tales of discovery and disappointment

Somewhere between there and here,
God has become a part of our adventure;
Part of our walking and speaking and breathing,
In us and through us and before us

We have joined our lives with the story of Christ,
And begun to act as if it were true;
Taking the words to be gospel,
And the sound of them to be the breath of life

Sometime between then and now,
God has come to dwell among us,
Breathing the Spirit into our hearts
So that we may see and hear and feel.

With our friends and fellow travelers,
We have measured our days by the kingdom
And our nights by the joy of salvation;
Seeking what is lost within us

We are the substance of Christ’s dreaming
The first-fruits and the foretaste
The small and suffering people
In whom Christ has pleased to dwell

But we are also the lost children;
The straying sheep and the dishonest servants,
The rich young fools and the rock-bearing elders,
The timid followers and the traitorous disciples.

We often forget the story which came to us,
Preferring order to uncertainty;
Orthodoxy to love,
And religious piety to unmerited grace

Come to us again, Lord Jesus,
And whisper your words of welcome;
Fill our hearts with reckless wonder,
And our minds with splendid nonsense

Awake in us the dream of the kingdom;
Resurrect our dead and perished visions;
Alert us to the heaven in our midst;
And quicken us to laugh and love

Here we have no lasting city;
No temple nor castle nor club;
Here we have no religious refuge
In which to hide from your gratuitous chaos

So make us to be the dwelling of Christ,
The holy shelter in which the flame may burn;
That the story may go on and the truth be told,
And mercy come to your good earth.

Amen.

The Art of Curating Worship pgs. 54-56

Throwback Sundays…Identity Crisis

I’ve had plenty of conversations in recent months to be sure that many of us still fight through an identity crisis on a regular basis. We get wrapped up in labels and titles all too often. Those conversations are a reminder to me to never stop praying this prayer:

Lord, help us to root our identity in the fact that we are created, not in what we create.

You can read the rest of the original post here.