Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Eight is Great!

Helen and Sherri have posted this little get to know you exercise in eights, so I'm playing along...

8 Things I Did Yesterday:
1. Went for a run after not running for more than a week.
2. Watched too much Myth Busters. Did I really need to know how slippery banana peels are? Ok, I did.
3. Took pictures of the kids playing outside.
4. Made BBQ pork chops.
5. Started reading a book I've already read but forgot the plot to.
6. Got ready to go to the store and realized my wallet was in the van with Frank.
7. Changed many a diaper.
8. Ate popsicles on the porch.

8 Shows I Watch (I submit that preschool TV does not count.):
1. House
2. What Not to Wear
3. Biggest Loser
4. My Boys
5. Jeopardy
6. Antiques Road Show
7. Local News
8. The Office

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
1. Move the right side of my face.
2. Travel more.
3. Fly.
4. Wave a magic wand to clean the house.
5. Play guitar better without having to practice.
6. Spend more time with extended family.
7. Whistle.
8. Beat Frank at a video game.

8 Things I am Looking Forward To:
1. Going on my Emmaus Walk.
2. All my kids being potty trained.
3. Going swimming this summer.
4. Going on a crazy cross-country adventure someday with Frank when all the kids are grown up.
5. Seeing Jesus when I die.
6. Eating the chocolate I bought at the store today.
7. Baby Jay's first steps.
8. When all my fun blog friends meet.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mighty to Save

Oh...it's been quite and up and down week. Good thing God never moves... Here's song that's meant a lot this week for me, and hopefully I'll be back regularly soon.

Mighty To Save

Everyone needs compassion
A love that's never failing
Let mercy fall on me

Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations

He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Author of Salvation
He rose & conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as You find me
All my fears & failures
Fill my life again

I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender (I surrender)

He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Author of Salvation
He rose & conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

Shine Your light &
Let the whole world see
We're singing
For the glory
Of the risen King

You're the Savior
You can move the mountains
Lord You are mighty to save
You are mighty to save
Author of Salvation
You rose & conquered the grave
Yes You conquered the grave

Monday, April 20, 2009

If You Thought I was Freaky Before...

So. Um. Half my face isn't working right.

I had these eye twitches and lip twitches going on all day Saturday. Kind of annoying, but I wrote it off to stress and being tired. My tongue was kind of numb and food didn't taste right. Plus I felt sick anyway.

Then I woke up early (or at least early for us) on Sunday...and the right side of my face was not working. My eye only closes with extreme focus. The right side of my mouth will not smile or frown with the rest of my mouth. WHAT IS GOING ON?

Welcome to Bell's Palsy. The nerve that runs through your neck, ear, and controls half of your face...eye, eye brow, mouth, some of your taste buds and tongue gets all bothered and decides to give up working for awhile. At least that's my version of it. It happens...for unknown reasons. It stays...for a few days, weeks, months...just depends on the person. But it usually goes away in a couple weeks on its own.

So here I am trying to lead worship at Maryland Community Church with Frank as guests on Sunday. It's rainy. I'm tired. My stomach hurts. My face doesn't work. My kids are running around the sanctuary during practice and spilling cereal on their nice carpet and collecting all the little pencils from the endless rows of seats and taking off their shoes and trying to climb on the altar...

As a worship leader there are days that you don't FEEL like worshiping. And I certainly did not win the Happy Happy Joy Joy Award yesterday. I might have been a fabulous candidate for the Rainy Complainy Janey Award. BUT, God's glory shines through that much brighter on the days where we are forced to depend on Him.

It's easy to get comfortable and even a little prideful as a worship leader. It's easy to depend on your own abilities and talents and get a little secretly smug when asked to lead worship at a BIG church. It's easy to make it more about you than God. It's easy. It's one of those daily struggles.

Not so easy when you can't smile right like you usually do to invite people to sing with you. Or close your eyes right so you can just focus on God and block out the people. Or your tongue feels thick and heavy and it's hard to form the words to a song. But worship isn't based on my smiles or my eyes closed or my singing. It's about my heart's attitude and desire. And I couldn't help but worship as the song lyrics came....

"This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!"

"Everyday, it's You I live for. Everyday, I'll follow after You!"

"Could circumstances possibly change who I forever am in You?"

"You traded your life for mine."

"I exalt thee!"

Really. It was time to get over myself and praise God anyway. This is something very temporary that will go away. It's such a little thing. And even if it WAS a big thing, God still deserves my praise, even though that's hard to think about. So whatever your ugly and painful circumstance is today, keep praising God. Sometimes it doesn't seem like it, but this life is so temporary compared to eternity...

Psalm 144:3-4 (New International Version)

3 O LORD, what is man that you care for him,
the son of man that you think of him?

4 Man is like a breath;
his days are like a fleeting shadow.

And if you need a good laugh, call me up and get me saying tongue twisters or something. Or watch me try to drink my coffee with out drooling. Or make me mad and watch me try to glare at you with one eye. It's pretty funny. Every time I see myself in the mirror, what I see makes me laugh and then it just looks worse!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Super Update Spectacular!

I don't got nuttin' today. But I'm up way too early for a Saturday. So...

Remember my awesomely bad hair escapades?
Update: I am no longer losing hair. In fact, it's all growing back. The new hair is just a couple inches long and sticks straight out from my head...especially in front, so I look like a cockatoo. The scalp...well, it remains pretty much the same. Tried new shampoos. One makes it a little less itchy. A commenter from Candy's Blog gave me a link to a blog where this lady found amazing relief for her scalp using Listerine. I tried that last night....yeah, didn't work so much. Just made me smell nice and antiseptic. Plus I got a little buzzed off the fumes. I think I saw a vision of myself in a nursing home in 50 years.

Remember my commitment to running?
Update: I continue to run and I'm still loosely using the couch to 5k program my cousin's wife gave me a link to. It's been harder to get away to run the last couple weeks, so that's a little frustrating. My ankle has been really tender this week, too, so I'm trying not to push too hard. I'm absolutely loving it, though. It really is like I'm back in cross country and about 16 again. My favorite place to run so far is out to the cemetery. There's no traffic, it's peaceful, and I am the fastest runner there. Also, my husband got a memo that the gym membership he gets through work is going to be free for spouses, too. So I'm trying to work up a little courage to go and sign up for a time to go and have the mandatory meeting with a trainer. THAT should make for a funny post. Beth vs. the Gym.

Remember the dogs that like to get in our trash?
Update: We finally invested a mega big trash can for the trash. It has wheels. If trash cans are the most exciting thing in your life....nifty, nifty, woo! Then the neighbors with the trash loving dogs moved away. Figures. These are the same neighbors who tended to get frequent visits from the police...so maybe the move wasn't voluntary? Lately the owners seem to be doing some repairs to the house. I might get new neighbors soon. Will they be good? Bad? I'm all a jitter with anticipation. Or the coffee this morning was too strong.

Remember the formula they have behind lock and key at the local Wal-Marts?
Update: This really, really frustrates me. This week I went to the grocery store alone. I know! Easy breezy cheesy, right? Wrong. I have 81 items in the cart. But you have to go to the express lane to get the formula. So here I am in the express lane getting evil looks from EVERYONE because I have this big full cart of groceries in the express lane. I'm not a rule breaker, people, I'm just trying to feed my baby. Don't hate me. There has GOT to be a better way. Is this what people who smoke have to endure every time they want to shop and buy cigs? Because I would just stop smoking based on that alone.

Well, that's about it for now. Wish I had something witty or poignant to leave you with...oh wait...here's something that's neither!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Being the Spleen

This morning I woke up with a thought in my head. Warning...it takes awhile for my thoughts to get to a point, but it's been a good while since I rambled on about the church, right? In my experience, it seems there is a trend among churches to become less "denominational." I mean, most new churches don't seem to say outright what their denomination is or sometimes they are independent and not a part of a denomination at all...interdenominational...non-denominational...etc. I would say that Christians in my generation also seems to identify themselves less with a denomination, even if they attend a church with a certain denomination in its name. This is just pure observation. I don't know if there's a study out there that backs it up with fact or not.

So my thought was, what will churches look like in 50 years? Someday will we look around and So and So Baptist Church, So and So Methodist Church, So and So Assembly of God will be a thing of the past? Is this a conscience effort to try to find more common ground among the Church as a whole? Or is it just a "cool" trend? Is it a way to try to reach out to those who might find negative connotation in certain names? Is it MORE or LESS confusing to a person who has no idea what churches are to begin with? I don't know.

I do know our church chose the name HealingPointe Community Church because we wanted to communicate to others that 1. We are a church. 2. We exist in a community and want to be a part of it. 3. We are a place where healing can take place in someone's life (and everyone needs SOME kind of healing, whether you are a Christian already or not). We're affiliated with the Churches of God, which is a pretty small mid-west denomination that's into planting churches such as ours. If you go to our website, you can find out all kinds of important stuff like our core values 'n' stuff. I especially like the mission we've adopted: A family of believers learning how to follow Jesus.

But sometimes it's still hard to have a clear picture of what God has for a church to be...and what it is NOT to be. We've been struggling a little bit through that process. When we began as a church, it's so hard not to go crazy and try to do EVERYTHING and in the process kind of lose sight of the ONE thing. So with moving to a cleaner, brighter, more visible, more expensive space last summer...and then having several people leave in the fall...and no one new sticking around...and going into survival mode...and really just drawing close to God and each other during the past few months...we've emerged as a church that is much clearer on its function within the Body of Christ in Terre Haute, Indiana.

1. We are not the cool place to be, as much as visions of lasers and stadiums dance in our heads some days. We're kind of just regular people. Some of us are rather nerdy. (Ahem.) We're a small and comfortable place to be. If God wants to make us a big and comfortable place to be someday, great. If not, that's great, too.

2. We flat out love God and love Jesus.

3. We don't shy away from applying the hard stuff in the Bible to our lives. And even the basic principles in the Bible are hard stuff sometimes. You have to do that to grow. We may not grow big in number, but we'd better be growing spiritually!

4. We're still figuring out how to love people...and we've got a lot to offer them! I know I just said we're regular people, but regular people have some super amazing gifts, talents and skills around HealingPointe. We've got people who can cook and build and work with kids and sing and act and speak and host and write and compute and ride motorcycles and more. (Yes, riding a motorcycle counts as a skill to me.) One couple started a puppet ministry with our older kids recently. We've started to venture into drama little by little. And boy, can our guys build walls...

5. We are exponential in impact when we partner with churches who are already doing good stuff. While we're a pretty special little Body of Christ, the churches in our area are coming together to do some powerful things. Putting doctrinal differences and traditions aside to work together is NOT EASY. But when our pastor goes and meets with other pastors to plan community projects...when our people learn about prayer and worship at IHOP...when some of us go on our Emmaus Walks in a couple of weeks...when we go and play with the kids at the youth center...we put Jesus center stage instead of our agenda. He is the only one deserving of center stage.

So with all of that clarified, it has become clear to our church that it's time to start looking for a new place to meet. Yeah, we've moved a lot. First the mobile church at the Girl Scout building. Then the old building next to Rick's BBQ. Now the storefronts behind the mall. But we want to spend more $$ on people and ministry and less on rent to be faithful to the vision that is our church. There's a couple of possibilities so far, so pray that we just follow after God on this one and we will know the right place at the right time.

We were checking out a place a couple of weeks ago...and jokingly I referred to us as "The Spleen of Terre Haute" in the Body of Christ. You know, kind of small and a little weird and no one really knows what it does. So I looked it up. If I understand correctly, the spleen removes old blood cells from the body and produces and stores white blood cells, that help the body to fight infection. It's a part of the immune system. Here's some interesting stuff from E-how about the good ol' spleen:
"An individual can survive without their spleen. If the spleen is severely damaged, it can be removed surgically with a procedure called a splenectomy. The majority of the functions of the spleen are taken over by the liver after a splenectomy. Once the spleen is removed, however, an individual does have an increased susceptibility to infections due to the loss of immune function that the liver is unable to compensate for."

Okay, stretch with me a little bit and let me apply this spiritually to our church. It's not a perfect analogy, but it's a little ironic about the immune system vs. HealingPointe's name, right? If HealingPointe produces healthy disciples that work along other Christians in the body and help keep them from "infection," that's a pretty important job. It's not glamorous. You can't see it on the outside. The body can even live without it. But if HealingPointe were to be cut out of the body...no other church could do the specific job that God has set before us. The body would be prone to an infection that could damage it and even destroy it. And the reverse is true. If we think we can survive without the rest of the body, we are sadly mistaken.

"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." (Romans 12:4-5)

So you think my pastor will let us change our name to HealingSpleen Community Church? Terre Haute First Spleen of God? Spleen-dor of Christ Church? Ok, I'll stop now.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

*Here's a short drama I wrote for church. I did some research to try to be as accurate of the facts as I could...but in some ways, this follower of Jesus could your or me today...Happy Easter!*

My life before Jesus was so dark. I was possessed by seven demons. Don't look at me like that. I know it sounds crazy, but it was true. My family was wealthy and I was an embarrassment. They threw me out of my own house. I found myself wandering from town to town. I begged to survive and slept in the streets. Most people were scared of me and told their children not to look at me for fear of becoming possessed as well. The truth is, I was afraid of myself. I didn't know why I did the insane things I did or why the voices in my head never stopped. I was so close to ending my own life . What was there to live for? One day I heard someone talking in the street about a man named Jesus. “He heals all who touch him!” they said. I went to see him out of curiosity. Surely he would be like all the other “magic healers” and “great teachers,” with their fancy shows and empty promises.

But then I saw him. He was so soft spoken, but in his eyes there was a peace and love that seemed to shout and drown the other voices in my head. I can't explain it, but I knew he could heal me. I pushed my way to the front of the crowd and the demons fought every step. I'm sure I caused quite a commotion that day. Jesus saw my struggle and asked the men with him to bring me to him.
“What is it you want, woman?” he asked.
“To be healed.” I said.
And it was done instantly. From that moment on, I owed Jesus my life. I followed him wherever he went and helped to provide food and shelter for his disciples. From his teachings, I learned that he was more than just a healer, he was the Messiah that we Jews had been waiting for. I led the other women who followed Jesus. Many of them were from the same streets I was. People hated us and the excitement we caused. They thought we were just starting trouble. Couldn't they see we were just trying to help them? Couldn't they see the peace and love in Jesus' eyes like I did?

But the Pharisees and other teachers of the law kept hating Jesus more. The night of the Passover meal, they arrested him. It was supposed to be a time of celebration, but it quickly turned to a time of fear for all of us followers. I couldn't believe that this man I followed, my Messiah, could be treated so badly. Why didn't he save himself and us? Most of his disciples fled, but no one questions the presence of a pitiful woman from the streets. I watched it all from the shadows. The trials. The beatings. When they took him away to be crucified, I followed him all the way up that hill...

My Lord died there. But it was only the beginning. Three days later I spoke to my Messiah. He was alive, and I started to understand for the first time how truly powerful his love is...for me.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Shoes

My Grandma and Grandpa Oglesbee cannot be contained or described in a simple blog post. They have been missionaries, pastors, giants of faith, a home for the homeless, worship leaders, and church planters before some of those terms even existed. But I most admire them for their deep and passionate relationships with God. I have always lived far away from them, and so have not gotten to know them as much as I want to, but they are the type of people you can sit with for an hour and have more truth spoken into your life than about anyone else I can think of. Now, they are far from "normal." I would say they are quite...quirky. Yes, I can feel the shock resonating throughout the blog world. My relatives? Quirky?

Anyway, forgive me Oglesbee clan if I tell the story wrong. But this is a special tradition that stemmed from an Easter when my mother was small...

Grandma and Grandpa were pastoring a church in Southern Indiana. They were always scraping together what they could to get by, while also raising their ever expanding little family. Easter was quickly approaching and all of the little boys and girls would be receiving treats. Grandma wanted something nice for her children and was sad that she couldn't buy treats...there just wasn't enough money for fancy Easter baskets filled with candy. She prayed to God that day, asking that he would provide a way to have treats for her children that Easter. An idea came. She remembered hearing of how the children in Holland received Christmas goodies not in stockings, but in wooden shoes. With a few pennies she bought some jelly beans and Easter grass and the night before Easter, she took her children's church shoes and filled them with the grass, candy, and pennies and set them out to be found the next morning...

I can just imagine her joy and thanksgiving to God as the kids woke up to such a fun surprise! God provided the creativity and idea to grant this little request of my Grandma to show love to her children.

My mom continued this tradition with us...from little baby shoes until I was in high heels, each year we set out our Sunday shoes and woke up Easter morning to find them full of goodies. I think we even made Frank set out his shoes the first year we were married. Try explaining that!

"Dear, I need your shoes."

"What for?"

"Well, instead of baskets, my family puts candy in shoes."

"Uh...isn't that kind of unsanitary?"

"Oh, it's all wrapped and in Easter grass. No one has died of botulism yet."

"Ok." (Thinking...I thought this family was weird before. What have I gotten myself into?!)

Easter seems to have become a little more complicated lately. We often don't make it to my parents house anymore because of our own church responsibilities around Easter time. But this tradition gains more and more weight in my heart these days. I am the mother wanting to give good things to my small children. I am the one trying to lead in a little Southern Indiana church, playing my piano, singing to Jesus. I am the one scraping up pennies. My grandma and I share a lot, if 50 years apart...

That thought alone really humbles me. God is so faithful. So good. He will provide when we don't know what the next week, month, or year holds. He looks for little ways to teach us to trust Him and whispers His love alongside the huge message of His Son's sacrifice and resurrection.

Today I go to the store. I will buy jelly beans and Easter grass for three precious sets of little shoes.