Saturday, April 30, 2005

Opening Night

The five minute warning was issued backstage. I spoke one more word of confidence to the cast, knowing they were well prepared. We had done our part - for weeks we had rehearsed and prayed and grown together in His love. And now I headed out front to see what kind of audience we had. As I turned into the main hall I was stopped short by the congested hallway. I pushed through the crowd to the main door. I was unable to even get through. The person standing just outside was a familiar face. "How far back does the line go?" I queried. "Halfway down the driveway," came the response with a smile.

"Well, at least he's still smiling," I thought to myself. But I also wondered how we could possibly get all these people seated in less than five minutes - and where would we put them all?

We quickly added many extra chairs, and got a late start. But the show was a smash hit! Easily 500 plus in attendance, all smiling and thrilled with what they had just seen. The kids were phenomonal, far exceeding all expectations of family and friends (but not their director!) The costumes were more than professional, the sets glowed and transported us to another place and time, the music sparkled and the dances were enchanting.

Our reputation seems to have grown; many were saying that they have seen the past several shows and now look forward to our productions with great anticipation.

I am grateful for the excellence we have learned, but even more thankful for the good testimony it provides of His goodness in our lives. Something much greater than talent is witnessed by those attending our shows. His Spirit of love is in our midst. And for that I am most pleased. And I believe with all my heart that He is honored and glorified

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

It was good

I'm totally tired, falling asleep even as I write this. But I wanted to update now. Tomorrow may be too busy, but then again, we shall see.

The rehearsal Monday was tough, as first nights with tech added are. Putting sound, lights, orchestra, sets, and costumes all in the mix at once is always super challenging. It definitely left us a bit out of it.

But it's one night later and we hit our stride again. It was really great! I can't wait for the show. Every night I wonder what new and wonderful things the kids will be adding. They are really developing the characters nicely. Such absolute fun!

I want them to be encouraged in stepping out and doing the thing that is just beyond them. We so readily settle within our limitations. But in God, if we step out just beyond our limits He enlarges our field. It is amazing but true. So we are doing that in this CFA musical. But it is a principle that applies in every arena of life. Jump in - believe for serving in a bigger way then you think comfortable. Try something beyond what you have done before. He will meet you in it. Everytime.

I am now going to get some much needed rest. I hope I dream of some fun new things to do with some of the large group scenes. They could use just a bit more choreography!

Monday, April 25, 2005

His Paths

"Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way." Psalm 25.8 NKJ

What a source of joy and confidence this whole Psalm has been through the years. Today this verse especially touched my heart.

I am so glad that He teaches sinners. That means that I am included; I know that I can qualify for this one!

"All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies." v. 10

Oh, how I long to walk in those very paths of mercy and truth. And this Psalm promises that He will show me how to do just that. I, simple and sinful me, can learn to walk in His way - His holy way!

Hallelujah! Now that is enough to make me want to shout and jump for joy!


A question and a postulation:

I believe that Francis Schaeffer presented a thesis in "How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture" suggesting that the arts reflect the soul of a culture. Can someone confirm that? If I am accurate in my recollection, I want to say that I understand his point. He traced the arts and culture back to early Rome, if I remember correctly. It would seem as though the arts do reflect culture. But I wonder...

My thought: Christians, through the arts, could actually effect the soul of a culture.

Is it not possible, as a dear friend recently said to me, for us to be the head and not the tail, and in so doing, set a new direction in the arts? Must the arts be dominated by the secular, Godless realm? Could we not rather set the pace and in time bring about an awareness of God's beauty, stirring even a hunger in the souls of men? Or will our art be limited by culture's current trends?

What was accomplished by Mel Gibson's "The Passion"? We know that it was almost entirely overlooked by the Oscar awards, but did it not influence, in some measure, our culture? Perhaps the limited but still recognizable impact is in actuality reflective of our mixed culture. If so, Schaeffer's thesis would be further confirmed. But is there not potential for the Christian element (I'm guessing we're a little less in number than a majority in this culture) to rise to greatness in the arts and begin to influence culture rather than allow the arts to merely reflect a majority? Is it possible for the arts to take this role?

Any thoughts?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Too much fun!

"The Gondoliers" - it will be outstanding! The heady humor of Gilbert, the sparkling tuneful melodies by Sullivan, the costumes by Diederich and company, the set design by Haller and crew - all sung and danced by our fabulous students at Christian Fellowship Academy.

Do I need to say more?

Oh, yeah. It's this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm! And it will be worth every effort to be there!


Life is so varied, at least from my somewhat sanguine perspective. It is happy and sad, difficult and easy, pleasant and disagreeable. At the moment I am experiencing all of those feelings at once as I move from one task to another to another: thinking about new staging for the above mentioned musical, letting go of friends who will be moving on to new adventures in the Lord, helping a daughter think through wedding plans, watching another daughter growing up overnight, listening to my little man tell me his dream for the nineteenth time (that may not even be an exaggeration!), encouraging my husband in the midst of ongoing headaches - just to mention a few.

It is at times like this that I find Jesus to be an anchor for my soul. Oh, how grateful I am to have walked with Him through the years - to have found Him to be an ever present help in time of trouble, and a continuous fount of joy in my mornings. Building upon the rock has proven time and again to have been the right choice. I have no regrets in that. None. In fact, it is the one thing in this world that I am absolutely sure of.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Draw Near to God

Zephaniah 3:2 She heeded no voice, She accepted no instruction. She did not trust in the LORD, She did not draw near to her God. NASB

A myriad of responses flood me when I read this passage: disdain, fear, frustration. But today I am overwhelmed by sorrow. Intense sorrow. This is a picture of real brokenness. I have seen this in others’ lives. I have seen it in mine. I have tasted and I have seen the trouble it brings.

It is never good.

Ecclesiastes 5:1 Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. NASB

We need to come wanting to hear from Him, to accept His counsel, longing for His words. We sometimes come in pretense, not prepared to listen at all. Our hearts are not blank slates ready to be written on. They are filled with our own thoughts and predetermined counsels. We worship Him but do not make room for His word. According to the above verse, that is not good. In fact, it may be downright evil.

James 4:8 Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. The Message

I think that says clearly what God wants – “Quit playing the field.”

“Playing the field.” Doesn’t conjure up feelings of respect and admiration, does it? A woman who plays the field is not a picture of purity, devotion, and honor.

“Purify your inner life.” We’re getting to heart issues now. With Jesus, it always comes down to the heart, doesn’t it? If you were a husband, a lover, wouldn’t the heart matter to you?

“Say a quiet yes to God.” Just let go of preconceived notions. Let go. Acquiesce to His word. Show Him that you trust Him. Isn’t He trustworthy?

“Quit dabbling in sin.” Do we want to hear from Him or is there some sin that has won our hearts? Lay it down. Choose His word instead.

God speaks through His chosen people. He has given us so many faithful leaders. Listen to their words. Accept their authority in your life. It comes from God. This is a place of safety and well-being.

Read the Word. It is for you today. Apply the principles and find abundant life.

Walk by the Spirit. He will lead you. But you must come ready to hear.

Not heeding the voice of counsel, failing to accept instruction, not trusting in the Lord, not drawing near to God – this is a sorrowful picture. This is a life that is broken. And it need not be so.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Looking around I see...

Hmmm. It looks as though the weather is nice. Maybe a bit like spring. The kids told me it was getting warmer.

Do I see blue skies? Sunshine? Why, look! There are yellow buds popping out on my forsythia bush!

Perhaps I should slow down long enough for a stroll around my backyard. If I don't, I may miss spring altogether!

Happy day to all who visit me here. I will be heading over to the office to make phone calls, review choreography, plan more staging, etc. But first I think I will take a peek here and there to see the wonders of springtime and Him who made it!


Monday, April 18, 2005

Melancholy is setting in...

It happens whenever I invest alot in something. I don't tend to lack passion about the things I choose to do. It's all or nothing with me. I'm just that kind of person.

So after spending hours upon hours with them, teaching them music and dance, praying for them, talking about the Bible together, and giving them my best, I am realizing the end is looming nearer and am sensing the letdown that's inevitable. I just simply love these kids! I look forward to rehearsals (for the most part!) I am full of pride (the proper kind) and joy at all they are accomplishing. Watching them step out and grow is rewarding beyond measure.

Once again I realize that this is my main motivation.

True. I love theater (maybe I didn't get enough make-believe time when I was growing up... or maybe I just never grew up!) But the best part of all this is the kids. To see a change of heart, a growth in confidence, a discovered talent, a sharpened skill - this is pure wonder and reward! (Who needs money?)

At any rate, they have done it again. They have stolen my heart away. When all is said and done I will be glad to have given to them in this way. And sad that our time together has come to an end once more.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

True Love

Most of us are familiar with the story of the rich young ruler who comes to Jesus asking for instruction regarding the obtaining of eternal life. He had fulfilled all the outward commands. What more should be done? And we see here Jesus' response to him:

Mark 10.21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."

Jesus looked at him and loved him. Have you ever had someone look at you with eyes of love? Can you imagine the tender warmth in Jesus eyes as He looked upon this young man? How wonderful and complete is His love for us. It was for this young man as well.

And yet we find that love does not equate with a comforting answer. We, in our frailty, would be tempted to show love for others by placing easy requirements, watered down demands, and lesser expectations on them. This is not Christ’s way. With fullness of love toward this young man, He puts him to the test. Jesus’ words cut to the heart of the matter. His saying will separate the men from the boys.

We would be reticent to put it to him so hard. After all, we may lose this person’s heart. But who should we be more concerned about – the rich young man or ourselves?

You see, this young man needed to discover the truth about himself. Love always seeks truth. He needed to come to terms with reality. And the hard reality was this: “One thing you lack...“

In the story of Mary and Martha, Mary has discovered that “…one thing is needed…” and she has chosen that one thing. This rich young ruler is being challenged to choose that one thing as well: an undivided love for God and a corresponding letting go of all else. He must sell whatever he has that would tie him to this world. Paul says that “[I]...suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

With the truest of all love, Jesus calls this young man, and now calls us, to "take up your cross". Give up all that divides your heart. Lay down those things that would hinder your following His voice. Let go of that thing that is dearer to you than Him. This is sincere discipleship.

The call to true discipleship is one of love in that it is the way to eternal life. Without taking up the cross, submitting to our own death and receiving His life, there is no hope of eternity with Him.

The rich young ruler was looking to obtain eternal life. Jesus, in great love, gives him the answer. It is a hard answer, and the young man leaves with deep sorrow of heart. He now knows - the cost will be great.

But, oh, the reward is eternity in His presence.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Hold On Kids - It's Showtime!!

Less than three weeks 'til opening night. For many of us, sprinting time has arrived. Running here, running there. Hours upon hours.

But it's coming together - all the team players are doing their part wonderfully and the kids are really getting it! Once again, I am glad to be helping them find this avenue of creativity, fun, and excellence.

In the meantime, the ones left at home will have to hang in there. Mom is AWOL - well, not exactly. My husband is totally behind what I'm doing.

But at times I feel AWOL. You know, kids cannot be put on hold. Life is still happening. So I sigh when my little guy is in bed night after night without Mom reading him a bedtime story. I cringe when my daughter asks me when we will do math together again. My shoulders sag a bit when there is no homemade bread for the crew to enjoy.

Oh, well. The season has an end in sight. And we all agreed that the sacrifice was worth it once again. Oh, that He might make it so! And only He can.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Those Early Years of Motherhood

I meet with young moms every Saturday. We have been discussing child training - its purposes and kingdom goals.


We decided that it is not a very glamorous life. Building the next generation doesn't reap immediate results (although we must be careful not to dismiss the many enjoyments along the way.) It is far from glitzy - I don't think we are in danger of Charisma magazine knocking on our doors, asking to do an interview regarding our highly effective ministry.

Yet twenty five years later, I can testify to the validity of such ministry. My thought as a young mother - time will be left for great adventures - is proving true. I found that written in my notes from 15 years ago. And I am beginning to experience that very thing!

My older children are now young adults, finding their way into the community, functioning in secular settings, developing connections. And I am their mother. My association with them is opening all kinds of doors and creating all kinds of relationships. I am standing back in amazement, sensing not only acceptance, but respect in new places. Because my children are secure, confident, and polite people, adults love them. They are now paving the way for me to have a place of influence!

There is also more time for local church investment. It is fruitful investment. I am loving it.

I still have twenty-five years or more for great adventures - and I can see them on the horizon. My life is far from over - there is indeed time left for such things. I have not missed out. Not at all. These past two decades have not been wasted. In fact, the very things I have spent my life on have become the seed for my exploits.

Young mothers, invest carefully, without grudge. In due season you will reap. And time will be left for great adventures!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

To Love Christ

Bottom line: I want to see people growing in their love for Christ.

This is the goal. This is what motivates me in all that I do. This is my purpose in mothering, as a wife, for functioning in the local church, as I interface with neighbors in my community.

Oh, to see children, husband, students, friends and neighbors love Christ more! To see a passion for His kingdom reign in their hearts so that their decisions would be motivated by nothing less than a love for Him and a desire to see others established in that love. Anything else would be less, indeed. This is the only noble life-long call. This must be the motivation!

This is my life goal and always will be!

I've quoted it before but gladly do so again. A favorite hymn of mine:

When morning gilds the skies,
My heart awaking cries,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer,
To Jesus, I repair:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Be this while life is mine,
My canticle divine,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Be this th'eternal song
Through all the ages long,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Oh, may it indeed be so, in my life and theirs!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Sunday, Sunday

Jamie is headed back to Virginia. Dad drove him to Syracuse. I stayed home to spend a little time with Brietta - I have hardly seen her since she arrived three days ago!

Had a great time Saturday morning. I meet with 5-6 young women to discuss Titus 2 topics. It has been so refreshing. Last week we talked about submission to husbands and God's will. Yesterday we looked at child training - always so many practical questions when it comes to this. But we also considered the importance of knowing the final goal - having children who love God and hunger for His will in their lives. We will continue this discussion next week.

I missed gathering with the saints for church today. I was sorry for that - I love corporate worship. I also had especially wanted to see a friend that I rarely see outside of church. But Camilla was not feeling well, so I was home with her and Merrick as well as my little grandson, Gabriel. It was good to spend time with him.

So many things to ponder in this life. At times it leaves the mind boggled - at least mine. But then I remember to rest in the simplicity of His love. He will give revelation. He will lead us in all truth. He promises as much. It is true that we must seek. But He still is the only one with the answers. I guess that means I'll seek Him alone.

Growing in love is the all important thing. This cannot be disputed. Let us seek Him for that as well.

Friday, April 01, 2005

To Sum it all up - the day that is...

Brietta did indeed arrive. I was hardly able to see the kids since they came directly to the concert and went home immediately afterwards. Tomorrow is a busy day but in the evening perhaps I will spend some time with them.

Julia Marie played a phenomonal concert. You may think I am biased - maybe. But ask anyone else and they will tell you the same (if they are honest, anyways!)

My honey is the best ever. After playing a concert, helping tear down equipment, with headache in full gear, he went grocery shopping with me - $250 worth of grocery shopping. I am so appreciative. I am not a night person. When it is dark and cold, I just want to be home in bed (so here I sit - go figure!) At any rate, I was blessed to have his company. Good friends are hard to come by. Thank you, Lord, for a good friend.

Two out of three bedrooms were spring cleaned, and a bathroom was as well. Laundry was caught up, and the downstairs vacuumed and dusted. That was pretty good. I'm happy about the progress.

Terri Schiavo passed away. I think it is monumental. Whether or not you feel that Terri should have been kept alive, the questions raised by this case are hightly significant. There is much to consider and much to pray about. For instance, if we are to let the Almighty alone be our sustenance, where does the appropriateness of medical intervention of any sort come into play? Where is that line clearly drawn? If someone denies chemo therapy, is that anything akin to denying themselves food and drink? Can we let them play God with their own lives? On the other hand, are we playing God by providing sustenance to someone unable to do so for themselves? If so, I guess the spoon fed old woman should be left to fend for herself or perish. The wounded soldier who cannot raise the canteen to his lips should go unaided. This is dangerous territory and complicated. I guess for now, I vote to err on the side of life. When does the soul depart? Do you know? I do not. This is indeed profound and involved. Lord, help us.

And now I will head to bed in an attempt to be rested for a busy day tomorrow. He is my portion - forever. Ah, sweet forever!