04 April 2014

[talk: Worship - Repent, Wait, Respond.]

Last week, I wrote a post called "Change is Change".    It's amazing how a week confirms that, and now I find myself in a place - on a cozy Friday night - feeling compelled to pen my thoughts about church, about worship .. 

Last Sunday was PB's final Sunday ... and the service was really well done.  The music was a tribute to the past, and a push for the future ... PB spoke with a "father's heart", with encouragement to his congregation of 25+ years.  He is going to be a brilliant Evangelist, because he already is.  It's a perfect fit for him, and he will certainly be missed.  Very much.  

But here's the thing ... it was never PB's church.  The amazing things that have happened in the 25+ years, have not been because of him - but because of the Lord.

And all glory is GOD's; PB made sure to emphasis that point.  

Those words are what I walked away with, last Sunday.  And they are a comfort to me this week - as more changes will certainly be coming our way.  How true it is - that we are not to follow man, we are to follow the Lord.  Following a man will always lead to disappointment, because ... he's just a man.  And a church is not a Pastor, or a worship leader, or a this or a that ... it's the body, the community, the congregation.  Leadership will change, directions will change, style and focus may even change ... but the church - it's us.  Oh, I get it - we choose which church we attend based on styles of preaching, or music, or children's programs or its community involvement.  FOR SURE.  But the "church" ... it's not programs or leadership - it's still US.  

I say that with butterflies as I have been preparing to help lead worship for this Sunday morning's service.  Oh, how my heart yearns for God to direct and show us, the "church".  To lead us.  Transition time is difficult - and our body hasn't really ever had to go through this before.  It could be a long time before leadership is chosen and direction is presented, but I remember the words of a visiting pastor a couple of months back who said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "what are you doing while you wait?  I wish in my times of waiting - I had WORSHIPPED."   Oh, how perfect those words were for our congregation, as worship has been such a pivotal part of who our church body is.  And as I've been preparing for Sunday, my heart is excited for worship.  But here's the thing - I've been reminded that "moves" of the Holy Spirit come when three things happen:

1.  We repent and be humble.

It's first and foremost, "create in me a clean heart."  And can I be real here?  How often do we do that?  Get ourselves ready to actually BE in the presence of God?  Think about that.  In the presence of GOD.  How SERIOUS do we take that?  Is a worship service simply enjoying (or not enjoying) the music chosen, or are we prepared to encounter the living God who promises that He is there when two-or-more-are-gathered?  I know Sunday mornings are busy, I'm a mom of three.  I know - it's chaos.  But ... a heart of repentance, a heart of humility, a heart of expectation, a heart of reverence, a heart of preparation  - they're all the first step to encountering the Lord.

2.  We wait.

There's only so-much-time.  Always.  People are in a rush ... but as in every relationship - how are you to grow, to learn, to commune without having time?  How do we expect to be changed in the presence of God and HEAR from Him, if we don't give Him the time to speak to us?  Some of the most powerful times in worship for me, personally, have come in the silence - in the waiting.  I've experienced His voice in those times - I know He comes when we wait.

3.  We respond.

During a service - moving to the isle to worship, going to the alter, lifting hands, getting on your knees ... when we ACT on the move of the Spirit, something happens.  It becomes contagious - it stirs freedom.  When one person responds, usually many follow - because it goes back to humility and not worrying how we look.  It's about laying it all down.  We all want the freedom He gives, we all want to leave changed ... but it can't happen if we don't choose to respond.

Wow.  I've really gone out on a limb here ... but it's where my heart's at this evening.  I feel the urgency to write this and I'm believing that someone is supposed to read it.  I want for us to be prepared for our service on Sunday ... because there is no "secret recipe" to being in the presence of God.  It's actually very simple ... repent, wait, respond.  

What's the point of all of this?  Well,  it's really for the lost, no?  Our focus isn't on what we have to gain for ourselves in a worship service, it's quite the opposite - but we know that a move of God CHANGES people.  So, if we've already been changed, if we know the truth ... then it would only make sense that our preparation for a worship service that brings miracles and change, would be for those who don't know the Lord ... no?

So as we worship, may we begin with ourselves ... maybe we prepare, and expect God to move - so that we can be ready for the masses who still don't know the Good News.  

Have a great one xx.

31 March 2014

[mealplan: Week Whatever-It-Is.]

Well.  I'm pretty wiped after an emotional Sunday ... involved in both the morning and evening services.  So thankful for sunshine - and some schedule.  Although Spring Break was so good ...

Today?


A mealplan for the week.  That's all-I-got-for-you.

*smile*

Have a great one!

MONDAY
B ::  hardboiled eggs, toast with butter
L ::  ham and cheese buns, cheese ritz crackers, cucumber&dip
D :: French Country crockpot chicken, egg noodles, brocolli
Dessert :: grape jello

TUESDAY
B :: toast with nutella
L  :: macaroni&cheese, blueberry applesauce; cucumber&dip
D ::  thai peanut chicken stirfry with rice noodles
Dessert :: gluten free brownies.

WEDNESDAY
B :: pancakes with maple syrup
L ::  pizza pinwheels, fruit snacks, apple slices
D ::  ground turkey wraps w/cheese, avocado& tomatoes, lettuce                            
Dessert :: ice cream

THURSDAY
B :: pancakes with maple syrup
L :: ground turkey wraps with cheese, avocado and tomatoes; pizelle cookies
D :: crockpot garlicky pork tenderloin, brown rice, salad
Dessert ::watermelon

FRIDAY
L :: quesadillas, carrots & dip, pretzels
D :: make your own pizzas, cut veggies

28 March 2014

[talk: Change Is Change.]

We're back from a three-week-family-roadtrip-vacay ... and it was fabulous.  If you would've told me road trips were THAT great, I would never have believed you.  The kids went above our expectations - our time together was unprecedented ... lots of conversation, visiting new places, a whole lot of laughing, a few hundred photos taken - and a few DVDs watched too *smile*.  

And now that we're back, it's straight back into life - and it feels good.  Spring cleaning is something I do every few months and with new treasures from our trip, it was motivating to sort through closets and drawers ... my house feels uncluttered and ready for spring.  Even with all this rain.  

So, out with the old and in with the new.

I don't particularly like change, except this kind.  You know, when I'm certain that what I'm getting is better than what I had before ... so I swap it out.  Wouldn't life be grand if that's what change always meant?  Knowing what was coming, was so much better?

It's pretty safe to say, that those who fear change probably fear the "unknown" - in the same way those who LOVE change,  LOVE the "unknown".  I am generally of the former feeling.

I've been a part of only two churches in my lifetime.  My first church was Glad Tidings Tabernacle (now GTChurch) in Vancouver, BC.  A legendary church - rich in history and God-moments, and its fair-share of hardships as well.  Many of my life-long friendships are still from that church, and much of my deep-rooted commitment of faith and worship come from growing up there. 

When I was nine, our family moved - and changed churches as well.  Christian Life Assembly has been my church ever since.  CLA is more "home" than any place I've ever lived ... mainly because it's been "home" the longest, I guess.  I have made life-long friends there.  I have had many opportunities in music and worship there.  I had my first kiss on the stairs in the back *laughing* ... I love everything about that place.

Being in the same church for so long has allowed me to see many things.  Over the years, many people have stayed, but many have moved on - for whatever reason.  I have seen incredible times, and incredibly difficult times.  And when I look out on the congregation this Sunday morning - it's going to be very, very, very difficult indeed.

Change is ahead, with our Senior Pastor of 25+ years, Pastor Brent (PB) moving on to a new role in ministry.  That's a long time - and he's basically been the only Pastor I've known.  I've taught three-of-his-four-kids piano, my hubby was in his eldest son's wedding party ... I know this family well.  I love this family.

Thursday night's rehearsal of Sunday's worship - it had me on the verge of tears.   PB is ridiculously talented, his vision for gospel and all the roots of charismatic worship that is imbedded in our congregation ... his heart for worship, for our community - which is why his next venture is a perfect fit for him as he goes into evangelism.  As he leads worship at his final CLA service,  I will be one of many on his team ... 

But my heart will be broken on Sunday.

And yet ... 

Change is not bad - the unknown is scary, but it's not bad.  

What will happen?  Who will become our new pastor?  What will their vision be?  Who will stay?  Who will go?

I don't know.

But - I do know this:  I love my church.  I love the people of my church - and those faces have changed a whole lot in the last 20 years.  But I love them.  I love the new people, and the ones who have been there the entire time.

I love the mantel that is on our church - one of worship and outreach.  

I love that God is with us.

Some people think I'm ignorant - they've said it to my face *smile*, they've boldly written it to me in FB messages ... that I'm unable to see anything past CLA, that I'm a poor-soul who will never grow-up if I stay where I am.   I'm stagnant.   I'm a follower.  I'm pathetic.

Oh,  I've heard it all *smile* ...   but naw.  I don't feel that way at all.

The truth is, I simply have a shepherd's heart for my church - for the congregation, for it's future and all that it has the potential of doing in our community and around the world.  Good things ... that's not ignorant.  It's wonderful.  I want our church to grow, to learn ... to have community, to be as Christ was, to experience God in real ways.  I want to see miracles, to have those I know - to have their lives radically changed.  I want our church to be a pillar in the community, a lighthouse for those who are on their last legs.  I want it to be a safe place for my children to grow in friendships and in their faith.  

I'm leading worship next Sunday, on April 6th - it'll be the first Sunday we will not have PB there.   And if I could hope for anything, it would be that those who have gathered will be up for the challenge that lies ahead.  That we would not fold our arms and say, "no - this is not the way we do things" ... that we would grow, and cheer on our Board as they make really difficult decisions.  That we would worship, that we would pray ... not selfishly for ourselves - because our faith is already planted within us.  But that our vision would grow for our community, for the lost and broken - both outside of our doors and within them.  That we wouldn't forget our mandate - that this transition wouldn't focus us inwardly - remembering that our entire call is outwards.  That our homes would open up to each other, that we would invite the "new" in and get ourselves involved in parts of the church that our hearts are stirred for.

I am not worried about the future, I am excited for it - and it may look super different.  Maybe I'll never lead worship there again - but that's ok.  My faith isn't based on WHAT I do, or who's the leader, it's in WHO I know my Saviour to be.  

So, change is not bad ... but it is inevitable.  Here's to doing it the best way we know how: surrendered completely to the Lord. 

Have a great one *smile*.   

18 February 2014

[talk: "What Would Kristin Say?"]

It was an epic-fail morning.

I set my alarm for before 7am, ready to create a loving breakfast for my family.  I had chosen a Pinterest Recipe called "Berries and Cream Cheese Monkey Bread".  Saturdays are the day I meal plan, Sunday's the grocery shop for produce ...  and this morning was set in motion.  It was all ready to go.  

So, I prepared the filling, rolled out the dough, sliced the buns and baked them.  The house smelt glorious.  The smell of love ... or at least that's what I thought.

Our three kids are starting to have their own "palettes".  It's a challenge - for all you moms out there, you know what I mean.  I used to dream of making meals and my family smiling, saying "wow - mom.  THANK YOU."

This is a fantasy world.  I might get one out of three ... possibly two.  But everyone?  Unlikely.

Last night I tried my hand at Thai Lettuce Wraps.  My hubby RAVED (which means, I shall be making them again ...).  But the kidlets?  It was an evening of persuading, coaxing, punishing ... and yes, the lettuce was pretty messy - so I did allow tortillas to make their appearance at the table half way through.

So - this morning's experience left me "done".  Not because I expect my kids to sing my praises about my job description, but because I DO expect them to be polite ... and grateful.  

We have to leave the house at 8:25am.  And at 8:20am, our eldest was at the table, still pulling faces - poking at his yummy-love-filled-breakfast.  My blood was boiling ... 

"You have 2 minutes to finish that," I scolded.  "Or your DS is gone for the week."

Poke.  Poke.  Poke.

Two minutes passed.

"You've now lost your DS.  Congratulations.  Next, will be your mini sticks (for hockey),"  I stared directly into his eyes.

Nothing.  Wait ... 

"Done," I sighed.  "No DS, no mini sticks ... get downstairs, get dressed, brush your teeth, make your bed - and this (I pointed at his breakfast) will be waiting for you as your snack when you get home from school."

I was SO angry.

As we all piled into my truck, it was silent.  Poor Siah was trying to make the tension go away by listing off all the things he had completed that morning, all while Tias was staring at me with "What???" eyes in my rear view mirror.

That's when I spoke.

"You know, Mattias," I started.  "My friend died last week."

He hung his head.

"That means," I continued, "that her four kids don't have a Mommy to make them anything.  I wonder what words they would say to you right now?"

He broke.

And I was relieved.  Not because I enjoy seeing my beautiful son being sad, but because his attitude immediately disappeared.

"Ok.  It's done - no more.  Let's ask God to be a part of our day," and we all prayed for health and protection - and our ride went back to being completely normal.

"I love you Tias," I said, "All the time, every day ..."

"No matter what," he finished.

"No matter what," I repeated.  

So, it was over ... although the punishment this week will be a reminder of attitudes and grateful hearts.  But as I drove back home, I wondered something to myself.

"I wonder what Kristin would say to me about this morning?"

If you don't know Kristin's story ... here's her blog.  This was where she documented the last 14 months of her difficult journey.  She passed last Sunday after battling cancer, and I photographed the memorial service this past Friday.  She has four children, and a hubby whom she would have been celebrating 20 years of marriage with this fall.  She was 41.

Would she tell me that it wasn't worth it - that it wasn't really that big of a deal?  That I blew it out of proportion, to just hug and love on my kids - because you just never know?  Or would she stand up and cheer - proud of me for finishing what I started, for following through.  Would she tell me what real priorities are - what she learned, what was REALLY important?   Would she tell me that real parenting can't be replaced by just letting things go, because in the end - that will do more harm than good?

I don't know.

But I find myself asking that question a lot these days ... and I am oddly motivated by it.  I am spending more intentional time with each child, individually.  Reading, painting, going for long walks.  I am trying to not be lazy with what I prepare them for meals ... reminded that their health has a LOT to do with how I prepare what they eat.    We have been playing more "family games", which is a lot easier now that Katia is four ... watching Duck Dynasty and laughing till we cry.

All important things.

In closing, I wanted to mention that a group of three other moms and I, have started a fund to help Kristin's husband with the "normal-every-day" things that will seem like a mountain right now.   Things like housecleaning, grocery shopping, meal making ... 

If you feel a tugging in your spirit - please - click this link HERE ... it will take you to the donations page where you can read our heart.   You will also have an opportunity to give as little as $5.00 as a reminder to this family, that people out there care when families are broken.  We have raised over $4600.00 in less than five days.  Our goal is $10,000. THANK YOU so much for your consideration ... an army of people can do profound things.

Have a great one.

08 February 2014

[meal planning: Another Week.]

It's a lazy Saturday afternoon as I type this - the day I meal plan for the week.  I'm actually baking in the kitchen, with my laptop screaming recipes at me - all while the kiddies and hubby are playing Monopoly about 2 steps away.  I am overwhelmed with gratefulness for a warm house (our furnace was fixed this week), sunshine streaming through the windows, the smell of caramel squares baking in the oven, and the screaming of "you're CHEATIING" followed by squeals of laughter.

My last couple of posts have been pretty heavy ... "Miracle Maker" and "Having a Heart of Encouragement".  Both have sparked some wonderful conversations with those who were impacted by my words, and those who offered teachable thoughts to me as well.  I look forward to sharing, to learning, to growing, to so many good things ... all because of this silly Homemakingirl Blog.  So thank you ... even if you're silent *smile*.

Today's post?  Next week's meal plan.  It's a simple week ... and I'll admit, we're in a bit of a rut.  The kids INSIST on Wednesday night meals as wraps and jello - with Thursday lunch being leftovers.  Friday mornings are ALWAYS Land of Nod and Monday night has to be something that can be put in the oven before school pick-up,  as we come home late from piano lessons ... 

I suggested Chili (I'm having a bit of an obsession with it ...).  My family said, "no".  BOO.  I wanted to try a new lettuce wraps recipe ... maybe next Tuesday we will.  I'll post it on my MAKE blog if it's successful.  I posted yesterday's Chicken and Rice Soup creation, as well as the BEST caramel squares you'll darn-well-ever-eat. 

Ok.  Enough ... the house is loud with, "hey KATIA - stop STEALING MY MONEY!!" and those caramel squares?  They're ready.  Mmmmmm.

MONDAY
B ::  crescent rolls with nutella
L ::  ham and cheese buns, cheese ritz, cucumber&dip
D :: baked cannelloni with spinach and ricotta, salad
Dessert: creamy orange jello parfaits

TUESDAY
B :: hard boiled eggs and buttered toast
L :: hot dogs, buns, ketchup/relish, apple slices, fruit snacks
D :: quesadilla, veggies&dip (no hubby)  
Dessert: choc pudding

WEDNESDAY
B :: pancakes with maple syrup
L ::  pizza pinwheels, fruit snacks, cucumber&dip
D ::  ground turkey wraps w/cheese, avocado& tomatoes                            
Dessert: lime jello

THURSDAY
B :: toast with nutella
L :: ground turkey wraps with cheese, avocado and tomatoes; pizelle cookies
D :: panko chicken strips, yam fries, veggies&dip
Dessert: ice cream sundaes

FRIDAY
L :: quesadilla, carrots&ranch dip, pizelle cookies,

D ::  out

Have a great one!