Monday, March 26, 2007

Experiencing Jesus

We got back from the Tulsa Workshop on Sunday. We were there 4 days and it is both exciting and exhausting at the same time. But in a good way! :)

The singing was great! It was great to catch up with friends we haven't seen in a while! And it was great to hear some of the different speakers.

One of my favorite speakers this year was Bruce Marchiano. He played the role of Jesus in the movie Matthew. The movie was taken straight from the book of Matthew and the only words spoken were those that were actually spoken in the bible. We haven't seen the movie yet, but we bought the dvd. I'm excited to have the time to sit down and watch it. Bruce's story is one of the most amazing stories I have ever heard. The movie literally changed his life. Please forgive me as I tell some of it to you. I know I won't have all the details 100 % correct. It's so hard to remember everything exactly when you've been filled with so much. But I will try and do my best.

He talked about some of the specific things that happened while filming the movie. He said he wanted to be as accurate as possible in his portrayal of Jesus and he literally spent every day in constant prayer. He talked about how in one scene, he wanted to get a glimpse of what Jesus must have felt as he was about to speak to the crowd. He prayed and asked God to just give him a small glimpse of what he felt in those moments, what those people needed. He said for a fraction of a second, so much of a fraction that it wasn't even a second, he felt the most overwhelming sense of pain and sorrow. He was flooded with such deep and overwhelming emotion he literally collapsed on the ground and began weeping uncontrollably. The director thought he was literally going to have a breakdown. He said that he knew he only felt one billionth, billionth of what Jesus must have felt. And he said the sorrow was completely unbearable.

He talked about how they would film the scenes leading up to and of the cross. He had them literally beat him after instructing them to be sure and miss his vital organs, because he wanted it to look real. How he had to be strapped to the cross for about 8 to 10 hours a day while filming those scenes. He had a platform under his feet that would be moved out of the way while they filmed scenes and he would literally being hanging with his arms and feet strapped to the cross. How after hanging for so long, when they came to the scene where the nails were going to be nailed into his hands, how even though he knew it wasn't going to actually hit him, the wrenching pain and emotion that overcame him at the sound of the nail being hit was overwhelming. His story is something I will never forget.

Even though I know this was done for a movie and that it was only a minuscule glimpse of what Jesus must of went through. It will forever change me. Bruce says, he knows he only felt one billionth, billionth, of what Jesus must have felt. But his life is changed forever. I hope I'm there when Bruce gets to meet Jesus face to face one day. What a meeting that will be!

He is currently working on a movie about the book of John. I can't wait for that one also. Recordings of the workshop speakers are suppose to be available on podcast (mp3's) within the next couple of months on the workshop website. I encourage you to listen to his story. You will be blessed.

Please be in prayer for Rick Atchley. He was not able to speak at the workshop because his mother past away last Saturday.

I'll leave you with a quote I heard from Don McLaughlin... "Live in such a way that people want to join you on the way to God".

Blessings, Have a great week!

P.S. Next year's workshop is March 27-29, 2008. The theme is "Prayer ~ Our Declaration of Dependence". Mark you calendars now! :)

Monday, March 19, 2007


This weekend I was watching an Elvis special (yes, I still love Elvis!) that I had recorded earlier in the week. He was such a great entertainer. I often wonder what he would look like today and would he still have all of those moves :) As I was thinking about that, I thought about how destroyed I was at the time over the cause of his death. Elvis using drugs, no way... it just didn't seem possible. Yet it was. And at that moment, although I still "loved" Elvis, my perfect image of him was shattered.

Watching that show made me think about all the people and things we basically set up as idols today. People we expect to have perfect images, when we know there is only ONE who can fit that bill. There are so many movie stars we "love", shows we "love", things we "love". While those things aren't necessarily bad in and of themselves, how often are we really placing those people, shows or things above everything else in our lives? Are we setting them up as earthly idols all around us?

I have to admit I am sometimes guilty of placing those things to high up on my list of priorities. It makes we wonder, where am I putting God on my list of priorities when other things get placed too close to the top of the list. Do I "love" those people or things more than I LOVE God? Anything we place before God can become an idol. And in this day and age, I think we (myself included) have to be extremely careful about how we prioritize our daily lives. There are so many things clamoring for our attention every day. If we aren't careful, God can get pushed to the bottom very quickly. He wants to be at the top of our to do list, not at the bottom. And he wants our spending time with Him to be something we want to do, not just something to check off the list.

For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
1 Chronicles 16:25

Well, this Thursday begins the Tulsa Workshop. I am so excited to get there. This will be our 11th year to attend and it just gets better every year. I still love going to the workshop. I love getting to hear all the great speakers, enjoying the wonderful worship, finding new music and catching up with dear friends who have moved away. We will miss some of them this year who aren't able to go, but it's going to be a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Facing Choices

Every day we face choices of one sort or another. It's what we do with those choices that determine who we are, our character, who or what we serve, etc. I have been reminded about choices lately with the emails that shows up in my spam folder. Our email system automatically puts most things that have all of those weird topics in a spam folder. So all you have to do is click into the spam box and then select all and delete without ever seeing the emails. I love it.

Here lately even the subject matter or the sender information has just about blinded me with it's content. It's really disturbing. These are not things I have solicited, they just show up. Even though I choose not to speak the things I see, my eyes still have to see it to delete it. It has really gotten me to thinking about easily Satan can penetrate our lives and thoughts, even when we don't solicit it.

For me, those types of emails are no temptation whatsoever. But for others, I know they are. And you have to make a choice in that one split second when you see it to either click delete or open. How many other areas of our lives is Satan throwing things in our path. Maybe the shows we watch, the books we read, the movies we see, etc. Satan can throw little things in that you never see coming. Even things like knowing you are getting back to much change, but not giving it back. Someone treats us badly and how do we respond? Do we respond back badly or do we show them Jesus. Everything Satan throws at us is not going to always be obvious. Some of it is little things we don't really thing about, but suddenly we are make a choice.

We make choices every day in our lives. The big choices we usually think and pray more about. You feel like you have time to contemplate those choices. But what about the choices we have to make in a split second? Are we living our lives in such a way that those choices will be easy to make? I'm not saying that every choice will be easy or even that we will always make the right choice, but I believe that how we make the little choices says a lot more about who we are and who or what we serve than the big choices do. We have time to think about and pray about the big ones, but the little ones tell us where are heart really is.

The choices we make when no one is looking are the most important choices we make. Because those are the choices that say who we really are and who or what we really serve. It's all about making choices. What kind of choices are we making?

"Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:14-15


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Pruning Reveals New Life

I began a "little" spring yard work this past Saturday. I say little because there is still a long way to go. It turned out to be a little too cool to be in the yard all day even though the sun was shining bright. However, I did get the ferns and different greenery cut back and shaped. As I began cutting them back, I noticed that underneath some of them, they already had new leaves and branches beginning to grow up towards the top. I had to be careful not to cut away the new growth as well.

I started thinking about all the new growth that was waiting patiently to be exposed so that it could begin to really blossom and grow strong. It made me wonder... what do I have hidden under all of the old dead leaves and branches in myself. Do I already have new growth just sitting there, waiting patiently to be exposed so it can begin to flourish? It really makes me kind of sad to think that there are things waiting just under the surface. Waiting there for me to start cutting back and pruning myself and getting rid of the junk that has piled up over the last year.

So with the pruning of the greenery in my flowerbed, I'm going to begin a little personal pruning. Who knows what exciting things God has waiting for me just under the surface eager to be exposed and ready to grow into something wonderful. I hope to have new blooms showing up soon! Blessings!

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:1,2

Friday, March 02, 2007

A Very Special 17 Year Old

Our schedule has been so crazy lately I haven't had time to read blogs or blog myself. I'm going to try and catch up today. But I couldn't let another day go by without posting this special blog. Last Saturday, February 24th, was Jeremy's 17th birthday! I cannot believe he is already 17. It seems like just yesterday I was pregnant with him. I still remember the sonogram I had with him (they didn't do those when I was pregnant with Ashley unless they suspected twins or a problem). He was asleep and I remember exactly what his little face looked like on that sonogram. The great thing is, when I watch him sleep now, I can still see that face in the amazing 17 year old he has become.

I learned early on from a wonderful woman and teacher what and how important it is to give the blessing to our children. We started at a very early age telling Jeremy we knew that God was going to use him for great and special things in his life. We could tell at a very early age that he had a very special heart not only for God but for others and we knew that God would use him for amazing things. I know that ever parent probably feels that, so I hope I don't just sound like I'm bragging. I really feel God has called him to something more.

He has always been a leader of his youth group no matter where he was. We have been at Highland Oaks for a little over a year now and we still meet people who will say, "Oh, your Jeremy's parents. We just love him. He is such a remarkable young man." We try and always give God the glory for everything Jeremy is. We have made and continue to make great mistakes. And God continues to cover over those mistakes and makes wonderful things happen. He is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination so please don't hear me saying that. In fact, some days I tell him he may not make it to his next birthday! But there are definitely more good days than bad.

He has always had a heart for worship and that continues to grow. Within the first few weeks of us being at Highland Oaks he was asked to give a talk at the senior high retreat and he continues to be a leader there. He was just asked by the worship minister to be an apprentice and to work with him in a type of Worship Minister internship. God continues to bless him.

I would like to leave you with some Psalms that Jeremy wrote. As I said before, he is not perfect by any stretch. And some of the words below show great struggles he is or has faced, but they are amazing to me. At the time he wrote them, he was 16. At 16 & 17 he has more of a heart for God than I had when I was 30. Here they are...


Hear my cry, oh Lord. I cry out to the heavens when I feel the war inside of me. Your consuming fire takes hold of my body and burns away all my impurities, it cleanses me fully. I thank you, my god, for cleansing me. Showing me my wrongs and allowing me to bring them to you, for you to take them. My heart cries out for the ones who are suffering. It pains me like a needle to my nail. Lord take us now! So the newborn ones won't have time to fall and we won't disappoint you anymore. Hear my cry, oh Lord. Hear my cry...

"by the power of Christ in me..."


I praise you with all of my being, you have taken me out of the pit that I dug for myself and filled it with your forgiving spirit and grace. All I have is yours and all I need is you. You are life, you are joy, you are everything. You have filled me with your spirit and I am an overflowing cup, pouring out myself for you. Thank you Jesus.



Yahweh, Lord Jehovah, You are the only God and none other will come before you. The demons shriek when they hear your name. In a world of change, you are the one constant. I praise you, oh Lord, for being the Father, Spirit and Jesus. You, are inexhaustible and amazing!!


How many times will you forgive me, Oh Lord? How long until I am healed? You come into my heart like rushing waters. Flowing and filling every crack, every crevice. Covering every impurity with your healing rain. You are inexhaustible and my heart longs for more. I need your living water, your grace, your mercy. You paid such a high price Lord, for such a lowly sinner. Thank you, my God, my Lord, my Savior, my JESUS!


My prayer for you Jeremy as you continue to grow spiritually and in physical age, is that you will always allow God to continue to fill your spirit with such wonderful Psalms. God is not finished with you yet! He still has more amazing things to do through you as you continue to let Him flow through every crack and crevice. Always let Him guide your every path, your every step, your every word and action. You are an amazing son! I love you with all my heart. Happy 17th Birthday!!