Category Archives: worship

Bring Your Everything

Just 2.5 weeks before WHO Koinonia Spring 2015 began, we lost our third consecutive baby. Still in our grieving phase, it was time to begin preparing for the Koinonia event. I knew because of the state we were in how very important preparation would be.

Preparing My Marriage

Going into a long weekend takes some thinking ahead.  Matt is an introvert.  He recharges in quiet alone time, then brings his energy into gatherings. As a truck driver with the same daily route, I also know he needs his sleep (at least 7 hours) to be safe on the roads.  I have learned to guard his time and obligations before and after such gatherings, and also to clearly communicate as much of what I know may or will happen.  He knows if he’s hit his limits without the recharge time to just tell me. With all that in mind, a bag of snacks, and a hug – we’re set.

It’s taken us a few years to get this far, but he is able to step in and handle all the same things that I do for the live broadcast portion.  It has not always been easy to communicate details with him, like how to move the camera smoothly, what shots I want to send, or other details. For me, it’s like teaching someone how to drive a car… a task that just happens in my head without much thinking… but carries such an importance to do correctly nearly all the time.  For him, it’s like handing him a guitar with no musical background and saying – here… lead us.  It takes time to get the hang of it all combined.  But – he has endured and even taken his own interest in what I do.  He can handle the same things I do, and can communicate that vision and direction to others as needed or float between tasks.  I am so very thankful to have him at my side through every area of life.  I’d never be able to handle this all otherwise.  We are one.

Preparing the Tech

Details with the tech needed to be sorted out. Wires were a mess, ideas for how to combine video & scripture on the screen needed organized and implemented, and testing for bringing someone in remotely over our livestream needed to be tested.

Can I tell you how thankful I am to have the support and help of the a/v crew?  I shared the goals, helped a little, crawled home late one night in exhaustion, and woke up to a message saying that not only had they done what I asked but also added in a way for camera operators to see what video was live at the time.  That’s an added gift right there.  My mind works sequential in some areas. All things related to a/v, I approach linearly.  I ask for this thing, then the next…. and can only really prepare for one thing at a time.  And suddenly – most of the requests were done.

a/v crew teamwork

Travis and Matt F made this happen, and I am so thankful for our team’s heart, growth, and unified vision.   It is a fun learning process. I’ve known these guys since I think before any of us could drive.  I drifted away from them while away at college… the wonders of life before Facebook and cell phones.  But, for the past month we’ve been closer than ever as we each play a part to get ready for this past even.  We are learning each other’s rhythm again.

I am reminded at how we were in our youth.  Dumb little things come up – but we move on.  I was lacking all grace on a few instances around them both.  I kept tripping over my own flip flops while standing on the sanctuary floor.  Really by now I should be capable of walking… but no…. right in front of others for absolutely no good reason… I trip.  eh – whatever.  Then in worship, I come bounding up the stairs to the booth in a hurry.  My last step sounded like –  an elephant.  I heard my lack of grace.  It didn’t matter… I wasn’t taking it as a personal thing laughing at my weight or grace.  I was hurrying, taking steps 2 at a time.  So what if I am foolish around these guys?  They have been like brothers to me in our youth, and again now.  I was a goof… they laugh… it’s fine.  That same freedom carried me on through the weekend as I let go and worshipped.  That same zeal and enthusiasm… the highest highs and lowest lows… that was our every Sunday night at Mars Hill.  Let the good of that era come out in my daily life today.

Then there was the time I mishandled something on Saturday.  It started out so insignificantly – but had bigger consequences.  I had to humble myself, and quickly handle matters because I will not let anything negatively and permanently impact what is happening now.  In retrospect, I failed to communicate vision.  I communicated how-to’s, but not the further details about culture, timing, and more.  I am learning… and I thought I was just quickly sharing details in my head before I forgot them (it was a busy weekend).  In hindsight, it came of all wrong and I had to make matters right during our gathering.  I am thankful that we’ve moved on and to have learned through that experience.

I am so thankful too for the work that Wes and Brian did with the cameras on fairly short notice.  For that, we had a person able to get shots and angles that wouldn’t be possible without an operator.  And I am thankful for the ongoing steadfast always prepared ways that Lamar and Trayer handle their areas.

Preparing the Garden

The garden was also on the list to prepare.  Spring is here, and some tasks simply cannot wait.  Just a week after WHOKoinona, we will be working on getting woodchips into the garden.  The forecast, energy, and schedule aren’t in our favor after such an event, so planning ahead matters.  We aspire to grow as much of our own food here on our property.  It’s a commitment that takes work.  We incur an initial expense and a lot of labor.  But the reward is homegrown organic fruits and veggies.

Some things are planted with an expectation that I’ll reap a reward in less than 2 months (like lettuce – such a staple food) but other things are going to take years to get a good harvest, like my mini-orchard of apples.  Anything that comes in now from those trees will be too sour to enjoy.   There are things that I planted last season that will be ready this harvest – like onions.  They grow through the winter – who knew?  Also making progress are last  year’s potatoes and strawberries.


potato seedlings
potato seedlings


For the berries and fruit trees – that’s a whole lot of digging.  The best time to plant fruit trees is said to be 10 years ago, but the next best time is now… not next year.  The sooner fruit can be planted, the sooner the harvest can happen.  It matters when these things take years to happen.

Peach blossoms
Peach blossoms
Elderberry bush



For the veggie garden, preparation looks a bit different.  Before any harvest can happen, a season of growth must take place during the heat of summer.  Before the growth is the covering (we put in woodchips to retain moisture and deliver vital nutrients to the plants that we benefit from when we eat them).

Before the covering is the burning.  We had vines from last season still lingering.  While last year was a great harvest, that is now in the past and not useful for this coming season.

burning brush
burning brush

Before the burning was the rearranging.  We shouldn’t plant precisely in the same exact location.  Shuffling the pallet trellis even a few inches will help the old soil rest and be restored while the new soil brings forth life.

pallet trellis
pallet trellis

Before the trellises could be moved, we had to weed.  Thanks to woodchip gardening, this was not terribly difficult.  Because of this groundcovering, the soil beneath is black, rich with earthworms, and the covering keeps the weeds away.  Only areas that didn’t  have much covering were full of these weeds and the lawn was trying to encroach again.  So – the soil is ready, the pallets are ready, the seedlings started months ago under grow lights are ready… it’s just about time.

tomato seedlings
tomato seedlings


Do you see Him in this?  Some things we planted and forgot about in previous seasons come to harvest now.  Some things we must learn to wait for the good fruit.  Some things take a lot of thinking ahead to get things to work right.  Some things are planted and harvested at different times and harvest can be staggered out.  Having some cover will help keep the junk away.  Shuffling where we sow matters to get a healthy crop.

Preparing Our Home

In a very practical sense, I wanted every detail at home to be prepared before the event consumed my every moment.  I do this not because I had anyone coming to impress, but because I was thinking about the rest we would need later.

I don’t rest well when the laundry is piled high and Matt’s work clothes are still dirty on Sunday evening.  I don’t enjoy my kitchen with the scent of dirty dishes that are 4 days old.  I don’t like walking across my kitchen floor feeling the crumbs from an epic baking marathon (to feed the a/v crew some moderately healthy snacks) and wondering if the ants will return to help clean.

I hustled on Thursday to get the home ready.  On Sunday, after the final details of the yard were done and ready, we came inside, cleaned ourselves up, and collapsed.

Preparing for Friday Night

As this team builds, no longer do Matt and I have to do everything.  We can be free to have one session off together.  This was a rare treat.

I came in to Friday knowing that the experience I would have would to some extent be determined by what I would make of it.  If I came expecting to need a warm up before breaking free in worship, I would miss my chance.  I only had coverage for Friday night, not for Saturday.  I wanted to run things on Saturday night as well.

WHOKoinonia Spring 2015 Friday Night
WHOKoinonia Spring 2015 Friday Night

I worshipped with all my might that night.  I didn’t care if anyone else was… I just needed to release a lot of things by dancing before Him alone.  It’s been years since that was normal for me.  It used to be how most Sunday mornings were at World Harvest Outreach, or how every Sunday night at Mars Hill was personally and for others.  I had told another to not worry about however God wanted to be revealed through him and to be free to just worship with his everything.  I then realized… that was for me too.  It’s been a season of calling forth the youthful past in what I listen to, in picking up my instruments again, and in how I show up during a worship gathering.  It matters little how others see me, and more how much I give of myself to Him in that time.  So – I danced… I grieved… I was hugged and held… I faceplanted the carpet. I was all in.. and so glad that I gave Him my all.  That must be a current and ongoing revelation.  I must also keep that younger me alive and awake.

So I came into Friday with every preparation I could make done… and brought my heart.  I brought everything in me into that moment.  I say this not to make a scene of myself.  I say this because it took me a lot of work to come prepared.  Today, my body aches in places where my daughter was resting just a few weeks ago.  I am still in the healing process and I had every opportunity to just not go all in for this past weekend.  But – I needed to stand up and reveal what’s been inside all along.  I brought my everything. I will continue daily to bring it all.  Stay sensitive before Him and let what He has in you out for all to experience.  We need you to bring your everything.

Hearing from God and Controlling Concreate #wcbalt

Hearing God and Controlling Concrete

It was the end of a long day.  I had gotten up at 4:30am, gulped down several hot mugs of coffee, and took a roadtrip to Baltimore to attend a WordPress website development conference.  The day was spent in a plush auditorium with many techies furiously typing notes and code as we received invaluable information related to our trade.

Now, a full 12 hours later, I was starting to feel the day wearing on.  There was one speaker left to go.  As Chris Lema took the stage, I had an eagerness to hear what he’d say but my tired eyes really just wanted a nap.  I am thankful that Chris is a dynamic keynote speaker.

I took three key points away from Chris’s message that really are kingdom principles that relate to hearing the voice of the Lord.  No – Chris isn’t God, nor always God’s voice. But God can speak in any form He chooses, and today, He chose to reach me through Chris.

To Better Learn, Teach and Share

Chris encouraged this room full of web developers to share whatever knowledge they have learned.  In doing so, we will more fully grasp the concepts. He related it to better understanding on how to do something to fix his website. By blogging, he not only more fully grasped the concept, but helped others with this very same issue.  And when the lesson had faded from his mind and he was again faced with how to fix that issue, a simple Google search resulted in finding out that he already had the answer (on his own blog).

Bring that into our faith and relationship with the Lord.  Whether we publish the knowledge for all the world to find, or keep it jotted down in a journal that only we will see, are we taking the time to document insights gained? Have we ever helped someone else going through something similar? And when we’ve forgotten the lesson, have we found our old journals causing us to remember the outcome?

The Goal Isn’t Control

In a conference full of web developers, you’d suspect that there would be some competition.  If one person finally figured out how to do something unique or fix that thing, wouldn’t they want to protect that knowledge or skill so that they would get more clients than the others?  This just isn’t the way the core WordPress community is wired. There really is no purpose in controlling or hiding the content, knowledge, or skills that you have learned.  In fact, by sharing it, not only do we help each other but we can move on to conquering new challenges together.

How often have I wanted to see this in the larger Christian community!

I have spoken with some that would prefer to limit access to some teaching that is too deep for new believers. They seek to control the information so as not to confuse someone who may not yet be mature.  Shouldn’t this work differently?  When a toddler can’t yet eat some types of food, the child will seek help to make it bite sized, or for food that is better suited.  A son still maturing that encounters information beyond current understanding has an ability to ask for clarification or help. Limiting access takes a position of control rather than a position of empowering the one in the maturing process to work through it.

Likewise, when we have some deep understanding or fresh perspective of the Lord, it sometimes feels like a treasure that we are not ready to share.  Like a child needing to learn to share our toys, we need to learn how to share appropriately.  This treasure we have is far to great to keep to ourselves. How great will it be when we all come into true unity about all topics, including rapture, baptisms, and any number of other hot issues that Christians remain divided about? There is so much yet to be done on this and so many that need to know what we have learned so far.

Within the WordPress community, we understand that the sharing of knowledge and skill benefits us all.  There are more than enough clients to go around.  We are not in competition with each other, but a much larger collaboration.  Shouldn’t this be so of the church? At some point, we all need help, and at another point, we all are in a position to help with something.

Concrete vs Abstract Thinking

Careers such as computer programming, engineering, and anything technically oriented are frequently challenged to find a solution that doesn’t exist yet to a problem that must be dealt with now.  Chris presented several mind game problems to challenge us to think about such things in a new way. He wanted us to get out of a concrete thinking approach to solving puzzles and see abstractly for a fresh view.

With God, it is easy to gravitate to seeing Him from just one view.  For many believers, they believe the only way to hear from God is by reading the Bible because He hasn’t appeared in a burning bush or a talking donkey that they know about in 2,000 years.  Others believe there is a formula to understanding God’s will for their lives, or bending His will to our hopes by praying “really hard”.  How does one pray really hard anyway?

How often do expect God to operate in a very concrete manner?  Do we make time to observe a more abstract encounter with Him?  This can happen in visions, dreams, hearing that still small voice, in art and music, by interacting with each other, or countless other ways.  We must make room in our minds for Him to reveal Himself freely.

How I Hear God In My Job

While Chris’s keynote was to inspire greatness among the WordPress developer community, the real take-aways for me were seeing kingdom principles at work and coming into a fresh perspective of how God speaks to me.  I saw three very powerful lessons from God in the span of 20 minutes at a conference about making websites.

He fashioned me and knows my inward thoughts.  He gets that I think about many things in life much as a programmer does their job. He shows up when my energy is tanking and gives me the energy to finish out that moment.  In this place, He meets with me and reveals Himself to me all over again.

Knowing isn’t Learning

I have at times loved to do this, and at other times have struggled with knowing. Knowing isn’t about hunting for more information. Knowing is not the same as, nor does it require learning.

To know is simply to have a personal experience with the matter. To learn is to acquire more information that is assimilated into how we understand a matter.

How we know something can be about learning styles. I am primarily an auditory learner, with some kinesthetic mixed in. I like to hear and/or do something to learn. In my efforts to know Him, I revert to approaching Him with the intent to learn more about Him. When I don’t feel like learning, I drift into passive entertainment or learning about something else that interests me. I often also forget my love of music while I bury my mind into listening to a podcast, watching a video, or reading countless timely articles about work that I love doing. While again these things have their place, it isn’t a way to live or operate from.

When God calls us to know Him, He isn’t calling us to listen to more sermons, read more books, or even read the Bible any more than we already have. Those all have their place, but when He calls us to know Him, it is a calling to lay aside all these other things and just be with Him in that moment.

This is the same with fellowship. We aren’t there to relay more information, though it’s well-meaning. I have really struggled with oversharing information to be helpful to others. When I experience others doing so to me, it makes me incredibly annoyed until I remember that they mean well. In my moment of emotional lapse, I feel rather insulted that they didn’t know me well enough to know that I have already experienced that lesson and therefore their information is no longer relevant.

Psalms 46:10 Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth! (

Break away from the quest to learn, from the demand to keep up with information, from the urge to connect with others or even to be as isolated as possible. Invite Him in to this moment. Put the information and learning aside. There are no expectations in this moment. There is no need to become any more prepared. Just be.

When you are in the company of others, stop and see if the information you feel compelled to share is really in the right moment and truly is adding to the experience, or just passing around more information to sort out. Does your story. quote from some author, or words that you felt God shared with you need to be shared with others for them to have an experience with Him or is it just another method of learning versus knowing?

I am committing today to lay aside my quest to learn, or even to help others learn and instead focusing on knowing. It’s so much less pressure and far more enjoyable.

The Anthem

I can hear the footsteps of my King
I can hear His heartbeat beckoning
In my darkness He has set me free
And now I hear the Spirit calling me

Wake up child
It’s your time to shine
You were born for such a time as this

I can hear a holy rumbling
I’ve begun to preach another King
Loosing chains and breaking down the walls
I want to hear the Father when He calls

This is the anthem of our generation
Here we are God, shake our nation
All we need is Your love
You captivate me

I am royalty
I have destiny
I have been set free
I’m gonna shape history

I go through seasons of feeling God’s presence. Often during the biggest transitions in life come the seasons of nearness. This is one of those seasons.

This moment could go on for an eternity. He sends rain to provide. The birds sing of His creation and display what He has made them to be. He reveals rainbows to remind us of His promises.

His love is more extravagant than the scent of lilacs and honeysuckle on a summer evening. A large glass of wine brings joy as the memory of His shed blood brought new life. The fireflies glitter to reveal His creativity. A waft of smoke lifts high as the fire purifies our hearts.

Draw near. Be closer still. Let this moment linger longer.

Wait Upon the Lord – O Come O Come Emmanuel

How long have you waited upon the Lord?  I mean both in the prayerful state, but also waiting on the Lord to make the connections needed or the provision desperately sought after.  How have you felt about that happening?

There are seasons life where we need to prayerfully sit and ponder the matters of the Lord.  We need to learn to be still and just wait.  But after a while that grows tiresome and our hope can falter.  What else are we to do while we wait?  Just keep repeating our prayers in hopes that this time He’ll move or hear us better?  Possibly we will just shout a little louder, as though that will somehow make Him take action.  We know He always hears us, He always remains with us. So why does it take time for Him to answer us?

It is always true that we should bring all things before Him and pray in His name.

John 16:23 “And when that time comes, you will ask nothing of Me [you will need to ask Me no questions]. I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that My Father will grant you whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM].”

So – will God just give us anything we ask? Does that have any bearing on when it will happen?  Is our waiting upon Him a measure of our faith?  Should we try harder?  We’ve asked, then we wait. We wait.  We wait some more.

He’s heard, we let go. We rely upon His Spirit to make requests on our behalf, and we take action to partner with Him.  But while we wait, remember this:

“The waiting doesn’t come because our hope isn’t in an answered prayer, but our hope is in Him.  He is our hope.” Mark Durniak

I only want to say and do what I see Him doing. But that doesn’t look like mindless robots, but being so intimately acquainted with His heart, His passion and His vision.  I will choose to ask Him my requests because as His daughter I can boldly come before the throne of grace and make my requests known.  But then I choose to trust He’s heard the prayers, He knows I’m waiting, and He will work with me for all that He plans to be brought forth in the right time.  I’ve asked, and rather than focusing on the requests I will choose to to focus on Him.

All my hope’s in You because a little over 2000 years ago You answered the cries “Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel”.  You came near and dwelt among us.  You faced life among us and rose again.

I’ve asked for the connections to be made, I’ve asked for provision and upgrades, I’ve asked for healing for others… I’ve ASKED. I forgo all that, and seek that time to be with Emmanuel – He is with us.