All I Have To Do…

I just woke up.  Stayed up later than usual with friends, after a great church leadership meeting.

I’m discovering a pattern here; when I can sleep a decent amount of time – like more than six hours – I remember my dreams.
And they’re really…well, strange might be the operative word.
Here’s what I remembered this morning:  I dreamed of satan.  He was real, tangible, literal.  I was in a home with bunch of teenagers, and satan roamed around upstairs.  Occasionally somebody went up to that floor and stumbled around, got beaten up, was thrown back downstairs – but in my dream it was understood that is was on me to do battle. I was responsible for putting this guy in his place, for protecting those with me in the house.  I went upstairs a few times and managed to get out alive by shouting or screaming “Jesus”.
We gathered all the teenagers together, ostensibly for some sort of rehearsal, but I grabbed the leader/pastor (someone like Brian, but not Brian) who was fixated on putting together the stage platform.  I insisted that we address the reality of the enemy and the spiritual battle that was right in our midst, rather than go through some rehearsal.  At that point, satan – who looked like some sort of intense,  winged transformer – very red, dark, and angry – came into the room with all of us.
Nobody was really scared.  You’d think we’d experience abject terror in the presence of such evil.  But it was if everyone didn’t think enough of him to even react; like he was just another fictionalized object, a distraction.
And then someone went out of the room to fight with him, and they didn’t come back.  And he did.  I stood in front of him and began to say “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!”, to state various scriptures (“Greater is he who is in me…”)

It seemed to do minimal damage, but he left me alone.
John Starkey was in my dream; he took a phone call and announced that Matt Turner was in the hospital and we needed to pray for him.  Someone called me into the hallway to try to help the girl who had gone upstairs…
Then I woke up. 
Very strange.  I can connect the dots to the reality of my life today….just a bit….
Anybody want to take a stab at dream analyzation?  Go for it.

Fireproof

Yesterday’s message at church was on relationships, and our pastor encouraged us all to watch ‘Fireproof’.  His words were:  “It wrecked me.”

Yeah.  It wrecked me, too.
I’m still processing.  We watched it tonight at small group, and I knew it would be emotional.  My kids had seen it in the theater when it came out, and they told me I’d cry.  They’d been with their dad – they said he cried.
I reacted to the movie in a few different ways – and not as I expected.  First of all, it was rather cheesy in some respects (something our pastor had warned against.  He said not to bail on the movie because of any production or acting issues – to stay tuned for the message).  Actually, I found the production to be fairly decent.  Some of the “preachier” moments were what got me.  But more about that later…
I watched the story unfold expecting to feel guilty.  As a divorced woman, one who can clearly see her mistakes in hindsight, I was prepared to feel beat up, reminded of my own sins.  To my surprise, none of my reactions lined up with guilt, shame or condemnation.  I’m not sure how much of that has to do with my own recovery or the gentle grace with which the movie delivered its story.
My overwhelming reaction was one of sorrow.  Deep, deep sorrow -the kind that I feel when I hear of a marriage that is broken, when I see two people unable to reconnect, when I talk to a woman seeking love outside of her marriage.  This movie connects in a powerful way with those emotions.  Divorce hurts.  Brokeness hurts.  Emptiness hurts.

It was impossible to watch the movie without connecting, in some way, with the characters.  I’m not sure if that’s everone’s experience, but it was mine.  In some objective fashion, I was able to see the husband and wife and relate to both – and to shed some healing tears of forgiveness that had much more to do with me and my former husband than the characters on the screen.
That’s profound, when a story can reach that deeply.
I thought a bit about the cheese factor, the stereotypical “come to Jesus” scenes…and I am thinking that maybe that’s a large part of the grace of our faith.  See, I am very caught up each week in church; in creating worship experiences, connecting people, leading, discipleship, etc.  It’s important to be relevant and present and authentic and all that.  There’s not a lot of room for cheesiness in the world in which I operate.
But this movie, and the emotions it triggered, got me to thinking:  maybe cheesy isn’t such a bad thing.  Maybe those stereotypes, that simplistic explanation, the corny scene with the father leaning against the cross…maybe there’s just enough truth there to allow us to relax, to get past the glamour of production values, celebrities and strong story lines and just take it for what it is.  Because, truthfully, that’s what most of us are dealing with. 
Still processing this.  Grateful to the folks who made the film.  Thinking about my own history, thankful for a chance to forgive.

Sunday Setlist 2.15.08


This was the second week in our You Can’t Handle the Truth series.  The title was Love Lockdown; but we didn’t pull out any Kanye West.  Great song, though…

The band jam prior to 10B4 was When Love Comes to Town by U2 and B.B. King.  Almost sacrilige to cover something so amazing, but we did.  It was really, really fun.  I loved doing the research on the tune – watching the youtube video – and hearing B.B. King tell Bono, “I don’t do so good playing chords.”
After 10B4 (our announcement video – available on our website), we kicked off the service.
Because of Your Love – Paul Baloche.  This was new for us – easy to learn, easy to sing.  Lots of fun with the “yeahs”.
Everlasting God – Brenton Brown and Ken Riley.  We did this a bit faster than Mr. Tomlin.  I love it with some “oomph”!
OTaste and See – Brian and Jenn Johnson.  I love doing this song with Gina.  One of my favorite verses, I really enjoy this as a worship song.
We broke for a welcome and comments, prayed for the offering and then continued with Your Love Is Extravagant by Darrell Evans.  It was nicely unplugged and I played an egg shaker, which is a remarkable thing, because I’m not too coordinated.  I kept whacking my mic stand with the egg.  I’m thinking that provided a unique percussive effect.
The message went great.  Towards the end, Brian talked about marriage vows, and the irony of what we often promise compared to the conditional way we often love.  Greatly inspired by a video from NewSpring (thanks to Tony Morgan, but I can’t find the link for the clip right now…), we staged a “wedding ceremony” in the middle of the message.  It was fake.  It was funny.I hope to post a video later…
To end, we recapped When Love Comes to Town.  And then we sent ’em home, with a strong encouragement to watch Fireproof this week.
It was a good day.  Thanks to Fred McKinnon for allowing us all to play the Sunday Setlist game – you should check it out!
And now, I’ll leave you with a little B.B…..

My Valentine’s Day

I slept in.  From 8:30 – 9:00ish, I had a very weird dream.  Wrigley Field was in Kansas.  Kim Bontrager was showing me around the state, riding on a tiny train – like the kind you take around the zoo.  It was all good until we went down a very steep hill and I realized the train was some sort of roller coaster.  Kim insisted it was normal.

It was extraordinarily strange.
On to real life:  I headed to the County Seat Restaurant, reknowned for their weekend breakfast buffet.  My parents showed up, unexpected but cheerful.  We shared a cup of coffee together.
I got in the car with The Man of Many Surprises.  We headed west.  That’s all I knew.
Listened to Bruce Hornsby the whole way, wondering how I ever missed this guy.  Incredible musician, unbelieveably creative…anyway, on we drove.
Right around Charlottesville, we exited the highway and headed up the mountain.  I realized our destination:


We were at Monticelllo.  I was thrilled!  I’ve wanted to go ever since my first trip with the kids up to Carters Mountain.

We wandered the grounds for a few hours, listening to the Oprah-like saga of Sally Hemings’ daliances with Thomas Jefferson and the subsequent DNA testing results, visiting gravestones, checking out walls and gardens and 200-year old fireplaces.  The house tour was remarkable.
I left anxious to get my hands on that biography about Jefferson, or maybe ready to set aside time to watch the mini-series.  The entire experience was fascinating, well-done and a testimony to the right way to preserve history.  If you haven’t done Monticello, put it on your short list.  
It was a stellar day, capped off with a Snickers Blizzard.
Oh, yeah – then I got home and saw that my girls had cleaned the house.  People, it just doesn’t get better than that.
Color me content.