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Friday, March 29, 2013

You Are Holy

If you can’t see the imbed above, click on this link to hear Lamb of God by Tenth Avenue North.

Enter video caption here

There’s nothing like being with a body of believers, throwing my hands to the heavens and praising my Creator. However, sometimes a child of God needs to speak to Him alone, in holy reverence. That’s what this song reminds me to do.

When I was young, I went to churches that taught written-out prayers to speak to God. We were expected to memorize these and say them over and over again in our alone time with Him. Some of them are beautiful blueprints of how one should address a holy God. But now and again I felt the need to throw in a little discourse of my own with the Big Guy. He is my Father, after all.

But was that right?

Later, I met Christians who told me Our God was an approachable God, and His Son, Jesus was “God with us.” We could have conversations with Him like a friend throughout the day, not only on bended knee with closed lids. I loved this idea, because now I could pray in my car on long commutes—not convenient while kneeling, and kinda dangerous with your eyes shut.

So, I ventured into this new relationship with God, relishing the Oneness I felt in all my travels. I wasn’t required to kneel. So I didn’t.


I’m in a different place these days.

You see, those who taught me of a relatable God also taught me about the God of the Bible. They said I could know Him better by reading His Word. So I did. What did I find out? He is good, He is holy, He is worthy. He is beyond anything I could imagine Him to be. And He loves me.

I found that when the great ones in the Bible were faced with just an angel of the Lord, they were moved to the point of falling on their faces in this presence. The disciples trembled when Jesus quieted the wind and the waves, knowing Him to be more powerful than the storm. And yet, I resist to bow to this God who I treat as a friend.

No more!

He is holy. He is worthy. He is the Lamb of God. He created me, He provides for me and He even died for me. He deserves my reverence. He deserves my love.

He deserves my all.

I still don’t pray on my knees—lids shading my eyes from all other distractions—because I’m required to. I now do these things because I want to. I am in awe and my spirit aches to reverence Him. I am blessed to spend this time with my Creator every day.

Thank you Lord!

P.S. You’ll be relieved to know that though I spend my mornings in bodily reverence, my “conversations” in the car are still with opened eyes and feet to the pedals.

Other posts you might like:

Be His Witness By Demonstrating With-ness

Is God Teaching Me Patience Or Praise?

To Parallel My Life with My Savior

Friday, March 22, 2013

Young Life for Teens with Special Needs

clip_image002On March 20, 2011 my husband, Kelly, and I got married and began our life in Howard County, Maryland. My husband grew up in Howard County but it was a new area for me and I really didn’t know many people. Some of the first people that I met were through our church Grace Community.

One of the families that I remember meeting were the Judges. We met Katie and Robert Judge (parents to Ben, Sarah and Rebecca) when we saw them at a tree farm in December getting their Christmas tree. We had recognized them from Grace and introduced ourselves. As we got to know the Judges, Katie shared with me about her daughter Sarah. One of the things that weighed heavily on Katie’s heart was that when her daughter would turn sixteen she would not be able to have a sweet sixteen party. Something so simple, yet so precious. It’s those little things that often get taken for granted. The reason that Katie said Sarah would never have a sweet sixteen is because Sarah has Autism. And in the world of teens with disabilities, opportunities to make friends and have a real social life are rare. “Who would come to the party,” Katie said, “her teachers?”

clip_image022Six months prior to this conversation Kelly and I had felt the Lord calling us to start a ministry in Howard County called Young Life Capernaum. Young Life is an outreach ministry for high school students. Young Life is not affiliated with any one church but instead Young Life leaders go into the high schools. Young Life leaders go where kids are. They go to them on their turf, in their world, to build authentic relationships—relationships that take a lot of time, trust, and consistency. These leaders spend countless hours with these teens where they are, as clip_image016they are. They model Christ’s love through these relationships so they can ultimately share Christ with these teens. These relationships are the key to Young Life. Young Life also has three programs to help build relationships and share about Christ. The first program is called Club. It is a weekly outreach program filled with two hours of fun, laughter, skits, singing, and games. At the end of each club a Young Life leader gives a talk that progresses through the gospel. For teens that have a relationship withclip_image020 Christ or who are interested in learning more, there are weekly Bible studies called Campaigners. Also, during the summer there are Young Life camp trips which are honestly the best week of their lives.

Over the years some branches of Young Life have developed that are specialized to meet the needs of different populations. For example, there is Wyldlife for middle schoolers, Younglives for teen moms, and Vida Joven for the Hispanic community.

clip_image004Another one of these branches is Young Life Capernaum. Capernaum is a Young Life outreach ministry for high school students with disabilities. In Capernaum, we believe that teens with disabilities have the right to live life as God intended them—life to the full. So everything that we do from the action packed clubs, to our Bible studies, and even time just hanging out, is all about bringing these teens to the feet of Christ so that they have an opportunity to have a personal relationship with Christ.

Two summers ago Kelly and I began the ground work to start Young Life Capernaum in Howard County. And this fall we had our first Capernaum club. This has been an exciting clip_image006year where we have gotten to know a lot of kids and families. We started our first club in September with 11 teens and had 25 teens at our last club of the semester We’ve had a blast taking our friends to baseball games, mini golf, pumpkin farms, the movies and a ton more. We have come a long way this year and we are excited for this ministry to continue to grow.

clip_image008This January, Kelly and I got invited to Sarah’s Sweet Sixteen. Me, Kelly and all of Sarah’s friends from Capernaum Club huddled together in a small room waiting to surprise Sarah. When we all jumped out, Sarah’s face lit up with joy and excitement—and in that moment, we couldn’t help but think that this was a small picture of what heaven might be like.

Capernaum brings Christ to teens with disabilities. And where Christ is, there is life—life to the full.clip_image012

For more information on Capernaum in Howard County you can visit: hococapernaum.younglife.org

You can also check out our Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/HoCoYL?fref=ts

For more information on Younglife or Capernaum in other areas you can visit: younglife.org

Connie here:

What Kristin didn’t mention above is that Sarah’s party was BECAUSE of the ministry she and Kelly have given to Sarah and her friends—my son included. We are in AWE of these two and will be eternally grateful for their tireless efforts to SHOW Christ to our children—not to mention us parents!!!

This is not only a wonderful ministry for Howard County, Maryland. I spoke to a volunteer last week who told me her family member—in another state—also benefits from it. She told me how wonderful it was for a parent to have another incentive to encourage learning behavior, saying, “You get to go to Capernaum, tonight.” The child will do ANYTHING to make sure that happens.

Thank you, Kelly and Kristin! Thank you Young Life! I also want to thank those of you who are inspired to start one of these ministries in YOUR area!!!




Kelly grew up in Ellicott City and is a math teacher at Mount Hebron High School. He also coaches JV boys basketball as well as Allied Softball. Kristin grew up in White Marsh and works part time for Young Life Capernaum and part time for Smithouse Construction.


More pictures below …



Hanging out at club



Alex being a human bowling ball at club



Kristin and Danya hanging out at a basketball game


Kelly and Eric hanging out at Summers Farm

Other posts you might like”

Be His Witness By Demonstrating His With-ness

What You Can Do for the Weary and Burdened Who Have Special Needs

I’m Not Able on My Own

Friday, March 8, 2013

I Failed God’s Test

I am currently reading a great book by Mark Hall, lead singer of Casting Crowns, called, “The Well: Why Are So Many Still Thirsty?”The Well and it convicted me. Conviction is no new experience here, but this one hit hard. I knew of this sin before, but suddenly, after reading Mark’s words, I felt the wound I’d caused more deeply.

Allow me to confess.

In his book, Mark recounts a time in his life, when he wasn’t able to sing. Imagine being faced with losing the thing you felt God called you to use. What do you say to your Creator when that happens? During this time, Mark had to look at his life and his ministry differently. Then one day a man with no vocal training asked to sing at his church. Mark shook his head warily at the idea, given he knew the amount of work required to be good in music ministry. But this man stood before the congregation and belted out the song the Lord had given him to sing, and Mark was moved—not by the man’s voice, but by his heart. A heart for God. Something that sometimes gets lost in the acquiring of talent. Mark says, after that experience, he’d learned his lesson and resumed singing shortly afterward.

I wish I could say the same. Guess I’m more pigheaded than Mr. Hall.

Way back when, I planned to make singing my career. This was before Christian music was what it is today. I knew I wanted to use this “talent” for God, but I had no idea how, and never asked Him what He thought about it. I didn’t receive a lot of support for the idea—family and friends felt the field was littered with wanna-bes who never made it past skid-row. It was hard to get people to even come to my high school choir concerts.

Then one day I had the chance to try out for a solo as part of a choir piece. I was a new tenth-grader at the school and no one knew anything about my voice except that I wanted to use it. I competed against a very sweet senior who’d been classically trained with a stunning voice. Oh well, at least it would be good experience.

I knew something was up when the choir director’s eyes bulged at my audition. However, they quickly dimmed as he struggled not to give too much away. He said nothing after I was done and moved on to the next student. Finally, the senior sang and I was certain she’d be picked.

The day of the announcement came, and I prepared myself for the first of many rejections. It’s part of the process, I better get used to it. Instead, the director said he was going to do something different. He was going to let the choir decide. What?! Why’d we audition if the choir was going to judge? He didn’t explain why—just asked each of us to take our turns before the group. I took mine and the room went silent. I had no idea what that meant, but it gave me the willies just the same.

We were ushered out for the voting. As we stood in the hall, the classically-trained senior faced me and proclaimed, “You got it. I know you did.” The look in her eyes held a mix of excited encouragement for me, yet a note of disappointment, too. I knew she was crazy, but the butterflies kicked up a notch.

choirI don’t think I realized the gravity of the situation at the time, but this solo was that senior’s last opportunity in high school. Everyone knew it, and everyone wanted her to have that chance. But the song didn’t call for an operatic voice—like she had. It called for a simpler one—mine. Other than a few devoted friends of the senior, the rest of the room voted for me. I was told one of the things that worked in my favor was the little crack in my voice at the songs emotional peaks. However, in order to allow for the senior to have a chance, she was made my understudy. Given we had two opportunities to perform this song—the choir concert for the school, and the adjudication for the state—it increased the likelihood she’d be able to sing.

If it weren’t for my pride.

Exactly one week before the concert I lost my voice. That’s okay, I had time … I thought. But the voice (or maybe God) had other ideas, and I began to panic. You see, all my family and friends planned to be at this concert to hear me sing and I did not want to lose the opportunity to have them there. So I sang—Very badly!!!

And the senior did not.

The best compliment I received from that concert was from a friend who said, “You sounded like you might have been good if you weren’t sick.”

Great :o/!

The second opportunity—the adjudication—went well, so judges and fellow choir students got to hear my “talent.” However, nothing will eradicate the fact that I clung to something that wasn’t mine because I was too prideful to give it to the other singer. She deserved it. She’d worked for it. It was her time and I stole it. Not because I took the opportunity when it was given me, but because I didn’t let go when God told me to give it back.

I failed the test.

As you’ve probably figured out, I did not make singing my career. I continued on in music for a few years, but quickly realized I lacked a few things that one needs to pursue it. One being “style.” The style I’d had when the choir heard that crack of emotion during the solo. But that disappeared as I received training and became haughty about my craft. The other thing I lacked was strength. The above scenario was not the last time I’d lose my voice. It became a regular occurrence as I worked hard to hone my skill.

It is clear to me now God did not want me to pursue this career. Not because He was punishing me for my greed, but because He loves me. He knows had I done well in it, I would have made it about me and not about Him. Where would our relationship have been had that happened? Not where it is today. Not even close.

God needed to humble me many times—even after I changed majors—before I finally had any clue how to follow Him. I hope I have it now, but being as pig-headed and self-centered as I’ve shown myself to be, I am never sure. So I will continually check in with the Big-Guy now and again to be certain the voice I do use is the one He has planned for me.

To Him be the Glory!

How has He called YOU to use your voice?

Other posts you might like:

Is God Teaching Me Patience or Praise?

To Parallel My Life with My Savior

God Loves Broken People, By Sheila Walsh—A Review

Friday, March 1, 2013

Evolution Or Intelligent Design?




Man’s design of “intelligence”






Random assignment of cells eventually ending in human intelligence.

… And we still don’t understand the innumerable intricacies of this “design.” 








Man’s means of maneuvering under water.






Natural Selection’s means of maneuvering under water.

That “natural selection” dude must be a genius!








Man’s hole




Erosion’s hole.

Erosion has quite the artistic eye!








Man’s idea of soaring through the skies




Evolu—Fer real?????





We think our knowledge is new and what is written in the Bible is irrelevant. But take a look. The Bible is timeless in it’s wisdom (Romans 1:18b-20 and 23 NIV):

“ … since what may be known about God is plain to them because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Although they claimed to be wise they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”

Do you not know there is a God, or are you afraid that in acknowledging Him, He will change you?

He will! And you’ll be glad for it.

I need to give a shout out to my Pastor, Mark Norman of Grace Community Church in Fulton, Maryland, for inspiring this one.


Other posts you might like:

What Have You Got to Lose?

How God Got My Attention—By Chris Cowans

Do You Have a Get-In-the-Chair Kind of Faith?