Sunday, August 31, 2008

Football and Fear

Football has completely overtaken our lives. Seriously. We practice for 2 hours three nights a week..with games every Saturday. I had heard this would happen and indeed it has. I say "we" have practice because we all do it. My oldest son is on the field, at least one parent is there watching and typically there is a little brother running around somewhere as well. This has been quite a journey already and we are only in our 4th week.

I'm not embellishing when I say that I clicked the "sign-up now" on-line registration button with tears in my eyes. I wouldn't say I'm an over-protective mother, but there certainly was some fear involved in allowing my first born to take the field in full pads. And like I said before - there really are warning labels on those pads about this "dangerous sport". Even though it was scary and I was emotional, it seemed like the right time. I knew I couldn't let my fear keep my son from this dream of his for another season.

That first week of practice swept him off his feet, literally. I don't think any of us had an idea of what it would require of him. The physical demand is greater than any other season he has played. I can only imagine what is all going on inside his head. I've had to completely abandon my fear and become his biggest cheerleader and motivator. I confess, I suck at this. Yesterday for instance, they were doing bear crawls up and down the field; which, by the way, is infested with fire ants and stickers. Part of this included a somersault with the helmet on. I was watching with great compassion, until Michael sat down on the field. Rrrrr. I wanted to yell at him: GET UP! But when one of the coaches did yell at him - my mommy radar was off the chart. How screwed up is that? Like, I can yell at him but you better not!

Saturday they had a scrimmage game. Michael walked off the field saying "I took a hit and I gave a hit and now I'm not so afraid." He survived. He is bruised (all over) but not hurt. He is afraid of getting hurt. There is a battle with fear. I've seen it on his face, heard it in his voice. And I am well acquainted with this emotion. I hear myself telling him "You gotta face your fear head on. Life takes risk. Your gonna have to fight for this." But I have to I hear myself? How many times has fear fenced me in? How often am I unwilling to do the hard work? When I see him sitting down on the field maybe I am really seeing all the times I've given up. And that's the reason something so strong comes over me. I really do want to scream "You can't quit! Don't give in....keep fighting for what you want. GET UP!" One of these nights I might not be able to hold it in.

This song is challenging me, stirring up desire. At times, I feel surrounded by things to fear, stuff to worry about, but I really don't want to live that way. I do so desperately wanna break free! I want to dream. I want to reap the harvest of work hard. I want to run! I want my boys to live in that same freedom. Maybe I can show them how, or maybe I can just watch and learn.

Life lessons from football. I hope I get it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Great Redeemer

This weekend at Shoreline East, we plan to introduce a new song by Tommy Walker called I Have A Hope. You can catch a clip of it here. It is such a happy song, with a fun kinda country groove. It makes me smile. But more than that, I love the message: "my life's not over, there's still hope for me, I have a future, because the God of heaven loves me."

My prayer is that our guests will catch a glimpse of the hope we've found in Christ and believe, even if it doesn't yet make sense in the middle of their circumstances, that there is hope for them as well! We have a GREAT REDEEMER! And he didn't pay the clearance rack sale price for our redemption. He paid an exorbitant cost and says we are worth it all. Every penny....every stripe upon his back, every labored breath. We are worth it all.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Ruth and Boaz, her kinsman-redeemer. Ruth, as a young woman, became a childless widow. She is a foreigner gathering leftovers to eek out an existence. But when Boaz enters the story, everything changes. Poverty is wiped away. Baskets that were empty are over-flowing. Bitterness is turned to joy. Perhaps because I am a mother, the most beautiful part of her story to me is that Ruth's barren womb is filled with life. LIFE! There was death - but now - there's life! A legacy of redemption we clearly see in Matthew 1. Everything that was lost is restored. Everything that was wrong is made right. That's what a redeemer does. That's what Christ did for me, and I'm believing that seeds of redemption will be planted on Saturday.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dessert or Desert

A long time ago, somewhere that I don't even remember, I learned how to spell these two words.

Dessert is extra yummy, doubly delicious so it has 2 s's.
The desert is dry and barren so it only has one s.

Are you enjoying the sweetness of dessert in your life? or are you living in the longing of the desert?

Either way, Desert Song will be a cup of cool water to your faith. Be refreshed.

"All of my life, in every season, you are still God, I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship!"

Follow the link down to the right to watch the song story - a beautiful story of courage.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Back to the Clean Water Cause....

September is a special month for Charity:Water. It is the birthday month of both the organization and it's founder. Last year on their birthday they brought clean water to a hospital in Kenya...this year they have a vision for Ethiopia. Yes, in the whole country!

Is your birthday in September? Can you spare $33? Will you spread the word?

Watch THIS

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Am I Lutheran?

I was born Catholic. Invited Jesus into my heart during the Charismatic Renewal. Grew up in the Word of Faith movement. Went to Christian school in a Baptist church. Graduated from a Spirit-filled univerisity and now I think I might be Lutheran. How is this possible? Ask my Pastor! Last year he taught a series called Sola Gratia. Ever since then there is an undercurrent of this amazing grace in every service.

I knew about Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the doors of the church. I knew about his revolutionary views on justification by faith. But I hadn't yet heard about the 5 solas of the reformation:

Sola scriptura; Sola fide; Sola gratia; Solo Christo; Soli Deo gloria
or for those of us who prefer English:
By scripture alone, by faith alone, by grace alone, Christ alone, glory to God alone.

Did you notice that there is no room for me in the solas? Oooooo Sola Me-o! No - there is no Sola Lynn. Sola my strength. Sola my commitment. Sola my own goodness. Thank goodness! I mean, really? Isn't that really Good News?

The gospel of grace means I don't get what I really deserve AND I do get what I don't at all deserve. Un-deserved favor. Grace settles my striving. It takes me off the treadmill of performance. Ultimately, the good news of grace is the truth that brings freedom and rest to my soul.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Roaring River

The Gallatin River flows through Big Sky, Montana. Usually at about 1500 cfs. But thanks to late June snowfall it was around 4500 cfs during our stay. It was ROARING! For some bizarre reason, my oldest son - the cautious one - got it in his head that he wanted to go white water rafting. This, of course, made no sense to me. I suggested that the guys could do the raft trip while I have a spa day back at the resort. Did I mention that the water temperature was 44 degrees? That is hypothermia waiting to happen! I told my husband "I do NOT want to do this." He responded brilliantly: "Maybe it's our children's turn to challenge us to try something new" Great, thanks for that Babe....

We stopped by the rafting company just to check it out and get more information right when a previous group was returning. I stopped an older woman to ask her how the trip was, hoping it was terrifying and completely inappropriate for children. She said she had never had so much fun or laughed so hard in her whole life....then she added "and I don't even swim". I know that God planted her in my path. If this non-swimmer was willing to ride the rapids, I guess I oughta give it a try. We made a reservation for the late afternoon trip and rented wet suits and booties all around.

The toughest question I had to face was what do I do if one of my boys falls out. Because I know I'm going to want to jump in after them, but then there would be two people to rescue. Ugh! Thankfully I never had to make that decision. We all managed to stay in the boat. HA! That's funny, becuase for me, this was definitely a "stepping-out-of-the-boat" experience. Honestly, we had a BLAST! It was amazing to ride on the water as it carved it's way through the mountains.

Thanks to my dear boy who held on tight to his desire. Thanks to my husband for his insightful challenge. And thanks to a courageous lady in the locker-room who shared her experience with such exuberance! I'm so glad I didn't miss out. I can get a mani-pedi any day.

Psalm 46:1-4 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A New Song

I love to learn new songs for worship. Something fresh. A song that says what I've heard in my heart but never quite found a way to express. We've learned a powerful song recently called Unrestrained by Calvin Nowell. You can visit Calvin's Website and download the song for free! You gotta love that! Believe me, you need to hear this song. You'll love it!

I get excited when I see a song I love on the set list for a service. But, occasionally, we learn a song that ummmm, I just don't connect with. I've been singing in church for just a few years. And sometimes it can feel like we end up doing the same songs over and over and over again. I want something fresh, remember? This whole pattern was shaken in me a few years ago when I read The Fear of the Lord by John Bevere. John shared the verse in Isaiah 6:3 where in a vision Isaiah sees the throne room of heaven and God's angels crying out to each other "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." Listen to what John wrote: "These mighty, awesome angels are not bored or restless: they are not merely singing nice songs. They do not say, "God, I have been singing this song before your throne for millions of years...." They are not wondering, like me, when can we do a new song? John goes on..."These spectacular angels...are responding to what they see. Every moment...they glimpse another facet and a greater dimension of God's glory being revealed. Overwhelmed, they shout, "Holy, holy, holy!" Whoa....

What an inspiring worship the Lord....and continuously experience a new level of glory. Not fresh lyrics, or fresh melodies...but fresh glory. Let it be on earth, here in our worship, as it is in Heaven!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Something More

We shared a special moment as a family on our summer vacation. It was a somber moment but it was good. We visited the grave of my nephew Aidan Kashmark. We never got a chance to know Aidan, he was still born. This loss is probably the nearest to my heart. The most painful loss our extended family has had to face. My beautiful sister is the hero in this chapter of our story. Like the Proverbs 31:15 woman - she rose up in the darkest of darkness. She rose up with courage and stepped right into this chasm of pain. She attends a support group and has walked this road with many other families. All of them shouldering the weight of their mutual losses together. She still laughs, thanks to her wonderful husband who is always looking for new ways to make her laugh! She still cries. The unanswered questions of life have a way of making us hard...but her heart is soft. I'm so inspired by her. It is important to me that I remember Aidan, that we remember him. Death is a part of life. His death is a part of our lives. There is pain in remembering, but strangely there is also hope. This life on earth with all its darkness and suffering is not all there is. There is something more....Aidan lives in MORE.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Big and Small (7/20 Ministry time)

When Jesus walked the earth, thousands of people followed him. One day Jesus’ disciples came to him saying…”listen we are out here in the middle of nowhere ….you should really send these people home.” But Jesus couldn’t do that. He had compassion on the people and said” it’s a long journey, they are hungry, they might faint on the way - You feed them” In Mark 6 the disciples respond “It would take 8 months wages to buy that much food!” You know the story, Jesus miraculously fed all those people with just a few loaves of bread and a few fish
There were even leftovers! Can you imagine? That is a lot of food… a huge miracle!

In contrast, there is another story of mothers bringing their children to Jesus just because they wanted him to touch them. The disciples were like “Go away, Jesus is to busy for this, too important for this.” What was up with the disciples always trying to send the people away? Jesus said “Let the children come to me” and he took them in his arms and blessed them. Something so simple.

I share these two stories together because I want you to know that there is nothing to big for our God but also, there is nothing too small.

Maybe you are facing a really daunting problem, maybe its keeping you up at night, causing you some anxiety. Maybe like the disciples you don’t see a practical way for the situation to be resolved. It’s not too big for our JESUS!

Or maybe you have a much smaller need, not that big a deal. You could feel that there are so many other needs in the world and this little thing of mine would just be a distraction to God. If you believe that, you underestimate His love for you. He wants to take that small thing in his arms, touch it and bless it with his presence.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Sweet Aroma

2 Cor 2:14 "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. "

I'm not sure where that sweet aroma was today....I don't think it was manifest well through me. There was more of a cartoon-like putrid green cloud that followed me around. What happened?

It seems like Paul is sharing this thought on the heels of relationship repair. Forgiveness. Reconciliation of one who had brought pain to the family there in Corinth and to Paul himself. Paul instructs them to stop pouring on guilt and pour on the love!

There is great triumph in forgiveness.

Maybe I have more to forgive. There always seems to be more to let go of. Ah-ha. I let go, that frees me to follow where He leads and when I am no longer holding on to the past I can raise my hands in triumph. Something to ponder....

Paul goes on in verse 16 to ask "Who is adequate for these things?" Not me....I...stink.

But listen to this from chapter 3: "Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God."

We will be worshipping with our Shoreline East family on August 9th and this verse is my prayer for that service. That right there by the railroad tracks we would experience the sweet fragrance of knowing Jesus. I know I can't make that happen. But I believe He can.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Come To Me

This morning Pastor Rob shared this Bible passage from Matthew 11 in his message:

28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

I've been rolling it around in my mind all day. I love what it doesn't say. It doesn't say...Come to me, all you who were weary...or...don't come to me if you are still figure things out and then we can fellowship. NO! What it does say is so inviting. Come to me. I see Jesus waiting on the other end of that invitation. He knows that weariness is a guaranteed part of the human experience. He doesn't minimize the impact of our burdens. He simply says come to me. That is beautiful in itself but he says even more...he promises for your soul. Isn't that where we most need rest...that place where all our emotions, thoughts and concerns reside? Rest for your soul. I need that rest. And it comes from him. I can't get myself to that place without his working in me.

How may Christians have been beaten over the head by Philippians 4:6 Has it ever happened to you? You share a concern with someone and they respond "Oh, be anxious for nothing sister." They forget that is only a fragment of the sentence. There is a crucial conjunction. "But". What a great word. It is almost like "how". As if the writer is saying, I am going to tell you something that seems impossible but then I'm going to tell you how it is possible. In prayer we go to God...we heed Jesus' call to come to me. And there on the other side is peace..the rest for our soul we so desperately need.

It is freeing to know that Jesus understands that weariness, burdens, worry, anxiety....they all happen. Life on the planet is chuck full of things to worry about. I just signed my son up for tackle football. Did you know there were warning labels on football gear? I had no idea. It is causing me a bit of anxiety. Thankfully, I have a place to go with all my burdens, the inviting arms of one who loves and understands. One who calls me in the middle of my fear - Come To Me.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Jesus Singing

We were challenged this week to think of a Bible text where we see Jesus singing. The first thing I thought was surely there was singing at the Wedding of Cana. I can only guess that there was even more singing after Jesus fueled the party with good wine! But is is not recorded that Jesus was singing that night. Then I remembered a little phrase in the story of the Last Supper "when they had sung a hymn they went out to the mount of olives" Isn't that beautiful? We see Jesus and his disciples at the last meal they would share before his death - singing together.

But Leonard Sweet unveiled another time when Jesus raised his voice in song, a Psalm of David....and incredibly it was on the cross in his suffering. Jesus lifted up only the first line of the song, but those at the foot of the cross would have heard the entire refrain in their hearts and minds. You know how that works, how our minds have the ability to fill in the blanks. There is incredible agony in the first line of his song.....and since I am not a first century Jew familiar with singing the Psalms.....I have never before filled in blank that followed. Please take a minute to read Psalm 22. What do you hear? Unmistakeably, I hear hope! I also hear Jesus echoing the last line of the song in his final words on the cross because "he has done it" sounds a lot like "it is finished" to me. Isn't the Bible amazing?