Read, Believe, Act!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson

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Sit, Kneel, Roll Over: Prayer Body Language

girl-520347_1280Before you read How do you pray?, think about the different postures you assume when you pray in different venues (church, bedroom, dinner table, out of doors).

What posture do you assume for different kinds of prayers (petition, worship, intercessory).

When I’m at home by myself, I stand, raise my hands and face heavenward. And my voice quavers.

Can you find anything in the Bible about pressing palms together, bowing head and closing eyes to pray. I ALWAYS peek ;-)

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Free art lesson here

Arts Ministry: Free sample lesson and application

 

….I’ve been accepted :0

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Have You Had “The Conversation”?

I approach self-published books with lowered expectations. Calibrating my expectations was not necessary for “The Conversation” by Mike Gannaway, published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan.

“The Conversation” shimmers with some of the same vibe as the classic “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” but reaches its destination within an efficient 110 pages.

Diane, thirty-eight and unmarried, is on her way to Bethany Beach, Delaware. In setting up the story, Gannaway displays uncanny talent for creating interest and intrigue with sensory details and forward momentum.

Diane is a confident, well-read, thoughtful woman who has developed her own credo for life: Choose Freedom. Having abandoned “clubbing scene” days when she dressed her chiseled body to tantalize men, she now knows that “the key to freedom was not burning off drudgery; it was not succumbing to it in the first place.” That’s some hard-earned wisdom, wouldn’t you say?

Less than a quarter of the way into the book, Diane sees a man sitting on the beach. It’s nighttime. The switchblade in her pocket is insurance, of sorts. She joins the man and they begin chatting.

Chris is attentive, polite and asks the right questions. He lets her go on for a while, mostly about herself. Things are going swimmingly, and readers might think, “This is nice. ‘Nice’ can get boring.”

Diane says she reads “history, science, philosophy, religion, classic literature, poetry…anything that increases my understanding of the world and grows me in sophistication and wisdom.” She’s coming across as a smug and preachy woman.

With laser accuracy and timing, Chris challenges Diane.

Now there’s tension and an exploration of opposing worldviews about the BIG topic with which most humans grapple: Finding life’s meaning and purpose. From this point on in their conversation, the stakes are raised and Diane’s “Choose Freedom” credo begins to erode like a sandcastle under the waves of Chris’ questions and counterpoints. Chris is not harsh or cruel to Diane during this crucial conversation. He is empathetic and genuine.

Gannaway possesses the intuition and skills to know when to reveal information and when to withhold it until later to best serve the plot and the debate. His sense of pacing is superb. While his style is lean, it’s clear that he’s thought deeply about how to portray a woman’s spiritual journey convincingly. In this he succeeds. (I’m happy to say, Gannaway does not resort to using annoying Celestine Prophecy-esque contrivances.)

If you’re searching for meaning, or if like Diane, you’re sure you already know the meaning of our existence, then this book is a prime candidate for your “read now” list. “The Conversation” is appropriate for truth seekers from young adult age upward.

“The Conversation” Book Review

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At least I can pray…

I’ve been learning more and more about Christian girls being kidnapped by Muslims and sold as sex slaves.  Go ahead. Google it. It’s probably not gonna pop up in your town’s daily news feed.

It sickens me to the core.

So, I prayed.

I thought, “It’s the least I can do.”

Then the fully formed idea came to me: “You are God’s child, His Kingdom builder. Praying is the greatest thing you can do.”

Please pray.

I pray that like Paul, the 1st Century terrorist who hunted down and killed Christians, the Muslim perpetrators and all involved in this war against women will be visited by Jesus. And transformed.

 

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Why Did the Introvert Leave Comfort Zone?

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We’re standing in the church lobby, waiting for the doors to the auditorium to be opened. I see a woman I’ve never seen before sitting in a chair. She’s not making eye contact with anyone. I get the urge to introduce myself to her…introducing myself to a stranger is something I’ve never initiated at this church (nor in most environments. I’m a certified introvert). I keep looking over at her. She seems to be alone.

I say to my husband, “Something tells me to go over to that lady.”

I can’t remember what I said first, but she explained that there was a division at her home church, so she decided to leave it and come here.

She says, “The music is too loud here. It affects my heart. I did some research online and found all kinds of information about how loud music, especially the bass, affects us.”

“Yeah,” I agree, “it’s loud. When my dad came I offered him earplugs.”

She goes on, “When service starts, I stay here in the lobby until one of the ushers tells me the music is over and then I go in.” She says that she sent an email to the lead pastor with all the info about how loud music harms people’s health. She tells me this same story about three times.

It’s time to go in, so I hold out my hand to shake hers and tell her my name.

She says, “My name is Doris.”

“That was my mother’s name,” I say.

“Sweet.”

The following Sunday, I see her and can’t catch her eye. Then Lori and Jim, casual acquaintances, rush over to say hi to us.

“Hey, I’ve been thinking about you,” I say. “What’s been going on?

“We’re getting the house ready for my mother to move in,” Lori says. “Pray for us.”

“Will she come here to church?”

“She’s 91. I don’t know about the music.”

So I tell Lori about how Doris has the ushers tell her when it’s “safe” to go into the auditorium.

Lori thanks me profusely.

The Holy Spirit had nudged me the previous Sunday to step out of my comfort zone and hear Doris’ story three times so I could share it with Lori. Not to mention her name was one I will NEVER forget.

Why did  I leave my comfort zone? Because I listened to the Holy Spirit and I’m glad I felt the Spirit’s nudge to introduce myself to Doris.

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Miller Does it Again in “Searching for God Knows What”

Searching for God Knows What is deceptive, in a good way. Miller starts the nonfiction book by telling readers about a writers’ seminar he attended. At first this seems off topic. What’s this seminar have to do with God?

I should know by now to trust Miller. The first chapter sets the stage for the remainder of the book. In fact, what seemed to be a trivial chapter sheds light on the quick fixes we crave.

Sometimes Miller uses simple, 5th grade sentence construction (again, don’t be deceived) and suddenly we’re delving into heavy duty explorations of deep and important aspects of Christianity.

One of my favorite take-aways, “In war you shoot the enemy, not the hostage.” The enemy is Satan. Not people.

I donate nearly every book I read. Not so with Searching for God Knows What. It’s a book I want to read more than once.

He’s on FB https://www.facebook.com/donaldmillerwords?fref=ts

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