Thursday, August 31, 2006


Psalm 139:7-12

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

Last week Lisa, Joshua, and I went to Hersheypark to use to some free tickets we got through our internet provider D&E Jazzd. If we signed up with them, they'd give us two free tix to the park. Wow! Can't pass up on that offer.

Something terrible happened to our 20 month old son, Joshua, while we were there. The day started off well enough. The first ride we took him on was the carousel. All three of us could get on the ride and hold Joshua on the horse that didn't move. Joshua's eyes beamed wide and took it all in. When it stopped, he clapped, but still looked bewildered. But then we tried the next ride.

It was the ride called the "Dinosaur-Go-Round" that caused us to win the "Most Cruel, Unloving Parents-of-the-Year Award." Here's what happened. I stood in line holding Joshua while Lisa manned the video camera. I walked into the ride and put Joshua is the back seat of the ride and I got in with him. The ride technician came over and said politely, "This ride is for kids only." I wanted to ask, "What's your point?" but I knew he meant I couldn't ride with Joshua. I looked at Lisa and we shrugged our shoulders. We didn't know what to do. So I got out, strapped Joshua in, and walked out of the ride to join Lisa.

The bomb dropped when “Dinosaur-Go-Round-O’-Death" cranked up. While every other kid enjoyed the ride, Joshua freaked. With each pass of the dinosaur Joshua was riding, the terror on his face told the story. "What did you do to me!? How could you allow this to happen to me!? Why am I here!? Where did you go!? I can't believe you left me! Do you know what's happening to me!?" While he can't talk, he communicates very well.

All the other parents looked at the newbies. Their eyes said it all. They were thinking, "Awwww, the new parents didn't know any better. Too bad their child is freakin' out. Shame on them." We both wanted to jump the fence and pull him from the ride...but I knew he'd be fine. While Joshua had no knowledge that we were there the entire time, we knew he wasn't in danger. Joshua obviously felt otherwise.

Psalm 139 points out that God knows everything and is everywhere all the time. Nothing is hidden from Him. Sometimes I go through things in my life and I feel that God has His back turned. I feel like He doesn't know what's happening. According to David, the author of this particular Psalm, He knows where I am - no matter what happens to me. That's a comforting thought.

God, thank you for always being there for me - even when I can't comprehend why things are happening to me. You go with me where I go. Nothing is hidden from your sight. Thank you for protecting me and understanding what I'm going through on the merry-go-round of life. Help me to have your perspective more often - to know You are with me, understand what's happening, and won't give me more than I can handle.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Changing Roles

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16, NASB)

So what's my part in the body of Christ? Ephesians says that I have a part to play. But what is it? I've discovered that it changes with time. It's not always the same. For a season, God uses me in this way - and in another season He uses me that way. What I struggle with is when the situation changes, I begin to ask God - was what I was doing not good enough or what You wanted me to do? If God asks me to play a different part (or play my current part in a different way), why do I suddenly find myself doing things that don't build up the body in love?

If you haven't already gotten the email update, then you'll hear here first that Matt McElravy (who has been doing a summer worship arts internship with us) will be coming on staff in a part-time role as Assistant Music Director. Matt brings to the table strengths that were currently our weaknesses. Some of the weaknesses are mine (it takes a man to admit his weakness, but an idiot to post them to the world). Everyone has weaknesses. If you don't admit you have weaknesses, then that might be one of your weaknesses. Anyway, Matt is a gifted musician with excellent technological skills. He has a much more laid back personality than the task driven one I've been blessed with.

My role at Grace is changing with Matt coming on staff. This will be a new experience for Matt. New for me. New for Grace at large. I could respond with envy of Matt's strengths. I could begin to question whether God will use me at all.

Bottom line, God is using Matt and me, both, to build up the body of Christ in love. I'm so glad that Matt is here. Without him, there are some other new initiatives that I couldn't tackle without freed time. I'm looking forward to this year with Matt on board, and can't wait to see what new directions God will take Matt, me, and Grace.

God, thank you for Matt's part at this local body of believers. I thank you for all of the other WAM paid staff who make up this incredible team - Gail, Tim, Sheri. And, God, the unpaid volunteer staff - I thank you for them too...they are an incredible important part to our body. It is a honor to even be used by You. Help us to be satisfied with where you are calling us...make the call clear...and give us a loving spirit as we pursue the greatest cause in eternity.