Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Letter

So.... I was invited by my pastor to lead a Bible study for a 6-week Lenten season in 1993 and the group has never quit. Yup! That was 20 years ago. I guess we never caught on to the material or just never got around to finishing.  Actually, the members of the group are very close and hold each other accountable.  In fact, we all jump in when someone has a problem as evidenced when one member lost her eye glasses and a search team from our study group went to her house to find them!  You can read about that venture here.

There is nothing like Christian fellowship and Bible study. We have studied shelves of Bible studies through the years, some better than others. We don't move quickly through the material. We take our time to soak in the Word and its personal meanings to our souls and daily living. We share our experiences. We question. We don't always agree.

And we laugh. I don't consider the class a success unless we have had a good loud laugh, a good old-fashioned belly laugh.

And, of course, we've had tears of compassion and prayers for deliverance. We have prayed for children, for parents, for our pastors and our community. We have thanked God for successes and strength through trials. We pray, we laugh and sometimes sing. We've been know to hug.

Frankly, I know these folks better than I do my extended family.

Recently, our newest member, who has been in the group for only one year, brought a touching letter to class.  He made copies of it and we all read it. Everyone was blessed. Everyone received something different from these simple words.  You see, it's a letter from God. The member wrote what he 'heard' God saying. I can hear scripture in each line.  I do believe God says this to all of us.

Read it slowly.

Be blessed.  See what God has to say to you:

My dear child,

Speak to Me like Job.  Get it out of your system.  Rant and rave, gripe, groan, grumble, criticize, complain, condemn.  Then when you are done sit quietly...

Be still and know that I am God and I will give you what you need, my child.  Come, enter the rest and comfort of My presence.  Release your barriers and pain.  Be renewed and refreshed by My hope, My love, My presence.  Look to Me, not to your problems.  I AM your God.  I can restore the years the locusts have eaten.  I can set your feet on a firm rock and make you more than a conqueror.

Your strength is gone - you are wasted.  Now take My strength.  It is when you are at the end of your resources that you can enter My resources.  It is when you possess nothing that you can possess all heavenly riches in Me.  You are My beloved and I AM your God.  Let your weary heart be silenced and renewed by the covering of My healing love.

Abba, Father

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Annie" Obsession - Night and Day

So... perhaps you know that I'm directing the musical "Annie" this summer for our local Marshalltown Community Theater.  The production dates are July 26, 27, 28, Aug. 2 and 3 and tickets will be available July 23rd. We have just finished our first week of official rehearsals and I'm telling you it's going great!  I'm super pleased and excited beyond words.... really!  It's going to be a fabulous show that you won't want to miss. (Yes, that's an advertisement... and yes, there will be more of them....)

Two other directors are joining me in this venture:  Tom LaVille is the Artistic Director and is in charge of figuring out the set and blocking the show (telling people where to stand.)  He's a pro and he knows what he's doing. The Children's Director is Karen Roessler and she gets the medal for coaching the girls on how to be orphans.  Frankly, at this point, the orphans know what they are doing better than the adults.

So...  if the blocking is done and the children are coached, what does that leave me to do?  I'm the "obsessor."  According to what I've been doing, it is my job to tie up all the loose ends and obsess over the music, publicity, cast, costumes, choreographers, ticket sales, and any other aspect of the show.  I've been obsessing about details night and day.  I'm excelling in this... I'm dreaming Annie... I'm singing Annie non-stop, I'm conversing in the Annie script by answering "Oh my goodness, Oh my goodness," inappropriately... (ask John!)

There is little else on my mind.... and I wish it would stop!

I don't think I'm actually worried about the production, I'm just thinking about stuff that needs to be done. I'm thinking about little funny things that could be added here and there. I'm thinking about the songs and how I should coach them to be sung. I'm rehearsing and re-rehearsing what I should say to people... and I can't seem to turn it off.

Will my hair slowly morph red as my brain obsesses?

Our main character, Annie, is doing a splendid job.  In fact, I think she could be Annie's sister - she 'gets' her part and needs very little help. She gives 100% and catches on so fast!  I'm totally impressed with her; she's one talented little girl!

And the music!  If I could just stop singing the songs over and over. I think my brain could use a 'hard knock!'

It is no surprise to my heavenly Father that I'm obsessing night and day about this production. Nothing that I do (or you do) surprises Him.

Using some theater lingo,  He really caught my attention with this scripture out of The Message Bible.  In Matthew 3, John the Baptist is speaking and says:

"I'm baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life.  The real action comes next:  The main character in this drama - compared to Him I'm a mere stagehand - will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out.  He's going to clean house - make a clean sweep of your lives.  He'll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false He'll put out with the trash to be burned."

So... this is what I should be obsessing about:  The main character (God) will change me from the inside out, fill me with the Holy Spirit and get rid of the trash in my life. The main character (God) wants to ignite Kingdom life in me!  

I'm not the director for this kind of action, I'm a stagehand. I'm so glad... This I can do.  This I can pray:

"Father, be the Director of my life. You write the script. You do the coaching. You ignite the fire."

May this be the obsession of my life... night and day...