Showing posts with label Once Upon a Time. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Once Upon a Time. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Once Upon a Time - A Really Important Post

Once upon a time I had a life (outside of cooking, cleaning, kids activities, and facebook). I worked for our local Christian radio station. I had several areas of responsibility, but mostly I organized their community events. One year, my boss wanted us to have an outdoor concert of local talent. Sort of a Battle of the Bands, without the Battle part. Anyway, we solicited tapes from the community and I screened them to see who could play and sent out letters to the folks I selected. What I didn't know was that my boss had envisioned, like, 4 bands, and I (not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings) accepted 24 acts.

So, we had to lay out some ground rules--the first of which was NO SOUNDCHECKS. None! Whatsoever! NO EXCEPTIONS!

I've never seen so much angst from so many people--angst is something you see alot when you deal with divas. Experienced in diva-dealing, we stood firm. Most of them eventually got over it and performed well.

"George" did not. He broke the rule. He just couldn't stand it. He had a friend at the sound company and he weasled a soundcheck out of him.

So, 23 other people who were already mad at me got way madder.

I threw a hissyfit. (I threw a lot of hissyfits back then. I like to think I've outgrown them, but that's another post). After a series of events, I landed in a meeting with my boss, the guy, and his pastor.

We both got fussed at pretty good.

But, in the midst of the meeting, my boss said something brilliant that I will never forget. She said,

"George, what you really want in your music is something that a soundcheck can not give you. What you really want is the annointing of the Spirit of God on your voice as you sing."


How many times do those of us in ministry think we want a tighter show, a better quality production, more small group leaders, a seminary-trained music minister, more folks at outreach, more books and commentaries, our people to act right, a better facility, more money--WHATEVER! When what we really want is God Almighty to show Himself in our midst.

When the annointing of God is on a sermon, lives are changed.
When the annointing of God is on a music ministry, people really enter into worship.
When the annointing of God is on a small group ministry, there will be love.
When the annointing of God is on a life in the marketplace, people will come to Christ.

So, go after GOD and when He shows up, the rest of that stuff will, too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Once Upon a Time- Paradise Lost

Being a missionary is really sort of a heartbreak assignment. When you’re on the field you miss your loved ones at home, when you’re at home you miss folks from the field, there is always change, transition, goodbyes….

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first time I realized this, long before I realized I would be a missionary. My husband came home from class in seminary one day with the campus newsletter in hand. “I’ve found our calling!” he said.

A church of 35 people in Hawaii wanted an intern for one year. We called them and four weeks later, we were on a plane. When we arrived, we were greeted by church members, who presented us with leis and chattered excitedly using many strange words that we didn’t understand--Likelike, Kamehameha, Liliuokalani (I later found out these were street names).

Something inside me said, “You will never be as happy again as you were a few minutes ago. While you are here, you will miss home. You will fall in love with these people and when you go home, you will miss them.”

I never got over leaving Hawaii….

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Once Upon a Time -- The Little Rock

Once upon a time there was a Little Rock. Bigger than a pebble, smaller than a big rock. Little Rock lived on top of a big rock in the middle of a stream.
One day, it rained upstream. The stream's water rose. And rose. Soon it was a rushing, gushing river with rapids and currents swirling all around the big rock. Sticks, leaves and rocks floated by, swept up in the current.
Little Rock stayed on top.
Little Rock stayed dry.
Little Rock was hot.
Hot and dry, a little dusty,
Little Rock had no idea the river even existed.
Poor Little Rock.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Once Upon a Time - Like Last Month

I promise this is true.

One year ago, I began physical therapy for some back pain I was having. The pain was really getting worse and I finally gave in and began PT, which in Brazil is an endless endeavor.

Anyway, so I worked hard and STR-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-ECHED and really enjoyed getting to know my physical therapist who, I thought for awhile there, was going to get saved in the process. BUT,

I spent so much time on her treadmill I got hip bursitis. This happened in September and I got really discouraged. I couldn't do anything, it was pretty much all I could do to hobble around and get my work done at home. My back was feelling somewhat better, but my hip was ruining any joy I had in that.

Months went by.

In November, I really began to discuss this seriously with God. One day, I was praying about it and I heard Him say, "You need to clean your own house."

Of course, I thought He was talking about the falling US dollar and the ever-increasing amount of money I pay to have a lady once a week clean the house. With a move to the South of Brazil and the fall of the dollar, my ability to support a widow and her family of four on Coke money and pocket change was gone.

I thought God was just changing the subject on me. BUT, I wasn't sure.

See, the main reason I still had a maid was that I was afraid to try and keep my own house. I was afraid I couldn't do it because of my back. My mom had given me a little booklet in which the author says God told her to clean her own house and not use her health as an excuse not to. SO,

I decided that, as soon as my hip was better, I would clean my own house. Anyway, all my maid's other employers were at the beach for the Dec-Feb summer, and she was totally dependent on me for her income in those months.

I changed doctors (twice), changed physical therapists (twice), and took a series of injections for the bursitis. Some small progress was made, but I finally gave up on all of them. By mid-March, it seemed I would have to clean my own house in pain. I told the maid how much I liked her, how pleased I was with her work, and blamed it all on the value of the dollar (remember, I still thought God had changed the subject on me).

The following week, armed with a new ironing board, US-branded cleaning products, and MUCH prayer, I set out to clean my own house. This was also the day the last of the injections wore off.

The first day of cleaning (it takes three mornings and one evening to clean the apartment--things get dirtier here), my hip pain went totally and completely away.

Gone. Completely Gone.

That was March 20 or so.

Hasn't been back since.

I feel like Naaman.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Once Upon a Time - Readiness

In my first ministry job, I had an office mate. Now this guy was INCREDIBLY BLUNT. He said exactly what he was thinking, all the time, with no flowery words or disclaimers attached. He loved God, he loved people, but he alienated most of them by being so very direct.
I never understood why people got so upset with him. Couldn't they see that he loved God? Couldn't they see that he just wanted the best for them? Didn't they know what scripture said about those who don't listen to criticism?
Anyway, every time Al corrected me, I listened, examined, prayed and, frequently, changed.
One day we were working late and I was telling Al the latest saga of my adventures as a CSDS (Christian Single Desperately Searching).
"Cam, you are so manipulative." He went on to point out how this is sin.
"No," I responded, "I'm not! I'm not at all manipulative." I then went on to explain, in depth, how very UN-manipulative I was.
Nevertheless, I took his words to heart and went home for prayer and self-examination. After MUCH prayer, and MUCH self-examination. I decided that he was really off-target and there was NO TRUTH WHATSOEVER in that particular rebuke.
Twelve years later, I was doing some mindless task at home and reminiscing on my days as a CSDS. Absentmindedly, I found myself thinking, "WOW, I was SO manipulative back then!"
Oh, my goodness. Al was right!
Why hadn't I seen it then?
The answer: I just wasn't ready to.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

My Life as a Tomato

I just love ITunes. Especially free Itunes.
Anyway, I was searching tonight to see if VeggieTales had a podcast and found this.
Phil Vischer speaks to Seattle Pacific University students on what happens when God give you a dream, fulfills it, and the dream dies. 21 minutes, given sometime in late 2004 or early 2005.

It actually makes me a little nervous, since we're coming in the middle of the story of Joseph in Parker's nightly Bible reading (he had the dreams last night, and was sold into slavery tonight) and then I end up listening to this. I think I'll go check to make sure the children are still breathing. . .

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Once Upon a Time -- Inside the Union Tornado

This amazing testimony is from a student who was at Union University the night of the tornado. This was circulated to me by email, but it appears to have been a post to her blog or a mass email. I have removed her name to protect her privacy.

Well, most of you have probably heard by now, my school, Union University was hit by an F4 tornado this past Tuesday night (Feb. 5, 2008). Thanks for all the calls and messages. I will try to talk to you all as time and my emotional state allows. I don't know what reports you have read, but I was one of the 15 students who got trapped in the wreckage. I was in my dorm room with one of my roommates (K), the 3 girls from upstairs, and my mentor from church. About 2 minutes before the tornado hit, my other roommate (who is an RA) ran in and told us to get in the bathtub. We barely made it. Our ears popped, my mentor (J) looked at me and said, "We have to get in, NOW!" -- then the lights went off. I was the last one in. My legs didn't quite make it before the building collapsed on us. I have not yet found words to describe the actual tornado, the noises, and the pressure. Maybe one day I will. We felt our bodies being compressed and compressed, and then it stopped. I couldn't move. We made sure everyone in the tub was alive. It felt like we were miles from outside -- it was pitch black . My initial thought was, "this is where I'm going to die -- there is no way the rescuers will get to us in time". Then, I assessed my physical state. My body was twisted and contorted into a position that I plan on never attempting again...I think God placed me in there just so, because I don't know how else I could have fit. I had a pocket of air against J's legs. I couldn't feel my legs because they were pinned between the edge of the tub and all the debris on top of us. I thought through what my death was going to be like. I realized I was probably going to pass out first, and then I would be with Jesus. I've always wondered what my "last thoughts" would be. As one who has struggled in the past with doubts about salvation, I have always wondered what my last moments would be like. All I can say is, God was there. I knew He had me. And I knew He was either going to save me unto Himself or He was going to save me for a little more time here. I began to pray aloud, I prayed for peace, for the ability to trust Him. I started accounting for everyone who was in the tub.

At that point I realized that someone under me was near the point of death (from her breathing). Then, I called out J's name and realized it was her. My heart sunk at that point. I didn't think my heart could bear losing another friend. I started praying for her out loud, telling her to keep breathing, God was with her. I was so afraid she was going to die underneath me. I think I even asked God to take me if He took her. Every time I moved, she either couldn't breathe or she had excruciating pain. I tried to stay as still and calm as I could. I know God was managing my thoughts for me at that point. I could NOT panic...and by His grace, I didn't. I found out later we were trapped for 45 minutes. One of the other girls in the tub had her cellphone and was actually able to call 911. I honestly only felt like I was in there for 10-15 minutes. I don't know if I ever lost consciousness or if God just allowed it to seem shorter. I was told later the rescuers had to use a backhoe to remove the initial debris. None of us remember that -- again, that was by God's grace. We would have been terrified had we heard that. When the rescuers started digging us out, it was terrifying. J's neck was exposed in such a way that one wrong move and it would have snapped...she was still having lots of trouble breathing. At one point, the rescuers could see my face and I was screaming out to them...telling them I was not panicking but there was a girl under me and I could not move or she would die, and that they needed to lift the debris and not slide it. Once they broke through to us, they got everyone out in about 10-15 minutes. I was the last because my legs were stuck, and I couldn't feel them or move them.

J and I ended up needing to go to the hospital. But neither of us had to stay overnight. It was a night of chaos. And yet, God was in the midst of us. We were buried in a tangled mess of wreckage and yet He knew how each board, each piece of brick and rubble was placed. For example, right next to my legs was a ended up keeping just enough pressure off my legs so that I did not lose them. I haven't gotten all my feeling back, but I'm walking around.

I know I have mentioned God a whole lot throughout this note. I know many of you who are reading this do not know Him and may think I'm a bit odd. But it comes down to this, there is NO other explanation as to why I am alive today other than, God had His hand over us. He kept just enough pressure off. He didn't let me panic. Was I scared?? Yes -- terrified at first. But at one point, my friend K said "It's gonna be okay". And a sense of peace came around us. I know God was with us that entire time. And He did give me a sense of peace -- it kept me from panicking, it all owed me to speak up for J when the rescue started.

My life has been a little screwy recently. I've struggled with trusting God. I've struggled accepting the fact that He loves me unconditionally. But God was with me. He showed me how to trust Him in the rubble -- in the chaos. I know I have some long days ahead. There are sounds stored in my memory that I'm not aware of until I hear them again. I freak out at some very random times and I'm not sure what all the triggers are. But this is what I'm holding onto -- God is not finished with me yet. He still has a purpose for me here on earth a little while longer. And the One who sustained me through the nightmare of Tuesday night will continue to sustain me, to love me unconditionally, to comfort me, and to hold me when I'm scared. And knowing that is what allowed me to get out of bed this morning. He is a good God. If you don't know Him, you need to. He loves you.wants to know you intimately, and He wants you to know Him intimately.

Like I said earlier, I want to talk to each of you. I am quite fragile emotionally -- so it may be a while. I'm at home -- have some fabulous painkillers -- will probably not have to take them except for at nighttime today. So, my body is healing. Just feels like a building collapsed on it...:) I love each of you.

HT: Berdie Hope

Friday, January 18, 2008

Once Upon a Time, a doozy

Last night I was stalking googling old friends, a fav internet pasttime for me, when I came across the following story.

Jeff and I were in missionary orientation with Mike and Jeanne Melon and their kids, Jeanne and Gregory, back in 2001. They served an ISC term in Paraguay. I'm just proud to know 'em. This article is from a blog called "Remember Me".

Jeanne and Gregory left New Orleans mid-day on Saturday before Katrina hit. Mike, a bi-vocational pastor, completed his work shift and got home just after Jeanne had left. He had planned to leave immediately. But, when he got home he discovered that two senior adults had no way out of the city and would not leave. Mike purposed to ride out the storm and try to take care of them.

Mike’s . . .house began taking water about 8:30am and he watched as the water came up the road. He said it was almost surreal. He and the dog relocated to the attic with some food and an axe in case he had to cut his way out. About 1pm in the afternoon after writing his name and [wife's cell phone] number on his body, Mike and his dog came out of the attic. He waded in chest deep water to see how the two women had fared. He went first to Ms. Shirley’s. She had been standing on tiptoes for several hours unable to get out of the flood water. He then went to Ms. Connie’s. Carrying both women and his dog he swam to Mirabeau and Press Drive. It was all he could do to keep their heads above water. Exhausted, he saw a boat and was able to get all of them into the boat and to dry ground on Gentilly Blvd.

Mike stayed through the week and did not leave until Friday. He worked with Bethel Colony out of their building in Indian Village trying to get as many people to high ground as possible.
Now that, folks, is a pastor!

NOTE: The BP version of the story is here

Monday, November 19, 2007

Once Upon a Time -- Games People Play

Once upon a time I had a Boss Brilliant. A brilliant person and I really learned a lot from him. He was known far and wide for his people skills, his ability to work with difficult people and resolve conflicts. One day I sent an email to my co-workers at our office and apparently I came across as bossy. I was fully in my realm of authority to send the email, I had cleared it with Boss Brilliant (BB) and I was merely communicating a decision BB had made to everyone else.
Well, the tone of the email didn't sit right with one of my co-workers and he reacted. He responded by sending an email tirade to the boss about my dictatorial attitude.
What did BB do? My wonderful BB, acclaimed for his people skills and conflict resolution abilities? He forwarded the tirade to me and left on vacation.
He had to come in on his first vacation day to resolve the conflict between me and my co-worker.
All of a sudden I realized:
1. How did I know that my co-workers required someone of such exceptional skill to lead them? How did I know how very dysfunctional they were?
BB had informed me on the first day of the job.
2. Who was able to step in as the hero and solve these conflicts between these horribly dysfunctional people? BB--who had encouraged the conflicts in the first place.
BB had set himself up as the great peacemaker. The only stability amongst such incredibly unstable people.
I suddenly wondered how many of these heroic peacemaking opportunities had actually been conflicts started and fueled by BB himself.

The other day I had someone try to instigate a conflict between us and another family. When we said, "Please don't say that, it could lead to a conflict." He responded, "It seems you two families have a history of personality conflict and I just can’t get into that."
I wanted to say, "I've got your number, buddy, and I'm not playing that game. There is no history of conflict and there won't be unless you insist on trying to make one. I refuse to let you."

Friday, November 02, 2007

Once Upon a Time I - Familiarity

Once upon a time (1989, to be exact) I was a manager trainee at Toys 'R Us. I was 22 and fresh out of college--a skinny thing with a big curly perm. Actually, the personnel trainer who hired me was later fired for hiring too many skinny little girls with big curly perms who couldn't get the job done. I lasted 9 months in that job--those employees chewed me up and spit me out.
The first week I was there I met a storeroom department head named Kirby. Kirby was an older guy whose life's dream was to be a mananger at TRU. He related well to the other employees, he had years of experience as a department head and knew that storeroom inside and out. He also hadn't the slightest chance of ever getting the manager position. Fortunately, he figured this out pretty quickly and was gone a week after I started.
Why didn't Kirby have a chance? Familiarity. The management in that area of the country had seen him as a department head for so long. Every mistake he ever made they remembered. They were never going to give him a shot at anything more.
I don't know what brought Kirby to mind this week. I've no idea where he is or what he ended up doing. I just wanted to share a small piece of his story.