Sunday, March 31, 2013

3-31/go and tell...

good morning today is day 14
of my lenten project.
it is also Easter sunday, march 31, 2013.
i want to welcome you.


in moments of my retreating
back to the kneeler,
my body got got,
i began to feel weak,
my legs
(bent beneath me)
turned to jelly.
knew...
HE.WAS.THERE!

~@~

ric gave his sermon that morning;
his sermon was about where he had been
and his call to come to our church.
he told our congregation he was there to love us.
he was allowing GOD to use him
to attempt to repair that which was broken
apparently, his sermon touched many.

for...

that morning
at the end of ric's sermon
when he invited us to come to the altar,
we came

 in.droves.

~@~

kneeling next to ric,
i felt the HOLY SPIRIT
urging me to tell
my story.

i reached over and touched ric's hand.
"can i tell them?"
i whispered,
"i need to tell them."

"you want to tell them?"
he looked at me searching...
for fear
i think.
"are you sure?"

i shook my head, 
yes.

~@~

then JESUS said to them,
 do not be afraid.
 go and tell 
my brothers to go to galilee;
there they will see me.
(niv, matthew 28:10)

HE.IS.RISEN.

happy Easter!

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Saturday, March 30, 2013

3-30/are you here, GOD? it's me, dani...

good morning today is day 13
of my lenten project.
it is also saturday, march 30, 2013.
i want to welcome you.





i decided that i would arrive early
for church and pray at the altar.
i knew GOD would be there!

~@~

before ric became pastor 
at our church,
i could probably count on one hand
how many times 
we, as a congregation, had been invited
to the altar to pray.
i personally had only accepted one invitation
as it was the sunday after
i had miscarried...
as i wrote before,
our church was steeped in tradition.
further, our tradition was to use the altar
only for communion.

however,
when ric became our pastor
he gave an open invitation
at the end of every service.
at first there were only a few of us
(mostly those of us who were on
the pastor parish relations committee)
who accepted the invitation.

~@~

when i arrived at church
that sunday morning,
i was the only one there.
having a key to the building,
i let myself in and made my way to the sanctuary.
i remember standing
at the entrance
to the rather dark chancel,
our holy of holies,
 only lit
by only that early morning sun,
which could make its way through
the thick, stained-glass windows
adorning the expansive area.

"are you here, GOD?
it's me, dani,"
i asked as i walked down the aisle
leading to the altar.

when i reached "my place"
i knelt,
 rested my elbows,
put my hands together
(intertwining my fingers),
bowed my head,
and began to pray.

it started something like this...

FATHER,
i want to invite YOU to join us here today.
i want YOU to feel welcomed
and loved.
i love YOU, FATHER.
YOU know our church has been through
so much turmoil
over the past several years.
i know YOU have had nothing to do with it!
this church has acted as our church...
not YOUR church.
please forgive us.
please come unto us,
and help us heal.
FATHER,
YOU are an awesome GOD;
YOU reign!
 i love YOU so much.
i know YOU have the power
to soften hardened hearts
and allow their bearers
to love and be loved
in return.
i don't know exactly
what ric's intentions are for this morning,
but please be with him.
allow him to use YOUR healing words.
we need YOU, FATHER, please!

~@~

as i was praying,
i heard the foyer area doors open;
i heard muddled voices.
then i heard the footsteps of someone
walking down the aisle of the sanctuary.
i felt the presence of someone behind me.

i stopped praying and turned
to see a fellow parishioner
sitting in "her seat" on the front pew.
she had sat in that same spot for as long
as i had been a member of the church.
anita was special.

when our eyes met
i smiled.
in return
she did as well.

i gathered myself,
walked over to her,
bent over and hugged her,
and
taking her hand in mine
sat down next to her.

"now, what are you doing here so early?"
she asked me with her stereotypical,
kentucky drawl.

"i came to pray," i answered her.

"you know, i had a dream about you last night,"
she said matter-of-factly.

"you did?" i responded.

"yeah, ric was in it too," she continued.

"do you remember it?" i asked.

"yeah, there was a big, long line
all waiting to meet JESUS. 
i was there too," she awkwardly giggled.

"were we in heaven?" i asked.

"i don't know, but we wernt dead..."
she nervously rubbed her chin
with her knuckles thinking.
"at least i don't thank we were,"
again, she awkwardly chuckled.

"do you remember anything else?"
i waited with bated breath...
for.more...

"yeah, you said you were there
for 'healin'."

~@~

my adrenaline began to flow
like no body's business!
i asked her if she would like
to join me at the altar to pray for healing.
she accepted my offer.
there the two of us prayed together...
for a while, it was just the two of us.

when my dear friend,
dawn,
arrived i asked anita if i could share her 
dream with dawn.
she turned and looked up at dawn
(as if she was sizing whether to allow me to share her story).
she cocked her head to the side
and looked at me with the face 
of a child in disbelief.
"she was in that line too."

after sharing with dawn,
dawn knelt on the other side of the altar
and began praying with us.

within moments of my retreating
back to the kneeler,
my body got hot,
i began to feel weak,
my legs bent beneath me
turned to jelly.

i knew...

HE.WAS.THERE!


"for where two or three gather in my name,
there I am with them." 
(niv matthew 18:20)


love and GOD's blessings,
dani xxx

Thursday, March 28, 2013

3-24/a dream come true...

good morning today is day 12
of my lenten project.
it is also thursday, march 28, 2013.

i want to welcome you.






i had no idea what i was in for...
the only church i'd ever known 
was steeped in tradition,
bound by ritual.
i wondered to myself 
what this new church of thought was
and how it was going to be different
from the church i'd grown to know.


~@~

on the thursday night
prior to our leaving for the conference,
i dreamed i walked into our sanctuary.
reverend holladay was the only one there.
he was blanketing the pews with huge strips
of purple and gold, satin fabric.

"what are you doing, ric?" i asked.
"i'm preparing the church," he answered.

~@~

the next morning
when i arrived for friday morning bible study,
i poked my head in ric's office.
he and our associate minister
were tying up loose ends for the conference.

i told him about my dream
and asked him what he thought it meant.
he gave me a sheepish look
and told me he had no idea.

~@~

"when the magicians, enchanters,
astrologers, and diviners came,
i told them the dream,
but they could not interpret it for me."
(niv, daniel 4:7)

~@~

 at the end of the conference,
we were asked to pray around our tables.
when jane (my bible study leader)  took her turn,
she prayed for sunday's church service.
she made a point to pray
that the sermon bless
our congregation.

our church needed blessing.
it needed revitalization.
it needed GOD!
before ric arrived that summer,
our church had been in a very bad place.
there was very little trust 
among the staff,
among the parishioners.
with so much animosity
there was very little room for GOD.

jane knew something we didn't.
trusting her lead,
i prayed hard!

~@~

when we were finally back in the van
and on the road,
i turned around to jane who was sitting behind me
and asked her about her prayer.
she said that ric asked her
 to pray for his sunday service...
that it was going to be a tough one.

i decided that i would arrive early
for church and pray at the altar.

i knew GOD would be there!

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Friday, March 22, 2013

3-22/the words in red...


good morning today is day 11
of my lenten project.

it is also friday, march 22, 2013.
i want to welcome you.



i felt GOD's presence in that van.
i KNEW we were on the cutting-edge
of doing GOD's will...
by stepping out of our comfort zone
with this new church 
science.

~@~

i was the youngest member
of our purpose driven team.
most of the team were in their 40's and 50's;
i had just turned 30.
because they were older than i,
i assumed they were all born-again-Christians.
i assumed they had a far more mature
relationship with GOD than i had.
i assumed GOD placed me there
to learn from them.

i made those assumptions based
on the fact that they were older than i was,
they were all (so far as i knew)
life-long church goers,
i knew them to be the movers and shakers
of our church,
and...
i was possibly the only one of the bunch 
who had never held a church office.

~@~

when we arrived at the hotel,
we unpacked, freshened up,
and met back at the van.
there were several who hadn't come up in the van.
they met us there and rode over to the convention with us.

i had no idea what i was in for...
the only church i'd really ever known
was a church steeped in tradition,
bound by ritual.
i wondered to myself
what this new church of thought was
and how it was going to be different
from the church i'd grown to know.

when we arrived,
we made our way down a rather long hallway
to the convention area.
the area was already full.
there was a huge projector screen
with a contemporary music video streaming on it.
thankfully, the words to the music were also on it...
as i'd never before heard the song.
but i liked it...  
there was so much energy in that room!

GOD.WAS.THERE.

~@~

after a brief introduction,
we were told to partner with someone
from our designated table
and pray for one another.
so, i prayed for david,
and david prayed for me.

afterwards,
the leaders detailed how the conference would ensue.
then we began what was planned for the evening.
we were asked to outline the highlights/low-lights
of our lives to present
so we could see where we had been...
so we could see how we had gotten
to where we currently were.
then they asked us
to quickly write down our favorite bible verse.

i panicked!
i didn't have a favorite bible verse!!
i hadn't read them all yet!!!

but, i knew all of JESUS' words were in red,
 JESUS' time on earth was chronicled
in the gospels of
matthew, mark, luke, and john,
and that they were located 
closer to the end of the bible.

"GOD, help me find a good one,"
i prayed,
"quickly!"

GOD as my witness,
i opened my bible
to find

my.new.favorite.bible.verse.
(my.GOD-chosen.bible.verse.)

the only verse
with JESUS' words in red
on the two visible 
pages.
furthermore,
 it wasn't located in
matthew, mark, luke, or john...
but in 
the second book
of 
corinthians...

three times I pleaded with the LORD to take it away from me.  but HE said to me, "my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." therefore i will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that CHRIST's power may rest on me. (niv 2 corinthians 12:8-9)

perfect!
thankyouGOD!

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx