Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lights, Camera, Lesson!

On Friday, I was asked to record a women's event video announcement for our church.  

I attend a church that utilizes technology to its utmost in all of its endeavors. The announcements are done on a giant Jumbo-Tron screen.  

I was intimidated to step out of my comfort zone and give filming an announcement a try, but I'm so glad I did.  Out of this step of faith, God used the fella that was overseeing the filming of the announcement I was to do, to bless me greatly (and I hope you as well).

When I arrived, I was as ready as I could be.  I made sure not to wear green or stripes, as Russell (the fella) asked.  Imagine my complete surprise upon first seeing me, he asked if my white and brown patterned shirt was green.  I exclaimed, "No!".  He smiled.  He said "Oh good. I'm colorblind, so I can't tell. I'm also the lighting director here, and I'm really afraid of heights too. And I'm in charge of the announcements every week, and I'm a really terrible speller."  I was baffled. Russell has done some amazing things to improve the quality of announcements, lighting and technological connectivity at our church in a big way.  If you've ever seen one of the video's Russell creates, and how he uses folks and their talents and voice overs to create a journey, not just another video to watch, you would be astounded.  There is no way you would know he has these challenges that he's facing (as he described). God is using him to impact folks in a big way at our church, and around the world as well.  Russell went on to explain that he just has people check and double check his work a lot. Amazing! 

If you are interested, here is a clip of Russell's work (copy and paste into your browser) -

The biggest blessing of all is that God used Russell's brief testimony to encourage me. 

See, the world, in all of it's ways and false wisdoms would take a look at Russell and say, he can't do what he's doing and be good at it. The great thing about Russell is that he hasn't let the world, it's ways and definitions of success affect him or stop him from moving forward with God and His great grace, power, and strength over his life. Russell is doing what he can do and God is doing what he can't.  And Russell and God are so good as a team together that Russell can make a living off of what the world would deem his weaknesses are, and bless other people not just in his church, but all over the world. It reminds me of that scripture "He uses the weak to confound the wise" (1 Corinthians 1:27-28) 

The bible says, in 1 Corinthians 2:9, "But He said to me. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

How beautiful is that? 

I know I am often living as if to hide my weaknesses. I don't want anyone to know where I fall short. I don't even want to take a look at where I fall short most of the time. I struggle with insecurity and, as a result of this, control issues. But, I can see how God wants me, wants us, to acknowledge what our weaknesses are. It's so we can remember that we so desperately need Him. I can try really hard to be great at something in my strength and only get so far, but when God steps in and anoints a thing, a person or an endeavor = Look Out! No holds barred! Here we go! 

He wants us to know that His grace is sufficient. What is grace? Here is how Joyce Meyer (one of my favorite bible teachers) explains it "Grace is power, and we receive the grace of God through faith. The Bible says that every man is given a measure of faith (see Romans 12:3). So instead of trying to solve our own problems, fix things or work things out, we can release our faith by trusting God to take care of them. Then God's grace-His power-comes through that channel of faith and enables us to do what we couldn't do on our own, which will amaze us and others.  So my definition of grace is: God's power coming to us freely as we put our faith in Him, enabling us to do with ease what we could never do on our own, without struggle or effort."

The enemy of our souls loves it when we get hung up on our weaknesses and sit in the distraction of what we can't do, or can't do well (according to the world's standards), and lose sight of how great our God is, and how much power and grace He bestows on those who chose to believe in Him and the power of His might and blessing.

Like me, if you get hung up on what you can't do, and what you lack strength in, then remember with me today, that we've been chosen, by an Almighty, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God, Who created the universe and who loves and cares for each one of us.  We are chosen instruments of His calling. His own handiwork and workmanship (Ephesians 2:10 AMP).

He's instilled in each of us unique giftings, talents and anointings, because he needs us to work together to create something greater than ourselves, for one another and for Him. Read Ephesians 4 (Amplified Version) when you have a moment. It's incredible at helping us to see that we have all been given different giftings, but are part of one body of Christ. There is no use being frustrated with one's lack of giftings, because that gifting is uniquely theirs, and you, likewise, have those of your own. If you are finding yourself wishing you could do something or be someway, like someone else, then STOP! You can do something that they can't, much better. 

The giftings that we see in others that are wonderful, and strong, are meant for our pleasure.  God has placed those things in that person for you to enjoy! And, He's done the same in you! So focus on your strengths, give Him your weaknesses, and lets truly start to live the lives that Jesus died to give us. He came so that we may have and enjoy our lives (John 10:10) If you don't know what your strengths and giftings are, then pray to God to reveal them to you and begin to try different things out.

Lastly, I had to laugh at the end of the taping session. I was literally in and out of there in 15 minutes.  Russell said that I was a natural and he'd probably be calling me again to do video announcements in the future. 

Funny how I may not be able to stage a performance with my desired giftings and my life, but God may have a future for me on camera! :-) I didn't know it, until I tried! 

God Bless You All! Praying you are all enjoying a safe and blessed Holiday weekend. 

Blessings and In His Love, 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"My Not So Dirty, BIG Secret"

Shhhh! I have a secret.  Do you want to know what it is? 

I have no idea what I am doing. 

Not just in a whole life encompassing sense (because this surely affects my whole life), but more specifically, I barely know what a blog is, let alone how to create, publish, and keep one. 

Why then, you ask, would I be launching a blog if I don't know what it is and am entirely afraid of such an endeavor? Here then is my next BIG secret.

Because God told me too.

So, here I am, very nervous and very hesitant to begin on this journey, but somehow entirely assured and at peace with the fact that I am making a right step. Such a conflict of emotions. I've actually been putting off His request for some time now. 
It seems to me that my fear has been driving me. I have a fear of failing. I seem to go out of my way to make sure I do everything right and am as fully prepared as humanly possible. I read a lot. In fact I read other folks' blogs, and listen to their teachings, and I think to myself how wonderful they are and how they are saying things so clearly and so well, and how I couldn't do as well as them. I fear, I doubt, and I find myself thinking of how I don't measure up most of the time. But then God sends people in my life, like my amazing husband, who's wisdom and truth are abundant, to ask reflective questions like "who's holding the measuring stick, Amy?" 

But that is just the point. When we get caught up in these thoughts, we are really not relying on and trusting in God the way we should be. Instead we are too concerned with our own abilities, and worldly definitions of success and achievement. We assume all these hopes and dreams, that God Himself has instilled in us, aren't going to work out. Yet we can read through Scripture and see all of the times where God called someone to do something that looked impossible to the world. 

When God whispered to me to begin this blog, He said "tell them about your relationship with me Amy. Tell them what I'm showing and teaching you in your everyday life".  This encourages me, because it sounds like the Call to spread the gospel, as is found in His Word. So, I am going forth. While I am hesitant to be sharing my weaknesses, imperfections and limitations openly with you all, my hope is that someone out there can relate and be encouraged to step out as God calls them to also.  

You see, God often calls people out of their self imposed boxes and restrictions, not necessarily to impact the world all the time, but impact ourselves as individuals and those nearest to us. I once heard someone say, "You don't have to leave your house to do Kingdom work", and I've never forgotten that. And I hear loud and clear in my Spirit tonight, "You don't need an agenda or a platform. You are the platform. And God is the star." It's always been about Him anyway. 

God said to me one night a few weeks ago, smack dab in the middle of a pity party I was throwing myself, "There will always be a way to fail, but I AM the only way to succeed."

So now is my opportunity to redefine "success". 

Success to me, won't be achieving popularity or profit through this blog, but is and will be in the continual stretching, learning and growing with this new endeavor God has called me to, that otherwise wouldn't of happened if I was the one ultimately in control.

Success in His eyes isn't attaining an end, it's listening for, and moving in the direction of His voice, and obeying what He's calling us to do. Because that = growing our Faith and Trust in Him. Almighty God, Our Father, Our Friend.

So somehow, under all the fear and doubt, I come to find that I am made for more than just inviting the glorious into the blessed but mundane life of a stay at home mother and wife. There is more than my trying to survive through my days and make the most of life, attempting to bless God, and His Kingdom, in the process! 

I remember always saying to myself and everyone when I first became saved, "The best is yet to come".  Now I realize that the best is yet to come not because of all that He's going to do for us, in us and through us, but because of our steady growth toward Him, and in increasing our knowledge of Who He is and Who we are in Him. We truly are and have nothing without Him. He is our everything! Drawing nearer to Him in all we are and in all we do is our reward!

Hebrews 12:1-2 

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,
Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

More of You, Less of Me, God. Thank you for this opportunity to grow in faith, hope and love in You! 

And thank you, All, for the opportunity to share with you.

Blessings and Peace, In His Love,