Hold the Sugar, Please!

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Over the past 2 weeks I have been very aware of what goes in my mouth!  I have cut back drastically on sugar and simply the amount of food that I inhale.  I have noticed a difference in my waist, but my actual weight is as stubborn as ever.  There are so many thoughts on weight loss out there, that a person can get terribly confused.  My goal was to place my focus on God and rely on Him to fulfill my needs instead of on food, however, as I read different books, I find that my attention gets drawn back once again to food!

For example, Jorge Cruise’s method teaches a person how to count sugar and carbohydrates.  A person is expected to take notes on everything that is eaten.  He also has meal plans in his book.  I noticed that the first thing I wanted to do was try out all of his recipes and eat as much as he suggested each meal including snacks.  The problem with this is that I am paying way too much attention to food, AND eating more than I actually need.  Just because he says I can have 3 meals and 2 snacks doesn’t mean that I am actually hungry!

Other methods focus on eating whole foods.  This contradicts the method above because whole foods have carbs and natural sugar that Jorge says to limit.  Confusion.  Do I eat the watermelon or not?  Well, I ate it.  And I probably ate too much of it, but it sure tasted good 🙂

I was pleased with myself yesterday.  The family went out to eat and I picked up my salad and started to choose my dessert when suddenly I went, “no, no, no!” and walked away.  I was very full after my brisket, green beans and mashed potatoes anyway.  I didn’t need the dessert.  I have also baked several batches of cookies and refrained from eating all but 2 or 3 of them (cookies, not batches).  So, that in itself is progress.  Hopefully the weight will eventually dissolve like sugar in my mouth, but until then, I am just going to keep plugging and see what happens.

BASIC TIPS FOR WORSHIP KEYBOARD PLAYERS

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BASIC TIPS FOR WORSHIP KEYBOARD PLAYERS

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I love reading articles on how to enhance my playing/leading for worship. Here is a quick reference for those transitioning from classical style playing to playing with a band.

  1. Set up where you can always see the face of your worship or band leader. Signals and communication will be much more intuitive
  2. Don’t just stick to piano sounds. Pads, Rhodes, Whirly, Hammond, strings. Variety is the spice girls of music.
  3. You are playing in the same sonic spectrum as the lead guitarist so try to hear what each other is playing and work together, combine rhythms, you play low, they play high, you play chords, they play lead, take turns etc. If you can’t hear them at least watch their fingers for the rhythms they play.

Cont. reading…

My Eyes Are Dry

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dry

Sometimes an honest look inside is needed to get us back where we should be.  For quite a while I have felt dry, barren, empty.  Very much like parched earth in desperate need of water.  Good deeds will not soften a heart in this condition nor will church attendance nor bible reading.

Jeremiah 2:13 says, “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”

The remedy for a dry soul can only be found in Jesus Christ.  We cannot fix ourselves or rehydrate our spirits.  Every attempt will only leave us in worse condition than before.  Keith Green was one of the most annointed song writers I have heard in my life.  His words penetrate into the depths of my soul to bring rejoicing and repentance.  The song “My Eyes Are Dry” is the cry of my heart today.

My eyes are dry, my faith is old
My heart is hard, my prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be
Alive to You and dead to me

Oh what can be done for an old heart like mine
Soften it up with oil and wine
The oil is You, Your Spirit of love
Please wash me anew in the wine of Your Blood

WD 2

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Today  wasn’t too bad. I survived a parade and 2 pockets full of candy.  The homecoming football game was tonight, and I debated whether or not to snack. My decision to resist was turned over as easily as our team turned over the ball! That said, today was a mild success. At least my portions during mealtime we’re smaller and only one helping.

On another note, I slept far longer than normal, but it felt like loads of stress were seeping out of my inmost parts. then while working on music today, it was actually enjoyable. Hopefully tomorrow will be another positive day.

Well the football team just evened up the score. I guess that’s about how I feel-even steven!

The Way Down

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Once upon a time about 15 years ago, I read a book called “The Weigh Down Diet”  by Gwen Shamblin. I had just given birth to my third child and couldn’t get the weight off. For me the technique she used was transforming. The weight slid off and I felt great for about 8 years. Then came baby #4. And some depression (not due to baby!). 8 years later I am still carrying the equivalent of a full term baby around and am quite tired of it.

While I don’t prescribe to all of Gwen’s  beliefs (religious), I do agree with her philosophy on dieting.  My issue is not merely one of inactivity, but who or what do I turn to.  I find that my comfort, my solace comes from food.  My affections are seriously misplaced. When depressed, I turn to food for comfort. When happy I turn to it for rejoicing. And then there’s every other emotion in between. The truth is that I have a head hunger, a heart hunger, and not a physical need for food hunger.

The Bible teaches that we are to have one God, and our devotion is to be directed to Him and Him alone. I know this, but switching my allegiances has not been easy since food has such a strong grip. I have tried exercise videos, books, walking, and websites to lose weight. I find that I know the right answers, I just don’t have anyone to hold me accountable to doing what needs to be done.

The purpose of blogging about it is to see it in print. To have a daily log that I look at and am accountable to. And a public forum in which I can be embarrassed. By writing about my journey, I hope to turn my focus from food back to the One who created it.  To seek Him when I need comfort or rejoicing. I know that what I do with this earthly vessel is a reflection on Him, and I want to bring Him honor by how I keep myself.

today’s challenge: eat less (and my brain is already craving and plotting)

Nothing Says America Like Jesus and a Bouncy House

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The lights dimmed over the congregation, spotlights flooded the stage, smoke began to rise and the musicians  beat an almost hypnotic rhythm.  The audience quickly fell in with the beat, their bodies swaying with hands stretched to the sky.  The worship service had begun.

By the way, this photo is of a rock concert, but it could easily have been a modern worship service.

By the way, this photo is of a rock concert, but it could easily have been a modern worship service.

Before I begin, let me say that I am not opposed to good music, or lights, or swaying, or…you name it.  What I am wrestling with is the question, “What have we turned Jesus into?”  What started me on this journey (again) was seeing church signs posted at the corners of every town advertising their services and inviting people to come.  Our own church is currently designing signage.  My question is, “Why?”  Is that what the church should be about?  Are we merely there to attract bodies into a building so we can do a head count each week and boast about the numbers? (Sounds like a sin David committed!)

The great commission in Matthew 28 specifically says, “Go”, “Baptize”, “Teach”.  It says nothing about gathering in order to save the lost.  The gathering was specifically for the body to come together and encourage/strengthen one another to then “Go” once more.  Yet, in our modern view of church, we seem to have gotten our commands mixed up.  Instead of going out to reach the lost, we expect them to come to us.  And with that mindset we make our services as attractive as possible, even mimicking the world at times.  After all, we want the non-believer to feel comfortable.

Signage is not the only advertising that has my ire up.  Recently I witnessed an event that made me ashamed to be associated with the churched.  In order to raise attendance at a youth gathering, the director basically bribed people to come.  Youth were offered $200 CASH to the person who brought the most new kids, along with games, free pizza, and $20 gift card prizes.  The youth director also promised to get a mohawk if a certain number of people showed up.  Oh…that wasn’t all.  Someone would win a new SAMSUNG GALAXY TABLET 2!   Well, people did show up.  And the numbers were high.  After the event, all involved praised God for how He had moved in their midst and brought souls into their flock.  0_o

Ok, what was obvious to me MAY NOT have been obvious to them.  Somehow I doubt it.

Does the church today look like the church in the New Testament?  Is the church today functioning in the manner that Christ intended it to? Or have we sold out for cheap grace?  Dietrich Bonhoeffer worded it best when he defined cheap grace and costly grace.  “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son”

I fear that the church today has indeed sold out to cheap grace.  Congregants want certain styles of music, preaching that doesn’t offend, but always encourages and programs for every member of their family.  We seem to be a group that is more interested in having our ears tickled than in being on the highways and byways compelling men and women to enter the kingdom.  Serving Christ is not glamorous nor entertaining.  It is hard work, dirty work.  And that is why it is offensive to so many believers.  We live in a culture of instant everything.  We want our wants met before our needs.  We want people to flock to us on our schedule so that we may enjoy the rest of the week doing our own thing.

The end result of this is not that we cease holding worship  services.  It is merely that we take a good, honest look at why we do the things that we do.  Who are we doing it for?  Are we going about it in a manner that would please Christ?  Do we mirror the early church or the American culture?  Is it possible to preach the word without a gimmick?