Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Passion Play

I have not posted in six days! I can feel it too! I have so much I want to say about the past few very busy, but wonderful days.

Saturday and Sunday were the first two nights of the Passion Play at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. Being the actress that I am, I just enjoy every moment. There is just something so glorious about standing beneath the spotlight and singing and acting. But to do so for the Lord is the greatest part! I have the honor to play Mary Magdalene who was originally demon possessed by seven demons. You can just imagine what I get to do if you've not been there to see. You can imagine my face covered in dirt (I use random neutral colors of make-up), my hair in a rats nest (it's so lovely), and dirty clothes (very dirty). My adrenaline is at an all time high as I come out screaming, falling, clawing. I am finally brought before Jesus (by two brave young men... I've accidentally hit them both several times) and fall at His feet where He heals me. Sometimes it honestly takes my breath away as I imagine that I am truly before Jesus. I stand there in front of hundreds of people "acting" but deep down I feel Jesus in my spirit reminding me that I too have experienced His power. I may not have been demon possessed, but I was lost and He found me. So jumping up and down after being healed isn't always acting!

The play is just so amazing. Flowing through the ministry of Jesus to the heart-wrenching Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the last scene in Heaven. It brings tears to my eyes when I see the our wonderful actor playing Satan being dragged to Jesus and being forced to bow down. There is just so much underling in that short part of the play. For me evil is officially defeated and I can't wait till that day!

There is simply so much that goes on in the play, it astounds me. Lighting, sound, behind the stage, actors, singers, caregivers, greeters, costume designers, set constructors, video operators, prayer warriors... etc, etc. When all the pieces are together, it is an unbelievable perfomance, with the sole purpose of winning souls for the Kingdom of God. What a joy it is to be able to participate!

So that is where I've been! Rubbing dirt on my face and knotting my hair, all for the glory of Jesus!

If you've not seen the play and if you live anywhere within a couple hours, come out this Saturday or Sunday night! Doors open at 5 and the play begins at 6! You don't want to miss it! I know I sound like a commercial, but I'm serious! It is great!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Is He Enough?

If you were to have absolutely nothing but the love of God, would you be satisfied? Would I? Would it be enough?

I recently wrote a song and I debated back and forth about the lyrics. Originally the song was an "asking praise song" as I call it. It was a song asking God for love, faith, etc. but I stopped and realized that there are too many songs asking God for things and I wanted to write a song that gives and worships. As I continued to think about it, I was drawn to a special point in my life, a time when I was confronted with having to answer, "Is God is really enough for me?" It was when my Dad and I were in Ethiopia in '09 and my Dad got sick. Really sick. Probably the sickest I've ever seen him. We were staying in Alaba, Ethiopia in a single room that was in a compound. There was no electricity, restrooms or running water. It was just a dark room with a single window covered by a sheet to keep out the flies. It was fine as we were rarely there. My Dad and I taught all day long and ate at the generous home of some Ethiopian friends. Days were packed with a busy schedule.

One morning, however, I woke up to the alarm clock that Dad wasn't turning off. After I had turned it off I realized that Daddy was sick. He was burning up with fever. I soon realized that I had to take care of things myself. After getting some other members of the team to come down the street to check on him, they agreed with me that he had to rest. He was so sick he couldn't hardly sit up. I gave him a hug and left to go teach. I just knew he would be better when I got back or at least on the mend, but he was worse. He was delirious. As there were not restrooms, he had to walk to the end of the compound, which scared me since he hardly knew who he was let alone where the restroom was. The next day he was no better. I came back to check on him at lunch time and to bring him some bread but he couldn't eat it. I was so broken, so terrified. Daddy wasn't getting better. He was supposed to be the strong one. He was the one who encouraged me. But he was so sick with a temp. of 102 and no doctor or hospital anywhere near. We had come all that way for... this? I just wanted to go home. I felt that for the first time, I was really alone. I fell into an exhausted sleep on a suitcase since Dad was on the only bed and I heard the door slowly creak open. I thought I was dreaming as I sat up. Three Ethiopian women came into the room. They were silhouettes against the blinding outside light. They didn't speak to me but I greeted them and went to the bed to try to get Daddy to sit up. I recognized them from some of the women at the church Dad had been teaching at. The students had been told that he was sick, so I thought these ladies must have come to check on him. But they didn't even talk to him or me. They swayed their colorful skirts back and forth and hummed, walking around the small room. They began to mutter with their eyes to the heavens. Their dark faces glistened with tears as they raised their voices in prayer. It sounded almost like a song as they all spoke at once. I couldn't understand their words, but now that I look back I'm glad I couldn't. I was left marveling at the tone of their voices, the tears on their faces and their swaying. I cried with them. Daddy sat up dripping in sweat, eyes closed. I truly believe that was the most genuine prayer I'd ever heard. The presence of God filled my heart in that dark room. The three women slowly ceased and left as quickly as they'd come. Daddy laid back down and I was left sitting on the edge of his bed marveling at the precision of the ladies visit. They had been like angels, not in white with blond hair, but dressed in warm colors with skin the color of midnight. I prayed. It was just me and God. He was all I had and I realized that He was enough. If I had nothing but my Heavenly Father, He was enough.

Daddy slowly got better the next day and was able to continue teaching. He remembered very little about those three days. He saw the three ladies again and thanked them, because not only did their prayers help bring about his healing but they reminded me that God is enough and He's always there to listen. We later realized that Dad had taken a sip of tap water on accident which had lead to his sickness.

The song flowed from that story. It simply became a melody thanking Jesus that He is enough. That time in my life was a major eye-opener. But it was also such a joy I'm going back this fall! I have it so easy compared to the believers there. They live in poverty and rejoice even in persecution.

What about you? Can you say "Jesus is enough?" Do we really have to have something more? Do we really have to have the world's acceptance? Do we have to have to have this or be that? What if a family member dies? What if I lose my health? If we only had Jesus... would He be enough? We all like to say, "Oh, yes! He is all I need." But lets really think about it. He wants to be enough. If we say that he is enough... then He should be.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:7-8(ESV)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

He's Faithful

I walk up the white stairs that lead to a hall that leads to another. My legs feel weak. My mind is swirling so fast. But I remind myself that I've studied as much as I can, I'll do fine. Deep breath. I step into a small room where I put my purse down. I mutter something nice to the lady sitting behind the desk. She hands me a paper to read stating the "rules." My eyes can hardly focus and I read "no gum." Too embarrassed to spit it out I swallow it. I hand her something she asked for. She types in something on her computer as I glance around the room. I've been here before. The test room. It is quiet except for the soft clicking of computer keys, that most irritating sound. A man asks me if I'm ready and I say "yes" despite the gnawing in my stomach. He never said "follow me" so don't until I realize that I should have. So I run behind him to catch up looking like the dork of the century. After making some comment about me being nervous he points me to the last computer and chair in the room. Thankful for the fact that I won't have to bear the key clicking since I'm all alone, I sit down. I fill out some information about myself on the computer. I keep misspelling my mom's name as my fingers are shaking. I'm really embarrassed since her name is Pam... tough name to spell. I am finally done with all of that garb and I see the button "Begin Test." I suddenly feel a surge of peace and I whisper a quick prayer and click it. The test begins. The first question I don't know the answer, neither do I know the second through fourth. The 90 min. test is ticking by already. I feel a little wave of panic, but its okay, I still have 116 questions! But the questions just keep coming and I don't understand so many. I'm at question 30 and I look up at the time. 55 min left. What?!? I'm spending too much time per question. Oh sweet Lord help me. Question 31, I don't understand this one either. Panic is suddenly taking over me I can't seem to breathe. I just want to quit. I have passed every exam, why is this SO hard? I was never told to study so much about this stuff. I am so mad. I'm failing, I know it. Heat, I'm so hot. What is that horrible smell? Hot pockets? And that beeping... a microwave? Is someone chopping up an onion back there? My eyes are watering. I can't think! Lord, I just want to stop. I still have... I'm calculating... 89 questions! No Lord.

Katy, stop.


Stop. Know that I'm here. I always have been.

Peace, so much peace. I can do this and if I fail, it isn't because I didn't study. God is here. I start back. Time dwindles and the questions do as well. I still think I'm failing, but I'm not so angry. I have peace. There is nothing else I can do but do unto the Lord. The last question. Done. I read "To view your score push 'proceed.'" If I haven't passed, it's okay. I push it. I'm holding my breath. I passed! I really did! Maybe the score wasn't what I'd hoped or what I'm used to, but I passed! I stand up and walk out of the room. I am asked to sign my name which I do shaking. I leave on wobbly legs knowing that I have experienced the Lord's peace even in a college exam. I am satisfied.

That was the story of an exam I took last Wednesday. It may seem childish and silly to you that I went so crazy about it, but to me it was a big deal. I was afraid and worried that months of studying would go down the drain. I was in such need of reassurance. At that moment my Heavenly Father was the only one who could help me. He did. He is so faithful.

I tell you this story to remind you to lean on the arms of your Father in Heaven, because they are never unsteady. He is always there. And in the mist of whatever it may be that you are in you can, as I did, experience Almighty God. He is SO VERY GOOD.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Phillipians 4:6-7

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Good-O-Meter

I love this video. It reminds me how it doesn't matter how bad we are or good we are, if Jesus hasn't taken our place and paid our sin debt, we aren't good enough for heaven. Even though this is just a cute video, it has a deeper message. I am so thankful if I were to have a "file" in heaven, it would need to say nothing but "Child of God."

Monday, March 14, 2011

This World's Only Hope

Tonight I sat watching the news in utter amazement. Before my eyes I saw footage of entire Japanese towns being washed away. I heard that around 10,000 have been found dead and tens of thousands are still missing. Families have been torn apart by the catastrophe. There are miles upon miles of rubble. Billions of dollars of damage. 

It is amazing to think that last Monday at this time Japan and all those now dead or lost were living their normal lives without the thought of an earthquake's soon appearance. I wonder what they would have done if they would have known it was coming. Would they have left? Probably. Would the nuclear plants ensured the saftey of the nuclear reactors? I'm sure. But they didn't know. That is part of life, we just don't know what is next.

There is something far worse than a Japanese tsunami and earthquake coming, far worse than a hurricane like Katrina, far worse than any war this world has seen... it will be the Tribulation and ultimately, hell. After God has sent Jesus to come and get His children, the world will go through catastrophe after catastrophe. Then worse than that, those left will be sentenced to an eternity seperated from God. I know it's coming. If you've called upon Jesus to be your Savior and Lord, then you know it is coming too. So I asked myself, "WHY AREN'T I TELLING EVERYONE???." Unlike the 'quake that devistated Japan, I know Jesus is coming back. He's told me so.

I was left thinking, "Oh, it's so sad that there was nothing to let them know that a 'quake and tsunami were coming. It just sprung on them." Their saving grace could have been to evacuate a few hundred miles from their coastal Japanese homes. And I know what the world's saving grace from an eternity in hell is, Jesus. Jesus Christ, the One who carried the weight of the world's sins upon His shoulders. The One who rose again. So why aren't we telling more people. I'm trying, maybe you are, but what if we knew Jesus is coming back tomorrow or in a week or month? We need to pretend He is. Those we tell may not believe us, as those in Noah's day didn't believe a world wide flood was coming, but at least they had been told. I don't want those I came in contact with while on this earth to look back and say, "Katy never even told us." Let's not assume people know the love and knowledge of God's grace. We have to show them through our words and actions.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and(D) kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Matthew 24:6-8 (ESV)

Things like Japanese earthquakes have a way of reminding me to set my mind and heart on things above. It also reminds me that Jesus really is this world's one and only hope.

Friday, March 11, 2011

How Will They Remember Me?

I was reading my Dad's blog today entitled Signs of The Times. He said, "Tsunami warnings and sirens are blaring in Hawaii as they await the waves of unknown size to strike their coast. The same is true for the west coast of the U.S. Sounds like something out of a movie doesn’t it? But it’s not. It’s really happening. Sometimes we forget that we are living in tumultuous times and in what I believe are the last days. Kind of shakes us out of our lethargy and apathy. What if it all ended today?"

What if it all ended today? Then I started to wonder, have I done enough? Have I worked my whole life (even if it has only been 17 years) with all that I am so that when I die God will say "Well done good and faithul servant"? I then began thinking about how I could excuse with the fact that I'd planned on having longer to witness and such and my life ended too soon. What a pathetic excuse. Why aren't I living like today's my last day? And I'm not talking about going to Disney World or the Bahamas. What if today was the last time you could witness to your family member, or your friend? What if it's my last? Sure, it probably won't be, but what if?

If a Tsunami were to take us out today, would we have lived our lives so strongly for Christ that people left behind could say without doubt, "He/she lived with serving Jesus as his/her main priority"? Even if we can't hop a plan and be a missionary in Uganda, can the people around you see that Jesus is your Lord, by the way you serve where you are?

Dad was reading me an artical the other day that stated that non-Christian American teens (Christians in general for that matter) are most disgusted with Christians because they are hypocrites. They say, "If they [Christians] really believe in their God, then why wouldn't they live like it?" That struke me to the core. My immediate response was one of defense for myself. I began to think about all the mission trips I've been on, how I sing at church, how I say this or that about how I love God, how I, I, I. I just keep saying "I." Where is God in this equation? Can people see Him in me? Not just in those big things but by choosing to smile when I could let loose, or by using money that my nature would like to use on myself toward something greater for God. No wonder unbelievers are confused! If we really BELIEVE that Jesus is what we should live for, then why isn't Jesus what we're living for? If I were to say I'm a Carolina fan and yet I wore Duke blue, talked about Duke constantly, invested money in going to see Duke play, and seemed to care little for Carolina, would you still believe that I LOVE the Tarheels? I doubt it. If we LOVE God, then we should talk about Him constantly, invest money into His purposes, and live with His light shinning through us. Do you like how I compared Carolina and Duke? With Carolina like Christ's puposes and Duke as like.... the devils. He. He. Just had to throw that in.

So if a Tsumani were to take us out, what would those left say about us? What have we lived for? Not what will we live for, but what have we lived for? Even if you are doing well, we can always to better. If I were to suddenly fall over dead right here, I want others to be able to say what a follower of the Most High King I was. That is a life with purpose!  

Don't skip the verses, they are encouraging to a heart like mine.

Hebrews 12:1-3
 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Matthew 7:24
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Eight Instruments and Four Friends

The Lord must have smiled on us today as I just returned from a lovely afternoon making music and spending time with my dear cousins and sister. We basked in the enjoyment of the sound of two violins, two mandolins, two guitars, a viola and a banjo. It was truly so very fun to just start playing and singing.

I am so very blessed to have such wonderful friends, that happen to be my family! We wouldn't know what to do without each other! We are the same four that have played in the algae waters of our creek, trudged the snow laden hills, played Apples to Apples more times than imaginable, made mud pies with the red North Carolina earth, ran from snakes, drunk over-chocolaty hot chocolate, and lived with the knowledge that the other three are always nearby. Life just wouldn't have be the same without them. God gives us people like that to love and to be loved by. They are a prayer warriors. They are the best still; the best even though things have changed and we're older.

So I've come to say, be thankful for the Christians in your life, the ones that hold you up, put a smile on your face, argue sometimes, make mistakes, but love always and give. I am thankful for a Mom that loves me so much that she stays home to teach me the Truth, a Daddy who is an example of what a father, husband and pastor should be, for a sister that loves me even when I fail, for my sweet Clara Fu that reminds me of childlike faith with her humble smile, and for my brother that reminds me of my patience :), for my tall PaPaw Brown's deep voice that makes every worry leave my mind, for my petite MaMaw's red lips that always say something to make me laugh, for my MeMaw's patience, for my PaPaw George's love for music that came to me. I'm thankful for the cardinal I see out my window at this moment, the aroma of meatloaf from downstairs, the sound of little voices, for the books full of knowledge surrounding me, the laptop I'm typing on to tell you this, and the mind I have to send these words through my fingers. I'm thankful.

To continue my ramblings, be a friend to someone who doesn't deserve it. Appreciate the ones who still love you. Smile when you're sad. Love because He first loved you. If you're a child of the King, you're blessed. Be thankful. Now go hug someone.

I love you Taylor, Leah and Kandace. You are special and I'm thankful for you all.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The God Vending Machine

You pop a dollar in, push a button or two and what you requested falls from a shelf and drops to where you are to retrieve it from a little swinging door. A vending machine. Easy and quick, unless it is out of order. :)

I've been thinking again, don't get scared! I've been thinking about God and what we ask of Him. It's like I mentioned in "Servants of God," we tend to request a lot. But what is worse than that is that when we come to ask we are full of yucky sin. As I listen to Christian music, speakers and believers of Christ, I hear all that we want from God and then in the same breath that they're going to go watch a movie that is far from godly. I see how we make fun of our mistakes to say that "God will forgive me, He loves me no matter what!" He does! But He is a righteous God and He hates sin. He can use bad for good, but He wants good from us!
I hear people who say, "I just keep sinning, but God keeps forgiving!" But if we love God, then why are we willing to hurt Him by continuing to sin.

I've noticed that we run up to God, like we do a vending machine and we say, "Okay, God I love you so much and I really want this and I need it now. So how much do I owe you? No more than a dollar I hope!"  I know this is tough, but it bothers me and I want to know your thoughts too! Why is it that we joke about our sins, continue watching, saying and doing what we want and yet expect this loving God to give us what we want? There is a confused perception of God among many Christians. God is loving and kind, but He is also jealous and righteous. He is the God that made the universe, swept back the Red Sea, knocked down the walls of Jericho, killed 185,000 Assyrians, and sent His son to die upon a dirty cross. He is worth more than our half-hearted prayers, and excuses for our sins. I can't imagine how tired He gets of hearing our requests when our hearts are so far from Him. I believe many don't hear from God because He can't talk to them through their walls of sins. God is "just" and He can't ignore sin. But when a murder kills someone, don't we want justice? God sees all sin as equal and He must have justice. He wants to hear our requests, but He wants to sit down to a "meal" with Him where we cleanse our hearts and conversate rather than run up to a vending-machine asking for something quick.

God is so much greater than we seem to understand. In the Old Testament the name of God was not allowed to be said by anyone other than the Priests. Now we throw around the word forgetting how sacred His name really is. He wants our fellowship, but He doesn't want to be seprate from the rest of our lives. When we get home from church, He doesn't want us to forget about Him. Imagine if we spent our whole lives eating junk out of vending machines? A bag of Lays here, a Chips Ahoy there, and soft drinks all the time. We would be sick and unhealthy. God wants us to sit down to a healthy meal, where our spiritual bodies are reguvinated through His presence. He alone can fill our souls with what is good.

I know this blog post has been a lot like "Servants of God," but this is what God put on my heart to say: God is worth more than what we give Him. He is worth more than excuses about why we do this or that. James 4:17 says, "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins." God is God and He deserves so much more than we could ever give, but lets try to give Him all we can, not just in praise but through our lives.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The 'Real' World

We've all been either told or have said at some point, "You need to get in the real world!" It's a fine statement, often used when what you're doing doesn't line up with "reality." Someone recently told me that when they were giving me a hard time about being homeschooled. It got me thinking about it. I started to wonder, "What is the 'real world'"?  It is a celestial ball, but it is also a place that is, at this point, ruled by Satan and his followers. Jesus will be the King of this World, but at this point Satan is having a hay-day with the globe, but soon, praise the Lord, it will be ripped from his grasp.

If we are Christians, our lives should look very different from this world. It should be a compliment to be told to "Get in the 'real world.'"  When I was told this, it made me frustrated because I felt like they thought that I am naive to this world and the world of "modern teens." And then it dawned on me, I am! I know very little about what goes on among teenagers these days. I have a lot of friends from all over the country and even all over the world, but I am still naive. I don't say that to make myself look good by any means, but I thanked God that He has made me a creation that is neon compared to a very black and white world. I didn't do it, He did. I suddenly realized that I do not want to be of this world. Many Christians, not only live in the world (we obviously have to be in the world), but are of it as well. It hurts me to see so many teens (I'm going to talk about teens since I am one) claiming Jesus as their Savior and yet when you talk to them about God, Jesus, or church, they laugh (I'm not kidding). We do need to be in the world and witness to others, but there is a difference between being in as a Christian and being in just like every other person. You don't have to date, party, talk badly, or whatever else to be in the "real world." Saying that we love Jesus is not enough. Coming to church is not enough. If the shows we watch, things we say and way we live doesn't shine out blindingly compared to this culture, then we are failing. A lady named Linda Horton spoke at a ladies conference at our church a couple weeks ago and one of the greatest things she said was the simple words, "If you say Jesus is your Lord, then He should be your Lord."

Don't skip over this verse, this is what God says on the matter.

 1 John 2:15
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.

Standing out.

It is good not to be apart of this world! We don't have to catch up with the latest. We are living for an entirely different purpose, to serve God and work for the Kingdom of Heaven. We can witness and help others like Jesus did when He was here, but we need to be very careful that we don't get pulled down. The next time someone says "You need to get in the real world!" I'll be happy that God is using me as a neon orange light to a very bleak world. Will you join me as a light to this world? Then others will see that we can be a light without being of this world.