Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Not Quite Believing It

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

So.  This is the week.  Friday morning I get on a plane (I haven't been on a plane since 1999...) and head to Dallas for a week of creative worship workshopping.

And I'm taking a huge deep breath...it doesn't seem quite real to me.  Yes, I've wanted to do it for several years.  But...it really is a huge step out of the comfort zone.

We will present an original song to a board.  We will have guitar classes (I have a guitar that I pull out and play with it...as opposed to actually playing it...every once in a very great while.  I think I remember the C, G, D, F and A minor chords...). I'm not going to be at the top of either of those efforts.

But it's good.  It's good to be challenged, to be put in a position of taking risks.  Especially when, really, I'm not looking for validation as a worship leader or song writer or musician.

I'm just looking for the kick in the backside that will knock the melancholies out.  A fresh vision to take the place of the one that has gone away.  Courage to not take that personally.

Yeah, I'm still fighting that.  It's crazy, but, well, it's the truth.

So I'm pushing past the comfort zone and headed out into something way different for a week.

I'm hoping I can articulate it when I get back. :-)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week of Praise, Day 7

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Psalms 119.

If you've never looked at that chapter closely, it's worth a look.

It's actually a pretty amazing piece of literature; comprised of 22 eight-verse sections, it is a tribute to the Word...God's laws, precepts and prophecy.

Each of those eight -verse sections has a label on it.  Most folks don't realize that those labels are letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

The kicker is that, in the Hebrew, each verse in each section starts with the letter at the top of that section.

It's a massive acrostic poem.

And it extols the glory of God's word.

God inspired the ancients to write His message to us, then sovereignly moved on the scholars of the day to collect all the law, the prophets, the gospels, the epistles...even the history...into an anthology, and then protected that anthology so that we have, today, a book that is unique in all the world.

He gave us his Word.

A lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Ps 119:105)

It brings peace, and keeps me from stumbling (Ps 119:165)

It contains wondrous things (Ps 119:18)

It is better than gold and silver (Ps 119:72)

It is established firmly in the heavens forever (Ps 119:89)

It brings life (Ps. 119:93)

It brings understanding (Ps 119:104)

...and a whole bunch more.  Just in that one chapter.

We live in a unique time, when the Word is easy to read and study by the common person...in not-so-long-ago-history, it was not available to regular folks like me.

Some of the most horrible persecution occurred when the organized church killed folks for the crime of possessing an English translation of scriptures...which is astonishing now.

Even when an English translation was legalized, printed Bibles were rare.  One Bible per family....that was handed down as an heirloom (One of my aunts has a Bible that was originally purchased by my great-great-great-???-great grandfather in the 1800's, and handed down through the family, with difficult to read records of deaths, births and marriages in the family).

The family owned the Bible, but it was preserved, and read aloud by Mom or Dad, if at all.

Now I personally own about 6 Bibles...and we have a myriad of translations available on line...even Hawai'i Pidgin.  We have ACCESS to the Word; any time, any place.

And I'm amazed and grateful.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Week of Praise Day 6

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

All of these verses I've been posting...it can seem kinda removed.  'God is all this stuff, so let's praise Him.'

But this morning I got a fresh look at a reason to praise Him.

It's all through Scripture, so I'm not going to go dig up all the references today. This is MY story.

He is worthy of our praise because He knows.  He cares. And...oh, my...He responds.

This morning had been a bit of a battle in myself to stay in the ground I'd claimed, if that makes any sense.   Then, scrolling through Facebook, I came across a friend's post.  She'd posted it for her daughter and others who were off at college, but it was a highlighted Bible verse and the wording jumped straight into my heart.

As it happens, it's the Message translation, which kinda made me smile.

Rev. 3:8:

I see what you've done.  Now see what I've done.  I've opened a door before you that no one can slam shut.  You don't  have much strength.  I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word.  You didn't deny me when times were rough.

I wasn't looking for encouragement, but He gave it.

Because...He's like that.

And words can't express my thankfulness to my God, who gives us what we need when we need it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Week of Praise: Day 5

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

It' the OMNIs that get me.

How could we not praise a God who is all the OMNIs?

(all scriptures today taken from the NIV 84)

Omniscient -- all knowing:

          The LORD is a God who knows - 1 Sam 2:3

         ...for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. - 1 Jn 3:20

       Plus a multitude of individual verses that lists all the variety and extent of His knowledge.

Omnipresent -- existing in all places at once
         Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?
          If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed on the depths, you are there.
          If I rise up on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 
          Even there, your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. -- Ps 139: 7-10

         'And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.' - Matt 28:20

Omnipotent -- all powerful

          But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there,  the Lord Jesus  
         Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will
          transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.  -- Phil 3:21

         Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God
          and was returning to God;   -- Jn 13:3

          Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his -- Dan.2:20

Plus another multitude of verses describing various things over which God has power.

There is NO ONE ELSE, not on earth, in earth, under earth, above earth or in any other realm who has all knowledge and all power and is present wherever one could possibly go.

And this incredible, unfathomable, OMNI Person...loves and cares for...me.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Week of Praise: Day Four

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Because He loves me, and loved me even before I knew or cared anything for Him --

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us - Rom 5:8 ESV

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Week of Praise: Day Three

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

We are all familiar with Jeremiah 29:11 --

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  (NIV 84)

But what we fail to recognize sometimes is that declaration follows immediately after God says for them to settle down in the foreign land, to accept the exile and dispossession...in short, to accept as God's plan something that seems totally foreign to anything God had ever done for them, even in opposition to what He had promised them.

In that same passage, God names the duration of the dispossession...70 years. Long enough that the older folks who were carried off would die in exile, but a promise that their children would return and rebuild...and He promised to prosper them where they were.

Even in judgement on the nation, those who stayed faithful would be under God's protection.

God is a Covenant-keeper; even when we don't understand and it looks like everything is going wrong and falling apart, He can be absolutely trusted.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week of Praise: Day Two

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I thank God for His unwavering faithfulness...even when I am weak and doubleminded and consumed with myself.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, 
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; 
great is your faithfulness;
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will  hope in him."
-Lamentations 3:21-24  ESV

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week of Praise: Day One

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I can't seem to get the vimeo to embed nice and pretty, but here's the link to the recap from the women's conference:

She is Redeemed 2014 recap

Pastor Leisa challenged us to spend a week just in praise and thanksgiving, so I decided to just do that here.

My praise for today:

Thank, you, Father, for beginning a good work in me and for the promise that you will continue to do that work until it is complete. (Phil 1:6)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Here Be A Corner...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

This was the Women's Conference weekend.

You all know what state I was in heading into it...still trying to move through the transition process enough to get to the place where I could quit squalling about it at odd moments.

When the conference started, I wasn't there yet.

But God...

One session after the other pinpointed details of what I was dealing with.  I mean, PIN pointed.


 Down to the scriptures selected and the particulars of the situation and how I was feeling about it. Uncanny.

And I'm telling you, it was the ugly cry, y'all.  More than once.  My sinuses actually shut down at one point.

Fortunately, I suppose, I was sitting in the back so that my sometimes sobbing did not disturb anyone.

And I was frustrated.

I want to move forward...move past...get over...but it still hurt so much that touching it just brought out the waterworks.

At this point, it wasn't so much about what is past as it was feeling totally adrift...no direction or particular purpose.  Just not knowing how to proceed...or even if I had any credibility left after being such a mush about it.

I felt like I was working with an open wound...that was bandaged well enough to hold together when I was actually serving in a position, but that had to be redressed and dealt with in each service.  And it hurt.

The final message was brought by our only male speaker, Sean Smith.  And I'll admit when he gave us the scripture reference, 1 Samuel chapter 1, I was disappointed.  Hannah.  In about one minute, I figured I knew what he was going to say.

Um.  Not so much.

Oh, I suppose he DID say what I was expecting, but the context and presentation was such that, once again, it addressed EXACTLY where I was at that moment.

His conclusion was that, when all was said and done and Hannah had reached an intolerable place, '...she did the bravest thing she could do.  She got up and turned her crying into praying.'

I confess. When the ministry time started,  I pulled my leadership tag off and headed to one of my pastor friends, who has been one of the few people who has known the whole thing and been there for me since the beginning of it all, for prayer.

I ended up getting prayed for by three different ladies before I could get to her.  The first was because the response was so great that they called on all the ladies who were scheduled to serve in any area today to pray...and one of them was close to me and so she prayed for me.  She had no clue even who I was, but she prayed.  Then I grabbed one of my friends as she passed by  looking for ladies who needed prayer; she'd heard the whole thing from me in a long lunch  not long ago, so I asked her to pray.  After she finished, I saw that my pastor friend was available and I headed that way again, only to run into one other leader who asked me if everyone on that aisle had been prayed for.  I replied kinda sheepishly that I was heading up for prayer and hadn't looked.  So she prayed over me; I just told  her my request was 'Purpose'; she didn't really know the story, but she prayed.  When she finished, I saw that my pastor friend was back in front of her seat on the front row, and I made it to her and asked her to pray for purpose.  She knew...and she prayed.

In all honesty, the music was loud enough that I really didn't hear much of what any of them prayed. But that's ok...I was prayed for.

Sean's instruction...turn the crying into praying...is my takeaway message from the conference. And I think I can do that...even if I have to grit my teeth, curl my hands and bang on the floor, I can pray when the tears threaten.  Focus on the words that need to come out of my mouth instead of the hurt. 
But that last prayer session was something of a breakthrough.

1) I pulled off my leader badge.  My normal response would be to think 'I'm a leader, I'm needed to pray, so I'll pray for my needs at home but I'll pray for these ladies now'....sometimes ya gotta acknowledge your own need.

2) I didn't stop after the first lady prayed...or the second...or the third...In times past, I would've "settled" for the first prayer.  Not meaning any disrespect or that I didn't appreciate each of the ladies who prayed, but I knew I needed prayer from someone who really and truly knew both sides of the issue.  The other three were bonus.

This is transition.  It will pass.

As I told My Sweet Babboo later, I feel like I've turned a corner.

Or maybe been pulled around one.

But I have a strategy, and I have the prayers of my friends, and I do believe it has shifted.

Thank you, Jesus.  I'm ready.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Change of Pace

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

So.  I'm going to a week long worship school in 4 weeks.

Song writing is one of the main focuses of the week.

I've done a patch here and there...the only ones that have seen an audience to date have been parodies.

So I thought I should do a little prep work; can I get the creative juices going just a little before I jump into something that may well be over my head??

So I thought I'd do some reading in Psalms.

And I decided to shake up my usual by reading The Message.

Now, there are times when The Message hits a nerve; shows me something fresh in a new way. But I gotta be honest...most of the time it strikes me as being too trendy, too aware of itself, if that makes any sense.

Like it's trying too hard to be liked.  To be cool and hip.

But whatever.

Looking for a shock to my system, I thought, I'll pull out my copy and read through Psalms and see how Eugene renders those Hebrew hymns.  Maybe a fresh look at familiar texts in a contemporary setting will spark some creativity.

Ps. 1:1, in the Message, reads like this:

How well GOD must like you -- you don't hang out at Sin Saloon, you don't slink along Dead-End Road, you don't go to Smart-Mouth College.

Sigh.  Do you see what I mean?

Now, I really don't intend to critique the translation, it just strikes me a little off at times.    If I were a newcomer to the Scripture and read that, I would almost think the author was being sarcastic.

But I didn't stop because that first verse had me shaking my head, and  it is for sure giving me a fresh look at these old songs....

But you, GOD,  shield me on all sides;
You ground my feet, you lift my head high; 
With all my might I shout up to GOD,
His answers thunder from the holy mountain.  (3:3-4)

Look at this: look
Who got picked by God!
He listens the split second I call to Him. (4:3)

I LOVE this one:

Every morning 
I lay out the pieces of my life
on your altar
and watch for fire to descend. (5:3)

This one made me chuckle:

Please, GOD, no more yelling, 
no more trips to the woodshed.  
Treat me nice for a change;
I'm so starved for affection. (6:1-2)

I don't know how much this will break loose language in my spirit, but it's certainly going to be a bracing bit of reading...

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi


As with any grieving process, there are good days (mostly) and not-so-good days (that catch me by surprise)

The truth is that this isn't even a major grief; not really.  I mean, it's a volunteer position that got cancelled, if you really want to get down to the skinny on it.
That's all.

And yet, the church service today spoke to so much that is on simmer on the back burner, still being processed.

It began with the third song in the worship set today, an in-house song written by our own Adam Nelson and Johnny Okwu, titled 'All is Lost'.  We've sung it before, but today the words Hit. Me. Hard.:

Verse 1
In the midst of the silence
I will wait on you
Can I hear your voice
Pull me close

In the midst of my darkness
Will you shine your light
Bring me hope again
Speak to me

And when all is lost,  I will find myself in You

Verse 2
 In the midst of the silence
I will wait on you
Can I hear your voice 
Pull me close 

In the midst of my sorrow 
I will count it joy 
Just to follow 
Will you lead me Lord 

I will sing the song of the redeemed 
To my Savior, the one who rescued me

Y'all, I was on the front row of the choir in all three services.  I *did* have a kleenex in my pocket, but it's impossible to be discreet about mopping your face if you're on the front.  First service, I had to mop my face more than once.  My Sweet Babboo, who was sitting in an airport watching online as he traveled to an out of town meeting, texted me that he saw the kleenex in use.


I actually only sat in the service during the 9 AM session; the other two, I worked on data entry in my office and watched online.  Pastor's sermon was about the Face of Grace...and in describing God's grace, he described right where I was in dealing with trying to get over a hurt.

Good thing there was a box of tissue under the seat in front of me. I needed it all the way through that service.

I am recognizing that this is nothing to do with any one else and everything to do with learning to deal with it.  If people needed to do something, then I believe God would move on them to do so.  The fact that no one really associated with the issue has really reached out this way doesn't mean there's a problem with other people, it means that there's something here that I need to grasp; some adjustment that needs to be made and this is the only way it can happen.  And it may be that this is going to break off of me any inclination to look to other people to salve the wounds and teach me how to get those solutions from the Spirit myself.

If I land on the other side, in the place where I can think about what has past without grieving that it is over but rejoicing in the good that came of it, and I have learned the secret of not worrying about what other people think....then I'd say it was worth it, even if some days in that process my jeans pockets are damp when I get home and empty the kleenex out of them.

And I'll sing the song of the redeemed, because when all was lost, I found myself in Him...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

25 Random Facts

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Lord have mercy, it's been heavy around here lately.

So, completely without any forethought or planning, I'm going to do my best to be completely frivolous.

The title just came out of thin air, and so will most of these facts...although they will all be true.  I promise.

1. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is not located in Indianapolis.  It is in, I kid you not, Speedway, Indiana.

2. Every ear of corn has an even number of rows.

3. Sir Isaac Newton's dog was named Diamond.

4.  Rats cannot vomit.

5.  In early drafts of 'The Lord of the Rings', the character 'Strider' was  a hobbit who wore shoes, because his feet were wooden prosthetics.

6.  In those same early drafts, Frodo's original name was 'Bingo'.

7.  The Wise Men did not come to the stable.

8.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say there were three of them, either.

9. The initial skirmish of what became the first battle of the American Civil War, the First Battle of Bull Run, was fought on the farm of a gent named Wilmer McLean.

10.  After that battle, McLean moved his family about 120 miles south, to avoid further involvement.

11.  The name of the little crossroads town that McLean selected for his new home was Appomatox Court House.

12.  General Lee formally surrendered to General Grant in the parlor of Wilmer McLean's house.

13.  There are 4 generations of Monarch Butterflies every summer.

14.  The life expectancy of the adult butterflies in the first three generations is two to six weeks.

15.  The 4th generation of monarchs lives 6 to 8 months, migrating to a tropical climate, then returning north to lay the eggs that will be the first generation in the following year.

16. Scientists still do not know how cats purr.

17. Buddy Ebsen was cast as the Tin Woodman in the 1939 MGM production of  'The Wizard of Oz' when the show first went into production.

18.  He had an almost fatal reaction to the aluminum powder used in the makeup and had to withdraw from the production.

19.  The ensemble numbers had already been recorded, and were not re-recorded with his replacement, Jack Haley.  So it is Buddy Ebsen's voice we hear on those songs.

20. A kernel of popcorn reaches an interior pressure of about 135 psi and temperature of  356 °F before the outer skin ruptures and the kernel explodes.

21.  Ludwig von Beethoven was completely deaf when he composed and finally conducted his 9th symphony.  One of the female soloists had to turn him around so he could see the people standing and cheering at the conclusion of its debut performance.

22. Tomatoes were thought to be poisonous by Europeans when they first encountered them and were cultivated as ornamental plants.

23. The weather phenomena that causes the most annual deaths in the US is not hurricanes or tornadoes or flooding or lightning...it is heatwaves.

24. Despite being nicknamed 'Killer Whale', orcas are actually the largest of the dolphins.

25.   Cashew nuts are never sold unshelled, as the shell is toxic, containing oils similar to that found in poison ivy.

26.  This was a lot harder than I thought it would be!  :-)