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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Refining Fire

My church, The Village Church, is going through a refining fire right now. Matt Chandler, the lead pastor, had a seizure on Thanksgiving, fell, hit is head and had to go to the hospital. They found a small mass in his frontal lobe. He is either on his way or currently at the neurosurgeon's office right now. I can't express to you what's happening in our church right now...amongst my friend's whom I walk with on a daily basis...in myself. We are being refined. We are waiting. We are praying. Please pray for the Chandler family. Here is a letter written from the elders of our church addressing Matt's current situation.

http://www.facebook.com/notes/what-god-is-doing-at-the-village-church/from-our-elders-concerning-matt-and-his-health/185457443946

apes

Monday, November 9, 2009

Shepherding Well

It's been nearly 2 months since I last blogged and a lot has been going on, but the most notable to date has been the explosion of people wanting to plug in at The Village. A couple of months ago, I had 27 women sign up to be in my small group...that's in addition to the 10 women I already had. Needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed. It's running closer to 20-25 now, but I had no idea how I was going to tackle leading a group that size.

As of now, it's still a trial and error situation, but it has gotten easier as the weeks go by. Last week, Matt said something in regards to shepherding and it really hit me. "When you are shepherding a flock, the role of the shepherd is not to be in the middle with the happy sheep, but on the outskirts with the sheep in danger".

I have to be honest, it stung a little. I haven't been doing a very good job of corralling the sheep in danger, i.e. those struggling the most. And even more than that, I like to stay in the middle with the happy sheep, the ones that aren't in need of repentence, at least at the moment. Jesus addresses this in a parable in Luke 15 charging us to go after that one sheep that is inching farther away and closer to the false prophets dressed in sheep's clothing that He mentions in Matthew 7:15.

It's changed the way I look at my group and at the world as a whole. I get so caught up in the sweetness of community...in my bubble that I don't go after the lost sheep. It's hard to admit that staying in the flock is fun. It's easy. It's comfortable.

I'm a happy sheep...wait, ewe? Whatever, I'm happy, but there are others who are not, who need to be reconciled to Him. And, it's my job...nay, my responsibility as a believer. When was the last time you left the flock to chase down a sheep going astray? When was the last time you ached for the soul of another? It will refine the mess out of you and I speak from experience.

Shepherding is difficult, but it is something we have all been called to on some level...to lay down ourselves for the sake of another.

apes

Sunday, September 13, 2009

An Undivided Heart

"Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." Psalm 86:11

The other day I read that in Hong Kong when you hand someone something, using one hand is considered rude. They always hold things with both hands. So, even in the smallest acts...handing over your credit card, your money, passing the salt...it is to be done with both hands. Multi-tasking is therefore diminished.

Throughout this season of unemployment, God has done a swell job of illuminating the sin in my life. Of the countless, one is multi-tasking. Alot of the multi-tasking that takes place in my life is in the every day tasks...applying for jobs, while having 2 or 3 gchat conversations, while making toast, while watching tv, while I send a text message and on and on and on and on. But, because of the daily habit I've created in the menial things, I've managed to carry it over into my spiritual life.

I find it hard to concentrate while I spend time with the Lord. Taking an hour of uninterrupted time (that I obviously have now thanks to no agenda) to spend time in His word and to spend time talking to Him has proven rather difficult. I'm constantly divided. My heart is in a million places at once....thinking of the coffee date I need to set up with a friend...about the email I need to send for my small group.

Keep in mind, that none of the things I've listed above are quote unquote bad. The things that I dwell on when I'm supposed to be spending time with Him are beneficial, but I've come to realize very quickly that they are in fact distractions. They are paths I use to run away without feeling like I'm running to far from Him as they are categorized in my mind in the genre of good deeds.

So many times, I come to Him with one hand, all the while holding on to something else in the other...something that will inevitably pass away as it is rooted in the flesh.

He longs for an undivided heart. I pray I long for it too.

apes

Friday, August 21, 2009

Peace

It is highly unlikely that my mom will read this, but I'm going to write it anyway. (See, Festa, sometimes I do just write it without the intention of it being read;) I just had one of the sweetest conversations with my mom. Usually, if we exceed 10 minutes, it turns into sweetness...guaranteed...and I forget that more often than not.

She is by far one of the Godliest women I know. Our conversation today began with the normal chit chat and quickly progressed into the two of us sharing exactly what has been on our hearts. For fear of this turning into a novel, I will just say, we are in the same place right now and God has been convicting us eerily of the same things. It is beautiful.

In 7 days, I will officially be unemployed. I've never been more at peace in my life.
Tomorrow, her and my dad are putting our house on the market. They have never been more at peace in their life.

I don't know what's going to happen. They don't know what's going to happen. But, this is freakin sweet. I feel God doing something really mighty in our family and preparing us for things to come. My peace is overflowing into joy now.

I'm pumped. Talk soon.

apes

Friday, August 7, 2009

Music for Thought

I really like Regina Spektor, but I'm really diggin her new cd in particular. There's a song on it that really got me thinking...Laughing With. Take a listen and read the lyrics along. See what you think.



No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one's laughing at God when they're starving or freezing or so very poor

No one laughs at God when the doctor calls after some routine tests
No one's laughing at God when it's gotten real late and their kid's not back from that party yet

No one laughs at God when their airplane starts to uncontrollably shake
No one's laughing at God when they see the one they love hand in hand with someone else and they hope that they're mistaken
No one laughs at God when the cops knock on their door and they say "We've got some bad new, sir,"
No one's laughing at God when there's a famine, fire or flood

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party while listening to a good God-themed joke or
Or when the crazies say he hates us and they get so red in the head you think that they're about to choke

God can be funny
When told he'll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie
Who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus

God can be so hilarious
Ha ha
Ha ha

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one's laughing at God when they've lost all they got and they don't know what for

No one laughs at God on the day they realize that the last sight they'll ever see is a pair of hateful eyes
No one's laughing at God when they're saying their goodbyes

Chorus

God can be so hilarious

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one's laughing at God in a hospital
No one's laughing at God in a war
No one's laughing at God when they're starving or freezing or so very poor

No one's laughing at God
No one's laughing at God
No one's laughing at God
We're all laughing with God

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

For Festa

Have you ever stumbled upon something in your mind or heart that you can hardly believe came from anywhere inside of you? And realized that you've been subconsciously tucking such an idea in a dusty corner of your mind...below the ink smeared schedule...behind the box of familiarities...covered by a blanket of security? Well, it happened to me this week.

I was asked the question, "What do you want to be?" and it sort of jacked me up. I've have very little trouble answering the question of "Who I'm supposed to be", because the answer was given to me in a book, 66 chapters deep with influence and spirit-filled instruction. I know who I'm supposed to be like and I get that, but finding the medium I'm supposed to carry that out into has proven rather difficult.

To some degree, I believe we all lean towards something, but over time, I've recognized that my interests rarely lead in one direction. They are somewhat chaotic and dispersed throughout and the more I think about them, the more confused I become.

Then it happened...late the other night as it often does. Alone. Meddling in dissatisfaction and self-pity. I was prayer journaling and as I got into it, I simply wrote...I want to be whatever I'm supposed to be. Then I re-read it and thought, "Did I really just write that?". I know I did, but I didn't feel like it was any truth I'd spoken to myself before and that's how I knew it wasn't from broken and jacked up me...it was from Him.

It charged me up and made me let go of a lot of assumptions I've had about what I should be in this life. Who cares, right? If the first question of who I'm supposed to be is answered, why do I even need an answer for the latter? The hard truth is, I don't. I don't deserve it and He doesn't owe it to me. I should be content being whatever it is I'm supposed to be.

The small window He allows me to peer through on the off occasion is only available, because it is washed clear with grace. Sometimes it's murky. Sometimes it's not even there. But, it's okay and I'm finally okay with that...well, maybe not completely, but I'm on the verge.

Every menial task I've counted lost has been due to the pride I have in my own abilities. I'm not that great. We aren't that great. I'm where I am today, because I'm being what I'm supposed to be...right now...this minute...this second.

Talk soon.

apes

Thursday, July 9, 2009

War Within

I am currently waging a war between FEAR and RESPONSIBILITY. The line between the two is blurring and I'm in the midst of a cloud of unprecedented confusion trying to be brave...brave enough to engage in a brutal standoff with fear in order to take the leap OR brave enough to strap on my knapsack of responsibility and stay safe.

Elaboration to come upon illumination.

apes

Thursday, June 11, 2009

no room for complacency

It's 2:15 in the morning and I'm laying on my mattress that I dragged to the living room yesterday...camping in the living room is amazing! I've been packing for the last couple of hours, which seems ludicrous to do at such an hour, but leave it to my dear friend, "Procrastination", to pencil it in to my schedule. His friend, "Poor Planning" , came along with him, but I'm making the most of their company and in light of the stress of it all, I'm becoming rather sentimental as I often do when I pack up my life to migrate somewhere else.

I've actually managed to perfect an art of this task. As I've mentioned before, it is no stranger of mine, but as I toiled away this evening/morning I realized how unique my life has become due to the lack of consistency I've had in a place to lie my head.

Everywhere I move to, I have room for my bed, my clothes, my knick knacks I never look at, my toothbrush and with all that taking up space, I have no room for complacency....no room to be contented to a fault or self-satisfied and unconcerned (thanks dictionary.com for that def.)

I kinda love it...re-evaluating...taking a look at where I've been, who that's made me, what I want to be and where I'm headed. I love that it shakes me up in a refreshing way and that God teaches me something new and exciting every time. At 2:15 in the morning, if you can believe it, I had a revelation.

I need to make my mind and heart "move" every week, so that I don't create rooms for complaceny out of what were created to be chambers for His glory.

Here's to cleaning out the space between who I am and who He's intended me to be.

apes

Monday, May 4, 2009

Uh-mazing!

Words cannot describe...I was rolling on the floor laughing!

Monday, April 20, 2009

this sweater is itchy.

It's been a while...my somewhat uninteresting life has left me zero inspiration for a worthwhile post. Thankfully, I feel as though the month-long hiatus is officially over.

This weekend, Lily, the mini-daschund that lives with me(see other posts for a more in-depth look into her ridiculous cuteness), has wanted nothing more than to cuddle up as close as possible and in the most uncomfortable positions at that in order to simply be near you as she sleeps. This got me chewing on a metaphor as I currently feel I'm being thrust into an "uncomfortable" time in my life...by uncomfortable, I mean out of the norm...allow me to elaborate.

I must assume now as my roommate has officially signed a lease for her and her fiance, that it is my undeniable lot in life to be a gypsy (one inclined to a nomadic, unconventional way of life). That's right kids, April must move again and this my friends if you can believe it will be the 12th time I've had to move in the past 5 years. This is making me uncomfortable. Perhaps this go around, I'll narrow my list of candidates to the absolutely un-marriable...no, un-datable...even better! Just kidding...but seriously!

Squeezed in between my worrying about where to live and who to live with if that, I've had to worry about a recent pay cut at work and some other transitions that have managed to weasle their way in to the good ol' worry machine.

Needless to say, but I'm gonna say it anyway...there is alot of junk changing. Back to the metaphor...I realized as Lily layed there in the most uncomfortable of positions, how unbelievably peacefully she was sleeping simply because she was near me...nay, near someone who takes care of her.

I need to be Lily in this scenario and the "me" in this methaphor is and always should be God. Call it an "after school special" moment, but it became clear to me that I haven't been resting peacefully in my provider's arms. Regardless of how uncomfortable my position may be, it shouldn't matter, because I get to be near the God of the Universe, right?!

Right!!

Looking forward to some peaceful sleep.

apes

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Doctor Apes to the Rescue

So,Lily has abusive relationships with all of her toys...case in point, Raff-e, her giraffe. Many a time, I've had to sew up gashes in Monkey or Piggy. Raff-e has even had a couple of surgeries, but this weekend Lily took her Chris Brown actin' self to a new level. Raff-e's leg was hangin' on by a mere thread and I tried desperately to save the leg as Lily looked on in anticipation. 2 minutes of stitching later and I had to make the call...the leg would have to go. The emergency amputation was a sucess...Raff-e is now the new and improved, 3-legged giraffe and from the looks of it, Lily has no intention of keeping any of his other limbs intact!

Raff-e in surgery


Lily patiently waiting for Raff-e to recover


The happy patient...till he's attacked again!


Happy Lily...up to her abusive behavior again...I guess Raff-e deserves it for his relentless squeaking:)



Dr. Apes

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Are we all being punked?

Countless times over the past couple of weeks, I keep thinking Ashton Kutcher himself is about to pop out of Octomom's belly to tell me that I'm being punked! The words, "You've got to be kidding me" have come out of my mouth more times than babies have come out of Octomom...okay, okay enough with the Octomom.

But, seriously, The Bachelor....you've got be kidding me!! Unbelievably ridiculous...how dare ABC distract me with it's Deanna embellished promos to trick me into believing that because Jason was done wrong, he has the right to do wrong. I wanted to whisper something under my breath too Melissa!!

Joaquin, seriously...no one believes you are quitting acting to become a rapper. You are walking the line between just plain ridiculous and seriously drugged up....you've got to be kidding me. Octomom...nuff said...I referred to her already. And, last, but certainly not least, Latreasa Goodman...calling 911 3 times to report a crime because you didn't get your chicken mcnuggets...YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! In case you haven't heard about this one folks, it's a doosy....I have the audio video here...




"She are the manager"...oh geez.

apes

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tonto! (translation: Stupid!)

Yesterday, my favorite Dallas station, Movin' 107.5 mysteriously started playing all Spanish music. You would think being of Hispanic lineage, I would embrace it as a healthy move to target an exploding market, but alas I was not my friends...I was peeved!!!

So, now I am mourning my favorite mix of booty bumpin jams, old-school beats and funky oldies. 107.5 has still been preset for the past day, but after googling the call numbers and realizing it has in fact switched over, it must be deleted as I never want to visit that station again! Because let's face it...Shakira and Ricky Martin (pre-crossover to English) will not get the base line rattlin' through my trunk as Snoop Doggy Dogg and his friends once did.

Goodbye saaaweeet jams...goodbye.

apes

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When I Grow Up

For as long as I can remember, I've been sketching. I vividly remember as a kid just sitting on the couch drawing some Saturday mornings instead of watching my favorite cartoons. Life has gotten crazier since then and I have less and less time to be an artist, which is what I really wanted to be "when I grew up". I rarely show anyone my work for fear of criticism...but, I've been entertaining thoughts of pursuing my childhood aspiration again and that can't happen unless I share. So, here you go...a little piece of me...



apes







Thursday, February 5, 2009

I couldn't be happier at The Village Church and one of the countless reasons is because our pastor is not afraid to share his heart. Here is just a glimpse of who he is in a letter he wrote to his daughter for her 6th birthday...http://hv.thevillagechurch.net/blog/hvpastor/

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dogs Do It Everyday

For years now, everytime I think about writing a blog entry, this line always pops into my head...dogs do it everyday. I have yet to figure out why and if it means anything at all. I think it actually might pop into my head everytime I write something lengthy, i.e. a letter or a journal entry.

So, as I sit here, uninspired on a blog entry, creepily saying to myself, dogs do it everyday...dogs do it everyday in a mantra-like fashion, I wonder...what do dogs do everyday??? Pee...poo...bark...play...think about how they have 4 legs and no arms...

Yeah...I don't know...maybe you can think of something genius for me.

Boo for nothing to write about...
apes

Monday, January 12, 2009

Booth Mates

About a handful of times in my life, I've had the immense pleasure of being immersed in unusual circumstances wherein lie beautiful relationships that I would have never been able to form if not thrown into that given place or time. The past four days have been such a time as this.

9 months ago, I was employed by Sugarek Marketing Group. Little did I know, I was also being employed by Game Chef, a "spicy" little company specializing in seasonings for wild game. Thursday through Sunday, I had to work a trade show put on by the Dallas Safari Club, for Game Chef. I have to admit, I was dreading it...I mean, a room full of mounted animals, a sea of green and khaki draped hunters, a scope here, a safari there...you get the idea...and I was thinking of backing out.

I'm so glad I didn't. Thursday morning at 10 am, Lisa, Judy, Bob, Jude and Darla came to whisk me away in experience. We all became fast friends in a way only "booth mates", as Lisa would say in her intoxicating Australian accent, can. Somewhere between admiring Judy and Bob's envy-invoking Missouri love (they're 65 and 63 respectively, and it's a pleasure watching such love) and our afternoon tea time (thanks to Lisa's travel kettle), I realized what was happening. I often forget that every really good friendship and relationship begins with perfect strangers.

32 hours spent together later...more or less...and I was sad. Time began to whittle away at my heart as the booths were disassembled, as the stuffed deer and lions were hauled out and the quiet roar of people getting to know one another faded. We had sold all we could, but no price could be put on the deep admiration and care that had filled our souls. I've gone and gotten mushy, but I'm writing this a full day after not being with them. By now they are all in thier respective states and I miss them.

Here are some of what I hope to be first of many pictures together in the years to come...

All the girls...Judy, Lisa, Darla, me and Ames (she came on Sat. and Sun. to help me)

Lisa, me and Judy (isn't Judy a little hottie? Lisa and I kept
saying she was probably super hot in her younger days)

Another of us farther away in Lisa's booth

Judy, me and Bob...love them!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bounce baby bounce, ba-bounce, ba-bounce...

Nothin' like a little car dance party with Destiny's Child...Amy's filming is Cloverfield-esque!



video


apes