Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Day Thankfulness

So being the time for giving thanks I was thinking about all the things that I'm thankful for over the past few weeks.  It's been a great tour thus far and God is definitely at work and using us everywhere we go.  So here's a list of things we are thankful for as a team this tour.

T: Times of ministry when least expected and in ways unexpected.
H: Host home hospitality
A: All the friendships made in many states
N: Never-ending generosity
K: Killer meals
S: Singing for 1, 100, 1000.  Each an opportunity to praise a God who is worthy.
G: Guys who carry our suitcases: Ed, Carl, Eric, Nate
I: indistinguishable smells (one theory is that it's from the "G" in thanksgiving :) )
V: Views from the van and outside the van
I: Interstates so we can drive fast and arrive on time
N: New experiences that open us up to just how great our God is
G: Grace given 

I pray that we remember not only the things we are thankful for but more importantly the One we are to give thanks to who has blessed us so abundantly. Thanks for all the prayers and support!!

- Carrie 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Philippines Highlight Video

A LONG awaited video with pictures from the Philippines. Enjoy....


Monday, November 10, 2008

From One Eve to the Next

In all honesty, I think the most fun I've had with an audience at a concert was at Pine Lodge Corrections Center. Last week we had the opportunity to play for over 100 women and it was so rewarding. At first I was a little intimidated because I thought they were going to think we were a bunch of dumb kids coming in to play music that they couldn't care less to listen to. But it was nothing like that at all.

These women were incredible! They were so shameless. They sang their hearts out; they laughed with each other; they cried on each other's shoulder; they danced in their seats. These were women who knew exactly what the Lord had done for them and who weren't afraid to express their joy over it.

I saw these ladies and I had no idea what any of them had done, or what choices they had made, to lead them to this place...but I could just feel the pleasure of God resting on them. I think the Lord gave me different eyes that night than I have had before. These women that I was standing in front of were living a life in a correctional facility. They really had no freedom other than to love Jesus. When I looked at them I thought, They are just like me! I am just like them! The Lord delights in all of us equally.

See, the thing is (and this is the thing that I saw while I was there that night) that Christ died on the cross to cover the sins of Eve. In the Garden Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and committed the first sin. EVERY woman/Eve since then has committed sin that is just as devastating to God...But Christ's blood covers over those sins as well. When I (a daughter of Eve) sin, it is just as devastating to God as when one of my sisters at Pine Lodge sin. The beauty of it all is that He is EQUALLY merciful to all of us and sings over us with joy when we lay down our lives at His feet, no matter what it is that we have done; no matter how grave our sin seems...it's nothing in light of the cross.

Hallelujah Jesus!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Strength in Weakness

In the couple of weeks that we have been back here in the United States of America, I have had some time to finally think through and process some of the amazing things that happened to me in the Philippines. And as I was thinking about our trip, one "theme" stuck out to me, and I would just like to share the story behind this "theme". 
It might be helpful to add a bit of context to the situation. Our work was concentrated on three different islands throughout the three weeks we spent in the Philippines. The first island was Mindanao, where we spent our time in Cagayan de Oro City. The second island was Cebu, and the city we spent our time in mostly was also called Cebu. The third island is called Leyte, and the city that we were in on that island was called Tacloban. So, this story takes place right in the middle of our trip, in Cebu, Cebu.
We had just had an incredible week working with the staff at the radio station in Cagayan de Oro, and we were really excited to carry on our excitement to a brand new island, with a brand new contact, and brand new audiences. So here we are in Cebu, with energetic attitudes and smiles as wide as the sea that we had spent the better part of two days crossing about a week before, and we are asked to play in both church services held in Lapu-Lapu City Baptist Church. Well, to be fair, we didn't only play. We were also asked to spend time reading the Bible and talking about it, so I guess you could say that we were asked to run the service like a normal church service tends to be, just all us.
To be sure, we were all very excited about this. Just the day before we had run an all day worship seminar, so we felt ready to put all of our words to action and lead worship for our brothers and sisters on the other side of the planet.
Now, I do need to rewind a bit. In Cagayan de Oro, we heard that Lapu-Lapu Baptist wanted us to have a sermon in our concert at some point, so this wasn't a surprise to us when we got there. And, when I heard that a sermon was needed, I felt God prompting me to take the opportunity to share about him, so I asked my team if I could take the job, and they all agreed. We also decided on having Gretchen share her talent of memorization by reciting a bit of Scripture.
Okay, fast forward again to Friday night, our first night in Cebu. I was in the hotel, reading my Bible, and Gretchen comes over to me, asking what I wanted to talk about in my sermon, and I had a couple of ideas, but I asked her what passages of Scripture she had memorized, so that we could tag-team the event and not just read some passage and preach on a different passage. And, after a long discussion (about 30 seconds) we decided on using 2 Corinthians 11 and 12. So, I proceeded to open my Bible to 2 Corinthians to re-familiarize myself with the passage. And something really stuck out to me when I was reading that night. 2 Corinthians 12 has this passage:  "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, and in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
That passage speaks some amazing truths, and there in the Baptist Missionary Guest House in Cebu, I knew that God wanted me to share these truths with the Church in Lapu-Lapu on Sunday. So I made an outline, going through the normal process of coming up with an idea, then scrapping that idea and moving on to the next one until I was finally satisfied with what I wanted to share. But then something hit me. Doesn't the passage say that Paul delights in weakness? And here I was almost delighting in the fact that I was preparing a couple of days early and I was going to have all the "right stuff" to say. I knew my attitude was a bit off. So I decided to take the message to heart in an interesting way. I decided that I would take my notes and outline that I had prepared, but I would plan on NOT using them, and simply relying on Christ to be strong in my weakness.
And that is exactly what I did on that Sunday. I simply opened my mouth, and talked about what Christ had showed me in that passage. The first service I talked into a microphone, but the second service was a bit different. I guess God really wanted to make a point about Him being strong in our weakness, because the power went out at the end of the first service, and we played an acoustic worship set and I just yelled out my sermon unamplified for the second service.
But that was simply an act of God. He showed that His strength really is made perfect in our weakness. And He saw fit to show that in an interesting way that Sunday. God was still there, even though our equipment didn't have it's desired power, and we couldn't sound like we wanted to. But does that matter to Him? He wants us to delight in Him, that's where the real worship is, not in our sound.
And what's more, this little exercise in my faith proved to be something more than any of us could have imagined. The passage that Gretchen and I felt we needed to share became our theme for the rest of the trip. Praise God! Without us knowing anything at all, He was preparing us for the next week, when our bodies started getting sick, and struggles began to become a reality. He prepared us by fixing our attitudes on Biblical principles. And with His word in our minds and hearts, we can take anything on.
So, I want to encourage all of you. I decided to obey the promptings that the Spirit placed in my heart, and He blessed me and the whole team to boot. And all I did was realize that He is what my life is about, not me and my ability to speak in front of crowds. I just went up and opened my mouth, like in the book of Acts when Paul and Peter did just that in front of councils and large crowds. And even though I stumbled in my speaking, and I know I broke some of the rules of the "perfect speech", God worked through me, and after both services, several Filipino brothers and sisters expressed to us how they were encouraged by our message and our music, even though the power was out! Truly, it wasn't ever us that impressed them, it was the power of Christ through us. So this turned out to be a theme of sorts for our team for our experience in the Philippines. And Praise God for that.

Monday, November 03, 2008

1422 Departs for Fall Tour

Team 1422 pulls out of the driveway on their way to Montana, starting their fall tour! Be sure to check their booking schedule to see if they are coming to a town near you!