Under The Willow Tree

I know what you’re thinking, “What does this title mean? I thought she was going to write about what God had to show her while she was experiencing Bethel Music?” Well let me tell you something, you’ll find out soon enough. Just keep reading.

I will say this. I put as much detail into what I experienced so that you could see what I saw. This was not dramatized.

Yesterday. Valentine’s Day. A day that I usually end up spending alone. I had a Daddy/daughter date with my Father/Savior/Redeemer. I was blessed enough to receive a special ticket to Bethel’s Worship Nights in Orlando. Not only did I get to be at the worship night, I was able to be a part of the Bethel Breakout Sessions, but let’s start with earlier that morning…

I began to put my make-up on for the day’s events. This included some fun eyeliner and major mascara. I wanted to doll myself up. Let’s face it, I was going to be in a room of a bunch of good-looking hipster, Jesus-loving, Christians who were my age. I’m single. I needed to look good. I wanted to stand out. But I also wanted to dress up for my Date. As I was applying mascara to one eye, the other eye began to burn and water. I don’t really know why. It’s a new mascara and it’s made by Clinique. Shouldn’t have this problem. So I grunted in frustration and grabbed a make-up remover cloth and wiped it clean. I re-did the eye make-up and then added more mascara to the other eye. Then that eye began to burn and then they both began to burn. I whined quietly to myself. Face turning red and tears beginning to form as I argued with God in my head. He said I didn’t need to wear all of it anyway and I said, “Yes. I. Do. I want to look good. I need to look good. Especially for You.” He smiled and laughed to himself and said sweetly, “No. Take it off. Now. Please. Wear it like you did yesterday.” As I removing it I began to argue again, “No. I don’t want to. I hate you. Ugh.” I didn’t mean it. I just wanted to have it my way. But he said, “I liked the way it was yesterday and this is for you and Me. No one else.” I exhaled sharply and did as He asked politely. Once I was finished. I was pleased. Confident. Calm. As I walked back to my room, He said, “You know you were just going to cry it off later anyway.” Ugh. He was SO right.

Now for the Bethel Breakout Sessions. There was an acoustic worship set. It was beautiful. Then the Q&A came along. The first question ended up with the worship leaders praying over this woman, Amy. Impartation. He came in like a flood. A rushing waterfall that flooded the entire room. More questions came and there was this moment. Hunter Thompson, worship leader, was asked what God was telling him right now. They could see that God was showing or telling him something to say. Hunter was just saying to Amanda Cook that he really didn’t want to answer any questions today. HAHA! Then he preceded to say a core thing that he carries with him that God has shared with him. He has been thinking about how Jesus wasn’t only just God, he was also FULLY MAN! I honestly don’t remember what else he said because the Holy Spirit began to engulf him and he began to cry and we all just quieted ourselves in awe of His power and presence. We were reminded that what our churches do and what Bethel does are the same. Our church is not on a “smaller scale!” We worship the same God! WOW! What we do here in Okeechobee is just as powerful as what Bethel is doing around the world because we both serve the same Great God!

After the Q&A we had a time of “Soaking” as one of the pastors of Bethel called it. This is where the willow tree comes in. They asked someone to come up and play guitar and as he did, we were asked to get comfortable. Close our eyes. Imagine God standing next to you. Then He grabs your hand. Now think about where He would take you. Under a willow tree. On a large swing, like one of those cute swings that are made out of pallets and a twin mattress swinging from a tree. It was a soft white. Completely shaded from the willow tree. We walked to it. He sat down on it and I was now this little girl. I was sitting in His lap. Playing with His beard. I was in a white cotton sundress. Barefoot. Hair flowing in the cool breeze and the sunlight flickering in and out from the shadows of the willow tree leaves. Obviously the tears were flowing. I’ve never felt His presence like this before. Then we were asked to listen to what He had to say and write it down. So I got out my phone. Waited. Listened. This is what He had to say to me…

“You are beautiful.
You are forgiven.
You’re white as snow.
You’re my little girl.
I love when you sing for me.
Did you know that I am in your voice?
That’s why people feel when you sing.
That’s why I gave it to you.
I am so happy that you do that for me.
I know that you struggle with being confident.
You’re afraid that people will think you’re over-confident.
But if you’re confident in Me, then there is no reason to be afraid.
I love you.
I love it when you are in My word.
I love it when you journal to Me.
I love when you allow Me to speak through you.
Either in English or your heavenly language.
You are desirable.
Your husband is coming.
He’s closer than you think.
But keep your eyes on Me.
Neither of you are quite ready yet.
But I see you hanging on tight to My promises.
He’s everything you want and need.
Keep shining.
I am right here.
Hold on to Me.
I am your Peace.
I am your Comforter.
I am your Wonderful Counselor.
I am your anchor.
Thank you for the song you wrote for Me. (Rain Down)
It has encouraged your church body. (His Church)
How cool is that?
Let me pour more into you.”

By this time, tears and snot are flowing down my face. What a gentleman?!?! I want to be in that place constantly. On the large swing. With my Daddy. Under the willow tree.

The worship portion of the day was overwhelming. I honestly cannot express everything because there are no words. I was delighting in His presence. That child-like state overflowed into this time of singing. Which is what I love to do. Sing for Him. Sing about Him. Near the end of our time there, they asked some people to raise their hands if there needed to be any chains broken or bondage to be freed from. They named a list of things. I raised my hand. As people began to lay their hands on me I became inundated with love. Then I felt this complete, honest, stillness. My body was completely still. There was a healing. A healing from my bondage. There was a complete release. Calm. Could not and would not move. I wanted to stay there forever. I was overtaken. Ravished. Enthralled. Captivated.

After being dismissed, a lady that my party knew, came up to me. God gave her a word for me. There is an increase of the Holy Spirit on me and coming to me and whatever I was receiving there that evening was coming back with me.

There was a shift. I knew it the moment she began to speak. A spiritual shift that He was speaking to me about at the beginning of the new year. He asked me, “Are you ready?” I accepted but asked for the strength to receive it. I know now that this is what He wanted for me because it’s also what I have been asking for in the depths of my heart. I want more of Him. I want to go deeper. There was a hunger there last night and it wasn’t only me. There was a steep desire for His presence and His power and I got some of it. I just need to be the vessel. I am not broken. He has made me new. I am honored and blessed to have His favor to be used by Him and given more of Him.

I hope this has encouraged you as much as it has me.

Have a blessed day.

Get Lost

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 37:4.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and, He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Admittedly, this has only a fave for selfish ambition. “Desires of your heart” can mean having a child, meeting your spouse, getting back together with your spouse, or having your dreams come true. But something that I’ve realized recently is that this isn’t easy. You may already know this but delighting yourself in the Lord is not just accepting Him as your Lord and Savior. It’s more than that.

I’ve been reading Get Lost by Dannah Gresh. I had the honor or meeting her about a year ago at a women’s tea. In this book it has a 10 Day Love Feast devotional, and obviously I’m on Day #7 and I’ve been reading it for almost a year now…haha! :/ But today’s lesson talked about this verse a little bit. She talked about the word “delight.” She defined it as “to bend.” At first I was confused but then it made sense. To bend in honor. So I looked up the Hebrew meaning for “delight” online and here is what the Hebrew language put it as:

The Hebrew word is “anog” which means to be soft, delicate, dainty. Dainty? In no way ever do I feel DAINTY, or DELICATE, SOFT…well…my skin is pretty soft, so I’m told…anyways…   Ok, so that kind of makes sense, so I kept reading down and some other words came up and they made more sense: to make soft, PLIABLE, LIVE, or spend in ENJOYMENT. WOW! Pliable? To be bent. To honor. To have a servant’s heart. To be molded. Mended. Made. To be His clay.

Also, when I think of the word delight, I think of myself dancing around in a dress that’s light and flowing in His presence. For me, that would be an intimate time with our God. Dancing for Him. Singing for Him. Delighting in His presence is being intimate with Him and that is “getting lost” in Him and being completely His without worry or doubt.

When one delights themselves in the Lord, they are honoring, submitting, surrendering their WHOLE LIFE to Christ! ONLY THEN will He give you the desires of your heart. But it’s also in His timing. (I strongly dislike that saying)

If you’re praying for that spouse, child, job, income, dream, He has to be FIRST. Not that you have to earn it but only because when we love and honor Him those desires will be more than could have ever imagined, did you know that? Trust Him.

So let’s delight, surrender, honor, love, be intimate, in the presence of the Lord so that we can use the gifts that He has given us to continue to honor Him and minister to others and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world!

// alicia esque //

Quiet Is Violent

Sometimes in life there are moments when music is actually good. Like, it actually makes you think and realize there is a purpose for our lives. I’ve been listening to a few good artists lately. Some of them are very popular and some are not and you may not agree that they’re as awesome as I think they are and if you know ANYTHING about me, you know that I obviously don’t care and you’re wasting your time and breath, so move along.

Here are some artists I’ve been listening to:

#1 twenty | one | pilots This band was introduced to me a little over a month ago. I saw a live performance of them from an Mtv awards show and I was thoroughly impressed by the drummer. I started listening a little more and realized that they actually had something to say and they weren’t just another pointless act. Here’s a song called “Car Radio” from their album Vessel. Enjoy.

#2 Sam Smith I know that he’s everywhere and a superstar right now but Sam’s vocal abilities are so beautiful. Some of you may disapprove due to his sexual orientation but a voice is a voice and that’s what I’m talking about here. His album The Lonely Hour is a lot like Adele’s album 21. There are a lot of similarities and I call him the female Adele. I can relate with some of his songs and that also helps me not feel so alone in this world. One of my favorite songs is “Lay Me Down.”

#3 Echosmith I first heard this song about a week ago from my friend Elizabeth. It’s super catchy and the sound is different. It has a little old school new wave. I enjoy the lead vocalist’s tone. This is a good band to listen to if you’re a female vocalist but you have a hard time singing along with Hayley Williams’ amazing talents from Paramore. Grab their album Talking Dreams and listen with the windows down and the speakers loud!

#4 Meghan Trainor “All About That Bass” is obviously another big hit right now and even though there is some language in the song, she makes a point and she doesn’t care what people think. She has another song that I ended up enjoying called “Dear Future Husband.” It’s about time that someone sings about how a man should treat a woman. I’m looking forward to purchasing this album soon.

#5 Brooke Fraser Well…the writer of “Hosanna” and “Lead Me To The Cross” has obviously had some change in her music within the last few years. She was more the singer/songwriter in the beginning but since music has hit a wall of “electronics”, she has been influenced. I love everything this woman has done. She’s an amazing lyricist and I’m excited to hear what the rest of this album sounds like. Here’s a song called “Kings & Queens” from her new album Brutal Romantic due out in November here in North America.

I hope you have found something worth listening to. Enjoy.

alicia esque

#quietisviolent |-/

Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum (Little Worship Drummer)

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Drummers. More specifically, worship drummers. I’m talking about you. Us.

I will warn you that what I say from now on is my honest opinion. It does not mean that I’m 100% correct but I have a few years of drumming and worship in these bones. There are many other drummers who may have a different opinion and I hope that I may have the honor of learning from them in the future. But here I am just voicing what I believe makes a decent worship drummer for the typical church (Small/Medium Church). I hope that this is helpful to you worship leaders who are looking for a drummer or are having issues with the one that you have.

I have decided that there are 3 major factors that go into being a good worship drummer. 1] Good sense of tempo and BPM (beats per minute). 2] Worship Leader mentality\understanding how worship music flows. 3] K.I.S.S.

1] All drummers should already have an internal metronome or good sense of tempo and/or understand BPM (beats per minute). This also includes the “feel” of the song. We’ll talk more about this in the next point. If a drummer doesn’t know the tempo of the song or can’t keep a beat, they become useless. If you’re worship leader is constantly mentioning temp issues, invest in a metronome and/or play to the track themselves. This helps more than you think. But if you don’t have rhythm, then that’s a problem. :/

2] You have to “know” the songs. I have made it a point to memorize worship songs on the drums. This also helps out if you need to fill in last minute. If it’s a new song, write down the order of the song and listen to it a few times and practice to it on a drum set or your legs to become familiar. You’ll be able to finalize the details in practice. Keep it simple the first few times and then add.

The drummer should also understand that they are the back-bone of the band. They have to lead, possibly even more than the worship leader himself. You should study and understand that song and memorize the formula. There is a common formula used in a lot of worship music, which is kind of boring, but helps you focus on worshipping instead of questioning where you’re going next.

This is why I believe worship leaders who play the drums are great worship leaders. Chris Quilala from Jesus Culture started off playing drums. He’s not a fancy singer but I think him being a drummer has helped him be a better worship leader. He understands how a song works from both aspects. This is also why I believe why worship leaders should know a little bit about all the main instruments that are played every week. This helps the communication between you and your musicians.

If the drummer knows where the song is going, everyone else will follow. Believe me. I’ve been there. More than I want to admit.

3] K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid. I’ve learned that keeping songs more simple in the beginnings of you learning it, is always better. But you should ALWAYS have that mentality, even when you’ve played the song for years. There’s nothing more annoying than hearing nothing but a clanging cymbal. There can be joyous cymbals, but when the Bible says “clanging cymbal,” it’s not a good thing. They are obviously not talking about music, but it pretty much means annoying and pointless. Worship with the drums. Find the tension in songs and allow the Spirit to flow through your instrument. Sometimes it seems weird that the Holy Spirit can work through loud instruments, but He can if you use them for His glory and keep it simple. He will bring out the awesomeness that we all feel when worshipping Him through song. This also brings up the point of being a pocket drummer. It’s hard to express what playing in the pocket means, so here’s a link that can explain it better than I can.

I am the epitome of a simple drummer. I don’t use a lot of drum rolls or fancy tom work. I love keeping it simple. Because of that, people always say how good of a drummer I am, even though I’m not as good as I could be, because I “worship with the drums.” That’s my purpose. My purpose is to worship Him.

In other words, don’t bring attention on yourself. I could care less if you filled in as a drummer for Underoath or Hillsong, if you pull my attention away from the Savior, you’re not doing your job. You’re wearing your gift like a gawdy belt buckle instead of offering it back to the One who gave it to you. “Take up your cross before your crown” -Thrice #WeightOfGlory

The most important thing is that your drummer has a heart for the Kingdom. We are seeking the lost for the Kingdom. We are doing Kingdom work. Therefore all who lead others into the throne room should have Kingdom hearts. If your musicians don’t have that kind of heart, everything you’re doing is pointless and self-satisfying.

I pray that this blog entry has helped out. Please message me with comments and/or questions.

In Christ,

Alicia SQ

Almost Perfect

He’s almost perfect. Even with the coke bottles that enhance his vision. His words are picked out and spoken so carefully like they’re his last. Like he’s writing a poem about every moment of his life. It’s almost cruel. Cruel because I wish I could hear him speak these words into my ears everyday. Words that bring the corners of my untroubled lips so close to my ears, that I can hear my shallow breath hesitating so I don’t miss a syllable.

His chivalry is refreshing. Like a cold can of Sprite, on hot, Florida summer, day. Sweet, crisp, and cool. Putting another smile on my face that not even the devil could take away.

He is witty. Quick, clever, and pleasing. Never misses a beat. Ever. Like a drummer playing for his life. Impressive.

He is occupied. His heart is anchored by another. He has willingly tied himself to her with no intentions of his knot withering in the constant, blinding sun. Becoming bleached.

He’s almost perfect.

At Your Feet

The following is a paper I wrote on the worship of Mary of Bethany based off of John 12. I hope that you like it and possibly learn something from how she worshiped Christ.

THE WORSHIP OF MARY OF BETHANY

Mary was the sister of Martha and Lazarus. She resided in the village of Bethany along with Martha and Lazarus.

The moment of worship for Mary was when she anointed Jesus with her expensive oil in John 12:1-8:

Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. “For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”

Why did Mary do this? Was there a reason? A purpose? In order to answer these questions, we need to go back to when Mary was first mentioned. When she sat and listened at Jesus’ feet while her sister Martha “slaved” in the kitchen preparing for the meal that evening.

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”   Luke 10:38-42

Jesus came to Martha and Mary’s home. And as Martha was preparing, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to His words. Martha came to Him and complained about Mary not helping her prepare. Jesus told Martha that Mary is doing the right thing. She is worshiping Christ by sitting quietly at His feet and attentively listening to His words of truth. Martha is however trying to prepare the best for Christ and although she may be listening she is not giving her full attention what He has to say. A lot of people, both men and women, are playing the role of Martha and are too busy trying to prepare and give Him our best while He is standing in our presence trying to speak to us. We cannot be too busy doing things for His work but we need to take the time to actually stop and listen. It is a form of worship. In Marcus Loane’s book it says this of Martha, “Martha was miles by a mistaken idea of service, and through the pursuit of unnecessary duties, she lost the golden opportunity of her Master’s visit. But Mary saw that the hour was like the time of summer for her soul, and her love found leisure to sit at His feet.” (Loane, pg. 31) Mary loved Jesus dearly and just wanted to soak up all He had to offer. We should be more like Mary and take up the golden opportunities and never forget that He is always in our presence.

When we find Mary again, life isn’t going so well. Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus, is deathly sick. They decide to send a messenger to Jesus.

Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.

John 11:1-6

How do you think Martha and Mary felt after realizing that Jesus had not arrived yet? He waited to two days and it was already a long journey back to their village. I know if I told Jesus that my sister was dying I would expect Him to show up right away, especially if He was a dear and good friend of mine.

Lazarus then died and four days after he was in the tomb Jesus showed up. Jews believed that a body’s spirit would stay in the tomb for up to three days. So they may have been hoping for Jesus to show up and a miracle could happen. Now that it has been more than that they may be thinking that there was no possible way that Lazarus could be raised from the dead, although that is not said in the scriptures.

So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off; and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house.

John 11:17-20

Here we read that Mary stayed in the house when Jesus finally arrived four days after Lazarus had been laid in the tomb. Why did she stay in the house instead of going to Him? Mary was grieving and may have been upset that He showed up after Lazarus had died. I would be kind of upset too. If I knew about the miracles He had performed then He could surely come to His close friends aide and keep him alive. But He didn’t. Jesus stayed away but He knew that He was going to raise Lazarus again. Mary and Martha did not know that this was part of His plan.

Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.

John 11:21-35

After Jesus had arrived and spoke with Martha He asked for Mary. He knew that she was upset with Him and grieving. But to our surprise, after Martha tells Mary that Jesus is calling for her, she “got up quickly and was coming to Him.” Even in times of despair and death she still obeyed and ran to Him knowing that He alone could comfort her. And when she arrived to meet Him, it says that when she saw Him, she once again fell at His feet. She fell at His feet in worship, recognizing who He was and she spoke out her anger to Him knowing that He could possibly make things right.

Now to the main point of the act of worship Mary performed. Now, let’s try to imagine the scene in which Mary would be in. Loane makes a great visual for us, “It was a simple gathering to celebrate the restoration of Lazarus from the grave, and those who had mourned for his death had met to rejoice in his life. Jesus of Nazareth was the Guest of honour, and Lazarus sat with Him at the table. Simon as the host would preside over the festal board, and Martha as hostess would minister to His needs. Mary was there with her generous love, and Judas was there with his treacherous greed…While the guests reclined at ease round the supper table, she was deeply stirred by the train of though which that scene called forth in her mind. There before her sat her own brother Lazarus after he had been raised from the dead, and he was a monument to the sovereign power of the Lord Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life” (Loane 93-94 & 96). What else could she have done? If the Savior came to you and raised someone you loved from the dead and then came to your home to celebrate, what would you do? Mary then came with about a pound of the most expensive oil she had and poured out onto Jesus’ feet and began to wipe it up with her hair. Women didn’t let their hair down in public and oil was usually for the head. Mary poured it upon the dirtiest part of a traveling Jewish man’s body and not only that, but wiped it up and around His feet with her exposed hair. This was an act of humility from Mary. This was her act of worship toward her Lord. She gave Him her most expensive oil and anointed Him with it. Judas and some of the others were not to happy about this choice that Mary had made. They were upset that she used expensive oil on Jesus’ feet instead of selling it and giving the money to the poor. Nard was a highly prized perfume imported from the Himalayan region of India. Its color may range from amber to deep blue. The aroma is like a heavy, sweet-woody and spicy animal odor. It was highly prized by both men and women. Mary once again shows us how we should worship and honor our Lord. He even told the disciples after their criticism of her act, “Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”

We must go to Christ to listen, when we are hurting and when we need to honor Him, which is always.

WORKS CITED

[Loane, Marcus L. “Mary of Bethany” 1942]

We Don’t Need No Education…

*ATTENTION: This blog is just a rambling and for the purpose of venting! I am planning on researching the Biblical purposes for Bible colleges and ministry*

Well…we need education but are Bible colleges really necessary?

As a Bible college student, currently on a 1-year sabbatical, you would assume that my answer would be yes. Well…you would only be half right.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the purpose for Bible colleges and I think their purpose is definitely great but is it necessary for Christian ministry? I don’t honestly think so! (Unless you are able to afford Christian education) Why? My questions is: “Why aren’t the churches already doing that themselves?!” The leaders of our church should be mentoring and building up leaders for the Kingdom and the work that has to be done on this mortal earth.

If we bring up those leaders, a preacher, music minister, children’s minister, youth minister, etc., correctly, we could either have them replace someone who is no longer able to lead within that church or be hired by another church through reference. And that ‘student’ wouldn’t have to go in debt to be a minister!

The unfortunate part is that churches are looking for someone who has a legit degree in their specialized area. How many people who are out there doing ministry actually have a degree? Joel Houston from Hillsong started writing songs when he was about 14/16 years old for their youth group and worked with Darlene Z. on his songwriting. I don’t think that he ever went to Bible college, please correct me if I’m wrong. And he’s leading God’s people through music and creative arts and about 90% of the churches that I know are using his music for their congregational worship! Why have we stopped trusting our own leadership in the church to teach and bring up leaders and pawned them off to a school, where they will grow, but eventually go in debt or may not even be able to afford such schooling?

I think this needs to stop! We need to take on the responsibility as leaders in the church to bring up new leaders. Quit pawning them off to Bible colleges that they can’t afford and teach them yourselves!

I am not saying that we should shut down Bible colleges. Some people can afford them and they have their rightful purpose but let’s think about how ministers are made.

 

Please comment with your own experience with Bible college! Do you think it’s worth it?

 

 

Out of the Dust…

For the past 6 months I have been trudging through a deceiving and treacherous valley. Some days I come across an oasis and think that I’m on my way back to the top and it’s just over the horizon. Then I find myself among the remains of my past, rotting and whispering lies to me through the wind and dust.

Most of the time I’ve been finding myself around the past. Feeding and believing the lies surrounding me. I try to leave and find that patch of sweetness beneath my feet and coolness above my head. Desiring the breeze that rushes through my skin. But the more and more I come across my past I become more immune to it’s stench and begin to settle any kind of land to lay my head down.

But now the rain has begun to fall. Washing away the dry and dead bones, slowly. But at the same time, helping the sweet grass and trees grow. And although the rain is torrential and unceasing, it’s cleansing. Because He makes beautiful things out of the dust, beautiful things out of us. I’m just waiting for the rain to find it’s end and the sun to show it’s face. Because then I know I can move on.

~alicia~

Here’s a lyric from Thrice that came to mind as I was writing this. I hope that you enjoy!:

“I felt white and black reverse and the lifting of a curse from my heart. Then like one receiving site, I beheld a brilliant light in the dark.” (“Words In The Water” by Thrice: Major/Minor)

BLINDED

So as most of you who follow me on twitter and/or facebook know, I have recently become enthralled with the band Thrice! I have been told by many people to give them a listen and always failed to remember the name of their band. I’ve even had people tell me that I would love their lead singer’s solo work but never cared to check it out. Boy do I wish I would have came through and looked up their work. So my friend Nick had me listen to some of their stuff in August and I became interested and he then shared a lot of their music with me. I literally listened to almost every album for a month straight. Then Major/Minor, their most recent album, came out and I’ve been hooked!

I know that some of you may wonder why I like them so much or maybe you’re just reading my blog ’cause I asked you to! But the biggest reason I listen to Thrice is because they love Jesus! They are not labeled in the Christian genre but most of their songs are Biblically based. And if they’re not based on Bible verses, they are written about real life and hope and sometimes marriage and how it should be. (See “The Weight” from the album Beggars and “Promises” and “Anthology” from Major/Minor)

Today I wanted to share with you a song that has been speaking to me a lot lately. The song is titled “Blinded” from their recently release album Major/Minor. I know that sometimes we as Christians can ‘plateau’ in our faith and become self-righteous and see ourselves as blameless. But after a current, yet minor, slip in my walk with Christ, I have realized that I too have become that person. And now having been ‘buried in the bright light’ I can see. It’s not pleasant and it hurts and it’s a challenge to adjust your eyes. So here are the lyrics to “Blinded.” The song will also be available for your listening ears.

BLINDED (Thrice. Major/Minor)

I was always one of the righteous
Never lived outside of the lines
Kept a close watch on the white wash
Disguising the dead bones inside

I was always one the good ones
Keeping tabs on everyone else

Sure that I was
One of the chosen
But I was a child of hell

But you buried me in the bright light
Yeah, you held my eyes to the sun till I could see that,
That I was worse than I ever feared I could be
But somehow, I was loved more than I ever dared to believe
Because of you

I was always one of the blameless
Or at least that’s what I believed
I never thought I could have been blinded
Until I could no longer see

But you buried me in the bright light
Yeah, you held my eyes to the sun till I could see,
That I was worse than I ever feared I could be
But somehow, I was loved more than I ever dared to believe
Because of you

UNQUESTIONED ANSWERS

So it has been brought to my attention that a lot of you at Florida Christian College are wondering why I’m always on campus. And instead of just asking me you decide to talk about it amongst yourselves. Let me explain what’s going on in my life.

I am not a student at FCC because I was not able to keep my grades up. I was on academic probation and failed to keep my GPA where it was required to be. I was almost okay but dealt with a personal issue in a ridiculous manner and therefore quit going to class. But somehow God has still blessed me.

I am currently looking for work, and was recently hired at Chick-fil-A and waiting to be scheduled. I also have no internet at the house that I have been staying at. In order for me to find work, I need the internet. I also crave for fellowship with some of my friends!

If you want to condemn me for being on campus throughout the week, be my guest. But never have I ever felt so unwelcomed at a Christian institution while trying to get back on my feet and seek out encouragement and love from His people!

So shut-up and just ask me!

Thank you!
Alicia