What you will find here

This is a place to examine plans filled with hope; plans which promise a refuge from chaos; plans which will shape our futures. Veterans with and without PTSD, Pentecostal Presbyterians, Adjudicated Youth, and Artists-Musicians-Writers: I write what I know. ~~~ Evelyn

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When the World Says, "Been there, done that!:

Romans 13:11-12 (New International Version, ©2011)

The Day Is Near
 11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

There is comfort in familiatrity.

There is safety in doing things that are 'tried and true.'

And then there's that thin line between "secure" and "bored."  You don't realize you've crossed that line until you miss the passion of the experience.  Passion in comfort is called compassion.  Passion in safety is called refuge.  But there is no passion in boredom. 

You probably have the T-shirt, "Been there, done that."

Applied to most things in life, this phrase is humorus.  Applied to your spiritual path -- BIG NEON FLASHING PROBLEM!

If you no longer feel passionate about your spiritual path - DO SOMETHING!

Like any relationship, passion fades away if you attention wanes.  You've got to look at it a new way.  See it from a new angle.  You may need to make some changes in yourself to help impassion you again.

Remember when you woke up singing and went to sleep content that the earth was in God's Hands?  Remember when you prayed and your skin tingled and your heart near-burst with power?

Do you want to back or are you just going to wear the T-shirt (drab-gray, frayed at the collar, letters peeling...)

It's your choice.

When the World Says, "Been there, done that."
God says, "Wake up!"

Sweet Jesus, I miss the passion I had in my soul.  I just sort of let it slip away into normalcy and everydayness.  Wake me up, Lord.  Revive me.  Help empower me with your spirit and path and words and love.  Now and always, Lord, Amen.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wake Up, Church! Wake Up!

Pepper Choplin (Composer)
Wait for it, slow to start, then look out!!

Lorenz home site
I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. Evelyn

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lead All Souls to Heaven

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

I'm not sure what kind of bird it was--I'm not really up on my bird identification skills.  It was smaller than my palm, with a narrow beak, a stripe of yellow below its eyes, and a swab of red above its breast.  Smaller than a robin, larger than a sparrow; it hopped along the top of my curtain rod in my living room.
I wondered how in the world it got in.  Then I wondered how it was going to get out.  I turned off the ceiling fan and watched as it hopped from my curtain rods to my cabinet and then to the slowed blades of the fan.
I opened the top window in my front door and went back into the living room.  I think it was attracted by that hint of fresh air.  The bird flew past me, through the front hall, and into my study.  By now it had the undivided attention of Moonbeam and Daisy.  Moonbeam --I tossed into my bedroom and shut the door.  Daisy, adorable Lab that she is, quickly lost interest.
I wanted to rescue this bird and set him free.  I turned off the ceiling fan in my study and watched as the tiny bird explored the room.  If I swooped on him, he would panic.  If I tried to capture him, he might be injured.  I tried warbling to him, but I'm not very good at bird-talk.
I retreated into the living room.  The March breeze from the hallway window was strong enough to be felt in the study.  It attracted the bird.  He flew into the hall and perched on the wicker shelves filled with African violet pots.  I closed the door to the study and stood in the doorway to the living room, effectively blocking those two exits.  Slowly, calmly, the bird explored the pots on the wicker shelves.  It was two feet away from the open window.  If I startled it now, it might fly away from the opening, and I would have accomplished nothing.
The wind gusted into the house, promising a month that would go out like a lamb.  The bird flew toward me, pin-wheeled, and soared out the window.  I cheered, Daisy barked, and Moonbeam got let out of the bedroom: the bird was free.
Sometimes, the urge to help people find salvation is so great; I have to hold myself back.  I want to shout, "This way!"  I want to swoop down and drag them toward salvation.  Sometimes, I hope they can be scared into finding salvation.
None of these strategies should ever be employed by prayer shawl ministries.  The best way to help someone find salvation is to remove what might endanger them, make the way to salvation obvious, and remove any obstacles in the way.  Gradually help the person recognize spiritual dead ends.  And pray, “Lord, let your will be done in this person’s life.”
I believe I have the responsibility to open the window.  The bird was the only one who could fly through. The wind blows.  The bird recognizes its true environment.  The bird finds his way home.

Lord, let your will be done.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We Gather for Communion

Victor Johnson (Composer)
SATB, Piano
I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. Evelyn

Saturday, August 20, 2011

on Leadership - by Albert Schweitzer

is not the main thing in influencing others;
it is the only thing.

Albert Schweitzer

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Worship in Times Like These

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34)

In times like these, when treasures of the world are easily destroyed and betrayed, is it any wonder the hearts of mankind are lost, too? 

Europe’s financial structure is collapsing.    The jobless market is at a standstill, despite what the politicians claim.  The number of homeless children in my county tripled in the last year.  How are we supposed to worship in times like these?

The Presbyterian Book of Order states that one of the Great Ends of the Church is the maintenance of divine worship.  The word worship comes from the word worth and the suffix which means the state of being.  So worship means the embodiment of that which is of worth.

There are many things of great worth.  Psychologist William Glasser stated that food, water and shelter are the primary survival needs of mankind.  Belonging and love or acceptance by our peers is the second greatest need, followed by power, freedom, and fun.  According to Glasser’s Choice Theory, everything we do is determined by our desire to fulfill these five needs.  Worth must be defined by circumstances.  Food, water and shelter are not considered treasures, unless one is in need of them.  We treasure our family and friendships so greatly that we would trade almost anything to keep them safe. We treasure the things which make us powerful to such an extent that we build vaults and develop weaponry to protect them and are devastated by their loss.  Wars have been fought, won and lost, for the great treasure called freedom.  And fun!  How much of our time, money, and effort is spent in the treasured pursuit of fun?

There is a cost for all of these needs -- time.  We live in an era when fast food is the nutrient du jour.  We divide our time into hours, minutes, seconds, and nanoseconds.  We text because it would take too long to converse.  We email because we don’t want to wait weeks for the reply.  Merchandise and money are exchanged electronically – why waste time going to a store, being waited on, and having to limit our choices to only what they currently have in stock.  Multi-tasking is the expected talent of any life, even the spiritual one.  My church begins at 11:00 and ends precisely on if not before noon.  We don’t sing the fifth verses of any hymn, the anthem is often sung during the offering. From my vantage point in the choir I watch as church members sneak peeks at their watches waiting for the service to begin and squint open one eye during a somewhat deeper (longer) prayer.  Do we have the time it takes to set the tone to worship?   Should we take the time to set the tone to worship?

Services are defined by the audience the church seeks to attract: traditional, youth-centered, contemporary, coffee-house, etc.  A fear persists that if we can’t keep our audience happy, our churches will fail.  According to Religion News Service, approximately one percent of churches permanently shut their doors each year.  It is important – from a business point of view – to attract new members.  New members increase our sense of belonging and power and add to the financial security of the budget.  But congregations today sometime get caught up in the customer-service part of church and forget that worship is the heart of the church.  The argument divides the church between the need to entertain to keep people coming and the reality that worshippers don’t need to be entertained; they come to worship God.

God does not seem to be a strong proponent of quantity over quality.  Jesus states that a good congregation is “where two or three are gathered.”  Two or three might have a hard time covering the church’s monthly budget, but Jesus suggested that we not worry so much about money but think on the kingdom of God first.  Once the music and the fellowship and the men’s breakfasts and the women’s circles and the missions and the vacation Bible schools are over, do we still hold our treasure?  Is the time spent at church worth it?  In times like these, is the worship of God at the heart of all you do?

Worship doesn’t have to take place only in a church building.  Anywhere you are, God is also.  Worship cannot be compartmentalized, to fit in between the responsive reading and the anthem.  It begins where all treasure is hidden, in the heart.   The church service should be set apart from the world, just as we Christians are set apart from the world.  This isn’t a ball game or a waiting room.  This is a time to worship.  Anytime you can set yourself apart from the world and wonder at the worthiness of God, you are worshipping. 

Worship begins with an awareness of the worth of God.  Worship continues to expand and embrace the holiness and righteousness of God.  Worship fills the needs of the believers of God and infiltrates their very lives so that others, watching them, will yearn to discover this wonderful, worthy God. 

In times like these, when people search for treasure which will not tarnish or rust or get stolen, let them find their treasure in the worship of God.
Jesus, let me be generous with the things You give me.  Love, hope, joy, understanding, compassion, wisdom, faith:  help me share these things.  Help me use these things to further your kingdom.  In your name I pray.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

God of the Ages Whose Almighty Hands

Lloyd Larson (Composer)
Lorenz home site
I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. Evelyn

Saturday, August 13, 2011

on Leadership - by H. Ross Perot

When building a team, I always search first for people who love to win.  If I can't find any of those, I look for people who hate to lose.

H. Ross Perot

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm Starting Something New

John 15: 1-4
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

I work full time, I run a Prayer Shawl Ministry and a Writers group, I sing in the choir, I'm an active Elder serving on the board (session) of my church, I'm just starting as a board member of Hope Now - a rehab facility for newly released men and women, I have a dog and two cats, my first book came out in March, my next one is scheduled to come out in 2012, I've been holding book signings around the state all summer, I have several novels I'm pitching to various publishers plus a series of novels I'm halfway through writing. I have a dear friend who wants to date me, but I can't ever seem to find the time.

But sometimes, I feel bored.

I guess one of my problems is my perception of "busy" versus "productive".  As I was growing up, when we'd sit at the dinner table and my parents would ask what we did that day, somehow in my mind, it got impressed into my brain as "What did you accomplish today?"

I wake up each morning itemizing the things I plan to accomplish that day.  (There's probably a medical term for that). 

Well, I have a spare bedroom full of yarn and finished projects with no where to send them.  And a book I'd really like to become a "best seller".  And several items and books and Music CD's that belong to friends of mine who have limited venues to sell them.  And I just think that people who read my books might want something that goes along with the story or characters of these books. 

So I opened a store.  YEP!  I'm tickled pink!  I named it Evelyn's Enchanting Emporium.  You can get to it from my Evelyn-Rainey.com page or directly at http://Shop.Evelyn-Rainey.com

I've got a list of dozens of items I'm going to add to the shop over the years. Online Stores are great -- I don't have to tote and carry the merchandize, nor do I have to sweep up the floor or turn off the lights.  LOL 

Please stop by and let me know what you think. 

Oh Gardener of my soul,
I don’t want to be so busy that I stop being productive.  In my productivity, let me be well-rounded.  Let me be a vine which bears fruit that meets the many different needs of those around me.  When You prune me, let me accept the need for rest and restoration, so that I can bear fruit again.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Steal Away

Chester Alwes (Composer)
SATB divisi, a cappella

I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. Evelyn