Blog, God + Spirituality, Personal Growth + Wholeness, Worship + Prayer

When God Interrupts Your Life

I’m not sure there’s any human out there who handles major interruptions in life without a little resistance. Life is full of interruptions, some more painful than others. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just need to hear someone’s real, raw story of walking through major difficulties in life, in order to find fresh courage and perspective in my own.

This video below gives me the fresh perspective and courage I needed today. I had this video and mini blog post sitting in draft-form on my website for the past 2 years. I just re-discovered it sitting there today… and I re-watched the video and I have tears streaming down my face. I had to press publish and share it with all of you too. May it be an encouragement to you right where you are, in whatever storm you are walking through this very present day.

This is a short (5-min) but DEEPLY potent video from Bob Sorge sharing his raw story about when he was a senior pastor and worship leader and he suddenly suffered a life-changing vocal injury that left his voice very weak and painful to use. He can speak around an hour daily before the pain silences him.

The author of over twenty books, he travels the world strengthening others with the message God has given him — intimacy with Jesus and confidence in His promises. If you want to go deeper in the themes of this short film, Bob has written a book on the life of Job entitled, “Pain, Perplexity and Promotion.”

 

 

Blog, God + Spirituality, Worship + Prayer

God Is Shakin’ His Reverent Booty

Uptown Funk is one of the most funky, creative, original songs I’ve heard in a long time. Here’s a fantastic performance of the song starring Bruno Mars and his crew:

I had a bit of a revelation (aha! moment) while groovin’ along to the song…

I couldn’t help but think about how creative and funky these guys were, in their musical abilities, not only in song writing, but in their innate ‘groove’ as they performed.

And I couldn’t help but think about how those musical gifts didn’t just appear out of nowhere.

They can write and sing and play and perform like this, because they applied the gifts that their Creator God gave them. Whether they believe in God or not is not the point. Whether their lifestyle lines up with what we would deem ‘holy’ is also not the point.

The point is that they didn’t give themselves these creative gifts. They didn’t create themselves. Their Creator created them, and deposited a seed of creativity and musicality within them, and they have taken the seed and watered it and let it grow into something pretty cool.

Now, this part may be hard to swallow for some, and easier for others.

If we hear a song like this and CAN’T picture God dancing and groovin’ along to it and shakin’ His booty like these dudes do, I think our view of God is still too small.

Way too small.

THESE GUYS ARE ONLY REFLECTIONS OF SOMEONE GREATER.

They did not initiate this sound. It came from somewhere beyond them. Isn’t that what makes us human? This innate ability to hear the echo of something so deep and profound inside our hearts that calls us to an infinite place beyond this finite reality!

If these gifted, talented people are created reflections of the Creator, then it must mean that God has those very same creative abilities, funky creativity and innate grooviness in the centre of His being, YET IN EVEN GREATER CAPACITY!!!

Children are not greater than their Father!

The created are not greater than their Creator!

I don’t think we can even imagine what eternity will be like as the Father of all Creation invites us into the grooviest, funkiest, musical celebration!

reverentbooty

Ya, there’ll be organs and a cappella choirs and orchestral numbers in the Father’s presence (which is really cool too), but there will be GROOVE and FUNK as well! The Father’s gonna shake His booty, in all His reverent glory! And if you can’t accept that, just you wait, one day He will step out of the clouds, with gold curlers in His hair,  and He will turn and face you, reach out His hand and invite you to shake your booty with Him.

Until then, let’s break out of our limited, finite boxes and shake what the good Lord gave us!


[Photo Credit: akida_ via photopin cc // Edits by: Alison Lam] 

Blog, God + Spirituality, Worship + Prayer

Every Bible Verse has an “Ali Paraphrase”

IMG_2900Thoughts on meditating on the scriptures, finding your voice in the Word of God, and personally building up your spirit:

When I read my Bible, my journal is not far away. I like to read passages of scripture and then meditate on the words I’ve read, and see what the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart. Often what comes out on paper is an “Ali Paraphrase”. It’s just something that happens when my heart is stirred by Truth, and I encounter God’s spirit dancing on the inside. Let’s just say it’s “when Truth gets personal.” I have my own lingo and way of saying things, and it’s rarely in thee’s and thou’s. It helps me bring the Bible into my heart-language and encourages me personally. I call this “personally edifying your own spirit”. It kicks discouragement in the butt and does wonders to set your day in the right direction.

Bill Johnson, the lead pastor from Bethel Church in Redding, California, says that he will read a Psalm of David every day until he hears “his own voice” speaking back to him, which means that his heart has so connected to something that David wrote, that it is as if he (Bill) wrote it himself and it is an exact expression of  his own heart.

We all need to find our own voice within the pages of the Bible. It’s the only way that it gets from our head to our heart, and becomes an experiential reality, and not just another’s words on a page.

Last night I listened to Jude Fourquier preaching at the Jesus Culture Encounter 2013 conference. After his sermon, he spoke backstage on the live webstream with some men about how he meditates on the scriptures. He referred to the Latin phrase “Lectio Divina” which means “divine reading”. He said, simply, that “you read until the Divine Happiness comes upon you.”

I love that. Read until the Divine Happiness comes upon you. YES!

In my words, I’d say that you read until “your spirit is dancing on the inside.” I’d say that a dancing spirit is the expression of the Divine Happiness, wouldn’t you say?! :)

So, while I’m sharing on the topic of meditating on the scriptures, I thought I would share the following passage below, and then right after it, I’ll share the “Ali Paraphrase” that I scribbled in my journal which was a mix of my voice and the voice of the Holy Spirit communing with my heart, hence, creating an EXPERIENCE of the Divine Happiness!

Romans 8:28-39 (ESV) 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ali’s Paraphrase of Romans 8:28-39

God gave His Son for me. For ME!  Yes, that’s right and that is true. For ME!

He already had a rescue plan for me before time began. He’s determined to love me. So why even try to resist it?

He will karate chop all who try and accuse or condemn me. He is FOR me. He thinks I’m the bomb-diggity. And that’s the truth.

He is determined that NOTHING and NO ONE will keep us separated. He wants to be tight with me. So why fight it?

He is making a way to pour out His overwhelming love continually into my heart, day after day after day after day…

He will take everything that happens in my life and MAKE IT WORK for MY GOOD. Nothing, no evil, no disappointment, no heartache, and no painful circumstance will work for bad. It will ALL be worked into the very best gift for me.

God is chasing me down to give me good gifts, again and again and again. He’s excessive. He’s too much. And He can’t help Himself. It’s His biggest dream to give me way too many good things.

So, there’s no way around it. God’s after me …and He can’t get enough of me.

AMEN :)

Now it’s your turn! Go off with your Bible, grab a journal and pen, put on some worship music (if you so desire), and “read until the Divine Happiness comes upon you!” You’ll be so glad you did!

~Ali

 

Art + Design, Blog, God + Spirituality, Worship + Prayer

Enter the Worship Zone

It’s time for a little online worship gathering in my website lounge! I want to share a few songs that I’ve had on repeat in my home these days. They express my heart in this season. I thought I’d spread the musical wealth to you, so you could get in on the goodness too! Enjoy!

Note: If you are reading this in a Reader or Email and you don’t see the embedded videos, you can view it best and listen to the songs here on my site

Song Link: Closer (featuring Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger), from Bethel Live

 

Song Link: For The Sake of The World (Featuring Brian Johnson) from Bethel Live

 

Song Link: Sweetest Name, from United Pursuit

 

Song Link: Never Once from Matt Redman

 

Song Link: I Need a Song, from United Pursuit

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-IpSVS7BjY

Song Link: There is Only One, from Brandon Hampton at OneThing 2011, IHOP-KC

 

http://youtu.be/LoGfx-RQaxM

Song Link: All Is For Your Glory, from Cory Asbury at OneThing 2011, IHOP-KC

 

And this last one is an audio file from my iTunes list. I can’t find the original song online for the life of me! This song “I Cannot Hide My Love” from the album, Enter The Worship Circle #2, is probably one of my all-time favourite worship tunes. It never gets old. It has the ability to get me leaping in worship in my heart!

Song: I Cannot Hide My Love by Enter the Worship Circle #2 (100 Portraits and Waterdeep)

 

Blog, God + Spirituality, Personal Growth + Wholeness, Worship + Prayer

Praying for Divine Order in Your Life

A few weeks ago, I came across a blog post from Justin Rizzo, one of the main worship leaders at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City where he shared about how he has prayed a prayer for divine order in his life for 2 years now and how it has transformed his life.

I, personally, had felt out of order in my life for a few months now and, after reading that blog post, I thought that I should commit to praying this prayer and tweak it for my own life. So a few weeks ago, I began praying this prayer (below) and asking God to bring divine order in my life, no matter what the cost. Better that my life gets shaken and ruffled up a bit, than for me to live a disordered life and remain unchanged. Read the prayer and then continue on to hear of how God has radically shifted my life below!

Here’s the prayer I’m praying (and am committed to praying daily for the next year or, ideally, the rest of my life!) Download the PDF Prayer here or read it below:  Continue Reading