Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hymns

When I was 20 years old, I prayed a prayer and committed my life to Christ. I did so in an emotional worship experience on a retreat I attended with the Texas Tech Wesley Foundation. For some reason, the things I heard on that retreat just clicked with me, and though I had grown up in the church and had heard about Jesus countless times before, it finally made sense to me and I said "Yes" to Christ. It goes without saying that my life has never been the same.

Sadly, shortly after this experience, I became a bit of a worship snob. Somehow, I had in my mind a picture of what worship was supposed to look like. It was supposed to look like those worship experiences I had been experiencing at the time, which had led me to my making a commitment to Christ. I made very little room for other styles of worship. For me or for anyone else.

I have asked and received God's forgiveness for my overly critical, nose-turning, small-minded attitude towards worship. I probably lived in that attitude for about 3 years until I finally realized that worship was more than just music, more than just prayer, and more than just liturgy. Most importantly I finally "got" that worship is not about me at all, but only about God. (I know you must be thinking, "Seriously, Kelly? How could you have made worship about you at all??")

As far as worship services were concerned, I still had my preferences. I preferred a more modern style of worship service, with a band and guitars and free-flowing worship. Billy and I attended a church in Dallas when we lived there and attended their more modern worship service. It's what we liked and what we felt was more effective in reorienting our hearts towards God and reorienting our lives into an attitude of absolute worship of Him.

(The point of this post is not to debate the decades-old argument that exists in the church of traditional vs. contemporary vs. modern worship).

As a student at Asbury Seminary, I have had the opportunity to participate in worship experiences that stretch across the widest spectrum imaginable.

And recently, I have experienced a reawakening of my love for the hymns I grew up singing. I can't get enough of them. Their theology is rich. The words are often antiquated, but oh so rich and oh so powerful at drawing me into worship of my Creator. I never would have thought I would ever enter a season where I actually preferred singing hymns. But here I am. Don't get me wrong. I still love a guitar and I love Chris Tomlin and the other modern greats who, through their music and the theology they sing, are getting folks excited about worship. But for me, today, I'll take a good old hymn.

I could create a list that is miles long of my favorite hymns. I have old favorites and new favorites. What are your favorites?

I'll share with you the lyrics of one we sing a lot here at Asbury. It gets my heart pumping every time and tears never cease to stream down my face.


And Can It Be?

Words by Charles Wesley, 1738

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another Tasty Meal

I think I have already told you all that we are now eating less meat in our diet. We haven't given it up altogether (in fact, we had some delicious steaks for dinner on Saturday!), but we often look for good vegetarian dishes.

Here is the latest, that again comes from the Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine. I am passing it along to you in case you are looking for something new to incorporate into your dinner menu.

Vegetable Enchiladas



* 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for baking dishes
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
* 1/4 cup tomato paste
* 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium vegetable broth
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 3 cups grated pepper Jack cheese (the recipe calls for 12 oz. I used 16.)
* 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 box (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
* 1 box (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels, thawed
* 6 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
* 16 corn tortillas (6-inch)

Directions

1. Make sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add 1 teaspoon cumin, flour, and tomato paste; cook, whisking, 1 minute. Whisk in broth and 3/4 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

2. Make filling: In a large bowl, combine 2 cups cheese, beans, spinach, corn, scallion whites, and remaining 1 teaspoon cumin; season with salt and pepper.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil two 8-inch square baking dishes; set aside. Stack tortillas, and wrap in damp paper towels; microwave on high for 1 minute. Or stack and wrap in aluminum foil, and heat in oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Top each tortilla with a heaping 1/3 cup of filling; roll up tightly and arrange, seam side down, in prepared baking dishes.

4. Dividing evenly, sprinkle enchiladas with remaining cheese, and top with sauce. Bake, uncovered, until hot and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes; serve garnished with scallion greens.

Our New President

Since there are many who read this blog outside the "city" (ha) limits of Wilmore, I wanted to update you briefly on the election of the new president of Asbury Theological Seminary, where I am a student.

My first semester here at Asbury was the last semester under the leadership of our previous president, Jeff Greenway. At the start of my second semester (Fall 2006), President Greenway was put on leave and eventually resigned. The great J. Ellsworth Kalas stepped in to serve as our interim president, until a new president could be elected. The board met and deliberated, prayed, and deliberated some more. President Kalas agreed to stay on and serve a little longer so that the Board members could really take the time they needed to listen and look for God's direction in the process... and yesterday, finally, our new president was announced. The announcement was made via live telecast, from Asbury's Orlando, FL campus, where the Board had gathered for their meeting on Monday. I cannot even describe to you what the excitement level was like in Estes Chapel yesterday.

Here's the picture from the front page of the seminary website:



To read more about Dr. Tennent, you can read the seminary's press release regarding his election by clicking here.

It's a new day, and I think Dr. Tennent will be warmly welcomed here at Asbury.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Image

Exactly 28 weeks ago today, our Eisley was born.



This is a picture of Billy and me on the night before Eisley's arrival.

On Friday, August 1st, 2008, at 8:05 a.m., our little daughter cried her first cry and greeted the world.

This picture was taken on the night of July 31, 2008. The night we had known for 2 weeks prior, would be the eve of our daughter's big entrance into the world (because Eisley was breech and did not ever flip to be facing the right direction, we had to do a scheduled c-section delivery). I spent the day relaxing at home, and in the afternoon I went to get a pedicure with a friend. That evening, we shared dinner with some other friends, and that night we went to bed, the last night in our home without a third person there.

We were both so excited that we couldn't sleep. We knew that just hours later, we would be holding our daughter. We had no idea what she would look like. We had no idea what her cry would sound like. We did not know how big she would be (though the doctors had estimated her to be around 7 pounds, 8 ounces). But in just hours, we would know the answers to all those questions. What a weird thing to KNOW was coming, and at what time.

I go back and look at pictures of her first days almost every week. I remember the first time I saw her I thought, "Who is that beautiful child? Is she mine? I don't know her." I mean, I knew her because she had been growing within me, but I didn't really know her. Up to that point, I mostly just knew the the dreams and desires I had (have) for my daughter.

But now I know her. She's this little person with a personality of her own. There's still a disconnect for me when I think about the baby-to-be that was in my belly for 9 months and the baby that lives in our house now, even though they are one in the same. Is that weird? Maybe it's because I had pictured her differently. Maybe it's because I didn't know what to expect at all. Maybe it's because I'm a terrible mom (kidding).

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. For no real reason. But I now know my daughter so intimately and it is hard sometimes to think back on what life was like before she arrived, even though that was just six months ago. It's weird to think about there ever being a time when I did not know her. I now know what each of her cries mean. I know the shape of her head. I know each tiny little finger and toe (She has feet that are miniature versions of mine). I know the sound of her laugh and I know her squeals and coos. I can tell by the way she is breathing, how long it will be before she wakes from a nap. I can close my eyes when she is not near me and picture her perfectly. I can imitate how she crinkles her nose and sticks out her tongue.

Of course I am realizing there are things I DON'T know about my child. Like I said, she's her own person. But I love this little girl with all my heart and I love figuring her out!

By the way, it still surprises me whenever I see pictures of the pregnant version of myself. It's shocking to me! Is THAT weird?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Image

My new segment entitled "Friday Image" has fallen flat this week.

I have several ideas. I just ran out of time to develop those ideas, and now Friday is almost over.

Until next week...

(Sorry.)

KL