Tag Archives: Wednesday

Worship Wednesday – Kara Tippetts – Suffering as an Instrument of Love and Worship

Photo Credit: Mundane Faithfulness

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.2 Timothy 4:6-7

Kara Tippetts is one of the loveliest women I’ve never met. She died of cancer four years ago this month. Although cancer sharpened her experience of life, it did not define her life. She was a Christ-follower, pastor’s wife, mom of 4, writer, and amazing sister and friend. How I know her is through the cancer she battled, through her faith, and through her writing…this is how I know her and how I love her (from my earlier blog on her life).

On March 22, the documentary The Long Goodbye is released. Directed by Jay Lyons, it is an intimate story of Kara’s last months of life here on earth. It is a story of deep love, crazy humor, hard yet sweet moments, and forever faith. [See trailer here.]Photo Credit: Hallels

Some of my friends here in Richmond are joining with me for a premier party to watch the documentary together. I am excited to introduce them to Kara. It will be sad but also funny and supremely victorious.

Premiere THE LONG GOODBYE with your Friends! — Limited Time Offer

Over the course of Kara’s cancer, she wrote three books (with the help of friend Jill Lynn Buteyn). I remember the blog she wrote about signing contracts for the two last books just weeks before she died. Her determination to leave this legacy was buoyed by a husband, family, and friends who helped her keep living the life she loved until the end. These books are so beautiful. I spent a couple of decades doing cancer nursing and those experiences forged an understanding of the rare and beautiful gifts found in suffering. Walking through it with God. Kara has captured so much of that and shares it with us in these sweet, sometimes hard stories.

The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life’s Hard – Kara Tippetts

Just Show Up: the Dance of Walking Through Suffering Together – Kara Tippetts & Jill Lynn Buteyn

And It Was Beautiful: Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-bye – Kara Tippetts

By the way, there is way more joy than sorrow in her story. Her love for her family and friends. Her joy in the beauty that surrounded her. Her confidence in the God who loved her. It’s all there.

In her last book, And It Was Beautiful: Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-bye, she writes a brief letter to the cancer:

“…So here we are. The truth is that now you are in my bones, my bone marrow, my blood-making place. I did not want you there. I asked you not to go there. But you did it anyway. But here’s something. You will never separate me from the Holy Spirit. He’s watching you, every single cell of you. He’s the One giving me all this peace that confounds you. You won’t take my joy, cancer. You won’t keep me from living as close as I can to my people. And I know you think you are killing me with all your fast-growing cell business, but you are not the boss. The day I breathe my last is exactly numbered. You don’t have a say in that, sorry. And when that day comes, and it will come, my people will be kept safe in God’s beautiful arms…I do hate you, and I’m still here.”Kara

Photo Credit: Deb Mills Writer from Mundane Faithfulness

This year during Lent, I’m reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s 40-Day Journey. He writes beautifully about what it is to be a true disciple of Jesus. Here is one excerpt:

Luther translates the Greek word for what is blessed with “to bear suffering.” The important part is the bearing. The community of disciples does not shake off suffering, as if they had nothing to do with it. Instead they bear it. In doing so, they give witness to their connection with the people around them. At the same time this indicates that they do not arbitrarily seek suffering, that they do not withdraw into willful contempt for the world. Instead, they bear what is laid upon them and what happens to them in discipleship for the sake of Jesus Christ. Finally, disciples will not be weakened by suffering, worn down, and embittered until they are broken. Instead, they bear suffering, by the power of him who supports them. The disciples bear the suffering laid on them only by the power of him who bears all suffering on the cross. As bearers of suffering, they stand in communion with the Crucified. They stand as strangers in the power of him who was so alien to the world that it crucified him. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. Psalm 30:11-12

Kara, in your living and your dying, you taught me so much about being a disciple of Jesus. You knew/know Him so well. Thank you. Photo Credit: Life News

My Other Blogs on Kara – Here, Here, Here & Here

**Memorial – Mundane Faithfulness – read Kara’s blog – her story and her God will change your life.

Worship Wednesday – Yearn with Shane & Shane

2014 June Odds & Ends 003a (2)

“…so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being.” – Acts 17:27-28a

Yearn is a word that has too long been neglected. Owned by sonnet-writers and dreamers, this could well-describe God-worshippers. Last night, I rediscovered it during a lazy evening with friends. One is a Chinese student ravenous to master English vocabulary. We were looking in one of my textbooks and a list of feelings/emotions caught her attention. Many of the words were familiar to her from conversations with American friends, but one stood out unknown and, for us native English speakers, hard to describe: yearning.

As we were trying to describe it, her nearest friend in our group  pulled up a song on Youtube. It is “Yearn” by Shane & Shane.

Yearn

Verse 1 – Holy design; This place in time

That I might seek and find my God, my God

Chorus – Lord, I want to yearn for You; I want to burn with passion over You And only You

Lord, I want to yearn for You; I want to burn with passion over You; And only You Lord, I want to yearn

Verse 2 – Your joy is mine, yet why am I fine

With all my singing and bringing grain in light of Him

Bridge – Oh, You give life and breath; in You we live and move. That’s why I sing

Copyright © 2004 River Oaks Music Company/True Bliss Music/Waiting Room Music/BMI (adm. by EMI CMG Publishing)

When you go to bed at night, do you ever struggle to get your mind quiet enough to sleep? Do your longings push through such that until you pray them out you can’t sleep? That’s how last night was for me. I long to know God’s purpose for these days in my life…I long to be closer to my children…I long for some of my friends and family to know Jesus…I long for….so many things. And sleep finally comes.

This morning the ache of some of those same longings woke with me. Then in the quiet,  with my coffee and the Word, a yearning for God Himself settled those other longings in their proper place.

“Father, I cry out to You. Let me rest in Your arms, that the world might not press in so, disturbing the peace. You only are the One who completely satisfies – otherwise we lean toward wanting more and more of something less. God, bring me to a place where obeying and following You is all I want. My soul gets tormented by things that are undone or not yet – relationships that aren’t where I’d like them to be; responsibilities that seem beyond my abilities; God, draw me to Yourself. Help me to be where You want me to be, and then everything else will be, at least, ordered rightly. Father, I lay down these longings – these relationships; these responsibilities – and lift my face toward Yours, yearning only for You right now. I love You, Lord. Teach me to love You more. In Jesus. Amen.”

But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.  – Deuteronomy 4:29

Story Behind Yearn

Shane & Shane Singing Yearn (Youtube)

Chords

How to Become a Follower of Jesus

Worship Wednesday – I Am Yours, and You Are Mine – Oceans

2013 Aug. 14 Kari Jobe Concert 005

Thus says the Lord:  “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God…” Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters. — Isaiah 43:1-2, 16

Last summer I was persuaded to attend a Kari Jobe concert. Live concerts don’t do for me these days what they did once upon a time (so much celebrity focus & the crowd issues). Also Kari Jobe was unknown to me (loved Revelation Song but through other artists).  The concert was billed as a “Night of Worship” which intrigued me. Also, going with a group of young women who all love Jesus sealed the deal.

The venue was a huge church with a cavernous worship space. When Kari and her band took the stage, the room went dark.  The stage was lit with strings of twinkle lights, bare bulb floor lights out front, and backed by a curtain-to-curtain panel on which video was projected.  Lyrics of each song were shown for us to truly be part of the worship. It was, in spite of all the gorgeousness of the artists, truly a night of worshipping God. Kari Jobe and band prayed, sang, and danced through each song, and we with them.

One song, in particular, touched my heart and still ministers to my spirit every time I hear or sing it. It is “Oceans” written by Matt Crocker, Joel Houston, and Salomon Ligthelm. In the night of worship with Kari Jobe, during this song, the stage backdrop was covered by a video of enormous, rolling and tumbling waves. As we sang the lyrics, the waves mesmerized us all. I felt my smallness before a GOD who created oceans. If it weren’t for the desire to praise Him through those lyrics, that visual of those powerful crashing waves would have silenced me in awe of the One so much bigger than His creation.

This praise song, Oceans, brings Isaiah 43 to mind – a faithful God calling out to an unfaithful people.

Lord, give us ears to hear You even amidst rolling waves and raging seas. Fill us with Your faithfulness.

“Oceans”

You call me out upon the waters the great unknown where feet may fail and there I find You in the mystery in oceans deep My faith will stand.

(Chorus) And I will call upon Your name and keep my eyes above the waves when oceans rise; my soul will rest in Your embrace for I am Yours and You are mine.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters; Your sovereign hand will be my guide. Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.

(Chorus) Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders; let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.

Oceans Lyrics

Homemade video (start at 47 secs in) of Night of Worship at another venue (with ocean wave backdrop)

Hillsong Oceans video with Lyrics