fear factor.

in honor of today's holiday {happy halloween} and all the creepy/scary things that come with it, i decided to reflect on the idea of FEAR...

fear is such a weird thing. we all have the tendency to be consumed with it. many of us let it rule our thoughts and our actions all too often. fear is usually the precursor to anxiety and stress. when you get down to it, fear is basically a lack of control (and let's face it...we're all control freaks in our own ways) it's also the title of a horrible movie starting mark wahlburg circa 1996...do yourself a favor and do not see it.

dictionary.com defines fear as "a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid." and author stephen king notes that it is the most physically debilitating of human emotions.

but the reality is we don't have to live in that. "...for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control" (2 timothy 1:7) "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear" (1 john 4:18). that's the bad kind of fear. in the Greek the word is deilia. it's living life not resting and trusting in that perfect love of our Father...in His plans, His purposes, His control.

but there's a good kind of fear, too. it's the Greek word eulabeia. and it's the exact opposite of deilia. it is trusting and resting in God's control. it's a reverence and awe kind of fear. a wow-i'm-afraid-because-i-realize-how-not-in-control-i-really-am kind of fear. and that type of fear...fear of the Lord...brings wisdom (psalm 111:10) and leads to life (proverbs 19:23).

so next time you're tempted to be afraid of something the world whispers...when you're scared or anxious of the unknown...when you're full of doubts and "what ifs"...stop and remember truth.
you're not alone...you're not in control. He's there...and He is.

transfer fear of the world into fear of the Lord.

"fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." {isaiah 41:10}


it's in the baayeehheggg.

this past weekend was another rendezvous with the girls of 105 southview drive. mk has been living in madison, wisconsin for over 2 years, so we decided it was time to pay her a little visit.

besides great girl time with 3 of my favorites, the 2 things that stick out the most are:

1. cheese. lots and lots and lots of cheese. from fried cheese curds at "the old fashioned" restaurant to buying hot spicy cheese bread off the streets to countless cheese samples at the farmers market to late-night pokey stix from gumby's...we can confidently call ourselves cheeseheads now.

2. the pronunciation of "bag". we could not stop getting a kick of out the way the midwest says "bag"...it became a goal to work it into almost every sentence.


tuesday tunes - swell season.

ok, seriously one of my favorite duos of all time is the swell season. i saw them live last year and LOVED it. they've been my favorite pandora station the last couple of months, and i've been anxiously awaiting the release of their sophomore album today.
that album is called strict joy, and it is the follow-up to their self-titled debut album. i just purchased it, so i can't say with authority yet that it's amazing...but i'm so confident it will be, that i'm offering a money-back guarantee if you buy it and don't like it! they did have one song, "in these arms", as a free stream for the past couple of months and it's great!

so if you like beautiful harmonies and passionate lyrics, you'll love these guys.


wild whimsy + raw reality

so we all know that i was so excited to see where the wild things are. i made sure to see it on opening weekend, before too much hype or criticism could leak out...

and the verdict? emotional. director spike jonze does an amazing job of creatively depicting the reality of human emotions. as the viewer, you can't help but want to carry the characters' burdens right along with them. we all have the ability to act out of anger and then feel ashamed. we all want to be accepted and a part of community. we all want to be unconditionally loved.
and there's no denying that the cinematography and the wild things' costumes were truly magnificent. and there were some moments of that felt whimsical and wild.

but honestly... i think i'd rather just watch the trailer again.

listening to:
"wake up" by arcade fire and "all is love" by karen o. and the kids

*also check out this article at relevantmagazine.com for a look at wild things from a spiritual angle.


tuesday tunes - needtobreathe.

this week's tune is the band needtobreathe.

the cd player in my old car was broken for the last 3 years i owned it (it just wasn't worth the $1000 to fix it) so i got used to only buying music on itunes & playing them on my ipod. even though i now have a new car and a working cd player, my cd collection is very limited.

...so when my roommate gave me the new needtobreathe cd, the outsiders, a month ago, it literally hasn't left my car. i love it and can't stop listening to it! and...it's the only cd i have.

seriously, though, check out this album. coincidence there's a song called "girl named tennessee"? i think not.

here's one of my favorites from the last album, the heat, called "washed by the water"...


tuesday tunes - rosie thomas.

rosie thomas is one of my favorite singers, ever. give me a rainy day in a coffee shop, and rosie's playing on my iPod for sure. i got a chance to see her at next big nashville last week...she showed her new documentary all the way from michigan not mars and then played a short acoustic set afterwards. it was heavenly :)

check out this song "say hello" of hers off the latest album these friends of mine to get a feel for her soothing, flawless voice... {she's singing with sufjan stevens!}


a great cloud.

Hebrews 12:1 says “therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us...”

what is the GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES? literally, it's the hall of faith listed in the previous chapter of hebrews. people like abel, noah, abraham, isaac, jacob, joseph, and moses. those that have lived lives of faith, who followed God and worshiped Jesus.

it has been amazing to recognize the cloud of witnesses in my own life. those that live lives of faith all around me. for the days that it's harder to fight for hope and rest in faith...they step in with enough for the both of us. i picture a literal cloud...providing a shadow of hope around me when the sun's rays feel too intense. when life gets a little too hard. their lives are a testimony of God's provision, strength, and goodness. i'm thankful for cloudy skies lately, and for my great cloud surrounding me.


tuesday tunes - katie herzig.

i can't believe i haven't blogged about katie yet. she's a nashvillian. she's been on the ten out of tenn tour. she's a mocha club sponsor. she's fantastic.
{if you're familiar with mocha club, you'll recognize her song "shovel" in our "i need africa" video.}

katie's got such an original voice and is a gifted songwriter. she even had a song on the grey's anatomy season premiere! her last 2 albums - weightless and apple tree have been amazing. and she just released a new live record -- an acoustic trio. on katie's site, you can download the album for FREE during the month of october. i've had it on repeat in the office all day. go get it!!

{katie's also an artist on brite revolution and releases new music there every month!}

this is a duet with another nashville-native, matthew perryman jones, called "where the road meets the sun"... (it was actually featured on the grey's anataomy season finale from last season!)



it's no secret that God has been building a deep connection and strong love for the people of Africa over the past couple of years into my heart. {you might remember this post back in the fall of 2007...or even when i joined mocha club back in march of 2006!}. and as i am fortunate to continue to travel over to Africa each year through work, i don't want to forget the Africans I have living in my very neighborhood.
there are 3 new families of refugees that moved-in literally 6 blocks from me -- 2 from the Congo and 1 from Burundi...with 19 members total!!

i've recently been given the green light to initiate a charge for midtown on a missional/global level - specifically for Africa. i'm working on a trip for next summer, to hopefully build a sustainable long-term partnership in Uganda {started by my team on our 2008 trip}. but a huge part of our vision is to also see how we can connect to what is already happening here in nashville, too...specifically with the large refugee population.

so when i got connected to these 3 families last week, and was asked if they could come to midtown with me, of course i just smiled at how God works all things together. so i rounded up some friends and we created a caravan and we brought 8 of them with us this morning. i can't explain what a joy it was to worship with them...and then come back and spend time with the families in their homes.

i'm so excited to see what God does with our midtown family and how we learn to love our neighbors in every sense of the word.

here's us with some of the crew after church, at their home: