Posted by: bellissimanh | August 21, 2009

This and That

After a lovely week on the coast of Maine, we’re home… and vacation is definitely over!

My mind is already running through the days, weeks and months ahead.

Next weekend is our annual Praise in the Park outreach. Our church will gather in the park with great praise music, free food, and a group of believers with hearts to share the gospel with our valley. This year we have the welcome addition of our youth… they’ll bring some powerful drama and beautiful sign language to the mission. What a blessed fellowship we are… what a GREAT God we serve!

I have the best husband on the face of the earth. Truly. Because while he will be working his butt off to get our sound system and all other technical aspects of Praise in the Park ready, he has graciously encouraged me to attend the Beth Moore simulcast (are any of you going to be worshipping and learning with me?)! Wooohoooooooo! I found a church offering the simulcast next weekend, and it just happens to be 10 minutes from my Mom’s… so not only do I get to attend the event, but I also get to have a sleepover with my Mommy! The event will run until 1pm Saturday. It will take me a little over an hour to get back to North Conway. Praise in the Park begins at 3pm. Did I mention that my fabulous husband, who will be taking care of all things outreach, will also be caring for my children the entire time? So he’s not just the best husband… he’s also the best Dad. 🙂

The weekend after that we will be attending the Swiftwaters Music Festival… seeing Sarah Reeves, Josh Wilson, and Big Daddy Weave… all at this beautiful location! This has become an annual tradition for us and has given us the opportunity to see many incredible artists… like Brandon Heath. Can’t wait!

Once Praise in the Park is finished, it’s time to start preparing for our Christmas Cantata… I can hardly believe it! This year we’re going to present a musical drama called “The Christmas Ornament.” I’m excited about this one… it tells the story of the Keegan family.

Henry Keagan is approaching his first Christmas without his wife of many years, and other members of this close-knit family are struggling to accept the loss of their beloved matriarch. The children have decided that getting together for the holidays would help Henry deal with this difficult time. But, alas, family is . . . well . . . family. And with all the love comes a bit of annoying, hilarious, treasured behavior that keeps life interesting.  Woven into this thought-provoking, spiritually insightful drama are special moments that bring much warmth and humor—from a trip to the soup kitchen to welcoming Christmas carolers at the door.

Our women’s retreat is coming up in October as well… Each year we go to the Women of Faith Conference in Hartford, CT (which I was less than impressed with this year – perhaps enough said), and we’ve also begun offering a retreat right here at home. This year we have been blessed to have a sister offer her huge — and GORGEOUS — home for our retreat. I’ve been listening to the worship CD all this week and I’m in love with this music — because it brings me even deeper in love with Jesus! It’s a combination of new songs, familiar praise choruses, and some beloved hymns that have been contemporized just a wee bit… let me tell you, this is the best version of “Blessed Assurance” I have ever listened to! I love, love, love it! I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for us at our retreat as we feast on the Bread of Life at the Sweet Life Cafe!

Oh – there’s another concert too… in September. Leeland, Brandon Heath, and Francesca Battistelli. Yeah, baby!

But the icing on the cake for me is beginning once the kids go back to school. After a break for summer, my Thursday Bible Study group will resume. I have so missed it! I’ve  missed the study, for sure… but I’ve also missed the sweet fellowship of my close-knit group. There is something so special about sharing lives with sisters in Christ… not just the superficial greetings you get on Sunday morning, but the deep soul connecting that happens as you invest in the life of someone else (and they you) – bearing one another’s burdens, praying together, laughing together, crying together… you get the picture. Our first study is going to be “A Woman’s Heart, God’s Dwelling Place”. It’s a study of the Tabernacle and Beth Moore (have I mentioned how much I love Beth?) will draw comparisons to how the Lord now dwells within us… I love that John 1:14 (“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…”) literally means He “tabernacled” with us.

Doesn’t that just jazz you? The God of the universe became a man (talk about making Himself nothing – Phil. 2:7!) and then suffered and died — in YOUR place! In that moment, when all the sin of the world was placed upon Him as He hung from the old rugged cross… glory was revealed.  The amazing plan of redemption, designed by our loving Father from before the world was set in motion, was displayed in all it’s fullness that day on Calvary. Glory Revealed. Majesty. Love.

Here’s one final thought:  How about grace and truth?

There is a productive, fruitful dynamic tension between grace and truth. Truth is the standard… grace is more relationship and freedom oriented. They work perfectly together. Jesus didn’t have a good balance of grace and truth… He expressed them both fully.

Grace and truth were both expressed in the cross of Calvary. The justice of God demanded that sin be paid for – Truth. Jesus offered Himself as payment for that sin – Grace.

And He calls me to live out both of these in my life as well.  I’m so grateful that I don’t have to do it alone… for He tabernacles with me!

Ok. I’m done. Really. Y’all know that such a long break from blogging always results in endless posts.  🙂 Many thanks to those of you who have written to me in my absence from the blogging world to let me know you’re thinking of me, praying for me, and missing my sharing. I love you!

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Responses

  1. Hi!!
    What’s the date for the retreat? We’re always filling up the calendar – and I’d like to get it written down sooner than later!! 🙂

  2. Heather,

    You are going to be a BUSY girl!! You are absolutely gonna love, love, love Beth’s A Woman’s Heart. Oh my goodness, I have done it a few times and I love it. It just point forward so beautifully to Christ. I would suggest following it up with Beth’s “Jesus The One and Only”. They go together so well.

    I’m glad to see you back.. I’ve missed your posts.

    Keep us updated on all that is happening.

    Leah

  3. Our church body is having a “Block Party” for the children of our entire community this evening. GREAT OUTREACH! Our Ladies Community study starts back up on Monday night. AND there are 10 of us going to the Beth Moore Simulcast next weekend. It is only 60 miles from us, PTL! So glad for Sisters in Christ. Bless you!!!

  4. Jonalie – 10/23-10/24 🙂

    Leah – You’ve just given me confirmation that I chose the right study. There were three available… A Woman’s Heart, Jesus the One & Only, and also Believing God. We just finished the Patriarch’s, so since Believing God focuses on Heb 13 (and many of the patriarchs), I decided to skip that one. The idea of the tabernacle study fascinated me, so I went with that one. How wonderful to know that Jesus the One and Only would be a great follow up study to that one! 🙂 Thank you! Thanks also for the kind words. I’ve missed blogging… but it was a much needed summer break. 🙂

    Yolanda – I’ll be worshipping with ya! I’ll think of you as I sit there drinking it all in. I love you, sister!

  5. W E L C O M E B A C K!!! You were greatly missed!
    My friend Debbie and I will be attending the simulcast in Indy which is about an hour and a half away. We are staying nearby in a hotel and just looking forward to being together and hearing what God has for us. I’ll be thinking of you as we open the Word together!
    Blessings ~ Lisa


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