let's make art.

His calloused palms move over the smooth maple as he makes marks with the pencil that is tucked behind his ear. He measures and cuts and nails with focused eyes and steady hands.

My husband is a pastor. But he is a carpenter, too.
A pile of lumber becomes something. Something good. Something beautiful. 
He is an artist. He'd probably roll his eyes at me and smile if I said it aloud to him, but its true.  

We all are. Each and every one of us. 

Maybe you are a singer. A scrapbooker. A decorator. A baby rocker. 
Maybe your heart sings when you clean and scrub.
Or maybe your art is in making photos. Or a knitted scarf. Or a steaming pot of chicken noodle soup. Or in pulling the bow across violin strings. 
Maybe you write. Or build. Or spray paint. Or sketch. 
Maybe you are a listener. A baker. A speaker. A sailor. An advice giver.

6054070581_3733de58a7_o.jpg

No matter what is it, own your art. Recognize it inside of you and seek out opportunities to draw it out and share it. 

Because that art? It's a gift given by grace that is begging to be shared. 
For His glory. 

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. ~Romans 12:6

The One who created you has equipped you with something special that can inspire and encourage and bless others. Don't be shy with it, friends. It's your opportunity to shine for Him. 

Hold it loosely in your hand and let it go. Watch the beauty that comes. 

13.jpg

Bold and Intimate Prayer

Are you having a good summer?

In cold-weather Wisconsin, the answer is usually resounding “yes!”, no matter how things are actually going.  We northerners seem to get revived during the short and intense time of heat. We love us some summer.

That’s why one my favorite summer songs regularly echoes in my ears right now. It reveals my personal desire for comfort and joy with a soulful tune and intriguing lyrics:

Summer time and the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high,
One of these mornings, you’re gonna rise up singin’
And you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky,
But ‘till that morning, there ain’t nothin’ can harm you,
So hush little baby, don’t you cry…

Kids long for summer, moms relish the few short months, families reunite and people in general use summer to revive and refresh.

IMG_4957.JPG

But these lyrics haunt me just a little because life happens during summer, too.

When I was ten, my eleven-year-old cousin drowned at a family reunion, my parent got a cancer diagnosis, my friend died in a car accident, and loved ones suffered pain and sorrow. Tragedy waits for no one.

So, I pose a question… have you noticed lately, more and more people have need of and are requesting prayers this summer?

It seems the world is certainly not getting better, regardless of summer expectations.

Even though the mood is supposed to be lighter, how do you personally respond when you are asked to pray for someone?

Do you counter with…

  • “What happened?”
  • “Yes, I heard about that.”
  • “Oh no! That’s terrible.”
  • “Of course, I will pray for so-n-so.”
  • “Thank you for the opportunity to lift them up.”

In a previous post, we pondered prayer and the power of the prepositions “through” and “in” as Jesus answers prayer.

What is truly amazing is the part believers play in prayer requests. We are given an opportunity to approach God personally.

The question is, how?

A recent conversation about prayer brought to light a troubling circumstance with the response to most prayer requests:

People say they will pray for you.

But rarely do they pray with you.

The challenge is to drop everything and just throw the problem at the foot of the cross. Together.

Right there.

With them.

In that moment.

Out loud.

In Thessalonians Paul urges us to “Pray continually.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

We aren’t told how Christians throughout the ages have prayed other than Paul’s excellent prayers in the letters he wrote to the congregations. That’s probably because God just wants us to pray whenever and wherever we are.

However, let me ask you this:

Have you had a fellow sister or brother in Christ immediately pray for you when you had problems or troubles or situations?

From personal experience, I cannot begin to tell you how much it helps. It makes a huge difference for those who are suffering, sad, crying, or mourning.

Together you go to your heavenly Father and just throw yourself on his lap of mercy. Spending this time with someone hurting allows them to hear your concerns and love for them.

It also binds you together as family, and dispels emotions.

In response to your request, God grants you comfort, peace and a renewed certainty that things will be all right. Really.

Ask the Lord for opportunities to pray with others when you say you will pray for them.

Then keep your eyes open for those times and have the courage to give it a try.

You and your loved one will be amazed at the outcome… God gives a little breath of summer right then and there.

And the result of your bold and intimate prayers?

As God’s children, the livin’ IS easy, you DO rise up singing, you CAN spread your wings, no one CAN harm you, and Jesus dries all your tears, hushing both of your agonized souls.

So hush, little baby, don’t…. you cry.

HensBios.png