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Courageous Casting Crowns

As most people know, I am a HUGE (might be an understatement) fan of Casting Crowns.  I got in my e-mail the information for the pre-order today and I just have to decide who I am doing it through.  The album comes out on October 18th.  One of the songs for the album is the title track for a movie that comes out September 30th, “Courageous” (title of song and of movie).  Here is a sneak peek!

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Inspirational Music

 

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Praise God for Joyful Noise!

Praise God for the wonderful day Saturday!  I spent my whole day surrounded by God, not that I don’t usually, but in a different not as common way.  Starting the day with mass as always, it was a great beginning to my day.  I have been a little shaken the couple of days prior.  This time while at mass, I was able to be more at peace.  My routine for daily mass involves praying the prayers as we normally do in the morning with the sisters. From there, I went home and got ready leave the house.  Where did I go next?  To spend all day at the Joyful Noise Family Fest with my parents and little sisters!

How did this come about, well let me tell you.  Angie (youth minister at my parish) had pointed it out to me when I went to go visit her.  She said she was thinking about going and knew I liked some of the bands that were going to be there.  I asked if I could go with her, so all we had to do then is make sure we could both go.  When I brought it up at first to my parents, they were not sure for whatever reason.  It might have been price.  Mom, on one of her websites the gives discounts to lots of things, came across by chance a 50% off price to the tickets to go.  I call and let Angie know.  Dad later says that we can all go; my brother opts to stay home.  The day following that, I went to see Angie after mass to tell her.  I find out that she is not going.  It is now me and most my family.  I find it weird how that worked out, since I would have not even thought of it if not for her.

So, when I got back from mass on Saturday, I got changed and ready to go.  We left the house around 10:00am and arrived around 10:30am.  There were tons of kids stuff going on; it was all the blow-up bouncing things you could care to ever play in, including a rock wall and a bungy thing.  The girls (just out of 2nd and 5th grade) were in heaven.  Music started when the gates opened at 10:00am.  I did the bungy thing, it was a blast (even though at first I did not want to for some odd reason).  Throughout the morning and afternoon we would go back to our “base camp” that we set up on the field where we would sit for all the artists and bands playing all day (we got a decent spot) to sit for a bit and eat something or just rest.  They girls definitely had a blast with all the stuff they had set up there.

On the flip side, the concert.  That was the part I wanted to be there for the most.  All the artists were really good and led beautiful praise and worship in their unique ways.  Go Fish was there; they are more of kids band.  The girls seemed to like them, though it was pulling teeth to get them to dance.  We ended up getting three of their CDs for them.  I hope they will listen to them often.  When it came time for the last three artists/bands, they did participate a bit more in dancing with the music.  It was amazing and beautiful.  I stood through much of those last three, definitely standing through all of Casting Crowns (closers).  It that, I dance with both of the girls.  I even stood with one in front of me, my arms around her, swaying during one of the slower songs.  There is also a picture with dad and the girls raising their arms in praise as the artist who was up there told everyone to do.  One of the girls told me on the way out that she liked Casting Crowns.  That made me smile big since they are my favorite!

Now at home, looking back on that day.  It was something I never would have expected for some reason.  Between the games and the music, especially the music, the day was great.  Being able to enjoy the music I love while dancing and swaying and fooling around with my little sisters was a blessing that came from nowhere.  Then again, it must have come from God.  I thank Him for that time there.  It also happened to come at a time when I really needed to be energized by a large group of people praising and worshiping with some of the best leaders of it around.  It inspired me again and brought me some new life.  Praise God!

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2011 in Random Things, Retreat Experience

 

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Jesus’ Infancy and Childhood

For our creed class, we were each given a part of Jesus’ life to teach/present to the class.  It was based off paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  As you can see from teh title of this post, I had the infancy and childhood of Jesus.  My Catechism numbers were 522-534. I started out with a song to reflect on in which we talked about after reading through my reflections.

Letters on Preparations

Who is this Messiah?

Author: Anonymous Pharisee

It is all over the scriptures that I read; there is to be a Messiah!  I wish I could tell you all exactly how he will come, but I don’t know.  If he is going to rule over all, he must be coming as a great king.  There are a lot of symbols and rituals we have.  One day I hope that they will lead to something greater.  This king is said to be able to deliver us.  With the oppression we face, some saving is what we could need.

The people were waiting for Messiah for years.  Everywhere around them were the symbols and signs of what was to come, but when it hit them they would not see.  Do we stay open to the signs that are around us, hints and nudges from God that lead us to something greater?

Jesus is Coming!

Author: John the Baptist

God chose me from many to prepare the way for His son.  I could feel myself on fire and desiring to get people to be ready to follow Him.  Yes, I had many followers.  Once this chosen son of God comes my way, I would know.  My works involved preaching to the people, and giving a Baptism of conversion. 

Later we find out that John also died the martyr’s death for Jesus, on top of what he shared with us.  It is truly amazing what one would go through for Christ.  Knowing that Jesus is coming again, what are you doing to prepare His way?

 Letters on The Christmas Mystery

My Daughter, Mother of God

Author: Anne, Mother of Mary

The look on my daughters face told it all.  There was peace.  Of course she is scared, I am too.  Who knew but the Lord if Joseph will take her still?  My daughter is going to give birth to our Messiah.  It is hard to believe that this could be true.  Even so, I must now make sure she is protected and cared for if this child is to grow up to be who this angel told her he would be. 

The yes that Mary gave was such a turning point in our history.  Now we look to Mary as our mother.  Do we allow her to be our mother in the same way that she was mother to Jesus?

Seeing the Newborn Child

Author: Shepherds

We knew something was going on.  There was a star in the sky unlike any other.  My fellow companions and I were struck with curiosity, so we drew near to the place that the star was over.  There, lying in a manger was a child with his parents surrounding him.  This must be the one that we have heard of from the prophets who traveled around.  Who would have even figured, a king to be born to such a poor and humble family, with us mere shepherds as the first witnesses?  The king came as a child, to save all of us.

Who today is born in a stable and laid in a manger?  It is only imaginable what Mary and Joseph were thinking when the shepherds came to witness the birth of the King.  We often wonder, “how must we enter the Kingdom of God?”  Just like that of Jesus, as a child.  Only When Christ is formed in us, will the mystery of His birth be fulfilled in us.  How can we emulate this simple birth of Jesus today?

Letters on Jesus Infancy

The King is Circumcised

Author: Local Priest

Two parents brought their child to me.  I knew there had to be something special about him, but I was not sure at that time.  As was customary, I did the circumcision.  It is a sign of submission to our Law and the worship of Israel.  The boy grew up participating in the Law his entire life. 

What does circumcision mean to us today in a society where it does not happen much?  That moment in Jesus’ life is a sign that prepares us for the “circumcision of Christ,” which is Baptism.  How is this so?

The Epiphany

Author: The Magi

Oh what a glorious even this is for us!  We traveled very far as soon as we heard of a Messiah of Israel’s birth.  We all wanted to adore the child Jesus in person and bring him gifts.  Sure we were Pagans, but by going to see this newborn Son of God and Savior of the World, we could open wide the doors for our people!  To bend down at His feet and leave Him fine gifts was such an honor.  We had been asked to return to tell others of this great news, but then we decided to go somewhere else to save the child’s life.

It was in this visit of the Magi to see Jesus that all became worthy to share in the heritage of Israel.  What do you think it was like for these Magi to travel such a long distance to see the birth of this Messiah and to do Him homage?  Would we travel that far to see a child said to be the Son of God or would we consider a hoax?

Jesus’ Presentation

Author: Simeon

As the child Jesus was being brought into the temple, as is customary, I took him into my arms and praised God!  The Holy Spirit had revealed to me that I would not die until I had seen the Messiah.  I knew it from the moment I saw the child in his mother’s arms.  How beautiful it was to see Jesus so peaceful there.  Yet I knew of the sword that would pierce him for all of us. 

The presentation showed Jesus as the firstborn son who belonged to God.  While here Jesus is seen as the Messiah that has been long-awaited for, but also is a sign that will be spoken against all of His life.  Not only that, but this sign is still spoken against in today’s society.  What can we do to take away that with speaks against this marvelous sign and wonder that is our faith?

To and From Egypt

Author: Joseph

When I heard that I must flee to save Jesus’ life, I woke Mary up and we left immediately.  It was said that Herod was sending His armies to kill all the firstborns in order that no king should arise from them.  This struck such a fear in me that I acted immediately.  They were after my son!  We spent some years in Egypt waiting for the Lord to tell us what to do next.  While we waited, I took in every moment I could have with Jesus.  I did not know when things would change.  Here I am, on my death bed, and I trust that I will see the great things Jesus will do as I gaze from Heaven.  Coming home from Egypt was something we had wanted for the longest time.  Mary’s mother was so glad to see us.  Jesus was happy to see this home that we spoke of over and over.  That time of fleeing was hard, but I got time with my son.

This fleeing to Egypt again shows the opposition of darkness to light.  Many innocent children lost there lives to the darkness trying to find Jesus.  When the family came back from Egypt, we are called back to the exodus of Moses from Egypt.  The connection here shows Jesus as the one and only liberator of God’s people.  Are we ready to make an exodus for the sake of God?  What things do we need to leave behind for our faith?

Letters on the Hidden Life of Jesus

Basic Life, Basic Kid

Author: Family Friend

If you had told me when Jesus was younger that he was the Messiah we had all been waiting for, I am not sure I would have believed you.  I saw Jesus grow up under the care of Mary and Joseph.  They were the most loving parents that I had ever seen.  Our Messiah lived a life just like any other human being in our situation would have lived.  He played with my son, helped Joseph with the carpentry work, and listened to his parents.  They were a great little family, there was nothing usual about them and I saw at that time no particular greatness that made him different than anyone else.  As he got older, he did have a keen interest in scriptures.  Of course, looking back now I can see the signs that brought him to this point where he is carrying out his Father’s work.  I am so blessed to have known him as a child.

Jesus lived an ordinary life as a child.  It is in this way that we can really relate to him.  There was nothing extravagant show outwardly about him.  This basic life that he lived allows us to be in fellowship with him.  It gives hope as well, to those who think they have to be great all of life to achieve something.  Anything can be created with hope and love that is placed in the Lord.  How do we relate to the simple life of Jesus’ childhood?

The Faith of Jesus

Author: Mary

Oh how the Lord has blessed me!  Jesus was a faithful young boy who followed all of the Jewish Laws with great obedience.  Never once do I remember him being disobedient to Joseph or me.  He heeded every word that we said.  There was just once that I remember particularly where he gave us a bit of a fright.  We were traveling in a caravan between cities for a couple of days.  I had thought that Jesus was playing with our friend’s son when Joseph and I realized that he was missing.  How could I have lost God’s son!  I was so distraught.  We went back to look for him.  After much searching, we found Jesus in the temple with the elders of the temple.  What a relief it was to have had found him!  I could see that the Lord was beginning to give him a glimpse of this mission that he was given.  It would not be long, I could tell, before he would really start his work.  I wondered what it would be like.  Now I know; it has been a long road and people persecute him.  “Lord, protect my son.” This is my prayer.

Obedience, it is something that a lot of people struggle with.  Jesus, our savior, was able to show such humble obedience to his parents and the religious laws to which he lived under.  This obedience that Jesus shows to the Jewish Laws and his parents restores what the disobedience of Adam had destroyed at the beginning of time for the human race.  It is also interesting that the only event to enter the Gospels of Jesus’ childhood is when he is found in the temple.  He was there talking with the elders.  In this, we see a glimpse of the mystery of his mission that stems from his divine sonship.  How do we emulate the same obedience Jesus had?  Is our faith just as simple as his or do we over complicate things?

 

While You Were Sleeping [Christmas Version]

Artist: Casting Crowns

Oh little town of Bethlehem
Looks like another silent night
Above your deep and dreamless sleep
A giant star lights up the sky
And while you’re lying in the dark
There shines an everlasting light
For the King has left His throne
And is sleeping in a manger tonight, tonight

Oh Bethlehem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
For God became a man
And stepped into your world today
Oh Bethlehem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

Mary shivers in the cold
Trying to keep the Savior warm
Born among the animals wrapped in dirty rags
Because there was no room for Him in the world He came to save

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we’re sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children
And while we’re lying in the dark
There’s a shout heard ‘cross the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America, will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King
Will we be sleeping
Will we be sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Creative Corner, Inspirational Music

 

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Sharing Faith Until the Whole World Hears

Here is one of the latest songs from Casting Crowns.  If you go to the official website for the band you can find the info I am about to provide.  Here is what is said about the song and its info.  It is word for word from the band, as well as the lyrics, so please do not consider it from me.

The title track comes from my mentor in student ministry, Roger Glidewell. He always closed his e-mails with the phrase “until the whole world hears.” Our goal is to live our lives telling others about Jesus – until the whole world hears. John the Baptist was the voice crying out in the wilderness, eating grasshoppers, and speaking into the world about their sin. Speaking out in the wilderness is never popular, but in the body of Christ. we’ve got to do it in love. – Mark Hall

[“Until the Whole World Hears” also includes the voices of the congregation from Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church, where Hall has served as Student Pastor for eight years.]

MARK HALL, BERNIE HERMS, JASON MCARTHUR, ROGER GLIDEWELL
Matthew 5:16 / Matthew 28:19-20 / Mark 16:15 / John 9:5 / Hebrews 13:20-22 / James 2:19 / John 1:1-42 / Matthew 24:14

Lord, I want to feel with Your heart
See the world through Your eyes
I want to be Your hands and feet
I want to live a life that leads

Ready yourselves, ready yourselves
Let us shine the light of Jesus in the darkest night
Ready yourselves, ready yourselves
May the powers of darkness tremble as our praises rise

Until the whole world hears, Lord, we are calling out
Lifting up Your name for all to hear the sound
Like voices in the wilderness we’re crying out
And as the day draws near, we’ll sing until the whole world hears

Lord, let Your sleeping giant rise
Catch the demons by surprise
Holy nations sanctify
Let this be our battle cry

Ready yourselves, ready yourselves
Let us shine the light of Jesus in the darkest night
Ready yourselves, ready yourselves
May the powers of darkness tremble as our praises rise

Woah, woah, sing until the whole world hears
Woah, woah, sing until the whole world hears

I want to be Your hands and feet
I want to live a life that leads
To see You set the captive free
Until the whole world hears
And I pray the day will see
More of You and less of me
Lord, I want my life to be
The song You sing

Woah, woah, we’ll sing until the whole world hears
Woah, woah, we’ll sing until the whole world hears

Until the whole world hears.  This is what we should be striving for in life.  Spreading the faith until the whole world hears.  What a task to be lived each and everyday!  Wait, what?  You think you can not do it because you don’t do church work type things?  You are wrong.  We were commissioned to spread the news of Jesus Christ to the whole world and not stop until everyone hears.  Below is a passage from the Gospel of Matthew stating this Great Commission.

The eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.  When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.  And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.  – Matthew 28:16-20

In everything we do, everything we say, everything we think, in absolutely everything; we must spread our faith in ways that are suiting to what God is calling us to do.  God has a plan for each of us and within that is the call to share the faith until the whole world hears.  How many other forms can I put this in to make it clear!?

For me it may seem a little more cut and dry, but that does not mean it is an easy thing by any means.  God’s plan has now put me waiting to enter formation this August 24th.  I will be studying, praying, and all else in order that I might become a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians in approximately four years.  The Salesian Sisters just had this thing that drew me in.  Now, I have always prayed and hoped that I could be God’s hands and feet, seeing the world form His point of view in order that I may reach out where I am meant to reach.  The thing is, this is not how I thought I would be spreading faith until the whole world hears.  With that said, I am so excited.  What a better way to live my life but married to Christ doing His work that I have been commissioned to do!

I pledge that I am going to sing until the whole world hears.  In my love of music, my love of dance, my love of my faith and the fire within me I am going to give it all I have and pray that it is enough to satisfy God!  Will you go out and face the world with your faith like I am?  As a community we have the power to do many thing and catch those demons by surprise.

Watch out because I’ll share my faith until the whole world hears!

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2010 in Inner Reflection, Inspirational Music

 

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Know Him, Know Him More

Casting Crowns is most days my favorite band ever; I love their music and it has always reached me in a special way.   There is a portion of some lyrics that go as so.

To know You is to want to know You more.

It was not until I saw them in concert a little over a week ago that I really took a moment to soak up this line.  In the talk that Mark Hall (lead singer) gave, he said it again slightly different and it hit me.

To know Him is to want to know Him more.

Wow…what a profound thing to hear, take to heart, and ponder.  Something about it strikes me, but I can not completely put it to words.  It seems that this idea should be in our faith always.

What thoughts, questions, ideas, comments, and anything else come to mind when you read this?

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2010 in Inner Reflection

 

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Laugh and Smile

It was beautiful the way she laughed and smiled

With the beams shinning from her war-torn face

The pain that was once all there was to be seen

Has now shrunken back to a much smaller place

 –

This retreat she took has brought life back to her

Some visits to see the grandparents were grand

They talked and played games and caught up with life

She wishes to take them on her journey hand in hand

 –

There is a friend she met at church one fun summer

A brief moment had to recap life is with happiness

Happenings of the youth of her parish going on

And the excitement in each life that is the very best

 –

At a coffee shop more life excitement to be shared

She into formation and her dear friend to be married

Oh the joy those two felt as stories are exchanged

The friendship and bond there will be forever carried

– 

Off to a concert by Casting Crowns she did surely go

A band that she does love and seen three times before

Yet a message reached her in a very surprising way

She sang and praised and only could wish for more

 –

Traveling to school after the concert was her next stop

A place of many joys as well as some deep pain too

Finally she had wished to go back to be in special retreat

She decided to ride with the flow to see where she’d go

 –

Friends were surely surprised by her random arrival

They laughed and they talked and shared many a story

She was so joyful to be in the presence of community

With people who could share her joy and God’s glory

 –

A talk she did give at praise and worship night to some

Nervous she was as speaking publicly is a huge fear

But when she sat in front of curious and interested faces

She spoke from her heart and God was made very clear

 –

There is a friend that she admires greatly his uniqueness

To the woods they traveled while in valuable conversation

Swinging over a creek brought needed laughter to her soul

Climbing ten feet of wall gave smiles to aid retreat conversion

 –

Leaving that place she was sadden in such glorious ways

People touched her in rejuvenating energy that was given

Giving a talk and praising song that changed her deeply

Playing in the bluffs with bonding put her in heaven

 –

Back to home town then on her way to the east coast

She cannot believe how God worked in her those days

He knew what would put her back on her feet to go

It could only leave her in a position of thanks and praise

 –

On a retreat that brought life back to her weary face

From the Spirit was given to her strength to go the miles

God looked down on her through friends supporting

They got to see the beautiful she happily laughs and smiles

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2010 in Creative Corner, Inner Reflection

 

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Lift It Up

This is a video that I find a lot of my friends would “sing” for given where I have been in life.  I find that this is what I would do for my friends just the same.  Here is “Prayer For A Friend” by Casting Crowns (greatest band in the world)

This song is what I hope my friends prayed for me when I was real down.  Sometimes we don’t know what to do to help out our friends, and all we can do is lift our friends to the Lord.  I find myself sitting here still wishing people would do this for me.  There has been a lot of times to reflect and know that I have headed down wrong paths before.  In that I realize that healing takes a long time and lifting myself up as well as my friends is important.  We are our friend as well, not just the others in our life.

Don’t take the world on your shoulders.  You can only bear so much weight before you fall.  When you add on what is going on in your friends’ lives, it can become unbearable.  Lift it all to the Lord, letting go and letting God take hold!  If you can do that, you can go through life happier and following the right path God has for you.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2010 in Inner Reflection, Inspirational Music

 

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