Happy birthday Central Christian Church!

This weekend Central Christian Church turns 50. A church plant in Las Vegas, that has so many ministries, amazing staff and volunteers. I first got connected with Central through Lori (wife of Senior Pastor, Jud Wilhite) when she made a comment on a video I’d made for her friend, Brandi showing how I put duvet covers on duvets. From there, Lori welcomed me into Leading and Loving It – a community for Pastors’ Wives. Obviously as an unmarried woman I’m not anybody’s wife, but she let me be included as a woman in leadership and I was so very, very grateful.

Around that time, the church I had become part of was talking about making some major restructuring changes and my pastoral support basically vanished within about 6 months. I tried to keep going, not wanting to be ‘one of those people’ who leaves a church just because the going gets tough. As I was given more responsibility in ministry, it became more difficult. I was giving out spiritually but not much was going in. Most Sundays I’d go to church smiling and drive home in tears. In winter I’d get sick from going to church so I stopped going to services to try and keep myself well. Central filled that gap for me through their online services. Their videos made me laugh so much (ahh, Listen to your lady!) and I fell in love with Lenny and Rita. .  I’ll never forget one particularly tough week when I was close to quitting when in my e-mail box was a video message from Lenny and Rita that Lori had recorded and sent to me filled with words of love and encouragement. Lori was someone I turned to for wisdom when it became clear I needed to leave.  I didn’t like the way some people were gossiping and bitching about the leadership and had to check myself for times when I felt I was slipping into those kind of ways out of anger and hurt. I’m thankful for her wise advice to help me try and leave ‘well’. :)

I’ve heard lots of ministers and pastors preach that in their church ‘it’s ok not be ok’. Most churches that say that – soon get proven wrong by their response and actions to people  not being ‘ok’. I think Central is one of the few that have the integrity to actually mean and live it.

And I’m thankful.

Happy birthday Central!

Surviving Christmas

**Video from Central Christian Church, Las Vegas**

The last few years has made Christmas a really unfun time. One of my previous flatmates actually dreaded going to Christmas services because everyone was so cheery and excited about it, and she would be dreading it.

The last 2 years I’ve really begun to understand where she’s been coming from.

Don’t get me wrong – Christmas Eve is always lovely, with the tradition that began in Christmas 2002 (?) where my Mum started coming with me to Davidson’s Mains Parish Church for their Midnight Service. A year or two later, one of my good friends from high school’s family started coming along, and over the years others have chosen to go to that particular service too, making for a lovely reunion over a short service of traditional carols by candlelight and some shortbread and hot spiced apple juice after.

The day itself is another matter.

For one thing, we don’t live in Leith no more – so I feel very cut off. In the past friends and I used to go to the pub or to each others houses. Usually by about 6/7 p.m. on Christmas Day someone who had quite enough family time for one day would show up at our house!

I would much rather be having a laugh with lots of people than anything else over the Christmas/New Year period. I have great memories of pulling crackers, games of Trivial Pursuit, Hide and Seek and Karaoke or my Auntie playing golf in the hallway of our old flat after Christmas dinner. And my Nana insisting that the Queen’s speech be put on – and the entire family finding numerous other important things to do during said speech!

Though we don’t have the busy family Christmas with a house full of people that we used to, remembering particularly Boxing Day/Hogmanay drama on the other side of the Firth, I love the idea of the ‘Family Survival Kit’. And we may need one this year in our house because I’ve seen the TV schedule for Christmas Day and it doesn’t look good…!

My only question is: When will they be available in the UK?

;)

Praying for Austin

Update 21/9/10 23:00 GMT: A tweet posted by Kurt: Austin is out of surgery, things went better than expected. Thanks for the prayers!

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I kinda want to call this the boy with the mohawk.

But I’ve been praying for this wee guy for a few weeks now as Lori asked me too. Austin is 11, and he has seizures that could kill him. He’s had brain surgery before, and in the hopes of saving his life, today he will be having brain surgery again in L.A.

What I didn’t realise until Sunday night is that the wee guy I’ve been praying for is the son of Kurt, who is a Pastor at Central Christian Church. Kurt is the one that welcomes all of us online/facebook campus attendees and signs out reminding us of Romans 8:31 – If God is for us, who can be against us? every week.

And tied in with all of that – Kurt’s job as the Expansion Pastor (what a job title, huh?) and the fact that we’re praying for Austin, his family and his medical team is a very inspiring tale that you can check out here on a post Lori wrote on Leading and Loving It yesterday.

And you can also see why I want to call this post ‘the boy with the mohawk‘ – I’ve been told it’s a pre-surgery tradition. :)

Austin, you rock that mohawk!

Please be praying for Austin, his family and his medical team today.

BK’s UK Tour: Day 7 – Oxford

Arriving in Oxford in the afternoon, I had a few hours to kill before Nicola finished work. So having lots of suggestions from friends on Facebook of what to do and see in Oxford, I jumped on a bus that said ‘city centre’ and proceeded to wander around Oxford.

Turns out nothing in Oxford is free like things are in Edinburgh, I was baking hot in my jeans because I listened to the BBC weather forecast (cloudy with a chance of showers) and it was bright with lovely warm sunshine!

I also felt that this was a street (of sorts) you could only find in Oxford…

So if you are wondering what a Logic Lane looks like:

I was buying some cards, and wanted to get Nicola & Ben something to say thanks for letting me stay, and since Nicola has really got into flowerpot gardening (which you’ll know if you read her blog) I bought her a sunflower. As I’m standing in the queue, an elderly wise sounding man was behind me and commented ‘Oh, you know you’ll have to watch as they can go really tall you know‘. After a conversation about how I grew a sunflower 6ft tall when I was a wee girl in nursery school and have loved sunflowers ever since (they are such cheery flowers, don’t you think?), he informed me ‘well, yes Van Gogh liked sunflowers didn’t he?‘.

I agreed.

And then I was informed how Van Gogh’s brother bought him the wrong paint – chrome yellow. A lovely bright yellow, but unfortunately the paint turns brown after a few years. Now, what he should have used was xxxx yellow, and it would all have been fine.

I stand educated. Every day is a school day in Oxford. :)

Sitting on some steps I found, writing cards and knowing Nicola was going to finish work shortly, I searched in my bag for my copy of Plan B by Pete Wilson. And then realised I’d taken it out when swapping bags and failed to put it back in. Doh! What to do…well, I had some nail varnish…so I painted my nails.

Not realising I’m sitting on the steps of the Bodleian Library. You know….where some of the oldest books in the world are.

Luckily Nicola found me, and we found Ben and together with the sunflower we went to a Pub with a beer garden, sitting in the sunshine (and then with cover when it started to rain a tiny bit) drinking and eating some yummy spring rolls. Plus some free bags of crisps some random guy gave me at the bar?!

And they are such lovely, slightly crazy friends, they did not bat an eyelid when I walked back from the pub barefoot (my feet were cut & blistered from my shoes) carrying the sunflower in its flowerpot.
All in all, Oxford has been fantastic, finished off with pizza and garden salad with Ben & Nikki, a bit of E4 comedy and sharing with them the fabulous Central Christian Church video Listen To Your Lady. Thanks for letting me stay, and thank you Oxford for being so inspiring, sunshiney & generally lovely!

A sofa day…

At 4 p.m. yesterday I officially crashed and burned…

For some weird and unknown reason I woke up at 6 a.m., gave up on sleeping, got up at 7.30 a.m., made breakfast and next thing I know I’m falling asleep in my cereal bowl…so I went back to bed and didn’t wake up til 10.30 a.m.

So though I had high expectations of heading over to the posher suburbs to go to church this morning, I suspect much of my day will be spent like this…

Or like this…

With a wee stop off for some teaching, worship and catching up with people across the world here…(I can do it from my sofa which is awesome on days where I’m dozing off/shivering)…

And make sure I have breakfast (check!), lunch (about to make) and tea so I’m well rested to begin a week of hard work tomorrow.

Lenny & Rita rock my socks!

So they’ve featured on my blog before…and your point is?! My point is, that although I’m not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day because of it’s commercialism and the awful cheesy chick flicks that get made to premiere Valentine’s weekend, if I should ever get married, I really hope that I’d have a marriage like Lenny & Rita’s.

I’ve never met them, but I so so want to. They just totally rock my socks. They remind me a lot of a couple in my old church in Aberdeen who are the most lively, fun, servanthearted people you could ever meet.

So yes, the videos have been mostly non-serious and funny, but this one is not. This one inspires me.

Love potions & how not to pull

I felt that this episode of love medics was important to share…the been-married-for-a-while couples who are now just irritating the snot out of each other, and for the folks who may have already gone to e Desperate.com in search of a date for Valentine’s Day.

The seizure dude (who looks remarkably like one of the  ‘Listen to your lady’ singers) does remind me of  1. The beer guy in Corfu ’99 and 2. Bump and Slide guy in Lulu last year. I think he maybe should have stuck with the ‘Christian two step’.

:)

Struck down by love

Well, it’s 1.30 a.m., I have to leave the house in 7 hours to get to a music practice, so of course tonight would be an ‘insomnia’ one! I like to consider it my inner student who is like ‘hello?! it’s Saturday night! You should be partying the night away right now

Anyway, it’s a lil bit irritating because I’m so excited for tomorrow and I want to be awake and ready for it!! There’s music practice, more Pete Greig (praying he doesn’t repeat one of the anecdotes he shared with us at Powerpoint on Friday night…lets just say for my emetophobic readers…you wouldn’t want to hear it!), then a smallgroup reunion (hurrah! and yes BOTJ I made pasta stuff, not sure if it’s turned out ok though…) and then…….I’m going to meet the sorta monster sized newborn that is BumpTwo (gotta come up with a better nickname!).

Basically I’m going to get baby cuddles (and hopefully some Elastatoddler cuddles too) in exchange for some of my homemade cupcakes. Oh yeah.

So in honour of this future meeting, here we have another video from Central Christian Church on the subject of love…mainly showing this one today because well…yeah, the older guy and the baby? That’ll be me tomorrow. :)

Not got a date for Valentine’s Day?

After the popularity of ‘Listen to your Lady’ I thought I’d continue the 2 week series of CCC (Central Christian Church) videos for Valentine’s Day.

I am the opposite of desperate despite having been single for almost 3 years. Shocker I know. Just what kind of almost 26 year old Christian woman am I that I’m nowhere close to being engaged, married or bearing many children nor striving to be so?!  :)

But it’s good to know, that should I ever decide to search for a husband or in fact a date for next Valentine’s Day….help is on the way with e-Desperate.com.

“My man smell very powerful for you” ?!?! On second thoughts, maybe not.

(Disclaimer: by no way am I dissing online dating. I know 3 couples that met online and are now all of them in happy, healthy marriages with kids.)