Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Biggest Miracle of my life --- Mars Hill Graduate School!

The biggest miracle of my life is about to happen.

This summer, while building a permanent prayer room at a church in Indiana, a lot of people kept suggesting  I should do my Masters. My spirit stirred within me as a mentor suggested if I wanted to teach people more I needed to learn more… But where to study and what to study?

I wanted to do theology, to learn more about God, but as a women I realized that would leave me with the same career prospects as I have now! Full time ministry supported by donations because I do not have a call to be a pastor of a church. But I do have a calling to ministry - to see people healed and develop a powerful and intimate relationship with God. So the idea of Psychology - a large part of my undergraduate degree - planted itself in my mind. Could I, as a broken human being be used by God to help heal others?

Then came an email from Darchelle. "You have to come to Mars Hill Graduate School - you will not enjoy any other university as much as this one - in Seattle." A seminary - teaching theology AND Psychology. Sounded like a perfect match. So I went to visit for three weeks, to spend time soaking in the culture of the school, to hear the hearts of the professors and see the results played out in the lives of graduates as their ingenuity and fresh approaches to social justice impacted the community around them.

I went to classes and realized that the mission of the school was to transform YOU as a student. Not to give you a lot of knowledge to store in your mind to use later but to rework you into a more 'in touch' human being able to hold your own story so you can gently hold the stories of others. I fell in love. With this beautiful school on the harbor, close to the Seattle Space Needle. I love the core values of the school,  exploring the interplay between text, soul and culture.

(To read the rest of the story of the miracle, how God protected us from crashing, being taught by Rob Bell and how I am about to take the biggest risk of my life CLICK BELOW or KEEP READING.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A surprising conversation with Ted Haggard

Tic interviewing Gayle and Ted Haggard at NYWC
It's not often you get called a "weirdo" by someone in the general public let alone an infamous high profile figure such as Ted Haggard! (For those who don't remember, Ted Haggard was a mega church pastor and head of the National Association of Evangelical Churches - about 30 million people - before his indiscretions were revealed on national TV) This blog explores this interesting conversation along with his recent controversial speaking engagement at the National Youth Workers Conference in Nashville. This is an example of why I passionately desire seeing the Gift of Discernment working in our lives daily and throughout every member of the Body of Christ. 

Lilly Lewin a Creative Worship Space Curator.
Youth Specialties NYWC was held in Nashville a few weeks ago, with thousands of youth workers and pastors from all over the country. I even met a couple of pastors I knew from Newbold College in England! I was so excited to be asked by Lilly Lewin, author of Sacred Space: A hands-on guide to creating multi-sensory worship experiences, to help her create the Sanctuary Space and host a workshop on Imaginative Prayer! How fun it was to be part of this quiet and holy space surrounded by all the craziness of a convention! The room hosted different worship and prayer events such as TaizĂ©, but my favorite was Nap Time. As people lay down on pillows, Micah would 'pray over them' by walking around playing his guitar and worshipping while they napped. Different I know...  Experiential worship experiences can be so creative!

The background…

Youth Specialties always seems to have one speaker who is controversial and this year Ted Haggard was it… When I heard he was speaking I wanted to hear him purely because I wanted to practice my gift of discernment. I had seen Ted before on TV, on the internet and also in the Jesus Camp movie. Even with limited exposure I had sensed a check in my spirit years ago before his fall from grace and now wanted to see or discern if he had changed and how, and whether my original discernment was still valid. Because people can change. I believe in transformation. I really wanted to see a story of redemption.

The Journey of Discipleship is all about discernment….

(Click the 'Read More' link below to see my intriguing conversation with Ted Haggard.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Lifechanging Weekend in Leunig Cartoons

In Australia we have a poet that is rather deep and eccentric, his name is Michael Leunig. He has been named a National Treasure because of his rare insight into human nature, and his intriguing perspective of how things work here in our universe. He came from a past of negativity and darkness as were his artistic creations, but then light began to crack through his shell and he found faith, and hope and love.

My life has been similar - 21 years of Social Anxiety Disorder - a life shadowed in every way by negativity and overwhelming fear. Healing from that was a wonderful experience and for the first time in my life I could feel the emotions of happiness and sadness. I remember crying one day and being so glad I could feel the warm tears running down my cheeks. I could finally feel. I could be real. I had the capacity to grow and change and risk and love and laugh.

I have been trying to get out of negative thinking cycles for years and improved greatly. The stress and worry has been reduced yet I still had some major fears in my life. The fear of rejection and the fear of success... Till this weekend!!!!

Is this how you feel? I must admit there have been times I have felt this same way. Life can get overwhelming. Enjoy this one minute animated video by Leunig!

Wouldn't it be amazing if we could get rid of those fears and negative thoughts, our defenses and walls? This weekend I was blessed to be sponsored to go through a Foundations 1 workshop. I played very hard! I was not afraid to reach into the dark places and reveal them into the light. I was not afraid to be honest about my struggles and share some of the most painful times of my life. I cried. I laughed. I danced. I let go. I accepted.

The next two videos are my favorites... I hope you enjoy as you continue this blog...