Be Brilliant: Why Worship?

Be Brilliant: Why Worship?

-A Factual Look at Why Worship Works

Have you every wondered why there is so much musical worship in a church service?

You might be that person that always feels awkward. You can’t carry a tune for your life. Singing is just painful. Maybe you’ve decide to just show up late and hit church for the message. Hey better something than nothin’, right?

Now to clarify worship is more than music. Louie Giglio defines worship this way, Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God for who He is, and what He has done; expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live. I love that definition.

But for our intents today, we are going to look at why God invites us to respond to Him in musical worship each and every week from a research-based, non-spiritual perspective.Continue reading

Be Brilliant: 3 Ways to Wonder Again

Be Brilliant: 3 Ways to Wonder Again

What makes you wonder – stand in awe, be dumbfounded, or feel amazed? What makes you marvel?

Like the look of a child’s face on Christmas morning. Eyes bright. Hearts pounding. Mouth gaping. Hands eager. Feet jumping. Full of life, love and wonder.

I think it’s hard, while adulting, to feel wonder.

With undone to-dos. Unpaid bills. Growing inboxes. Piles of laundry. Tracking the who-what-where-when-and hows of Whoville. Trips to the ER. (Well maybe that’s just us. Thing two, seriously, just had stitches sewn over the scar from last year’s playground accident 8 days ago because Mommy initiated a tickle fest on the stairwell. Insert big eye emoji and a mom fail. Check.)

But I don’t want this Christmas season to pass me by without capturing a sense of wonder in the depths of my heart. I want to stop and soak in the twinkling lights, the smiles of my children and the sweetness of my Savior. The One who gave up all of Heaven to come and dwell among us.

So what are three ways to wonder again? Continue reading

3 Exercises to Grow in Gratitude

3 Exercises to Grow in Gratitude

Newsflash Erin –  Thanksgiving is past. But before you look the other way I have a question for you… 

Have you ever felt like the Christmas season has surfaced unrealized hopes, unmet expectations, and unrelenting comparisons?

They have for me.

Images of perfectly behaved children in matching Gymboree attire dance in my head. Hopes of a Hallmark holiday for friends and family capture my heart. Dreams of baking something that looks like the picture fixates my hands. The compare snare seems to work overtime in this month, snatching away my heart of thanks-living.Continue reading

Thanks-Living: The Real Wonder Women

Thanks-Living: The Real Wonder Women

Confession: I absolutely loved this past summer’s blockbuster – Wonder Woman.

It thrilled audiences and captured my heart. My favorite scene is when Diana (aka Wonder Woman), out of the compassion of her heart for a captured people, steps into her identity and onto the battlefield. Taking all the enemy fire, she leans into the opposition to allow her team to overthrow the unwanted militia.

One particular image stands out in this scene. Diana crouching down behind her shield. Face grimacing. Muscles flexing.  Bullets pounding. Yet despite the opposition, she is resolving to push through and press on for the people.

As much as I love this movie, wonder women in real life are way more inspiring. Women whose lives testify that though “we are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Wonder women who live out this verse with joy, gratitude and strength. Women who embody thanks-livingThey capture our attention and move us to action. They envision us. Change us. Grow us.Continue reading

Thanks-Living: Opposition our Opportunity

Thanks-Living: Opposition our Opportunity

One word – empty.

The walk to our car was long, dark and quiet. Not a word muttered between my husband and me. Deep sadness dug its trench in the pit of our souls. Our hearts were overwhelmed with this unfamiliar, unforeseen experience. Our hands – empty.

Three times before, it had been a right of passage. Whisked by a wheel chair out of our safe domain to take our new adventure home. Decked out with balloons, adorned with flowers of celebration. My lap, typically, weighed down by an oversized car-seat filled with bundles of blankets and a tiny cherub.

But this time all my hands held was my husband’s. No entourage. No balloons. No baby.

We were discharged from the hospital and had to leave our precious baby girl behind. Of course, it was for her best. She couldn’t breathe on her own. But my empty womb and empty hands threw my heart into crisis. And this opposition seemed more than this mama could overcome.Continue reading