whether or not Your lips move

You speak to me

God’s colorful grace October 31, 2008

Filed under: faith,grace,love,relationship with God — Ashley @ 3:45 pm

1 Peter 4:10:

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (ESV)

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (NASB)

“God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.” (NLT)

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (KJV)

“Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.” (HCSB)

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (NIV)

I am not a major fan of the NIV, but I really love the imagery of us “administering” God’s grace. It makes me think of us as doctors or nurses, applying medicine to wounds… others’ wounds and our own…

And I love that God’s grace is “varied”. I’m rolling around some thoughts: does this mean that God’s grace can look different in different situations? Obviously there are some things about His grace that will always be the same– it will always be only from Him, it will always be unmerited, it will always be loving, it will always be available, it will always be unlimited. And we will always have to have our faith conduit hooked up to God in order to “administer” grace ourselves.

I know I’ve needed God’s grace– straight from Him, and extended to me from others.

SO… does this mean that our spiritual gifts are avenues by which we extend God’s grace to others? Obviously the Spirit pours out gifts on us in and because of His grace. Definitely spiritual gifts are necessary for the building of the church, for the health of the church, and for the effectiveness of the church (remember– church is people, not a place). I wonder if God wires each of us individually with certain gift combinations so that we can have different ways of partnering with God to bring spiritual health to one another, too. Varied ways of extending God’s grace.

If we go with the doctor/nurse imagery, this could mean that in some cases when we apply God’s grace to another person, it will be like soothing aloe on a sunburn. Other times it might have the sting of disinfecting a wound. Other times it might be like tying on a tourniquet.

Surely God’s grace is colorful and not just black or white?


the city October 22, 2008

Filed under: Nashville,relationship with God,waiting — Ashley @ 11:51 am

So at our morning worship gatherings, Gary’s been speaking about “the city”. In our case, Nashville, but the Scriptures and teaching can apply to any city, town, or village. It’s really had me thinking.

I hated Nashville the first time I visited. I don’t know what it was exactly, but something just didn’t sit right with me. I was weirded out by all the churches on every corner and had to keep asking people to repeat themselves because I couldn’t understand the Southern accent yet. I remember thinking when I got back home to New Mexico, Lord, PLEASE don’t ever make me live there!

Well, we all know what that means.

I’ve lived in Nashville exactly 4 years this week.

There are many things I still dislike about it here. I still experience more culture shock here in the South than I ever did in Asia. It still bothers me that I have to remember there’s a difference between “church people” and “followers of Christ” (although I think I’d run into that just about anywhere). I’ve grown more used to the fact that as “just a singer” I’m a dime a dozen here, but I still don’t really like it. I hate that the majority of my family and best friends live in other time zones. And I really could go on.

But lately I’ve taken more to heart Jeremiah 29:4-13:

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon,
‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce.
‘Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease.
‘Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’
“For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream.
‘For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,’ declares the LORD.
“For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

There have been many times I’ve felt like God has sent me into a great, big, desert wilderness. Strangely, I seem to do better in these times because I’m forced to rely on Him even more. It’s when things are going well that I get the idea I can sort of handle a few things myself. (HA!)

Nashville has, at times, felt like a place of exile to me. But over the past year or so, I’ve felt more like it’s becoming “home”. God’s still working on me, but I feel like I’m becoming more interested in the “welfare,” or shalom, of this place. I definitely am becoming more aware of the people here who are trustworthy and those whom I may need to investigate a bit more before I believe them. And I am slowly seeing bits and pieces of God’s unfolding plans for my life coming to fruition. I feel more aware of the constant mingling of His Spirit in every moment of each day (even the really crummy parts).

I still don’t necessarily LOVE it here. But I’m growing more OK with it as time passes.


i’m still alive October 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ashley @ 9:38 am

*UPDATE: they fixed the page. My moment of fame has come and gone.


Spent some time out of the country in September, but I’m back!

I discovered this morning that I spoke at an incredible conference in Seattle back in April and didn’t even know it. I would have loved to have been there. Maybe I was. I was in Seattle that day… but I think I would have remembered my first official conference. I at least hope I would have remembered to GO to my first official conference! 🙂

Click on “speakers+leaders” and quickly, I imagine it’ll get fixed soon: