Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gina & Jonathan: aka Ginathan

I've had this post written for a week. I'm just lazy, and also couldn't get any pictures to post. 

February 7th was a special day. Two of my closest friends here in Atlanta got engaged. Yay! 

It was a dreary Saturday morning, when I woke up and wanted to go back to sleep since it was dark and cold outside. I was struggling to stay awake when a super fun phone call came just in the nick of time. Jonathan called to ask if I would be willing to secretly, yet not secretly, plan to take pictures of him and Gina on Feb 7th. I said sure, and he got a little quiet, contemplative. I knew what was coming, and with a huge smile that no one could see I said, "is it for what I think it's for?"

From that point on, I was sworn to secrecy, with only Rickey (the other accomplice) to speak about it with. It was HARD, oh so hard to keep the secret, especially since Gina knew it was coming in the near future and we had several conversations about it. After several, and by several I mean 5 thousand, conversations everything was planned out and ready to go. The week before, when mentioning it to Gina, she got a little camera shy and antsy and decided she didn't want to take pictures until after she got engaged. After meant never, to her, haha. Jonathan and I both freaked out for about two seconds, and then played it down as if I never knew her thoughts. She never told me no, so I was still "planning" on it. 

After picking out a perfect outfit, super cute red shoes, and a colorful scarf as an accessory, the three of us headed off to Little Five Points in Atlanta. There was a festival or something going on, and it couldn't be a more perfect mid-winter day. The buildings were beautifully painted multi colors, and the people were eclectic. The pictures are so great! After busting my knee and elbow in front of thousands in the MIDDLE of an intersection, I decided it was time to leave. My elbow still hurts- two weeks later. We headed off to Oakland Cemetery for even more perfect pictures. The sun was beginning to set, and the light was amazing. 

"Hurried" to get back home for the "symphony" that night, I got them in the car and we headed to "this place I had driven by the other day that looked cool"- aka The Paces House, in the Vinings. There, Rickey was waiting patiently with food prepared and the room set up. Ginathan and I wondered around the property a bit, and took more good pictures. Then, I "needed a different flash that was in the car" and started walking away from the two of them. That's when Jonathan worked his magic and proposed. He prepared dinner, a song, and even a beautifully drawn picture of the two of them. The day was PERFECT- at least in my eyes. Ask Jonathan how he thought it was, since he's the perfectionist ;).

Here are 2 of my favorite pictures from the day-- scratch that, it will only let me upload one currently. The love Gina and Jonathan share for each other, and the passion they have for leading people into communion with the Lord will never grow tired. They are sincerely perfect for each other, and I canNOT wait for them to be one, sharing everything in life together. Blessings to you two!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Teach me to do Your will...

Today was the first service and gathering of Passion City Church, led by the amazing Louie Giglio. I have always been led to the cross and drawn to HIS faithfulness and grace whenever I head Louie. You may know him from Passion conferences or 7:22 at Northpoint Church. 

Rickey and I went together. We both know for a fact that Buckhead Church is a GREAT church, and that is has been a facilitator for us both in creating lasting, meaningful friendships here in Atlanta. Andy Stanley has taught me a lot, and I have really enjoyed most of our super talented worship leaders. Still...there is something missing. I am not as challenged as I should be. I am not as motivated to serve as I should be. There's something missing. 

Tonight, I just may have found it. And i'm super excited about what's to come. More of Jesus. Yes, please. We stood in line for, oh, about 45 minutes. It got cold, after having had a warm day. We were hungry, so we ate dinner in line. The line was wrapped about the corners of Luckie Street in downtown Atlanta. Our destination: The Tabernacle. 

I learned tonight that the Tabernacle was built in 1913 by the pastor of then 3rd Baptist Church, Doctor Broughton. Pastor Broughton built the church in Atlanta, then called Terminus, near the terminal of trains in the center of Atlanta nearby. He knew he wanted to draw in all the people of the city. And on the first day of service is this new location, they turned away 3 thousand people, after allowing several thousand to squeeze in. A real doctor, Dr. Broughton, found some girls on the street that had sores and may have not survived, and brought them in. With that, he started an infirmary next door, to really reach the unreached. It is now Georgia Baptist Medical Center. And he started a nursing school, now a part of Emory I believe. What better place to start a church that is focused on reaching people? It was special. 

Passion City Church is new. We don't know what kind of church it will turn out to be, or where it will be. But Louie said that the core group wanted to "live" in these 4 statements: 
Passion City Church is:
- For God
- For people
- For the city
- For the world

A church for God? What? Isn't that what most churches are about? Really? ....maybe. Maybe not. Think for a second. Have you ever left church and, instead of commenting about how you liked this part or that, or how you thought this part needed a bit of work, asked, "God, what did you think? Were you glorified? Were you pleased?" It's just bringing us back to the basics. Yes, we as christians are called to be light, and the church is called to bring people into community. But, first and foremost, the church, the building and the body, is here for God. To love God. To serve God. To be the light and love of God. And I was reminded of that tonight.

I felt alive and soo, soo close to the feet of God tonight as I passionately worshipped God, with others who were passionately worshipping God. Each person who came tonight, came to visit the Throne. I think that's part of what I've felt is missing. At most churches there are, for sure, people who are passionately loving the Lord. And then there are those who aren't. And it just felt amazing to be surrounded by everyone in church, who are dropping everything and going for it. Just going for it. I just felt the presence of the Lord, and oh how sweet it is. I want to feel it every day. I want to be inspired and challenged to look for it, and sit and wait for it, every day. 

At the end of the day, I exist for God. I exist to bring Him praise, and I am ok with that. I am grateful that I am here to do that, and that He has saved me, and reminds me daily of his grace that has brought me here. I want to be a reflector and conduit of His love. I want to give Him GLORY. I want to exist for You, God- first and foremost. 

I mess up....all the time. But I am so very thankful for your grace and forgiveness.  I'm thankful that you are always by me, and you always long for me to sit in your lap and spend time with you. Thank you for allowing me to adorn a garment of praise, instead of a spirit of despair.