The Power Of A Meal

The Power Of A Meal

Okay, so this isn’t the savoriest looking grouping of food items, but I’m telling you, homemade chicken stock is pretty amazing once you strain everything out, leaving only the rich flavors distinct to herbs and spices like thyme, coriander, cumin, and parsley, along with vegetables such as carrots, onions and celery. And of course when you’ve got in your possession a whole chicken from Weldon of Emerald Farms (a regular at the Nashville Farmer’s Market), you have everything you need for a flavorful soup just pleading for mexican rice, fresh avocados and pico de gallo. Chips and salsa if you’re remotely human.

So this meal that begun with a spark of inspiration to warm myself on a damp and chilly Nashville Sunday turned into the center of a large gathering around my table that night after church. I had no intentions of having anyone over, especially as piles of clothes were creeping out of my luggage I had yet to unpack from the weekend, while stacks of mail and boxes of books towered in a couple corners (I tend to like clean – especially when people are coming over). But the soup! I had to have people over for the soup. And so several of my friends – some of whom I haven’t seen in such a long while – spontaneously swung by after the service. And when I say ‘swung’ I mean stayed for four hours talking about everything from Asian art to what authentic Christianity looks like, sans the religious trappings. We had compelling conversations about the poor, addiction, our own places of sin and selfishness. And we ate cookies… We had some of the most honest and refreshing conversations I’ve had in a long while, and though I am certain the soup will not be remembered, it was what got everyone there.

So I’m advocating having a meal at your house. And if you’ve got the time make it yourself, because there’s something about making selections at the grocery store or farmer’s market, washing, slicing, cutting, savoring the smells that is part of preparation. Preparation for who God will bring together around your creation and what He will do in the conversations. Fellowship, or sharing of faith, is the richest of blessings, “so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” (Philemon 1:6). So make a meal and invite some people over. Maybe even invite someone on the ‘fringe’ who might not often get an invitation, or someone you haven’t seen in a while. It’s as simple as throwing a whole chicken in a pot and asking some people over – and don’t let the piles or exposed laundry stop you. If you’ve got a big enough plate of cookies no one will remember you’re not perfectly imaculate anyway.

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A Woman Inspired Online Today

Hey Everyone,

I’ll be speaking on the book of Ruth this morning online at 11:30 CST. You can go to http://www.awomaninspiredconference.org/ to check it out, along with several other speakers. Hope to catch you there.

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Thoughts On Worship

I have loved leading worship in many environments over the past several years – it has become one of my favorite musical expressions. I think performing is an incredibly moving and impacting experience, but, for me, I found a level of comfort and excitement while leading people in corporate worship that I had rarely experienced in my previous performance settings. My hope is to continue writing and leading worship music for the rest of my life, even if it’s just me on the piano by myself one day. (Still have this dream of learning the piano – lessons coming soon…)

But as I think of worship – even beyond the musical element of it – I am intrigued by the use of the word ‘worship’ as found in the book of Exodus. When God appointed Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt He said a certain phrase over and over and over again, “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” I’ve read through the journey of the Israelites’ mass exodus out of Egypt countless times, but never remember seeing the so-that part. God delivering His people from Egypt was all about worship. We might expect something more along the lines of “Let my people go, so that they can tithe more, or keep the rules more comprehensively, or go to church every Sunday, or feed the poor, or subscribe to Christian magazines… I don’t know, you can fill in the blank, but you get the point. God could have made freedom about anything, but He made it about worship. (Which, by the way, probably does entail some of the aforementioned things, but it all begins with worship).

When writing my “No Other Gods” study, I remember my editor saying, “Kelly, good stuff here, but what’s the point? Why should women get freed up from their idols?” This was many years ago and I had to step back and think about it. I suppose I sort of thought that getting rid of our false gods was the point, but I realized it’s really just the beginning. Getting freed from anything, whether unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, greed, addiction, affairs, too many cookies, is ultimately so we are free to worship. And not just sing songs of praise, but all that worshiping God with our lives entails. (Romans 12:1)

I’m pondering the things God has set me free from, but I don’t want to stop there. I am thinking about the ways He desires me to worship Him in those newly freed up spaces. Let my people go, so that… So that we can worship, yes, but what does worship look like in your life and mine specifically? Does it look like fasting? Spending time with the marginalized? Dinner with a dear family member? A sacrificial tithe? Prayer? Changing a diaper? Deep laughter? Taking a missions trip? Singing songs of praise at your local church? I wonder, not what you have been set free from, but what you have been set free for? Worship for certain, but what does it look like?

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