Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Music to Encourage You

Dennis Jernigan recently released his first CD in five years, and it was worth the wait. I have fallen in love with every song. And I confess, I'm a relatively new convert to contemporary Christian music. While I always enjoyed singing hymns and praise songs in church, I think subconsciously I felt, "That's for Sundays." I mean, I was brought up listening to the British Invasion and thought "Rock and Roll Forever" was second only to "Hallowed Be Thy Name."

So what a blessing it has been to discover music that sounds good and uplifts you with its lyrics.

Back to Dennis... Working at FamilyNet Television, I got to meet him one day in the makeup room. He was so nice. To me, three kids is a big family, and Dennis and his wife have nine children! But that's just part of his amazing testimony. When you get a chance, go to his website, read about his life, and buy the new CD, titled, I Cry Holy. You will be blessed.

Oh and you can also hear an interview we conducted with him on FamilyNet Radio by clicking here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Asking for Help is Scriptural

My friend, Peggy Collins, has written a terrific book that can help all of us who are too independent for our own good. It is titled, Help Is Not a Four-Letter Word.
Enjoy this conversation with Peggy and me.
Lorri: Peggy, your new book was written for a secular audience, but the Christian media has shown lots of interest. What’s attracting Christians to “HINAFLW”?

Peggy: That’s a good question, Lorri. I think it’s because this life here on earth is supposed to be our “practice field” for putting into place all the teachings in the Bible. Being a Self-Sufficient and having Self-Sufficiency Syndrome goes against every tenet the Bible teaches, such as, “Ask and it shall be given unto you.” Self-Sufficients can’t ask for anything because it means letting go of control, risking rejection, letting others see where our weaknesses are, and we’d owe someone and have to do something nice to pay it back. Imagine!
We Self-Sufficients feel like we have to do everything all by ourselves, isolating and distancing ourselves. The Bible teaches “love one another.” I don’t believe we can really love one another until we can know the person we’re loving.

The Self-Sufficient lives very close to the vest, looking as though she doesn’t need anything or anybody. Until that individual can make peace with herself and accept her weaknesses, can we really be in community?

Lorri: Do you think people who have trouble asking other people for help also are reluctant to ask God for help?

Peggy: I do and here’s why. The Self-Sufficient needs to be in control of everything and everybody. It’s out of fear, and this extreme behavior is a way to feel safe. Even though we may turn to God, and I did from the time of my early childhood, I would turn over control of a problem but would just as quickly take it back because I hadn’t “practiced on the practice field,” and I became too frightened at the feeling of letting go. Even though I had faith, the fear caused me to focus on the primitive need to be safe and lose my touch with my faith. As I’ve learned to face my fears, armed with the fact that I’m not facing them alone, I’ve been much more successful.

Lorri: As Christians, do we bless others by asking them for help?

Peggy: Oh yes!! One of my best friends asked a question that really got my attention, “When are you going to give me the dignity of helping you?” When we ask for help, we are giving! We're giving a message that we trust that person will be there for us, that they are more capable in an area than we are or even that we want to grow closer by blessing them with this gift of asking.

Lorri: Peggy, you are forthcoming about your own ordeal with the Self-Sufficiency Syndrome. You are also a woman of faith. Did your faith help you get through the rough times?

Peggy: As I said earlier, I went to God in prayer from the time I was a small child. There were many times in my chaotic home life when I felt God was the only one listening. The problem I have always worked on in my faith is being able to turn it over, watch the results and not take it back! As I’ve grown in my faith, today I’m able to do that much more easily than before.
In my book, Help Is Not a Four-Letter Word, I talk about finally realizing that when I tried to control others' lives, I was really writing their scripts. That was a huge "aha” for me, because I realized that each of the people I loved had a much greater SCRIPT WRITER than I, and now I can stand back and watch the plot unfold with faith and trust!

Lorri: That's great. What else would you like to add?

Peggy: I sat at a church-group breakfast this morning and the discussion turned to how violent and angry the world has become. I was amazed at the “this is how it is” attitude around that table. Until each of us can feel love in our hearts for one another, lean on each other and raise each other up in our faith, it will never be any different, I fear.
When we feel peace and love in our hearts, there will begin to be peace and love in the world. Each of us has to make a personal decision to make that happen.
Lorri: And let's ask each other for help to make it happen! Thank you, Peggy, for writing this important book!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Little Magic

This week, as we reviewed the effects of Hurricane Katrina two years later, we interviewed Pastor Fred Luter of New Orleans on "Mornings," the radio show I co-host. I asked the pastor about his son, who is studying to be a pastor just like his dad.

Lorri: Pastor Luter, is it true Chip lettered in Magic in high school?

Pastor: Yes, he thought that was fun.

Lorri: That will make his sermons interesting to include a few tricks. ‘Sinner-disappear!’

Pastor: I’d like to make a few deacons disappear.

We all got a big laugh out of that. And I suspect that there was a grain of truth in Pastor Luter's words. In Pastor Luter's bag of tricks, a quick sense of humor helps when you face the Category 5 storms of life. What's in your bag of tricks?