A new blog…

For the time being, DrumsR4Girls will be on hiatus as I focus all my time, energy, and prayers on my Mom and her battle with lung cancer.  I’m currently keeping a daily prayer blog for her at http://genuineevidence.wordpress.com.  These prayers have been very theraputic and a great source of strength for myself and my family.  We’ve also found it to be a valuable resource for keeping our friends and family up to date on her status.  I invite you to join me in prayer for her and all those who are battling cancer.

Church Tour 2011

Church Tour?  Seems like a funny phrase, but simply put, this is my new venture for 2011.  I’ve been going to the same church for almost 3 years now. I’ve been heavily involved in several ministries, and at one point was an employee for almost 2 years.  I lived and breathed this church. I spent countless hours/days/weeks/months at this church…and now I feel called to take a break.

But, I didn’t want to call it a break.  “Break” seems negative and this isn’t negative at all.  I’m not planning to leave my church – I’m not church “shopping” or seeking a new congregation.  To be honest, I need to fall in love with my church again. I need to be focused.  I need to be led and not be in a place where I’m asked or pulled or can agree to be a leader in some way (even if its my “off” week.)  At my church I can’t do that right now – so I’m taking a sabbatical of sorts.

For 9 weeks I will visit 9 different churches and see how God is working in the lives of the people in my community and across the nation.  The majority of churches I visit will be local, but some Sundays I will join a few prestigious churches for their online live simulcast.

I’m excited to see what God has in store for me as I come in contact with new brothers and sisters in Christ, from all walks of life.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see where we go from here.

To the journey ahead,  Jessica


Tim TebowLast week the Florida/Tenn announcers referred to Tebow a total of 6 times. This week, we’re only 12 minutes into the game and the ESPN U announcers are already at 4. Come on guys, I’m a fan of Tebow but even I’m tired of hearing it.

Oh wow, just as I write this, they mention his name 6 MORE times. Do they get paid for ever time they say it? And by whom?

Book Review: Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson

I was a fan of Anne Jackson’s blog for a while, so when I read she was coming out with a new book, I jumped on the opportunity.

I opened the first page and immediately knew I was going to enjoy this book.  As a graphic designer I appreciate it’s current, grunge look.  Laid out like a scrapbook of various pictures and notes, the pages drew me in.  [Yes, I judged this book by its cover.  So sue me. :)]  And then I began to read…

The concept for the book really began as a simple question Anne posted on her blog, “What is the one thing you feel you can’t say in church?”  Little did she know, the response to this question would be overwhelming.  People from all walks of life chimed in with their two cents, and soon, the confessions of some led to the confession of others.  It was from this outpouring that Anne decided to gather them into her latest book.

All in all, this book is really about the moving testimony of Anne herself.  She is such a gifted a writer and the courage it took to bare her soul to millions of people is inspiring.  The greatest lesson I took from this book was Anne’s discussion of “The Gift of Going Second”.  Like Anne, I too suffer from an addiction.  Through therapy and Celebrate Recovery, I continue to work on my addiction, but now, I also want to help others who suffer.  The Gift of Going Second is just that, a gift to someone else.  Anne talks extensively about the power of confession, especially the power of a first confession.  That first confession so many times can give another person the freedom to admit the messes in their life.  I boldly want to confess my problems in hopes that someone else will be able to open up and start the process of allowing grace to come into their life and heal them from their burdens.

One of my favorite statements in this book was this: “As easy as it is to always point the finger at the church or at the friend who betrayed you as the source of you keeping your secrets hidden, claiming that their judgment would be too much to bear, and as valid as those reasons could be, we are still the ones who make the conscious choice to stay silent.  It’s a decision we make.”

The decision to speak freely is ours.  After reading this book, it is my prayer that A) I’ll never cause someone to choose to not speak freely and B) to make sure that I always choose to speak freely, no matter the cost to myself – for, by the grace of God, the benefits could reach farther than myself.

I encourage you to read this book and pass it on to a friend. Anne’s honesty speaks volumes.  For more information on Permission to Speak Freely visit the product page at Thomas Nelson Publishing, read other reviews at Amazon.com, or visit the book’s page at www.permissiontospeakfreely.com.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishing through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: Immanuel’s Veins by Ted Dekker

The book begins with this introduction: “My name is Toma Nicolescu and I was a warrior, a servant of Her Majesty, the empress of Russia, Catherine the Great…” In a nutshell “warrior” and “servant” are just the words to describe Ted Dekker’s main character in his fictional thriller, Immanuel’s Veins. Toma is the ultimate warrior, bound by duty and honor, so much so that the Empress places him on a mission to protect a family who’s political ties are crucial to Russia as they face war in 1772. What was to be an easy task of “babysitting” a wealthy family turns out to be the greatest task of Toma’s life. A task where duty and honor are not necessarily tools for winning his battle, but in the end, become stumbling blocks to which he must over come.

Immanuel’s Veins is the first book I have read of Ted Dekker’s. I had previously been introduced to Dekker’s work through his movie THR3E. I knew his stories were dark, but even still, the depth and sometimes gore in this book initially surprised me. I’ll say, after finishing this book, I realize the depth and darkness of his characters was integral to his story. I found it just slightly darker than the Twilight series, so I still enjoyed it.  (Speaking of Twilight – fans of Stephanie Meyer would definitely enjoy this book.)

Ultimately, this story is about sacrificial love. Love in its purest of forms. Love that is worth all costs and brings you to the very ends of your sanity. It is a love that leads you to leave yourself behind in order to focus all your energy toward someone else. In it’s entirety, it is really about the love of our Savior and how he pursues us no matter what we get ourselves into. After reading this book, I could not help but think of a video I saw a few years back. A Christian youth conference presented a skit acted out to Lifehouse’s song “Everything”. In it they portray a young girl who gets caught up in the sins of this world, all the while, Christ is calling out to her, begging her to let Him save her. It is very moving and I encourage you to watch it if you haven’t already seen it.

So, in your opinion…what is sacrificial love?  I would love for you to comment below.

For more information about this book: view the book trailer, see its product page at Thomas Nelson Publishing, or order your copy at Amazon.com.

I received an advanced copy of this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishing through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sheep’s Clothing

Received some sad news today.

I learned that a friend of mine has left the church again for “the faith” he used to frequent.  This “faith”, by definition, is really a cult of believers who consider Hell to not exist.  They believe that all people, no matter what, go to Heaven; the Scriptures are fake, Jesus was lying.  I pray for my friend, because I know he has been caught up by the devil in sheep’s clothing.

Satan can be so convincing.  He can look so compassionate, so truthful, so endearing…and many just can’t see beyond his facade.  The greatest example of this facade is the current schemes of the mainstream music business.  For example, take the song Poker Face by Lady Gaga.

Poker Face is catchy and, to be honest, well written musically. But, do you know what it is about?  Do you know the lyrics?  It has been covered by so many, even tonight on Glee.  (Why they chose it to be a  song shared between a broken Mother/Daughter relationship, I have no idea.) This song is an exact example of the devil’s “sheep’s clothing”.  Lea Michele and Idina Menzel are vocal geniuses and their performance was a masterpiece; you could never expect anything less from them.  But this performance will just continue to fuel the bad example and horrible message of the song.  That’s the disguise of the sheep for you – A vulgar message disguised as a musical genius.  Unfortunately, this is not the only popular song that displays this.  There are just too many examples to discuss here.  Investigate it for yourself.  You might be surprised.

I urge you…know what you are listening to, watching, reading.  Know what your kids are listening to, watching, reading.  Don’t just like a song because it has “a great beat”.  Don’t just watch a show because it is funny.  If you do that, I hate to tell you, Satan wins.

Scrutinize and investigate everything.  Satan is out there, and his disguise comes in many different shapes, sizes and colors.  Your greatest defence against him?  Use The Word as your filter.  100% of the time it will reveal Satan’s true colors.

“Be careful little eyes what you see, ears what you hear, hands what you do, feet where you go, and mouth what you say.”

My prayer today: that you, along with my friend, will be given the tools to see past the schemes of Satan.  That the truth will rule over your life so that you may live wool free.

Is that contestant on American Idol a Christian? Scorecard

95. They sing a Carman song during the show, including all of the weird devil cameo parts = + 4 points

To add up your score with over a 130 other ideas on this scorecard, visit stuffchristianslike.net.

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