Monday, December 21, 2009

Remembering Oral

I’ve been meaning to write a post about Oral Roberts since I heard about his passing last week. He and the university that he started impacted my life in so many ways – it was a time when I wrestled with what I really believed, found the man of my dreams, and learned to be comfortable in my skin.

Oral was no longer living in Tulsa when I went to ORU, but he visited several times and one of my fondest memories include watching over 2,000 students stand up in chapel making an “O” with their arms and chanting “OOOOOOOOOOO…” as Oral walked into Chapel. He was larger than life and regardless if I was loving ORU that day or frustrated with the institution, he never ceased to mesmerize me - (oh, and I was also fascinated by his big ears – seriously, they were huge).

My friend Sarah Bessey wrote a lovely blog about Oral that seemed to capture my thoughts much more eloquently & brilliantly than I could ever do – here is an excerpt that stood out to me:

In chapel, we were surrounded by words written on the walls. The words that Oral felt God speak to him about the founding of the university (most of us can still recite it):

"Raise up your students to hear My voice,
To go where My light is dim,
My voice is heard small,
And My healing power not known,
even to the uttermost bounds of the earth.
Their work will exceed yours
and in this, I am well pleased."

I am happy for Oral. I am happy that he is with his "darling wife, Evelyn" (as he never failed to refer to her) at last. I am happy that he is, I believe, resting in the arms of Jesus, hearing the words "Well done, my good and faithful servant." I am thankful he lived to see his university become strong again, headed towards a bright future. I am thankful for his every act of obedience, for starting ORU and reminding us every day that it was "forged in the fires of healing evangelism." For his leadership, his guts and his love. I am thankful for his three hour long sermons, right over lunchtime. I am thankful for his memoirs, his big ears, his "expect a miracle!" and "something good is going to happen to you"s. I am grateful for his life. His legacy lives on in millions of us, all over the world.

Also, I am grateful for how uncomfortable he makes me. For how he makes me wonder if my plans and dreams are too small, how he makes me wonder if I am putting God in a box, how he challenges me to open wide my expectations, my heart and my obedience to all that God is and has and does.

I encourage you to read the rest of her post at:

And I’m left today asking the same question as Sarah – “Are my plans too small? Am I being obedient to all that God is asking me to do?”

If you are interested in hearing more about the life of Oral Roberts you can watch his memorial service live today at 2pm CST at:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Fainted in Red Lobster

As I promised in a previous blog…It is time for my story about fainting in Red Lobster.

In all my 30 years I’ve never fainted, passed out, or been unconscious as far as I know. I’m the picture of health and somewhat proud to be a strong girl. I’m also somewhat proud that every Monday I’m typically the lone woman at our weekly pastor’s lunch (Pastor Cherri attends sometimes too)…

I try my best to hang with the boys at this weekly lunch. It is every Monday, so discussion revolves around the weekend’s sporting activities (golf, football, etc)…and although I typically don’t have a ton to contribute, I do try to listen & pipe in with the occasional comment. Mostly, I try to go and show that although I’ve got long hair and shave my legs, I can hang with the boys and love being a pastor too. I do my best to NOT be an emotional female or bring any attention to the fact that I’m different.

So far, my plan has worked fairly well – well…that is…with the exception of the day I burst into tears (an entirely different embarrassing moment) and our fateful Monday two weeks ago...when I fainted in Red Lobster. It all started with the fact that I’m pregnant & not fully adjusting to the fact that someone is sucking all my energy and nutrients. I love Baby Selah – but seriously, this girl is throwing me for a bit of a loop. You see, I’m a go-getter and often I go so much that I forget to stop for important things…like food…water…& rest. Well apparently, that plan doesn’t work so well when you have a little person growing inside of you…

So, there I was in the middle of Red Lobster sitting amongst the eight men trying to hang with the boys when I begin to feel hot…a little sweaty…and light headed. I was trying to have a conversation with Jantzen across from me when the thought hit me – you are going to pass out. “No!” I told myself, “you are a strong woman…this will pass...keep talking” as I grabbed a menu to begin fanning myself. The sensations became stronger so I fanned harder and started asking about the water I had ordered.

Within seconds, black dots were swarming in my eyes…and again I thought “you are going to pass out & look like a pansy.” And, as much as I tried to be strong and will myself to focus the black dots grew stronger & Jantzen’s words grew foggier. I actually said (or slurred), “I phink I gonna pass out…so…sorry” as my head on the table fell in defeat. I was actually laying there still somewhat coherent thinking – this is ridiculous – get up! You are with the boys…

What ensued next was quite hilarious…and I’m so thankful that I apparently did not completely faint because I heard part of the conversation. First, the table got deathly quiet AND THEN the eight men went into ACTION (this is what men do when a problem arises)

Here is what I heard:

Pastor Keith – He began to yell at my husband Josh who was on the phone & somewhat oblivious to the fact that I had in deed fallen on the table. His words were something like this, “DUDE, GET OFF THE PHONE – YOUR WIFE IS DOWN! THIS IS YOUR WIFE…YOUR RESPONSIBILITY…YOU NEED TO HELP HER!”

Josh – He quickly got off the phone & looked around helplessly…then picked up the menu & started to fan me.

Jantzen – He kept asking…”Are you okay? Are you okay? Are you okay?”

Pastor Dean – He was out of his chair in a flash – yelling for water…when he didn’t find anyone he jumped behind the bar and got water himself (or so I was told)

Pastor Robert – He was on a mission too – CRACKERS! I NEED CRACKERS!!!!

Pastor Gary – He started to instruct Josh: “Lay her down on the floor or in that booth over there…you need to elevate her legs!”

Mind you, all of this was going on simultaneously, and as soon as I came too I had in front of me:
  • 2 glasses of water
  • A mound of crackers
  • A plethora of menus ready to fan me
  • And 16 eyes staring at the woman pastor…
I took all of their advice - I laid down in a booth for a few minutes with my legs elevated, drank the water, ate crackers, and let Josh fan me for awhile. Once I felt that I had regained my equilibrium I sheepishly returned to the table embarrassed and very aware that I am not one of the boys.

And yet, in that moment, I realized just how thankful I am that although I’m not one of the boys, I am thankful that I have these amazing men in my life. I’ve learned so much from each of them over the last few years. Some of them abound with wisdom…some with humor…some with passion…and all of them with love. They have welcomed me into their circle and they respect me for what I bring to the table – they see my value as a woman but they also see my value as a minister.

So, I’ve decided that although I will do a better job of keeping Selah fed, I won’t worry so much in the future about trying to be one of the boys…if I faint–I faint…If I cry-I cry…but mostly I’ll just be myself and bring what I can to the table even if it comes in the form of a girl fainting.

Have you ever embarrassed yourself in front of people you want to impress?
Are there situations where you need to embrace just being yourself?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Where I Am - December 2009

Where I Am: It is 10:18 on a Friday night and I am already in bed…this is what pregnancy has reduced me to, but I’m surrendering and embracing my exhaustion to the best of my ability! Josh is entertaining our 5-year old nephew who is visiting with my sister-in-law, Joy, with an AMAZING fort and movie. I feel that my husband’s expertise and fort-building is a good sign for his prospects as a dad in the near future. So, here I am doing my best to follow-through on my commitment to start blogging 2-3 times a week. I’ve made some writing goals for myself and blogging seems to be a good way to keep the juices flowing!

What I’m Listening To: Love the new Shane & Shane CD – “Everything is Different” CD. I’ve listened to it off and on since purchasing it at their concert in November. My sister has been raving about the Glee Soundtrack, so I’m currently contemplating making a purchase for my own listening pleasure. Other than this…it’s Christmas music in the Allen household. Mostly via Pandora and radio stations because I like to keep a good mix going. Would LOVE to know what you are listening to & if you have any recommendations!

What I’m Reading: I have a PILE of books waiting to be read. Seriously, it is ridiculous just how many books are looking at me longingly…and yet, I’ve mostly resisted because I haven’t had the time to get sucked in…so, I’ve been spending more time reading blogs & making lists of which books I will read first (did you know that I like to make lists? I REALLY do!). I picked up The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society earlier this week & next on my list is Donald Miller’s new book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I promise to let you know if a couple of weeks the results of each of these books.

In the meantime, here are a couple blogs that I currently frequent: (for thoughts on theology & ministry) (for inspiration regarding ministry coupled with art) (for pretty things that make me smile)

What blogs are you reading? I’m especially looking for a good blog on mother-hood that is maybe a bit…unconventional (like me)…let me know if you know of something & of any other blogs you would recommend!

What I’m Watching: Not much to report here – I enjoyed the movie The Blind Side…I got sucked into Glee (because of my sister Leslie)…Josh and I watch Community occasionally…

OH, and I saw two episodes of Hoarders on A&E last Sunday. Seriously, disturbing and yet fascinating all at the same time. I think I was especially hooked because in our last house, our next door neighbor was hoarder. I don’t mean she had a little trash around the property…NO, she had 7 storage buildings in the backyard, her car was filled to the place where she could barely get in, and neighbors constantly called the police because the stench was bad. My heart broke for her, and yet we could never seem to connect or find a way into her life. Anyways, the show was mindboggling…and I can’t help but keep thinking about our neighbor – praying she finds freedom and someone that she can trust.

Most Embarrassing Moment: I’ve decided that this needs it’s own post…so, I’ll just tempt you with this little picture – Me (in my pregnant glory) fainting in Red Lobster in the presence of 8 very concerned men…more to come soon.

Favorite Picture:  We took Levi & Joy to Santa Land tonight- I love lights, cold weather, hot cocoa, and smiles on kids faces!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thoughts on His Grace

In my sermon this past week I shared some notes that I had written during my study time on the atonement and grace of God.  I've had a few people ask for copies of this, so thought I would share them with you all.

Satan loves to spiritualize guilt & condemnation – all other religions are based on this concept that we must atone for our sins through acts of penitence or karma or the repression of our desire…in my world religions class over & over as I read my student’s final papers they realized that it is this truth of grace – this truth of God’s love & Jesus’ sacrifice FOR us that sets our faith apart…It is this grace that brings life, joy, and true freedom.

AND YET, how many Christians have accepted the thought of Christ as their Lord & Savior yet don’t really live in His grace & love. They feel that they deserve punishment or they fixate on their past sins almost looking over their shoulder for the retribution that they feel they deserve. Or they limit their future – the plans that God places in their hearts all because they can’t fathom Him using them in their fallen state. When in fact, we are all fallen – we are all tainted – we have all sinned & we must all face the guilt that accompanies it.

But God says, STOP living with your guilt & receive my Son’s atonement His Grace for your sins. For you to say that you receive it but not live in it is literally to minimize what He has done for you. It is like your parents giving you a gift – a car - & you receive it…you are genuinely thankful for the gift but you never do anything with it. You never try to drive the car. It would sadden their hearts because they did not give you the gift for you to store it in the garage but they gave you the gift so that you could go somewhere – so that you could live your life & be productive! How much more does God say – here is the gift of my Son – it cost us everything & we are happy that you took the gift of His life, but you aren’t getting the purpose of our gift when you refuse to walk in His atonement. When you refuse to walk in joy and freedom & life it is as if you send the message that the gift isn’t enough…that the gift has no value in your life…but the gift was the LIFE of MY SON – it has more value than you realize…but you don’t know the power of a car until you drive it and you can’t know the power of walking in CHRIST & receiving His grace until you choose to walk in it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Bra Debacle: Secret Trials of a Female Preacher

I had the opportunity to preach at Church on the Rock this past weekend and as always I absolutely loved every minute of it. I just love getting to study Scripture, receive revelation from the Lord and then pass it along to people who are seeking for His truth and grace. This weekend was no different – I spoke on Freedom from Guilt and saw many people respond and take steps towards greater freedom!

Since most of my readers are ladies, I have to share with you a part of preaching as a woman that most people aren’t ever aware of. I read the book “Gifted to Lead” by Nancy Beach last year and so appreciated her candor about a few of the obstacles women have to face when they are preaching. Not only are we trying to honor the Lord and share the truth that He has revealed to us…and not only are we also thinking in the back of our minds that it is an opportunity to change stereotypes and prove that just because we are on stage does not mean we are feminists or starved for power…but there are a multitude of other things that we have to subconsciously think about…

you know, important things like – am I wearing enough lipstick…does this outfit make me look professional and nice (we know how ladies think & know that they are looking us over either wondering where they can get a blouse like we are wearing or wishing they could nominate us for “What Not to Where”)…plus there are microphone issues - where exactly is the most appropriate place to put a lapel mic…not to mention the issues with my long hair getting tangled in the countryman microphone…and don’t get me started on the importance of comfortable shoes, dangling earrings, and the like.

So, I typically take great care and caution to think through my wardrobe and typically I think that I do pretty well. That is until this past Sunday in what I will term the bra debacle. Not only do I at this time have to worry about basic clothing issues but at this moment in time I also have the protruding belly of a 6 month pregnant woman & was trying to work with that…plus my body temperature is off whack…so, when I found this amazingly comfortable black shirt that is breathable, comfortable & modest I was sold & decided this would be my preaching shirt.

The bra situation started harmlessly enough since I don’t have as many bra options as I had – oh, say 6 months ago – there are basically two options in my house – a white bra and black one – so I grabbed the white one (which is more comfortable) and was on my way to preach the Word of God! I spent great time in prayer that morning & talked to some people around the church when I quickly ran back up to my office to check the make-up and get ready. As I glanced in a mirror, however, I was horrified to realize that you could in fact see my white bra through the black shirt…and then thought about the fact that I would be standing on a stage with stage lights thus magnifying this reality a hundred fold.

I’m ashamed to tell you that what happened next was not very preacher like of me. I grabbed my cell phone and called my sweet husband who was still at home. I realized that church literally started in 10 minutes and doing the math that it is a 15 minute drive from our house – screamed into the phone as soon as he answered, “Get my black bra & bring it to me NOW!” It took a few seconds of my hysterics to awaken him, and thankfully he was on his way. He texted me the entire drive – letting me know the progress of the black bra & just as the worship was beginning I bolted out of the sanctuary to go meet him in the parking lot for our secret drop-off. I quickly changed…decided I didn’t trust the power of the black bra & also grabbed a sweater cardigan just to be safe.

I did my best to gracefully walk back into the sanctuary…and I did my best to focus on the Lord during worship…thinking this wasn’t exactly the attitude or way I had envisioned beginning this Sunday service. But it was my reality. The service went well – I was told I looked like I had a nervous tick as I continually tugged at my sweater just to ensure that the bra was shining for all to see…AND YET – in spite of my crazy attitude and the bra debacle – God was gracious. He showed up- in spite of me and ministered to a lot of hearts that morning.

During the worship time of the 11am service the Lord & I had a good conversation. I now had a tank top on buffering the shirt from the bra and thus was no longer consumed by the superficial…and in that time of singing He reminded me this was just one more opportunity to learn that this whole opportunity and world of preaching is SO not about me – it’s not about my words…it’s not about my presentation…it’s not about what I’ve learned… and it’s definitely not about performing. Rather, it is a moment in time when I get to join Him in what He is doing…in what He is saying…in how He is moving in hearts. And the more I can remember this truth and get out of the way – the more He is free to work in lives.

Oh, and as I lamented a bit more to Josh after the service – reminding him of yet one more reason there are a few more obstacles stacked against women…he reminded me – men have their own clothing issues at times – it typically comes in the form of fly that is down – so true…so true…

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Two of the sweetest people I know

So much to say since I haven't been on here in forever! I don't know if you are like me but I just keep putting it off when I feel like I have too much to catch up, I'm just going to start taking a small bite at a time...and start with something simple - family birthdays! We've celebrated a couple of my favorite people's birthdays recently & I wanted to share a couple pictures with you.

Stay tuned - I've written quite a bit about my trip to India & I'm just trying to gauge what is blog worthy...then there is this whole pregnancy & becoming a human incubator part of my life - oh my...had no idea just how weird & yet somewhat great this whole process there will be blogs about that coming as well.

But for now - I give you a few pics from Molly Kate's 1st birthday & my mom's (we will leave out the number) birthday!

All three sisters seemed to enjoy the eating of the cake!

I think Molly Kate (MK as I like the call her) is the sweetest baby I have ever met...and she loves her Gigi - here are the b-day girls together
My sister Leslie has become quite the cook lately. Here is her Italian Creme Cake, which is DELICIOUS!!! You can read about it on her blog The Skinny Chef in Disguise
Wow!!! Look at the fire on that cake! Yes, we put a candle for every year on there...

My parents with MK

PS - if you happen to read this in the next two days & live in Lubbock...come out to COTR - I'm preaching this weekend & excited about what God's given me to share.
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