Tuesday, August 25, 2009

iMac for sale!

August 25, 2008 I succumbed to pressure of all of my creative-type friends to purchase an iMac desktop computer. I already had a macbook laptop and my PC desktop was so old it was breaking down on me so I thought I'd take the plunge and go Mac all the way!

Here's what I have learned about myself. I'm a PC!!! Even after I added Microsoft Office to the iMac I still could not hang! I could probably learn to adapt to a Mac, I just don't want to! So after using it for 1 week, I bought a new PC and settled my brand new iMac into the corner of my office.

Well, it's been a year and I figured I should do something about it! So, if you are a Mac-lover (and you know who you are because you probably take every opportunity you can to make fun of PC users), and in need of a new computer, check out the specs below and let me know if you're interested.

20 inch
Memory: 2GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x1GB
Hard drive: 320GB Serial ATA Drive
Apple mighty mouse Apple keyboard
Apple remote
Microsoft Office added

Purchase total: $1648.59
My sale price: $1000.00 (free shipping and handling)

If interested, please email my management office. info@trueartist.org. First come first serve!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Bell Shoals Baptist Church

This weekend was Women of Faith in Tampa FL. I had been looking forward to this particular event for quite some time. First of all, I have loved every show I've ever done in FL! There has always been something memorable that has happened every time I go there (and this was no exception). Secondly, I've been longing to get back to Tampa for a year because of the experience I had last time I was there.

My band and I were scheduled to do a show at Bell Shoals Baptist Church on June 8, 2008. The church was opening a new building and we were to be the first event held there. In the end, we were the second. Monday May 12 the senior pastor, Forrest Pollock and his 13 year old son Preston went missing. On May 13 it was announced that Pastor Pollock and Preston died in a tragic plane accident. The first event held in that new building was their "Celebration of Life" service.

When I received word of this tragic accident I immediately asked God what our role was in coming there just 2 short weeks after these events. I knew God was calling us to minister to the broken hearts of this church, I just felt ill-equipped for the task. This was way beyond me. But surely God had a plan.

Music pastor, Simeon Nix, wanted to speak with me about where the church was in their healing process. That phone call revealed a lot about how God seemed to be moving in the life of Bell Shoals. Simeon told me that Pastor Pollock's wife, Dawn (who still had 5 other children to care for) was instrumental in bringing me to Bell Shoals. He felt certain that God intended for me to be there. When I got off of the phone with Pastor Nix, I felt humbled. Why did God want ME there? What could I possibly say or sing to encourage and bring hope?

I prayed, I fasted, and I pleaded with God to let me in on His purposes. I believe He did. He showed me that it was not my ability but my availability that will make room for Him to work. This wasn't about me. It was about Him...and about them.

That concert on June 8 was unlike anything I had ever experienced before (or since). I sang songs I had never sung before. I was in the middle of recording Freedom but had already written "You Wouldn't Cry (Andrew's Song)", a song of hope that we who are left here on Earth will one day see our loved ones that have gone on to be with the Lord. I had also already recorded "Broken Hallelujah", a song proclaiming that even in our darkest hours we will still lift up worship to our God whom we trust. I added songs my band and I had never done before; songs like "Alpha & Omega" and "Great is Thy Faithfulness". The Holy Spirit's presence was very tangible. My words fail me to describe what we felt that night. But it wasn't just about what we felt. It was what we knew. We knew that God was in control. We knew that He wept with us and hurt where we hurt. And we knew that in the end, He was faithful.

After the concert we went to The Cheesecake Factory (my favorite!) with Simeon Nix, his wife Beth, and their two children Bre'Ana and Sterling. Simeon went on and on about what God had done that evening. We both knew that God was pleased.

My band and I agreed that Bell Shoals would forever be etched in our minds. We felt connected to them in a way that can only be explained as the fellowship of believers.

Then on August 17 I received this message on myspace:
Dear Mandisa,
I am writing to you for 2 reasons. First, I wanted to thank you so very much for coming to Bell Shoals Baptist Church and ministering to our congregation following the death of our dearly beloved Pastor Forrest Pollock. We know he and his son Preston are in heaven but we still miss him so much. Your concert was wonderful and very inspiring. I am so very sad to relay that our dear and wonderful pastor of Worship and Song, Simeon Nix passed away this morning. I know Simeon was instrumental in getting you to come to Bell Shoals, and I thought you might want to know he passed away, leaving his wife Beth and two little children Bre'anna and Sterling. If you remember Simeon, he was our wonderful teddy bear like beautiful Christian leader. Please keep them in your prayers. Both you and Simeon have been richly blessed with amazing voices that you have used to glorify God, and because of that you bless others. Thank you so much, and if you can, please continue to hold our precious church in your heart and prayers. If its at all possible for you to come again, I know we would love to have you. Thank you again. You are a beautiful sister in Christ.
In Christ Alone,
Amanda C. Kaiser, Bell Shoals Baptist Church.

Surely not Lord! My heart was broken! The passing of Simeon Nix was sudden and unexpected. I prayed fervently for Beth, the kids, and the Bell Shoals family. That was an awful lot of tragedy to experience in 3 months time. I immediately made calls to be with them for Pastor Nix's Celebration of Life service but could not logistically work it out, so I prayed from afar. My heart was utterly broken and all I wanted to do was be with my friends at Bell Shoals.

Some months passed and in December I was doing a run of Christmas dates with Matthew West. We had a couple of shows in the south and I was feverishly trying to maneuver a way to get to Bell Shoals. Again, logistically we could not work it out. Months passed but I never stopped praying for them. I felt like Paul in Romans 1:9-13:

And God, whom I so love to worship and serve by spreading the good news of his Son—the Message!—knows that every time I think of you in my prayers, which is practically all the time, I ask him to clear the way for me to come and see you. The longer this waiting goes on, the deeper the ache. . . Please don't misinterpret my failure to visit you, friends. You have no idea how many times I've made plans for Rome. . . But something has always come up and prevented it.

Finally, 2 months ago I realized that Women of Faith would be in Tampa August 14-15. Could it finally happen? I asked my manager to see if I could come and be with Bell Shoals on Sunday the 16th. You should have seen the smile that overtook my face when I received word that they would love to have me! They had a new pastor, Stephen Rummage, who was preaching a series on "Healing the Hidden Hurts". That was perfect because the song I wanted to sing was "He Is With You". It seemed like God was at work once again!

But that is only part of it. It wasn't until I spoke to Bell Shoals members, Yolanda & Phillip Moore, that it occurred to me that this weekend was the 1 year anniversary of Simeon Nix's home-going. I certainly hadn't plan it that way. There is no way Women of Faith could have known. "It just so happened" that the two weekends coincided, right? Wrong! GOD IS IN CONTROL!!!

It meant the world to me to be able to stand on that stage once again and proclaim God's presence to a body of believers who are simply missing their brothers in the Lord. I spoke to several members who, in addition to the corporate heartache, have also gone through individual pains. It struck me that even though we believe it in our heads, every now and then we just need to be reminded that God is with us no matter what we go through.

My lunch after church (at The Cheesecake Factory, where else?) was the perfect way to top off my weekend in Tampa. To spend time with Beth Nix, Sterling, and Bre'Ana warmed my heart.

This body of believers has experienced pain on an extraordinary level. And I'm sure that many of you reading now are facing situations that seem like they will take you out. I will say to you what I said to my friends at Bell Shoals Baptist Church: God will not put more on you than you can bear. No matter what you face, He is with you.

This morning I watched Beth Moore on Life Today. She is on every Wednesday and I was watching an older episode from July that I had saved on my Tivo. In the series "Wrestling With God" (from Genesis 32), she spoke of Jacob who wrestled with God and wouldn't let go until he was blessed. I wrote down a statement she made that had a penetrating effect on me. Beth said "If God has permitted something painful to come into your life experience, it HAS to have the possibility of ending in profound blessing or it gets a "NO"! You see, when we face circumstances that we don't understand and begin to question God's purposes, we should wrestle it out with Him. In the end, we gain intimacy God and effectiveness to be used Him.

I believe that the greater Tampa Bay area will be largely effected by the powerful ministry of Bell Shoals Baptist Church. I believe God will turn their misery into ministry. And I believe He will do the same for you.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Twitter's Thankful Thursday

I think many of you heard about this blog by following me on twitter. If not, and you have no idea what twitter is, then you don't know what you're missing! I invite you to join me on twitter. It is really great to keep in touch with people and meet new friends. You just send out short status updates of 140 characters or less. You can check it out here.

If however, you are already a twitter addict (like me), you have probably seen that I am trying to start a new trend called ThankfulThurs. Every Thursday I am focusing my tweets on things that I am thankful for. It all began July 23rd. During my time with the Lord I felt convicted that I had been complaining a lot about little things. I had lost sight of what was really important in life and began focusing on things that, in the long run, didn't matter. That day I decided that everything I would tweet would begin with "I am thankful..." I liked it so much that I decided to continue it all weekend.

I'll never forget that weekend at Women of Faith in Seattle. The event was great! We laughed. We cried. We had a blast! I believe that many lives were changed and God was glorified. What more can you ask for?

When the event was over, I had quite a commute back to Nashville from the other side of the country. I opted for a later flight Sunday afternoon as opposed to the 6AM flight so I could sleep in a bit. That weekend I had enjoyed tweeting thankful thoughts so much and felt like God was developing a more gracious heart within me. Even thinking back to that now, I can see God's hand in preparing my heart for the trip that awaited me. Flights were delayed, then canceled, I was all by myself and felt so lonely. To top it off, I was under a great cloud of temptation in the area of food. If it were not for my newly developed attitude of gratitude, I guarantee I would've run to the nearest restaurant and drowned myself in a pool of chocolate.

Don't get me wrong. My circumstances were horrible! But through it all I kept tweeting about the things I was thankful for: thankful that I knew I would eventually get home. Thankful for God's wisdom to call American Airlines right after my flight was canceled, ensuring me one of the few remaining seats on the last flight to Nashville. Thankful for great friends (Lisa Whelchel) that would come and spend time with me during my 3 hour delay. Thankful for the grace to resist temptation to eat things that were not good for me. You see, rather than focusing on the things that were going wrong, I fixed my gaze on Jesus and all of His blessings. By the time I did finally get home (at 2AM), I wore a big smile on my face and bubbled over with thankfulness for how God provided for me during that trip.

I learned a valuable lesson that weekend. I believe that thankfulness benefits us more than it does anyone else. It completely changes the way we see things and makes room for God to work in ways we would not see otherwise.

I figure that if we can suggest the latest tunes we love on #MusicMonday or recommend our favorite tweeters on #FollowFriday, why not pass on something that can change someone's life on #ThankfulThurs? Have you ever noticed that thankfulness is contagious? Will you join me in centering your tweets on things you are thankful for every Thursday? Tweet thankful thoughts often and be sure to put "#ThankfulThurs" at the end. Let's make this a trending topic so when people click on the trending topics list, they will see the fingerprints of God. And don't forget to retweet to all of your friends!

Let's start a thankfulness revolution!


"And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts." Colossians 3:15-16 NLT

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My new blog! Woohoo!

Well I've finally done it! After years of posting my blogs on myspace I finally decided to upgrade to the real deal! Welcome to my official blogspot!

Here's what you can expect on this blog: total honesty. It's one of my curses...oops, I mean best characteristics. I'm afraid I'm just not very good at hiding the truth. I've often been asked in interviews if it is difficult talking about certain things so publicly. I mean, let's face it. It's not too often that you'll hear a Christian recording artist confess to having questions about prayer, feeling lonely as a single woman, or fighting a 20-plus year food addiction. But here is what I have learned since being in the limelight: there are a lot of people on this journey with me. They have questions just like I do. I think there are enough people wearing masks and pretending they have it all together. As far as weight is concerned, the last thing I wanna see is some stick thin girl on Oprah telling me how great she feels now that she's lost the 15 lbs. and giving me the secret to her success. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't turn down in invitation to Oprah (call me girl!), but I have a whole lot more to lose than 15 lbs. And I figure that we can do it together. Are you with me?

I have to confess, I was partially inspired to create this blog after returning home a few hours ago from the movie theater where I saw "Julie & Julia". Excellent movie! Best I've seen in a long time! (I only deduct points for a handful of language including one F-bomb. There are also a couple of sensual innuendos but nowhere near what many movies tend to celebrate). And I am willing to go on record by saying that Meryl Streep is perhaps the best living actress in the world. I laughed. I cried. I left hungry.

So thanks for swinging by! I invite you to join in on the fun! I love hearing from you. Talk to you soon!