Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Ideas for Soulation

Quick note: Jonalyn's Biola chapel "God Wants the Broken" is online in video form at Biola's Centennial Chapel Series.

It has become increasingly obvious that we need help with Soulation. We've been praying for financial partners for Soulation for awhile. Some have jumped on board and encouraged us with financial support. But we realize we need to share this need with you.

We need financial partners, people who can help fund the ideas we have in the hopper:
  • office manager so we can work on what we do best
  • funding for our sound editor, to edit our talks so we can continue to build our Soulation Library.
  • a video editor to create regular mini videos of us answering questions, posted in our Soulation library and freely available on YouTube
  • web help (our website is nearing completion, but we will need funds to upkeep management of it)
  • we've found we can get on the radio in Los Angeles on KKLA, but need funding.
The original fund raising letter we sent out for Christmas was a wonderful way to get this Prayer Blog started, but as of now we don't have the funds for most of our new ideas. Some of you helped us get some new talks out in our library (THANK YOU!!) and even made it possible for Dale to have a promotional video by giving to our general expenses. We appreciate how you've supported us.

A lot of our research and writing time is gobbled up by travel arrangements, book-keeping and IT work. To share the gospel is going to require that we involve more hands on deck.

Would you please pray for us to figure out what to do? We need God's direction to find people to financially support us, or to show us how to allocate our finances for these things.
Thank you!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ruby Slippers Luncheon Talk ONLINE

I thought you might want to hear the talk I gave for the Ruby Slippers Luncheon. It's online at Soulation. Or you can watch it. Thank you again for praying!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Home from Biola Chapel

Was it really only 24 hours ago? I never expected to feel so calm as I walked into the middle of Chase Gymnasium at Biola University and looked up into the thousands of students, some teachers and one big video camera stage center right in front of me.

I had been praying and thinking about this message for over a month. Biola had flown me into LAX for this moment and, amazingly, I felt no fear or anxiety... I believe that was because of you, your prayers and our God's provision.

My message was "God Wants the Broken" (it will be podcast on iTunes under Biola chapel, Mar 17th in about a month) a tapestry of three stories: St. Patrick, my broken engagement and Mary of Magdala. I went overtime about 5 minutes but no one moved. Afterwards I did not feel anything but deep joy... I did what I was asked to do. I know God used it.

At the end I invited students to sign-up on our Soulation table and take any of the free CDs. By the time I got to the table (and I hoofed it to get there), all the CDs were gone and a hoard of students surrounded the little table. I felt overwhelmed and amazed. Students came up saying things like, "God has been showing me how much he values brokeness, your story just reminded me to press into that with God." "If I were your husband I would be so encouraged. You honored him so much by what you said." One couple who supports Soulation both with finances and prayer came up with these words, "We prayed for you for 15 minutes while we were on the freeway yesterday, that God would give you calm."

Boy did He ever! I've never felt so at peace in a presentation and I've never spoken to a crowd of that size. I called Dale afterwards letting him know we got 68 new Soulation "Fledge" sign-ups, almost all students. Other details, like connecting flights, rental car, hotel, navigation all went so smoothly. I even bumped into a hotel manager who had attended the Ruby Slippers Luncheon last week. She wrote a kind and meaningful note telling me how much Dale and I inspire her to find "balance in her soul."

So what can I say? I'm still all aglow from that engagement, those 24 hours in Los Angeles. Now, back to the work of inputting these names, reading, praying, thinking about our next bout of talks. Please pray for us as . . .
1- We finish up our local 4 part series on Loving God with all of You, Thursday, Mar 27, after Easter. We need to carve out time to write this talk in the next week and 1/2.
2- Our new Soulation website it coming together very well, but we'd ask for prayer for David (artistic director/designer) and Joaquin (programmer) as they push through in these final stages. We can't wait to show it to you!
3- We need discipline to carve out time for emails, writing blogs, writing Fledges, but most especially time for writing our books and reading. We have company arriving tomorrow, so I'm not exactly sure how this is going to get done. But I'd ask for wisdom for both of us. Wisdom to know when we need to just relax a bit and when we need to buckle down and work.

Thank you for being the ones who lift us up!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Answers and Request during our week at home

Our little home town looked too good to be true as we pulled into our driveway last Friday evening. After Dale's internet television debut (Tues) and Biola's Ruby Slippers luncheon (last Wed) I had one more talk to give, it was for the Talbot Women at Biola University, a smaller group of seminary women who I had planned to speak to about the unique ways pride creeps into women's lives. It was a much more difficult talk to give as it was not a "happy topic." And afterwards I felt I had let them down.

But I was wrong. Several women approached me afterward, including the woman who had organized the entire event telling me I had spoke to them "right where they were at" and how I had "hit them right between the eyes." So I had read them wrong, I had seen disinterest when there actually was conviction. But, honestly, I don't enjoy giving convicting talks, it's very hard.

Remember when we asked you to pray that God would help us listen to him so we would know what to bring to our talks these last few weeks? He had shown me more about humility in those weeks through the writings of Teresa of Avila and so this is what I shared with them. (The talk will be online in a few months at Soulation, entitled "Humility: the Bee in the Hive). I wanted you to know how your prayers were instrumental in the quiet hours leading up to these events.

It is scary to wait on GOd and then trust him to help you prepare, I'd much rather speak on areas of fun, funny, exciting and ultimately well-traveled, shockless topics. So I ask for your prayers for preparing for this next Thursday (2 days away) and next Monday (3/17).

Thursday we both speak again on How to Love God with All of You to young adults at a local church in Steamboat. This week we're covering the emotions and the will. Would you pray that we'd be able to communicate God's value for our feelings and the importance of understanding and managing our emotional lives?

Monday the 17th I, Jonalyn, will be speaking to the largest audience I have yet faced. Biola booked me to do their main chapel, so I'll be addressing all of Biola that choose to not skip chapel that morning. At 9 am Pacific time I will need your prayers, but also this week as I try to listen to the Spirit and develop a talk that will cover God's redemption of our brokenness. I know what I want to say, but I still have to write it. I anticipate the opportunity with excitement and some fear. Please pray God would calm my spirit as I travel alone for this 24 hour visit to Los Angeles.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Answer- HisChannel.com

I wanted to be myself on the air (www.hischannel.com), but have very little experience on front of the camera. Brian Nixon, a friend of mine, invited me to be on the telecast he hosts.

I talked through expectations and 'dos and donts' with Brian, met the camera staff, producer and his daughter, and relaxed into my chair. It was a "Larry King" format with an interview/dialog about my life, my book, and culture.

Brian asked great questions to guide the discussion. His years of Calvary Chapel radio experience helped. He said I shouldn't skirt controversial topics, if they came up, since the station is not affiliated with any denominational lines (even though they are across the street from Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, they are unaffiliated).

Jonalyn and my friend, Jeff LeFever, came as well. Jeff, who is known for his outbursts of enthusiastic praise, was instructed to keep quiet and perhaps even sit in the waiting room if he couldn't contain himself, which he chose to do cheerfully. Jonalyn and Jeff watched the screen and popped into the studio with encouragement during our commercial break.

It's an answer to prayer that I was so relaxed. I tried to keep it conversation, to be myself. And it felt natural.

This broadcast went out to 165 nations, including internet television and internet radio.

I should have a DVD recording of it in hand soon. And I'll seek permission to make it available for your viewing pleasure. :)

Thanks for praying. God really carried me through.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Answer- Ruby Slippers Luncheon

Well it's been one hour since the Ruby Slippers Luncheon, Biola's University's First Annual Luncheon honoring Women in Biola's history. We also honored women today who are working for Jesus in the community. It was amazing.

I think it was the most calm I've ever felt for an event. Even this morning I woke up without rehearsing all the details over and over again about what I would say. Dale spoke in the morning at a Junior High school and that left me with the solitude and space to wake leisurely, go over my notes, shower and prepare without interruption. It was just what God knew I needed.

We loaded up 1 1/2 hours ahead of time to get to the event in time for sound check. And I was delighted by the decorations. They went all out with the theme, red roses, red glittery shoes (all types, even sandals, to show how every woman's "ruby slippers" i.e. femininity is unique to her) as the center pieces at every table, Ruby Awards for Women of Excellence (I had helped brainstorm the ideas for these over 6 months ago)... now to see it all incarnate. Oh it was thrilling!

Then as women and men in the community began to arrive, I started to feel my heart beating harder.

Here's a picture of me after the sound check.

It is a nerve-wracking thing to speak in the community you grew up in, to see in the audience, mentors, friends, old Sunday School teachers, professors and so many you really do want to impress. So when the time came I ran up the steps and launched in. I focused on speaking what a knew, on releasing my dependence on my notes and stepping away from the podium to speak these points home. It was amazing for me.

I think this was the best talk I've ever given, in it's humor, in it's passion and clarity. I felt like I delivered what they wanted, a time of refreshment and value for women. Afterwards people came up in droves to buy Ruby Slippers and get their books signed, young women, older women, teachers, business leaders, pastors, even Biola's new president's wife, Paula Corey, told me she looked forward to reading my book. The recipient of the Deborah Ruby Award was an alum of Biola, Tanya, a woman recently featured on Oprah for her work with teens earning a 2.0 and under, helping them get their G.P.A. up and into colleges. She wants to use Ruby Slippers as required reading in her curriculum and wanted to book me for speaking to her teen women.


Can I just say I felt your prayers, all day long?!

Even as I recuperate at Panera, I'm thinking of how great out God is, to listen to us, to honor us when we try to follow him, to buoy us up, to network for us. Thank you, dear friends!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Requests- The Work is Only Half Over

We sit for a few hours respite at the Panera only a few blocks from where we used to live in Whittier. I've just gotten off the phone with the coordinator for the Ruby Slippers Luncheon on Wednesday. Though it seems so far away, I talk with her about timing and some concerns that a few people have raised with the author of Ruby Slippers speaking at Biola.

Will she push an egalitarian agenda? Will she spark controversy? And this from the book than neither mentions egalitarians or complementarians? I feel frustrated that a book that was supposed to offer hope, that I wrote trying so carefully to not be thrown into one camp or the other, is being used as an instrument in the endless gender controversy.

They have expressed their fears and as I sit with that on my mind, I thought I should ask for your prayer. Even as I've looked over my notes I see no agenda pushing, no desire to step on toes at Biola, no plans to talk about liberating women from their place in home or church. My script is about women's uniqueness, nothing more. But regardless, I feel this added pressure to "hit it out of the ballpark." Please pray for me to be at peace as I share what God has shown me about his love for women. I want this to be a time of unity and joy in females, not controversy or power plays.

Between then and now Dale and I will be speaking at a church in Bakersfield, judging a Youth Film Festival Awards night Sunday evening, and on Tuesday evening, back in Los Angeles area, Dale has the unprecedented opportunity of appearing on Calvary Chapel's internet Television station His Channel at 7pm. Brian Nixon will be interviewing Dale about his journey to Jesus and his book, Living with Questions. Dale asks for prayer that viewers will be touched and think of new ways to reach out to people with questions.

Then Wednesday at 11:30 am the Ruby Slippers Luncheon begins. Please pray for us to have more wisdom than usual this week. Please pray for us to be peaceful apologists, lending light and hope where we can.