Thursday, December 24, 2009

this world will never be the same

Wow. Flashback. This morning on K-love (a national Christian radio station), they said their most requested Christmas song is "This World" by Twila Paris. My mom had a Twila Paris Christmas cassette when I was growing up . . . I remember sitting on the dryer in our kitchen in Yoder, just singing this song at the top of my lungs.

And fun fact: Twila's dad actually wrote this song when she was a little girl.

This world . . . this world . . .
This old world will never be the same
Since the Son of God was born a little baby in Bethelehem

Lost world in despair
Christ came to answer prayer
Peace did the angels sing
And presented to the earth its newborn King
Hated by His own
Dying all alone
Crucified that day
For the sins of the world He had to pay
As in days of yore
Teaching by the shore
Jesus, speak again
To a world that's filled with war and pain
Come oh Christ our King
Peace on earth to bring
Come Lord from above
'Cause we'll never know peace 'til we have Your love

I can't seem to enbed the video . . . but here is a link from the only video of this song on youtube (pardon the dog barking periodically!). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvwJDJHOCwM

Yes, indeed. This world will never be the same because of the birth & death of the God-man Jesus Christ, Emmanuel. No other person has so dramatically impacted the world. Two thousand years later and He is still bringing change and hope.

Merry Christmas.
Jana Alexis

Monday, December 21, 2009

going back Home

"Cause we could never get back Home with broken hearts. So Home has come to meet us where we are." Josh Wilson

I've been trying to think of something profound to go with these wonderful lyrics that have been running around my head for the past week...but nothing brilliant is coming to me. Perhaps they can simply speak for themselves.

God, You know where I've been
You were there with me then
You were faithful before
You'll be faithful again
I'm holding Your hand

There's a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You
mikeschair

Friday, December 11, 2009

friday favorites

a friday list of favorites. just because.

*decaf coffee* because i love the taste & the warmth. i do not like feeling jittery so decaf is the answer. delicious.

*white chocolate caramel macadamia nut cheesecake* i had this last night at the cheesecake factory and i think i have a new favorite. half of it is waiting for me in my refrigerator at home. yes.

*photographs* i think pictures are my favorite thing to decorate with. in order to have some sort of theme in my eclectic apartment, i've decided that all of my hanging decorations will be photographs of some sort. that, and mirrors. i also love mirrors.

*my mom* my wonderful mother is coming to spend a day with me tomorrow. and i am very, very excited. i'm trying to decide what we can fit in one day. i'm sure lots of chatting will take place!

*christmas music* to start my very own christmas music collection, i bought a "rat pack" compilation (dean martin, frank sinatra, & sammy davis, jr.). i've been listening to it in the morning when i get ready for work. and it just puts me in the best of moods.

*my black boots* i love my black boots. last year i put aside some money to buy them...the trouble was i had something in my mind that i wanted and it took me a year to actually find them. but it was well worth the wait. i wore my black boots 3 of 5 work days this week. so warm & cute. the perfect combination.

*so you think you can dance* yes - it's a dance show and i do like it. bryce very nicely puts up with it. he just doesn't get the whole dance thing. yet. the sytycd finale is next week and i so hope kathryn wins. she did her solo to a brooke fraser song last week, "shadowfeet." go kathryn!

and finally . . .

*snow* we don't have any yet but i'm patiently waiting. bryce doesn't know of any good sledding spots but we're going to find one. i'm craving a good evening of sledding. that, and tobogganing sounds lovely. hopefully soon.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Safety

I need a safe place.

I love my family and I miss them so much. But they will not always be around me. They cannot be my safe place.



My home will not always feel like a sanctuary . . . although I love it. I don't get to spend much time there with work, spending time with family-in-laws, etc. It will not always be a safe place.

Church is not a safe haven. I'm not at home there yet. And it's not completely comfortable.

My friends are spread out all over the world and will not always be available. They have lives of their own to live. I cannot count on them to be a safe place.


Bryce is my best friend. His concern, care, patience, and love amazes me. And yet he cannot be my foundation.

Only Jesus is my true safe place.
Only He can satisfy my desire for protection, security, warmth, and hope.
He is my shelter, foundation, hiding place, and refuge.
Jesus, come to me.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Reflecting an Urgency"

Chuck Colson is one of the initiators of a historic declaration, released on November 20, 2009. The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience challenges Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians (those who follow Jesus Christ as the only way) to stand for the value of human life, the institution of marriage between one man & one woman, and religious liberty for all. It has been signed by 152 U.S. leaders, including Tim Keller, Josh McDowell, Dr. J.I. Packer, and Cardinal Justin Rigali. And 39,863 other Americans have added their support. I just read the document and it is certainly to-the-point, foundational, and, in my opinion, excellent.

World Magazine article: "Reflecting an Urgency"
http://www.worldmag.com/webextra/16155

Read the declaration:
http://manhattandeclaration.org/decdocs/ManhattanDeclaration.pdf

Sign the declaration:
http://www.manhattandeclaration.org/decsign.php

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crock-Pots and Christmas Tree Shops

Five things on a rainy and cold Tuesday afternoon.

1. Bryce and I are very proud of the fact that we have not turned on the heat in our apartment yet. Not until it's absolutely necessary. A few times it has been in the lower 50s when we wake up...and we still refuse. Thursday will probably be the day, though. I figure waiting until November 19 is pretty good.

2. Chris and I went to The Christmas Tree Shop (http://www.christmastreeshops.com/) on Saturday. I was in bargain heaven! And I had such a great time finding gifts and items for our apartment. Cheap throw pillows. Yes! Fun serving platter. Yes! Good price on Balsamic vinegar. Yes! Fall wreath for the front door. Oh yes!


3. The most frustrating thing about my back hurting is that I can't clean my apartment. It doesn't look that dirty but I know it's been too long since it was last cleaned and it bothers me. I was finally able to clean our bathroom last night. And you have no idea how good it felt. Hopefully I'm feeling so much better by Saturday that I can do a thorough once-over.

4. Crock-pot soups are the bomb. Bryce and I have come up with a good system. (At least I think it's a good system.) I figure out what we're going to eat, grocery shop (which I do every 2 weeks), and then do the prep the night before. The morning of, I leave the recipe on the counter and remind Bryce when I kiss him goodbye. And then he throws everything in the crock-pot when he gets up. We've tried some good recipes so far in our cooking experimenting.

5. Our new favorite show is "Lie to Me." It's on Fox on Monday nights. I like the story lines and the way you have to use your brain as you watch. And the fact that there is no violence but it's still exciting. :) You know me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

UPDATE: The doctor is pretty sure it's a herniated disc. I'm taking medicine for the next week which will hopefully help with the pain. If not, we move on to an MRI and then who knows what else. I appreciate your prayers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It Doesn't Like Me

Blog #100.
And what a more fitting way to blog on my one hundredth blog than to tell a sad story.

My back does not like me.

After eighteen years of dancing and six chiropractors, it really is no wonder. I'm not surprised. But I am surprised that it decided to act up after:
1) a mere workout (via DVD) in my living room and three hours of housecleaning
2) a week of slight pain - it hurt to cough or sneeze
3) a walk at the end of the week at Brown County park (less than a mile)
4) and the final straw: bending over on Sunday morning while getting ready for church (I just bent over! I wasn't even reaching for anything!)

Something popped/snapped/shifted when I bent over. And then I was on my back for forty-eight hours. Just like that. In too much pain to sit up by myself or move my left arm. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow. It's better but not back to normal by any means.

See.
I told you.
My back does not like me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dress Shopping (I Wish)

I'm going to a wedding with Bryce in a few weeks ... and so, in the midst of my Friday-afternoon-work-boredom, I decided to pretend that I had $200 to spend on a fun dress at http://www.nordstrom.com/. What would I buy?



I love the lace on this one! And the fact that it is grey. This is my first pick.






















I just couldn't say no to the detailing on the back of this dress (definitely an updo is in order) and the blue just pops!







I'm not a huge fan of one-shoulder styles . . . but I kind of like these . . .




















And one more black and white lace. My favorite colors. I couldn't resist.






Monday, November 2, 2009

Weekend Thoughts

Today is a random thoughts day. Random thoughts about the weekend.

Friday night Bryce and I went to a friend's house in the country for food, campfire and fellowship. It rained . . . but we still sat outside under a tarp and ate fall foods and laughed and, when it only drizzled, we sat by the fire and made s'mores. I like fall things.


Saturday morning I had coffee with my good friend Liz at the local Zionsville hangout. It was packed. But we talked like no one was around for over three hours. Girl time + coffee + a lazy Saturday morning = amazing.

I cleaned the apartment all afternoon on Saturday --> bathrooms, mopped all the floors, dusted, washed the inside of the refrigerator, cleaned the mirrors, did two loads of laundry . . . A clean place is my favorite.



I started reading "Twilight" by Stephanie Myers on Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. (after all of the cleaning was finished and I took Bryce dinner at the fire station). And I finished it at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. It is addicting, that is for sure. If you have a few hours (or days) to be sucked into a book, the "Twilight" series is just the series for you.

It was my sister's birthday yesterday - November 1 - and she turned 21. I would never, ever have thought that at this point in our lives she would be living in Maine with a new husband and a baby on the way (less than 3 months!) AND I would be living in Indiana with a new husband. I hate the fact that we're so far apart but I love what God is doing. Jessica - I love you!


That's it.
Jans

Friday, October 23, 2009

Risk

Taking Risks for the Gospel
It's better to make a fool of yourself than to play it safe
Andrée Seu

My roommate on Cape Cod in 1974 was a Jewish girl who got saved on the Boston Commons when a Christian approached her, in all her hippiedom, and said, "Want to meet some normal people?" Susan said yes, and followed. If there is a worse evangelistic appeal, I don't know it.

Let me have risk-takers around me. Just as a practical matter. Let me have Christians who try things that fail, and then try something else. Introduce me to someone who parks near handicapped parking at McDonalds and waits for someone to come along who might need prayer. Send me a friend who would rather make a fool of himself obeying what he is 80 percent sure the Word commands than play it safe, or who supports missionaries beyond his means. I want to hang out with a woman who snaps to the voice of the Spirit, rather than mind-screwing it till it subsides. Or who puts her full weight on the promises of God and doesn't get so mired in theological discussion of "context" that the promise is whittled to nothing.

It seems to me we're always getting ready to share the gospel and never actually sharing the gospel. We are forever describing it to each other. We fill our notebooks with neat insights from Christian conferences. We are entertained by C.S. Lewis and Bonhoeffer—the very men who warned us against making the gospel "an academic problem which is worth discussing with a good master" (The Cost of Discipleship). Someday we will be sitting in nursing homes still mumbling to ourselves the names of Berkouwer and Warfield.

We rob each other. How do we rob each other? By not risking anything all day long, so that we give no room to God for the glorious testimonies He is waiting to hand us, that we might encourage each other. God is glorified in the demonstration of the difference between our natural ability and His miraculous power. Risk-taking is nothing fancy, just an everyday pressing into little things that we have no confidence of doing without the help of God.

And we rob the world. "I am certain that the world outside is not going to pay much attention to all the organized efforts of the Christian church. The one thing she will pay attention to is a body filled with this spirit and rejoicing. That is how Christianity conquered the ancient world. . ." (Joy Unspeakable, Martyn Lloyd-Jones).

Do you feel your faith is too weak yet to venture out for God? Or that you are not yet a good enough person for Him to use you?

"Risk must be taken to pursue solutions to impossible situations. The gospel of power is the answer to the tragic condition of humankind. John Wimber said, 'Faith is spelled R-I-S-K.' If we really want more of God then we must change our lifestyle so that His manifested presence will increase upon us. This is not an act on our part to somehow manipulate God. Instead it is the bold attempt to take Him at His Word, so that we radically obey His charge. He says 'Amen' with the miraculous. I challenge you to pursue God passionately. And in your pursuit, insist on a supernatural lifestyle" (When Heaven Invades Earth, Bill Johnson).

Postscript: The first person who spoke to me today before I completed this essay was a disheveled man on the street at about 6:30 a.m. He said, "Good morning, M'am. Have a blessed day." Imagine risking that.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Patience in Person

How fitting that the second post in the new life of my blog should honor my wonderful husband.

Tuesday night I started to go crazy with everything on my list. So, on Wednesday Bryce worked all day (volunteering at the fire department, in fact) and then cleaned my car (because it's been bothering me for weeks) and also found time to track down a keyboard replacement for me on Sunday (I was supposed to play for worship but just couldn't handle it this week).



Is he wonderful or what? I don't deserve him and his patience with a very emotional wife.

Monday, October 19, 2009

"the old has gone...the new has come"

New life.
New city.
New church.
New home.
New family.
New job.
New bank.
New friends.
New last name.
New responsibilities.

Yes. I think this calls for a new blog design and new pictures.

Welcome to the life of a displaced yet hope-filled Jana Alexis.
Displaced = everything is new
Hope-filled = Jesus is still my foundation

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Evangelicalism in America

Evangelicalism in America
By Chuck Colson
3/16/2009

Waxing or Waning?

Back in 2007, the New York Times famously proclaimed that the evangelical movement in America was cracking up. Since then, the media has relished exposing what they see as fault lines in evangelicalism over such issues as abortion, marriage, and the environment.

The pundits seized upon President Obama’s decisive electoral victory last fall to opine that evangelicals were no longer the political force they once were.

And just last week, a well-known evangelical blogger predicted the “collapse” of evangelicalism in America within the next decade, even though he also predicted that out of the ruins of evangelicalism, “new forms of Christian vitality and ministry will be born.”

But the American Religious Identification Survey of 2008 gives me reason to think that the predictions of evangelicalism’s demise are greatly exaggerated. In fact, quite the opposite may be true.

Although the survey, published by Trinity College, boldly proclaims that Americans are “slowly becoming less Christian,” it also points out that 34 percent of all American adults now identify themselves as “Born-Again or Evangelical Christians.” That’s no decline from previous years.

While the report shows that mainline denominations like the Methodists, Lutherans, and Presbyterians have experienced “sharp numerical declines” over the past decade, the number of evangelicals within Christendom is increasing. Some 45 percent of all Christians now identify themselves as evangelicals or born again.

“What is significant,” the survey says, “is the recent spread of Evangelicalism well beyond Christians affiliated with those groups that are members of the [National Association of Evangelicals], so that millions of Mainliners and Catholics now identify with this trend.”

So what does all this mean? It means that the single largest voting block in America remains evangelicals. No other single group comes close. It also means that America still is, by and large, a conservative nation. This is why, for example, we ought not to be surprised (even though the media is flabbergasted) that voters across the country time and time again uphold traditional marriage.

Yes, the evangelical movement is growing, which is good, but numbers don’t mean everything. For example, a new Barna survey shows that only 19 percent of evangelicals hold a consistently biblical worldview. What this tells me is that we’re growing in numbers, but we’ve got to do a better job making disciples.

And here’s where some see a coming collapse, but I see an enormous opportunity—an opportunity to re-catechize believers, to re-introduce them to the glories of Christian truths, to train them to defend and live out their faith winsomely, reaching out to the needy and hurting as Christians have done for two millennia.

I can’t help but think of William Wilberforce, the English parliamentarian who led a small band of believers to eradicate the British slave trade. These men and women, inspired by God, shared their resources, talents, and faith, and not only put an end to a great evil, but they also formed the heart of a movement that quite literally sparked revival and transformed the culture of Britain. It began with a handful of the faithful.

Just think what God might do with 34 percent of the American population calling themselves evangelicals—if those evangelicals re-capture their first love, present a winsome witness, and do the good works God has prepared for us to do.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Twenty-Five

There's this phenomenon circling the Facebook world: a note titled "25 Things." I thought: "Why not jump on the bandwagon and use this opportunity to update blog-world at the same time?" So, without further ado, the "Twenty-Five" of Jana Alexis.
  1. I love peanut butter. Sometimes I have to give myself a time limit when I eat it, otherwise I won't stop.
  2. My whole family was home for Christmas - all six of us in the same house. I especially enjoyed ice skating with the siblings, Dwight, and Bryce.
  3. Working at Ambassador keeps me busy and most of the time I love it.
  4. Yes, I, Jana Alexis, am engaged to Bryce Langebartels. And I am so happy.
  5. I love the ocean.
  6. I talk to myself all the time.
  7. I am in the process of planning two weddings - one for my sister and one for myself. And I've never even been in a wedding.
  8. I enjoy making lists . . . and lists of lists. And I love to start a new one as soon as I cross everything off.
  9. I miss my far away friends: Jessica, Holly, and Amy.
  10. Dancing is my passion . . . but I haven't done one single step since mid-June of last year.
  11. Three weeks ago I traveled to upstate New York with Bryce and 4 others: driving, playing worship, skiing, tubing, visiting Times Square and more driving.
  12. I love my family so much.
  13. Summer = swinging, walking barefoot, bike rides, boating, reading outside, ice water, and trimming the bushes.
  14. I do not like cumbers, olives, or pickles. At all.
  15. Most everything in my life will change in the next six months: living situation, job, bank, city, church, last name - everything.
  16. I like taking road trips with Alex to visit Chris in Indy. It's a blessed thing when the three-headed monster reunites.
  17. I like Eagle Church in Indy . . . and I'm excited to go there every Sunday eventually.
  18. Right now I play the bass more than I dance. Crazy.
  19. I'm going to visit Bethel soon - and show Bryce around my home for 4 years.
  20. I like to give my hair pep-talks in the morning. (Just ask Holly - she can attest to this.)
  21. I love this guy named Bryce Daniel.
  22. I do not like living in a different city from above mentioned Bryce Daniel.
  23. Jesus is amazingly faithful to me and I want to live my life "so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God."
  24. When I grow up I would like to be an interior designer, learn Spanish, be a photographer, learn some sort of karate, teach English, help people beautify their surroundings, visit every continent except Antarctica, get a masters degree, wear a red dress, be a lawyer, run a mini-marathon, and be a mom.
  25. I love red shoes.