Its short for mazel tov.
Its short for mazel tov.
Well, I live in a new state now. In a new house. With new people. And with a new job (hopefully).
This morning I was sitting in the living room (which has the cutest cactus chairs, btw) and Mozzle, the cat, decided to keep me company. She is like an old grandma cat, except she’s pretty small so she looks like a really cute teenage cat. But she’s definitely a grouchy old lady cat. So we call her the baby grandma sometimes. 🙂
I’m not used to living with cats. It’s my roommate’s cat, so she’s not mine, but I guess in a way I’m hers, since I live in her house! I was trying to read my Bible in the living room, and she sat near me and meowed and meowed until I paid attention to her. I’ve been learning that she is just kind of lonely, and wants companionship and love. And while at first I was a bit annoyed because I wanted to be alone, I appreciate her presence. Companionship is valuable, even when there’s cat hair all over my socks.
This has been such a strange year of transition. I never imagined I would move across the entire United States this summer, but I love the Pacific Northwest. A lot.
And now I’m stepping into a season when I am just a normal person. Where I sit in the living room and drink my coffee with a cat. Where I am defined by what I chose to walk out, not by what organization I’m a part of. It’s a strange feeling. But at the same time it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I thought I would feel SO alone. But it’s funny how it turns out, I’m not so alone at all. Especially when I have a cat to keep me company.
(I know I haven’t posted on here in forever. So I guess this is an attempt to keep a little bit of my stream of consciousness online, so that dear friends who are far away and who are better at blogging than I am (you know who you are 😉 ) can see into my life a bit more.)
Till next time,
I work at this place called YWAM Sarasota, where we do cool stuff with art and missions and Jesus. I had the privilege of writing this post for their blog, which you can read here. It was written after a breakthrough brainstorming session in the kitchen, dreaming about the heartbeat of our Marriage of the Arts Discipleship Training School.
What does one do when they have encountered the Living God? For us, we must express through art. Poetry comes alive, paint flows from the brush in worship, and new melodies are birthed that make your heart sing. We don’t want to make art for art’s sake. That’s not it. There’s this unspoken spouse, missions. We marry art with missions because it births something so powerful. We create because we are made in the image of the Creator God. We create in response. We create with a message. Not for art’s sake… But because we believe that God wants to transform the nations, in every sphere of society. And for us, right now, that sphere is ART.
I don’t care what anyone else has told you about art, but God LOVES art. He is the most creative person who EVER LIVED. And to think that there isn’t a place for you as an artist in his kingdom! That’s almost like spitting in his face. To reject the very thing in yourself that is the beauty of who he is reflected in you. You love the harmony of lines arranged just so and the beauty of a well-composed photograph FOR A REASON. Don’t believe the lies. Don’t believe them! God waits to be wanted. He waits for you to INVITE him into your creativity. That doesn’t mean that your art becomes all about sheep and crosses. Really, please don’t do that. But what I’m saying is that he wants to create with you. He wants to dance hip hop with you. He wants to write punk rock songs with you. He wants to recite an awesome poetry slam with you. He wants to draw manga with you. He wants to write novels with you. He wants to animate movies with you.
None of it is more or less spiritual than writing worship songs or dancing in church or painting crosses. What makes a difference is that you invite HIM into it. That you know who HE is, and therefore know who you’ve been created to be. God wants to reach into every art form, every sphere of society! He created them in the first place! For too long the world of missions has existed within the borders of what is traditionally acceptable. Of what is “spiritual”. And art has existed over here, in this other place, where it’s “not spiritual”. What the heck! Everything has a spiritual side to it. Everything is spiritual! God never put missions in a box. He never said that the Great Commission was supposed to be carried out in a certain way. What he said is that we need to “GO and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) That means through any and every avenue possible. That means through art, also, but not just sheep and crosses art. Through every type of art. We believe that change is possible, and that we can transform nations and disciple individuals even in the sphere of the arts.
Any and every kind of artist and creative is welcome at the MOTA DTS. Whether you are a dancer, a photographer, a writer, a fine artist, an illustrator, a musician or songwriter, into the handmade arts, a graphic designer, an actor, craftsman of any kind, you are welcome here. You are invited in to a creative community where you will encounter God. Imagine during a time of worship, a big canvas is placed on the floor, and you are invited to respond to God through creative expression! Imagine that art supplies are placed on a table, and you’re given a topic to explore and process with the Holy Spirit! The possibilities are endless.
Forget anything you have ever learned about “traditional missions” and imagine with me. Imagine what happens when you play a song you wrote in an airport terminal that inspires a young Chinese university student so much that he switches seats to sit next to you on an airplane for 14 hours, and you get to share Jesus with him. Imagine what happens when you do a photography project in a cafe in Tokyo, and get to pray for and speak identity over a Japanese business woman. Imagine what happens when you knit a blanket that gets taken to Africa, and it gets wrapped around a baby who then is completely healed from AIDS. Imagine what happens when you write a poem that brings tears to the eyes of an army veteran and he is set free from PTSD. Imagine what happens when you dance over a village in the mountains of Nepal and the whole village is set free from bondage!
The possibilities are LIMITLESS.
Once upon a time I sent out these hipster album of the month emails. Well, I can’t promise that I’m starting again, but here’s some music for this month.
Japan. Land of wonder and ingenuity and creativity.
The Japanese people have a very aesthetic culture. They love things that are beautiful and fashionable, and well designed. The way they live portrays this. Art is appreciated in Japan, and is a deep part of their culture, heritage, and future. They take art very seriously.
Tokyo, Japan is a modern, thriving city. Yet, there is a void. There are problems. Suicide is high. There is heavy pressure in the work place. Heavy pressure in education. The virtual world has replaced so many real life relationships.
What do you do for someone who has everything, but still lacks? What do you give someone who is excelling on the outside, but dying on the inside?
You give them hope.
You give them a reason to be alive, a reason to fight, a reason to create, a reason to breathe.
And I want to share with the people of Japan the reason why I have hope.
I want to see the people of Japan encounter God. Because in His presence is fullness of joy, is life and light and hope! And I believe that God wants to reach the people of Japan in limitlessly creative ways. He knows the things that they love, and He created art and the ways they are artistic anyway. That’s why I’m excited to go into this trip with my art together with the Holy Spirit, and help people encounter Jesus– the giver of all hope.
I’ll be in Japan for about three weeks, from November 14th to December 9th. Two other staff members are going with me, and we will be partnering with a local YWAM base to do ministry in Tokyo.
I already have my plane tickets, praise God! However, I still need to raise about $500 to cover the costs of housing, food, and transportation. Would you consider giving toward my trip?
You can give here: https://www.paypal.me/ClaraChristofferson
Thank you for partnering with me to bring hope to Japan. Even if just one person is impacted, it is worth it.
Merry Christmas, friends!!!
I don’t know about you, but this month I’ve been feeling rather chaotic… not just with the busyness of things happening around me, but in my mind and heart also. It’s a fight to take time to be still in the middle of it all, but it is worth it. So— my encouragement for you is to take time to be still this Christmas, and when you turn on the music, let your heart sing.
Arnarstapi is an album full of ambient and inspiring wintery music. “SVVN is an ambient artist from Nashville, TN. Rich textures, sweeping melodies, and powerful drum line rudiments construct seamless movements of stirring music, all inspired by producer and composer Jeremiah Dunlap’s journey across Iceland. SVVN’s thoroughly crafted elements ranging from organic field recordings to analog synthesizers create a cinematic musical experience unlike any other.” —The Drop
P.S. I haven’t listened to it enough to have recommended tracks. So…. Just listen to the whole thing! 😀
This album is pretty rambunctious and hopeful. I also love how joyful this album is, and how many wonderful instruments are used in it (and all of Rend Collective’s music, for that matter!) There’s lovely mandolin, banjo, and I’m pretty sure accordion and some kind of bag pipes.
Recommended tracks: Hark the Herald Angels Sing (Glory in the Highest), Ding Dong Merrily On High, For All That You Have Done
This album is just wonderful all around. Instead of tracks, this album has movements, and each one is a blend of different Christmas songs that move through Luke 2:8-14, and basically through the Christmas story. My criticism of this album is that it is too short! I wish it didn’t end so soon. Good news is, it’s available for “name your price” on Bandcamp,and free on Noisetrade, so you can essentially get it for free either place. It’s one of my favorites, and I hope you enjoy it also!
Favorite track (since there’s only 4): Mvmt II, “Begin and Never Cease”
4) Hillsong Worship— We Have A Savior
More Christmas music… but Hillsong makes really good quality music. Some Christmas music just seems like another version of the same Christmas song, but I think this album is very worshipful, and does a good job of making these songs their own.
Recommended tracks: Born Is the King, We Have A Saviour, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (the banjo!!!!!), The First Noel (Holy Is the Lord)
“Let every heart prepare Him room.” This line,from Joy to the World, has been sticking in my head lately. Is there room in your heart?
Merry Christmas! Let your heart sing it!
Let the Christmas music begin!!!
1) Josh Garrels—The Light Came Down https://joshgarrels.bandcamp.com/album/the-light-came-down Listen on Bandcamp or stream on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skUUMWb2uvw&list=PL4bOHSxPfve7X0lXDfcoml_95Wn2a9bO5
This album just came out the day after Thanksgiving! I’ve been listening to it alot, and I love it!
Recommended tracks: May You Find a Light, Shepherd’s Song, Hosanna
I really love this song. Like, a lot! I love the cello and the harmonies, and the power of the lyrics. I’ve been listening to it on repeat this month. It’s one of those songs that fills you with hope!
3) Branches— Songs for Christmas https://soundslikebranches.bandcamp.com/album/songs-for-christmas
This album is one of my favorite Christmas albums, probably because it is rambunctious, joyful, has a banjo here and there, and is also solemn and serious when it needs to be.
Recommended tracks: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, O Come O Come Emmanuel, Oh Holy Night
4) Seeker and Servant—Sound of Joy EP http://noisetrade.com/sands/sound-of-joy-ep
Another of my favorite Christmas Eps! “A homey batch of songs for the Christmas season. This EP consists of two new original tracks inspired by Luke 2 (the Christmas story) and a live rendition of O Holy Night.” —S&S
Recommended tracks: Sound of Joy
5) Bebo Norman— Christmas… From the Realms of Glory https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyCBGvPpRnDrBate1i373rYeYuF_Djgwg
A friend introduced this to me last year, and I’ve fallen in love with this album!
Recommended tracks: Come and Worship, Born to Die, What Child is This, and Silver Bells
1) Kelise Plante — To Find You https://kelsieplante.bandcamp.com/releases or free sampler on Noisetrade: http://noisetrade.com/kelsieplante/to-find-you
I am SO EXCITED about this album. I just bought it this week, and I love it already!! You may remember her from the sampler I sent out quite a while ago, but this time it’s a full album!!! Her voice reminds me of a mixture between Bethany Dillon, Latifah Phillips, and her own magic.
“Kelsie Plante is a Canadian worship leader and songwriter who is currently working full time with refugees and displaced families in the Middle East.” “Her debut album “To Find You” is a collection of songs written over the past 6 years through her travels and work overseas with people in areas of poverty and war, as she saw God’s goodness in the midst of chaos and brokenness.” —kelsieplante.com
Already these songs have been speaking powerfully into the season of life that the Lord has me in right now. I pray that they are an encouragement to you also!!
Recommended listening: To Find You (My favorite by far), Through the Walls, To the Fatherless
2) October Wedding — Sabbath http://noisetrade.com/octoberwedding/sabbath-ep <—free on Noisetrade
This album is just cool. Like, really cool. It’s got some sweet guitar, cello, banjo, and beautiful voices, not to mention that it’s a concept album about rest and redemption! They remind me a little bot of The Oh Hellos, except that their music is totally about Jesus.
On their Noisetrade page, they included this quote from St. Augustine: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” It’s interesting to me that this quote has been the inspiration for a couple of different songs (All Sons and Daughters, Audrey Assad) that have come to my attention lately, and I don’t think it’s just a coincidence, you know?
“On this journey, I’ve at times walked roads of restlessness. Through it all, peace has found me. A rest that is bigger than the struggle. If your heart’s been restless, I hope this makes you believe again that God is real.” – David (From their Noisetrade page)
Recommended listening: Sabbath, This Is Your Breath, Leper Song
3) Seeker & Servant — Sojourner https://seekerandservant.bandcamp.com/ or free on Noisetrade: http://noisetrade.com/sands/sojourner-ep
If you’ve been getting my hipster album of the month emails, then you’ve definitely heard of Seeker & Servant before. If not, you should check out all of their music!!! I’ve had the privilege to meet them, and they are so sincere and real, as well as goofy and hilarious (see their lyric video for their new song Heart Change). They are brothers, and have such a beautiful heart for the Lord, and it really comes through their music.
“This 4-Song EP deals with our journey over the past couple years of Christ sanctifying us and enlightening the eyes of our heart to sins in our life and the truth of His never changing word. Our hope is that through these 4 songs you will be stirred to look to Christ alone and rest in Him.” —Seeker & Servant
Recommended listening: Sovereign Hands, Heart Change, Make It Known
4) Hillsong Worship — Let There Be Light https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtLFUxCBUmmyxbvIqgg8eHEsgHif5NG5K
The most recent Hillsong Worship album. They release one every year, and this year’s album is just very Hillsong-ey, in a good way. They’ve returned to some of their older musical roots, but are still writing excellent new worship songs! I haven’t listened to this album a ton yet, but so far it’s really uplifting and well made. If anything, Hillsong just keeps getting better!
Recommended listening: Let There Be Light, What A Beautiful Name, In Control
Dread in my spirit
of the state of this world—
why is everything sexual?
Poetry paints such pictures
why can’t we focus
on that which is
Get your mind
of the gutter.
What more beautiful
what more lovely
than the very
of the heart of One
Deity clothed in humanity
to bring what is lovely
to bring hope
to die for the
for He so loved
The voice of shed blood
“there is hope”
to the vilest of sinners
from the noblest Person
The cross hung
between two criminals, after all.
March… March was the last time I wrote a blog post. That’s kind of sad. I didn’t used to understand how people could go through months at a time without blogging or without talking to me, but I do now. Seasons of life come and go… some of which are much more intense than others. This season has been one of those intense ones. Following Jesus is not for the faint of heart… nor is the School of Discipleship. Yet God is faithful… and even (and sometimes especially) in those in between, seemingly silent times, He is working.
Sometimes it takes the deepest wounds for Him to do the deepest works. I don’t understand why He chooses to do things the way He does, sometimes, but He doesn’t ask us to understand; He asks us to trust, and obey. So how am I living that out? Sometimes not so well. This anxiety that creeps up unannounced loves to take any opportunity to pounce. I must be active in my pursing of God and of the things of God… it doesn’t happen by accident. I am glad, though, that the Lord has given me this opportunity to be in a place where I am reminded of truths like that often(like in class this morning).
Why is this a season of change and many things outside of my comfort zone? Will it ever not be a season of change? I know not. But I don’t have to know. God has chosen this for me, and that is enough. That should be more than enough.