I'm just gonna say--April was an excellent month with two Fresh Grounded Faith events! The first was in New Orleans. Lisa Whelchel spoke from her new book, Friendship for Grown-Ups: What I Missed and Learned Along the Way, and showed an old clip from Facts of Life when she kissed George Clooney! (Okay, her message was really very spiritual, but the clip was very fun!) Alicia Williamson Garcia led in praise and sang the classic she became known for when she was in Truth, "There is a Hope." Every woman was on her feet by the end of that song. Sally-Ann Roberts also joined us. She's an anchor for Louisiana's highest rated news show, and she also happens to be GMA's Robin Roberts' big sis! I loved her message, but what I really loved was her heart. After one woman gushed about Sally-Ann's jacket, she took it off and gave it to her. Yes, you read that right. Now that preached!
Michael O'Brien and Abby Rike were in New Orleans, and they were also in Woodbridge, Virginia the very next weekend. Abby was a contestant on The Biggest Loser: Season 8, and when she spilled the beans about losing her family in a car wreck, we were all captured by God's grace. She'll be with me in the fall at FGF's--you've got to hear her story. And, oh girl, Michael has his new CD! Be Still My Soul is the title, and it is transporting! It's poetic, classical, interesting and lyrically deep, with luscious strings, and his wife and kids sing on it. I would not steer you wrong on this: I am getting it for everyone I love. (Don't tell my mom or mom-in-Law...Mother's Day, you know!)
The best part of the events is that, as far as we know, about 20 women found new life in Christ, and hundreds got a fresh start with Him. Yee haw, and thank you, Lord!
The book I enjoyed immensely this month was The Great Divorce, by my favorite dead author, C.S. Lewis. It was first published in 1945 and it only has 80 pages. But, for a little book, it's big with thought. The story opens as Lewis finds himself in Hell boarding a bus bound for Heaven. The premise of the story is that anyone who wants to stay in Heaven can-if he's willing to lose himself. It's a thought-provoking meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment. The characters were so vivid and interesting. They represented all the reasons we settle for Hell when God offers us Heaven.
The most poignant idea of the book for me was that no one and nothing keeps us in Hell except ourselves. Lewis wrote: "If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: If we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs
of Hell." It's a fascinating allegory which really made me ponder. Now, don't grab it thinking you are about to read an 80 page gospel track replete with Scripture and the plan of salvation! In fact, you may find it controversial. My dear friend Lisa didn't really like it. I'd be curious about your opinion. Give it a taste test and let me know!
A meaningful highlight of April which I will always treasure was visiting the Capitol. My assistant Angela and I were given a tour, and since the House was not in session, we got to walk onto the House Floor! I stood behind the lectern where members stand to argue their bills, and I sat in the chair where members of the Supreme Court sit during the State of the Union address! It was moving. I loved everything about our tour, but the reminder that the face of Moses is prominently displayed and stares into the face of our president when he addresses the House, was striking and lovely. Though there are several influential law-makers and philosophers displayed, Moses is the most prominent, and it is the law he received from God upon which our great nation's laws were founded. God bless and preserve America.
So, give these things a taste test:
1. Friendship for Grown Ups: What I Missed and Learned Along the Way by Lisa Whelchel
2. Be Still my Soul by Michael O'Brien
3. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis4. A visit to our nation's Capitol