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Monthly Director's Update


Monthly Director's Update: October 2014

The Fellows and I were invited into an incredible conversation with three remarkable men on their creative journey in music. We drove to Hendersonville, TN (home to the late Johnny Cash) to a recording studio to meet with 2 time Grammy award winning songwriter, Gordon Kennedy, his father, musician, Jerry Kennedy, who played guitar on some of the most legendary recordings with Elvis, Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan, and 18-time Grammy winning bluegrass musician, Ricky Skaggs.

All three are men of deep faith and told stories of how God had placed them in situations to have meaningful conversations about their faith with fellow musicians and artists they had met and worked with along the way.

Our topic was Ricky Skaggs album Mosaic (which Gordon Kennedy produced) and the story behind it. The title song from the record was written by Gordon and inspired by a good friend of his with MS. This friend was confined to a wheel chair his entire life. After his death, they found a poem he had written called “my post”. In it he described His role (or post) in God’s larger story as being burdened by his disease. He understood it as his calling but wrestled with desiring a different calling, a “normal” life.

Gordon was deeply moved by this idea of our calling and began to write a song to honor his friend by communicating what this poem was about. He came up with the idea that each of us is a tile in God’s beautiful Mosaic of the Gospel. When viewed up close it is difficult to see the importance of an individual tile. But when viewed from God’s perspective it creates a breathtaking picture. Individual tiles blend together to reveal the story the Artist is telling.

We were treated to hearing the song in the recording studio in which it was recorded.

Our Fellows were impacted by considering their lives to be a tile in the Mosaic of the Master Artist. It is not always clear as to what our calling or impact truly is.

Carve my name upon a tree
A knife into the bark
Trying to make a mark
So they'd remember me

Wanting to matter to someone
Maybe be a reason why
Be the apple of an eye
Before my life is done

And all I'm sayin'
I'm in a place where
All I'm prayin'
I see my face in

Your mosaic
And I am a piece
In the deal
And it is real

Each life matters. Each story matters. It is what draws and binds us together in the Great Story our Creator has placed us in.

Where do you see your face in His Mosaic?



Monthly Director's Update: September 2014

A month into our Fellows year, we are beginning to find a rhythm and cadence of pace that will carry us through May. Yes, there are still lots of questions and confusion. And yes, there are gripes and complaints about being too busy but the Fellows seem to be allowing the process to work deeply in their hearts.

As we know, there will be bumps and twists along the way but as they are going deeper into their own story, they are able to love themselves and each other through the truth of the Gospel.

We were reading through a quote from “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson in which she says:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 

And we paused to ask, “What if that were true?”

Their response was silence. In the midst of sharing their stories with each other they felt more fear in their own inadequacies, brokenness, and sin. But this idea begged a deeper question in them, how do we uniquely reveal God’s glory through our stories - our lives?

What if we could engage in our own story and discover how it is enmeshed in God’s story?

What if we embraced the light Jesus has placed in us and chose not to fear our brokenness?

What a journey we finds ourselves on. As this class of Fellows begin to view themselves and others through the beauty of Jesus, they begin to see things from a Kingdom perspective. And that is what we are all after.

 As the Fellows embark deeper into their own journey, I can’t help but wondering about your own journey. What would it look like in your own life if you chose not to shrink back? What would it look like if you chose instead to shine – to be who God created you to be?

Oh, that God would grant us the grace to live as His Beloved children.

Shine, my friends.



Monthly Director's Update: August 2014

With two weeks until our Fellows arrive I was recalling a quote from Teddy Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship in a Republic” in which he said:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

And is that not the desire and mission behind this beautiful journey we call the Nashville Fellows Program. Not to simply observe life like the critic, but to engage our entire being in the process of the redemption of all things through discovering our part in God’s larger story. That, my friends, is truly the story of a life well lived and not simply observed.

As the days are counting down I am reminded that this is 

God’s work we are engaging with Him in. We are learning o engage ourselves in the Gospel of His Kingdom. It is in and for this Sacred Romance that He has called each of us, no matter our vocation or calling, to truly discover who we are in His stunning and unshakeable love.

As we are putting the final pieces in place to begin the process of entering into the arena of life.

Dare greatly, my friends.