My Cephas Alexander turns 5 today!!!

Today, 5 yrs ago, life was changed forever. Many remember this day as the day the levies broke in New Orleans. I remember that….however, one life altering, amazing thing happened in our lives. Cephas Alexander Ortiz graced this world with his presence at 4:38pm.

For those of you who don’t know….his name doesn’t sound how it is spelled. Yes, we thought of this in advance. It is pronounced kae-fa. The “s” is silent….he is not! Ha! You don’t get a much stronger name or personality than his. The statement “a baby changes everything” is the grandest of all understatements. He is a joy! He is busy! I thank God for his personality, that he never wakes up in a bad mood, loves music more than any kid I have ever met…he wins the award for super-traveling child….my list goes on and on. We often say he is a product of his environment….loving music and never really understanding that all of these teenagers aren’t his age. He is awesome….Ray and I are incredibly blessed.

So….today, my baby boy is 5! Pray for me, as now, he is convinced that turning 5 is the equivalent of turning 18!

What are others stepping in???

Today’s post is a short one but it is my thought.

There is something that I have heard my senior pastor’s wife (co-pastor), Shelly Nelson say. I love the image that it has engrained in my brain. It all starts with this verse.

Psalm 23:6 – Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life….

Pastor Shelly gave the image of goodness and mercy following you….and you leaving goodness and mercy in your wake. I don’t know about you…but I love that visual! Imagine it being like a cloud of goodness and mercy. Some of your may imagine ‘pig pen’ from Charlie Brown….honestly, that was how I first saw it. Now I envision some kind of princess movie (I’m a girl, I do that).

We all leave something in our wake. Being back in a restaurant waiting tables, this is has brought on a fresh take on an old understanding. When people encounter you, they encounter more than your face. What residue do you leave behind? What are people left with after you are gone?  It is most definitely a challenge. We all have bad days and rough moments….but how we handle them determines what we leave others with.

That is my thought for the day.

Focus and the voices of 300 and Troy

I just started reading through the book of Joshua. My over-thinking brain can hardly keep from spinning….it is awesome!

I read this warrior and man of God as he leads his people, I suddenly realized that in my head, Joshua had a distinct voice. I blame my husband. When I get home from work, he is as of lately, watching a man movie (ex. 300 or Troy, hence the blame).

Reading chapter 3, Joshua sounded like a warrior from the man movie of your choice…slight accent, booming voice…the whole deal. Made me laugh a little bit but it I bet it is right on. I bet Joshua put these actors to shame. The more I read, the more I want to know. More on that later….

The purpose of this post is this….

I was reading chapter 3. I kept going back to verses 3-5. Joshua commands them – When they see ark of the covenant, go after it, don’t get ahead of it (or in their case near it…glad we don’t have to keep that distance)….they don’t know where they are going, this is a new way. This is a way that they have never been before.

Reading this, I think of Joshua’s preparation. His whole life has been preparation for what was about to take place (whether he realized it or not). He has already been commanded to “be strong and very courageous”. Now, he has all of these people looking at him. He is this leader/warrior….and his first command is “go after the presence of God, don’t get ahead of it and get ready….we have never been here before”. Something about those words excite me! I truly believe we have only seen a tiny glimpse of the bigness of God and what he desires to do in and through His people. To quote Pastor Jaycee Jennings “The BEST IS YET TO COME”! I believe that statement so much that I have the t-shirt!

Where is God leading you? Does it scare you? Put your warrior voice on and run!

Season of the Beautiful Unknown…

We are more than half way through yet another month. The statement “time flies” is freakishly accurate. I remember when I was growing up, hearing people talk about things that happened 20 years prior. To a 7 yr old, that sounds like an eternity. Now, I’m 28, age seven is 21 years behind me and talking about 20 years ago, at times feels like it was just a short time ago…time really does indeed fly! Continue reading Season of the Beautiful Unknown…

And the answer is….The Church

I grew up in the church…and grateful for that. I knew God at a young age. I loved church. I loved worship. I loved the message. I am realizing something that for some, is a no brainer but for me, really stirs something new. Like I said, I grew up in church. There were three (not including where I went for youth as a teenager….) that I went to from birth-19. The first grew into a very large church. We left around my 10th birthday due to discovering adultery within the pastoral leadership. The next church we went to was wonderful. If there was one person from that time that I wish more than anything I could see again, it was my children’s pastor there (God bless you Ms. Lisa)….I see that the way I do ministry today is a reflection of how she poured into my awkward 11yr old life. We moved two years later to be near family. My uncle was my pastor (my favorite Aunt was the worship leader along with my cousins). The church was much smaller but it was home and love was there. I was given ministry opportunity at a young age and I am so grateful for it. I still say, ministering in front of thousands could never be as daunting as that group of 40. Ha!

My point is this…I grew up in the church. Most of my hurts, disappointments, areas of insecurity, pain (I think you get the point)…they came from the church…or should I say people in the church. I saw the best of people…and I also saw the worst of people (I also saw some crazy people…that could be saved for a ‘Stuff Christians Like’ essay). Something hit me after speaking with a friend a few weeks ago regarding the church in America. I was thinking about the conversation later that night. I knew this but it hit me like never before…

Are you ready for this???

Christ loves the CHURCH!

Not only loves, He gave his LIFE for the church. In all of our messed up, broken, selfish, pride…he LOVES HIS church. His people (I hope you realize by now, I’m not talking about a building). More than ever before this is something I cannot wrap my brain around. I probably never will. Imagine that passion! Think of what He has called the church to…what the purpose of the church is. It is amazing! He draws His church unto Himself, a love we cannot understand….

This is an on-going thought for me but one I wanted to put out there.

Rambling Thoughts of an Over Thinker

My name is Chantel and I am an over thinker! I admit it. I no longer see this as a weakness. I have come to the conclusion that this is the way God wired my brain and that is a good thing. I make great attempts not to over think what others may think or read into something that just isn’t there. I can’t say I never do. After all, I am human…and female…over thinking the ridiculous does happen on occasion. Sometimes, it’s funny…

I love the Word. Reading the bible really is life-giving. Sometimes I feel like this brain of mine just might explode over one word. I will chew on it, ponder it, pray for insight into it…I’ll research it, look up different translations, even bust out the Hebrew (which I don’t read but makes it possible). This is one area where over thinking is awesome. I get caught up on words. Sometimes it’s just one, sometimes a verse or a whole chapter. Seriously, I was caught up on the word ‘water’ (see 1Kings 17-18) for a good long time and still think about it. Psalm 91 has more words that I can linger on for a good long time (that’s another post for another day).

This will be an on-going part of this blog. Sometimes it’s funny. I hope for a lot of insight and dialog as this goes on.

I’m glad to FINALLY be a part of the blog world. Looking forward to great things!