things that shine.

 This time last night, I was in the heart of Hollywood. Running down the Hollywood Walk of Fame wearing sky-high leopord print heels, holding onto my sister's arm as we tripped over a red carpet for some premier happening on one side of the street, and fought the crowds to make it on time to a studio-filled audience on the other side of the street. The night proved to be full - of laughter, good plain fun, sisterly chats and ... a few more lessons for me to learn.
Even though I've lived my entire life just miles away from the craziness of LA...ya gotta know, I'm a home-body. I love being home, just hanging out. I love drinking coffee or hot chocolate, lighting my "Cinnamon Sugar Donut" scented candles, and listening to music. I'm a bubble-bath taking little nester and proud of it! Sorry, y' might think I'm totally boring. But I'm no drinker, and I'm certainly not a partier on weekends. But hey, I love to have fun. Especially with Mandy (my sweet Sis)  So when we got free tickets to go see Jimmy Kimmel Live at his ABC studio, we decided to make it into a Girl's Night Out. And who better to go with? 'Cause she knows how to put on some bright lipstick and laugh. Sister knows how to have a good time.

 And who were the guests of the night, you ask?

Why, hello there Mr. Channing Tatum and Bachelor Ben!

  Honestly, I went to the taping, fully knowing that, although the production and the process in Hollywood can be fun to witness and be a part of, much of the talk and the perspectives of those involved and being interviewed are about 180 degrees from what I believe and everything I stand for. Yet, you have to go into things like this with your convictions and discernment well in hand and a smile on your face. {I always try to live by: "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing, and perfect will." -Romans 12:2}
  Let me tell ya, I love a well dressed man wearing a suit with a pocket square just as much as the next girl (maybe even more!) And I am pretty sure I caught a whiff of Channing's cologne....(Okay, maybe it was the guy sitting down the row from me. But we're just gonna go with the first one, 'k?) Yet as I watched the people around me, I began thinking about celebrity. And how we percieve and treat certain people. Just walking down Hollywood & Highland, you can't help but notice the obsession with movie stars - the lifesize posters, people standing in line waiting to get a glimpse of a celeb, cement stars that line the sidewalk. The screaming girls when Channing and Ben walked onto the stage. The attitude we have about movie stars, famous people, athletes. And I started to think...about worship.

 In our culture, certain people are worshipped. I know I'm not the only one who knows it. Go turn on your TV. Can you deny it? We all worship something. And for most of the world, it is not the Lord. Yet, amid the glitz and glam of a TV show recording, I kept thinking about this,

"...Jesus answered him,
'You shall worship the Lord your God
and Him only shall you serve.'"
-Luke 4:8

And I asked myself...
What am I (what are we) serving?  Having social status? Money? Being beautiful? Achieving "celebrity"?

The screaming girls. The shimmering lights. The red carpet.

What a contrast to what I experienced next.

Starved after the show, we ducked into a small taco shop next door to the studio for some food. The small, dark-haired lady wearing a black polyester collared shirt took my order, She moved slowly, her eyes dark and head low. As she ripped the receipt from the cash register and handed it me, I noticed her right hand was withered. Literally, she stands just a wall away from a stage where every night of the week, famous people sit and are admired on national TV.  
Nightly, beautiful celebrities are gazed at, crowds hanging on their every word. Nightly, this woman works a cash register in a stuffy kitchen, unrecognized...not cared for. And this occurs - just a wall away.

Moments later, as we walked to our car, I saw a young woman sitting up against a wall by the crosswalk. Her hair was dark and cropped short. She had piercings on her face, tattoos on her body. Her eyes were dark, hardened. She sat, weeping. Her face in her hands. On a dirty street lined with gold painted stars engraved with movie star's names. And just across the street, Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah were walked safely out of the Kodak Theatre, flanked by strong, suited body guards and driven away in their big, shiny black Escalades, safely to their next destination. And there she sat, scared...alone.

As we drove out of Hollywood, this was standing high, perched on top a building - up, above it all. Shining quietly. So unassuming. So understated, compared to the onslaught of larger-than-life, flashing billboards everywhere. So simple, as opposed to the huge spotlights filling the studio ceiling from earlier in the evening. It just stood silently above it all. Shining.

The Cross. Salvation. Jesus leaving the glories of Heaven, stooping down to the dirtiness of earth to save broken people He loves. In our sin, our idolatry. So we can have a better life, eternal life, with Him forever.

And yet we just race along, oblivious of Him. Making idols and gods out of other things, other people. Screaming for a handsome actor or a talented actress, when all the while He sits. Waiting. Whispering, "Come to Me...Worship Me." Sometimes we hear it. But do we respond? Do we listen? Sometimes I feel like I'm running 100 miles an hour with my hair on fire, trying to keep up, make ends meet, be prettier, richer, more popular, more fashionable, more successful. All the while, forgetting who is the lover of my soul ... Jesus. Forgetting about the hurting world. Breaks my heart like porcelain.

"For God so loved the world,
that He gave his one and only Son
that whoever believes in Him
shall not perish
but have eternal life."
-John 3:16

Now, go...worship Him. And change the world with love.



{PS - here I am, back home.
 With my hot chocolate & candles burning.
Hollywood can wait. I have big things to do.}