Sheri McConnell

Wednesday, April 4

Stay Connected With Me AT...

Sheri at 5:22 PM
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Thursday, March 22

Amazing Grace ...

oh how sweet the .... (sound) SIGHT. just a little spin off on the old hymn.

I went and saw the movie "Amazing Grace" www.amazinggracemovie.com monday afternoon. For those of you who know me, one of my favorite things to do is hit up an afternoon matinee solo like. I find it a way to disconnect from the day to day stuff. Of course depending on what movie I actually see determines the ways I actually really do disconnect but, I most definately have an ability to get thoroughly engrossed in a fantastic story plot and stellar acting! Then again I also (at times) just love to go to fluff movies for the sake of a good laugh - comedic silliness value.

Well, in between trying to run a few errands (ive been cooped up in my house all last week pretty much - cause of this sickness that doesn't want to depart). I found myself in a local mall in Burbank - walking by the theatre and landed up right on time to check out the listings. I actually hesitated initially thinking I would rather hit up a brainless flick ... and honestly, most "christian" movies have elements of less than professional - low grade art. I find myself cringing through parts and thinking, now again I can see why we get mocked for our attempts at creativity. So, needless to say - I was somewhat wondering if this would be a waste of $8. In a last ditch decision (pretty much all the other movies had started) I thought what the heck "go for it". I grabbed a bit of popcorn and bottled water and found myself right in the middle of a smattering of people.


I really enjoy 'period pieces' not just for a story line but, the scenery and in a sense romantisized sense of adventure I very easily fall into. 'Pride and Prejudice' for example is a classic example for me in this.


The story begins. It is about a passionate young man named William Wilberforce, a British Abolitionist who burns with conviction for justice ... finds himself in increased influence within the british parliament yet, very simply and so profound to me early on in his life in his pursuit of justice towards the abolition of the slave trade wrestles with it best pursued through a single minded devotion to a calling of faith and ministry or political activeness? He loved nature, he loved animals ... he reminded me of my studys of St. Francis and the simplicity of life. He lived above (not in piety) the pulls of every day society - He was consumed and burning with passion for his mission. That was his sole focus. So much so, his friends had to help turn his face towards the possibility of marriage (which he really had no time for) but, eventually found a truly suitable "partner" in every way towards the cause of justice. From what I saw portrayed, a formidable force in that day.


Through a series of events he decides to walk his influence out with the political systems of the day and never lose sight of his love of the divine -true faith. So beautiful. He battled physical weakness ...tiredness...a long history of sickness yet, this did not hold him back. He was able to enjoy the blessing of a family and finally did win in his fight towards the abolition of slavery. He then went on to fight for many other causes right until his death.


This story so gripped me! Purely from an artistic eye - it was beautiful and done with excellency. No cheesy film quality here. Even the journey of the creation of this great old hymn was so fascinating!! The life of Albert Finney (creator of this hymn) is also portrayed in this movie with incredible 'grace' and honesty.


This historical story is so inspiring - I highly recommend worth seeing to all!


"Amazing Grace how sweet the sound who saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but, now am found. Was blind but, now I see." -Albert Finney
Sheri at 10:05 AM
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Monday, March 12

ENCOUNTER

I came home from Canada late last wednesday night. and right off the top have to say - my trip was flippin' phenomenal! In some ways it went way too fast and I wish that I was still there. and then of course in other ways, it is good to be home. I really miss Bailey (my lil' bichon) when Im away and in my travels have picked up some nasty virus. Im so sick right now ...hackhack...iiiiccckkkk....head...nose....throat.

I was invited to speak at the annual Senior High Wknd. hosted by Full Gospel Bible College in good ole' gopher worshipping Eston, SK. Believe it or not ...these are my old stomping grounds. Eston and I go waaaay back. I graduated from this College and have such a love for many friends who I find in those hallways to this day.

Senior High Wknd. is the College's recruitment wknd. and I have to say they do a F I N E job in making it a fantastic time for all! Good job all you out there!! Needless, to say I found myself with a mixture of excitement and yet nervousness all in one. I think the anticipation of seeing many people who I respect, like and some love dearly. A coming together of a variety of worlds for me-that is for sure! There were about 250 senior highers, 100+ college students, faculty, youth leaders/pastors ....etc. What a party!

So many laughs and crazy honest conversation with loved friends and peers. [love it] a reconnecting of souls in some senses. and then i made a few new friends - who i really believe are a beautiful gift from the Father. I love these kind of "Jesus connects". It felt good to be "home" in a way ...where it feels safe to just BE ME. Often times I think that we don't even realize that until we find ourself back in the midst of it.

From a Kingdom ministry perspective. OFF THE FREAKIN' CHARTS! seriously. I've only been hearing great reports back! 15-20 students made first time decisions to follow Jesus. Many many youth were getting stuff sorted, getting things right with Jesus and with others. Vision was being stirred. Healing was happening, deliverance was being encountered. all in all the KINGDOM OF GOD was BREAKING IN! Even now I am hearing stories of how students are fasting and seeking the Lord from the wknd. to find practical ways to discover mercy, pursue compassion and the justice of God in their spheres of influence. To discover their poor. Three nights in a row many of us were up to the wee hours of the morning just 'doin the stuff'. so good. soo good.

Thank you Jesus for showing up and makin it so real cause YOU ARE REAL!

I was speaking with one of my best friends today [teresa trask] and she articulated something to me which really stuck. She said "Sher, it sounds like the Lord was creating space for you to just BE YOU". It really struck me. Yes! Father ...THANKYOU. a precious gift just for my heart and much needed i might add.

I am sure that I could say so much more. But, I will leave it as this.
Those of you who read this and were there ... know that our time together were sovereign moments in time and that it is only the beginnings of so much more Kingdom.
Keep firing out the communicato -don't be strangers.
Let's hold together for those things we know are true and real.
Go and discover YOUR TRIBE. Ones you will give your life for to pursue faith, freedom and hope. Not just for yourselves -but for OTHERS!

Kingdom Encounter for Kingdom Discovery.
A path of true adventure!!
Sheri at 8:01 PM
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Saturday, February 24

Leavin on a jet plane ...

Tomorrow morning I am heading out of LAX to Calgary, Alberta CANADA. YES.....the great white north here I come. A little nervous about the weather dynamic as I seem to be getting soft when it comes to this wonderful so cal winter sun and warmth.

Overnighting in Calgary and then off to Saskatoon on Monday where I will be picked up by a couple of friends from the Full Gospel College in Eston, SK. and I will spend the next week there at the College ...hanging...preparing...more hanging... and then from March 1-4th a few hundred High School Students along with the hundred or so college students will be gathering for the annual senior high wknd. which I am the main speaker for. I am excited and yet apprehensive all at the same time. Funny that no matter how many times I speak in front of people I very much feel like Moses .... Lord, I cannot do this... what do I really have to say? So, I appreciate your prayers as I long to hear and obey Him as we come together to really encounter the one -true - living Jesus who I believe will bring freedom to many and breath vision ...life into.

I then will be concluding my trip in Calgary with some of my family and close friends. Returning back to the land of palm trees and surf by March 7th.


Looking forward to this trip and how the Lord is going to surprise. I pray that HE will work through the impossible!!!!

Blessings to you all

off to bed - sherix
Sheri at 9:47 PM
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Friday, January 19

I Think ...

often times we are freeze framed into living our lives through perceptions rather than true reality. Many reasons for this im sure. Escapism by far is one of the most popular responses perhaps because our current reality is something we do not like, are fearful of, not in touch with or wishing was different.

I remember when I was a little girl I always approached people and friendships thinking that everyone liked me! I mean seriously how could anyone not like me or find it difficult to like me? I viewed myself through my little self focused lense how I hoped people would see me not even thinking that perhaps there was a differing reality. It was just a given ... that when I faced life head on I would become friends with all and everyone. Of course as one grows up you slowly realize that often times our slowly krept in differences and values seem to divide us rather than unite us. Wow ...one can sure see that reality play out in many facets of life! To this day that still makes me sad.

Many people in my life look at me as always strong, confident, bold and fearless. That is a perception and a partially true reality yet, in my heart I see and feel the very near reality of my fears ...timid heart...and desperate longings. I want to be able to face those things head on and not live in some disconnected land yet, I also realize more and more that in many ways im still that little girl filled with idealism and hope - even when all seems crushed bringing disappointment and heartache, I try and brush myself off and then move forward - perhaps a little more cautiously, hopefully not filled with disillusionment (let's face it many times have to fight that one off) -I choose to move forward.

I think that we can learn much by reflecting on our childhoods and how we were as little boys and girls cause in many ways this is the truest form and nature of our personality and life before the broken ways of humanity and opinion begin to influence us.

Even as I watched my twin 5 year old nephews play and interact this last week it caused me to reflect on some of my own personal childhood memories, contributing to who I am today in strength and all my weakness. I long to live life to the full, perhaps in some way I pray that I could regain some childhood innocence, freedom and simple faith. To believe in the goodness of life ... and belief in the human soul to find those places that are lifegiving.

What are those things that bring you life? May we be men and women who can face our personal reality ...push past the perceptions to really SEE HEAR FEEL allowing the life giving reality and grace of Jesus to touch all those places, even through the difficulties find triumph, strength, truth and wisdom!

**I just read the story today "The Velveteen Rabbit" for the first time. How timely and what a beautiful story -fitting for this post! Here is a quote and link to the complete story:

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."


http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/williams/rabbit/rabbit.html
Sheri at 8:33 AM
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Monday, December 18

Christmas Letter 2006



CHRISTMAS 2006
What a wonderful time of year we find ourselves in again! A time to celebrate and
reflect on the memories and moments of another year soon to be passed.
The central meaning of Christmas
to behold the narrative of a child’s birth
Who in frail humanity yet completely divine was sent as our Savior to bring hope and life
Today HE – JESUS - reigns as Lord and King!

This story whether we believe in it or not, impacts our world through the diversity of culture, families and individual narratives in a beautiful way.
This is Christmas

My prayer for you is that His Love, Kindness, Mercy, Compassion, Peace and Joy would rest in your family in a generous way this season spilling into all that you do and, more importantly, resonating in all who you are!

2006 for me has been a year of change, continued personal growth, deep challenge and excitement! As you know, in September of 2005, transition once again was on my doorstep and in the desire to respond in obedience, the call was to move to Los Angeles, California. The reason for this move was to join my good friends David and Anita Ruis in pioneering a community of faith called ‘Basileia’ (Bas-i-lay-ah) Simply stated, we are “devoted to Kingdom Living -engaged with culture and justice”. My home base in Calgary, AB. Canada sent me as a cultural missionary and have been standing with me in friendship, prayer and financial backing. I could not be here today without my Canadian home community, my family and very dear friends! With a 3yr. religious worker visa in hand, most everything sold, Bailey (my lil’ Bichon Frise dog) and I headed south.

I have to say that after the initial 2-3 month ‘honeymoon’ period of driving down one of the many LA freeways and admiring palm trees (one of my favorite things here) and of course the incredible weather wore off, the culture shock of the mass population index, freeway rage, isolated insulated living of this very independent, flamboyant and veneer ridden culture began to set in. Paradoxically, LA is a beautifully lonely place.

These observations created the question which I still ask to this day
How does one penetrate into this mission field and culture of LA? Lord, what are the creative ways?
Then again, perhaps a fantastic question we should all ask daily of our respective places as we live out community life.
…To live the life of Jesus.

Coupled with getting to know my little apartment community (there are 6 units in the complex I live in, here in Tujunga) and slowly in the inception, formation stages of Basileia’s community growth there have been many exciting pieces unfolding! As I have been establishing myself within our community and the greater LA Community (through avenues like Barry’s Bootcamp check it out www.barrysbootcamp.com) relationships are organically being birthed (we have approx. 150 people in a consistent way connected to us), also I have instigated a weekly meeting for young adults where friendships are being formed, and mentorship along their spiritual journey into mission, is slowly unfolding in unique day to day ways that the Lord speaks and moves. I am beginning to love this place I find myself in and appreciate the hidden gems in the midst. I do have to say that we have some very amazing people who now call Basileia home and many of these ones are becoming life long, cherished friends of mine. What a gift!

HIGHLIGHTS In May we were blessed with a loft space of 5500 sq. feet here in LA that we call Basileia’s living room. It came fully furnished with our signature creative vibe and just in time for our live recording project that I was a part of co-coordinating and working on with David Ruis -his band, and visual arts creative team. It was a huge success and we all really believe that it captured the sound and essence of what we are slowly creating and who we are slowly becoming. It is still in the production stages but, you can check out the bootleg version of it on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkqnP4By6eQ This project will be hitting the market in the New Year!

TRAVEL seems to be my middle name! In July I had the privilege of spending 3 weeks in various parts of Germany. The first 2 weeks were ministry focused as a small team consisting of David/Band and friends played (in more ways than one) and ministered in various events. Including Berlin Stadium where 60,000 plus attendees came to be a loud voice of worship. It was a beautiful picture of the unity of His body. The overall trip was incredible! My last week in Germany, a good friend and I, traveled to the very beautiful Heidelberg - a place one must behold!! Then to Bonn/Cologne area where I/we visited with my amazing European family. Fun times - fun times!

Part of August was spent back in Canada where I was preaching/teaching at ‘Street Invaders’ a youth discipleship missions program. This also gave me an incredible time of reconnecting with dear friends and family. Sadly, after months of declining health, on August 28th my grandma Sawchenko passed away to be with Jesus and grandpa. The matriarch of our family left a legacy of faith and strength in such beautiful ways. She is loved and missed.

The remainder of this fall I made a few more trips to various parts of Canada for teaching and training opportunities with many of my long standing friends in youth ministry and beyond. I always look forward to these invitations of investing wherever I can in the young of our generation – speaking out life, truth and freedom! Of course …There are more trips to come in 2007!!

YOUR SUPPORT is crucial to the ongoing work and life that I have put my hands to here in Los Angeles, and beyond. Thank you! As a North American cultural missionary, my entire income is all being raised through individuals like you, ministry honorariums and EPIC Ministries have been a champion in coming alongside and standing with me in this endeavor.

I cannot do this without your giving and lives of generosity. LA is a very expensive place to live, it is shocking, actually, and with the currency exchange I need to raise at least another $500-$750/mo. committed monthly support. Will you join my monthly support team?

If you are looking for a worthy cause, individual or charity to give – I would ask that you consider standing with me in this way. Please contact me directly, for all the details on how you can sign up as a part of my monthly support team. All gifts are tax deductible!

:: Prayer Points ::
+Health – physically, emotionally, spiritually and relationally
+The leadership of Basileia – for discernment and unity moving forward
+Protection – physically, relationally, with Bailey
+Relational Connections – growing connects and new relationships
+financial – both one time gifts and committed monthly support is appreciated!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!
Sheri at 6:30 PM
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Friday, November 17

K-Town Here I Come!

Well, for most of you who know me ... know that travelling seems to be my middle name "Sheri Travelling McConnell". hmmm....it has been a busy fall season of travel and this Monday I leave yet again for Kelowna, BC. Canada to spend a week with good friends!

Todd Rutkowski with the Vineyard Church in Kelowna has invited David (Ruis) and I to teach at the Vineyard Discipleship School and then also lead a roundtable discussion with approx. 30 leaders from Canada on the "Emerging Church". To hear what people are doing from their different locations, ideas, how can we support one another, etc.

I'm really looking forward to this time, being able to hang with peers who most of us have significant history with one another. See some old friends, perhaps reconnect in new ways. Im sure meet some new friends also. Im also anticipating some times where we can really "listen" to one another, the Lord and be able to encourage each other as we all have been journeying and creating our own story in our respective locations.

Would appreciate your prayers. Over the last couple days I have been fighting a cold of sorts so, I'm popping everything of a vitamin assortment into my system imaginable.

Also, my house has been in total dissarray for the last 10 days (due to a pipe that burst under the foundation in my living room -creating a whole lot of wet carpet). The leak is fixed, the carpet relaid and the final touches are being done as I speak. My home should be back to pretty much normal by tonight-here's hoping;)

I haven't slept well for quite a few days now ... processing lots of thoughts. Im sure this doesn't help with this virus which seems to be attacking my body. Am trying to prep for next week over these couple days -the current swirl is definately not helping.

Also, if you could pray for our time in Kelowna -the teaching we are doing and facilitating, the one on one times, hearing the Lord, etc. A real "sense" that this is significant for more than the obvious.

Thank you friends. Blessed.

sheri
Sheri at 3:00 PM
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