Wilderness Hike

When Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt they had no clue what they were in for. All they knew was that bondage was a thing of the past and the Promised Land awaited, somewhere... The neat thing about it was that God caused the Egyptians to heap their wealth on His people as they left. Talk about a going away gift. Then He protected them from the heat during the day with a cloud and provided a supernatural fire flashlight at night. Parting the waters, manna from heaven, water from the rock, clothes that didn't wear out. They were living in tents but the picture I get in my mind is a far cry from the wagon train scenes I associate with pioneering. Such is the picture of our new church plant. Not by any stretch were we leaving the bondage of Egypt, but we have been called to another place, a place none of us has seen. God has blessed our little band of nomads with everything we need to start this new work. Walking in on Sunday morning no one would have known it was our first Sunday. Thanks to CCC and Freedom, we have most of the equipment we are going to need. The nursery and mini church was taken care of by some generous donors. Methodist University is providing the facilities for next to nothing. All of this is God's amazing provision and His favor and I am so thankful for it. God is truly awesome!


Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For...

Are you the person God's looking for? So many times we chalk it up to someone else doing whatever it is that we see a need for. Somebody really should mow that grass, somebody really should have spell checked the bulletin, somebody should do something about that ___________. Why not you? Oh man, that would take action on my part, and I just don't have time to do anything. Its so much easier to complain about it. God gives us a special tool that we can use at any time of day, no matter what we are doing. You guessed it: prayer.

Ezekiel 22:30-31 "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD."
Wow, what a statement! How would you feel if you knew you were the one that could hold back God's wrath and due to ignorance, laziness, what have you, you failed to rise up? Talk about having blood on your hands. Have you ever held your breath when they pulled the winning ticket out of the hat thinking, "It could be me." Or how about a job interview. "I'm just the one for the job!" Such an optimistic attitude, yet when it comes to the things of God we don't go around with that same mind set. Maybe we should start looking at things a little differently. God, I'll do that even if I'm not the one you picked for the job, because there's a chance it could be me. Let me be the one whose prayers and supplications for my generation hold back your fiery anger. Let me be the one whose prayers change the atmosphere around me. Oh God, let it be me!


For Such a Time As This

I couldn't make myself write this weekend. Part of it was busyness, the other was that I really wanted to wait for it all to sink in. You see, yesterday was the first service of our brand new church, The Pursuit. There was a crew of amazing people who worked tirelessly to pull it all off and make it look easy to those of us who were watching in the wings. Many of us couldn't sleep the night before. The excitement was just too great. Someone compared it to the excitement you feel of Christmas Eve. I had no trouble sleeping and that kind of bothered me. Was I detaching myself from the feelings associated with the plant? All my worries were dissipated the next morning when I woke up. My two oldest had gone to help dad and the team set everything up and I was at home with the four littlest. I was a weeping mass of emotions.

You know I have been searching for my purpose for ions it seems. Motherhood, a good job, being a good wife, they just haven't seemed to be the reason God made me. All noble pursuits but just not my purpose on earth. I finally found it and it astounded me yesterday morning as I was getting ready. This is the time! God made me for such a time as this! All my life has been culminating to this point. The best part is that I am really nothing. He saw fit to use a vessel that has messed up innumerable times and in very noticeable ways to be a help meet to a man who has just as many flaws and failures. He endured with us and groomed us despite our humanity. He induced a dissatisfaction with the ordinary that was what really put this church into motion. In addition to that He handpicked a group of amazing people to come alongside us and bear the burden as well. Even our own babies are a part of what's going on.

Sixteen years ago about this time of year, I walked in the doors of Cliffdale Christian Center with a six month old baby and a cloud of shame hovering around me. Today I am the pastor's wife of a newly birthed church plant and that baby is an amazing musician on our worship team with a tender heart for the Lord. I love my life and this adventure that God has called us to!


Hearts on Fire

On Mt. Sinai the Lord told Moses to tell the people to prepare themselves for the Lord's appearance. When He came down onto the mountain, He warned them not to touch the mountain or come near it or else they would die. Even with their preparations, He would come amongst them but they could not draw near. They witnessed His appearance in fire, smoke, thunder and the blaring of horns. He only spoke to Moses.

At Pentecost in Acts, they were told to wait but God appeared without any warning and invaded each person there individually. Once more He showed up with wind, and fire. But this time it was not a mountain but a person. He filled them with His presence and they became His temples.

The Lord is saying that now He does not want us to sit back as spectators any longer taking the words of man as His words, but He desires to come upon those who wait for Him with no warning, changing their lives forever. He wants to envelope them and flow through them setting there hearts on fire with His words spoken to them specifically. No more is it to be what the pastor says about God, but what God has said and done in my life. The work of the Lord in my life is what sets me on fire to proclaim His goodness and mercy. That makes me a true witness, not a second hand source.


Would You Recognize Him?

A while back we were studying the various spiritual movements at our church. At the same time our small group was holding a 24/7 prayer meeting. During one of my turns in the sanctuary I was walking past the white board on which the dispensations and movements of God over the past few hundred years were neatly written out. I may disturb some Bible scholars here, but the thought ran through my mind of what's the point of studying such things if you overlook the driving factor of the waves of the Lord's presence: His great encompassing love.

Man has been called to subdue, but that was never to include God. We try to explain Him, write Him up in a descriptive paragraph, paint Him in detail. Buts its no use. He is greater than we could even imagine. Its when man gets too wrapped up in the formula, that God shows up in a new way as if to say, "Think you've got me figured out? Check this out!" And if we're not careful the change disturbs us. "That's not God," is almost always our first thought. There are very few that genuinely and unreservedly embrace these movements. Our tendency is to weigh it out, wait until its safe.

You really have to know the Father to recognize Him when He surprises you. Would I have recognized Jesus if I had seen Him walking around in my hometown? If I was at the Pentecost prayer meeting would I have known the manifestation of the Holy Spirit was of God? It really is about relationship. When you really know someone, you'd recognize them no matter what span of time had passed. No matter what they were wearing, you would know it was them. God calls us into a deeper walk with Him. He desires for His people to truly know Him. That is when He can reveal His heart to us, tell us His secrets, and trust us to do what He's called us to do.


The Longing

I started reading a new book yesterday by James Goll and Lou Engle. Its called, The Elijah Revolution. This book has actually been in my house sitting on a table for a few months. I felt compelled to buy it but couldn't read it yet. You see, I have a weird way of choosing books. When I pick it up off the shelf it has to speak to me. With in a few sentences it must cause an emotional response inside my brain or I put it down and come back to it later. The Elijah Revolution spoke to me in the store, but by the time I got it home, it just wasn't there. So I put it down knowing that at the right time I would pick it up again.

Now is the time. Monday morning I was sure of it when I opened to the first section and it was titled, This is the Time... I took that as a sign. Anyway, its a great book so far and what I wanted to mention today was this: I know that many of those who read my blog have a similar mindset as I do. There's a stirring in our spirits and our hearts that cannot be explained. Its a deep longing for more. More Jesus, more God, more Holy Spirit. Closer relationship with the Father and in turn a greater desire to spend more time with Him. You just can't get enough. Lou and James put it this way,
"God has deposited a dream that has grabbed hold of their hearts and permanently ruined them for "Christianity as usual." Energized by the truth that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, they look to God to move in the midst of His people in this generation as He did in generations past. Their spirits burn with a vision of Jesus Chrsit in all His glory. No longer content simply to live by the rules of "do's and don'ts," they so yearn to be close to Him that they freely cast away anything and everything in their lives that keep them from His presence, and abandon themselves completely to Him. They have caught a glimpse of glory, their spiritual eyes forever seared by the brilliance of the transcendent majesty of Christ."

I don't think I need to say anymore. Respond to the longing and chase after the dream!


What are You Drinking?

Yesterday my husband and I hit a milestone. We attended our last service at our home church. He has been there right alongside his dad for twenty or so years and I have been attending since 1993. Time sure flies. I looked around the congregation and felt a mixture of feelings. So many memories flew through my mind at once. I was married in that church, dedicated every one of my babies there, witnessed my mother-in-law's funeral, and attended three family weddings. Josh and I were sent out to Haiti and returned a year later to weep and heal at that altar. Good times and bad we have shared in that sanctuary.

Joshua shared for the communion service about James and John's mother's request that they each be seated with Jesus. Jesus' response was that they had to be willing to drink from the cup of suffering. Doesn't sound too appealing to me and that was exactly the point of the message. We readily accept the blessings of God, but when the hardship comes we wonder where God is in the midst. Sounds to me like He might be the one pouring the drinks.

Thinking back over my time at Cliffdale the message was so appropriate for me. I have tasted both cups. Something Josh pointed out and I can witness to is that the blessings sure taste sweeter after having tasted the suffering. God knows what you need and He knows where He wants to take you. Trust Him and know that He will not let you endure more than you can take. Stretch your spiritual muscles and drink deeply what He pours out for you.
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