Pray with us

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In November, right before Thanksgiving, we went home to New England for our usual visit. But something was different. I felt God calling us away from Midland to serve in New England again.

As we visited, shopped, walked, had coffee at local coffee shops up there, I saw the raw need for Jesus everywhere I looked. I guess my blinders had been on since I grew up there. Having been gone almost 10 years now… this time I saw with fresh eyes.

God grabbed hold of my heart and allowed me to see the hurt. I started praying “God, if there are churches in New England advancing the Kingdom of God, using the Power of the Holy Spirit to do the impossible, and this is from You…. would you please connect us?”

God quickly answered that prayer! Jonathan and I just figured the call to move to NE would just come someday. After all, we were pretty settled here in Texas.

We met the people of CenterPoint church in Concord, NH in February. They flew us up there March 13 to interview and to meet the staff and church. I fell in love!

I knew this was what God wanted. A week or so later, they called us to confirm this calling.

I start as Worship Director of CenterPoint May 1st!

Pray for us as we go! That we would have boldness, look for opportunities to share God’s gospel of grace, and for the sale of our home, our car, and some of our things.

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We will dearly miss Texas, so please also pray for the transition, as it is very hard. 

What an adventure serving God has been, and continues to be!

Lessons learned from a dog

 I’m totally stealing this from our friend Coy. 

Coy’s best friend (besides his wife Cindi) is a lil gray dog named Future.

I always wanted a dog like Future. Coy often spoke of how he learned how to love God more through this dog, and I always told him he should write a book entitled “Lessons Learned from a Dog” (stay tuned- I swear he will write this book someday).

Since adopting our lil mutt about a year ago… My heart has been tuned into Holy Spirit in a new way.

See, dogs never complain. They’ll drink toilet water, garden hose water, puddle water, or Figi water, and act the same.

Dogs are enthusiastic and “happy to be alive”!!

Dogs obey.

Dogs listen intently before making a sound (or judgement). 

Dogs love unconditionally.

Dogs seem to be content- whether they live in Kim Kardashian’s mansion or with a homeless person.

Dogs are loyal. They seems to sit and wait for their master in the same place every day- to be there for them when they get home from work.

Dogs are empathetic. Over the course of th short year we’ve had Rex, I can already remember 2-3 times I was either too sick- or struggling with a really bad stressor to make time for him. I’ll never forget, he picked up on it. Instead of begging to play or to be walked, he simply laid his head on my lap, and seemed to hurt alongside me.

Dogs always hope, endure and trust. Many times I hear of dogs being left by the side of the road who do not survive… Not because they don’t know how to survive out on their own, but because they are too preoccupied looking, hoping, and waiting for their master to return for them.

In the Bible, God says in Luke 11:13, “If you then though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

I think of how this passage of scripture outlines the perfect love of our God.. And yet how we don’t seem to trust HIM. I don’t seem to trust him. 

Like a precious little dog… Every day should be a joyful, hopeful new day that I can get excited about. A time in know I can linger contentedly in my perfect Heavenly Father’s embrace… Knowing that He is taking care of me.

I look into my dogs eyes.. And I learn. God made the earth and all that is in it (Colossians 1:16). If I slow down long enough to notice, I’ll see learning opportunities and moments of worship all around me.

I guess what I’m saying is if I acted more like my dog and less like me, my relationships with God and others would improve! I see so many attributes of Jesus portrayed in his creation, like dogs for example. 

Discipleship Is Not Optional

 
Discipleship. Passing it on. Helping others grow into stronger faith and gifting.
That’s what “the Church” is all about.

I remember the “big songwriters” were people like Michael W. Smith, Darlene Zscech, Jeremy Riddle, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin.

But the fun part is that these people taught others their craft– the art of songwriting. They rubbed shoulders with people, spent time with them. Invested in them. 

There’s an uprising of new songwriters today… Too numerous to count! Kari Jobe, Steffany Gretzinger, Kalley Heiligenthal, Amanda Cook, William Matthews, Leah Valenzuela, and so many more that would have never had the impact they do if people had not poured into them.

This is something I am learning from today… I really need to be better at putting this into practice! 

My past embraced || My sin forgiven

You delight in showing mercy
And mercy triumphs over judgement

My past embraced
My sin forgiven
I’m blameless in Your sight.
My history rewritten

Oh love, great love
Fear cannot be found in You
And there will never be a day
You’re uncertain of the ones You choose

So I will wake
And spend my days
Loving the One who has raised me up
From death to life
From wrong to right
You’re making all things beautiful

Being Brave in the New Year

 

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Interrupt Anxiety with Gratitude…
Philippians 4:6-8 (NLT)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. THEN you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Some very key people in my life have needed me to open my mouth and to help them through some things. I grabbed God’s lifeline and for these various events, friends, gatherings, encouragement-sessions, what-have-you… I found the strength to speak out against what plagues me… because others were hurting, too.

Have you EVER met ONE Christian who can do all those things? I have not.

God has told me that every disease that plagues us doesn’t melt away instantly, although he is the Healer. Some, he uses to define you, shape you… so you’ll share with others.

I broke down and cried right in the middle of leading the congregation on Sunday. As my heart wept, my voice cracked and I backed away from the mic, down to a whisper in total weakness and brokenness. To me that’s not a failure… but a victory. I claim it as victory when the Holy Spirit moves on the hearts of his worshipers and whispers gently, I don’t love you in bits and pieces… but gave my life to save you. You’re everything to me… would you give everything back? Stop holding all your fear and anger and hurt inside. Let it out. It’s okay to let your guard down with me. I am the Lord your God.

I’ve definitely been walking through a season of dark depression and unexplainable anxiety.

The word cling in the dictionary means:
a : to hold together
b :  to adhere as if glued firmly
c :  to hold or hold on tightly or tenaciously
2a :  to have a strong emotional attachment or dependence
2b :  to remain or linger as if resisting complete dissipation or dispersal

I’ve written God’s word all around my home, office, and car- to encourage myself! This morning I spoke at a breakfast study. I encouraged the other ladies to do the same: posting encouraging scriptures all around them, to see God in every situation. That’s why I’m posting my thoughts from our study today.

See.. if you put good IN…. good will come OUT.

Max Lucado said, “God says don’t worry about your future. He is the author of your story and He’s already written the final chapter.”
If you recount God’s victories in your past, you can KNOW there’s triumph in your future, just like Moses and God’s people did in Deuteronomy 6:1-13 (NLT):

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. {Then… what will happen?} →
“{THEN}: The Lord your God will soon bring you into the land he swore to give you when he made a vow to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant. When you have eaten your fill in this land, be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. You must fear the Lord your God and serve him.

Being brave. “The giant in front of you is never bigger than the God inside of you.”

Like the nation of Israel was promised the Promised Land, and they feared the people that lived there… we sometimes fear the very things that God has promised we’d overcome. (Numbers 13)

Sometimes we make a habit of telling our all-powerful God how powerful our enemies are.

Yet we serve Jesus… who stared death in the face and won. We have nothing to be afraid of. We can take his power into our daily lives, with us. Whatever struggles come our way we can know God will protect us, sustain our energy to complete the task, and remove obstacles– in his way and in his time.

I’ve come to realize that in life: I have got to live inside my head, with my perspectives. If I worry about where my life is going, I’ll feel like it’s going nowhere. However, if I grab a hold of my my life like an overcomer, brave & courageous- know the Lord my GOD is with me wherever I go… I can do anything- through Christ who gives me strength.

That’s why I decided for my Christmas gift this year, I wanted to tattoo this scripture upon my left forearm.. the arm I see every time I play or hold a mic:
Exodus 14:14 (NIV)- “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
the lord fights for you
Even when you’re just not doing all right… you can cling; adhere as if glued firmly: to God and His promises. This will enable you to be brave.

 

God’s voice tears down Anxiety

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I was learning from one of my favorite Pastors and leaders this morning in my quiet time. Steven Furtick from Elevation Church. He drew a connection I had never realized before. At the beginning of time, God spoke, and the earth came into being. He spoke, and it was GOOD.

In Isaiah 55 God says:
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me {He’s SPEAKING again!}, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.”

The parallel that Steven Furtick drew was this: What God speaks HAPPENS. It DOES.

For me, suffering from anxiety that feels like an ocean that I’m constantly treading water in: with no help from a raft or a life jacket… this fact from God about Himself IS a life jacket. No, better. It’s a huge boat with a life-line.

It’s the best news ever. If God SPOKE that I can listen to His words and promises because they’re TRUE… then I don’t have to fear.

If He promises protection… it WILL happen.

Steven said:
-Suffering from Anxiety & Fear? Combat it with the promise that God says, “He will.”
-Suffering from Insecurity? Combat it with the promise that God says, “I AM.”
-Suffering from Shame and Condemnation? Combat it with the promise that God says, “He HAS.”
-Suffering from Discouragement? Combat it with the promise that God says, “I can.”

This is from his sermon series and book entitled, “Crash the Chatterbox”.

I’m so relieved someone isn’t afraid to talk in a book or on TV about the fact that we as humans hear negative voices all the time. The battle, as Steven says, is the battlefield of our MINDS. We need to shut the voices of fear and condemnation UP!

I’m learning so much more from the explanation of this passage than ever before.

Sometimes churches are too nervous to approach the topic emotional and mental disorders. Regardless… the sheep are still suffering from it all the same. That doesn’t mean they don’t love the Shepherd. Those sheep are scared because afar off they can hear the wolves howling from the safety of their pen. That doesn’t mean they don’t know their Shepherd is strong and powerful enough to save them.

Why don’t we all as Christians tear down our walls of ‘fake’ and just level with each other: we all hear those wolves. We all get scared. A ton of us suffer from chemical imbalances that cause emotional and mental instability.

Now… that being said.. let’s take the Word of God and fight fear … together! Let’s hit these tough topics… like GOD does! He speaks of fear and anxiety all throughout his Word.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6