The God of Moments & Movements

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I cannot believe it has already been one year since we took this photo. I’m just sitting here having a small praise-party. Let me tell you a little bit about why this photo– out of ALL of my photos– is so important.

In this photo, Jonathan and I had just come “home” for our once-a-year visit to our families. I stared out the window on our way into Bean Town and prayed, “God, please break my heart for what breaks your’s.”

So naturally, I was absolutely wrecked. Tear-stained insomniac. I lay awake several nights crying for New England. My own home. Jonathan and I both kept saying, “How have we just always come home to ‘visit’- like it’s a tourist attraction?” We knew our eyes had been opened.

We felt a beautiful season in our lives coming to a close in Texas, but we had no idea how to go about it or what God wanted.

Jonathan encouraged me to pray for the things God had laid on our hearts. We began a process of laying those very thoughts and ideas God gave me- back at His feet.

I prayed for a church whose heart was broken for the things that break God’s heart. I pleaded with God to even let us get part time or full time jobs in any field… just to get back to New England to start sharing Jesus’ love! 

Kind of funny, how we bargain with God on the very desires he puts in our hearts, isn’t it?

Three months later, I found myself online, and I just stumbled across a church right in Concord, near my hometown. It was called CenterPoint Church. I had never heard of it. I kept repeating the name – wondering why I didn’t know them. Turns out they were First Baptist Church of Concord, under a new name.

I really didn’t think anything of it, but I reached out to them- and the rest is such a blur!

We found ourselves the second week of March, back in New Hampshire, meeting CenterPointers, sharing meals, smiles and hugs. They grew on our hearts immediately. Here at CenterPoint there is buzz of conversation, topics such as: “My life has been CHANGED since I met Jesus!” and “God’s spirit is really stirring here! He’s doing a new thing…” and my favorite: “we long to see the day when every man, woman, and child in New England has the repeated opportunity to hear the gospel.”

We just knew this was where God wanted us to serve.

One year ago today- I prayed a prayer that I was convinced would take years to be answered. See sometimes, God puts a desire on your heart long after a moment or movement has taken place, because that is the time when you are needed. Not before, not after. Right now.

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He is willing

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” (‭Luke‬ ‭5‬:‭12-14‬ NIV)

So many times we as Christians in our affluent and self-sufficient culture ask the Lord for things but we don’t really mean it. We don’t really think he’s going to answer… And I daresay some of us don’t even think he’s willing.

I think we’ve created to God in our minds that’s not willing to reach down to our level; to be born as a baby, to live among us, to love us, to sympathize with our weakness. To rescue us by his death and resurrection.

God wants to heal us, all we have to do is ask. He told the leper he was willing, and how many of us request from God that way? “Lord, if you are willing…” When Jesus is patiently standing there waiting, saying “I am willing.”

What do you think you should dare to ask for? What requests to you believe He is waiting and willing to answer?

Son or daughter of God- healing, deliverance, and wholeness in Christ awaits you!

How you can rise in the midst of great affliction

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1 Samuel 1-2

Sometimes out of the midst of our greatest pain rise the greatest prayers + worship we can give God- because our hearts are offered up to Him in full. {Tweet this Quote!}
Hannah was in great pain + distress. She was feeling great emptiness + loneliness. She was teased and tormented to the point of depression. She wept bitterly and saw those around her seeming to just carry on with everyday life while she bore her burden alone.

1 Samuel 1:1-8, “There was a certain man … whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year.
…her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

Hannah did something different. She didn’t accept the circumstances and she also could not continue on “as-is”.
This is the beauty of the “Hannahs” of life: they know their Savior. {Tweet this Quote!}

Verse 9 is my favorite verse, although it may seem insignificant, it says everything about Hannah.
“After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose.”
Simple words to live by. After all this; Hannah rose.
She rose up to call on her Savior because she knew He could + would do something to help her because He hears.
Her prayer is one of the most beautiful and sought-after in all of history.

Verse 11: “…she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.
…+ Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard.”

People may think you’re crazy {like Eli did}. But you can call out of your distress, knowing He hears you. Knowing He cares, knowing He’s powerful enough to do all you can imagine and more because He.Is.God. {Tweet this Quote!}

In Hannah’s story- she actually left the time of prayer and worship and her face was no longer sad. It says in verse 19 that The Lord remembered her.
Cry out to Him! He hears you!

Rain, sweet rain

20140717-083143-30703278.jpgHere in West Texas I hear we’ve been in a drought for around five years. In our one year, I can count the times it has rained on one hand, literally.
I sit and wonder if the physical condition is a picture of The Church’s heart condition.
I know so many Christians (myself included) who say, “oh a 30% chance of rain? That’ll never happen.”
We’re never optimistic, knowing The One Who can calm the seas!
I still believe there is yet another Great Awakening that will rise out of the churches of the Permian Basin who wish to align themselves with God, humbling themselves to apologize for the atrocities of The Church of all time.
In 2 Chronicles 7:12-14 God speaks to Solomon, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Buckle up, Permian Basin! God is going to send that slow, steady, permeating, permanent rain– the Living Water that never runs dry!
I believe we need to pray a bit more boldly for the things we know God knows that we need.

So if He knows, cares, and always provides… Then why are we settling on asking Him for less?

{Tweet this: So if He knows, cares, and always provides… Then why are we settling on asking Him for less?}

The Kind of Request God Answers Immediately

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I got thinking about this: when we pray for the Holy Spirit to convict us of areas we need to change or habits we can’t seem to shake- God answers and delivers right away.
There are silly flaws and habits I can’t seem to shake, like talking or rambling too long, biting my nails, whatever. But at the root of a lot of them for me is low confidence & longing to be heard. Which in turn means low confidence in God’s work in my life and how He hears and loves me as His child.
I told him this, and as I was asking, I realized He was about to change me, and help me. I told him I can’t do it on my own anymore. I told Him I acknowledge His goodness in the past is still the goodness He will give in the future. I told Him I recognize and acknowledge His power and mercy. I told Him I want to stop trying to kick these habits and hangups on my own and become the woman He intended for me to be.
I love how David asks God to take everything away that’s of him and allow God to work in His life in Psalm 51:10-17;
“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
{Oh Lord my testimony can be so much for you if I let you work and have BIG fatih!}
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
{That’s right! I can’t do this on my own willpower, an offering of hard-headed behavioral modifications! I must allow you to work!}
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.”
Amen!
God bless you today.

 

Poverty isn’t what we think it is…

Have you ever heard that the persecuted believers of other nations pity us?

The ones who have to hide to worship Jesus underground or in a tar-paper shack pity us, in our multi-million dollar homes and church facilities.

Why?

I think that although a lot of the countries where persecution is real  are poorer, they are really the wealthy ones. We are the poor ones. 

I think true poverty falls on the ones who can’t seem to let go of the American dream, climbing that ladder, clambering to be heard and to sit at the head table. {Tweet this!}

The wealthy in spirit are those who have nothing. Their very faith in God could put them in prison but still trust in God like it’s all up to Him.

We should commit to boldly and persistently pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters! We should ask God how we Americans need to wake up and humble ourselves as the collective. How we need to seek His face like never before.

2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Luke 14, “When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!

“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Philippians 2, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!”

A Worship Leader’s Prayer

Take away the melodies
Take away the songs I sing
Take away all the lights
And all the songs you let me write
*Does who I’ve become today*
Say the words you need to say?

Let them see you, in me
Let them hear you, when I speak
Let them feel you, when I sing
Let them see you,
Let them see you, in me.

Who am I without your grace?
Another smile, another face
Another breath, a grain of sand
Passing quickly through your hand
I’d give my life, I’m not afraid
Take it all, take everything

Let them see you, in me
Let them hear you, when I speak
Let them feel you, when I sing
Let them see you,
Let them see you, In me
With every breath I breathe
I sing a simple melody

But I pray they’ll hear more than a song in me.