Saturday, October 31, 2009

Take a Hike

I met Liz in hiking class. With her warm smile, quirky personality, and kindness we were fast friends. My introduction to tennis happened at Liz's invitation. I remember two things about that day. Number One: I don't know how to play tennis. Number Two: I got to share the Gospel with Liz while pretending I understood any of the mechanics of tennis (a sport which I would love to learn to play). I have learned many things from sharing the Gospel with my friend Liz.

1. Never underestimate the power of genuine those you share the truth with. No one wants to feel like a project.

2. Perseverance is necessary to win the lost to Christ. Some people accept Jesus at their first introduction, but in my experience, most do not. Liz & I have been friends for going on five-ish years. I remain hopeful that the Lord will bring His truth to light in her life.

3. Always look for opportunities to share Christ whatever you're doing. It would have been easy to enjoy the snowy hills, waterfalls, trails filled with fall leaves without ever so much as opening my mouth to speak to Liz. BUT I am so glad I took the time to talk with her and form a friendship. Even though Chris was in that class and I could have been overly enthralled with him as we were dating then, married now and loving it.

Shortly after that class Liz moved away to Arizona and then New Mexico. We have been phone friends ever since. Over the last several months we had lost touch, but in recent days have reconnected again. I am still hopeful and prayerful that she will come to know Jesus! She is well aware of that hope and I trust also that she is aware of the genuine love and concern I have for her. May everyone we share with know that our friendship is true and the love we have for them runs deep.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Evangelism and Fasting

"This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting." (Mark 9:29)

Evangelism is a war between light and dark. "World evangelism is an attack on Satan's kingdom; it is releasing people from his kingdom into the kingdom of God. To combat supernatural evil forces we need both prayer and fasting." (Oum, Helene, Prayer and Fasting for Evangelism) Fasting is ONE way to choose to ignore the distractions of this world and to ask God to be at work in the area of evangelism.

Even Jesus, though He IS God, began his ministry with forty days of prayer and fasting. He realized the power in ministry and in evangelism that comes through both. I think we sometimes need to ask ourselves: "When was the last time I was so passionate for _____ to come to know the Lord that I was willing to sacrifice something for it. It may be that for health reasons it is not good to do a complete fast from food, but perhaps we should consider an occasional fast from soft drinks, television, sweets, etc. or anything that would remind us to pray for a particular person(s). If you choose to do a fast of some kind perhaps you could pray for:
  • one specific unbeliever in your circle of influence

  • your friends at work/school/from your past, etc. that do not know Christ

  • your pastors/missionaries and their ministries in evangelism

  • your city, that may would see that the field are "white for harvest"

  • a revival of hearts in the whole United States

  • the persecuted church

  • a specific country

Prayer: "Lord, burden me more with the knowledge that there are so many that do not know you as their Lord and Savior. Forgive me for not sharing you because of fear of rejection, apathy in my life, being too busy, or by not making it a priority in my life. Help me to realize moment by moment how I can be a light for You and to fight the spiritual attack on unbelievers. Break me, mold me, and use me!"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

breathe in + exhale

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." –John 16:33

God is there for us through thick and thin. With Halloween approaching, personally I tend to see deadlines steadily approaching. I have a few papers due, and it seems like some responsibilities can flow like a waterfall. However, God can make that "waterfall" flow smoothly instead of ending in a crash. He brings peace.

Max Lucado, in his book Come Thirsty, explains, "Our Father makes the same request. 'Stay close to me. Talk to me. Pray to me. Breathe me in and exhale your worry.' " I love that part: "Breathe me in and exhale your worry."
This peace that we find in Him, how can we find and share it? Romans 5:1 explains how we have peace: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." How can we share it? Maybe Colossians 3:15 offers an idea: "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful."

So, I pray that we can breathe Him in and exhale our worry or whatever binds us. In the face of what we see in this world, we can have confidence and peace in the strength of our Father. "The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace" (John 14:27).

More verses: Isaiah 9:6,7; Phillipians 4:9
Drawing by Picasso

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sowing in Tears ~ Reaping With Shouts of Joy!

"When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, our mouths were filled with laughter then, and our tongues with shouts of joy. Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord had done great things for us; we were joyful. Restore our fortunes. Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. Though one goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, he will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying his sheaves."
Psalm 126 (HCSB)

Just yesterday tears were flowing from my eyes without my ability to control them...was it because I could not get Fall season memories of my mother, that is now with Jesus, off of my heart...was it because I had just been through a huge opportunity of trusting Jesus with all my heart...or was it because I had the joy of sharing my testimony with a nurse that was serving me that caused me to think about all of the people that are facing tough times and may be without Jesus in their life?

The truth is that the tears flowed from my eyes because of ALL of the above at the same time!! As I cried I was reminded of Psalm 126 (that I have written out above) and John 11:35 "Jesus Wept"! Through my tears I thanked God that He has given me the ability to cry out to Him when I need nurturing, when I am afraid, and when my heart breaks for the lost of our world that need Jesus!

What greater calling could we have than a season of tears that all lead back to "Jesus Wept"! We are in good company my friend when we have tender hearts that weep with those that weep and rejoice with those that rejoice. What greater opportunity we have as "The Lord's Gifted2Go Witness" to walk in the sensitivity and compassion of Jesus that cares about those that are needing Him! There is no greater JOY than to be willing to enter a lost person's world to share the HOPE that they are searching for desperately! Will You Go With Us?!

Weeping may last for a night (season) but Joy comes in the morning! Don't hold back or push down those tears that water the seeds that are sown for Jesus...water makes seeds GROW!!:-) As gifted2go witnesses for Christ keep sowing those seeds by faith and at times watering them with tears of sorrow or joy. Don't loose heart God will cause there to be a Joyful Harvest as we have the privilege of "carry His sheaves" because of the tears we have sown for His Glory!!!! (our life is in His Hands!) (joy comes in the morning~choose Joy!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's All About Love

Recently I have been trying to focus my prayer life on praying specific Scripture verses over the situations I bring before the Lord. This week, I was praying Ephesians 3:16-21 for a specific family who is dealing with recent diagnosis of cancer to their eleven year old son. This is a familiar passage to me ("to grasp how wide and high and long and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love") and I have often read/prayed this for the comfort of Christ's love. However as I read it again last night, the next phrase jumped out at me. It reads "to grasp how wide and high and long and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge". One thing I consistently struggle with in my walk with the Lord is wanting to know. I will pray "Lord I will trust you with any information, I just want to know!" Yet the love of Christ is a love that is deeper than needing to know circumstance or have answers. We are comforted in the love of Christ, in the vast measure of his love because of who Christ is, not what is going on around us. Matthew Henry adds in his commentary on this passage "And how desirable to have a fixed sense of the love of God in Christ to our souls!" Today, pray for husband, children, friends, neighbors, pastor, church and your own heart that you might have a sense of the love of God in Christ fixed to your soul.

Monday, October 26, 2009

empty life

"For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10, HCSB).

This week, I am finishing up the writing of session one of the eco: gifted2go launch package (the training course). I sure do covet your prayers and your input! As I think about this first chapter on grace and salvation, I cannot help but be thankful to God for the gift of Jesus Christ.

Many times we are given gifts and don't even appreciate them. Maybe it is a birthday gift or a Christmas gift, but we don't realize the time it took or the price the person had to pay for the gift. We may even like the gift but we take it for granted.

I admit that there have been times in my life when I have not appreciated the price that Jesus paid for my sins. I have not understood the sacrifice that God made by sending Jesus to die on the cross for me. He died to cover my wrongdoing and to give me entrance into heaven. He is there every single minute of every day to listen to me and to guide me. Is it too much to ask for me to share the gift of Jesus with others? I think not. It should be what I live for every day.

My life would be empty without Christ. What about your life?
  • What makes life empty?
  • How does God fill your life?
  • What do I need to include in chapter one on Ephesians 1 and 2?

I would love to hear from you. I would love for you to pray for me this week as I seek Him and allow Him to write through me.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Missing Piece

As we desire to see a desperately lost world come to know our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ we must never forget how crucial prayer is to the whole equation. Clever thought, intriguing dialogue, carefully crafted arguments always fail to persuade the sin-ridden human soul, but the power of God via the Spirit of Christ is necessary. It is still quite true that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but the power of God to us who are being saved (1 Corinthians 1). Therefore, we are silly indeed to think that we will be able to win a lost soul by our own merit. It is not the Gospel plus our human intellect. It is not the Gospel plus our really great friendship. It is not the Gospel plus the right environment. This of course is not to downplay the helpfulness of apologetics, a local coffee shop, and certainly I believe that genuine friendship with unbelievers should exist. The fact still remains, however that it is not the Gospel plus anything that saves. It is the Gospel alone. It is God alone who saves. We are wise if we ASK and even labor in prayer for souls we hope to see transferred from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of the Beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). For the battle we are presently engaged in isn't against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6). The war waged over human hearts and souls in won in the heavenly places where our Savior sits enthroned, a Savior who would not desire any to perish but all to come to repentance!

In addition, to praying for the harvest of souls that we could have as Christians let us also remember to labor in prayer for one another. In the Lord's High Priestly prayer Jesus utters these words to His Father: My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. John 17:15-16 As we consider a small portion of His own prayer let us be mindful of those Christians even today who are making such bold and hard stands for the Gospel that it lands them in prison, homeless, family-less, or worse and whether or not the consequences of our own obedience are so severe, let us at the very least act out full and complete obedience to the call of Gospel to live so radically. Let us agree with Christ that Christians everywhere may be guarded from the evil one and left in the world that some lost may come to know Jesus & the Father's will be done! Perhaps the reason our hearts grow so dull, so bored, so tired, so forgetful in regards to sharing Christ is because we are missing a piece of the equation...prayer must never be ignored...there can be no success in the Christian life if it is left out.

For more encouragement on prayer see this previous post:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

a life like Lottie

"I am sending you there to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me." -Acts 26:17b-18, NIV

Yesterday, I attended a forum at Southern Seminary about Lottie Moon. Her story inspires me. Charlotte Moon, known as "Lottie," devoted her life to helping the Chinese people find light. More about Lottie can be found at Her fire for God, her impact with the Asian people, and her letters home shows how we can spread Christ's message to the world.

Jesus Christ is our supreme example of loving all of the people of the world. May we look to missionary leaders like Lottie and most importantly Jesus Christ for inspiration as we share the light that His message brings.

How can we make an impact like Lottie and Jesus today?
· Praying for those serving in missions, subscribing to monthly fliers and e-newsletters with updates and prayer requests, checking out daily prayers posted on
· Volunteering to serve individually or as a family (some programs for families are even six days -
· Giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, organizing bake sales to raise money, giving recyclables (like ink cartridges or plastics) to the city to receive funds for the offering
· Spreading the word by teaching Lottie Moon's story to our families and others, encouraging those that you lead to give, sending an e-mail to friends to ask if they would like to give

"Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples." -1 Chronicles 16:24, NIV

Photo above of people in China worshipping from
Links to video clips:
IMB Missions Today:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thankful Fall Strategy for Prayer

A GIFT of Prayer!

Ephesians 6: 19-20 "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

G od gives the words to share through prayer as you go! (v.19-20)

I nvite others to pray for you as you pray and go! (v.19-20)

F earlessly pray & go! (v.19-20)

T ake prayer with you as you go! (v.19-20)

A Thankful Fall Strategy for Evangelistic Prayer....Fall is a wonderful important time to focus on the importance and the power of prayer! A time to renew thankfulness and get "prayed up". As we share the Lord with others, our personal prayer life is so important! Prayer is simply talking to God, but the results are strategic! Prayerful lives are powerful Gifted2Go lives! There are thankful Fall strategic prayer opportunities are all around us, especially during the Thanksgiving season, below are a few ideas listed for you. We would invite you to share your simple summer strategy ideas of prayer too! God promises to teach us to pray! (Luke 11:1) One way He teaches us to pray is when simple strategic prayer plans are shared with others!!

Some Fantastic Fall Strategies for Prayer: A Prayer Walk, A Prayer Retreat, A Prayer Garden, A Prayer Gram, A Prayer Journal, A Prayer Time...we left room for your prayer ideas!

Have A Wonderful Prayerful Day!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vibrant Harmonies

As I was studying in Colossians the other day, I was reading different translations of Scripture and came across Colossians 1:18-20 in the Message version. It reads, "[Christ] was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross." I love that last part... "all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe...get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death."

As I kept reading over that passage, I was struck again with awe at the power of the cross. Many times it is easy for me as I talk with people to believe that my words, actions, giving, sharing, teaching have this power to heal or fix broken places in people's lives. But it is only the power of the cross of Jesus Christ that takes all the broken pieces, and not only heals, but brings out vibrant harmonies fitting everything together perfectly.

I pray that my life would be characterized by pointing people back to the cross, by taking the hand of those who are broken and walking with them, but walking to the foot of this cross together. Thank you Jesus for your cross, that because of your ultimate brokenness, we might experience a rich and full healing in the midst of ours.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Teach the Word

"Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who lives in us, that good thing entrusted to you" (2 Timothy 1:13-14, HCSB).

It is an honor to be able to teach and to speak the Word of God.

God sent Jesus to show us how to live, show us how to teach, and to save us from ourselves. God could have just sent the Bible, but He didn't. He sent Jesus - to show us the way.

God uses us to present the Word of God but He uses us to show others how to live, model how to teach, and to save us from ourselves. We must share the Word of God (Bible) in such a way that others can understand it. We must teach by using stories and examples just like Jesus did. We must show others, with our lives, how to live.

Whether we are doing a women's retreat, girls' retreat, or sharing Christ one-on-one, we are called to open up the Word of God in such a way that the hearer will understand it. We are to not only speak, but to live out what we are speaking about.

Lord, help me to hold to your pattern of teaching. Guard my life. Make me teachable. Help me to open up the Word of God so that others will understand it. Help me to live it out before them.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Objects in Mirror...

Well, hello blog world! My how life has changed. In the past two months my husband Chris and I have become well-acquainted with our firstborn son! Ah, how love inexpressible has consumed us. Micah Thomas is a perfect example of God's love and favor. We are so blessed, so incredibly thankful! I love being a new SAHM which I recently learned is short for Stay At Home Mom. It is a wonderful life! I am enjoying this new season thoroughly and I just have to say that I'm thankful to be back with all of you. Seeking always a variety of ways to share our Lord Jesus.

When I was just a little girl one of my favorite passages of Scripture contained the famed verse, “You are the light of the world....” It has been a while since I have thought about the gravity of that statement and its ramifications. My mind also held captive the thought that we were called to “Let our light shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 Even at a young age I understood the Gospel and its affect in the life of the believer enough to realize that we were set apart to (as cliché as it may sound) light the way to salvation for our neighbors. I cannot think of many greater expressions of loving our neighbor as ourselves than that! When I consider the impending coming of the Kingdom of God in its fullness I cannot help but be drawn again to the passage in Romans which teaches us “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.” Romans 13:9b-11 As those saved by His grace surely we must recognize the times in which we live. Indeed in a culture so mutilated by all manner of sin surely we can see the need to be roused from sleep. What strikes me most about this passage is the final phrase though...salvation is nearer to us now than we we first believed. Silly as it may be, it reminds me of the passenger side mirror on every car. The fine print reads, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” Every unbeliever that we cross paths with is in desperate need of that message...the Kingdom of Christ is coming and there will be a great day of reckoning, to best love our unbelieving neighbors we must light the way to Christ Jesus! We must in love and in gentleness, sharing every ounce of the truth, declare His death and resurrection until He comes. For in a time, perhaps even nearer than we think, all things in redemptive history will come to a climatic end and we want as many as would to come and stand on the right side of the cross with us and enter into His divine pleasure. Who in your life today needs to know that the end is nearer than they think? Shed light on that fact, for you and I are THE LIGHT of the world!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Heart for Your Neighbors

"Your Neighbor" by Jeff West (from A Celebration of Disciplemaking by Ron Kincaid)

"You know me. I'm the fellow that takes care of your house when you go on vacation. Sometimes we cook out together on Saturday nights and the kids play in the yard. Our wives are good friends. They drink coffee together, trade recipes, and car pool the children. We talk together often about football and politics and inflation. We share a lot of the same ambitions and goals. Sometimes we share the same frustrations and disappointments. We are a lot alike you and me...But sometimes you seem to have more strength than I have.

On Sunday morning I may be in the yard watering the grass and you drive by with your family--all of you dressed in your Sunday best--and you wave at me. And I wave back knowing where you are going but not why.

Sometimes it seems that your life is different from mine. Our wives have talked about it, but you and I are scared to mention it. There is a lot about you that I don't know. There's an emptiness in my life--a void that I just can't seem to fill, no matter how hard I try. I need desperately to be answered, to be comforted, to know. And I need someone to tell me.

But we go on; and I don't mention it because some unknown fear prevents me and you don't mention it because some unknown power binds you. We laugh together; we joke; we share, but not the important things. Maybe someday. Maybe never.

I'm your neighbor, and I don't know Jesus."

Let us all not forget that some people are hoping someone will share with them the Good News of Jesus Christ.
"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd." (Mark 6:34)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

with grace and heart

"He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend." -Proverbs 22:11

This Monday, when I came back from my fall reading break, I was happy to see the two girls that I babysit. They are in first and third grade, and I take care of them after school. We laughed as the first grader dotted her nose with ice cream while the third grader crowned her with a sombrero made of a paper napkin. We get along well, but sometimes starting homework is not so fun.

This past Monday was Columbus Day, so the girls had homework about the holiday. The younger one had a reading booklet, but told me that she did not want to read it. When I asked her to read it anyway, she sighed and said it was just for fun. Then, I asked her if I could read it. Both of them looked up as she responded, "Sure." After I read the first page and began explaining its picture, she took the booklet from me and began to read it to us on her own.

This may sound simple, but it was a revelation for me! In the past, I think I had approached asking them to do homework with more of an attitude that was not so filled with the Spirit. However, on that Columbus Day, I saw that my attitude could make a difference on the experience of homework. When I spoke with more grace, I was showing them that I had hope in them and that the process could be an enjoyable. That day, homework had become a fun adventure instead of a heartless duty.

I pray that there will be more days like this where I choose to live and speak with an attitude and a heart that is more like Jesus!

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." -Psalm 51:10

Picture from

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Just 5 Minutes!

"Five times I received from the Jews 40 lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the depths of the sea. On frequent journeys, dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the open country, dangers on the sea, and dangers among false brothers; labor and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and lacking clothing. Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If boasting is necessary, I will boast about my weaknesses." 2 Corinthians 11:24-30 HCSB

Jaye Martin and I use the phrase "just 5 minutes" everyday when it comes to the spiritual warfare that IS taking place in our lives and in the lives of those that are "Evangelistic Concerned for Others" = a witness for Jesus Christ!

Throughout The Word of God there are countless examples of our "Heroes in the Faith" and the many battles they endured for the sake of the Gospel! One of the greatest missionaries of our Faith, Paul the Apostles, talks about some of the sufferings (spiritual wars) he faced on his gifted2go journeys! As we read 2 Corinthians 11, we can only imagine the twists and turns that Paul experienced as he "fought the good fight", the "just 5 minutes" adventure for the cause of Christ! We do not fight against flesh and blood, dear friends, we are in the midst of the greatest miracle we could ever be a part of: one life after another going from the power of darkness to the miraculous power of The Light & Life=Jesus Christ!! As God's saved soldiers, be ready be on guard, because an evangelistic concerned for others life is the most exciting greatest adventurous Callings that we could ever say "YES LORD" here am I send me! But dear friends, HANG ONTO GOD, because if I began to share with you some of the things that have happened on my great adventure with God, you would not believe the victorious twists and turns that take place in "just 5 minutes"!:-)
"Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics[10] Or schemes, or tricks of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.[13] Ready to go tell others about the gospel 16 In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. 18 With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the • mystery of the gospel. 20 For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should." Ephesians 6: 10-20 HCSB
(The Great Adventure!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Carrying His Cross

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matt 16:24-25, NIV).

A few years ago, I went to Canton, Texas on a shopping trip with a few of my neighbors. My most exciting find was a 5-foot tall iron cross. As I picked up the 30 lb. cross and carried it up the hill to the car, I realized it wasn’t going to be easy but I knew deep down it was worth it. I placed it carefully in the car, we worked all the people and packages around it, drove it home and then drug it in the house. I found myself exhausted after a very long twenty-one hour day. But, it was worth it. Right in the entryway was the perfect place for it.

As I sat there looking at it and thinking about how tired I was, I understood a little more about what it meant to deny oneself and take up His cross. Mine was a physical one; His cross a spiritual one…but one that has physical implications. The find of His cross is the most exciting find of my life. The price is great but worth it. I have to count the costs and go over a few fields and up a few hills. I’m exhausted some days and wondering if it is worth it. But along the way, there are neighbors to tell how the cross of Christ has impacted my life. And that’s what denying myself is all about. It’s all in what you are shopping for.

Lord, may I carry your cross today. Give me an opportunity to share as I walk the journey with those who do not know you.

(Adapted from HeartCall: The Call to Prayer, Jaye Martin, January 30.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Heart of a Servant Leader

“Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God.” Ephesians 6:6 (The Message)

The heart is the very seat of our soul, our emotions, and our passions. It is the very essence of our being and that which drives our thoughts and our motives. No wonder God tells us to guard our hearts! “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV).

The heart of a leader is the very foundation of her life. It is what drives her passion for the Lord and her passion for service in the kingdom. There is no doubt that most of us feel called to lead in a very deep way from the bottom of our hearts.

And yet, with seemingly little notice, out of our hearts can spew some of the most ungodly thoughts and attitudes…even in the midst of ministry. I rememberr something happened some time ago that totally unnerved me. Surely you know the feeling. I was less than thrilled with a situation (and in particular with one of my former bosses) and was just about to share from the seat of my emotions the most spirit-filled reaction to what was happening when God intervened. The person was not there for me to share with. I thank God for that. My spirit-filling was not coming from God; it was coming from the enemy. Even though I felt righteous in my motive, it certainly was not the best way to handle things. As leaders, we must be constantly aware that the enemy will do everything he can to render us ineffective in service to our Lord.

I had to come before the Lord and pray to Him, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” Psalm 51:10 (NIV). “Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” Psalm 86:11 (NIV). “Refresh my heart in Christ” Philemon 1:20b (NIV). God gave me His promise in response, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV).

To be a servant leader, sometimes we just need to keep in mind that we are servants first and leaders second. We must learn to model Christ-like servanthood in every situation. God has chosen us to lead. Not only must we be strong and do the work, we must be strong in our wholehearted devotion to Him and remember Who we are working for! He is in control of every situation. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Following the story about the Wheaton Revival of 1995 from last Friday, in the Wheaton chaplains' words: "The World Christian Fellowship meeting was an incredible, wonderful time of spiritual refreshment. There were tears and there were smiles. There was crying, there was singing, people confessed their sins to God, people confessed their sins to each other, there was healing. There was worship, there was Scripture, there was prayer, there was the public confession of sin, there was forgiveness. It was biblical; it was Christian; it was orderly; it was sincere. I believe that it honored God." (from Accounts of a Campus Revival by Tim Beougher and Lyle Dorsett)

The chaplain, Stephen Kellough, went on to caution us, as believers, that after a time of spiritual refreshment, we should expect Satan's attack. Satan would like to make us doubt any validity in our walk with God. Secondly, he reminds us that we cannot manufacture spiritual awakening. "We need to acknowledge the work of God that is the work of God--and we cannot bring spiritual awakening by ourselves any more than we can regenerate the heart of an unbeliever." Thirdly, we need to continue to pray for our community, for our city, for our country, and for our world.

"Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up." James 4:10
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive all sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I John 1:9
Prayer: Lord, let a revival begin with me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

support in the faith

As I visit family and friends in Texas this week, I am reminded of how God works in so many ways. While I was shopping with my friend, I saw how she spoke of others highly, saying things like, "Won't she be perfect for that?" I think that it was an indication of Christ's joy and kindness living inside of her. In the book Humility, C.J. Mahaney notes that identifying evidences of grace in others around us is a way to live with humility. If we tell others of these evidences of grace that we see in them, I think it would help us encourage each other in our relationships with Christ.

Mahaney points out how Paul thanked God for fellow believers in his letters in the New Testament. For example, Paul writes in Romans 1:8, "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world."

Mahaney presents a thought: if we actively look at how God is working in others, we can help them see God's movement in their life. This may motivate people to see how God is moving.
How can we identify the Holy Spirit moving? Galatians 5:22-23a reads, "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." When we see these characteristics flowing out of other believers, we are witnessing God's light shining in our world.

In verse 11 of Romans 1, Paul adds, "I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith."

If we help point out God's light shining through others, then we may strengthen each other in our faith. I pray that we, as leaders and brothers and sisters in the faith, let others know when we see Christ working in their life. Like Mahaney writes, this practice will also help us see how God is at work everywhere!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Make me a Masterpiece

“If a man cleanses himself…he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work” (2 Timothy 2:21, NIV).

Prepared by God - Job 10:8-12
God made each one of us. I love that Job says that His hands shaped and made us, He molded us like clay. God knit our bodies and lives together so that His life may flow from our bodies and from our lives. He has a purpose for each of us.

Made Holy - 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

We see in 2 Corinthians that while He made us like jars of clay, He is the treasure that fills us with His "all-surpassing power" and while we may be hard pressed on every side, we will not be crushed, in-despair, abondoned or destroyed. We may feel like we are going to crack but we aren't. The life of Christ is always at work in us. We are made for a mightly, holy, and heavenly purpose.

Today, let's remember that the troubles of the world need not be our troubles. While we feel that we are just cracked pots, the Lord is able to use us to encourage others. We are masterpieces made for His glory and not ours. Let's allow God to cleanse our vessels so that we will be useful to Him today.

Friday, October 2, 2009

"...It's Me, O Lord"

Reading the blog from this past Monday reminded me of one of the most awesome experiences of my life - that of the Wheaton Revival of 1995. Revival can begin with just one or two people praying, My husband taught evangelism at Wheaton College from 1990 to 1996 and beginning in 1994, he saw God begin to burden the hearts of people for revival. God led people to not just sit there, but to begin to pray for Him to come in power in their midst--and He answered that prayer in a wonderful and powerful way. Matthew Henry says: "When God intends a blessing or His people, He sets them a praying."

The prayers came to fruition on Sunday evening, March 19th at the World Christian Fellowship student-led gathering with a focus on world missions. Two students shared how God had moved mightily in the lives of many students at Howard Payne University in Texas. Afterwards, the student leader on Wheaton's campus cited Charles Finney's definition of revival "a new beginning of obedience to God...and I need that...and I think we all do." Students began to come to open microphones and confess sin; the service went until 6:00 a.m. with the plan to meet again the next night, and the next and the next and the next. what took place as students continued to share was a beautiful picture of the body of Christ in action. As Tim shares in his book, Accounts of a Campus Revival: "An overwhelming sense of God's holy presence protected us from an atmosphere of judgmentalism in the meeting...All of us present felt the weight of the words of the hymn, "It's not my brother, not my sister, but it's ME, O, Lord standing in the need of prayer."

As God told one of the students from Howard Payne, "I don't need your permission [to do a mighty work]; I need your submission." Let us all start praying that revival would begin with ourselves and that we would commit to radical obedience to God.

"If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (II Chron. 7:14)