Category Archives: Spiritual Gifts

my brain has stopped working

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you know how if you’re running 15 different programs on one computer that after a while it just stops working due to an overload?  yup, that’s where my head is at.  there have been so many things happen in the past week that have been so encouragaing, challenging, etc that I don’t even know how to put it all into words effectively.

so instead of sharing every one of them, i’ll pick one thing that God did that really really encouraged me this past Sunday.

two weeks ago was the first sunday that our church had a prophecy mic.  for those of you who may not be familiar with this, it is a mic at the front of the auditorium, where folks are encouraged to come and share something that they believe God has given them for mutual encouragement.  its evaluated by a pastor and if it fits with the flow of the service, then it will be shared for all to hear.  Sometimes its a verse, sometimes a picture, sometimes an encouragement…

well, sunday 2 weeks ago, I felt that God wanted me to share a particular verse from Romans.  but i wasn’t sure if it was me or if it was really from God.  so i waited.  i waited until the last song and at that point it was clear that if I didn’t go up then it would be an act of disobedience.  so i went, and Jim encouraged me that it fit perfectly, but due to time constraints, that he was going to ask me not to share this week.

fast forward one week… this past Sunday.  during the second song, I saw this picture in my mind of foks standing by a waterfall.  some of the group were enjoying the rush of the waterfall while others were standing by, simply observing.  i felt that this was a picture of worship that morning, that there were many (myself included) that were struggling for one reason or another (be it guilt over sin or just plain weariness) and were having a hard time “jumping in” and finding their hope in God.  and then God reminded me the verse in Hebrews that encourages us to come boldly and find grace and mercy in our time of need. 

I felt pretty strongly that this picture was from the Lord but I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to share.  So as I was praying about this, I felt God say “no, you’re not supposed to share…someone else is going to say this in about 5 minutes and I just wanted to let you know as well so that when this happens you will find yourself encouraged.”  So I went back to my struggle of half-hearted worship. 

About a song and 1/2 later, Dale Cook came forward and shared a picture he had of a waterfall and of folks standing on the sideline hesitating to jump in.  he encouraged us that all we really needed to do was just jump… not anazlyze our sin or what needs to change but rather just approach God and worship boldly, knowing our confidence is through Jesus Christ.

I was blown away.  I can’t even tell you how encouraged that was for me to hear.  Not only was it encouraging just to hear Dale share it, but it was so personal, to have God share this with my heart not 5 minutes earlier.  Worship, and the rest of the day was a struggle for me still to some degree.  but God was intentional on encouraging me and helping my weak fragile faith to grow… to grow in my confidence in Him.

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Cool Artwork – Josh Harris, John Piper, CJ Mahaney

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my friend Jessica is a very gifted artist.  check out her blog here

the following pictures were created as a result of the 2008 New Attitude conference.  all lines in the pictures are quotes that were given during various sermons.  (double click on the picture to see a larger version)

*update* I have now included the links to each sermon that the drawing is based on.  The quotes will become much more clear and helpful as you listen to the sermons.

Josh Harris:

Ripping, Burning, Eating: A Right Response to God’s Word: Listen or Download HERE

John Piper:

Fighting for Faith with God’s Word: listen or download HERE

CJ Mahaney:

The Troubled Soul: God’s Word and our Feelings – listen, watch or download HERE.

Buried and Raised in Christ – Union

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Yesterday was baptism Sunday at church. I hope to have pictures soon to be able to post, but I just want to say it was simply an awesome day.

During worship, God was reminding me of my union with Christ… the joy found in that truth… and how marriage and baptism are both a picture of that union. I didn’t expect baptism to remind me of marriage (especially since I’m not married), but here’s what was going through my mind…

1. it is a public display – I am commited to this person forever and I want everyone to know.

2. it is a time of rejoicing corporately – the entire church joined in the celebration… they rejoiced, they clapped, they gave hugs galore!!!

3. some people laugh and hoop and holler, some cry. Not a big surprise here, but I was the latter. :)

4. in a wedding, your dad typically gives you away. in baptism, my spriritual leader, friend and pastor had the honor of baptising me. You could see in his eyes that he was rejocing with me, you could sense and feel it as he hugged me, and smiled and cried. so much was wrapped up in that moment. He cares for my soul with such excellence. God has lavishly blessed our church with not just one amazing leader, but three! what a gift. I am grateful beyond words.

5. it reveals the levels and depths of friendships – some stand close by your side in a wedding… some just hug you for all its worth while they are in their church clothes and you’re sopping wet. at that moment, the last 5 years re-entered my mind… a friendship that has been formed by only God’s grace alone… a friendship sweeter than I ever could have asked for. the main reason I had the honor of even standing there at that moment, dripping and smelling of chlorine, was because of how God worked in and through my sweet friend, Jessica Britt. Her patience, love and care is what led me to Christ. Her example made the gospel appealing to me – a sinner who had until that moment been content to wallow in my sin. So, Jess (since I know you’re reading this)… thank you. Thank you for obeying the Spirit when He asked you to reach out to me. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your ongoing care over the past 5 (but especially the last 2 1/2 years). I’m not the same person that I was 5 years ago as a result. I pray that God lavishly, richly blesses you. I pray you feel His pleasure. I pray that I will be able to be the same friend to another struggling hopeless visitor, that you were to me.

It was a beautiful day. Every testimony given made me cry. God’s grace is not merely great enough to reach into our sin-ravaged lives, He does it in a specific, personal, tender, caring, intimate way. Just like no proposal is the same… no salvation is the same.

Jesus truly is sweet. It is an honor to call Him mine. It is a joy to be in union with Him. It is my delight to serve Him. What a joy. What a splendid time of sweetness that has begun.

To be honest, I didn’t expect all that…

musings… passion for God or His gifts??

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I think that God brings “opportunities” into our lives to see where our idols are … to see where our heart lies and where we deceive ourselves … to lovingly guide us to areas where He’s not enough so that we can fight sin more effectively … so that we will once again realize our utter depenence on Him and His strength not our own ability (or inability) to “figure it out.” Sometimes this experience is comical … sometimes painful … sometimes just plain confusing. At times like this, when it comes for us to choose once again who we will serve, I am grateful that He loves. I’m grateful for his patience with me – a dull, lifeless disciple that looks merely for signs. … and then misinterprets the “signs” I receive. Right now I feel stuck in “confusing” – not frustrated (angry) or overwhelmed, simply stuck feeling blind.

Do I pursue my hearts desire and seek this job in Germany knowing this is a “once-in-a-lifetime” chance, or do I listen to my head that’s telling me to stay here as a part of my local body – serving in secret, patiently waiting on Him? Is there a “best of both worlds” option? Is this His provision or merely a test of my heart? I really don’t know. Perhaps the fact that I feel torn and no rest should be a clue. God has called us to rest in Him and right now my soul is not at rest. Oh, Father, please help me to repent of my self-sufficiency and trying to “figure it out” on my own. You know the paths for me. You make the darkness before me into light. Help me to rely on you. Teach me to trust in your hand guiding me. I’m like a blind man groping in the dark trying to find my way. Yet you see all. You know the paths I’m to take. You know my heart and my desires. What if the reason you gave me this talent is so that I can choose instead to trust in you and not my own strength? What if the goal is that you want to prove that you’re more satisfying than my abilities? God, make me willing to walk away from it for you. Forgive me for boasting in my gifts more than you – the One who granted me all things. Help me surrender all to you – not just the “easy” things but also the things that hurt. This one hurts.

God, why is it so easy to be passionate about something like foreign languages, culture and politics but it is such a struggle to be passionate about the person and work of my Savior Jesus Christ??? Oh God, my views are so messed up. My priorities are so skewed. Show me You once again. Be my all in all. If you took away my ability to speak languages and understand cultures, etc would I be passionate for you? If you continue to grant me those gifts, will I choose instead to boast in you? Am I willing to give it all up because of the surpassing greatness of knowing my God? I want to say yes, yet my sould screams NO! God, kill that in me. I need to mortify the desires in my life that don’t please you or that usurp your glory – whether that’s a desire to learn, a desire to sing, etc. Even the good desires (and most often the good desires) are where its easiest to get hung up. God, I want to use my talents. I want to use them for you. I want to honor you one day by being a wife and mother. I want to serve you with the voice you’ve given me and the language ability you’ve given me, but I so easily turn away from a focus on you to a focus on what I can accomplish or what I desire. Help me to glory in my Redeemer, not my abilities.

God, help me to cast my cares on you and desperately long for your guidance. Give me grace. Make me humble. Help me to rest within your arms knowing I’m secure in you. Grant me a heart of repentence. Thank you for redeeming me. Thank you for saving me. Help me to live with the understanding that all my needs are met through the cross … that because of the cross, I have no unfulfilled desires (because you are all I really need). Thanks for your compassion. Thanks for your patience and your loving provision to me. Thanks that I can have hopeful expectation of how you will continue to provide and fulfill me. Keep me near the cross. Keep me near to what you’ve done so that my life stays in perspective. Help me to live knowing “all I really need is You.”

2 Cor 4:8-16

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“….We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Cor 4:8-16

Sit Still While You Wait

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She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out…
Ruth 3:18a

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:4-7