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Archive for March, 2010

Hi friends 🙂

I’m sorry that I have not yet had to opportunity to post this week’s blog. It will be coming soon.


(great book by an amazing woman…my next read)

Until later this week, check out this amazing woman of God, Harmony Dust. (Link is her incredible video testimony)

Check out her blog as well!

New blog later this week! 🙂

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It was our last night in El Salvador. Our last time to preform the drama, our last opportunity to share the great gospel that had moved our hearts to come. My mind was torn between thoughts of traveling to the comforts of home and the deep sorrow of leaving the Pastor Mauricio and his sweet wife Nellie. Once a communist and atheist, now a father of many churches and schools, Pastor Mauricio is one of the most amazing, humble, loving men of God that I have ever known. He is now my father. He poured His heart out to my husband and me during this trip. He was a sweet reflection of my Father God. His words from our very first day rang in my mind, “we love because He first loved us.”


(Pastor praying over our last night of ministry)

We were tired, but the last night was as fun all our other times of ministry. We walked around the rough neighborhoods with a security guard keeping watch. And in broken spanish, invited the neighborhood families to come see our drama. We preformed our short skit, our way of explaining the gospel across the barriers of language.

I was amazed each night by the beauty of the gospel. I felt so blessed to share such good news of great love. I felt so blessed to be a part of Pastor Mauricio’s ministry to El Salvador.

Hundreds crammed into the village church after our last night of ministry. Pastor Mauricio had fathered this church many years ago. As the guests of honor in the village, our last task in El Salvador would be to pray over the young pastor Alex and his wife who now pastored the church that Pastor Maurico had started. It was the young couples 15th wedding anniversary.

The church presented the pastors with flowers and a cake. Then they asked us to come and pray a blessing over Pastor Alex and his wife. They knelt down before us, and I couldn’t help but think they should be praying for us. As I rest my hands on their shoulders and began to pray, I heard them weeping softly. I looked down and the ground at our feet was wet with their tears.

As the prayers ended, I fell back to observe and not intrude on the celebration. The church brought the couple forward and demanded a speech. The wife shyly began to speak. She spoke of the Jesus she loved so much. She thanked God for the great mission of the gospel and the task of pastoring their beloved church. She thanked God for the precious gift of salvation. She told the congregation that after the love of Jesus Christ, her husband has been the best gift that God had ever given her. Tears were falling down her face. They were falling down mine too.

Cake was cut and hugs were given. Our team gathered in a small room to eat pupusas that the church women made us. I sat overwhelmed by the honor and love we had received from the people. I couldn’t help but remember every flaw I have. How unworthy I am.

I was awakened from my thoughts as I realized that I was being passed another plate of food. It was the last slices of anniversary cake. I looked up to thank the person who was handing me the plate. It was Pastor Alex’s wife. She was serving me her anniversary cake.

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The love of Christ is beautiful. “We love because He first loved us.”

When we experience the true love of Jesus, faults are not hidden, in fact, they flood to the surface. We are utterly exposed, utterly vulnerable, and utterly humbled. We see ourselves for what we truly are: weak and imperfect.

And instead of being rejected and turned away, we are taken up into His loving arms. The ultimate sacrifice is made the death of Jesus Christ, He covered our imperfections, washed away our shame, and healed our tears. Oh great is the love of Christ!

When we experience that kind of love, how can we love any other way. 1 John 4:7-20

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Don’t the movies make love look so easy? I find myself watching those sappy films and I start to believe that true love is that simple and effortless. The problem is I look at how I love others in my life, and it starts to become a little more difficult and messy. I can say I love you quickly with my mouth, but when my full heart is tested then I often come up short. I struggle in loving my neighbor, my family, and most importantly loving God with my entire heart.


(Guest Author: Lauren Irlbeck…. read about Lauren under the “Guest Author” page at the top)

God has been asking me to love with reckless abandonment. This goes against every bone inside of me. I am starting to see that love is far from being simple and easy. When I give my entire heart to someone the ability to guard and protect my heart from future hurts and disappointments is gone. It’s easy to live a life loving sparingly, because it becomes more comfortable to go into protection/survival mode.

I was living in constant fear of rejection from the hidden places that I perceived as too ugly to love. My greatest fear if wounded deeply, I would never fully heal. Finally, I’m letting God into those secret places, where fear and shame has been broken off and restored to beauty.
As I have given up control of my heart, which at the beginning was the scariest thing I have ever done. I am able to receive Gods love not guarded with suspicion, but open with excitement. God is showing me that it’s through daily giving Him those small pieces of my heart, which will result in the ability to begin to love others out of His redeeming love.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

The first step in this process was gaining enough faith that I trusted God’s message of what was being promised for my life. Declaring what the Lord had done for me in the past reminded and gave me hope. Faith and hope built up allowed for me to begin to let go of my fears and let me love God by giving myself to Him.

I encourage you to spend time with God so that your faith and hope can become your foundation to result in love. I’m finally beginning to believe that “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3.)

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Recommended Reads-

– The Book of Hosea in the Bible

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

– The Book of Song of Solomon in the Bible

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Discussion Questions:

– How do you view love?

– Do you show love easily, only to pull away when its hard and scary? How does this effect your love for God?

– Are all your relationships shallow and on the surface?

– Is your relationship with God shallow and on the surface?

– Does fear and shame keep you from loving yourself, others, and especially God with your whole heart?

– Do you ever allow yourself to love MORE and DEEPER than your thoughts and fears of rejection? Which thing controls you: love or fear?

1 John 4:18-19 (English Standard Version)
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.”

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God has been doing some digging around in my heart this week. It all started the other day. I was having a conversation with my sweet sis-in-law, Anna, when I felt a gentle tug on my heart. It wasn’t a grand moment of revelation, birds didn’t sing, church bells didn’t ring, a thought merely rose to my awareness.

I realized that I do an awful lot of pretending. And in that tiny moment, I realized that this is something God wants to change in my life. See everyone sees life in different lights, through different lenses, and in different shades. I’m realizing that the reality that I like to see, isn’t really a completely accurate one. In my reality, nothing is wrong. I don’t struggle with sin. Pride isn’t an issue. Fears are pushed deep down; they don’t exist. Issues..what issues?! I pretend they aren’t there. And in my mind, they aren’t.

See there’s a big problem with this: everything is still there! They exist in the dark. My eyes are blind, because my eyes are closed. And the world that I exist in, is a false one. Do you fall into this trap?

I think the enemy lies to us and says “so what’s the big deal”. Can I tell you: this is a BIG deal!

When a room has the lights off, it is dark. Under the cover of darkness, you could be standing in the room completely unaware of a turtle breakdancing in that same room. Regardless, of whether you see it, its happening…and its the truth.

If you come into the room and turn the light on. Darkness cannot stay in the room, the room is now light. You are plainly aware of the breakdancing turtle.

Why does this matter to you?

When you hide, when you live in the darkness, the life you are living is pretend.

Jesus IS the light. John 1:1-13

If light and darkness cannot mix, then Jesus isn’t the Lord of those areas. It’s no wonder those areas are the places of constant heartache and pain in your life. It’s no wonder your mind is obsessed with thoughts and fears about these areas. It’s no wonder you are so insecure in that area. It’s no wonder this area of your life is dying. It’s in the dark, and in the dark anything can happen.

Jesus IS the answer. Jesus is in the light. But He will not come into those areas uninvited. He is asking you to flip the light switch. He’ll take it from there. If you need salvation, He is the Savior. If you need healing, He is the Healer. If you need freedom from fear and insecurity, He is your Trust and Safety.

Read this verse!!

Thank you Jesus, that you do not leave us in the dark. That you call us by name into the Light.

Need help getting started? Start with this:

– Be honest. Be honest with yourself, with God, and with other people who love Jesus. Be honest about what God has done in your life, be honest about where you struggle, be honest about what you are going through, be honest about sin.

-Surrender to Jesus. What areas of your life do you keep Him away from? What areas of your life do you like to be in control?

-Turn on the light. Do not tolerate darkness, and make it an every day decision.

-Live a life of confession and vulnerability.

-Pursue Christ; make Christian friends.

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Questions for discussion:

Do you have close friends?
Do you find yourself putting on the “happy face” when you go out?
Do you find yourself feeling alone, isolated, only to realize that it’s because you don’t let anyone get TOO close?
Are you honest with yourself and others about your struggles…..what about the sins you struggle with?
Is your relationship with God rules and lists? When you struggle and sin, do you push God away until you “fix yourself”?
Is confession and honesty something you do inside yourself, with friends, and with God?

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