Miles pass under my feet, as I sit back in my comfortable (or not so much :)) plane seat and try to get the necessary sleep for the next few days. I'm never a very good sleeper on these red eye flights. And actually, I'm thankful for that. When the plane is dark and quiet and sleep evades, it's the perfect time for prayer.
I've felt my need of it in a special way of late. Something seems to drive me to my knees-- not as an obligation but as a necessity. And I realize more and more that it really is a necessity. Seriously.
Somehow we've had our eyes blinded to think we can live without it. And not just that... we've somehow come to think that there is a limit to the size of our requests. "Like I couldn't ask God to start a fire of revival that would sweep across the world, could I?" Why not?
I believe in a big God. One who speaks worlds into existence. I believe nothing is too big or too hard for Him. And if I really believe that... I won't be afraid to ask for big things.
Journal entry, April 30
Not for myself but for His cause... His children.
UKFC starts tommorrow... I'm praying for lives revolutionized. I'm praying for Him to start a fire in the hearts here that will not only change us, but that will be a witness to the onlooking universe and the world.
Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:17)
I do believe in a big God.
I look back on OKFR with a heart full of gratitude for the blessings God poured out... He never fails to come through.
I praise Him for the privilege of service and of being His hands here on earth... for every precious individual He placed in my path to bless (and to bless me)... for every ounce of strength He gave... for all the smiles I saw on the faces of His children... for every song sung from the heart... for giving grace and words at the moments needed... for reminding me of His glorious plans for those yielded to Him... for proving yet again that He is faithful and true...
And most of all, for showing me afresh the joy of faithfulness, even in the hard things...
Friday afternoon found me sitting on a log overlooking the lake behind the cafeteria, and pleading with Him to give me the strength for the upcoming task. I was on for the next message and my topic was the beauty and power of trust even in pain.
I knew when I started planning this message several months ago that He wanted me to share the experiences I had been through with Lyme disease... and from the start, I had struggled with the thought of being so vulnerable as to share that with a whole congregation.
Now I knew in an hour I would be on the stage with 300 hundred eyes looking at me and expecting me to speak. And quite honestly, I wasn't sure I wanted to. At least, not about this. But I knew what He wanted, and I knew that I really wanted what He wanted too. I was excited about sharing... It's just that this was out of my comfort zone-- by a long ways.
The question in my heart at that moment... Am I willing to do the hard things for my Master?
Sure, it might not sound very hard to you. And really, in comparison with the sacrifices He made for us, it wasn't. But at that moment, with the clock ticking down, and my heart beating faster, it didn't seem the easiest thing in the world to get up and share the deep things of my heart.
I knew my duty though, and with another prayer of surrender to His will, I left my quiet log, and went to action.
And I can tell you that when God requires something "hard" of us, He always gives the strength we need to perform it. He gave me so much freedom up front that I was actually surprised at myself for not being more nervous. He is good, always.
When the hour had passed and I walked off the stage, it was with a joy deep in my heart that only comes from the knowledge of obedience.
And since I'm not the only one who has ever been asked to do something outside of their comfort zone, let me encourage you...
The harder the task given, the deeper the joy when performed.
Here a few pics for the picture lovers...
for a bunch more, go here www.foreverafamily.org
His promise is the key
Freeze tag conversations are a blast. :)
Beautiful spot to pray
Singing with friends after sharing up front.
Let the little children come...
Sweet little guy.
Sweet praises from young hearts...
So harp is not a girls instrument after all. :)
400 or so on Sabbath
Thank you Jesus for another year...
44 years ago today...
Thousands of eyes watched the clock as the seconds counted down.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
A deafening roar shook the ground while a brilliant light illuminated the launchpad. All heads had turned upward to watch the fireball vanish into a mere speck, and then disappear from sight altogether.
And that vanishing speck? The Apollo 13-- headed for the backside of the moon, where no man had been before.
Only sixty years before, we still had no idea how to fly. The Wright brothers were looking admiringly at the birds, and longing to know their secret.
Now, a mere six decades later, we had been to the moon twice, and were launching this mission which was far more complex than any before it.
Somehow, back then, we were not content with one accomplishment, but were constantly aiming higher-- going deeper.
NASA had been spurred on a few years before by the inspiring challenge of President Kennedy...
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard... because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win...
We were determined-- and to that end we bent our earnest efforts day and night. And true to our pledge, before the decade was over, we had landed a man on the moon.
Now we were in reach of another goal... to land two men in the mountains on the backside of the moon and bring them home alive.
Actually, Apollo 13 did not quite go as planned. An explosion onboard the ship destroyed 2/3 of their oxygen, which majorly depreciated the power supply. The moon was no longer the goal, but the saving of the three men stranded in space.
Mission control now had a challenge greater than any Kennedy had given to them. The crew which was currently 200,000 miles from earth must be brought home with only 1/3 of their oxygen and next to no power to run the ship...This was to be the most technically difficult feat NASA had ever attempted.
But the crew on the ground determined that failure was not an option. The men would be saved-- even if they had to use every last ounce of their strength for it.
After four days of extremely intense work for the ground crew and the men in space, Apollo 13 and crew splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean.
NASA had completed their greatest feat of all time.
And how did we go from the nation who had no clue how to fly, to the first to land men on the moon and bring them home safely after a terrible explosion in space?
We accepted a challenge to do hard things. We threw our heart and soul into the work. We labored night and day. We persevered. After each new victory or failure, we set higher goals and fought for them. We were willing to sacrifice, take risks-- to give our lives if necessary.
And something about NASA's thrilling escapades shakes me out of my "44 years ago today" reverie, and brings me back to the here and now.
We too have been given a challenge. Sure, we've not been called to go to other worlds, but instead to change this one that we call home. True, we've never had to bring three men home who were stranded 200,000 miles away, but we have been called to point lost souls to their eternal home. Yes, there is no need for hours spent in mission control, but oh, the desperate need for hours of time spent in the closet of prayer.
Somehow we look at our challenge as less glamorous. After all, our fathers had the same challenge, and our grandfathers, and our great-grandfathers...
And so we search for something better-- while the world dies for a revelation of Jesus.
Perhaps God is just waiting for a generation to pick up the baton and carry it to the end of the race. And perhaps we could be that generation...
Sure, a look in the mirror tells us that we are not good enough, old enough, experienced enough etc... Believe it or not, most of the men in mission control for the first missions were quite young-- and inexperienced.
And a look into mine own heart tells me that maybe it's not that we're too young or inexperienced. Maybe it's that our dedication does not go deep enough, our ambition high enough, or our trust strong enough.
Are we willing to throw our heart and soul into His work? To labor night and day? To persevere? To set new and higher goals after each victory or failure? To sacrifice? To give our lives if necessary?
He never said it would be easy... but that's okay because we accept His plans...
...not because they are easy, but because they are hard... because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win...
I'm longing for something deeper. And I'm determined to spend hours in my closet of prayer until I find it.
I believe this generation can be the one to accept His challenge and change the world.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Mile after mile pass outside the window as we drive. My mind still struggles to grasp the fact that another season of retreats is beginning. I'm excited. But I also feel a greater responsibility than ever before...
There's no time for playing Christianity. Who knows how many more years of retreats we have left? What if this year is the last? Will it just be another encouraging weekend with blessed fellowship, or will it be life changing? That's what I've been asking myself of late...
Because really, I believe in the One who is the ultimate Source of power. And if our faith is in Him, who says that miracles can't happen?
So often we relax our hold on that power, and leave the forces of evil unchallenged. Jim Elliot states it so well...
We are so utterly ordinary, so commonplace, while we profess to know a Power the Twentieth Century does not reckon with. But we are "harmless," and therefore unharmed. We are spiritual pacifists, non-militants, conscientious objectors in this battle-to-the-death with principalities and powers in high places. Meekness must be had for contact with men, but brass, outspoken boldness is required to take part in the comradeship of the Cross. We are "sideliners" -- coaching and criticizing the real wrestlers while content to sit by and leave the enemies of God unchallenged. The world cannot hate us, we are too much like its own. Oh that God would make us dangerous!
It's time for a change-- for action. Give us faith, Lord, that claims Your promises and acts on them. Let us taste Your power. Strengthen us to be a threat to the powers of darkness. Then we will see a year of miracles.
20. Lover of Jesus. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Servant. Fan of the kitchen. Graduate of Masters of Biblical Counseling.
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