Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's Set in India....Again!

One year ago this week I was in India.

I remember experiencing a feeling of deep relief to leave that place:
"Life has taken a turn since my last posts in India. We said goodbye to the people of Mumbai and the Lutheran Center, goodbye to the former orphanage in the slums that we called home. We left the tastes, smells and constant horn-honking traffic for an air conditioned airport and airplane to Indonesia."
I told myself I would probably never go back to India. The sights, sounds, smells, curry and too-thick chai were enough to last me a lifetime. But, God does indeed have a way of changing hearts and minds.

I am now joining a team that will travel to India for 4-6 weeks this summer. We love Jesus and want to display His radical love for people.

More details about this next ministry trip will come. But as I look back on my life over this past year, it is radical. I have been transformed from the day I stepped into that over-crowded city of Mumbai. I am not the same. Even the past few months at Bethel have transformed the way I see myself, the way I relate to others, and the way I commune and fellowship with God and the Holy Spirit.

I am returning to a place I guessed I would never see again. And my heart is excited. What can God do now with a heart that is ever-more surrendered to Him and His work? What miracles will he display? How will His love invade lives? How can I partner with my team and with God to present the Good News that is still such great news!?

The next six months will be a time of preparation-prayer for those we will meet, ministry and worship of the most High King, intercession for the country of India, and an intentional preparation of my heart to see that land I never thought I would see again.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mission trip donations

Hi friends and family!
If you would like to donate to my Spring mission trip with Bethel, you can do so below. The decision process for where each student will be going is still being decided. My training this year at school is equipping me specifically for this trip and for a lifestyle of living in dependence on God to show Himself in love and power.

I'll be posting more about what God has been doing in and through me so far in Redding. I would love to share this journey with you and am excited to see what else God has planned!

Traveling, service projects and ministry have been the largest, most impactful times in my life. I have learned so much about people, the world, culture and Jesus during my times abroad and I know this next trip will be full of great experiences. 

Thank you!


Friday, October 14, 2011

A Small Attempt to Explain the Supernatural

I have recently been in a place of intense expectancy for how God wants to show up in my life in a radical way. I wrote this 3 days ago:

It felt like a deposit had been made. Or like when you water a seed, day after day, tediously and seemingly fruitlessly. But suddenly a sprout breaks through the ground. Today-beneath confusion, doubt, anxiety and fear, water seeped through to my heart. I couldn’t explain how it managed to get through all that darkness and pain and reach the deepest parts of my soul. But there it was, nourishing and strengthening me for a time that is still to come. I sense it is coming soon. Yes, indeed it will come soon. Quickly and surely that green sprout will burst forth into a living tree that will never perish or fade. It will be a tree that has no fears.

Yesterday was that day of breakthrough between God's Spirit and mine. After a job interview for Shasta School District, I left for Starbucks feeling hopeful. As I sat with my iced coffee in a cushioned brown chair, I breathed in deeply and felt God speak words of encouragement directly to my heart. I was able to honestly think-whether or not I get this job, I trust Jesus for what he's doing in me. I was obedient to move to Redding and attend BSSM and God does indeed reward the obedient heart that is actively following him.

I left with the deepest, most unusual sense of peace I had ever experienced up to that point. Bethel is hosting an Open Heavens Conference and yesterday and today I served on the ushering team.
God has a way of blessing us when we're in service to him. I didn't expect him to show up in such mighty, powerful ways.

The afternoon and evening progressed with themes of passionate worship, biblical, Spirit-filled teaching and a wonderful corporate anointing with so many nations represented and Carol and John Arnott from Toronto as the guest speakers.

Carol led those in attendance in a prayer of forgiveness towards our parents, ourselves and towards God. As she declared soul ties to be broken in Jesus' name I was so moved spiritually, emotionally and physically that I fell backwards into the wall. I didn't realize I needed freedom from past relationships but wow, Jesus totally changed something inside of my heart at that moment. It was like, any stronghold the devil had was removed and replaced by God's beautiful power.

The night continued and after I drove away from the church I continued to feel this incomprehensible sense of peace and absolute JOY. I now understand what is meant by being "drunk" in the Spirit.

It's not an uncontrollable, reckless feeling, nor did I feel guilty or shameful or embarrassed like always happened when I used to drink (a long time ago, for a brief season. Thanks Jesus for bringing me out of that time. I'm meant for much more than that!). I don't really like the term drunk because that makes me think I was doing something wrong. It makes that experience seem impure or adulterated.

But last night was not those things. It was like liquid joy was flowing through my body. Like light was filling me up. I suppose it was a physical manifestation of what God does. He fills us with light and love and joy.

But this time was so intensely unique, personal, powerful, overwhelmingly wonderful. I was sitting in my car journaling and listening to the new David Crowder album. I finally understood what John Mark McMillan meant when he says-Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.

I just wanted to share that intense love. I wanted to shout it out, pray for people, pour into others this love that has been so strongly poured into me. It really filled me up to continue serving at the conference today, and has just affirmed what I have known to be true about God. He's good, all the time. He's powerful and he moves among those who are hungry to seek Him.

In love and joy,

Friday, October 7, 2011

Jesus is the prototype for the ministry of the Believer

Since I found out in January that I'd be coming to Bethel for their school of supernatural ministry, I've been praying a lot for discernment. For months my mentor and I pressed in for God to give me a supernatural power to discern the teachings and leadership I'd find at Bethel.

September came and I felt secure in coming and God has totally answered that prayer. In the 5 weeks I've been here-I've realized something else: I've begun to truly, wholeheartedly trust the leadership at Bethel Church. Their core values reflect Jesus and the Kingdom. Their hearts are to pursue the Kingdom of God here on earth-not at the expense of love but rather from an outpouring of the Father's heart and love for His children. We display God's power and glory as a sign to point to Jesus and his ministry.

Our classes in school have course overviews and objectives, a few summaries of which I'll post here:

  • "The Bible is the primary, authoritative guide to the faith and practice of Christianity. All supernatural and natural experience must be measured by the Truth as revealed in God's Word. God is still speaking but everything we hear now must be consistent with what He has spoken. We cannot lead properly, or in a healthy, holy manner in the Christian community if we don't know how to understand the Word."
  • "The goal is to train students in areas of service, ministry and evangelism to and for our community...to develop competency and confidence in bringing the love and life changing power of God into respectful, loving encounters with individuals so as to bring them to a saving connection with Christ and contribute to city-wide transformation."
  • "We will demonstrate God's ability and willingness to move in power with and for his people. Jesus's minstry, dependence and expectation are the blueprint for the Christian life. Keeping in step with the Holy Spirit as the apostle Paul commands will result in a naturally supernatural lifestyle."
  • "We demonstrate God's grace, His unconditional love and transforming power to everyone. We impact every socioeconomic group and cultural realm, that mercy and justice would reign because we pastor a city, not just a church."
  • The goal of BSSM and our time here is to form "Believers who are focused and passionate, willing to pay any price to live in community, purity and power because they are loved by God and love Him. Whose manifest presence transforms lives and cultures."

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Vision and Dreams

The past three days have been kind of strange for me. Monday and Tuesday the worship before class started was amazing. It was just a big celebration of who God is and declarations of his goodness and faithfulness. But all the while I stood in the back thinking, Nope. I don't believe God is always like that. Sometimes he's good, sometimes he's setting me up for failure. More and more lies ran through my mind and I eventually had to step outside of the sanctuary on both of those days.

The goodness of God is something I have had difficulty accepting. I hadn't pinpointed the issue until a few months ago, before summer started. My mentor and I were able to find this underlying issue that has caused a lot of fear and doubt in my life. It has kept me from fully trusting God in all situations. Having realized this, I've had to declare the truth of scripture over myself on how good God really is-truth of what he thinks about his children.

But the lies came flooding back on both Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday night I had a great conversation about how God does indeed reward obedience. Sometimes it means we have to push through towards a new level with God and seek breakthrough. But God truly does reward those who desire to follow him wholeheartedly. He's good and his thoughts and actions over me are good.

This renewed confidence and joy in God spilled over yesterday and allowed me freedom to worship in joy, peace and abundant love. It was such a contrast to the previous two days.

Last night before I fell asleep I prayed that God would seal up my mind during worship. It's such a vulnerable time where we declare the worthiness of God and it truly ushers in His presence and we are able to encounter him. I prayed that God would consecrate that time-set it apart. Cast out lies and fears that had hindered me from worshiping in the fullness of what God deserves and express how much my heart is towards him.

And God answered my prayer! I haven't had many visions or dreams where God has spoken to me but last night he did. I had a vision of a small, shaded, leafy fox hole that had just enough space for a little creature to peek out.
The breath of God came and the hole was suddenly gone.

In it's place, God took big, solid beams of wood and he placed them up really high-higher than I thought was possible or safe. He built a giant, rectangular frame in my heart. It was like a tall, sturdy, reinforced doorway.

The new space that was formed has a high carrying capacity/relationship capacity-a term used for the depth of relationship with someone that gives the authority to speak into their lives. It's a symbol of loving influence. The doorway is also protected and fortified against the enemy's attacks-my original prayer.

Then the whole night in dreams God was just filling the doorway with all sorts of wonderful things. There was so much more space than in that small fox hole. The most vivid image was the frame filled with little kids who had all different skin colors-with the faces of the kids I met on my trip abroad last year-Chinese, Russian, Kenyan, Indian.

Now I'm wondering, how much can fit in this new, fortified space and what does God want to put there?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

BSSM-Week 1

This past week has been...full of revelation, insight, information, reading, sermons, information, incredible worship, friends, information and devotions. And more information! I can't contain it all in my head-let alone in my heart, various journals and on this blog. Here's some of the great revelation and teaching we have received at Bethel and BSSM so far in the past week:
Sunday September 11: Bill Johnson taught from Matthew 16
The Demand for a Sign
 1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away. 
  • They had an inborn capacity to discern the times, but they shut down the spiritual aspect. The wicked look for a sign (something to entertain them, rather than to reveal God to His people). Jesus's identity is one of redeemer and reconciler, and he did miracles before and after this verse. 
  • We are to seek what God wants to reveal to us-not as entertainment, but as a way to see God's heart. 
  • Jesus isn't rebuking the need for miracles, but rather their simple addition of Jesus to their life-rather than re-orienting their life towards Jesus. They fit him in where it was convenient for them. We don't seek signs, we seek the sign-giver. 
  • Jesus is the exact representation of His Father's nature --> every miracle is a revelation of the Father's heart and nature. It is never a miracle for a miracle's sake-it's an invitation to a deeper relationship with God. 
  • A miracle is the manifestation of His heart. Our Christ-like character is shaped through obedience to Him. Power in God doesn't exist only to help us overcome sin-Jesus has already done that. 

BSSM Day 1, Tuesday September 13:
  •  Tying into Bill's message on Sunday-The miracle is to be the lens with which you view your next problem. A miracle reveals God's character and says what He's like. It's a dependable source that says God's desire is for healing, restoration and freedom-in the next problem/circumstance as well as the last. 

BSSM Day 2, Wednesday September 14:
Kris Vallotton
  • Word of Knowledge-currently true and measurable
  • Prophecy-a foretelling and forth telling 
The importance of identity in Christ-
  • A man raised in internal slavery cannot free people from external slavery.
  • When you don't love who God has made you you tend to push others away that place a value on you.
  • You become what you think the most important person in your life thinks you are...You'll become what God thinks of you.
  • Oftentimes we try to get by performance what we already received by grace and faith.
Condemnation: you lied, you're a liar. Your bad behavior determines your identity
Conviction: from the Holy Spirit, you're acting below your nature and below what God has called you to be, so stop.

BSSM Day 3, Thursday September 15:
Kris Vallotton and Bill Johnson

The importance of our royal identity as sons and daughter of the King-as heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.
It's an insult to the artist if we trash the painting-God was the artist, Jesus the model and you are the painting.
  • When you pray to God and not with God, you can miss what he is doing and miss his heart.
  • God wants us to experience the joy of giving away his presence.
  • God lights the fire on the altar of sacrifice but the priests keep adding to the fire. 
  • A lot of stuff gets blamed on the sovereignty of God...
  • Most of what you need in life will be brought to you. Most of what you want you'll have to reach for. What are you willing to sacrifice for/reach for to know and see his will be done?
  • Mark 6:52-51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
  • Why do you reason that you have no bread-after he's already provided for in that way?
  • Hardness-we lose focus of the resources of Heaven and abandon what we have access to.
  • When we honor someone, it allows us to function under their authority
  • Power and authority-two complimentary realms that allow us to be used
  • Power-a wave, to catch and cooperate and be used with the Spirit
  • Authority-based on our faith in who God is and what He says about us.
  • The Father cannot be fully revealed/shown without the power to destroy the works of the devil. God is capable AND has the heart to show it.
BSSM Day 4, Friday September 16:
Bill Johnson

  • God knows when to delay an answer-it gains interest. When it finally comes, it'll be greater than when you first asked because God has done an invaluable work in you so that you may receive a greater answer. 
  • If you hunger for a realm of breakthrough (i.e. every broken bone you prayed for God would heal), God wanted it first. God is still more moved for others than we are.
  • The person who can't ever rejoice over a healed headache can't be trusted with an empty wheelchair.
  • Are we trustworthy stewards of the acorn, though we pray for an oak tree. The Kingdom sees the potential. What we see in the natural is just a seed compared to the spiritual. 
  • Enduring prayer makes us more ready to receive the answer.
  • Many people tolerate loss and call it discipline from God. God doesn't give the thief permission to steal. The devil's not God's employee. 

Wow...Week one of BSSM has been...full. These are just the most main points of each day. Every bullet I compiled also came with a story, testimony, scripture, illustration etc to make the point hit to our hearts.

Sunday morning: Bethel Church

I felt like God said to me, You will glean from the mothers and fathers here who have seen God move throughout the nations. There are valuable, golden lessons to be learned through the testimonies of those who have gone before you. Write them down as a pillar of hope and as a radical display of God's goodness.

Bill Johnson:

  • Israel focused on the acts of God, Moses sought his ways and his nature. When we rejoice only over what God's done, then when he doesn't do what we want him to do, we'll question his goodness.
  • God will is never judged by mans response to His will, or our ability to carry it out.
  • Gifts are free, maturity is expensive. Maturity creates a platform for the weightiness of his glory. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Enounters-the first 2 weeks

So much has happened already in the past few weeks of my time in Redding. Classes haven't even started yet!

I have been getting to know the ministries Bethel has to offer- Last week I attended a Financial breakthrough, prophesy, worship and prayer night hosted by a student. It was about 100 lovers of Jesus packed into a house. We worshiped, heard amazing testimonies of God's provision, prayed for breakthrough that God would provide finances for BSSM tuition, and then shared words and encouragement with each other. This was one of my first tastes of a BSSM party.

Every night there is something to attend- Worship nights, prophecy parties (basically just a few hours of encouraging others from Scripture and declaring God's promises over each other!), barbeques, days at Whiskey Town Lake (15 minutes away), and of course getting involved in the official ministries at Bethel Church.

My first Saturday I went to Bethel's Healing Rooms-this ministry is world famous. I went an hour or so early to spend time in the Alabaster Prayer House, which is a building open 24/7 for prayer, worship, journaling, quiet time, intercession, etc.

The Healing Rooms run 9:00am-10:30am on Saturdays. When I arrived at 8am, there was already a line of people near and through the church doors. These people have come from all over the world to receive prayer, healing, and get a taste of the Bethel culture.

I didn't come to the Healing Room for physical healing-though I was able to observe while others prayed for healing. The requirement to pray for others there is to go through their prayer training-which I plan to attend starting next week! But there's a separate room for corporate worship, prayer, prophetic art, prophetic dance, journaling, communion, etc.

Last Thursday night I attended Embassy Young Adults, a ministry time for ages 18-39. The worship that evening was very powerful, and after a message about Jesus calling us friends I received very accurate prayer from the ministry team.

This past Sunday night Heid Baker came to visit and share about her ministry in Mozambique and other countries in Africa. I had never heard her speak before-but her reputation as a powerful, radical lover of Jesus preceded her. I stepped into the building expectant of what God was going to do that night through her. And wow...God showed up!

Her message was all about stopping for the one-first Jesus, our One, and then stopping for one of the 4.4 billion people in the world who don't know Christ and are dying of spiritual starvation. Heidi shared testimonies of physical provision-a physical multiplication of food for the orphans she cares for in many countries in Africa. At the end the call was to declare that we would stop for the One.

Then a vision she had was shared that will remain etched into my mind forever-
She saw this from above the earth-she was taken up and could see the whole world below her. Charging around the earth below were chariots of fire led by two, transparent saints. They were transparent because they knew no sin to hide them-they had been made clean! The other strange thing about these saints was their hearts-they were disproportionately sized and stretched shoulder to shoulder inside their chests. These saints had the hearts of Christ for the nations, Christ's heart for His people.

Though these saints were each supposedly leading these chariots of fire around the whole earth, the reins were suspended up above, even higher above the earth and the chariots. Jesus was holding all the reins in his left hand. Jesus then declared that He was holding the reins because the saints below need two hands to carry the sword-the sword of mercy and justice.

Oh, my heart MOVED at this call to take up the sword of mercy and justice as Jesus is holding control of the chariots. The Spirit was so thick in the room at that time-after the declaration of God's goodness and desire for mercy and His love to be shown through us to all nations. I have never experienced anything like this night. Jesus is so good to reveal His heart to us.

Last night was another amazing, Spirit-filled evening. My roommates and I invited our wonderful landlords over for dinner and dessert. Little did we know it would turn into ministry time! That tends to happen at any gathering here that consists of more than one believer! We all just felt so loved and cared for-we all received prayer and prayed for each other. The Spirit revealed Himself to me in new ways that I didn't fully understand but by which I was very encouraged. This house is as safe place for us to know Jesus and be known by Him.

Many months ago when God laid this call to Bethel on my heart a second time, I began to pray about what I would find here. I also began to pray against my fears. The unknown is scary and misunderstanding can cause hesitation or a hindrance from experiencing all that God is. I don't want a God that looks like me. If I can fully explain His every move and touch, then what sort of supernatural, omnipotent, Creator God is this?

Classes start today-and my prayer is the same-Jesus reveal yourself to my here, through this ministry school. Show me how to be a better lover of your people-a better steward of your gifts-a better revealer of your Truth to the world around me.

Thanks for sharing in this journey with me, my friends. God is doing a very good work through this time.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Receiving Rest

I woke up this morning after a few hours of sleep. My first thought was of the intense awareness of God's Presence. My eyes opened and I laid there breathing in and out prayers of peace, of love and joy for provision, prayers that declare His faithfulness, prayers of pure thanksgiving to Jesus. Though I can't pinpoint or describe the process of change, it was a clear difference from yesterday.

It was like He softened my heart while I was sleeping...like I was resting and He came in and rained down life upon my spirit. Usually this feeling comes after travailing weeks of prayer, fasting, worshiping, journaling, and counseling. But today, I didn't do a thing to work for this peace, to search it out, to chase after it, to entice it near or to find it. I just slept. I just rested.

Perhaps this is the day I begin to learn the value of rest. Now I am realizing I don't have to push myself to be closer to Jesus-no longer do I need to try hard to feel His presence or work out the formula to encounter Him. He has just been knocking at the door...Jesus, come in! Come in and dwell here, make yourself known here, bring life and joy that emanates from your presence.

After writing this I felt a leading to read Zechariah 2:10-13

10“Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. 11“Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. 12The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. 13Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.”

Thursday, September 8, 2011

More love. More healing. More Jesus.

So much has happened since those few weeks in Bali. I have learned more about the heart of God than I have ever known. God has been revealing Himself in so many profound, encouraging, powerful, kind, gentle and loving ways. I have seen His provision and faithfulness countless times. The past few weeks before leaving Orange County comprised an amazing season of recounting God's goodness and just how specifically He answers prayers.

In July I had an opportunity to attend a home group where a mentor, pastor and friend of mine prayed for me. This prayer, second to the prayer I proclaimed when I was 13, has had the greatest impact on my life thus far. This pastor shared a vision and word that he received: Not only will you have a healing ministry, but you have a ministry specifically for people with broken bones, crooked bones, bones that hadn't healed right. You're going to pray for these people and God is going to heal them.

Ummm...what? Until that night I had never prayed on my own for a physical healing. I had studied the theory behind it-what it would look like, why it would happen-because it reveals God's love for us and His desire to bring wholeness to the entire person-Spirit and body.

That night God began a healing ministry through me-not because I was suddenly a better person or a more holy Christian-only because I had a small amount of faith in what God is like and what He desires, and I took a small step in obedience and prayed. He did the rest.

Since then God has been showing up in such powerful ways through physical healing. People are amazed that God cares enough that His presence and love takes away pain, headaches, dislocations, double vision, and healing beyond the physical as well.

I have learned that a physical healing goes far beyond making someone pain-free. It's literally an invasion of heaven into earth-where God's kingdom invades and casts away pain, darkness, suffering, loneliness, fear and hopelessness. It's a physical representation of His goodness, power, joy and absolute love for us. It's wonderful, profound, breathe-taking, and my mind cannot comprehend how it actually happens! It is beyond the natural, and beyond my ability to rationalize or reason. It is beautiful, and I am honored and so encouraged by what God has been doing.

My hope in sharing this story is that others would be equally encouraged by God's goodness. God is good all the time, and that has never changed. I don't know the depth of His love, but I'm pressing in to find out more of what that looks like.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Revelation of Love, Healing and Miracles

 8 months ago I sat on a beach in Bali, Indonesia, enjoying the waves, laughter of friends and the deepest sense of physical rest I had felt in weeks. My eyes were closed as I pondered what the next month would bring. My 4-month semester abroad was already 80% completed, and I had a black journal full of travel stories, revelations, prayers and dreams to process through. God had blessed me with an unusual peace about what my future would hold. I didn’t know what life would look like a month from that beach day. Normally that would frighten me to the point of anxiety. However, that sunny afternoon with waves crashing on white sand, I was calm despite looming final exam dates and the inability to predict or plan my life.

What interrupted that calm peace would change my whole life, in personal ways, professional ways and most importantly, in how I view God and how He manifests himself through me and to others.

I heard a man begin to pray for a local guy who had been walking up and down the beach, selling hand made bracelets for a few rupiah. Not only was this man praying, he was praying this local man would be healed of back problems...a physical healing. Up to this point in my 21 years, I believed God wanted to heal. I believed He also could heal. I had heard stories of this. But that was the extent of my thoughts and experiences with miracles and healing. It was a distant concept, and one that I had yet to seek for myself or for those around me.

That afternoon, despite a language barrier and the obvious religious clash of Christianity and Hinduism, the Holy Spirit healed through an obedient follower of Jesus and the power of Christ.

That’s all it took. I was shocked.

I was surprised, joyful, excited and even angry with myself for not pursuing this type of ministry sooner. It was from those emotions and revelations that I began my pursuit. It was a relentless hunger for the true character of God. That day on the beach began an 8-month study of healing, miracles, signs, wonders and the place from which they all flow-the furious, unhindered, overflowing LOVE of Christ.

I learned that God doesn’t just come to heal a physical part of a person-that action is like a clanging cymbal if it isn’t founded from a place of love. God heals the physical person to push for healing of the whole person. It is to display God’s power but more important is the visual representation of God invading darkness, evil, (in some cases sin), sickness and pain, casting that out by His perfect love.

It is THAT LOVE that I pursue now. How deep is it? Is there anything God would not do to show and manifest His love for us?
What is the extent of His love?
What request is too great for this love?
Am I willing to, in faith, rely on this love to break through sickness and pain so that God would be glorified through the revelation of His true character?
That’s where I stand now. No longer on a beach, but my mind and heart are still in awe at the radical, unhindered love of God. What does it look like? Let’s find out.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I have been experiencing God's Presence in the most unusual ways at the most unexpected times. God has been showing me how much joy He brings through surprise encounters with Him. It is so amazing.
I can hardly count the ways in these past 3 weeks that I have really felt the Spirit.
I went up for prayer after service last week, after Johnny spoke about experiencing absolute FREEDOM that is given from Christ. I wasn't really dealing with anything particular. He said whoever just wants more of Jesus, come up for prayer.
Infinite amounts of freedom.
More and more, an increasing amount.
Be free and keep being free and keep experiencing His freedom.

The other day I was driving in my car (Cupcake! haha) and I was just thinking about the pure goodness of God. I just started crying. Seriously, it was probably mildly to moderately dangerous to be driving.

There's something so cathartic about just crying out to God. I love those moments of pure honesty. Sometimes it feels safer just to put a nice buffer in my prayer life. But when that comes down, wow. It's like God just comes in and removes all the space between us.
I want to live with no space between us.
That is what I have been resting in the past few days.

I am still guarding my mornings and setting aside time for communion with Jesus. I feel like those times in the morning, more so after the coffee is brewed, I am sowing into Heaven.

I don't always see the reward there-maybe I see it later in the day or week, in a breakthrough in a friend, an answered prayer request, getting rocked during worship, having Scripture come to mind at the perfect time, being able to receive a word from someone, experiencing an overflow of joy at the reality of His Freedom. If effectiveness is measured in overflow, I am totally experiencing that lately.

I wanted to document this season because I know it doesn't always seem so...rewarding or some other adjective...I'll be praying for continued breakthrough for you, my friends. May the reality of His love and peace surround you today.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jeremiah 15:16

This past week has been one of the most amazing weeks I have had in a long time. Amazing is a vague adjective... Spirit-filled, revelatory, joyful, stretching, growing, learning difficult lessons and learning easy ones. I can't hardly contain it all with my keyboard.

It started after meeting with my new mentor, Jenn. I was skeptical of being paired up with someone to walk through life together. However, such "contrived" community has worked so well in Circles so far! God totally surpassed my expectations in this relationship. It is already that, after 3 weeks, a friendship, fellowship, guidance, even discipleship. Our meetings are bordered in prayer, testimony, questions, therapy of sorts.

My goal in this mentorship is that I would be pushed. I have many friends who just tell me it's all going to be ok, that where I'm at with God is good, fine, sufficient. I also need someone to DECLARE the Truths of the word in my life. Jenn is an atmosphere-changer. My spirit is changed in the presence of our conversations. God is so at work here, it truly transcends my human understanding.

I unknowingly committed to quiet times with the Lord this week. Jenn kindly (...it's what I needed!!) offered to keep me accountable to carving out 6-6:45 am every morning to meet in the secret place with the Lord. It has been a transformative process. Each morning, God meets me in this obedience. He shows up in power, even when I am reluctant, sleepy and moderately to majorly distracted by the smells and sounds of my French roast brewing. Each morning, I bring my prayer requests, take time to listen, and seek to eat the Word (Jeremiah 15:16). It's a safe time and place to cry out to God about things that would usually remain beneath the surface. And He has answered very specific prayers.

Today I played on the swings with Kendall, the darling 3 year old I nanny for 4 times per week. Last week I invited her to Easter at the amphitheater. I have never seen a child so excited about a piece of cardstock before. This afternoon we spoke about prayer. She asked me what I will be doing after I graduate from college. I responded about Bible school, where we pray, sing and read the Bible. She said, I prayer in the mornings at my school. I asked her what prayer means. She said, It's when we talk to God! I said I do that all the time, and she said she likes that idea.

The main conclusion I am resting on from my times with God this week is this: To sow into heaven as I minister to God. Store up treasures that may or may not have an earthly reward or visible product. I don't know fully what this means. But I know that, in ministering to the Lord, in making him the focus of my worship in every aspect of my day, that He's glorified by that posture.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nightfall..Spirit Fall

When I was younger I used to get really intense anxiety about certain things. The most fearful time of struggle was always that hour or so between late afternoon and early evening-as the sun was going down and everything got shadowed and dark. I used to sit in the living room, close my eyes tightly and try to ignore the shift towards nightfall.

Every so often this feeling comes back. An anxious, depressed, heavy feeling. Tonight was such a night. It usually happens if I have too much time to just sit and think. If I don't turn my attention and affection towards God in that time, lifting my fears up in prayer, then inexplicable anxiety floods in. I don't know how to describe it. Like a constriction of my heart, sharp breaths and a tangible weight on my chest and shoulders. Again, usually inexplicable.

Tonight I couldn't pinpoint a specific fear or worry. That makes it difficult to pray against, because Jesus named the demons. He cast them away by name.
I am thankful to have this as an outlet to share, even if I don't have it figured out entirely. There's such power in a community to surround myself in.
Choosing to enter rest, expectant and prepared to receive divine comfort.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Temporal vs Kingdom

I have been preoccupied with very temporal things lately. School, finances, learning how to sell and buy a car, budgeting, planning. It seems a waste to dedicate so much time to issues that have little or no spiritual, eternal value. Some of these things must be done.

But they should be done differently. 

  • How can organizing and budgeting my finances serve the Kingdom?
  • How can the way I sell my car glorify Christ?
  • How does the way I view the future display Christ's character and freedom?
  • Does my life scream that I live for someone greater than anything in this world?
  • Does my life squish itself up against God's side, so that he covers me with his feathers as I rest under his wings (Psalm 91:4)? 
  • Am I so close to Him that his heartbeat resonates clearly to my heart and out towards others?
Ah, such difficult questions. I guess the answer rests in taking hold of every redemptive moment, as Darin so aptly describes it.
Let us pray that more than our words proclaim the reality and nearness of the Kingdom of God.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I still can't get over Matthew 6:6-this idea of being filled up by God in our secret-place meetings with Him. The premise of Henri Nouwen's book is obviously to live in the present moment. But that "present moment" is completely, radically, powerfully altered if we are continuously being filled by God.

"Something that reminds us of God's love-put in the center of our inner room, like a candle in a dark space. As long we we keep the candle in our dark room burning, we can return to that light and see clearly the presence of the one who offers us what we most desire," (Nouwen 23-24).

But I don't want just a candle. I want a blazing fire. Love lit on fire. If I spend my quiet time in that inner room, pouring out to God and allowing Him to pour into me, I believe it will be as Jeremiah exclaims:

But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. ~Jeremiah 20:9

God, I welcome you to be great in my life. Be extreme, beyond what I expect and beyond what I can even prepare myself. I don't want to be satisfied with a lack of God. To this call we give our whole lives.

Heaven is filled with absolute confidence in God. My life is often filled with doubt or disbelief. But now may my whole life mirror Your reality, Your face, Your thoughts, to usher in the reigning of Your Kingdom.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

100. To do list

I have a life's to do list. It is organized by category: Spiritual, Outdoors, Travel, Altruism, Creative, Learning, Silly and a general "Life."

Number 100 is the last on my list, but it seems to be gaining an ever-increasing amount of importance on my heart and in this season.

100. Write a letter to everyone I love

Sounds simple, a 7-word sentence. But I am afraid of number 100. It would take up my whole heart, entirely.

I reminisce on this list because tonight I got some shocking news. My great grandma passed away today. She was 96 years old. Jean Forbes first inspired my love of travel. She has been to over 100 countries, and helped my buy my first international plane ticket when I was 15.

She experienced so much in her long life-probably more than a list of life to-do's organized by category could every portray.

But there is some controversy surrounding her death. I don't want to be graphic, but these details are what have shaken me the most today.

My great grandmother was found at the bottom of a cliff, near a creek by her home.
She suffered from dementia, which could easily explain a lapse in judgment, lack of coordination or just a blatant unawareness of her surroundings.

The deeper part of my heart believes she was absolutely incapable of taking her own life. Such a life of adventure, wonder, experience and love could not be commit such a crime. But the other part of my mind needs prayer. Prayer to get such an image out of my mind and heart, because it has no place there.

 I will forever remember my great grandma as a beautiful, stubborn, sweet and funny individual. She traveled, she lived, she saw, she recorded her stories in journal upon journal.

My heart aches that such a lovely person is gone, in such a tragic way. It makes my whole being shake with the desire for my whole family to know the power of Christ's love. Because he has changed my life, forever and ever.

My perspective is eternal, stretching to encompass a God who sent his son to die for ME and for YOU and for US. He died for those who love Him, and for those who turned away from Him, and for those who never took a second glance at Him. He loves the sinners, the broken, the lost, the found, the orphans, the pastors, the homeless, the joyful and the confused.

So, in honor of my family, may the strength I have been gifted from God give me the ability to transcend this earthly understanding.

Because I have been found by Christ. And that love surpasses all understanding.

101. To attempt to grasp the height, depth, width and breadth of His LOVE for us.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

ATW Video

Sometimes it's difficult to condense my trip abroad into a simple story or statement. Casey Sousa produced and edited this video to promote the Around-The-World Semester at Concordia University for future students. I hope it helps invite you into what God did in my heart and in the hearts of my team members.

Around-the-World Semester from Concordia University on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The PRESENCE of the Lord

The subheading of my blog- Surely the Lord is in this place, is from Genesis when Jacob slept with a stone under his head. The Lord gave him a vision of a stairway ascending to heaven. God says, I am the Lord your God...I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.

When Jacob wakes, he exclaims,
"Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it." So he takes the stone, anoints it with oil, and sets it up as an altar for God. He called this place Bethel, which means House of God. (Genesis 28:10-19).

I have been recounting this section of scripture over the past few days. God has been revealing to me that His presence is in every part of my day and night. It's the very air I breathe. Without His presence, there's no meaning. It is the very love that we so need.

I love Exodus 33 when Moses says, God, if you're presence isn't coming with us, don't move us from this place. Because what would be the point? It would be meaningless. "What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

And right after that declaration, God says, "Ok Moses, I will do the very thing you ask, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name." (!)

And then.......He get's to meet with God and see his true glory!!

Oh, Surely God, you are in this place. Make us more and more aware of it. Let us hunger for your presence. It's like a fire, a flood, fresh rain, precious gold. And if you aren't coming with us, don't lead us away. But if you're calling us to a new place or season, we will drop everything and go. May we be so in tune with your Spirit that we no longer say "We were unaware." Your presence is all we seek. All we desire is to know you and be known by you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's expensive

"The life that Jesus led was not an aberration or a temporary statement of God's solution for humanity. He started something that we are to complete. Jesus said, "As the Father sent Me, I send you” (John 20:21). It's not complicated; it's just expensive. It costs us everything," Bill Johnson.

Thank you everyone for the prayers and encouragement in the question of attending ministry school in September. I am realizing more and more that everything is fading. It fades because we were actually made for Christ's love. We fit perfectly in His hand of grace and His heart of perfect love.

"King David was known for killing Goliath in His youth. Yet there are at least four other giants killed in Scripture—all killed by the men who followed David, the giant killer. If you want to kill giants, hang around a giant killer. It rubs off" Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth.

So I am going to BSSM to be a giant killer, to fill my mind with the Word, to direct my heart to what God thinks about his children, and to bring the promises of God from heaven to earth.

Isaiah 60:
1“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

I'm holding onto that promise. Jesus declares "the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you," Matthew 13:11

"Everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other," John 15:15-17.

And so, let us pursue love, with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. May we arise and shine. Though it costs us our lives, God's glory will triumph.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Decisions:: But the Lord determines their steps

We all have major life decisions we have to make. Sometimes, the answer is simple. The answer is obvious. Sometimes God could be glorified either way. I have been presented with an amazing opportunity to attend a ministry school next fall. I'll graduate from Concordia this spring, and the timing seems to fit. 

When I was in Indonesia in November, God placed some people in my path that encouraged me to apply to Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry. Bethel church is in Redding, CA only 3 hours from my home. I have considered this school once before, after my sophomore year of college, but I knew I had to get my degree first. It is similar to a Bible college, except it focuses on how we can do what the Bible says as we walk this earth.

Classes run from September to May. I would have classes Tuesdays-Fridays 12:45-5:30pm, attend two church services per week and one cell group per week. Students read through the whole Bible, along with 12 other books by various theologians. I really feel like God has been preparing me for a school like this. 
Here's the website to the school if you're interested:

It is an amazing ministry that equips people to walk in God's spirit and power. Practical skills are taught, as well as general teachings and spiritual growth. The decision isn't as simple as I would like. I believe God could use me in this decision to go, but also in a decision to get a fulltime job after graduation.

Pro Bethel:
       “Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) is committed to the truth that God loves people, gave Himself for them and has given His Church supernatural power to bring individuals and nations into wholeness.” !!!
       Encounter and experience Jesus in a deeper way. Learn to walk in the authority and power of my royal identity in Christ.
       Knowledge and experience: Bible, prayer, healing, prophesy, fasting, miracles
       Join a new church-Bethel

       New start-living in Redding
       9 hours/600 miles closer to home
       Cheaper cost of living
       Since the job market is difficult to break into, I get to spend a year discovering, cultivating and honing gifts, talents and abilities for a future career.
       I would gain valuable resources for a potential future career

Con Bethel:
       Leave my current community-Rock Harbor, my sister, Danielle, my friends,  and the Circles mentorship group

       Move to Redding…not exactly a big city
       Not an accredited school
       Potential negative or positive impact on future job positions in the church, because of the extreme nature/content of school

       Leave my current jobs, which I love!
       Have to find a new job

       Leave my amazing house and housemates in Orange
       Move all my stuff!

God can really work through pro and con lists. They're pretty spiritual. It's definitely a helpful way for me to organize my thoughts. Praying through this decision and trusting that God moves and redirects as we seek active and open communication with him and his spirit. I would love any advice or suggestions if anyone feels a pull in either direction. Thanks Slices,

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The New Name

George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons
The White Stone-

I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. Revelation 2:17

White because the man who receives it is accepted and chosen. In its whiteness is purity, and in its substance indestructibility.

The true name is one which expresses the character, the nature, the being, the meaning of the person who bears it. It is the man's own symbol,--his soul's picture, in a word,--the sign which belongs to him and to no one else. Who can give a man this, his own name? God alone. For no one but God sees what the man is, or even, seeing what he is, could express in a name-word the sum and harmony of what he sees.

In every man there is a loneliness, an inner chamber of peculiar life into which God only can enter. I say not it is the innermost chamber--but a chamber into which no brother, nay, no sister can come.
Every moment that he is true to his true self, some new shine of the white stone breaks on his inward eye, some fresh channel is opened upward for the coming glory of the flower, the conscious offering of his whole being in beauty to the Maker. Each man, then, is in God's sight worth. Life and action, thought and intent, are sacred.

Surely to know what he thinks about us will pale out of our souls all our thoughts about ourselves! And we may well hold them loosely now, and be ready to let them go.

"God has cared to make me for himself," says the victor with the white stone, "and has called me that which I like best; for my own name must be what I would have it, seeing it is myself. What matter whether I be called a grass of the field, or an eagle of the air? I am a stone to build into his temple. I am his; his idea, his making; perfect in my kind, perfect in his sight; full of him, revealing him, alone with him. Let him call me what he will. The name shall be precious as my life. I seek no more."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

At just the right time, I heard you

After a possibly slightly over-dramatic blog post about being homeless, I stepped into Monday feeling better. My mom called me early Monday and said she has been praying, and felt like God said I would have a place to live by the end of the week. I told her, I receive that word, mom.

Two of my favorite things about Monday-I sat in on Dr. Schultz's Culture and Self class, an anthropology class by my favorite professor at Concordia.
And second-lunch with my Circles crew! Monday night I visited Caydin's house in Orange. Long story short, I slept here Monday night, and have started to move in!

I was homeless for exactly 3 weeks-since my birthday on January 10th, to the 31st. That was such an intense time of growth. Towards the end, I wasn't sure what else God wanted to teach me through that time. Perhaps that He provides. But more than that, He provides at just the right time. He was able to get the maximum amount of glory, rather than just a small amount of glory. And isn't that the goal of our lives-to know Christ, and to bring him glory, in all things display the majesty that is...Christ.

"For God says, 'At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.' Indeed, the "right time" is now. Today is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians 6:2

So, thank you Lord! You've blessed me with 4 amazing girls to live with. You came in and provided when I had learned I could not do it on my own. Your timing is perfect, I know that full well.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Content in [all] circumstances

I had quite the emotional moment tonight. I moved from one temporary room to another. I was juggling my computer, paper bag of clothes and my blanket and pillow across campus to what is my current place to sleep tonight.

It was a strange situation. In the paper bag is a change of clothes-designer jeans from a former life. A macbook, also from a former life where I had money to spend on such things. And I moved towards my next temporary place to sleep.

I set up my bed, my blanket, my pillow. I place my paper bag on the floor. It's a simple life, but tonight it feels like one of shame, of forced humility. A year ago, life was easy. It was then I bought the jeans...And now I am living day to day. (To clarify, I have two jobs and am a full-time student, don't get me wrong. I'm just trying to find the right place to live since I've moved back from my semester abroad).

In Africa, it was easy for me to only have a few outfits, my hair tied back, Teva sandals and no makeup. But now, that life doesn't fit in Orange County. I resent that I feel this way-like I'm not good enough for the likes of this place.

I can't place my emotional well-being on my circumstances. I have just never been here before. Not only am I in want and need, everyone can see that I am in need. This is a place where self-sufficiency abounds. There is an overabundance of everything-32 flavors of yogurt, 25 kinds of shampoo.
I don't want to Costco-sized version of everything. I don't want 20 chapsticks, or 5 pounds of coffee, or a family pack of frozen enchiladas.

I just want to find my fulfillment in something more simple. It doesn't get much more simple than this paper bag and pillow.

Jesus, make me ok to live out of my car.

Haha, what a silly prayer. But I don't need an overabundance of everything-I just need an overabundance of You- of your love, grace and joy.

If your eye is on the sparrows, then your heart is on me, God. They do the work for which they were created, and God takes care of them..

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Acceptance of the old nature

How do we justify sin? Today I had a moment where I just felt a heavy sense of failure. I thought, “I’m dealing with this issue, again! I was doing so well. How did this happen? Why am I so susceptible to this one issue? I feel drawn to failure in this area, again and again.”

Then my thoughts went to- “Oh, this is just my thing. It’s just what I do. Everyone has their one sin that they keep falling back into. It’s completely normal.” What a horrible thought process to fall into. All that’s within me is to praise His name. My whole life, my presence, the very essence of me-all that is to praise Him, honor Him, glorify Him.

God gives perfect peace. Victory over sin, victory over the sinful nature. God, make my heart clean, pure, new.

My discouragement came from all that I am not. I have to believe what Jesus did and is doing is enough. There is power and authority in Jesus that I have not been walking in. My shame and my acceptance of sin dishonors the sufficiency of Christ and His promises.

Ezekiel 14:13 Stand still, stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. See God win for you.
Psalm 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be you shield and rampart.
Needing Circles today. Resting in His promise.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Days of Chaos

One hour of Todd and Darin floating in liminal white space = fascinating, enlightening, comical, powerful

I spent two days trying to write a post commenting on the first Orbiter podcast...and all my thoughts and writing resulted in...chaos. So many ideas were stirring in my mind about success, failure, gratitude, and honesty. It's very difficult for me to be completely honest with myself, and of course in an online blog :)

I have so many dreams about what I want my life to look like.
Oswald Chambers declares that our obstinacy and self-will stab at Jesus. Placing a greater trust in our own dreams and rights hurts Him. I don't want to grieve the Spirit with my stubborn inability to place my present and future in the hands of One much more capable than me.

God's desire for us is to desire and seek a oneness with the Father, rather than a self-willed determination. I need to learn to submit my will to Christ. That often seems like a great idea! I look back through my journals of the past few months, and there are many seasons where my heart joyfully surrenders to the only one worthy of my dreams.

Today my prayer is one of submission. May my whole heart be surrendered to Jesus, because He is more than enough to care for me. Such an amazing love that tells me, It's all going to be ok. May I trust and keep trusting that He fulfills each and every need.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Circles-Week 1

What a lovely idea-to form a group of friends who share true testimonies of God's love, provision and lessons. Part of me says-Wait, that's not supposed to work..it will take years to build a foundation based on honest sharing. But I see it already, and I am blessed to be a part of this group!

This week has been 1. Amazing and 2. Busy. I started my second job yesterday which keeps me extra busy. When my schedule gets rushed, that should be the time I seek solace in my quiet times with God. But this week it has been escaping me. I'll read a devotion, and a few verses, then either lose my concentration or lose interest.

So my prayers have become- Jesus, help me to hunger and thirst for your word, your righteousness, and honest purity. Grant me an undivided heart and mind. Help me to continue to cultivate an extravagant love that casts out fear of the unknown. I choose daily to build my hope upon you. May I guard my relationship with you, because you are the source of all strength and goodness. May we seek and keep seeking, together.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Circles introduction

Hi, I'm Amanda Bieniek. I'm a 22 year old senior at Concordia University, Irvine. My major is International Studies and my minor is Anthropology. Last semester I traveled abroad with 25 other students, 2 professors, 18 books and 1 backpack. We went to 10 countries in 4 months, leading service projects and taking 5 classes. During those 4 months, God shaped me into a figure that is much more flexible, adventurous and caring. 

The next season for me is one of intense learning. I am so hungry for more and more knowledge of God and his crazy, intense, passionate love for his children. I am learning to trust him in all circumstances. The current struggle-I'm homeless! :) Well, luckily I have good friends with a good couch, but I am getting back on my feet since being home from my semseter abroad. 
I am a nanny for two families, in Irvine and Tustin. I love kids! Children have such wonderful things to teach us about Jesus! What 3 year old Lucas has taught me: Preschool Christians.

I am so excited for Circles. I have been going to RockHarbor for 3.5 years and have been desperately searching for true community. It is difficult! Especially at such a large church that is, let's be honest, full of gorgeous people who often focus on trying to impress one another. I include myself in that category from time to time. I do not want to be that person though! 

Oh, Jesus, please continue to change my heart. Make it more like yours. "You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom," Psalm 51:6. 
And so this Circular journey is one of attempted honesty, truth, reality, love, joy, expectation, wisdom and faithfulness.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tracking a divine movement

God has been moving! Here are some notes from the past few weeks:

Jesus Culture 2011: The goal of the Jesus Culture conferences is to "mobilize a generation of revivalists to shape culture and transform nations through supernatural signs and wonders."
Banning spoke about the Secret Place (Matthew 6:6). The hidden foundation is something that nobody else knows about. It's a conversation that no one else hears.

A secret-place lifestyle establishes a secret history with the Lord. We meet in the secret place because 1. God is there! and 2. It's where fruit is cultivated.

Mark 4:34 says that when Jesus was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them. The Greek word used here for everything is πάντα. It means everything, the whole, all things, every part.
The foundation of a revivalist is found in the secret place. It is where we are strengthened, and it is where God speaks to us.

The corporate momentum found at a conference with thousands of other worshippers of Jesus ignites a hunger for secret-place revival. I want to be famous in the secret place, because that's where Jesus meets us.

I often lower the standard down to my level of experience. But I would rather be shaped by the overwhelming, overflowing access to God that is available to anyone who actively seeks Him.

I don't want to leave an impression of myself on others. The only impression left by a life sacrificed to God is that of the "strong, calm sanity that God gives to those who are intimate with him," (Oswald Chambers).
"Bethel is the symbol of communion with God. We have to pitch our tents where we shall always have quiet times with God, however noisy our times with the world may be," (Chambers).

These lessons have spurred a renewed desire to find Jesus in the secret place. I want to be a be strengthened there, to enable and encourage others to find their own place with God in this big world.

Genesis 28:16 Jacob exclaims, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it." Another goal of mine is to be ever-more aware of God's presence. To acknowledge the truths of God, the God-reality of each moment.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I will give you a new name

I have hardly begun to process what has happened in the past 6 months. I have been home for 2 weeks, and I already feel as though God is ushering in a new season.

Last night, after a homemade pizza party, the house was full of a group of amazing people who love Jesus. We gathered to worship, pray and prophesy together. After several songs, each person received several "words" from God. The "guidelines" for prophesy are that the words must be encouraging, point towards Jesus, and build up and strengthen the person to further walk in their identity as a Christ-follower.

I transcribed the revelations as best I could in my journal. Marissa, my sister-in-law, two of my brothers, my mom, dad, two family friends and two guys my age from Bethel's Supernatural School of Discipleship were present. I wrote 16 pages of revelation.

While I would love to share the words that everyone received, I will share my own in hopes of remembering God's promises for this new year:
  • My mom kept hearing the song Rock a by baby. She saw a cradle up in a tree. She said, I know you fully trust God. When the tree branch breaks, the cradle will not fall.
  • Another vision was that God was laying dramatic colors over me. He is working on a huge abstract painting that is taller than me. We take clumps of paint together to form this masterpiece. It has taken awhile. At times I walk away from this painting, because it is a process. I have come back to it, and I will finally be able to finish it. This season is over and something beautiful is almost finished to display.
  • God is now opening something bigger to rejuvenate me. Be bold and step into that calling. People see your joy and wonder where it comes from. They desire that joy.
  • Every time God fills others, he does not run out. There will always be enough of him, more than enough. Do not worry, his hand is over that. Worry isn't something to live in-God has you in his hand.
It was an amazing night, filled with encouraging words and promises. There is so much more to share, but I sense that the right time will come to share more.
For now I pray that these words will sink into my heart and that I will walk on these promises of truth.
Be encouraged, my friends. God knows exactly where you are, and he desires to move you closer and closer to his heart.