Wednesday, July 27, 2005

God is love. Love is a choice. Love is patient. Love hurts. Love puts others first. The greatest of these is love. Love doesn't boast. Love is with out conditions. Love is a verb (I had to say it).

Why is it so bloody hard for me to get a grasp on love? All I'm called to do is love God and love people. I pretty much fail at this every day. God has been hammering me with love recently. It's everywhere. Not even joking. It's in every message, every verse, every song, ever conversation. And I've been realizing why I struggle so much with loving God and loving people is because even though I know in my head that God loves me, deep down in whatever part of you that tells your soul and your spirit what is truth, I still think it's up to me to earn God's love. I still think that every time I screw up, lack discipline, swear, don't pray, listen to emenem, watch a retarded show in VH1, tune out a sermon, or whatever that God is like somehow loving me less. That I am some how less worthy of his love. That some how when I do good things I rack up spiritual brownie points and God loves me more. I wish I knew where this twisted and completely crap thinking came from. I wish I could find the root of it and dig it out and start over and plant in my spirit what I know is the truth of God's love for me. That nothing I do or don't do changes his unconditional, undeserved, unending love for me. I wonder if it comes from always feeling like I have to please my parents or earn their approval. That probably has something to do with it. I just wish I could GET IT! I wish I could get God's love. I mean even if I just got like a small understanding of it, but that at least that part was like woven into the fiber of my being so I didn't struggle with all of this all of the time. So I didn't deal with not loving people, or so that I didn't feel like I don't actually know what I mean when I say "I love God".

I know He loves me. I know He does. The insane way He has been working in my life the past 3 weeks is proof enough of that. But I don't feel like it's a part of me. I read the best verse today in Psalm 130. I've been reading the New Living Translation, which is amazing and highly recommended. But it basically says, "O Lord, if you kept a record of sins, who would survive?" That's paraphrased off the top of my head because I'm too lazy to try and bury my Bible out from underneath all the junk that has accumulated on my bed today. But I've been thinking about that verse and meditating on it. If God kept a record of our sins, like if there were some tally system for being "ok with God" NO ONE would survive. No one would win. We would never get enough tallies. That's how HUGE God's love is. It covers the fact that we couldn't even survive if it wasn't for His love. And I just struggle with getting that.

Help me to get it, Lord. Give me some divine impartation or like some divine soul tattoo or something that just some how triggers to all of the parts of me that I am loved by you. Regardless.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

ok, I'm just going to go a bit crazy right now because I haven't really had the chance to do so for the past couple weeks.

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited to be heading to Latitude. Oh my gosh. I can't wait. Well I guess I can, because I'll have to wait a few more weeks, but I am super excited. I never thought I'd be leaving Trinity, I never thought it would be now, and I never thought it would happen in such a condensed time span. But oh man am I freaking stoked. I went to my first service there this morning...kind of. I had to leave early to get back to Trinity before their service got out, but I'm telling you this place is home. It feels like home. I caught in on the last few minutes of Trinity's service and I was have I been here this whole time? It's so not me. I mean I really am glad for my time there, but how glad am I that God is moving me on! And not just that He is telling me to leave Trinity, but I am able to leave well because He has opened wide the doors for me at Latitude.
So then I went to their youth group tonight. Which I thought would be awkward but wow, it wasn't. I have never met high schoolers that were so welcoming and so like went out of their way to bring a new person into the group. Very cool. It's kind of funny because numbers wise they are kinda smallish, like 250 in the church and about 25 in the youth group. But they do everything on a grand scale. Or maybe just with excellance. The kind of excellance you'd expect from a church of 2500, not 250. It's awesome. And I'm excited. And I"m really having a hard time at this point being sensative to the fact that God is not telling everyone to join me at this church. I was talking to one of my students tonight after I had been at the youth thing, and kept wanting to say, "It's so awesome, you would love it, you should come". Because , I know this girl especially, WOULD love it, and honestly... I don't know, at some point I may encourage her to come to a service or something. The funny thing is going to be living in America and going to a charasmatic church. That sounds weird, but I guess I'm thinking specifically in terms of like conversations that will happen with my family. For whatever reason it seemed more ok for me to go do my crazy thing at crazy churches over seas, but I think it might play out a bit different here. And the truth is, it's kind of weird for me. Not bad weird. More like a, I haven't regularly attended a "Spirit-filled" church in two years kind of weird. It'll just take a couple weeks to get back in that groove. I don't know. There's just something kind of funny about it to me. Maybe it shouldn't be. But if you would have told me 5 years ago that I would become a tongue speaking, prophecy beliving, jumping kinda christian... I probably would have told you that those people were of the devil or something and I never would go there. Well maybe not 5 years ago, maybe 7 years ago. Sometimes I forget how old I am. Although I did have some of the kids tonight guess that I was 19. They are already on the favored list.

I feel like I just said a whole lot of nothing.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Today is the first day that I've ever seriously considered leaving my church. I know I've talked about it before, and I've thought about it before, but now I'm praying about it and praying for huge amounts of wisdom and guidance.

A couple weeks ago God spoke pretty clearly to me about shifts that are going to take place in my life this year. It doesn't really make sense if you can't see the hand motions. It's all about the hand motions. It was actually through a series of events and different things that this came out, and one of the events was a sermon I heard T.D. Jakes preach. He was talking about the Israelites walking in circles in the desert for so many odd years because that's what God had told them to do, but then God told them to take a new direction. And just applied it to the "circles" we walk in our life when really God has been trying to tell us that He's taking a new direction. I initially thought God was speaking specifically to the area of education in my life. And I was like, Oh no Lord, please do not make me have to start over with a new degree or some new direction. I just want to keep walking in circles and get done with this whole college thing. But over the days and weeks this whole church thing has really surfaced, and honestly caught me completely off guard. I came back from Sydney, basically for this church. I mean there were definitely other factors, like running out of money, but I really felt like God was calling me to my church, to plant there, to lead there, to do whatever I could do, whatever He could do through me to see this church really come to life and start winning our community for Jesus. So for me to even consider, to even think that God might be taking me in a new direction is a huge shift for me. I have no idea what's going to happen. It's scarey. I can't imagine living in Mesa and not being at my church. And because I'm human, I think about what other people would think. Mostly, would they be hurt? I'm so involved, and in some highly visible areas of ministry, this definitely isn't something that I want to draw attention to myself or negative attention to the leadership of our church. If it happens, it's going to have to be a completely God ordained, organized, and orchestrated situation. I don't want to leave on bad terms. Nate keeps saying he's going to be here for 2 more years. In my flesh, that seems like a good amount of time, as well as a natural transition. There's a part of me that's even saying I know I will leave at some point. The "forever" factor isn't present. Basically unless God radically changes, and I mean radically, and that's totally not beyond Him, or radically changes my heart it will happen. Lord, help me, guide me. I need a lot of wisdom. And right now I need a better attitude and outlook.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

the Gathering was good. In a very hard way. In a way that made me confront stuff. That's a whole thing I'm not getting into right now. I think I'm going to write a sermon on it though. Which is kind of funny because I'm so not the teaching, preaching, sermon writing type. But there's this whole theme that's been running through my life and whenever I spend time thinking about what God's doing it in, I have this visual of me sharing what I'm learning at Monday Nights. hm.

So this is just random, and I probably could have told you this on the phone, but um, krys darling, if you can figure out what happened to my comments and get them back, that would be lovely.

It's been a couple weeks now since Flourish. And I'm still dealing with the aftermath of a few things. That word may give off the wrong connotations. Like Flourish was this horrible tornado that swept through my life. I guess in a way it was. But a good tornado. Like the kind that takes you to OZ to meet Glenda the good fairy and that sort of stuff. I always thought the Wizard of OZ was some sort of drugged out halucination story, and I was shocked to find out in my junior year American History class that it was a political satire/commentary for its time. I guess there still could have been some halucinations involved...
I came down from the mountains prepared and expecting spiritual warfare in the wake of all the amazing things God did at Flourish. Things in me, things in the other amazing leader, and of course things in the girls. So I was prepared right. First, you should notice the first fallacy in that statement is the word "I". I can not defeat the enemy. Christ IN me can, but I basically have nothing. So "I" was prepared. I know how the enemy tends to attack. I know the thought patterns, which temptations get aroused, depression isn't usually too far off. I was ready. And it's a good thing that "I" have nothing and that there have been huge amounts of Christ in me recently and that He is victorious. Because I've definitely been thrown a curve ball the past couple weeks. Satan has attacked through horrible, unexpected, devistating things happening in the lives of friends and family around me. It sounds odd. And it sounds like making light of what the people actually walking through the circumstances are feeling, but that's far from true. I guess I don't even really know how to explain it. The sudden on set of tiredness isn't helping my verbal/written skills at this point either. I guess I could just wrap it up and end by saying that praise the Lord that He is strong in our weakness. He has won victory over any way the enemy comes against us and under his blood no weapon formed against us will stand. That's good news. Thank you jesus.

what a week, what a week, what a week.
I'm pretty sure that was just the fastest week of my life. I hope I don't ever experience a week that fast again because then I will be like old and dead in what will seem like 5 years' time. There's a lot I could say. I don't know if I'll get it all out in one setting because I've decided to go to the Gathering tonight. I'm not sure why. Church was good this morning. And I hate that I go to other churches looking for some sort of fulfillment. I feel quite like a vulture. Circling around to pick the meat of off other people's nourishment. I hate that right now I'm equating church with fulfillment. I'm just being honest people. It's not like I'm really feeling empty right now either. A ton of cool stuff has happened this week. A ton of shit stuff has happened as well, but that's not the point really.
It's funny, because the cool stuff and the not cool stuff are like complete extremes within the same sort of category I guess you could call it. I'm not really sure if I should talk about the crap stuff yet. I don't know why I wouldn't, no one pertaining to the situation reads this. That I know of. That's what I love about blogs. For all I know the flippin President of the United States could read my blog regularly. Or Joel. Or some unknown gorgeous girl of God in Asia, or anywhere really. Random. So I'll give you the good now and maybe come back for the rest later hey?

So I have some friends, more like acquaintences really, that I went to Hillsong with. Except that they went to the city campus and I was at the hills and the only way I knew them was through some random connection, actually through the Gathering oddly enough. They are from Mesa so every time I'd see them I'd be like, "Hey my people from my land!" So when they got back to AZ they planted in church in mesa called Latitude Life Centre. I've never been because they just meet on Sunday mornings, but I keep up with what's going on through their website and I've met random people at my little coffee shop that go there so yeah it's kinda cool. Well i was around their website last week and saw that they are starting an Adopt-a-Block ministry in August. So I was thinking how we've been wanting our youth to get into the community and doing stuff but we just don't have the resource to start something up really. Or something. So anyway, I emailed my friend Kimberlee that's the senior pastor over there with her husband and told them the story and asked if there might be anyway we could get our youth involved. Not knowing how that will flesh out, or what it will look like in the end, but you know maybe we could talk about it or something. So she called me like a couple days later and was like so stinking excited and pumped. She said it's been a huge goal of theirs to work with other churches in the community but they've been getting shot down by churches just wanting to do their own thing and stuff and yeah, was just really pumped. So then I got super pumped and am just so excited how this is an answer to prayer for both of our groups. So I'm going to go over there this wednessday for this luncheon thing they already had scheduled about the adopt-a-block program and stuff then she and I and their youth pastor are gonna sit down and chat and see what we can come up with. Awesome hey.
Mas later...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

So i just started reading this book called, "Stumbling Toward Faith" by Renee Altson. 25 pages in I had to stop. This book is way intense. One of the first lines is " father raped me while reciting the Lord's prayer". Yeah. Intense.
But I stopped on page 25 because there was this beautiful thought that I just couldn't get past. I think it's something I've thought before but have definitely not articulated this way. I'm just going to quote it.

"I struggle to understand who I really am, who I have been, who I was in those restless years. I am struggling to understand God apart from those words I used, the words I placed on my Christianity in order to belong, to fit in, to survive. Take the words away and I am lost."

What a cool thought.

If you took all the words away, how would we know faith? Could we recognize Jesus? What would the church sound like if it wasn't "justified", "sanctified", "purified", "righteous", "redeemed", or "saved"? If we take the words away are we lost? How deep does this stuff run? Or does it just float around in words? Kind of like alphabet soup. It's so good to search our faith without words. Or at least with new words. And definitely without "church" words.

With that said I'm going to go watch Hillsong.

So I've broken down my Flourish processing into subjects and things because to sit and think that I need to process this whole huge event of my life is just too overwhelming.

The frist thing that I've really been processing and trying to get my head around is the whole leadership aspect for me. This was the first major thing I've ever been theeee leader for. Like descisions came down to me. I was responsible for 24 other women. It may not sound like that big of an issue, but it was heavy man. And on top of that I was leading worship, doing budget stuff, and trying to find time to hang out with girls and stuff...yeah it was heavy. But, it was so amazing. It was amazing how dependant I HAD to be on God. Stuff would come up and I wouldn't know what to do, and I'd just get really quiet, and God would speak. It was like, all weekend I had this direct line, and stuff was coming out of me that I didn't even know was in me! Probably cause it wasn't in me, it was just flowing through me straight from the Source, you know? Like this one conflict came up with the leaders, and I was just like, whoah what the heck. So I walked away on my own for a couple minutes, and I'm not kidding, God says, "So, what are you going to do now leader?". Like totally giving me a hard time and stuff! Actually not. It was good. Because I laughed, and I reeeeeeeeeally needed to laugh at that point. Which He knew. But then He just showed me what to do, and completely enabled and empowered me to lead with grace, humility, discernment, wisdom, obedience, etc. All these things that I so long for, long that they would mark my life.
Just as I'm writing this I was reminded of something that I heard many times at Hills. When you're in the "squeeze" of life, what comes out of you is the real you. And I'm really not like sitting here bragging about me, I'm sitting here in awe of God, and the crazy work He has done in my life, that when I was feeling pressed on SO many sides last weekend, I didn't lose the plot. HE came out of me. That's deep.
By "accident" our theme song for the weekend became Chris Tomlin's "How Great is our God". I still sing that everyday because, it's so simple, but sometimes that's all you can say. How, GREAT is our God. That He takes lives and totally transforms and does amazing things and uses broken vessels, and redeems horrible situations. wow.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand.
Ok, so a lot of amazing things happened last weekend. And not just last weekend, but the whole journey leading up to last weekend was so God. And what has totally been spinning me out is this whole leadership thing. But it's not just a leadership thing. There is this thing in me that is so excited about the whole pastoring and shepherding side of ministry. Honestly, the highlight of Flourish for me wasn't seeing the girls change, it was seeing God minister through my leaders. Seeing my leaders being sensative to the Spirit and seeing God working through them to speak into and change the girls lives. I could pin point specific things in each leader over the weekend that just made my heart burst with joy and praise God. There's one leader in particular though, who seriously God just did this extreme makeover and she is on a totally different track. To see her go from a Christian, raised in the church, worked in ministry, control freak, good wife, strong leader, etc. to - woman of God, daughter of the King, led by the Spirit, prayer warrior, secure in her identity in Christ, full of faith, and on and on...that was amazing. That makes me sing, "how great is our God". So now, this whole past week, I've been dealing with this pastoring/shepherding thing as I call it. It is SO in me. Like I can tangibly feel it. I can hardly keep my self from thinking about it. And I can't stop wondering why God is raising up these desires, yet very obviously keeping me planted at Trinity for this season. Like I've said before that I wanted to be a worship pastor and stuff, and I didn't know how that worked with being at Trinity, but it's like the intensity was just turned to 11 and this thing is huge. I spent like a really long time the other day just dreaming about the possibility of taking over when Nate leaves. My head says, "Woman you must have lost your fool mind", but my spirit just becomes alive and God keeps saying, "Dream bigger" and it's completely out of control.
So yeah, this has become a pretty big thing for me. And I have no idea what it means, or what to do with it, or where to go. I do know though, that these gifts and desires aren't meant to sit around until hell freezes over and trinity hires a woman pastor, or until God leads me to a different church. There are ways to use them NOW. There are things I can be doing to use, and grow the things God stirred up inside of me last weekend. Now the challenge lies in finding those ways and means.
I could go on and on and on about this.
But I won't. Though, I'm sure it will come up again.
But now I'm on to the next subject. That would be Krysty Kay. Gorgeous woman of God. That will come a bit later on though. yeah.

Just a side note, everyone should be onto this week. You can watch my beloved live. I'll leave it up to you determine what I mean by "beloved". =)