Monday, March 18, 2013

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Have you ever had one of those weeks where everything just goes wrong?

This has been one of those weeks for me.  My week began with a car accident, continued with soaking my laptop, then proceeded to kill my phone, and finished off with a visit to the doctor for a gnarly infection in my finger.  It was just one of those... weird.... weeks.

I did notice a few things in the midst of the weirdness however, and I'd like to share them with you:

1) On days, weeks or even years like this, it is be really easy to feel thwarted- but you're not.  Not really.

Let me explain, if you're a Jesus follower you have a guaranteed outcome to everyone of your circumstances and it goes like this:  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

That,  my friend, is good news.  

As much as I loathe christian cliche statements (but lets be honest they are cliche for a reason because they are truths worth repeating) ALL things work for your good.  If we are willing to make a heart-shift from feeling thwarted and alone to a position of faith where we face our circumstances with our eyes fixed, with confident expectation on the goodness of our God, suddenly that which was meant to cause harm becomes a gateway to greater things in the Kingdom.  This is "more than conqueror" training 101, and passing is pretty simple: We must learn to do is shift our heart stance into a position of faith and watch what God does.

2) Let's not give the devil more credit than he deserves people!

Satan loves glory.  That was his problem from the beginning.  So even if what you're going through is spiritual attack, make a point to inform yourself, him and anyone who is listening, that God is at work in your situation and He wins period.  And then move on.

Scripture makes it pretty clear how we deal with the schemes of the enemy: resist, and he will flee.  That means we must actively make choices on how we respond.

Every time the enemy tries to lie to you, turn it into a faith-filled prayer to Jesus.  Whatever the enemy says you lack, turn away from the lie and ask the God of exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask, think or imagine for that very thing you were told you didn't have.

And while you're at it, why don't you extravagantly praise and worship God for who He is in the midst of your circumstances.  He's already at work, and ever worthy of praise, so celebrate!

3) Perspective really matters, so get Heaven's perspective on what you're dealing with

Your perspective determines how you perceive things.  (Deep, I know, but track with me).  If I am walking through the streets of New York City, every building I will encounter will feel enormous.  They are so tall and impressive and sturdy that I subsequently feel very small, not very significant and pretty weak in comparison.

But, if I were to fly over New York City at 20,000 feet, all of those giant buildings seem like nothing more than a remarkably detailed mini set for a movie.  Their former impressiveness has been diminished entirely by perspective.

The same is true of our circumstances.  If our perspective is from the position of what we are capable of, all of the situations we face will seem insurmountable.  But if we can get God's perspective on what we're walking through, everything changes.  Things don't look so big, because you recognize God is bigger.

4) You can find the hidden blessings, or look at the obvious challenge, but it's your choice

All of the things I experienced this week were some pretty obvious challenges: A car accident is no laughing matter.  I need my computer and have discovered that I am absolutely lost with out my phone.  And having a finger that has developed it's own pulse isn't exactly a plus.  Those are all facts, pointing out the obvious, and definitely not looking any deeper than surface level.

But here were the hidden blessings:

I don't have to pay a dime to get my car fixed.  My insurance is covering everything, even the deductible AND will pay for a rental car in it's entirety while my car is getting fixed.  A bill upwards of $3600 was covered entirely by God's provision in my life of good car insurance.  Blessing!

My computer dried out and functions just fine!  I had a choice, to worry about the cost of replacing it, or put my trust in God as my provider.  In previous seasons of my life I would have worried incessantly over my lack of finances and how much it would cost to replace my computer.  My response to this event is an indicator of growth.  Instead of worrying, I chose to trust and rest in God's heart toward me.  Not only does my computer work, but I have evidence of good fruit growing in my life because God is at work in me!  Blessing!

My phone debacle resulted in a cheap upgrade to a newer phone and a free iPhone 4 given to me because of a previous account.  By selling the extra phone, I will not only pay for the upgrade but even have a little extra cash in the process.  Blessing!

My finger, well, I haven't yet figured out what the blessing is behind having a finger that is so swollen that I can't touch anything with it.  But, I'm sure I'll find it.

The bottom line is this, in a week of chaos and weirdness, I found blessing and favor and provision from my Father who loves me.  So today, this week, this month, when the weirdness of life hits and you're not sure which way is up.  Stop and re-set your perspective.  It might just change everything.

"Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus...."  (Hebrews 12:2)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Daddy's Heart

I just heard a kid yelling at the top of his lungs to his dad from the daycare: "I love you SO much, I love you BIG much, I love you TOO much, I love you THIS (throws arms out to the sides) wide!  And I heard the dad echoing those words back to his son. 

And then the Holy Spirit started whispering: "I love you SO much, I love you BIG much, TOO much, THIS much....." 

Stop today and hear the heart of God the Father for you today.

"I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-18

Thursday, October 20, 2011


In August of this year I had the privilege of being with my friend as she went home to Jesus.  I will tell you how she died, but first I will tell you how she lived.

When I first met her, Jessica was on the long end of nine straight months in the pediatric unit in a hospital.  Nine months of hospitalization and one of the sickest people in the area, Jessica was making bracelets for all the other kids in the ICU.  She was the kind of girl who gave to everyone around her.  She invited me into her hospital room and about 45 seconds later I was making bracelets too.  She had a way of doing that, bringing people, as they were, into her world.

As I understand it, Jessica was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 9 months old.  After being treated aggressively by receiving several experimental drugs, the doctors still did not know what it was, or how to treat her.  The experimental drugs had unknown side effects which resulted in continual hospitalizations, surgeries and treatments for the rest of her life.

But the girl I knew, wasn't bound by a hospital bed. 

If you took sunshine, bright colors, sugar and spice, a smile that lights up a whole room and a fair bit of sass, you would get pretty close to knowing Jessica.  She had lots of dreams, crushes on boys, LOTS of love and a wise and witty remark at the ready whenever the time called for it. In spite of her circumstances Jessica had this radical kind of joy in the very depth of her being and it lit her up from the inside out.

You see Jessica had the kind of faith that made everyone stop and think.  At 15, she had endured more suffering than most people do in their entire life.  And yet she did so with her heart firmly fixed on Jesus.  I remember one time she excitedly showed me a picture of a garden with red roses all around it.  She pointed to the picture with such joy in her eyes and told me, "Look!  This is my rose garden in heaven!"  Skeptically I thought it was a sweet thought, but her passion convinced me otherwise.  She had seen a glimpse of her home in heaven with Jesus and she wanted everyone to know how excited she was to go there one day.  After, of course, she accomplished all the many dreams she had in her heart.

Jessica believed in Jesus with her whole heart.  She loved and trusted him with such passion, she challenged me to the core of my being.  How can one who has suffered so much, love a God who is capable of healing her and making it so she doesn't have to suffer any more?   And yet, she loved.

When asked how she handled the challenges that she faced on a daily basis, her response was, "I look at Jesus."  Someone asked her, then why did she ever get scared, when she knew that God was holding her in spite of it all.  She said very honestly, "That's when I forget to look."

I can say with joy that my friend is no longer suffering.  She passed away at home with her family and friends close by.  What a precious and holy moment it was to watch her go.  It was as if heaven and Earth got really close for a moment, and when she passed from this place into heaven, the two returned to their normal locations and the residue of heaven remained in the room.  Peace, joy, rest.  Yes, sadness too.  But relief that our friend was no longer hurting.

Jessica's story is one of radical faith.  Of unrelenting trust and hope for her place in heaven, sitting on Jesus' lap and hearing Him tell her how proud He is of her.  She walked through the most impossible circumstances with a realness and a grace that was made possible on by the presence of God in her life.  Without Him, she wouldn't mind me saying this, she could not have lasted as long as she did. 
The end of life on Earth for Jessica was not filled with loss, but with hope.  Hope of eternal life with Jesus. 

Her life makes me hope for several things:
Hope of my eventual home in heaven.
And hope that I could live my life in such away where I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, no matter what happens.

No matter what you are walking through, there is hope.  Turn your eyes, turn your heart to Jesus and let HIM carry you through the hard stuff.  Jessica did it.  And you can too.

Friday, May 20, 2011



Talk about a loaded word. 

I used to be scared of that word.  Kind of like when you were a kid you walked down a dark hallway and even though you knew nothing was there, your heart beat got a little faster, and your eyes got just that much wider so you would be sure to discern any possible sign of a threat.  Know the feeling? 

But here's what I want to know: When did change become so terrifying?

The dictionary defines change like this:

change | ch ānj|
• make or become a different substance entirely; transform
• give up (something) in exchange for something else
• remove (something dirty or faulty) and replace it with another
• the substitution of one thing for another
• an alteration or modification
• a new or refreshingly different experience

Now I don't know about you, but none of the things listed above seem that scary.  So what is our deal?  Honestly, I think it comes down to another word: fear.

We fear making the wrong choices, wrong spouse, wrong career...
We fear getting jipped in our interactions: If I give you this, what will I get back?
We fear making the changes we need to because we don't know what life is going to be like after.
We fear changing our routine, rocking the boat, having conflict.
We fear new experiences, not having enough, need.
We.  Fear.  A lot.
As I sit her and ponder all the reasons why we fear, I begin to recognize a pattern:  This is about me, mine, and what I'm going to get/keep/preserve without having to give up/lay down/risk anything.  On some very deep level, we are pessimistically convinced that if everything is going to turn out all right, it will be because we have made perfect decisions, flawlessly executed them, and not had to rely on anyone but ourselves to make that happen.

We have become the gods of our own universe, wholeheartedly believing that we have control. 

Newsflash: We don't.

Somewhere along the line we have taken back the faith we placed in our ever-loving and faithful God and substituted it for something that... well, it's just plain weird.  The foundational truths of the goodness of God, His love toward us, and our absolute reliance on Him have been exchanged for a puppet god that we can control sometimes but certainly don't have to give our lives fully to, who is moody and changes his mind a lot and waits for us to screw up so he can punish us with gleeful vengeance.

So let me ask you this:  Do you trust God?

Not just some assent to the fact that He holds the whole universe.  But that He holds you.  That He knows you.  That He wants the best for you. 

Because if we did, I mean REALLY did, the commands of God saying, "Do not fear," would be invitations to intimacy and trust, instead of isolating ourselves with worry and fear of the unknown. 

Isaiah 30:15 says this:

  This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
   “In repentance and rest is your salvation,
   in quietness and trust is your strength,
   but you would have none of it.

Trust and faith are a choice that we can choose to walk in or walk away from.  Your ability to manage your inner world of fear, worry, and rest come from your willingness to trust that God is who He says He is.  That may or may not change your circumstances, but it will change your stance toward them.  Rest will be your portion and quietness will be your strength.  Choosing trust is the first step toward overcoming fear, and in turn conquering our fear of change.

I think we get stuck on what we're giving up and not believing that the best is yet to come when it comes to our faith walk with God.  We fear giving up our fears.  Because our fears are what we use to justify our lifestyle before God.  We try to use the things in our life as barganing chips without realising that it was God that gave us those blessings to begin with.  We so fear losing our stuff/relationships/control (Whatever it is, you fill in the blank), that we don't realize that we have complete and total access to the God who has it all to begin with.

I've been walking this trust/rest thing for a little while now.  The last six months have been loaded with changes for me:  I moved to Texas.  Then I left Texas.  And then ended up in Colorado Springs.  Jobless.  No direction whatsoever.  In one of the worst job markets in the country. 

In all of this I could be trying to control what is happening to me.  Bargaining with God, accusing him of taking me to Texas and then not caring what happened there.  Accusing Him of not caring for me as I watch my savings account dwindle rapidly.  Taking things into my own hands and thinking I'm in charge.  Getting worried about what's going to happen next.  Fearing for the future...

But here's the thing.  He holds me.  Tight.  And He's never letting go.  Why?  Because I'm the apple of His eye.  I'm the beloved of His heart.  He turns every circumstance I experience into a cause for praise.  I am His child.  He doesn't ever forget me.  He knows exactly where I am.  And before I cry He hears me. 

I could try to fight all that stuff, but I'll be honest with you.  Fear sucks.  And trust, although its hard sometimes, is waaaaaay more fun because I'm not in this alone.  These circumstances are an invitation to intimacy with God that I might not have known without them.  I am thankful for the times I am afraid, because I can run to my Shelter and be safe.  Do I know what's coming next?  Nope.  But God's got it covered.  His heart is for me.  He wants the best.  And He WILL provide.  Because that's Who He is.

Remember those definitions for change?

• make or become a different substance entirely; transform
• give up (something) in exchange for something else
• remove (something dirty or faulty) and replace it with another
• the substitution of one thing for another
• an alteration or modification
• a new or refreshingly different experience

As Christians we're to be transformed daily by the renewing of our minds.  It's time for change to stop being scary and become a word we embrace with excitement of what's to come.

You choose change because you are becoming a different person entirely, you are being transformed by the renewing of your mind.
You choose to give up old patterns of thinking, ways of living, and belief systems in exchange for the Living Hope found in Jesus.
You actively work to eradicate sin in your life and replace it with fruit from the indwelling Spirit of God.
Your identity is held in Christ, who substituted himself for you.
You are changing daily anyway, so you might as well enjoy it.
And change is no longer terrifying, but it is an adventure lived out with radical trust in a Loving Savior.

And then it get's bigger!  You're not afraid of life altering change because God holds you.  He is not stingy with you.  He is not waiting for you to screw up!  He's cheering you on!

What change have you been afraid of?

Thinking you can control the outcome of anything is kinda silly.  Use wisdom, make good choices, but ultimately God's the one who has got you.  Your job is to trust and enjoy the ride.

Isaiah 49:16
"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands"  He'll never let you go.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Life and Other Such Musings: The Impact of Being Present

Life and Other Such Musings: The Impact of Being Present

The Impact of Being Present

We live in a culture that knows little about being fully present, or even appreciates the stillness of complete focus. Data overload has become the norm of today's culture. We multi-task all the time! Walking and texting. Driving and listening to music. Doing homework while watching TV, checking your facebook, messaging your friends, checking email, skyping, and "stumbling" for new websites that we might find interesting. We do too much. We hurry. We can't do one thing at a time. We call it efficient. But it takes a toll.

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who's phone was incessantly buzzing? And even if they didn't pick it up right away, you knew because you could see it, suddenly you did not have their full attention. They glance down at their phone, nodding, even smiling, laughing and commenting back. But then their sentence trails off. The conversation stops, they cease interacting and they dissapear for a moment into that little screen. That little buzz, bing, chime or ring has the power to draw attention away from face-to-face, heart-to-heart interaction, for a data exchange.

The other day I had an unexpected opportunity to interact with one of the great women of influence in this country: Lisa Bevere. I have been admiring her and her husband's ministry Messenger International for years now. When I was a student at Hillsong International Leadership College we were blessed with being at church that believed that resourcing the Body of Christ is the best possible way to go, and they made sure to fly in world-class teachers, pastors and prophets to inspire us of all the amazing things God is doing on the Earth. In 2005, Lisa came to Colour Your World in Sydney and as a student volunteer, I was afforded a few brief minutes of rest, and got to listen to her session. The things she said during that session stirred my heart in ways that are difficult to describe, I am an answer, not a problem. And from then on I have followed her ministry from a distance.

Years later, at another women's event, I have now had the opportunity to meet her and here are a few things that struck me about that interaction.

First off, she was swarmed by women who wanted to interact with her. At least 75 women (probably more) gathered around her on all sides hoping to meet her, tell her about the impact her words have had on their lives, and get a photo with her. And she took time. She took time with every one of those girls. She graciously gave each person a few minutes to talk and interact, when, in my view, she probably could have signed the book and been on her way. That invested time communicated value to each person she talked to: "You matter, I care, you are loved."

The second thing I noticed is her intentional touch of every person she met. Meeting "famous" people can be an intimidating situation. What do you say? How do you act? Why should they care? The distance of separation often seems so great that we, without thinking about it, become insecure about interacting with certain people. So when Lisa reached out and touched, grabbed your hand, gave you a hug, put her arm on your shoulder, it broke down the distance. Suddenly she was relateable. You are her long lost friend that she's never met, but missed you terribly. You kind of think that maybe you have her phone number and could call her up for coffee because you get along so well. Just like she has mattered to you, you matter to her.

Third, she made eye contact. None of this, "I'm partially focused on what we're talking about but needing to hurry up and get done talking with you so I can get to these other people" kind of sense at all. Looking you straight in the eyes she wants to know your name, who you are, what's going on.. Again, VALUE.

And finally she spoke life. When I met her, I experienced all of the above, but also something much richer. She prophesied into the destiny that God has for me. She heard heaven and released what I needed to hear right in that moment. She said that I was needed, that she (an other leaders like her) are unafraid of the dreams that God has put into my heart, that I have been waited for and watched over.. That they are ready for me to take my place along side them serving Jesus and leading others into His Presence. Not only did I matter, but I am a teammate in the building of the Kingdom of God here on Earth. And I needed to hear it.

By Lisa being fully present, I was reminded of a lot of things. That my words and actions convey value or lack of value in a human being. That if I will take TIME, be fully present, interact, draw people close and listen to heaven as I love on them, that maybe, just maybe, a destiny defining God moment could happen and someone's life could be changed. And it's the same with you. If we will slow down. Allow ourselves to disconnect from our communication devices (computers, tv, whatever!) and make a choice to be here, right now, totally focused on the people in our world we could be used as a mouth piece of God, releasing His plans, His destiny, His desire for them and watch the world change. How great would that be?

Looking around, being in a hurry, glancing at your watch, nodding and then "ok that's great" with a moving on sort of tone, all convey to the people around us that they don't matter.