Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rice Dinner

One of my favorite activities of the year is the Rice Dinner.

It's a chance for us to identify with the 1.2 billion people that go to bed hungry every night of the year by eating a simple dinner of rice and tea one night per year, right around Thanksgiving.

This year we had a small crowd, other years it's been lots of people. I find that it is harder and harder to entice people to get excited about this invitation to sacrifice, even though it's always a gift when it is over.

My neighbor and I had a mix up with the rice, so we literally had a "small pot of rice." We began to stress at first, and then I realized, this is perfect, if we run out, we run out. This is what happens to many in the world for real, not just because the rice didn't get cooked! (We had exactly what we needed, how about that?)

We started out the discussion during dinner with some hunger facts:

1.2 billion people are hungry on a daily basis
80% of the world live on less than $10 a day
Food challenged people in the US rose from 11 million last year to 17 million this year
(food challenged means that people don't regularly know where the food will come from)
Food bank usage in Seattle went up 100% since last year: from 500 people a day to 1,000 a day in 2009.

As we ate our rice and drank our tea, each person studied a country that experiences hunger on a regular basis. Even, Zach, our youngest member at age 7, reported on one his favorite countries: Zimbabwe!

After we had reported on our countries and we were not full from our meager meal of rice and tea, we began to pray. Each one of us prayed for our country, as well as people we knew from the various countries. One of my prayers was for the children in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, especially the girls, that they would have opportunity to go to school.

This is the email that I got from one of the people at the Rice Dinner:
"Today I opened the Parade from the Sunday paper and there was an article from Greg Morten- sen: 3 Cups of Tea author, speaking of his work for bringing schools to Pakistan! God is good."

God is good and when we focus on the poor, he is especially pleased and is quick to show us he is listening.

for more on the Rice Dinner: see Laurie's blog:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

St. Francis of Assisi: One of the First Missional Leaders

As Thanksgiving is an intentional time for reflection, this prayer by St. Francis of Assisi gives me space for Jesus reflection:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me show love;
Where the is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where the is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born into eternal life. Amen.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Community Happening with Teachers from Adventure Teaching and MIssio Lux in South Korea

Kelly Hogan is the Missio Lux Activator in South Korea: this is her update on their recently formed Missio Community:

Thursday nights are going great. Tonight will be our third consecutive
week at Scott and Dionne's. Kim and Todd and kiddos, SJ and Reubs, Whit,
Anna, me, and the host's seem to be the regulars at this point.

Outline of what we do: eat and hang for a bit, pull out a guitar and worship/soak for a
while, which leads into praying, which we do for a long time. Then before we
know it it's 10pm and we go home.

AWESOME things happening though -- North Korea keeps coming up, so we pray into that and talk about that a lot...last week we started talking about how we can get into the country, hah. We pray for healing every week too for whoever needs it... and mostly just sit and
wait on God, see what the Spirit wants to do, etc. It's been super fruitful
for each of us I think, definitely something we all look forward to each

Stuff with the gals is INCREDIBLE... I think one of the tell-tale signs that
it's the Lord working is when things are ACCELERATED and that is the only
way to explain what has been happening between the eight of us. In the last
two weeks -- well, ever since that last Sunday night when you were here,
which, by the way, was super powerful for each of them -- there has been a
sudden increase in vulnerability and depth of love and selflessness in each
of us.

Whenever we're together (which is most of the time) there is such a
sweet, sensitive spirit in our midst, and we all sense it. Last week we met a gal and she immediately clicked with us -- so of course we
took her under our wing and made her hang with us all day. Unfortunantly she
lives like 40min south of Suwon or something crazy, but when we were having
lunch she said to us with tears in her eyes, "I've been here
for 2 months and haven't met that many people -- I'm not kidding, just last
week I asked my family and friends to start praying that God would give me
friends here..." at which point Tayla quickly replies, "He-LLO girl, at your
service!" Ha. Oh Tayla.

Anyway. Whit and I are continually becoming more intentional and meet weekly
(just us) to pray and talk about how we can serve them better. It's awesome,
finally feels like a partnership! And it's so powerful to watch God work and
move in each of our lives, healing and restoring and redeeming as we all
learn how to love one another.

And finally, Kim. Oh that woman. This week she, Mindy, Tayla, and
Katie officially started a bible study on Thursday mornings. Because
everyone sleeps over at Whit's on Wednesday nights, and those that don't
have to work early head over to Kim's for breakfast and tea.

So. Community is happening everywhere. It's beautiful. We're all talking and
praying and wondering if we're going to stay longer than we originally
planned. Well... me, Whit, Tayla, Katie, and Mindy. Those are the people
I've talked to about the possibility of staying longer. Obviously it's
really far away for everyone but Whit, but we're all really open to whatever
God wants to do.

Annika Gives Her Birthday Away

Last night I attended Annika's birthday party. She turned 11 last week, and invited 8 girls, her Great Aunt Lillian and myself to the party!

Why did she invite me? Because she gave her birthday party away!

Annika made the decision when she attended one of the Children's of the Nations ( food assemblies in August that her best pick for a birthday party would be inviting her 11 year old friends to come to assemble bags of food for starving children in Africa and the Dominican Republic.

It was great fun watching 11 year olds pour the lentils, spice, chicken, rice into bags, which then went to the sealer who sealed them for two seconds and then threw them over their heads to the boxers who were awaiting food! (At least most of the food went into the bags: there was pretty much lentils, spice, chicken, rice all over when they finished!)

I couldn't help but observe that this birthday party wasn't your usual Plateau, (as we are called up on this 500 foot hill in Washington), party! Many girls at this age are having nail parties, or spa parties, or trying to outdo one another by the next and latest idea. But, Annika's parents mentioned that they wondered if she would change her mind on her birthday desire. They said she never wavered. She kept on talking about her dream for her party to make a difference to hungry children in places far away from her.

This is Missio Lux in action.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Who do we Reflect?

“Deepening our Identity as Followers of Jesus”

Many years ago I had an experience that surprised me. I was speaking with a small group of women, one that I had never met before. I was envying her thin body, allowing myself to focus on the “challenge areas” of my body. I can still remember the feeling that came over me. . . certainly not one that brought me to the awareness of my true identity as God’s beloved child!

Interestingly, while I was focusing on my short-comings, she was seeing something totally different in me. She told our mutual friend that when she looked at me, she saw almost a shining light filled with gold. It struck her and she ended up asking our friend more about what that could have been.

I now know that it is the glory of the Lord that shines through us when we follow Jesus. 2nd Corinthians 3:18 tells us “And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.”

I can still remember the first time I read this verse.

My heart skipped a beat, thinking, “Could that really be possible that I reflect God’s glory?

Could Jesus really see himself when he sees me?”

Imagine holding up a mirror and when you look into it, you see Jesus instead of your face. Do you have a hard time doing that? I do, except for when I remember this Scripture, and my commitment that the Bible is true and so I choose to believe what it says. It says that “I am a mirror that brightly reflects the glory of the Lord.”

In other words, when people look at us, they see Jesus. When God looks at us, he sees himself. Wow! Once again, this one Scripture can change our whole life if we choose to align our minds with God’s mind.

1st Corinthians 6:19 states, “Don’t you realize that your body is the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?”

Our identity is formed by the reality that when we make the decision to pattern our lives after Jesus’ life, we actually have a physical change in our bodies. The Holy Spirit moves in to live with us!

What are the implications of this? Several things come to my mind. One is that we have the Healer living within us, so it is simple to pray for healing and to expect it to happen. Jesus healed because he was pointing to the Kingdom of God present on earth, bringing forth the ending of suffering.

We can also enter into conversation with God at any point of our day. We don’t have to be in a church building, or on our knees, or even alone. We can have an on-going dialogue all day, recognizing that we are known and valued by the One who lives within us.

We can also anticipate worship in the inner throne room. In the Old Testament, only one priest could enter into the Holy of Holies, one time per year. Now, the Holy of Holies is within us, the place of God’s greatest dwellings.

This reminds me that we don’t have to wait until we die until we start experiencing Heaven. Jesus told the Pharisees, (the ones anticipating the Messiah, but missing the reality that he was standing right in front of him), "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation,nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you."

The Kingdom of God is present to bring heaven to earth, to bring today what God originally created in this world: a world without sickness, suffering, violence, poverty, alienation, and death. How does this happen? It happens as we live into our identity as “those that reflect the glory of the Lord.”

We have an assignment from Jesus to partner with him to “bring heaven to earth.” This is the big mission statement that Jesus gave us when we told us to go into the world, letting them know that God loves them and is present to save them.

The word “save” isn’t reflected well in English for the original intent of the Greek. In Greek, sozo means protection, healing, forgiveness, deliverance and eternal salvation. When Jesus came, he sozoed us, and gave us freedom so we could be his partners in loving the world.

It all starts with experiencing the loving heart of our Father in Heaven, as experienced through Jesus as he invites us into relationship. It starts to expand as we step into the big shoes that he gives us through our identity as “those that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord,” doing the same things that Jesus himself did on earth.

Jesus tells his disciples, that’s us, “The ones who believe in me will do the works I do, and even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.” He is able to do the greater works because of his love relationship with his father, and his identity as his Son. We are able to do the greater works because of our love relationship with our Heavenly Father, and our identity as his children who carries a family resemblance!

Jesus’ words carry both an invitation and a challenge. The invitation is to get to know his Father better, to experience his love through a daily, living relationship that involves instant access to God because we are home to the Holy Spirit.

The challenge is to take seriously the reality that we do “have a family resemblance.” The mirror is a reflection on God in us, his glory shining through us. I have a Hindu friend that has very intentionally pursued friendship with me. She tells me that she likes to be around me because she likes my “aura.” That aura is God’s glory and people are drawn to it. Look for the Lord to affirm his glory in you too!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Missio Lux connects on November 14th

I was amazed when I realized that we had four opportunities to do kingdom ministry on Saturday, November 14th. This is one of the beauties of dispersed missio community; we can be present in so many ways, despite not having a mega-church full of people!

We participated in the Annual Harvest Festival. It is usually held in the Raineer Valley, but this year it was held in our backyard of Issaquah. It is a chance for families to come and get new clothes, haircuts, food and just about anything else they need for early Christmas shopping!

Our bi-monthly breakfast was held at 1st Seattle for the Breakfast Club! These breakfasts serve the poor and disenfranchised a healthy breakfast of good food, respect, hospitality and connection with friends. It's a wonderful opportunity to take a first step of serving the poor, so we often have families or groups that come to serve.

I was busy teaching a healing prayer training Friday and Saturday. We had 50 people from all over the greater Seattle area, coming from as far as Mount Vernon, Paulsbo and Bremerton. Even though we have only been together for 2 weekends this fall, this gathering of people feels like friends--they have bonded very quickly in their common love for prayer and healing.

Finally, we held a IJM Human Trafficking gathering to join almost 50,000 others across the country who held meetings and dinners to help raise awareness for the plight of human slavery across the world.

It delights me to realize that more and more we are stepping into the lifestyle of following Jesus and finding creative ways to follow his call to bring light to the world.

Arbors Missio Community goes on Missio

We love being part of the family missio community: Arbors. Our motto is "Eat, Serve, Play!" Tonight we got to do all three when we joined other families at "Acres of Diamonds"

Acres of Diamonds is aptly named because I can see that they are building diamonds with the women and children to come to live there. Their stories were heart-breaking, but also encouraging because of the wonderful transitions they are making by being in a safe, loving, boundaried, connected home.

Our missio community has been somewhat challenged in finding places to serve with children as young as 3 years old. Many organizations have age requirements, most of whom disqualify the ages of our children in the missio community: 3 to 12 years old.

Our hope was to find a place where we could come and build friendship first with the families. We delight in taking the men because watching men interact and play with the children, as well as serve by bringing dinner and helping clean up, is a wonderful role model to many whose experience of men has been anything but positive.

We also want to build friendships between the children. We took our neighbors' child, Sydney, because the rest of the family was sick, and on the way she wondered out loud if the children would be like her or different. On the way home, I asked her what she thought, and she decided that they were definitely like her. The children had no problem connecting with one another, in fact, many missio kids were getting just as loud as the Acres kids!

Before we came, a few women from our MC went to talk to the director, Jackie. She is an enthusiastic and lovable woman who has taken Acres of Diamonds from a dream to a reality. While they were visiting the home, they checked out the games. Not too good for the smaller children, so we used funds from our missio community account to buy them new games. It was really fun to see the kids rip off the plastic wrap and delight in some new games with all the pieces.

I was privileged to be invited into the stories of some of the women. I am also amazed at their resiliance and perseverance to be able to rise above their circumstances of their lives.

They asked us to come back~that's a good sign! I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Peter's Story

Peter was one of those guys who got his name changed in the Bible.

It came out of a change of identification. He was a disciple, just like us! I thought it would be fun today to spend some time thinking through his life because there is much about Peter with whom we can identify.

Peter was a regular guy with a regular life. (Actually, his name was Simon, son of Jonah, until Jesus gave him his name change.) He was one of many fishermen on the Lake of Gennersaret, but his life was radically changed one day when Jesus asked to borrow his boat so that he would teach from the water—the beach had obviously gotten too crowded!

After Jesus finished speaking, he told Simon to put his nets down deep for a catch. Peter thought he was crazy, of course, no one did this in the middle of the day, the fish were at the bottom of the sea. But, he submitted to Jesus and was overwhelmed when their nets pulled up 153 fish, more than any haul of fish ever!

Simon fell to his knees in acknowledgement of his sinful status. He recognized the holiness of Jesus in that moment. Wait, it only gets better. When Jesus was checking out who the crowds thought he was, he heard lots of answers, but when he asked his disciples, Simon son of Jonah answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”

It was at this moment of revelation that Jesus told Simon that he had a new identity as his follower. His new identity started with the name change: “You are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my Church.”

Imagine it. Being told that you are the one on which Jesus is going to build his Church. Pretty big stuff, and perhaps Peter didn’t quite have the character he needed for the call. Right after this passage in Matthew 16, Jesus begins to tell his disciples that his true call is to go to Jerusalem and die. In order to understand how this was NOT the disciples dream come true, we hear Peter say, “No Lord, that must never happen.” (They are all thinking, we thought we were going to rule on the throne with you over Rome.)

Jesus lets him know, even if you are called to build my church, you are off on this one Peter! He tells Peter he has now become a stumbling block because he has man’s purposes in mind, not Gods.

You know what I love about this? How much it takes the pressure off of us. We have new names as Jesus’ disciples. We have a call to build Christ’s Church, just like Peter. But, we are given permission to screw it up once in awhile. We don’t have to always get it. . . in fact, we can count on not getting it pretty often.

Peter did it again right before Jesus was arrested. He told Jesus in front of all his friends that he was willing to die with Jesus. Just hours later, he denies even knowing him to mere servants 3 times! Boldness, followed by cowardness.

I think this is why Jesus gave Peter the call. When Peter screwed things up, he didn’t retreat from Jesus, he ran to him. After denying Jesus three times, when he came to the tomb where supposedly Jesus was buried, he ran into it after hearing Jesus wasn’t in it.

When Jesus was making breakfast on the beach after he resurrected and Peter was on the boat, when he realized it was Jesus, he tore off his clothes, jumped into the water and ran to Jesus (of course, once again leaving his friends to haul in a major load of fish!)

We can learn something valuable from Simon, son of Jonah, turned Peter. When we screw up as Jesus’ disciples, and we will, our response doesn’t need to be turning away in shame, but running to Jesus as fast we can. We know from Jesus’ interaction with Peter in John 21 that he will not only give us complete forgiveness, but also a chance to do a do-over until we can make it right.
That morning on the beach Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. Peter answered “Yes, Lord” every time. Each time, Jesus told Peter to feed, love and care for the sheep (of his Church.)

That’s our challenge too. We are to feed, love and care for the sheep around us and to build up God’s kingdom as we are re-named and in our new name is “New Creation.” We are the just like new followers of Jesus.

Here is our invitation: don’t run away when we screw up. Hear the words of Hebrews 4:14-16 as evidence of our invitation:

14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

This is our good news! Let’s run to Jesus as fast as we can as hear the invitation in his words.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Off to South Carolina for the 3dministries Learning Community

We are about to leave again for our team meeting with 3dministries in South Carolina!

This is our second team meeting in a series of four. The subject for this gathering is leadership: a much needed topic for the Church today. I am very much looking forward to 3d's teaching on leadership as I see such healthy leadership modeled from their core team.

One of the healthy areas that drew me to join the Learning Community was their commitment to strong community. They all gather every morning at 8 a.m. for morning prayers for both the ministry and their own lives. They eat together regularly and they are involved in one another's lives. They are the family of God in action.

They also have a strong commitment to abide. They know how to work hard, but they also know how to rest and to have fun. They understand that as we walk out God's rhythm's of life, we will be more frutiful, more contented and more available to his kingdom work!

The third reason I follow is their commitment to healthy relationships. They encourage conflict resolution done in love, speaking truth to one another and staying committed, rather than fleeing to a place of safety. They also honor not only their friends, but also those who have not shown them their best selves.

The last reason that I respect their leadership is that they have a strong commitment to living out their faith as the Bible teaches. Mike Breen is a very knowledgable theologian who knows how to bring it to real life practicality. He also moves between the two sides of invitation and challenge--Jesus modeled these very well, and 3d moves in them in everything they do.

I made a commitment when I was at 3d Learning Community for the Senior Leader's Retreat after one of Mike's talks. I wish he had given an invitation to go forward because I was ready to make a public commitment that I am willing to go all the way with Jesus.

I acknowledge the cost and although it makes my heart pound to write this, I don't ever want to turn back in fear or complacency from doing whatever it is that Jesus asks me to do as his follower.

How about you? Where are you being challenged, literally, to take up your cross and follow Jesus? Let's share them so we can pray for one another!

Until then, pray for us as we soak up some rays in the diamond sand of the amazing beaches in South Carolina.....that is, before we get to work learning healthy leadership!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Another Kingdom Story

When we think of ministry calls, it is rarely described as "altering dresses."

However, this is one of the ways we have been off track as Jesus followers because we have made the definition of ministry call far too narrow: one who is called into full time paid professional ministry.

This is important of course, but it doesn't include all the amazing stories that God weaves together underneath the surface and the radar of others.

I was privileged to hear a kingdom story yesterday that touched me. I hope it will touch you too.

Cathy is a woman who has a daughter who is in her school choir. They all wear the same black dresses when they perform. Cathy undertook the huge project of overseeing the altering of the dresses, over 150 of them. She did this not because she loves to sew, but she knew that she could "seed" the love of Jesus into every seam she sewed.

These dresses will be handed down to others for many years, so she was praying for the current girl wearing the dress, but all the others who will come after her.

The last day before the concert, God allowed Cathy the privilege of carrying his heart.

This is what happened. A mother who had a daughter a bit on the chubby side was furious about how the dress fit her. She called Cathy and demanded that the daughter be given a smaller dress.

Cathy had her bring the girl over and she gave her the different choices. She tried them on. After checking them all out, the girl opted for the bigger dress and Cathy did her sewing magic and made it look really nice on her. The girl was glowing when her mother came to pick her up--she felt beautiful because Cathy spoke beauty into her life. She made her feel like Jesus made people feel: noticed, seen and valued.

Her Mom came into the room and instead of noticing the glow on her daughter's face, she said, "Those shoulders are way too big. You look like you are wearing a sack."

Cathy said she could hardly bear the look in the young girl's face. She began to speak into the mother too, showing the mother what she saw in her daughter. In the process, she helped restore the beauty to the young girl again, hopefully re-seeding God's heart back to her.

This is invisible kingdom ministry. The only one who knows about it is Jesus, and now us, but most often it is left in the invisible place for only our God to enjoy. This is what thrills his heart because he knows when it is invisible ministry, it comes out of a place of humility, dependance and submission to him.

I love these stories in Missio Lux because instead of counting people and budgets to judge our "success" we submit ourselves to Jesus every morning and wait for him to show us how to live out kingdom as his disciples. I can hardly wait for the day in heaven when we get to hear all the stories that never got told of how we partnered with Jesus to help release the kingdom of God into the world.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What's in a Name?

There’s something about our family name that matters. It often identifies our “heritage” or our connection to people around us. Our names can be hard to spell or pronounce, making our experience challenging or they can be something that blesses us by bringing connection and relationship.

My name growing up was Tammy Henke. The kids at school would tease me and call me “Tammy Hankerchef.” I still cringe when I think about it! I always had a sense, too, that Tammy wasn’t really supposed to be my name, it was meant to be my given name: Tamara. I tried to change my name several times growing up but, sadly, it never stuck.

The Bible spends much time focusing on names. The twelve sons of Jacob each had a name with meaning; and the meaning got stronger as they received Jacob’s blessing for them on his deathbed. We find lists of genealogies throughout the Bible, there are two for Jesus: one in Matthew and one in Luke. These are present to affirm Jesus’ heritage.

Names are often changed in the Bible. Abram became Abraham when he received God’s covenant promise (Genesis 17). God changed Jacob’s name to Israel when God promised him that a nation and a community will come from his body. Both of these name changes took place when God showed up and interacted in a way that was separate from their normal experience of God.

This is our reality. We all have a name change when we meet Jesus. Life in the New Testament or New Covenant is as real as what took place between Abraham and God and Jacob and God; divine encounters that change the course of our lives. When we decide to stake our lives in Jesus, we are given a new identity:

2nd Corinthians 5:17 states: “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old is gone and then new is come.”

New day, new way, new name, new identity.

What’s your name? I had an experience where I was told to change my name. I was in Kansas City at a conference before we moved to Seattle. I ended up receiving some prophetic ministry and the first words out of their mouths were “God is giving you a new name (Is 62:2).” I knew then, that I was to go by my given name, Tamara, when we moved to Seattle and not to back down to go back to the old.

This was significant because I knew that I was being brought into a new place in my life that was going to be important. I knew the meaning of my given name: Tamara. It means “Life Giving Palm Tree” in Hebrew.

I love that meaning. I love that it is a Hebrew name that is connected to Jesus’ roots. I celebrate my name because it feels very much like the new name for a new time from a new birth. I moved from being the child of Don and Dee Henke to being the child of the King, and from our primary family of origin to the bigger family of God.

I had another experience with my name recently. It was my first trip out to South Carolina for the Learning Community. At the end of our time together, we were told to go and spend around 40 minutes with Jesus on our own. I started walking on this beautiful plantation and when I came to a Palm Tree, I sensed Jesus telling me to stop there.

I heard him whisper: “You are Tamara, and your name means Life Giving Palm Tree. You are life giving to others.” I said, “Thank you, I remember.” I sat down and waited for more. There wasn’t anymore. Dead Silence. After about 20 minutes, I gave up and walked back to our meeting area.

When we were asked to share, we asked what we would take away with us. I said, “God’s reminder that I am Tamara, a life giving palm tree that is life giving to others.”

I was given another prophecy that day that is probably one of the most significant words I have ever received. “Tamara, you need to know where you are. You are in the state of the Palm Tree. You are on the very land where the generals gathered to plan their strategy against the enemy. You are on the very land where a fort was built with Palm Wood that was literally indestructible.”

It was really true that South Carolina is the state of the Palm Tree. I got to the airport that afternoon and there were Palm trees everywhere, in the lobby, the gift shop, inside and outside. I ended up buying a small palm tree ornament to remind me to my new name and the significance it carries. On days when I wonder if I am making a difference in the world, I look at it and remember. “I am Tamara and I am life giving to others.”

You have a new name because when you made the decision to follow Jesus, he renamed you. You became his. John 15:15 says, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant doesn’t know his master’s business. Instead, I call you my friends.

We are Jesus’ friends. A friend cares about every aspect of the other’s life. A friend is there in times of trouble. A friend celebrates the significant events in our lives. A friend sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs). A friend wants the best for us.

My invitation to you this week is to let the truth of our new name as Jesus’ friends sink deep into the soil of your inner life. Take time to ask Jesus to show you more of what it means to “be his friend.”

My challenge is to take it even one more step. Ask Jesus if he has a new name he wants to give you. I’ve challenged some people with this, and every time, in time they have truly received a new name as a sign of their new identity with Jesus.
Then, share it! Tell other people about your new name and encourage them to step into their new identity with Jesus too.