Friday, December 24, 2010
Anne is a woman who has gone through an amazing transformation. It comes out of living from a different place: faith instead of fear.
When I first met Anne, she was fearful. She was afraid of something happening to her health. She was fearful about her children. She was afraid to step forward and take risks.
She was prayed over at the Healing Prayer Training and her life began to change. She stepped out of fear and began to move in faith. However, her faith wasn't a small step at a time, it's like she became Jack in the Beanstock and could climb great heights.
She was tested.
First, she was told that she had cancer and had to have surgery to remove it. The day before the surgery, she had another biopsy to confirm it. The morning of her surgery, Anne was all hooked up to the IV's and ready for the surgery, but the dr. came in and told her that her biopsy was completing clear. So, the nurses unhooked Anne, and home she went!
Anne is giving God the glory for this healing....
Anne's healing opened the door to invite others to come to the Healing Prayer Training. Even though they all live almost two hours north of Seattle, 12 people from her church have committed to come and spend three weekends being trained. Already several of them have been healed of physical, emotional and spiritual challenges.
One family was struggling with fear again, this time because they have a child who was being tested for cancer. It came back positive. However, the transformation took place in that the Mother was able to release her fear back to God and begin to move in great faith. After she had made that transition, their daughter went through a surgery where the drs feel that they have gotten all of the cancer so there is no need for further treatment. God is getting the glory for the healing, both in the child and in the parents!
God had other plans to challenge and increase Anne's faith! He called her to hold a Children of the Nations Food Assembly in her church for the community. The Lord also gave her a goal of 100,000 meals right before Christmas!
That's a god-sized challenge and Anne wanted to keep quiet about the goal, but then her pastor mentioned it from the pulpit. The word was out! Just a few days before the food assembly, they had only half of the money that they needed.
But, God in his sense of humor, didn't stop at 100,000. On December 19th, the people of Mt. Vernon, WA donated and assembled 130,000 meals!
I asked Anne what she learned from the experience and it was a priceless lesson. She saw how God gave her a call and a goal. She had no earthly idea how that goal would be reached, but she was willing to be a fool for God and put it out there....
When God calls us, he will bring the provision. When we begin to walk in faith: being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see, then we get to see God do things bigger and better than we could ever imagine!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Today is Winter Solstace: the shortest, darkest day of the Year.
Isn't it interesting that Jesus' birth is celebrated in the same week? I keep thinking about how dark the world was when Jesus was born. It was filled with oppression, violence, injustice, and judgment.
The Jews, God's chosen people, were desperate. They hadn't heard from God for over 400 years. They were trying their best to "earn" back God's love and presence by creating endless laws that only kept them frustrated and divided.
Mary and Joseph were experiencing their own darkness. They had to travel to their ancestor's birth place to register their existance. They were most likely being rejected by their families because of the shame of Mary's pregnancy and Joseph's willingness to stand by her. They were alone, and I think, lonely when they realized that there was no where for them to stay after a brutally long ride into Bethlehem.
I think that the first sounds they heard when they entered Bethlehem was the sound of sheep. Bethlehem's main industry was to grow sheep for the temple sacrifices. It's not a coincidence that they ended up delivering their baby amidst a stable full of sheep.
And, who were the first to hear of the child's birth? Shepherds. Those that were shunned by their culture, but were invited to into the earthly throne room which held the King: the One who is the light and life of all humanity.
Imagine. A man and a woman; alone and shamed, ready to deliver a baby that dramatically changed their lives, hopes and dreams.
Shepherds: out in the night guarding the sheep, feeling rejected and dishonored, for their lowly profession.
Bethlehem: a small town outside of Jerusalem, which missed the biggest event of its history because it didn't open its doors to the man and woman who carried the light of the world for all time.
Galatians 4:3-5 tells us that "So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as beloved children."
It was at the appointed moment, that all the circumstances of the dark world, came together and a baby burst through a mother's body to become "the Sacrificial Lamb of God."
When the baby burst through in a stable, the angels burst through and lit up the sky, to announce to the shepherds tending sheep designated for sacrifice, that everything had changed.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
The darkest day of the year suddenly became a whole lot brighter!
Saturday, December 18, 2010
This innovative group of people brought light, love and the kingdom into an ordinary situation and it made an impact on those that were present.
As you watch it, consider what gifts and talents you have to bring in a quiet but powerful way to transform the ordinary atmosphere around you.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Last week I met with a woman who was in my presence all of two minutes before she started weeping. She told me a story of her childhood and current life that felt like a knife stabbing me in the heart because of the massive challenges in both. Her mother had betrayed her in her young adult years and had never taken responsibility for it.
I began to share with her the reality of Romans 8:14-17 which tells us that we are adopted children of God, so that we must not live in the spirit of slavery which leads us again into fear. I like to equate slavery with being an orphan because it paints a very real state that many of us, Jesus followers included, live in. We may have a new Heavenly Father we follow Jesus, but we haven't yet moved into his home or sat at his banquet table. We continue to scratch out our lives in the orphanage.
This made absolutely sense to her, so we prayed and she broke off the orphan spirit on her, and took on the adoption spirit. I gave her several passages to read daily: Romans 8:14-17, Luke 15:11-32, Psalm 103, and Ephesians 3:14-21, and we made plans to meet again this week.
When I met her again, she told me the most incredible story. Her Mother called her the very next day and apologized for her responsibility. Out of the blue! She hadn't spoken to her Mother for months after she left the ball of contact in her court.
She also told her child about the orphan spirit and took responsibility for sometimes acting like an orphan instead of a parent. Her husband broke into tears when she shared this with him, telling her the story of his own brokenness in his family.
As her emotional pain dissolved so did an illness that she had for months. It just disappeared!
This is the reality of what takes place when we believe the Word of God: when we take him up on his invitation to truly live as his beloved child, rather than a pawn to accomplish his purposes. When we move into his home and eat at his banquet table (Psalm 123), we are truly free and it begins to affect everyone around us as well.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
I can't even begin to describe how meaningful this journey has been. I've been so taken with my reading of the Scripture that for several months I stopped reading fiction at night and read the Bible instead. Every time that I got to a new book it felt like I was a child opening up a long awaited Christmas gift. When I would finish a book, I felt the joy of receiving the gift...
I've read the Bible through before; but it's been awhile. After I went to seminary, I would often find myself going deep in the detail, rather than reading quantities of it. There is such a difference between the two approaches.
When we read the Bible in small quantities, we often miss the drama of it.
We miss the agony of the Israelites when they stood pressed against the water's edge; wondering how God was going to rescue them from their precarious situation.
We miss the sadness of the elders as they stood celebrating the finishing of the second temple; as they realized how little it resembled the first one and the glory days of their history.
We miss the fear that the Isrealites felt as they received their death mandate in Esther; and how Esther was able to approach the King in the confidence she received in her 3 day fast.
We miss the confusion of the disciples as they saw Jesus being arrested; and the confusion of the women and the disciples when they found the tomb empty.
We miss Paul's despair as he writes to one church after another as he seeks to help them remember who and what they had committed their lives to. We hear his sadness in 2nd Timothy when he realizes how little he had to show for his life of faith.
We miss the epic drama of Revelations, which rivals any movie drama that I have ever seen.
The Bible is full of stories that challenge us, comfort us, revive our hope, and expand our faith.
Over and over, I sensed the Lord speaking to me through the readings in ways that I would have missed if I hadn't been pouring myself into connecting with him through Scripture.
This is what I think. I think that far too few of us have actually gotten enough Scripture in us to realize how it truly is our daily bread and sustains us in ways that we only know through experiencing enough of it to know how it feels. We read our familiar passages or books, and we ignore the parts that confuse or challenge us. In doing that, we miss the greater story and the greatness of God.
I want to challenge everyone reading this blog to consider making 2011 the year that you will read through the entire Bible.
Read enough each day to make it feel like a novel; a story that connects to your life. Push yourself through the parts of the Old Testament that are hard because there is a reward in doing so; it's connection with the One who Created you, Jesus the Word of God!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
See it for yourself! The fun, the impact and the opportunity to reach out to serve the glocal world! Over 200 people came together from the Sammamish Plateau area to brave the weather and the challenge to help 110 at risk children from Sierra Leone eat for a year.
And, we have enough left over to help 3 area food banks with generous checks of $500 each!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
It’s that time of the year that we are reminded to give thanks for all the blessings we experience. The Bible teaches us to be thankful, and reminds us regularly to make it a part of our daily ritual. 1st Thessalonians 5:16-17 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I have been learning to see God’s big answers in the small things. I heard the phrase recently, “Don’t despise the small beginnings” and it hit me like a jolt. I have big dreams and am often asking God for the big answers, but I knew that I was to begin to see his big answers in the small beginnings. There is a seed in them that will turn into the bigger answers.
Think about the situation the disciples found themselves in when they had a very hungry crowd on their hands, but only had a young boys’ lunch of 5 loaves of bread and some fish. All they could see was the hungry crowd, but Jesus saw something different. He saw the answer to the crowd’s hunger in the young boy’s lunch.
He took the loaves and fishes and the Scripture tells us that “he gave thanks, blessed them and broke them.” We all know what happened! Jesus continued to break up the same lunch over and over until it turned into a banquet for thousands!
We can learn to the do the same. Our role is to give thanks and to bless. Where we only see lack, Jesus sees multiplication. We can learn to do this with our money, our energy, our time, and our food.
Begin to practice this principle this week during Thanksgiving as we are regularly reminded to “give thanks!” See how the small seed of your thanks turns into a multiplication of God’s kingdom.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100
Monday, November 22, 2010
I want to celebrate the amazing ministry of our Celebrate Recovery Leaders. They serve selflessly week in and week out, never taking a break even for a holiday in case someone comes who is need of a loving touch and a caring person.
Saturday my ministry partner, Sharon and myself, led a leaders retreat to pour into them a portion of what they pour into others. Sharon and I are delighted to have a kingdom ministry of Celebrate Recovery shared by Missio Lux and its parent church, Pine Lake Covenant.
Our theme for the retreat was "The Heart of the Father." This has been a significant theme for me as my Heavenly Father meets me lately and shows me that his love for me goes far deeper than I have ever experientially realized.
He gives us a picture of that Father in the parable of the Compassionate Father. Wait, you don't know that parable~that's because it was severly misnamed by someone who needed to experience greater amounts of the Father's love. We know this because he named the story the Prodigal Son, focusing on the sons failure, rather than the compassion of his Father.
The Father didn't shame or condemn his son for his poor choices, but instead came out running at record speed, threw his arms around him, called for his coat, his ring and his shoes to be restored to him, and then threw a gigantic party for his son! What a welcome he received.
We also watched a clip from Blood Diamonds, a very moving segment of a Father who had been searching everywhere to find his son, only to find him as a brainwashed child soldier who was pointing a gun at his head. He didn't run in fear, but kept speaking to his son about his true identity and his love for him. Eventually the boy put down the gun and fell crying into his arms.
We listened to a song by Kim Walker called "Oh, How He Loves Me," where she sings that if grace were an ocean, we would all be sinking, and heaven reaches down and gives us a sloppy wet kiss. Her songs rings through my head these days as I experience deeper waves of my Father's love.
We reflected on where we weren't yet living life fully with our Father. Then we took the powerful and living Scriptures and confessed our lack and replaced it with the full generosity of the Father.
And, we committed to support and hold one another accountable to continue the journey of freedom to the Father's heart as we experience the abundant life Jesus purchased for us.
Even though Sharon and I were leading the retreat, it was a time of rest and peace for us as we experienced that deeper place with our Father and one another.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Tomorrow Missio Lux is hosting a Food Packaging Missio, by partnering with Children of the Nations. This is a fun, but impactful opportunity for families, neighborhoods, sports teams, service clubs and missio communities to come together to package meals for the least of the least children in Sierra Leone. Each meal provides a perfect protein with exact nutritional support for the children to grow up as their bodies are meant to grow.
Amazingly, our small start of change in banks, (the child's lunch) has turned into 40,000 meals already donated.
How did this happen? Good question, I would love to answer it!
Missio Lux has a unique financial structure. We live sacrificially by not renting a building, paying staff salaries, or investing in programs, but instead free up 75% of the funds for each missio community to live out their missio purpose.
When we decided to host this missio, we asked the different missio communities if they would like to contribute something towards the food assembly. This would give them the opportunity to freely ask guests to come without worrying if they would contribute to the funds to purchase the 40,000 meals.
I guess I expected a few hundred here or there, but instead the missio communities donated so generously that we came within a few hundred dollars of our $10,000 goal!
It has created an overflow of funds so that we hope to be able to give at least $1,000 each to three area food banks so help stock their shelves, thereby creating a GLOCAL (global and local) opportunity to extend lavish generousity.
Our friend Fraser from COTNI (Children of the Nations) asked me a couple of weeks ago how our fund raising was going, and it made me almost tearful with joy to be able to tell him that we had raised close to our full goal, and would most certainly have it by our start date!
We have it and much more.
I hope you can stop by tomorrow (or if you are reading this from afar--check out our videos in a couple of weeks) to see how God multiplied a child's lunch into a meal for thousands of hungry children in Sierra Leone and in our own community.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Last week we explored the concept of Shekinah Glory. The word “Shekinah” means a dwelling place for God and glory, the presence of God so literally Shekinah Glory is a dwelling place for the presence of God.
It’s easy to imagine that Jesus was a “dwelling place for the presence of God,” it’s a bigger stretch to believe it for ourselves. One of the reasons for this is our constant question, “Do I measure up?”
This is the question that the Serpent put in the minds of Adam and Eve and he finds that the strategy continues to be quite effective even today. The interesting thing about the question is that the Snake got Adam and Eve to question what they already possessed. They already lived as Shekinah Glory because of their relationship to God.
We need to start living in the truth regarding our status as Shekinah Glory as well.
Remember the Tabernacle and the Temple? Both times that the work on them was completely finished, the Shekinah Glory came upon them. The glory was so great that even Moses and the Priests couldn’t do anything but fall down and worship.
Do you remember what Jesus’ last words on earth were before he died? John 19 tells us “Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, ‘It is finished!’ Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.”
Those words are key to unlocking the question of our worthiness to live as Shekinah Glory. When everything was finished for the Tabernacle, the Shekinah Glory came. When everything was finished for the Temple, the Shekinah Glory came. When Jesus had finished everything, he shined as Shekinah Glory, even as he took his last earthly breath.
Imagine that. The moment of his greatest glory on earth was not when he was transfigured on the mountain, or when he raised Lazarus from the dead, or when he calmed the storm, or when he fed thousands for lunch.
The moment of his greatest glory was when he hung mangled, broken and bloody on a cross with criminals.
Why? Because he finished the work so the Shekinah Glory could be released to all who follow him.
I wonder if we don’t shine brightest when we are most out of our element of comfort.
Sitting in a comfortable church pew worshipping probably doesn’t compare to when we are up to our elbows in spaghetti feeding it to the poor. Or, writing a check and sending it to an African country probably doesn’t compare to when we go to visit sick and dying children in a hospital. Putting money in the Salvation Army bucket probably doesn’t compare to going out on Christmas morning to look for the homeless to invite to a hearty breakfast.
I am not discounting the activities mentioned above; they are important, but I think it thrills the Lord’s heart when we take risks in our faith and do things that make us more than a bit uncomfortable. When we live this way, we are making a declaration that we believe Shekinah Glory is in us and it will change the atmosphere that we are in.
Light always penetrates darkness. Have you ever gone into a dark room and lit a match? The darkness becomes lighter. We may think that our light is only “match like” but it still penetrates darkness and brings hope.
Faith is not a feeling, it is an action.
I encourage you to spend time meditating on the Scripture where Jesus tells us that “It is finished.” Consider how his finished work on the cross has paved a way for you to live into everything he meant for you. Pray about what his specific partnership with you is to be. When an idea comes, then act on it! Don’t think it to death and talk yourself out of it. Act on it!
As you begin to act on the ideas that you receive in prayer, your sense of identity will increase more and more. You will begin to walk with a “knowing” that you are carry the light of Jesus and that wherever you go, darkness will flee and light will come.
As we step into the time of year when generosity is more prevalent, consider how you can be generous with your faith. Where will you step out and take risks because you know that the Lord is with you and that you carry the Shekinah Glory that will change whole atmospheres to bring God’s love and purposes from heaven to earth?
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
In just a few minutes, a team of five of us will pile in a car and go to the airport to fly to South Carolina for the 3dm Learning Community.
This will be our last trip for the 2 year commitment we made. As I think about what has taken place since we started; I can only celebrate how God directed us to make this a priority for Missio Lux.
We have started huddle which is our process for intentionally learning to walk the lifestyle of Jesus.
We have Missio Lux Celebration Dinners
We continually know that prayer is the key to everything we do
We understand that ministry in the authentic atmosphere of the home can be lifechanging.
Last night we had our monthly Celebration Dinner. It was pouring rain but even so people kept coming and coming--soaked but anticipating how we were going to experience God's presence with good food, good fun and lively and connected conversation.
Before we ate, I asked people to share what they were thankful for: we moved through the room, young and old spoke about how they were seeing Jesus moving in their lives. It was natural, real and authentic.
Well, time to go. I'll let you know what happens on this adventure!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
I've been so drawn to Romans 8: 14-17: "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God.
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him."
Tonight at Huddle we explored the difference between the Spirit of Adoption and the
Spirit of Slavery. I understand that slavery comes from being an orphan, because no one who is adopted into God's family will ever be a slave. We are invited to the table, given everything we need, and are overflowed with his love.
I was amazed at the list that came up for each:
Spirit of Adoption: chosen, unique, being loved, trust, part of the family, WANTED, provision, security, belonging, redeemed, new identity, new name, rest, peace, SIGNIFICANCE, valued, comforted, nurtured, new beginnings, protection, promise of eternity
Spirit of Slavery: abandonment, SHAME, anxiety, perfectionism, uncertainty, insecurity, cluthing, false identity, BLAME, CONTROL, self protection, hard heart, unprotected, mistrust, religiosity, misplaced love, idolatry, never full, co-dependance, addiction, wanting REJECTION, risk adverse, self-sufficiency
Do you see the difference? One leads to life. One leads to faith.
The other leads to fear. It leads to death.
I told of a story of a little girl who was adopted by parents who had wanted a child for a long time. They had her room all decorated and new clothes hanging in the closet. They made wonderful dinners and set the table, but she wouldn't come to eat. She wore her torn and tattered clothes to school and continued to use her old name. They even found her sleeping in the concrete basement.
She was never able to make the leap from being an orphan to becoming a beloved adopted child.
Did you know that adopted children cannot be disinherited? They can not have their adopted name taken from them ever. It's a law in England, Austrailia and the US.
It's God's law too. It's the law of his heart. He has adopted us and we are forever his. He wants us to know so much that he gave us himself to live in us. The name is Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit in us makes us even reflect our new parents. How cool is that.
At the end of huddle, we went around and prayed for one another. We got up and put our hands on one another's shoulders so that we could experience the heart of our adopted Daddy on us.
Nobody left untouched tonight. To me all of this really is the VERY GOOD NEWS!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Huddle is my favorite time of the week. Everyone walks in the door expectant because we are gathering to intentionally posture ourselves to learn how to walk like Jesus. Every time he teaches us something new, and we walk out the door stronger and more ready to face the day.
Tonight I asked the question of the huddlers of how they were living in the Covenant relationship with Heavenly Father and then in turn bringing his kingdom to earth, just as the Lord's Prayer teaches us: "Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven."
The stories thrilled me and amazed me; I hope they do you too!
One woman started and she spoke of being on the playground with the second grade boys. They were fighting and came over to her and wanted her to pick whose side was right. Instead she looked them in the eye and told them they needed to watch out for each other because they were brothers. She saw their stature go up and one said, "Like being in an army?" and she said, "Yes, protect one another." When they left, she smiled because she knew the atmsophere had changed because Jesus' love had been released.
Another spoke of being able to pray for her patients while she touches them as a physical therapist. She prays quietly and releases the love of Jesus and Holy Spirit's healing power over each one, bringing heaven to earth.
Another woman and her family just invited an 18 year old girl who has been abandoned by everyone in her life to live with them. They are preparing to make full room in their home and their hearts as they love this orphaned girl with open arms.
Another sees Facebook as her best way of opening valuable dialogue with those in her life that have hung back....but now the conversations are taking place and closed heart doors are being opened.
Everyone's favorite story came from Rosemary. She and her husband were out celebrating their 30th anniversary when a group of young adults came in and were being very vulgar with their loud conversation. When Rosemary and her husband were leaving, Rosemary walked over to their table and told them that she wanted to bless them and how could she pray for them? One girl said that she had always wanted to know God and Rosemary was able to pray for her to meet him. One by one she went around the table and prayed for each one of these confused teens. When she left, one of them said, "Wow. What was that?"
That was a touch of heaven. When Rosemary went to bless, the heavens parted and God's presence came and loved each one of his children, his created ones.
These are ways that Missio Lux is living out our Covenant Relationship with Our Loving Father and participating with him to bring his Kingdom to earth. It's not really that difficult when we are loved so well by him.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Our vacation in the UK was filled with lots of good food; especially during tea. Molly and I both fell in love with the scones with clotted cream, and for the first time I discovered sugar and cream in tea. The Brits and Scots sure do know how to live!
When I came home, I was ready to get back into right eating when I sensed the Lord directing me to “change my mind about food before I tried to change my eating habits.” I committed myself to do just that. I could never have dreamed where the Lord would take me in this path of changing my mind about food and my body.
1st Corinthians 6:19-20 states, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
I’ve known this verse for years, actually since I was a child, but I didn’t make the full connection until this fall. It goes beyond just taking care of my body through exercise, sleep and healthy eating; this is of course, important, but it also includes realizing the high calling that we have to house Holy Spirit.
In order to appreciate the fullness, we need to travel back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve experienced God’s Presence in the Garden; His glory was present in Creation and in Adam and Eve. The term for this is called “Shekinah Glory.”
Shekin means “a dwelling place for God.” Glory is interpreted as “the presence of God” so the combination of the two is “the presence of God in a dwelling place.” The Garden of Eden was certainly full of Shekinah Glory.
But, after Adam and Eve made the fateful choice to eat the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they had to leave Shekinah Glory and venture into an unknown world.
God is indeed creative, however, and he brought forth another vehicle for the Shekinah Glory to dwell on earth. When Moses spent 40 days on the mountain with God he not only received the 10 Commandments, but he also got detailed plans on how to build a movable Tabernacle. The book of Exodus records the exact detail that they followed to set up a holy place for God to dwell; one that would move with the people when the Cloud and Fire directed them to move.
Exodus 40:33-35 tells us “Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard. And so Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the Glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”
It’s important that all the work was finished in the Tabernacle. God is a holy God who can only dwell in perfection. Nothing less will satisfy God. When everything was finished down to the last detail, then the Glory of God, the Shekinah Glory, moved in.
As the Isrealites moved into the Promised Land, King David began to long for a permanent place for God to dwell. His son, Solomon, was given the privilege of building it. Modern day estimates say that it cost 16 billion to build and 7 years of labor.
Once again, the Scriptures tell us that when everything was ready, the Glory of God moved in. Read what 2nd Chronicales 5 states: When all the work Solomon had done for the temple of the LORD was finished he brought in the things his father David had dedicated—the silver and gold and all the furnishings—and he placed them in the treasuries of God’s temple. Then the temple of the LORD was filled with the cloud, 14 and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the Glory of the LORD filled the temple of God.”
There is it again: when the work was completed and the temple was in perfection, then the Shekinah Glory came and filled the Temple.
Eventually this beautiful temple was torn down by the Babylonians. This made way for another "Shekinah Glory to come; his name is Jesus. John 1:14 tells us “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The literal word for dwelling in the Greek is “tabernacle.” Jesus became the Shekinah Glory for the world while he walked on earth.
But, his time on earth was short. He lived to be 33 years old before he gave his life on a cross. When he died and was resurrected by his Father, a new way was made for the Shekinah Glory to dwell on the earth.
What can it be? When I discovered the progression and really considered the implications of the reality, I had to sit down. It was overwhelming. Could I actually be the current "Shekinah Glory carrier?"
Could all who follow Jesus?
If I took a poll, I think that most of us would say, “No way, I am not worthy of such an honor.” But, if we answer that way, we are answering with our answer, not with the answer of our Creator and Loving Father God.
If we say no to the reality of being walking Shekinah Glory, we are saying no the work of Jesus on the cross. He is the One who has made this overwhelming reality possible. He has died so that we can be the Temple of the Holy Spirit: Shekinah Glory: a dwelling place for the presence of God.
Colossians 1:27 reminds us: "to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
This is the mystery that has come through the ages of human history. That at the appointed time, we would become Shekinah Glory: Christ in us!
This week, ponder this thought. Don’t just read this and forget about it. Think about it and ask the Lord to take the seeds of this truth deep into prepared and ready soil so that the fruit of harvest comes from you being able to live this truth out.
Next week we will spend time processing what it means to live as Shekinah Glory shining brightly in the world. Until then, practice carrying the light and bringing it into the places of darkness. John 1:5 tells us that “The Light penetrates the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish it.”
Thursday, October 28, 2010
However, think about it. An oak tree starts with an acorn seed. An acorn seed is far from glorious; it is just a seed that is hard to open. But, out of the acorn seed planted deep into the ground, a beautiful, tall stately tree emerges. It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time to grow the tree but once the tree is grown, it is a majestic beauty for all to see.
God gives us promises in seed form. He told Abraham he would be the Father of Many Nations, but it still took an additional 25 more years for Abraham to have his first child. He showed Jacob that the angels were descending and ascending, and promised him that the land he was laying on would be his and that all the offspring of the earth would be blessed through him. He spent the next 14 years working for a harsh and dishonest man.
Jesus wasn’t much different in his experience. His baptism was glorious; he heard the word of his Father speak his blessing and the heavens opened and the dove came upon his head.
I love getting promises. I’ve received some key promises through the years that I continue to hold onto and press in for the Lord to answer. I remind him daily of one promise that he gave me about our extended family about 3 years ago. I tell him that I won’t stop reminding him until I see it completely fulfilled.
I had an identity breakthrough last week. I had one plan for how to spend my prayer morning but the Lord had another. The Heavenly Father came and showed me in greater ways than I have ever experienced what it means for me to be his beloved daughter. It was a glorious day, one that I won’t quickly forget.
I feel disconnected, discouraged, frustrated. My faith to believe that God will fulfill his promises seems low. Yesterday I even began to question if I wanted to continue in ministry; a thought I have never entertained before.
This morning, however, I realized what was happening.
It seems to me that the process of seeing our identity grown or God’s promises fulfilled is much like the acorn becoming an oak tree. The seed has to be planted deep into the ground, fall apart, and then start to take root as a tiny plant, which eventually pushes its way through the ground. There’s death involved in that process.
John continues to quote Jesus, “The one who loves their life will lose it, while the one who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” It seems death has to be involved for the life to come forth!
I can hear you saying, “This doesn’t make sense. If God promises me something, or if I have an identity breakthrough, he wants it to stick, not go underground.”
That’s right. He does. I think the death needs to be in how we perceive the promise will come to pass, or the shifts we need to make as we take greater stands in how to walk out the life of a beloved daughter of the king.
It is in the struggle that we decide whether God’s promises or breakthroughs are worth fighting for.
Do we want to see our loved one’s healed, or our marriage restored, or our ministry take off? Are we able to stand in the promise when everyone around us seems skeptical?
When we can stand confidently in the midst of the unfulfilled promise or the doubts and fears that arise, this is when the seed is breaking loose from its shell and beginning to push through the darkness of the soil to break into the light.
When I was called to seminary, I had a lot of skeptics surrounding me. I had one distant relative that loved to ask me, “Who is going to hire you?” as his lipped curled up. At that point, I had no idea what I was going to do or who would hire me but I was able to tell my relative, “I don’t know, but I do know that I am obeying God’s call for me to go this direction.
I am so glad that this is a seed that I let die in the place of needing to know the big picture because of the great joy that I have had on this journey.
Where are your seeds? Are they just sitting on the ground? Or are they pushed deep into the darkness of the earth so that they can die only to become resurrected into a life of harvest. Remember Jesus and his willingness to go into the dark ground so that he could resurrect life for you.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Arok took time to tell us the reasons for this vote when he was with us. The vast resources of oil are in Southern Sudan. However, the power base of the country is in the North. Because the northern part of Sudan is Arab and the southern section is Christian, this is often the reason given for the possiblity of separation and war. However, the reality is that the North Sudan wants access to the resource of oil.
George Clooney has taken up the cause of trying to alert Americans to the possiblity of civil war. Take a few minutes to watch this very intriquing video and become informed yourself.
CLICK FOR VIDEO
Monday, October 25, 2010
Last week Missio Lux had a great privilege to be with our Sudanese Brother and Seeds of Hope Leader, Arok Garang. Arok is a Lost Boy from Sudan who has made a choice to spend his life helping his devastated village and people become restored and rebuilt.
Isaiah 61 says "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives, and release of darkness for the prisoners."
Arok is anointed to do these things.
He has brought good news to the poor by helping the helpless orphans become thriving children by going to boarding school in a safe and nurturing boarding school in Kenya.
He is binding up the brokenhearted by giving hope to the villagers who know that educated children become prosperous adults who can help to rebuild a village that has no schools, no clinics, no access to clean water or police protection.
Arok is proclaiming freedom for the captives by helping raise money and provide support for orphans from the Kakuma Refugee Camp go to school.
He is helping bring release of darkness for the prisoners of his village by alerting us in the US of the possible impending war in Sudan after the January vote. His village was decimated once 23 years ago, it is quite possible it can happen again because of the political situation between the largely Muslim North and the Christian South.
Arok lives in Denver but he came to Seattle last week to increase his leadership capacity by attending The Pacific Institute. He is doing everything he can to lead Seeds of Hope as the Sudanese leader, moving forward despite the need for the American leader, Angie, to resign for personal reasons.
Isaiah 61 continues to say "They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations."
While I was with Arok last week, he told me that even when he was making the trek from his devastated village to their first stop, Ethiopia, he knew that he was called to help his people. He knew that his life was meant to help rebuild and restore the devastated places.
When I was praying for him along with the healing prayer team, I sensed the Lord whisper, "He is Esther." Esther was yanked from her culture and forced into another unfamiliar land to become one who was strategically positioned in the palace so that when her people were threatened with annihilation, she was able to help defeat the enemies plans against them.
Please pray for Arok as he walks in big shoes. Ask God to give him the wisdom, the courage and the perseverance to move forward despite the challenges that surround him. Arok is tall in physical stature but he is also tall in spiritual calling.
(to learn more about Seeds of Hope to go www.missiolux.org/seedsofhope)
Saturday, October 23, 2010
The Conference that the Healing Prayer Missio Community attended was amazing, powerful and life changing. So, were many of our experiences along the way, both coming and going from the conference. I'd like to share some of them with you.
I've never experienced seeing homeless people in rest areas before, but they were present at almost every rest stop coming and going to California. The first man we met in Washington was 58, had worked his entire life and had been laid off 18 months ago. He has lost everything he has and now is biking in early morning to the rest area to ask for people to help him. He held a sign like most homeless and waited for those who would stop to acknowledge him. Several of our group heard his story and prayed for him. He comes into my mind still and I ask the Lord to part of the waters of provision for him.
The second night of the conference several of us knew that we were called to bless our server at dinner. So, we went to Marie Callendars and met Heidi, our server. We asked how we could pray for her and she told us "A thousand ways." She seemed agitated, discouraged and sad. We passed around the tip that we were seeking to bless her with. Twenties, tens and fives came into the tip. It far surpassed the cost of our meals.
We gave her the folder with the payment in it, and she took it away. But, then we realized that the note of encouragement that we had written wasn't it in it. I went to look for her and found her in the server area. When she turned around to accept the note, I could see that she had been crying. It didn't take much from us to turn her place of discouragement into a time of heaven on earth. When we do our part, the Lord shows up and does so much more.
Our final opportunity to be the Lord's Representatives was with Judy, who sat looking forlorn at a rest stop in Oregon on our way home from California. I got to her first. I asked her name and her story. I find that people are anxious to share their story in these situations.
She told me that she had heart surgery and that eventually she couldn't work anymore because of her health. She lost her job and her health insurance, and eventually her home.
She has been sleeping in her car at the rest stop. She was cold and hungry and needed a shower.
I asked her if I could pray for her. I asked her if it would be okay if I touched her while I prayed. She said, "Yes, please." When I touched her, the tears rolled down her cheeks. I wonder if it's been a long time since someone had tenderly cared for her.
I prayed for a miracle. I asked the Lord to provide for her. A job, a home, a life of peace.
After I prayed, several members of our group prayed for Judy. Rosemary found yet another bag of food in the car (I am telling you, she is blessed in food multiplication!).
Judy was smiling when we left. She had encountered a glimpse of heaven as we shared the little that we had with her. Hopefully, the presence of a God who doesn't stand apart from the people he created but draws near, seemed more real and more present to Judy after her encounter with us.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Just as we were getting into our cars to leave the Conference, a member of our group heard the woman next to us making calls asking shelters to take herself and six children in for the night.
I looked at her. She was dressed cute and looked like any other attractive suburban woman. I approached her and told her that we had overheard her conversation and wondered if we could pray for her. She looked at me, and said, "Yes, please."
Her name was Marina.
She told me that she had to divorce her husband because of his abuse, and three months ago, he stopped all the alimony and childcare payments. She had six kids and they literally had nowhere to go for the night. They had everything they owned packed up in a truck. They had enough money for two more nights at a motel, and then they would have nothing.
She told me that her name meant "Safe Harbor." She said that she has taken in homeless people and now she herself was homeless. How ironic was that.
We began to pray for her. We asked the Lord for a miracle. We began to press money into her hand. Rosemary, a member of our group, who seems to be able to multiply food like Jesus, handed her a full bag of food for herself and children to eat for lunch.
One woman in our group had a special gift of money that someone had given her and she was waiting to spend it for what the Lord showed her to do with it. She gave it to Marina.
It wasn't much, but it left a desperate woman feeling that God had heard her prayers and that he had provided for the next step.
It didn't take much for us to be his ambassadors. Ambassadors live in embassies which are Safe Havens for people to come to. When we follow the ways of Jesus, we are a safe haven for people to experience a glimpse of heaven on earth.
Lord, how are you providing for Marina today?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
We got a crop of apples off of our stick apple trees in our backyard this summer. They filled our trees and delighted us when we picked one and ate it. It was a gift to have a harvest because it had been two years since we got apples on the trees.
It seems that we’ve had to wait for long stretches to see harvest happen both physically and spiritually. But, things are changing. The Spirit is moving very intentionally right now; we are in a season of greater breakthrough in many places within God’s people.
I keep returning to two passages that make my spirit leap with joy. The first one I mentioned last week in Ezekiel 47: Fruit trees of all kinds will grow along both sides of the river. The leaves of these trees will never turn brown and fall, and there will always be fruit on their branches. There will be a new crop every month, for they are watered by the river flowing from the Temple. The fruit will be for food and the leaves for healing” (Ezekiel 47:12).
Trees go through seasons. Right now the leaves are turning beautiful colors of red, orange, yellow and gold, but soon the leaves will begin to fall off and the trees will stand naked with nothing to attract us to them. They lie dormant so that they can begin the process of growth, fruit bearing and harvest again.
But, notice that in Ezekiel 47 the leaves never turn brown and fall. The trees will keep their leaves for all seasons. The next statement is astounding: “There will always be fruit on their branches; a new crop will grow every month.” This doesn’t follow the natural rhythm of reproduction; it is very supernaturally exponentially multiplied.
Just so we won’t miss what God says in Ezekiel, he tells us again in Revelations 22:1-2: “Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit,[a] with a fresh crop each month.”
There it is. The tree of life will bear twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month.
How can this be? How can trees which are meant to bear a harvest once per year suddenly start producing a crop every month?
Look at what Revelations calls the tree: The Tree of Life. God created the Tree of Life to give us life! He put in the center of the Garden of Eden so that when Adam and Eve ate from it, they would live forever. The more that they ate from it; the more that it multiplied.
It doesn’t surprise me that we will find the Tree of Life again in heaven as we all know that we are meant to live forever in heaven. But, it does surprise me that the Lord showed Ezekiel earthly trees that will produce fruit monthly! It seems that the Lord wants us to experience “Heaven on Earth.”
He wants us to experience life in the way that he designed us to live. He wants us to swim in the river that both Ezekiel and Revelations speak about. In Ezekiel the river started out as a trickle but the more that the Lord was present, the deeper the river got until all they could do was swim.
Swimming is about letting our body go into a position of submission and rest. When we swim we no longer stand on our own two legs, but we trust the water to hold us up. It is much like that as we live life with Jesus. We have to be willing to let go so that he can move us through the river to the Tree of Life where we can experience the fruit of the harvest and to eat the leaves for healing.
Ezekiel 47 finishes the paragraph by stating that “the trees will bear a new crop every month, for they are water by the river flowing from the Temple. The fruit will be for food and the leaves for healing.”
Revelations 22 finishes by stating “The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.” There it is again. Repetition. The leaves will be available for healing. Healing of our bodies, our souls, our relationships, and even entire nations. Could it be that the world could even live in peace with one another? Oh, the dream of a world that resembles heaven.
That is God’s dream. It happens as we swim in the river of life, eat from the Tree of Life and pick the harvest of monthly fruit. It happens as we understand that the leaves of the tree are meant to restore of the Garden of Eden, Heaven, to earth today.
How about you?
Where do you long to swim in the River of Life?
Where do you need to take the plunge rather than staying rooted to your comfortable and safe spot?
Where do you want to see a harvest of fruit every month? What dreams are you praying into? Not dreaming? Then ask the Lord to awaken your lost dreams.
Where do you need to eat the leaves of the Tree of Life so that you can live again?
Taste and see that the Lord is good, and that he wants to bring you life. Not just life in heaven, but life today! A life on earth that gives us glimpse and experiences of heaven.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
We are leaving for CA and will be attending an "Open Heaven Conference" at Bethel Church in Redding. It will take about 12 hours to drive there, so we are meeting to leave in carpools at 4:00 a.m. I wonder if I will get to bed tonight!
This trip came up suddenly, but it is one way that we are learning to be responsive to God's voice, as we "throw our nets to the other side of the boat."
It happened one morning as I felt the Lord caution us to postpone our start date for the training. We were to start last weekend, but the leader of one of the groups who is coming was unable to be present for the first weekend, and our daughter was coming home rather suddenly from college.
But, at the same time I felt that I was to go to the Bethel website after two team members had been praying and felt the Lord was calling us to go there. When I did, this conference popped back at me in practically neon lights. I knew that we were meant to attend.
That was only about 2 1/2 weeks ago; but in this short amount of time God put all the details together.
I don't know what God has in store but it feels good to be responsive to his call, even with short notice!
Please pray for our trip~ and look for an update when I return!
I am not the only one who loves water. Trees love water and actually begin to wither when they are deprived of it. The writer of the first Psalm knew this and wrote about it when he stated: “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, but they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. 3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” (Ps 1:1-3).
As you know, our visual focus for Missio Lux this year is The Tree of Life. We are discovering all the different components of a tree, and how our lives can reflect a healthy tree when we take care of soil of our inner life with God, deepen our root system through learning to hear his Written and Spirit Voice. One of the ways that we are to sustain healthy life is to soak up the Living Water through our roots.
Jesus told his followers in John 6:35 ”I am the bread of life. Those who come to me will never go hungry, and those who believe in me will never be thirsty.”
He tells us that our encounters with him will quench our thirst for all time. I think about all the other ways that I try to quench my thirst because it often seems easier at times than trying to connect with Jesus. But, in reality, at the end of the day, I still fall into bed thirsty. Nothing satisfies me like the One who promises to quench my thirst for eternity.
I think it is really easy in the US to find “earthly things to satisfy us.” Alcohol, prescription drugs, materialism, even relationships can all be attempts to fill the void God created us to have. We have enough “stuff” to distract us very often for a very long time.
But, usually, at some time in our life, we are given an opportunity to recognize that the earthly attempts at quenching our thirst aren’t going to cut it. We will still be extremely dehydrated and if we don’t get filled, we think that we might die.
These “opportunities” come in many forms: a challenge at work, a crisis in our marriage, a death in our family, trauma, the word cancer; the list goes on.
Yesterday as I was contemplating all this, I felt directed to read Ezekial 47.
In my vision, the man brought me back to the entrance of the Temple. There I saw a stream flowing east from beneath the door of the Temple and passing to the right of the altar on its south side. 2 The man brought me outside the wall through the north gateway and led me around to the eastern entrance. There I could see the water flowing out through the south side of the east gateway.
3 Measuring as he went, he took me along the stream for 1,750 feet[a] and then led me across. The water was up to my ankles. 4 He measured off another 1,750 feet and led me across again. This time the water was up to my knees. After another 1,750 feet, it was up to my waist. 5 Then he measured another 1,750 feet, and the river was too deep to walk across. It was deep enough to swim in, but too deep to walk through.
6 He asked me, “Have you been watching, son of man?” Then he led me back along the riverbank. 7 When I returned, I was surprised by the sight of many trees growing on both sides of the river. 8 Then he said to me, “This river flows east through the desert into the valley of the Dead Sea.[b] The waters of this stream will make the salty waters of the Dead Sea fresh and pure. 9 There will be swarms of living things wherever the water of this river flows. Fish will abound in the Dead Sea, for its waters will become fresh. Life will flourish wherever this water flows. 10 Fishermen will stand along the shores of the Dead Sea. All the way from En-gedi to En-eglaim, the shores will be covered with nets drying in the sun. Fish of every kind will fill the Dead Sea, just as they fill the Mediterranean.[c] 11 But the marshes and swamps will not be purified; they will still be salty. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow along both sides of the river. The leaves of these trees will never turn brown and fall, and there will always be fruit on their branches. There will be a new crop every month, for they are watered by the river flowing from the Temple. The fruit will be for food and the leaves for healing.”
It’s all about water.
Ezekial got in the water of life and it started as a trickle, then went to his knees and to his waist, finally getting to the place where he could no longer stand, he had to swim! This reminds me that when I give up control and start to swim in the ways of Jesus, I get to experience the adventurous life!
There is transformation in the water. The salty water of the Dead Sea comes to life as it becomes pure water and life begins to happen again. The dead fish become live fish!
Life will flourish wherever this river flows. Imagine the trees lining the shores of the river. They are beautiful, grand and stately, and they are tall! The amazing thing about these trees is that they have fruit that harvest every month! Psalm 1 tells us that its trees bear fruit in their season, but when we swim in the River of Life that Jesus gives us to us, we will harvest and harvest and harvest fruit!
When you think about what you want your life to count for; isn’t that it? To know that our lives made an impact upon another? Wouldn’t it be awesome to die knowing that we were able to start a whole orchard that multiplied many times over?
We were created to be thirsty, but it goes beyond our bodies. Our spirit cries out to be in the river of life that only Jesus can provide.
Take an hour this week to spend in the river. Go to a place that calms you. Begin to dream about what your river is and what the fruit you desire to produce from your tree can be. Consider if this is the fruit that is truly growing on your tree.
If it isn’t, what changes do you want to make?
Joshua told the Israelites to “Choose life or choose death.” Today, make a choice for life; for the abundant life Jesus offers to everyone that is willing to dive into the water and take a swim.