Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Two Houseguests and Prayer Make a Combo of an Incredible Week

Last week was filled with an adventure. No, it wasn't the kind of adventure where you do extreme skiing or climb a high mountain, it was a prayer adventure.

I invited my very good friend, Becky Slabaugh, to come to Seattle to do some personal ministry and equipping with Missio Lux. Becky was a gift to me when I first came to Pine Lake Covenant as Associate Pastor and she became my intercessor. Becky helped develop my passion for prayer as she is able to see the unseen in the spiritual realm and she was my guide, helping me to understand experientially that prayer moves mountains.

Becky brought an intercessor with her, and the three of us had many wonderful prayer experiences. Her friend, Stephanie, prayed for me and a part of my body was healed.

Our Healing Prayer Team was most anxious to meet Becky and Stephanie. We started with communion which erupted into joyous praise and worship. We finally got to dinner after that, which was followed by a night of prophetic words and prayers over every person present. It went way beyond our usual meeting time, and even though it got very late, each person was reluctant to leave. It is such a gift to be in community and know God better at the same time.

Becky also came to do some temperment analysis to help her finish her degree. She met with 11 hungry people who desired to know themselves better so they could know others and God better themselves.

My house feels emptier now, but it sure was full last week. Full of God's love and prayer.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A New Way to Parent

Sunday our family missio community Arbors met with a new focus for the Winter/Spring. We are learning to parent with a bunch of shapes! No, really, we are learning to use the 3dministries LIfeshapes as a tool to help spiritually form our children.

Missio Lux realizes that one of it's biggest calls it to come alongside parents and equip them to love their children into following Jesus. It is by recognizing that we are the main modelers of our faith to our children that we realize that we need tools to help shape them, just as a carpenter needs tools to shape the wood, or an artist needs brushes to paint their picture.

Lifeshapes is a great tool to give to parents to not only teach their children; but to learn how to walk the Jesus Lifestyle themselves. The first tool is the Learning Circle which starts with a Kairos Moment. This is everything stops and we realize that God is trying to get our attention. When he gets our attention, he wants us to do something and it usually involves us changing our minds about something, or as the Jesus tells us in Mark 1:14-15: Repent. . . for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

To repent is as simple as changing our mind. It is to give up our mistaken belief and take on Christ's mind. Of course, life isn't as easy as changing our mind because a mind change demands a behavior change: this is the action step of Belief.

So, we learned a lot Sunday. We all started out together as we heard stories from the adults of ways that they made mistakes, or sinned, as children. One woman shared that she left off a friend from her neighborhood party. This made such an impression on her that she is probably the biggest includer of other people that I know.

After we had opened up the idea together; the kids went off to play the lifeshapes game. It resembled Mother May I as when they heard kairos, they had to stop. We have to make an observation to have a kairos moment and that involves a pause. They had to turn around with repent: changing our mind. When they heard believe, they moved forward. Sounded like fun to be, I was rather wishing I was with the kids moving all around as they observed the atmosphere of lots of families, kids aged 3 to 11, all together enjoying one another and being loved by many beyond their own parents.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story for Arbors Family Missio Community. We just may stop for a kairos moment and share it with you on the blog!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Leaving for Colorado Tomorrow

Tomorrow I am leaving for Colorado. I am going to be gone quite awhile because I have three reasons for my trip:

The first is to go to the Covenant Pastor's Midwinter Conference. It is a gift to go and be with others from my denominational family learning, worshipping, and connecting. I have missed the past two so I am looking forward to being present this year.

The second reason I am going to Colorado is that is where I am from and my parents and sister live in Colorado. I am looking forward to spending meaningful connecting time with them. I am also really excited to meet with many intercessors who have prayed for me for many, many years.

The final reason I am going to Colorado is because Missio Lux has a presence in Colorado! We have a sister healing ministry called Living Free Ministries. There are so many people getting freed at Bethel that the house is almost always overflowing with people. Our Sudanese brother and partner, Arok Garang, also lives in Denver.

Arok and I are giving a presentation together at Covenant Village, a retirement home where my parents live. Arok has a powerful story; I can't wait to be with him again as he inspires me in my faith by his faith.

I will keep you posted on my time on Colorado; it's a joy to be able to see Missio Lux go anywhere because all it takes is one heart with a life that is willing to invite others to journey the Jesus Lifestyle with them to know God, love one another and serve the world. I am grateful to be part of it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Testimony of Miraculous Healing

I get a theme every New Year's Day from the Lord. I always anticipate the theme and eagerly look forward to my date with Jesus to hear what the new year theme will be. This year Missio Lux held a 24 hour prayer to prepare for not just a new year, but a whole new decade. I signed up from between 5 and 7 am to be ready to receive what Jesus had to share with me.

I couldn't sleep the night before so I started reading a book called "Releasing the Power of Jesus" by Bill Johnson. The big idea of the book was that telling testimonies builds faith for people to believe that God is a healing God. My mind started going and before long I found it hard to go to sleep.

Amazingly, the next morning every Scripture that I was directed to read was about testimonies. I even found the word testimony in some of the passages. I remember writing in my journal: "Lord, I would love to be giving testimonies about these miracles but I have a blank in my life experiences for them." I wrote in the margin, "I feel like he is going to bring these experiences to reality in 2010."

So, the theme for 2010 became: "Kingdom Testimonies" God is going to bring testimonies of healing through realities of miracles, signs and wonders, healings, deliverances and harvests, which will increase the faith of people to believe for more of the supernatural moves of God which will continue to build a momentum of people recognizing the powerful God we serve.

I didn't have to wait long for a kingdom testimonyt to take place. Just a couple of weeks into January, a beloved man in Pine Lake's congregation had a massive heart attack and was actually revived from not having a pulse. The drs warned that hope for recovery was slight at best.

When I heard the news of how bad of shape he was in, I told the Lord, "I am not going to bring the Healing Prayer Team to pray unless you make it abundantly clear that you are calling us to go and pray for life in this man. " Heaven and earth moved and the path was cleared so that the only thing we could do is take a team to go and pray for full and complete healing.

The waiting room was filled with very sad and devastated people. It reminded me of the story of Dorcas where everyone is crying as they remembered all the wonderful things that she had done for them. Peter knew that her work on earth wasn't done so he boldly went in and prayed for her dead body to be made alive again!

The Missio Lux prayer team knew that basically this man was being kept alive by machines, so our assignment was to pray for life to come from death. We didn't do this alone, there were literally people all over the world praying for God to do a miracle.

But, we were able to lay hands on his body and proclaim that the body that was present would be fully and completely healed; heart, brain, and all! He didn't sit up that moment because he was in a drug induced coma and we had to wait for it to be removed.

The next day the news was great. He was responding and they took him off the heart pump. His heart began to beat on his own. That night, however, he coded 5 times and he was resusitated. The roller coaster of walking in faith was challenging. I wanted to question what I had believed God spoke about his desire to heal. But, we stood firm and continued to declare life over his body.

God responded. Saturday afternoon he took a great turn for the better and was able to greet his neighbors that night when they came to visit!

The news about his recovery continues to be miraculous. The latest word is that the doctors and nurses are amazed; a word that is used over and over in the Gospels and Acts whenever a miracle happens.

I believe that this year will continue to be an "amazing year" for the Body of Christ as we begin to have testimonies of God's supernatural intervention in our lives that far surpasses anything that we have ever witnessed to this point.

Let's keep each other posted.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Acknowledging God as Sovereign King

Question: Is it easier to remember your employer or that God is Sovereign King over the entire Universe?

Who has more influence over your day?

I think that if we are honest, most of us would say that it is easier to consider and remember the direction of our employer or spouse or even children than God because we can tanglibly see, touch and directly communicate with the earthly people in our lives.

The Israelites could relate to this question. The book of Judges repeats several times that “Israel did not have a king, so everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 17:6) The reason that they didn’t have a king was because as a nation, God was their heavenly king, and he wanted them to serve him instead of following an earthly king.

Here’s the story. In 1st Samuel 8, Samuel the Prophet was aging. The elders of Israel gathered and told Samuel: “You are growing old. Appoint a king to lead us like the other nations have” (translation: we want to look like the rest of the world.)

The Lord warned Samuel that an earthly king would put his people in bondage: their sons and daughters would have to serve him, their finances would go towards taxes, their sons would be called to fight for the king in battle.” Even with the warning, the people still cried out, “We want to be like other nations, having a king to lead us and go out to fight our battles.”

Samuel took this desire back to God and I can hear his resignation in his reply: “Okay, listen to them and give them a king.”

I’ve been thinking about the human tendency to settle for what we can see versus walking in the “unseen realm of faith.” Remember, the definition of faith: “being certain of what we hope for, sure of what we cannot see.” It’s hard to work to feel our way in the realm of belief rather than tangible reality. It takes an extra level of attention and a willingness to believe that our hopes and dreams will be fulfilled. We risk a lot by living a life of faith; making statements that could make us look foolish if they don’t pan out. The even bigger risk is to find out that God isn’t trustworthy after all.

This is what I coming to understand, however. The dividing line of adventure and maturity in faith come with this challenge. Those that are willing to trust in the unseen promises and make the promises of the Sovereign King of the Universe their foundation for life will experience the reward** of partnering with Jesus to bring forth his heavenly kingdom to earth.

God didn’t stand apart from the Israelites. He miraculous delivered them from Egypt, fed them with supernatural bread from heaven and prepared them to enter into a Promised Land that would fulfill their deepest heart desires. Even when the Israelites lost sight of the vision for God as their king, the Lord continued to remain very active in their lives as a people.

This is our reality for today.

Jesus told us “The Kingdom of God isn’t outside of you, it is inside of you.” We don’t have to look for evidence of God’s reality externally, we can begin to recognize and make intentional decisions to partner with Jesus to release God’s kingdom into this earth.

How? Well, each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer we are praying for the realities of heaven to be brought to earth: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it already is in heaven.”

Heaven is filled with the glorious realities of life: health, peace, a perfect earth that doesn’t have earthquakes or fires or hurricanes, deep relationships, joy instead of sorrow, the list goes on.

So, practically, what do you long for to be different in the world in which you live?If you are struggling to accept the massive earthquake in Haiti, pray for Jesus’ presence to be released into Port-au-Prince.

What does Jesus bring? Think about what he did in the Gospels: he healed people, he brought peace to relationships, he confronted worldly powers, he advocated for the poor and the disenfranchised, he fed people real food.

Practically, how can you release heaven into your regular life? Bring peace into your broken relationship. Bring financial provision into your material challenge. Bring healing into your illness. Bring heavenly wisdom into your parenting.

Our faith is meant to be lived where we actually live life. It’s not that “thing over there.” It’s a relationship with the Sovereign King of the Universe who has the power and desire to bring heaven into the challenges of earth. May it become so.

**And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Monday, January 18, 2010

Celebrate Recovery Celebrates 2 year Anniversary Tonight

I do so love a party, and tonight was a big one at Missio Lux/Pine Lake's Celebrate Recovery as exactly two years ago today, on Martin Luther King Day, Celebrate Recovery was birthed. We chose Martin Luther King Day because freedom is what he stood for; and freedom is the pursuit of Celebrate Recovery.

CR was birthed out of a dream for people across the Eastside of Seattle to have a place to heal from their hurts, bad habits and hangups that keep them from enjoying the abundant life that Jesus invites his followers to live with him.

It was birthed out a desire for everyone to feel safe and loved and known.

It was birthed out of a team of people that had been radically transformed through their Christian 12 step recovery and wanted to give back to their faith and life community.

Tonight as I stepped into the BBQ, which happens every week, I saw tables full of people who were enjoying friendships of people that were real and didn't have to maintain any false sense of image.

I felt the warmth and love in the room as I saw people whose lives tell a story of heartache, followed by healing.

I felt the excitement for continued growth, both in depth and numbers, as Celebrate Recovery grows through people wanting what they see in the lives of those who commit themselves to walk the process.

The Rag Band, a team of 5 committed musicians, come every single week and play out of their love for Jesus and for recovery. Jay, the leader of the band, is committed to daily walking out the 12 steps as he has experienced a life of freedom from his past bondage. He writes songs and declares his love for Jesus and for freedom in everything he sings. They are the most amazing gift as they thank CR for "letting them come and play!"

The final celebration for tonight is the reality that a kingdom partnership is working with both Missio Lux and it' parent church: Pine Lake Covenant coming together to support, equip and testify to the lifechanging ministry of Celebrate Recovery!

(Celebrate Recovery meets Monday evenings at Pine Lake Covenant in Sammamish, WA 98075 at 6 p.m for dinner and 7 pm for open meeting)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Who Would Have Ever Thought?

I would never have thought when I went through the prayer experience almost 10 years ago that I would be leading almost 50 people through training that will prepare them to lead others in deliverance prayer.

Last weekend was our third training weekend for Healing Prayer. We decided to open the doors wider and train in a weekend format; rather than in a week to week format so more people could join in.

We weren't prepared for those hungry to grow in their prayer life to come from the extended greater Seattle area: Bremerton, Paulsbo, Maple Valley, and even, Mount Vernon. We were surprised that whole groups of people came; one church had four come for training so they could start their own Healing Prayer Ministry. The group from Maple Valley kept growing because the testimonies of their own healing through the training spurred others to come!

I was thinking about my own experience before we moved to Seattle and how absolutely transformed I was by the prayer. Life got much easier; the struggles seemed to become much less and the sense of Jesus' presence grew much stronger. As I read the evaluations of the trainees experience overall; I got a sense that they were experiencing the same.

Some people get freaked out by the thought of deliverance prayer; imagining it to be something far different than it is. I guess the movie the Exorcism became the measure for thinking about it; but in reality, it is simply inviting Jesus to come and clean us out so there is more room for him. One of the women who went through the training wrote "She was amazed at normal and straight forward it was."

The best part for me is the end. We all gather around candles glowing in the dark as the candles remind us that "Jesus is the Light of the World." We each light a candle, from one another as we state how God has moved in us through our experience of learning to and experiencing prayer.

As we went around the circle, people from very different Christian faith expressions, different ethnicities and economic status, as well as different life stages stated their hunger to know and follow Jesus in deeper ways and their commitment to want to continue relationship with one another because of how God moved in them when they were together with kindred spirits.

One woman remarked on how this moved her; our differences becoming so far less when we come together in unity with Jesus. I stood there celebrating because this was what Jesus had showed me in the beginning that Missio Lux would do; calling people into a deeper relationship with him so that our differences fell to the ground and our love for one another would continue to expand.

We aren't finished yet: the desire to learn and to experience Jesus has called us to create a fourth weekend where we will take all three segments: physical, emotional and spiritual healing and integrate them together.

We are also coming together for the Worship Services and the prayer services at Marionwood and Spiritwood in Sammamish. We also meet the first and third Tuesdays for community and prayer and continuing training.

I never dreamed that all this would happen that day I received deliverance prayer, or that such amazing expansion would take place through training; but this is the result of taking one step at a time in response to Jesus' direction in our lives.

I know that if I knew all the stories of how God uses each person to help others "experience and share the freedom and hope Jesus offers everyone" that I would never stop blogging!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Reflections on Acknowleding God's Kingdom

Two strong themes run through the entire Bible: Covenant and Kingdom. We explored the covenant relationship that God has with his people in the fall when we discovered that being loved well by God strengthens our identity as his beloved children, and it is in this love relationship that we desire to align our lives with the life he taught us to live through his son, Jesus.

The Covenant relationship seems like all we could ever need; however, God in his ultimate generosity gives beyond what we could ever imagine by also inviting us into his kingdom where he reigns as King of the Universe.

I loved the two Christmas weeks. I would get up early, and come downstairs into the real darkness, turn on the Christmas lights and anticipate how Jesus would meet me that day. Each day was a gift as he recognized that I was anticipating his coming this Christmas and was eager to spend time with him.

It seems that I was to be impressed during those weeks that even though Jesus came to earth as a helpless baby, he also came as a king and would spend his life on earth declaring his kingship and kingdom. This is a restoration of how God originally designed the earth.

Remember the Garden of Eden? It was actually a kingdom, and God himself as King over it. He set Adam and Eve up to rule the Garden together with him. Imagine that: humans invited into a role that is designed for God of the Universe.

Read Psalms 146 as we discover more about the kingdom that God created:

Praise the LORD!

Let all that I am praise the LORD.
2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live.
I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.

3 Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
there is no help for you there.
4 When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
and all their plans die with them.
5 But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,
whose hope is in the LORD their God.
6 He made heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them.
He keeps every promise forever.
7 He gives justice to the oppressed
and food to the hungry.
The LORD frees the prisoners.
8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down.
The LORD loves the godly.
9 The LORD protects the foreigners among us.
He cares for the orphans and widows,
but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.

10 The LORD will reign forever.
He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations.

Praise the LORD!

This is the upside down kingdom that Jesus came to demonstrate through his kingly activity on earth. His disciples continued to look for the might and rule that would overcome the ruthless Romans, but Jesus continued to show them through humility and servanthood what a true kingdom considers important:

Justice for the oppressed Food for the hungry Freedom for the prisoners
Blind eyes opened Alleviation of suffering Protection for the foreigners
Care for the orphans and widows

When Jesus began his ministry, the first thing that he did was go to his synagogue in Nazareth to declare his mission statement for his time on earth:

16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." (Luke 4:16-21)

This is the kingdom that God has planned since the beginning of time. Jesus read from the book of Isaiah, written hundreds of years before he was born. Jesus knew that his mission was to restore that which God originally purposed.

Our invitation is to join Jesus in bringing forth this kingdom. It is in direct opposition to the way that our world functions. The world functions through power and authority; Jesus functions through invitation and humility. How can we align our lives to live like Jesus did, caring about the kingdom activities that he shows us through his teachings, actions and miracles how to address?

Our is to live a life modeled after Jesus’ life. He tells us that we as his followers will do “greater works than he did” after he died. (John 14:12).

Are you up for the challenge as we enter into the new decade of 2010? What resolutions have you made to align your life like Jesus to enter into his kingdom building endeavors with him?

More next week on life with the king in his kingdom…..

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Testimony of Growth in Missio Lux

This reflection was written by a leader of one our Missio Communities. It's reflective of the inner work that Jesus is doing in many of our lives. She gave me permission to share it on the Missio Lux blog in hopes that others would have courage to take the narrow road of truth and healing:

Dear Prayer Team,

I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas celebration and are filled with hope for the New Year. I have never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, as they seem to me to be a set up for failure, but last New Years in my prayer and reflection I sensed God telling me that in my efforts to honor others I must also honor myself. I wasn’t really sure what this meant, and when I shared it with those sitting with me around the table at a post New Years worship service they responded that it sounded self centered, and I felt embarrassed. But as it turned out 2009 was an incredible year of self learning and boundary setting for me.

Here are a few of the things I learned (through much turmoil and difficulty) in 2009 that have changed the way I approach life.

1. If I don’t focus on something I am really focused on nothing at all. (I must say no to a lot of good opportunities.)
2. I am responsible for my feelings. Though someone or some circumstance may trigger a very negative intense feeling in me, I get to decide how to respond, and invite God to help me make a choice and act if necessary. This is so empowering!
3. God celebrates, and I get to too, when I learn a new lesson, even if its small and took me a long time to get.

All of these lessons helped me practice honoring myself as I honor others. God created us each uniquely. We are His individual treasures and He desires that we each live in a way that protects and honors His treasure by taking responsibility only for what he has given us so that we can effectively reflect His glory in the world.

This approach to life leads to freedom from guilt, blame, anxiety and fear, so that we are free to love, honor and serve others. I am still working on practicing these principles, but I feel ready to explore what God revealed to me in my reflection and prayer this New Years, “Do everything in love” 1Cor 16:14. This seems like a logical next step to last year’s resolution, but I’ll let you know next year what this one brings.

It’s not too late to reflect and ask God what you can focus on for 2010. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to spend some time with the Lord, and He will show you something to work on that will bring great growth and freedom for you.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hello New Decade 2010!

I woke up early today with great anticipation. A whole new decade. A full 10 years that is a blank slate just waiting to be filled in. Today the weather in Seattle is as about dreary as it can be: I hope this isn't an indication of what the next 10 years will look like.

As we enter a decade with a world globally connected, the opportunity to serve the world with Jesus' love is unprecedented. Missio Lux is strategically positioned to move in ways that will bring freedom and hope to our local and global neighbors; the possibilities for what can happen are endless.

I just finished reading "Stones into Schools" by Greg Mortensen. He is one of my heroes of the past decade because he is a living example of what one life, one dream and one call can do to impact the world. From a bitter disappointment and a wrong turn off a mountain, he ended up with an opportunity to bring schools and education to tens of thousands of children, mostly girls, in Pakistan and Afghanistan, two of the neediest and darkest countries in the world.

Our structure for Missio Lux allows for just that level of ownership, freeing up the ability to move quickly to address urgent or long term needs, as well as the finances to help pay for them. The idea of doing this in community with others who have the same passion helps to bring support and comraderie, as well an opportunity for life time friendships into the mix.

So, what is your dream?

Here are just a few of mine: if we ended up with missio communities around the world impacting these areas; my cup would be full.

I dream of communities that have access to fresh drinking water through fully functioning wells.

I dream of communities that have enough low income housing so that no one sleeps outside and carries the reality of being homeless.

I dream of the word "human trafficking" becoming obselete because it no longer exists.

I dream of many missio communities that do micro-lending; bringing hope and freedom to whole villages and countries.

I dream of American communities who have bonded and become prepared for disasters through Map Your Neighborhood Training, and are able to respond with love and care to those around them because they themselves are prepared.

I dream of teens that have dreams and visions that they know that they can reach because they have been mentored and grown up spiritually by their own parents, as well as other adults in their missio communities and given opportunities to serve at young ages.

I dream of Missio Lux representing the whole family of God through presence of different cultures, different ethnicities, different ages and genders and all of them being valued and recognized.

I dream of whole families walking in healthy relationships because they know how to work through conflict and are committed to sticking it out until they reach the other side.

I dream of missio communities that are able to be present for one another through crisis and through celebration; making life richer for everyone involved.

I dream of people walking in freedom because they have been healed through prayer and given a pathway for a healthy life through Christian 12 step.

Most of all, I dream that every missio community, every missio, every person knows that they are deeply loved by a relational God who came to earth to pursue them! I dream of Missio Lux experientially walking in the power and love of Jesus that changes us and overflows onto the people around us.

One thing is for sure; 2010 will bring change and growth. The landscape will be different as the world continues to change, we will too. But, I enter this decade with hope. Hope that what God has started, he will bring to completion!