Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reflections on the Tree of LIfe: Seeds that Grow"

Isaiah 61 paints of a picture of the people of God moving from despair and trouble to becoming “Oaks of Righteousness, a Planting of the LORD for the Display of his Splendor.”

Have you been observing the oak trees lately? The leaves are so gorgeous, turning all kinds of colors: red, orange, gold and yellow. They take my breath away in how stately they stand. It thrills me that our Heavenly Father sees his created ones as splendorous oak trees.

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.

Has God ever given you a promise? Have you had a sense that he is speaking directly to you about your identity as his beloved child? Have you ever experienced a breakthrough in your relationships, only to have things seem worse than before?

This is a natural part of our faith development.

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.

However, the very next thing that happened was an angel led Jesus into the desert to be tested for 40 days “over his identity.”

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.

But, I’ve felt rather like Jesus in the desert ever since.

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.

I received God’s promises in seed form.

It takes time for the seeds to become a tree. In fact, Jesus told his followers that “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds (John 12:24).

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.

Don’t let your seeds disappear. Ask God to do what he needs to do to push them into the soil so that you can become a Splendorous Oak Tree of Righteousness!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Challenge of Water in Sudan

Laurie on Lifestyle wrote a terrific blog about the accessiblity of water in Arok's village.

read it here:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Alert to the Possibility of War in Sudan

There is a vote taking place on January 9, 2011 in Southern Sudan about the possiblity of Northern and Southern Sudan separating and becoming separate nations.

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.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Seeds of Hope Leader, Arok Garang, Comes to Seattle

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

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Road Trip Experiences

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.

Road Trip Experiences, part 3

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

Road Trip Experiences, part 2

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

Reflections on the Tree of Life - Reproduction

“The Tree of Life: Reproduction”

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

Healing Prayer Team is Taking a Road Trip

The alarms will be going off early tomorrow for 9 members of the Healing Prayer Missio Community. We are going on a road trip!

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!

Reflections on the Tree of LIfe: the Importance of Water

Everyone who knows me knows that I love water! I always have a water bottle with me. In fact, if I get separated from water, I actually get anxious. The first thing I do after going through security at an airport is go to the nearest store and buy two bottles of water: one to drink on the plane and one for when I deplane.

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.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Soup Night in Fall City

We are learning that it is so simple to be a witness and to offer the loving, welcoming hospitality of Jesus. The Kraft family is practicing this in Fall City when they offer Soup Night to their neighbors.

One Thursday night a month, they invite the neighbors around them to come to their house for a simple meal of soup and bread. Last week, six families came to their home for Soup Night! One woman said, "I've lived here since 1983 and this is the first time that it's felt like an actual neighborhood."

Now the neighbors are beginning to take initiative to offer up their homes. One family is going to have a cookie exchange in December; others want to start bringing soup. It's beginning to multiply in a natural, organic friendly way.

A few years ago I was part of a team in my church that held an evangelism conference to equip people to be witnesses for Jesus. But, we never thought of how simple it can be and natural when we are willing to open our home and provide a cup of cold water and hot soup to those around us.

I am thrillled with the change taking place....maybe you would like to try it out too! If you do, let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Missio Lux Weekly Reflection

Missio Lux Weekly Reflection
October 5, 2010

“The Tree of Life: the Bible”

I’ve been studying the brain the past few weeks and I continue to be amazed at how our thoughts, our responses to our thoughts and the commandments of the Bible are integrated. I have been repeatedly reminded that when I follow the ways that the Bible teaches me to live, I will have a healthy brain, body and life.

Deuteronomy 30 tells us to choose life or to choose death. I am coming to understand that our thoughts are vital in this commandment. When we think a fear thought, it actually sends a negative chemical into our body that helps to build a bush (the technical word is dentite) that becomes black and mangled. When we think a faith filled thought, it releases a healthy chemical into our body which builds healthy trees. Dr. Caroline Leaf, a neuroscientist who is also a Christian, calls our healthy thought “a breeze through the trees.” Healthy trees create healthy forests in our mind and body which build a strong foundation for which to live.

Do you remember Joshua? He was Moses’ right hand person and when Moses died, the Lord came to Joshua with a message. He was to lead the Israelite Nation to enter into the Promised Land. Joshua needed to be building healthy trees in his brain through faith filled thoughts so he listened carefully as the Lord gave him the key to being able to fulfill his huge calling.

This is the key: “Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

The key for Joshua to carry out his assignment was to follow the Scripture (which at that time was the Law). He was told that if he carefully obeyed the law, not deviating in any way from it, he would be successful. Then, just to make sure that he heard that word, God told him again: “If you meditate on the Scripture, you will be prosperous and successful.”

It’s an equation that makes sense: God’s way to live found in Scriptural instruction + what we are called to do = success.

It may make sense, but I find myself wondering how seriously we take Joshua’s commandment? Wasn’t that just for Joshua, after all he had a big job to do? It surely doesn’t fit into my small job as an office receptionist, or a stay at home Mom, or even a Microsoft or Boeing employee.

Or, does it? Have we gotten so far from what the Scripture tells us to do that we aren’t even sure what it says? Have we chosen to base our guidance on other things? Information is at an all time high right now, but our knowledge of how to live successfully, not just in terms of finances, but in health and relationships and integrated lifestyle, is actually declining. Information doesn’t equate to success, it can at times overwhelm and mislead.

If you like the idea of living a successful and prosperous life, then make the intentional connection to following God’s guidance to Joshua: know what the Bible says, think about it through your day, and follow it wholeheartedly!

So, I hear the question, how do I know what it says? Where do I start?

Missio Lux held a training at our kickoff for ways to engage the Bible. Keith Ferrin from “”That You May Know Ministries” led the training (

Here are a few of his suggestions to help get you started:

Build a Foundation through reading the Bible;

Pray before you start asking for God to reveal his Word to you and pray after that God would continue to impress his Word into your thought life.

Read Continuously: read a book from the Bible in one sitting/look for natural breaks in longer books/read for purpose, theme and context/be consistent in reading it!

Repetitious Reading: read it over and over again. Read the same book or passage over and over again: perhaps 30 times in 30 days.

Independent Reading: don’t turn to all the helps in our reading, ask God to reveal his Word. Resist the urge to seek understanding of specifics during this phase.

Thoughtful Reading: work at not letting your mind wander/read out loud/think about what it says/ change your perspective on what you read with questions like:
What was the author thinking as he wrote?
What would the recipients be thinking as they read this letter?
What would the ramifications be if the purpose of this letter is carried out?

If reading the Bible is a new thought to you, here are some of my thoughts:

Set yourself up for success by choosing a reachable goal: make a decision to spend 10 to 15 minutes a day in the morning (or at night) reading. Decide to do this five days a week, so that if you miss a day during the week, you don’t give up in frustration or guilt.

Tell someone about your goal: Ask that person to encourage you in your goal and pray for you, as well as ask questions about what you are reading.

Keep track of how you see God being more present in your life; when you remember one of the things you have read and share it with others, and look for opportunities to multiply it with those who are closest to you.

Celebrate your success. Do something special for yourself each week when you accomplish your goal.

My prayer is that we can all understand that God’s call to Joshua is also to us. We have an important mission to live out on earth and we will be successful and prosperous when we follow the direction God gave to Joshua to meditate on the Law day and night so we can be careful to follow it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The First Celebration Dinner

Last night Missio Lux stepped into new territory. We took our once a month worship service and turned it into a dinner in our home. It was a dinner with no agenda other than to make space for relationship: with one another, with God, and with those in our lives who are hungry to experience what we are authentically living.

I prayed about what to do before the meal and this is what I was given: throw your nets over to the other side of the boat. Remember Jesus standing on the beach after his resurrection asking his disciples if they had caught any fish during their long night of frustrating fishing.

They hadn't. God doesn't bless us when we try to go backward in our lives when he has shown us a new and living way. He wasn't blessing our Celebration Services because they looked like every other church service. It seems he wanted us to take our hands off of the plans and let him lead the agenda.

I asked a simple question before the meal: "Do you have a celebration to share from this week?" It was such a gift because the first one to answer was a 7 year old boy who was the
Student of the Week. It went from child to child as each one answered spontaneously the good things that happened in their week. Then, a couple of teens shared their experiences. I was thrillled, how simple for the family of God to be loving one another in the real places of our lives.

Our last celebration was one that will forever change us as people. It was from a very successful businessman about his transformation to becoming an authentic Jesus follower. He encountered some very challenging darkness and through it the Lord came through shining his light and offering his invitation to LIVE!

He was able to tell his story in all its rawness and the community was able to embrace him, celebrate his new life and to ask him about it through the night.

We are at a point in our lives of following Jesus that we are openly praying for one another. One man is starting a new job on Wednesday and we spontaneously gathered around him and prayed for his new start.

When people began to leave, many of them said, "I could bring my work friend here." Or, my favorite, "This is a church that I can get excited about."

And, you know what, I agree!