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Monday, October 18, 2010

First Night of School of Supernatural Ministry!

Tonight we had our first class! WOW!!! BLEW MY MIND! More later!

Monday, October 4, 2010

SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!!

On Oct, 18, our church starts the first year of a School of Supernatural Ministry, modeled after Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM). We're using all their materials!!! YAY! Someone donated $7,000 so that we could buy the first year curriculum. OH MY GOODNESS I AM SO FLIPPIN' EXCITED, IT'S NOT EVEN FUNNY!!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Redoing the Prayer Room!

SO guess what? We are redoing the prayer room at our church and the youth and the college and career age group (18-30ish) are heading it up this time around! I am PUMPED! The biggest theme we seem to be getting from the two times we've gathered to pray about it so far is that we are moving from a season of intimacy and worship to a season of warfare and praise! Not that we neglect the former, but BECAUSE we've spent time in the secret place and been with the heart of the Father, we move outward and affect our external world with acts of justice and mercy, continuing to of course abide in Him! I love it that he so badly wants us to be spend time with him. It kind of makes me melt. :) And it makes me so badly want to spend time with him back. It's a great circular love thing going on.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I love the night, I love his presence

Something about it - so mystical, magical, spiritual, supernatural. I think the Spirit of God hovers over the city, loving on each one of us, wanting to be close.

I can feel him.

It gives me such peace, such a quiet type of rest. My soul, wrapped in his arms, is completely secure, warm, safe.


I love, I love, I love your presence
I love, I love, I love your presence
I love, I love, I love you Jesus
I love, I love, I love your presence

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ramblings from my heart

This is one of those posts you write when you have a million thoughts in your head and no idea how to sort them out.

......

Okay, two minutes have passed, and I'm just sitting here staring at the screen. I really don't even know what to say, how to begin.

Maybe I should make a list or something?

Yeah, I'll try that method...

* Still no job, though I've had a few interviews.  I'm really fed up with corporate America. Oh, Lord, if you really want me to get a job in some huge company, you're going to have to give me a lot of strength and compassion and patience and love. I just can't conjure it up on my own.

* While I've set this apart as a season of intercession, it's mostly been about me going into the secret place with God and just spending time with him. No agenda. Just wanting to be with him. No list of things to pray for. Just want to look at his face. No requests. At least, not too many ;)  Just want to be where he is.  Want him to be so real in my life. Want to walk in his glory and presence. Every day. All the time. Everywhere I go.

* The prayer torch is going to be passed to us soon. In my state, there's a grassroots prayer initiative going on that is just amazing - churches all over the state choose a week where they do 24/7 prayer at their church, and then they pass the torch to another church. We are going to be in charge of the week that lands on the last days of October and first days of November, right around election time!  That's a big thing to pray for!  We'll be praying for a host of other things as well...
Today the lady in our church who was sort of the visionary behind us even getting involved with the Prayer Torch and I got together to pray.  Some of the subjects God has placed on our heart are: justice, a culture of honor, freedom (specifically in worship and lifestyle), Israel, gathering the consecrated ones, living in holiness, raising up a generation of revivalists who live in the Father's affection and out of that place of intimacy with him pour love onto others - transforming cities and cultures and countries, as well as some other thoughts. How those will weave together and form the main focus/purpose of the prayer room at our church in this new season, we are not sure. But we are excited about it!  This time, I'm going to get a bunch of the youth involved.  Part of the impartation that I received at TheCall, as well as just the work God has been doing on my heart this whole past year, is about how I'm to awaken the Nazarites and the revivalists, passionate, radical, consecrated, burning ones....amongst the youth of my country. OH YEAH!  SO PUMPED!!!  My heart is bursting with DREAMS!  BIG DREAMS!!!!

* Someone donated $7,000 dollars to our church for the EXPRESS PURPOSE of giving us the chance to buy Bethel's BSSM Year One Curriculum.  OH MY GOODNESS!!! We are going to have a School of Supernatural Ministry right at our very church.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

* I can't really listen to love songs on the radio because they make me feel unsatisfied with my current state of singleness. But everywhere I look I see tremendous favor on my life, and all these opportunities in ministry are available to me BECAUSE I'm single. Therefore, this IS what God has called me to in this season. I cannot live in wishful thinking about being married or starting a family or anything like that. Nope, I'm called to be single and set apart in this season of life. I refuse to mope about it!  I refuse to be unhappy and ungrateful!  I refuse to wallow in self-pity.  This is a blessing. This whole season is a tremendous blessing from the Lord. And if I AM called to be married, then that means that there is a finite season to my season of singleness, and I wanna make my Papa in Heaven PROUD of how I used it.

* Parting thought - LORD, SEND REVIVAL!

Soooo.....those are some of the thoughts swirling around in my head. There ya go. :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

TheCall Sacramento - letter to a friend

HEY LADS AND LADIES!  I WENT TO THECALL SACRAMENTO!  It was AWESOME!  Here is a letter I wrote to my friend Nathan... It's EXTREMELY long, so if you're interested in reading it, make sure to have some time, as well as a cup o' tea or coffee in hand. :))))))

But first - pictures!








My friend Hannah....
My Friend Emily 



From left to right: Emily, Ashlei (Sacramento hostess), me (!!!) and Hannah.
BETHEL CHURCH!!!! WOOHOO!!!
Jeremy Camp leading worship at Bethel Church!
From left to right: Emily, Eugenia, Hannah, and me.


-----------------------------------------------------------



CALIFORNIA – PS I had two cups of coffee and am nursing my third as I write this, so …

Holy Spirit + Three cups of coffee =  VERY ENTHUSIASTIC LESLEA

And you thought you were a coffee junkie!  ;) 

One word burns on my heart. When I wake up, when I go to sleep, when I sit, when I rise, when I’m in worship, when I’m driving, when I’m on the phone, when I’m on facebook, when I’m showering (I know! Crazy!  But GOD IS IN THE SHOWER!), when I meet the broken, the captive, the orphan and widow of our time….  

R  E  V  I  V  A  L

 REVIVAL. My heart burns for revival in my generation, for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on His sons and daughters like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Azusa street? The First Great Awakening? The Second Great Awakening? No, even more, even more powerful!!!!  AHHHH!!!!! REVIVAL IN AMERICA AND ALL OVER THE WORLD!  For the Gospel to make it to every corner of creation!  Not just every tribe and every tongue as in a one or two representatives of every tribe and every tongue…NOOO, SO MUCH MORE!!! God said ASK AND I’LL GIVE THE NATIONS!  Not one or two people from the nations. Not 10,000, or even 100,000.  No, ask and I’ll GIVE THE NATIONS, THE WHOLE NATIONS!  I WANT THE NATIONS TO SEE JESUS! TO KNOW JESUS!  TO KNOW A LOVE LIKE NOTHING THEY’VE EVER ENCOUNTERED BEFORE!  I have dedicated the rest of my life to prayer, fasting, interceding, worshiping, crying out for, inspiring and challenging others to get a hold of God’s heart for the Kingdom, to not settle for being a Christian on Sundays, or even Sundays, Wednesdays, and maybe the occasional Friday night prayer meeting. No, may they burn with such fire that they cannot contain themselves, that their joy and passion has to spill out onto others because their own vessel cannot contain the fire and presence of God. 

So – how does California play a role in this? First I have to back up and tell you a bit about Italy. For a year now God has been increasing his pursuit in my life. He’s always pursued me, and I have pursued back… However, when I was in Italy for four months at the end of 2009 (so August to December), I was isolated for most of the day. I would leave at 8 in the morning, go to class, sit for 4-6 hours of class, get some food, and then go to the library until 7 at night. Toward the end of the semester, I wasn’t getting home until 10, as my load increased and finals were approaching.  My bus rides to and fro were 25 minutes long. It was just me and God, all day long, lost in a crowd of strangers. I was constantly listening to worship music and sermons on podcasts with my iPod. And I was journaling. Journaling like never before. And God just WHOOSH would come upon my heart in a powerful way, breaking my heart for the city, for the country. I saw Italy with new eyes. I saw Milan with new eyes. I saw the people on the bus, in my classes, and at the library, with new eyes. I saw the homeless, the African illegal immigrants, and the marginalized, with new eyes.  There were Ferraris barreling down the street, passing an African immigrant sitting on the sidewalk with a blanket spread out and selling cheap wares, with two underfed, poorly clothed children next to her. That was so hard to see. 

And God pursued me and pursued me, and it was overwhelming at times. Like, I physically couldn’t handle it and had to sort of shake it off, if that makes any sense. Sort of like telling God – hey, that’s too much at once, please back off a little. At the same time, I was telling Him, give me no rest…I love feeling this way. It’s overwhelming, and I can’t take it, but don’t stop.  

So that was an important season of my life. And I didn’t want it to end, even when school was so hard. Because He had never been so close, so tangible, as he was now. In Europe of all places, where other Christians have told me they’ve struggled to keep their faith alive, mine was being strengthened and fueled, my flame was burning  brighter day by day. I just kept going back to the fountain of life again and again. I was thirsty for more. Part of it was that I had a spiritual covering while I was over there. I was living on a YWAM base as a friend of YWAM (I’m not a YWAMer myself, but have lots of buddies that are in it, and the story of how I hooked up with this particular base is a supernatural story in and of itself). So, there was a group of about 10 people that were praying for me every day, as I went off to school and their classes at the base started! Haha!  God is good to give me friends like that in such a post-Christian society! 

Toward the end of November, I stumbled across stuff about theCall, whilst surfing the web for different things. I had heard of it, but had never attended a gathering before. Well, as I started watching different promo videos and clips from past theCalls, my heart was stirred. This is what God had been preparing me for. He was turning me into one of these people – these crazy, radical, Nazirite teens and twenty and thirtysomethings, preparing me even as I’d been abroad in Italy, and now he was showing me how to get in contact with others like that. The YWAMers were already wonderfully radical and sold-out. Some had given up everything to be there. I mean EVERYTHING. But this (theCall) – this was focused worship and intercession for America and for the nations. YES!  And right then and there, sitting in a dimly lit kitchen with an orange and pink plaid plastic tablecloth, everyone else sleeping while I was “doing my homework” into the wee hours of the morning…a.k.a. communing with the Spirit because it’s more fun than doing homework (He was a very big distraction during this time! Ha!)…in that moment, God forever branded my heart with the Nazirite call. I didn’t know when it would start or what it would look like (growing your hair out when you’re a girl anyway and that’s just normal didn’t seem to be such a vow of consecration), but I waited. Waited for God and his timing. 

Fast forward to a few months later, I’m sitting in the kitchen where I lived at the time, back for my tenth and last semester of college, when I get online and find out that there is going to be another theCall, held in Sacramento on Sept 3-4. And I KNEW I had to be there.

But I couldn’t find anyone to go with me, so after a while, I figured I’d just end up missing out. Then, a friend of a friend came back from studying abroad in South Africa, and God had basically told her while she was over there that she had to go to theCall. She had never been either. Well, our mutual friend had been to theCall Nashville in 2007, and when she heard Hannah and I were wanting to go, she made that connection for us, and then decided to come along too. This is when things just fell into place. Bam bam bam. Hannah (the girl who studied in South Africa) had met a girl from Sacramento in her study abroad program. This girl was the only other Christian in the program (!!!!), and of all places to live, she was living in Sacramento (!!!), and had a place for us to stay (!!!). Hannah also had a friend in Los Angeles, who works on Skid Row with the homeless, alongside a Christian nonprofit, and we were going to be able to stay with her on our drive back from Northern California. I also had connections in Redding, at Bethel Church, and so did Hannah. Things were just lining up and making this trip more and more feasible for a group of three broke college and just-graduated crazies.  

TheCall – Friday Worship

Friday night was unlike anything I’d ever seen or experienced or been participant to before.  Thousands gathered at Raley Field, in Sacramento, for 5 straight hours of worship. Everyone from Brian and Jenn Johnson (Bethel Church), Matt Gilman (IHOP), Rick Pino (Gateway/CFNI in Dallas, Texas), and Leeland, along with some others, led worship. And everyone, the entire stadium, pressed into focused worship – lifting up God’s name and knowing that our worship was literally a weapon being used to demolish the works of the enemy even as it was at the same time incense rising up to the King of Kings. Hannah, Emily and I were just 20 feet from the stage, surrounded by absolutely crazy people. No one stopped other than to chug some water for a few seconds. For five hours, we went after God. It was amazing!  I had never seen every single person worship like that. Normally the first couple rows has some radical people, but that’s it. This was a mass of up and coming revivalists worshiping their hearts out. 

I fell in love right then and there with every single one of them. I love the Body of Christ! 

TheCall – Saturday Solemn Assembly

Wow. This day was incredible. From 9am to 9pm, at Sacramento’s Capitol Mall, thousands of people fasted the whole day and remained in focused worship and prayer. There were no breaks. Ever. At all. If you had to go to the bathroom, so be it, but other than that, everyone remained engaged and focused on our task at hand. We were praying for revival in America, we were praying for the end of abortion, we were breaking the works of the enemy and calling forth God’s mercy. We were standing in the gap for our generation and repenting for divorce, sexual perversion, human trafficking, rebellion against parents, abortion, pornography, etc. We went through a time of repenting for our own sins, and asking for personal revival in our own hearts. Then we, as intercessors, asked for it on behalf of the nation, as if we were them. We specifically prayed for California, but we also had a time where representatives from every state came by with their state flag, and we prayed for those states, too. We prayed for California’s governmental leaders, as well as for our national leaders. I mean, so much. I can’t even remember everything! 
There were a couple moments that were particularly heartbreaking. Every time we prayed for an issue, people who had struggled with that or been a part of it would get on stage and lead everyone else in repentance and prayer. One woman got up who had had eight abortions. A guy who’d been living a gay lifestyle even as a so-called Christian, as much as he knew that was a contradiction, told his story of God’s relentless pursuit of him, of how he had literally prostituted himself to men in order to pay bills, and how God rescued him, and walked him through the step-by-step process of freedom, even to the point of him returning to his parents to ask forgiveness, laying down the gay lifestyle, and then getting freed from attraction to men, and finally, the last step for him, being given by God the attraction to women and desire to marry, which he had never before in his life experienced and could not for the life of him conjure up on his own. Not only that, he was terrified at the very thought of ever being attracted to a woman. So he asked God for help. That was a miraculous process for him and today he is married to a wonderful lady, who was up on stage with him, and they have a miracle baby, after she was told by doctors that she would not ever be able to have children again, having had three abortions prior to coming to Christ. Her own testimony and how their marriage came about is a miracle story. 

There was a group of 20 or so girls that got up on stage who had been kidnapped and forced into sex slavery, or had prostituted themselves on their own, or who had come from a cutting/anorexic/bulimic/suicidal/lesbian/bisexual/alcoholic/drug addict background, and some of them shared their stories. Absolutely heartbreaking. All the women everywhere got on their knees and repented for these things, repented for our own sins in these areas, as well as repented on behalf of the nation, and the men prayed for us, and then repented for the things they have done to women, including looking at pornography and devaluing women’s bodies, as we women in turn prayed for them. It was SO powerful. The hardest part of all this was when we got to the part where we started interceding against human trafficking. The guy who heads up Exodus Cry, Benji Nolot (www.exoduscry.com – PS – you NEED to check out this website if you haven’t already), shared with us a story of getting a call from someone that they had raided a place and found the clothes of a girl who had obviously been kidnapped and abused. Benji shared with us that when he found out about her, he asked that this guy send the clothes to him. He told us that what he was about to show us was going to be hard to see but we needed to see it. We can no longer ignore the problem of human trafficking in our nation, and Sacramento has one of the biggest problems with it. In front of our very eyes he holds up this little blue ruffled pajama shirt. We were stunned. It looked like it belonged to a nine or ten year old girl. And pretty much a wail went up all around the place as we realized the implication behind this tiny pajama top. Then he held up the pants, the tiny pants that still bore a huge blood stain on it. That was it. Everyone was on their knees at this point. He wasn’t doing this to be dramatic or elicit fake emotional responses. Rather, he was showing these blood soaked pajamas of a little girl, who literally, only God knows where she is right now, because they had only found her clothes, not her, so that we would recognize that this IS dramatic. This is VERY dramatically evil and we need to fight it. Fight it with prayer and fasting, as well as getting involved with busting it, and repent for what our country has done to women and children, and even men, and the world has done at large, too, because their blood is on our hands and God will hold our nation accountable, just as he will with abortion. In the OT, judgment always came for the shedding of innocent blood. Few things make God more angry than innocent blood being spilled.  That was one of the most powerful moments for me. They told us at the beginning that at some point in this, because we were fasting and opening ourselves up to God like this, there would come a time where we would break. That was my time. I think that was around 2pm or so, but I don’t remember, because the day was long and we lost track of time. But that’s when I broke. Wow. I still get chills and my heart still hurts when I think of that little girl. And what happened next was fierce prayer and intercession against human trafficking, for about 45 minutes.  Two hours later, Lou Engle got on stage to share something with us that was so amazing, I could hardly believe it. At the very same time we had prayed for the end of human trafficking, Craigslist gave a press release that they would no longer offer the section for “casual encounters” and other such things, the whole sexual perversion section, and they explicitly said that it was because they did not want to be an accomplice to human trafficking. OH MY GOODNESS!  THAT WAS THE FASTEST ANSWER TO PRAYER I HAVE EVER SEEN!  We gave such a shout of joy and thanksgiving, and the whole place broke into jubilant dancing, and the rest of the day, we had such faith as we prayed, knowing that God was literally acting as we prayed!  WOW! WOW! WOW!  You can read a snippet of what happened on the www.exoduscry.com website, it has it as one of the main stories on the site right now!  Please read it!  It will inspire you!

There’s a million stories from this day – as it was over 12 hours long, but one other time that really stands out to me was when we had what might be history’s first altar call for people struggling with homosexual attractions or the actual lifestyle. There was such beautiful faith and honesty and brokenness and love in that place, that when Lou Engle got up and said – I have not done this before but I think it’s time we start giving altar calls for people struggling with same-sex attractions – we were all like – Great!  Let’s do it! So as hands shot up all over the place, people gathered around – 20 or 30 or even 50 people would gather around 1 person struggling with this, and we prayed. We prayed for our brothers and sisters who had felt like they couldn’t tell anyone. We repented for the Church’s failure to reach out to homosexuals, for us treating it as a more vile sin than any other sexual perversion, and for not being the most loving community they could have ever found elsewhere…for not having been the people they’d run to first. We repented for how we as Christians have mocked them or not understood them, to the point where so many who have been struggling with this have not had the courage to share it, or have not felt safe. It was amazing and beautiful.  I have never in my life seen an altar call for people struggling with homosexuality. And to see their boldness, in that environment, and to see the love that everyone else had for them, and how much we want to help them instead of marginalize them….now THAT was incredible.

I can’t even begin to chip away at that day, but let me tell you, Nathan, it was ANOINTED and CRAZY!!!

One of the most important things was how often Lou would get up there and say – hey, this isn’t about getting hyped up and emotional for a day and a half. No, this is about being forever marked, and raising up a generation that will stand in the gap, that will build a wall, that will give God no rest, day and night, 24/7 prayer, the burning ones who will consecrate themselves to a lifestyle of zealously pursuing God’s face and favor. They never announced the speakers and worship leaders, because they didn’t want anyone there to “hear this or that speaker” or to “hear this or that band”.  It wasn’t about being there for a band or a speaker, it was about being there for God and for our country.

Bethel Church, Redding – Sunday morning service

Have you ever been to Bethel Church? I listen to the podcasts all the time. In fact, they were a lot of what I was listening to while I was in Italy. I’m also a huge fan of the books that have come out of there, of Jesus Culture, Kim Walker, Kris Vallotton, Bill Johnson, Danny Silk, the Culture of Honor, the message of Heaven Invading Earth, of God’s Kingdom being here and now, of living in an atmosphere of sustained revival, etc. Not only is their message inspiring and Biblical and full of wisdom, but the people I meet who have been impacted by the message of Bethel are unlike any other people I have met.  Their faith and their boldness to lay hands on the sick and pray for them is something I am so hungry for. I want to see God move like that…at the supermarket, at the carwash, on the street corners, in the slums, in the mansions, on the beaches, in the city, in the country, everywhere. I love the spirit of joy and kindness that Bethel-influenced people have. And it’s not just Bethel. It’s IHOP and Morningstar (Rick Joyner – ever read his book, The Final Quest?), and all these other crazy revivalists who are constantly seeking His face. I love it. I love being around people that are going harder after God than I am. I surround myself with people like that because they push me, they challenge me. They are models for me. I read revival books and stories of the underground Chinese Church and the testimonies of the kids of the Azusa street revival, the Jesus Movement of the late 60s and early 70s, John G. Lake, Finney, Wigglesworth, the Wales revival, the mystics of the early Catholic church, John Crowder, all of ‘em – because I REFUSE, I absolutely REFUSE, to miss out on my destiny as a revivalist.  I REFUSE to experience and see and partner with God in any way that is inferior to what he designed me for. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I get so excited about it!  This is where my heart is. This is what I burn for. This is what I was BORN for. I was BORN for revival. I was BORN to see God’s power. I was BORN to live day in and day out in the thickness of his presence. I was BORN to seek His face in the secret place. There is nothing I’d rather read or talk about. There is nothing I’d rather lay down my life for, even to the point of death, if necessary (although – I’m still a little scared of martyrdom, but I figure that I’ll be ready for it by the time it comes – God will give me supernatural strength if it ever comes to that). If it cost me my reputation, if it makes other Christians uncomfortable, whatever. So be it. I WILL have Him. I will have Him because I was created to run on the Holy Spirit the way a car is meant to run on gasoline. I will not settle for canola oil when I was meant to run on Holy Spirit gasoline! YEEEEAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

Being at Bethel, just like theCall, but in a different way, is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. To be in a sanctuary with a thousand people, knowing there’s thousands tuning in all over the world to iBethel TV, that there’s another 300 in the overflow room, that there’s another thousand on their Twin View campus, that there’s going to be 2000 students coming to do the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry within the next two weeks, so they’re not even there yet, and to see that every heart is engaged…is astounding. Every heart is worshiping, every person in the room is captivated by God. Wow. Amazing. I looked around and I’m like – What IS this place?! Seriously?! Everyone?!  And worship was so sweet. So beautiful and so sweet. I felt like I had come home. It was a taste of Heaven on earth. The sincerity, the kindness, the sweetness, the generosity. It was indescribable. I’m sitting here trying to think of how to put it into words, and it’s impossible. So, then I fell in love with everyone there, too, just like at theCall. And I’m sitting here at home in Arizona, missing tens of thousands of people I’ve never met before and didn’t even really meet while I was there. I just worshiped alongside them and felt their love for me and had such a love for them. I cannot WAIT to worship with all the Christians of all of history someday before the Throne, captivated by the Lamb in all His Splendor and glory and GOODNESS. His wonderful goodness and kindness!  

I’m realizing how long this is getting, and at the risk of you already getting a little bored reading the random ramblings of my heart, I shall tell you one last bit, and then I’m done. *Grin*

That Sunday night we stayed in Los Angeles, with Hannah’s friend Eugenia. Now, Eugenia is an Argentine (hello!!!! YAY!!), living in the United States. She actually comes from the upper crust of Argentine society (top 2% has all the money), and her parents are both doctors working at Wake Forest in North Carolina. She came to the States at age 3, and still retains her Argentina roots, but is of course very Americanized as well. Like me, she has country identity confusion – she is not considered truly Argentine to the Argentines, and she is not considered wholly American to the Americans, so she has had to figure out what and who she is apart from where she was born or where she currently lives. I don’t struggle with it very often, and only for brief fleeting moments, because I grew up in the Body of Christ and therefore that’s where I primarily see myself as belonging. I have more in common with a Swiss German Jesus-lover than an American or Argentine non-believer. She didn’t meet Jesus till she was in college, and she got GOOD saved, as in, very much a lifestyle change for her.  We arrived there at like 1am, so then the next morning was our chance to see L.A. Well, MY chance to see L.A., as everyone else had been there before. I had, too, but only for a brief interview, so I just flew in and then out. Eugenia works on Skid Row, as I mentioned before, and she drove me around the whole city, showing me the contrast of dirty, homeless Skid Row, versus the banks and gentrified areas of central, downtown L.A., and the mansions of Bel-Air and cleanliness and educated and cultured atmosphere of UCLA and Westwood. We also drove through some of the urban projects – where they are working on housing for Hispanic and African-American communities. It was eye-opening to see that kind of disparity within miles from each other, right here in my own country. I hadn’t seen that in the States before, so it really struck a chord. When I think of the States I always think of perfectly manicured lawns, houses separated from each other and on nice big lots with pools and children’s playgrounds in the back, and clean, wide, nicely paved streets. I’m used to run-down Argentina, and crammed Europe, where space is precious, but to see that in my own country, and then to see the ritzy areas a few miles away. Now that was surprising. I knew in my mind that it existed, but seeing it up-close and personal is a whole ‘nother dealie. I started really feeling God’s heart for L.A., a city that in many ways I think I had judged in my heart – “Oh, they’re either gangsters or celebrities…that’s what the city is made up of”.
As much as Eugenia is an AMAZING Christian woman who has given up everything to be on Skid Row working with the homeless and women and children, she was saved in a group of Christians on her campus that basically don’t talk about the gifts of the Spirit. It’s all sort of hush hush. They don’t talk about it not being for today. They just don’t talk about it. So, she graduated in May from UNC- Chapel Hill, and moved out to L.A., but has grown very little in an understanding of anything that happens in Acts, or different passages like 1 Corinthians 12-14. Hannah was in a car with her, and Emily (my other friend) and I were in another car, driving back from lunch in Westwood, when she and Hannah started talking about Acts 2. And right then and there, something started happening in her heart. Actually, God had been speaking to her about this here and there, but now, things were really starting to come together. We arrived back to the apartment and Hannah asked Emily and I to share some stories of Holy Spirit action – so we proceeded to share about being baptized in the Holy Spirit, about the gifts that come with it and how it both builds up the Body and is a sign to unbelievers, and that if she had this tool chest, it would just add such a new dimension to her walk with God and to her ministry on Skid Row. As we talked, she started to cry, and said “Oh man, something is happening here. God is taking my fear of this away.”  I felt like we were supposed to pray for her, but I was worried. I walked into the bathroom, looked into the mirror, braced the sides of the sink, and said “God, you are so sneaky. You are setting us up to have to pray for her and for her to see this in action. I’m worried you won’t show up. How can we show her this is real? That you operate this way?” 

“You don’t have to defend me. I can defend myself. Just pray for my favor and blessing on her life.”

“Okay, that I can do.”

I went back out with some tissue paper for her, and sure enough, tears continued to roll down her face as Emily was sharing with her about a God-encounter she had once that forever changed her life. When Emily was done, I broke in – “Hey, can we pray for you?”

“YES! PLEASE!”

So we gathered around her and started to pray for favor and blessing. But then, it started to come, like an uncorked bottle, spewing out everywhere, all sorts of prophetic stuff. Emily, Hannah and I started laughing as we were praying for her, because every other phrase she would just cry harder (but we knew it was good crying, of course), and she kept apologizing and apologizing for it. 

“Eugenia!  You do not have to be embarrassed!  This is what happens when people pray for you and God shows up and reveals how personal he is!  We’ve been crying all weekend!”, I said, and Emily and Hannah nodded vigorously in assent.

I won’t go into everything we prayed over her, but we prayed for a good long time, and it was so much fun. God totally set us up. We were supposed to have left to go back to Arizona at 2pm, directly after dropping Eugenia off at her apartment and getting our bags. But now it was 4pm and we had been talking and then praying this whole time. 

I had felt a greater anointing on all of us after theCall and Bethel, but this was a tangible example of the increase and impartation we had received. This was just pure fun! 

I’ll share one little thing that was special and encouraging to me, even in trying to hear God’s voice more. As we prayed, I kept asking God, “Lord, do you have a verse I could share with her?” 

Nothing.

But we were praying some other stuff and it was really good. At one point in time, we were sharing with her that God delights in her and dances and sings over her. We didn’t realize then how much that meant to her. 

Then BAM, Isaiah 61 came to mind. Apart from being one of my favorite chapters out of one of my favorite books, I realized with great joy that it SO fit her work on Skid Row, and the different things she had shared with us. So I got out my Bible, intending to just read the first three verses, and pray them over her, but then I couldn’t stop. I realized…. “Oh my goodness, Eugenia, God wants me to read this whole chapter and pray all of it over you!” And so we did, and revelation after revelation was coming as to how everything that had happened in her life was steering her on a fast-track fulfillment to the whole chapter of Isaiah 61. She was a missionary to my people as my family had been to her people. There has been a movement in the past 5 to 8 years in Argentina, where no longer is the country receiving missionaries, rather, it is sending them out!  And she is part of that movement!  And all the while, she’d been growing up in the States!  In a non-Christian family, no less!

She was very overwhelmed at this point and just kept saying over and over again, “I have no idea what to say right now. Thank you. This is exactly what you were talking about. I can’t believe how on you guys are right now. God is really using you.” Etc…. And then she said “For example, that part about God delighting and rejoicing and dancing and singing over me….you had no idea, but God has really been speaking to me out of Zephaniah 3:17 lately. It keeps coming up, again and again, and that’s exactly what that verse says!” 

Emily and I squealed and fought to get to the Bible first so we could look it up – Sure enough: “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” 

And then, in a flash, I jumped up and started shouting: “Eugenia, Isaiah 62! Isaiah 62! It continues!  Not just Isaiah 61, but it continues to 62!  YOUR NEW NAME IS HEPHZIBAH!  It means, “my delight is in her”.  HIS DELIGHT IS IN YOU! Let me read it to you!” 

She started sobbing again and exclaimed through her tears, “I HAVE BEEN ASKING GOD FOR A NEW NAME! OH MY GOSH!”

“WHAT!?” we all gasped at the same time. So now there were four girls jumping and shrieking with joy in this teeny tiny apartment because this is just TOO MUCH FUN and GOD IS SO FAITHFUL and he is SO PERSONAL. 

And then I read Isaiah 62:4-5 to her, saying, “Hey, you’re also Beulah, which means married, because God is your husband.”
More wailing – “I’VE BEEN ASKING HIM TO REVEAL TO ME WHAT IT MEANS FOR HIM TO BE MY HUSBAND”, and she buried her face into a pillow. More laughter. More joy. More jumping. More shrieking.

You get the picture. Craziness ensued.  Hahahahahahahahaha.  It was wonderful! We told her afterwards that WE had been encouraged. Yes, it was for her, too. But it was also for US!  What a picture of God’s grace on our lives and what a testimony to him working in and through us. 

So, pretty much a great ending to a great weekend.
----------------------------------------------------
And that, Nathan, was California. You asked for it!  Hahahahah!  Bet you had no idea what you were getting into!!!!!!!  I know it was RIDICULOUSLY long, but I have not yet figured out a succinct way of sharing what happened this past weekend, in my heart, in my life…and how this all ties into what God has been doing in me this whole past year, especially how it ties into the time He and I spent together during my isolated times at school and the library in Italy. This was a fulfillment of so many promises he made to me while I was sitting on a bus crowded with lost people.

You probably think I’m crazy by now. 

The answer is YES!  A huge resounding YES!  I am CRAZY IN LOVE WITH GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  HE IS SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

theCall Sacramento and the Nazarite Vow

Hello dear ones, I am for sure going to theCall Sacramento on Sept 3-4. I am so excited!  I have wanted to go for years!  FINALLY it's going to work out! Right after that, on Sept 5, which is a Sunday, me and my two friends Hannah and Emily will pop up to Redding, CA, for one of Bethel's Sunday morning services. I don't know if you know what's going on with Bethel Church, but they've basically been in an atmosphere of sustained revival for 10 years now, and it's amazing the things God is doing there. It will be my first time at Bethel!  My heart's desire is to one day do the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM), but it's just not time yet. I have to pay off student loans ($30,000 worth of loans) before I can do anything like that. Unless God wants someone to give me a check for that amount of money!  Ha!  That would be totally amazing!  I can't wait to come back and share with you what God did whilst I was there!
For about a year now I've been sensing that I'm supposed to take the Nazarite vow, and God basically confirmed it this past Saturday. I thought he would confirm at theCall, but he has ALREADY confirmed it. I will probably take the vow for a minimum of three months, but we'll see from there what happens.

Aslan is on the move. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hannah's Treasure Hunt Story

The link below is a story from my friend Hannah's blog, and it's EXACTLY what I want to learn to do - Treasure Hunts! A week and a half ago, I met with the team I'll be doing evangelism outreach with - they are a bunch of radical Christians that are incredibly bold and know their identities as sons and daughters of the King. As soon as I get home (I'm on vacation right now), I'll be going out with them to the streets for my very first time.

READ all about Hannah's first time doing a Treasure Hunt - it's really inspiring and faith-building:

Hannah's Treasure Hunt Story

WE WIN!

Well folks, I really got behind on my blog. After being a counselor at youth camp, my family and I went on vacation for a few weeks (which we are still on), and finding time and mental energy to sit down and write has been difficult.

Partly though, I went through some significant discouragement with the job market, getting turned down by one job, having my resume ignored by others, and getting one significant lead turn out to not be such a great possibility after all. It's REALLY looking grim out there, when it comes to the economy. I seem to be making barely any headway! Due to that, and other huge changes in my life, all in one year (graduating, looking for work, significant changes in my personal life, giving up all these dreams I had because God asked me to lay them down, moving to the city where my family lives and trying to figure out where I fit in with things, looming student loan bills that will soon be filling my mailbox, and trying to figure out if I'm on the right path in life, etc), I started getting really discouraged and was moping around the house a lot. Not wanting to share my mild depression (which, this is the first time in my life I've dealt with such deep discouragement - gives me a whole new level of compassion for other people who go through really tough seasons) with all you lovely people out there, I just couldn't bring myself to write anything.

It's interesting, because when I look back on my blog, the first half of the summer was awesome - even though things were hard, I was going deeper into the secret, intimate place with God, and everything within me was clinging to him. But then, as I didn't see things change fast enough or to my liking, I got discouraged...and started going into a bit of a depression. I've had an underlying sadness going on inside of me this year, but only now, this past month, has it gotten so bad to where I just couldn't seem to do anything. I was struggling with maintaining a schedule, prioritizing anything, being productive, taking care of myself physically, getting sleep...everything. I've been waking up in the mornings wanting to roll back over and go to sleep, because I didn't want this to be real. By "this" I'm referring to the challenges I'm facing at this time in life. But please don't misunderstand me. At the same time that this has been a sad year for me, it's been an extremely powerful, supernatural, and amazing year with the Lord - the most amazing year I have ever had! How is it that even though everything is so difficult for me in my daily life, it's been the most significant season for me, spiritually-speaking? I've never loved or wanted God more. I asked him to be near to me, and he really has been! It's incredible. I know this is a test of trust and faith - and boy is it HARD! But I can't give up, I can't stop wrestling, I NEED this - I NEED Him. I know that I've struggled this path month in believing that, I know that it's even hard to really want to make time for God in my day, I know that I'm struggling in trading my sorrow in for His joy, but I just can't sit around being glum anymore. I wasn't meant to live like this. I know I need to PRESS IN for more joy and MORE OF JESUS in my life!

It all broke on Saturday night when I was able to share with some family friends, who are on vacation with us, some of the things that have been going on, and how I was feeling, and we prayed and talked and cried together. It was GREAT! Ever since then, I've been feeling a hundred times better, even though my circumstances haven't changed. I'm still jobless, I'm still very much in debt, I'm still struggling to understand what God's next step for me in life is, and I'm still struggling with the sadness and loss of some of the things God asked me to lay down. HOWEVER, joy and hope have been restored!

Wow, this life is such a battle! We really are in a WAR. There is a war going on for our very souls and the souls of those around us. Jesus will prevail! We already know the ending. We already know that we WIN! His Kingdom will advance. And I plan on being a part of it. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Youth Camp Craziness

Hello my dear fellow God-chasers!

I had quite the hiatus, due to a flurry of interview activity, then an AMAZING youth and college and career retreat, of which I was a leader (and man did I get BLESSED), then like a week in there where there was all sorts of church activities and other such craziness. BUT I AM BACK!

And I shall post an update very soon and get back to all of you, plus send the emails out with the Extreme Evangelism Manual for those of you who asked for a copy!!!

ADIOS until tomorrow (or rather, I guess I should say...later today).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

TheCall Sacramento

Anybody ever been to one of theCall's gatherings?  It's amazing - a huge gathering of Jesus-crazed revivalists fasting and interceding for the end of abortion and a return to God.

My heart burns for my generation


One word written across my heart.



R E V I V A L 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Prophetic Evangelism Testimony

I have made a few new cyber friends the past few days (Hannah, Kala, Lacey, and Diana), and I'm pretty excited to know you guys now. YAY! I'm following your blogs and being so encouraged by your stories. It's so amazing to think there's this whole body of believers all over this country (and world), who are having their own incredible journeys with God - and to have a window into that...it's such an honor.  Just think, I'll meet you guys in Heaven someday, and our spirits will recognize each other immediately.  :-)  Makes me smile.

Okay, so as some of you may know, I've decided that I can't settle for anything other than a supernatural, kingdom-driven lifestyle. I'm really trying to get myself out of my comfort zone, which is to talk and read about supernatural things God does, and out DOING something about it. I mentioned in an earlier post that I joined an outreach team. I got an email back from the lady in charge, with this awesome extreme evangelism manual attached that she wanted me to go over before I join them for my first time going out (since I told her I didn't really have any training and that I mostly operate under the fear of man when it comes to crazy-awesome stuff like getting prophetic words for people). It's 31 pages long and is super intense (lots of Scripture to go look up, and things to reflect on, so it's slow-going), but I've read most of it already. I will hopefully be joining them sometime this week or next week for my first time going out on the streets to do a treasure hunt or prophetic evangelism of some sort. If you don't know what a treasure hunt is, it's basically where you pray together beforehand and God gives everyone a little piece of information - and you put it together, and figure out where you're supposed to go, who you're supposed to talk to, and what you're supposed to tell them, and then you go and do it!  The person you find and talk to is the treasure.... God's treasure!

Prophetic evangelism can also be where you just GO, with no specific word on who/where/how and then you start talking to people - anyone that might be walking along the street, or sitting at a table in a restaurant, and as you are talking to them (about whatever topic, really), you start getting a download from the Holy Spirit, and he tells you what to say to them - really personal, specific words of encouragement, that you could never really know about them, only God could have shown you. This makes their eyes get big really fast, as they don't know how you could know that - and then you have a chance to give all the glory to God and tell them that it was the Holy Spirit who showed you this about them, and that he loves them and has a plan for their life - sometimes you just end up encouraging a believer, other times planting a seed into someone's heart, or sometimes you actually get to lead people to the Lord right then and there (and then you get their email and get them plugged into a great local church that will take care of them as far as discipling and loving on them goes).

Now, I've had a few experiences where I kind of got something in my spirit for someone else - and I shared it, and it really touched them, but it's only been a few times. I mostly don't trust that I'm really hearing the voice of God in situations like that. I get nervous about whether I've actually received something from God or whether I'm just making it up. I've realized I need to just get out there and do it and practice!  I need to practice hearing the voice of God so that I learn more about how he speaks to me and learn to recognize his voice when he's talking. He's probably talking all the time and I don't even realize it!

So, although I haven't gone out yet, I have a cool story to share about my little brother.

Last night, at our church's college and career group (which he and my sister and I are all a part of), we were talking about this very idea that God wants to speak to us through the Holy Spirit and give us words of knowledge for strangers and for friends, all the while loving on them, having a tremendously good work ethic, and being an example of Christ to them. If we would go up to people and say - Hey, I feel like God might be saying that (fill in the blank) - and it's not something we could have known apart from God revealing it to us - that would really impact them with the amazing and wild love that God has for them. This can be done anywhere - at a park, the grocery store, in class, at work, wherever!  It can be a stranger, an acquaintance, or a friend.  If they would see the power of God (words of knowledge, healing, miracles, answered prayers) coupled with us LOVING on them - WOW what an impact that would have on the people within our spheres of influence.

My little brother was really inspired by our discussion, and later on that night, he decided to try it out. Let me give you a little background on the situation. He just graduated from high school and will be going to Yale University in the fall. This summer he's been taking a calculus 3 course at the local community college, just because he wants to be extra prepared for when he takes calc 3 at Yale. In this math course, he got to know a group of young men about a year older than him that were seated at the same table (they sit at round tables and work on projects together in class). During this time, they really noticed his solid work ethic and his integrity. Whenever they had questions on anything, he would never give them the answer, but would teach them how to figure out the problem, so that they would learn the material. Anyway, there was also a Korean lady seated at his table who was in her 40s and doesn't speak very good English, but was going back to school to get a math education degree so she can teach someday. My little brother saw she needed help wading past the English in order to learn the math behind it all, and so he actually began to tutor her personally. The guys in the group noticed this about him, too.  Then, another thing happened. These young men invited him to watch a movie (there are four guys at this table, including my brother), and he said he was fine with it, but that if they were going to choose a rated R movie, the only request he had was that it not be rated R for sexuality (he figured they'd probably pick a guy movie with lots of shooting and violence, but he was okay with that - he wanted an opportunity to eat with sinners, but not get drunk with them, Jesus-style, you know what I mean?).  Well, he ended up going over to one of the guys' houses and they popped in the movie they'd chosen - and my little brother didn't know what to do.  Although they'd respected and acquiesced to his request that it not have sexuality in it - it was SO FULL of other things, that my brother couldn't take it any longer - his spirit was really troubled by the complete ungodliness and glorification of so many wrong things - but he felt trapped.  He didn't want to leave and have them think he was judging or condemning them, because he wasn't. But, as a result of his relationship with God and commitment to righteousness, his spirit could not handle seeing any more of this movie, it was such a mockery of all that is pure and holy!  So he finally excused himself, part-way through the movie, saying he had to get home.  He still didn't know if he had handled it right, but he couldn't take it anymore, and at the same time, didn't want them to feel condemned, as that was not his heart AT ALL.  Back at school the next day, they acted normal and like they hadn't really been offended at all by his leaving early. He was relieved.

Fast forward to this past week - the teacher gave the class an assignment with groups no larger than the size of 4.  Everyone could of course choose their own group, and the three guys wanted my brother to be in their group, since he's such a hard worker and they had really taken a liking to him.  He felt torn, however, because no one was choosing the Korean lady, and he was really concerned for her feelings and well being. One of the guys, Stephen, could see my brother was troubled, and recognized why. He said "Look, I know you're a Christian, so I know you don't want that lady to be left out.  I would be willing to form a second group with you and we could invite her to be a part of THAT group, since we're limited to 4."  Turns out, the teacher, recognizing that the Korean lady had been struggling in class, made an exception and let the four guys have her in the project group after all, even though it would make them a group of 5. My brother was touched by Stephen's kindness. He also was surprised how easily Stephen picked up the fact that he didn't want the lady to be left out because he was a Christian and wanted everyone to feel accepted and taken care of.  He realized that these guys were starting to recognize there was something different about him, and came home excited to share it with the rest of the family. He has been praying for these guys since he met them, that God would help him have an impact on the short time he had with them before he left for college in August.

Now, last night, they all got together to work on this project, which they have been working on throughout the week, and although the Korean lady couldn't actually make it to last night's event, she worked on it with them earlier in the week. The three guys though, Stephen, Devin, and John, where all there. As my brother was driving to the house they were meeting at - inspired by our college and career group discussion about prophetic evangelism - he began to pray. At first it was just a general prayer for the night - that God would be there, that the Holy Spirit would work on the hearts of these young men, and all that good stuff - just a general blessing over the night. Then he started praying over each one of the guys, as he was driving along, and started getting very specific pictures over their lives - things he did not know himself prior to starting to pray for them - and he felt God was telling him that he wanted my brother to tell the guys what the Holy Spirit had shown him.

As the night wore on, and they were working on the project, all of a sudden the HS said "Do it now" to my brother - and he knew he HAD to share with Devin what he had heard while praying for him. "Right now God!?" asked my brother, as he was sitting there in the midst of a math problem. "Yes" he felt God say.  A bunch of concerns ran through his mind - What if I'm wrong? What if I look like a fool? What if they think I'm crazy? But he knew it was now or never. He had to obey. And so he took a deep breath, turned to Devin next to him and said "Hey, I know this might be weird, so take it with a grain of salt, but on the way over here I was praying, and God told me that you have been depressed and sad and discouraged, and that you don't feel that there's any hope for your future.  But, God wants you to know that he has a plan for your life, that you don't have to be sad anymore, that he doesn't want you to be depressed either, and that he has given you a future and a hope!"  Devin's eyes got HUGE, and you could see all over his face that he was blown away - that my little brother had basically just "read his mail" through the Holy Spirit's revelation. The other guys were in awe, too. They got back to working on math. A little while later, Devin, who comes from a Mormon family but is not practicing (interesting fact: ex-Mormons are called "Jack Mormons") ventured this question: "So, how did you know all that? Were you just praying in general and God showed you that, or were you specifically praying for us?" This gave my brother a chance to explain what had happened on the way over.  The other guys just listened, fascinated. At the end of the night, Devin pulled my brother over to the side and told him that what he had said really hit home because he had been having a really rough past couple of weeks.

My brother was SO EXCITED when he got home, and told me all about it, which was really encouraging to me.  Well guess what!?  Today he got a text message from one of the other guys there, Stephen, who was really impacted by what happened - and in it he said "I know this might be weird, but I was wondering if I could meet with you and family. I want to know more about your religion."  Stephen has a Catholic background and probably doesn't understand that it's all about a RELATIONSHIP!  But YEAH GOD for giving us this chance to reach out to these guys. Now that this has happened, we have 2 or maybe even 3 guys (we still don't know what John is thinking at this point) who are interested in knowing more about a God who LOVES THEM and knows them PERSONALLY and THINKS ABOUT THEM ALL THE TIME and knows what's going on in their lives!

I am so inspired to pray like that before I meet or hang out with people (coworkers, friends, acquaintances, strangers, anyone and everyone) based on what just happened the past couple days.

And I'm excited to go do some power evangelism outreach here in my own city!  YAY FOR JESUS!

Do any of you guys have stories like that?  I'd love to hear 'em!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dreams vs Reality

Must we really choose between dreams and reality? What if our dreams are God's reality? 
Maybe there's only one door to walk through, and the real question is, will we walk through the door, or will we stay where we are?


Further In


Deep mysteries echo secrets within my soul.
A call. A beckon. A distant song.
What is it? Who is it?
Whose voice do I hear?
And what is he saying?

Further in.

The calm, low voice murmurs right next to my ear.
I whip around, bewildered.

Who - who are you?
Where are you?
Show yourself!

Further in!

Through these vines? These thick trees?
These brambles?
But where is the path?

Trust me.

But can I?
I'm afraid. I'm discouraged. I don't have the strength.

There it is again, now a faint whisper on the wind.
I can barely make it out...

Further in.

Deep breath.
I will have to make the choice - stay where I am, or run after a Being I don't understand.
Trust a mystery greater than myself
Trust a distant song that pulls at my heartstrings
or forever regret that I didn't risk everything to follow the call.


And so, I begin to run.

Dancing Wild and Free

I love dancing in my room when it's just me and God. I can be silly and wild and free...I can just be me.

Today I put on some of my favorite Spanish worship music (hey, no one can write worship/praise music like Spanish speakers can - it's just AMAZING how full of joy and victory they are! Everything is a declaration of war over all that is evil and a cry for the tangible glorious and holy presence of God), and I just danced and danced.


It really is one of my favorite ways to worship God.  And I think he rather enjoys it. I like thinking about how I have an audience of one - and I can just FEEL him smiling over me and laughing at my antics. He enjoys me. I've convinced of it. I don't mean that in a stuck-up sort of way.  I think he enjoys all of us!  We have to recognize that diminishing who we are in Christ is just false humility. I am a daughter of the Most High God, of the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, and the Creator of the Universe. He delights in me and I delight in him!  We make each other laugh!  I would never be embarrassed about declaring my earthly father's love for me, so why should I not say with great confidence that my Heavenly father has even MORE love for me than that?

Anyway - so I danced. And I worshiped. And I had a great time. And I'm going to dance my way further into the heart of God.

I also had this thought that it would be really great to make a dance/exercise video using radical awesome praise songs about how glorious and mighty God is.  Wouldn't that be a great start to your morning?  To get up and jump around like crazy?  And burn calories doing it, jump-starting your system for the day? Fit for life, and fit for Jesus?  Ha...I could call it that... "Fit body, Fit soul, Fit for Destiny".  :-) I'll think on that one..

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Faith vs Belief

I'm a youth leader at my church's youth group. And I love it. I get more out of being there and more blessed by the kids than they are by me. Ha!  It's awesome how God can be so good to us like that. We pour into others, but we get so much more back than we ever pour.  And then we just overflow even MORE onto others, and then we get MORE from God....it's this amazing Upside Down Kingdom thing (or as I've heard others call it - the RIGHTside Up Kingdom, because that's how it should be).

Anyway - at youth group we've been talking about the difference between belief vs. faith.

Belief is a mental agreement that something is true.

Faith is Confident Active Trust - we take an action based on that belief, and in doing so, we are acting in faith. 

So, for example, there's a lot of people who believe in God. They believe He exists. They believe He is real.

But they don't have faith.  They haven't put confident active trust in God.  They don't ACT on it.

It was a cool topic to discuss because I was able to examine areas of my life where I have belief, but not faith. For example, I believe that God heals today, that he does miracles, that he wants his sons and daughters to prophesy, that he wants to pour out his Spirit, that he wants to do supernatural things in us and through us...I  believe all that, but I don't have faith for it. Because, if I did have faith, then I would be acting on it - I would be laying my hands on the sick and praying for them to get healed, I would be going around asking God to give me words of knowledge for people, I would be walking in the supernatural!  Which by the way, if you haven't caught on to this yet - I DO want to walk in the supernatural!  I want to walk into my destiny as a daughter of God and see miracles and watch people come to Christ by the thousands, no, tens of thousands (hey, you gotta dream big for your life!), and  see nations changed by the raw power of God!  YEAH!

Through our discussion at youth group and my own self-evaluation, I realized I needed to take drastic steps to exercise faith - to put my belief into action!

I am going to be joining an evangelism outreach team in my city!  Oh my goodness, I'm terrified!  But I'm excited!!!!!  I already emailed the lady in charge, and am waiting to hear back about what team they want to put me on.  So I'm going to go out with 5 or 6 people and start getting words of knowledge over people and praying for people to get healed.  AHHHHHH!!!  And I'm going to start writing about it in my blog, as soon as it all begins. PRAY FOR ME!  :-)

Alright - that's IT!

I was reading Prophetic Evangelism by Sean Smith last night, and was hit by how Jesus and the disciples (later on in Acts) would fast...and then they would be filled with the Spirit and go out and do all sorts of crazy awesome God-stuff.

Guys. I need to fast.

I WANT to fast.

I HAVE fasted before, and it was amazing. So why don't I do it more often? Why is it always such a "special occasion" that prompts me to do it?

I'm realizing I need to make it a regular part of my lifestyle, so that I will be regularly filled with the power and love of God.

Every time I start thinking about making fasting a regular part of my life, though, I get worried....I'm so busy. I've got so much going on. I need my strength. I need to be alert. I can't just go off for a day or even a morning and just BE with God and have no food.  Or can I?

And so, I'm struggle with these feelings and thoughts, and I'm praying about it.  I need God's strength in order to live a radical life for Him. I can't do this without His help.

It's weird - being desperate about anything else in life is a horrible feeling, but being desperate for God - now that is the most incredible feeling in the world.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Prayer Room!!!!!!



My church has a prayer room.  It's not a huge room, but it does the job.  Tomorrow morning I'm going to get up early (well, early for ME anyway), and go pray for a while. I think I want to get in the habit of doing this every day of the week.  What a great start to the day, eh?  Let's see if it works....you can hold me accountable.  ;-)  I say "you", but once again, I have no idea whether anyone has ever read this blog or ever will.  I could just be asking the black hole of cyberspace to hold me accountable.

I've decided that one of the practical steps I need to take toward living constantly under the guidance of the Holy Spirit is to begin my days with the Word and prayer.  Unfortunately, I'm quite a night owl, and have a hard time getting up in the morning. This usually means I don't have much time to get ready for wherever I'm supposed to be that day, and then I spend the whole day running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Life can get stressful just because I'm trying to do it without Jesus!  Yes, I'm definitely a very busy person, very involved in many things, but the problem isn't that I'm overly active...the problem is that I try to do it on my own strength instead of on HIS strength.  So that's what I want to get better at - doing things on His strength and His alone!  Planning my day around HIS agenda, and not my own.

I know that I could just get up and do devos at home - but therein lies the problem. I have a hard time getting myself awake and then just want to tumble back into bed.  It's going to be helpful not to have my bed around.  Ha!

This is going to be a very intimate time for just me and the Lord - but I'm going to sometimes post on here some of those details. YAY!  Let's see if it really works to go and start you day with Jesus in the prayer room. 

Does anybody out there have any special strategies they use for starting their day with the Lord?

Watchman

"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me."

Ezekiel 3:17



 5 As a young man marries a maiden,
       so will your sons [a] marry you;
       as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
       so will your God rejoice over you.
 6 I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
       they will never be silent day or night.
       You who call on the LORD,
       give yourselves no rest,
 7 and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem
       and makes her the praise of the earth.


Isaiah 62:5-7



5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
       and in his word I put my hope.
 6 My soul waits for the Lord
       more than watchmen wait for the morning,
       more than watchmen wait for the morning.
 7 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
       for with the LORD is unfailing love
       and with him is full redemption.

Psalm 130:5-7


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Unemployed

I don't have a job.
















But I know that I need to trust God.

This is part of the surrender process that I'm going through.

Do I believe that God has a plan for my life and that this includes what my first job out of college will be?

Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. No.  YES. NO! YES!!!! NOOOOO!!!! YEEESSSSS!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Yes.

This is a faith struggle for me. At times I'm completely confident, at other times I'm scared and worried.

That's when I have to drop to my knees (which I've literally been doing that a lot lately, as I find it helps me concentrate on really connecting with God through prayer), and just surrender. I have to be able to say - "Alright God. This freaks me out. Yet I trust you most of the time. Help me trust you ALL the time! Please, guide me."

I can't wait to tell you what comes of this surrender process. I really want the right job. I really want God to plant somewhere where I can ambush coworkers with His love! 

I'm also trying to pray as I write my job applications, and pray as I turn them in, and pray as I receive a phone call or am granted an interview.

I've had one "pre-screening" call so far, and maybe they'll call back this week for an interview. We'll see!
God - give me faith and strength to see this through!

Do you trust God with your job and career? Does God really care what we do as far as work goes?

The Sabbath

Hi folks (I don't know if I actually have any readers yet, or if I'll ever have any, but hey, I'll pretend I have an audience...it makes things more interesting),

I recently graduated from college (May 2010) and am still looking for a job. I majored in business, but my free-spirited self hopes to take it into a nonprofit/missions direction someday. 

During my five years of college, and really all of my life - I have studied hard and have rested very little. I didn't come from a family that observed the Sabbath, or even a Sunday version of it, and sadly, I think that most Christian families don't observe the Sabbath either...so it's not like I've been very exposed to many people who consider a whole day of rest once a week to be an important part of their Christian life.  We Christians certainly don't know how to rest any more than the world does.  In college, I worked myself to death. I didn't know how to relax. In fact, I often felt guilty if I had any fun, or watched a movie, or spent too much time chatting with friends.  I ended up being tired and stressed through most of college, something my personality wilts under.  But then, what personality LOVES stress?

I'm still trying to find that balance, but what I loved about church today is that my pastor talked about how the Sabbath is about observing the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. He spoke out of Mark 2:23- 3:6. Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. God created the Sabbath because he LOVED his people, and wanted them to rest at a time where every other nation was working 7 days a week. God created the idea of a "day off", or the "weekend off".  He basically started a whole nation in sync with resting after 6 days of hard labor. But the Pharisees (which, we all have a bit of Pharisee in us, so there's not too much judgment coming from me) were horrified at how he healed on the Sabbath and how he allowed his disciples to basically feed themselves by picking grain on the Sabbath, and so they decided to consort with the Herodians, who were FAR WORSE than Jesus when it came to breaking the Sabbath! The Pharisees hated the Herodians!  What were they thinking!? They must have been THAT angry.

So it got me pondering the subject of how much God loves us and is looking after us, and wants us to take time to reconnect and relax and rejuvenate after we've put in some serious work. He wants us to spend time with Him and enjoy Him! I think there is blessing in that, and I really missed out in college by not picking a day to observe as the Sabbath, whether the traditional Saturday, or the Christian Sunday...or some other day. Hmmm. Welp, I can't go back and fix the past, but I can certainly start taking it seriously now.  I think I shall try out some Sabbath-resting come this next Saturday. :-)

Lord of the Sabbath
 23One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?"  25He answered, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions."
 27Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

Mark 3

 1Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone."
 4Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent.
 5He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li


There is a ring I have wanted to get for a few months now - to symbolize this new season that the Lord has brought me into.

It comes from www.jewishbazaar.com. This is a site primarily for Jewish people, and although I'm not Jewish, I have such a love for that people group and for the country of Israel. But there's other reasons for why I want this ring.

1. It's sort of a purity ring - not only does it symbolize waiting for my future husband, but it symbolizes my betrothal to Jesus. He is my forever bridegroom! Iwant to remain pure from the idols, things, pursuits, and entanglements of this world. I am set apart for something greater. Jesus himself is my destiny! My marriage to the King of Kings! Ooohhh....just thinking about it gets me so filled with hope and excitement and love! I can't wait to meet him face to face!

2. Another thing I love about it is that it's in Hebrew. I wish I could read Hebrew, but I can't (yet!). However, I do know what this ring says.

In Hebrew, the words "Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li" are inscribed on the surface of the ring, and that phrase means: I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine (from Song of Songs, one of my favorite books of the Bible!).

3. It will open up opportunities for me to talk to people about who Jesus is and what he has done in my life.  I can't wait!

I don't have any money for it yet (this isn't the exact ring I'm going to get, but a nice one will cost around $70, which is a lot of money for me right now).

One last thing - I might actually get a different inscription on it, one that comes from Hosea... "I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion." Hosea 2:19

I love that! I will probably get that first part, "I will betroth you to me forever" as an inscription on the inside, while keeping "I am my beloved's and he is mine" on the outside, or I might do it the other way around.

Anyway, these are just thoughts.

Do you have anything special in your life that symbolizes something about you and God?

Absolute Surrender - But How?

What would it look like it a 20 something year old girl completely lived by the Spirit. What would happen to her life? What would happen to the people around her? How would it change her? How would it change the world?

I'm on a journey. A journey toward discovering all I was ever meant to be in Christ.

I have decided to absolutely surrender my life to Christ.

What that looks like, I don't know.

I'm not even sure I know how to do it.

Scratch that. I know that I don't know how to do it.

But something within me is calling out to the realm of the unseen. Something within me wants to reach out and pull down Heaven and bring it to Earth. Something with me is being awakened and unlocked.

My Bridegroom is coming, and I want to be ready. I want to step into my destiny - I want to step into all that God created me to be.

So my question is, dear reader, what are the practical steps toward a life of "absolute surrender"?