Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Just Do It

Ok, I am going to just say it to the world (or, as the case may be, the three people who actually read this thing besides me): I want to lose 40 pounds. There! It is out in the open for the whole world to know. Not a secret, but something I need help doing. So, I figure, if I put it out there, I have more incentive to actually DO something about that statement.

Here's the plan. I am going to Weight Watchers. Seems to be the best plan out there, pretty cheap, AND I am still cooking my own meals. Pretty important to me because a lot of diets make you buy their own food. And, in my opinion, that can't be good. How do you learn to cook and eat right after you get off the plans if you have to buy their food? I need to learn to eat healthy within the realms of my local grocery store! I am praying for a WW buddy....someone to commit to coming with me to meetings.

I am also praying for a workout buddy. Not neccesarily the same person as my WW buddy....but someone to go to the YMCA with me three days a week.

Anyway, there it is!

Monday, August 29, 2005

I Am the One

Had a great night last night at NewSong. Brian and Christy were back from their vacation to Florida and Brian was in prime form; talking about how in love with us Jesus is. Specifically talking about how John the disciple had a revelation of the love Jesus had for him. Enough that he referrs to himself as "the one that Jesus loved" throughout the gospel of John. Not that Jesus actually DID love him more than others; John just GOT it in a way that the others didn't.

We are loved the same way. What a mind-blowing concept. This also is the very heart of what I have been learning over the last few years....really the crux of what the Lord has been teaching me.

The One
by Me
All Rights reserved

I am the one You love
I am the one You adore
It is for me alone you sacrificed
I am the one you bled and broke for.
And were the whole world empty
If there were no one else but me
You would still have gladly gone
To die upon that tree.

In my wanderings I have left you
Strayed far away from home.
I have squandered many chances
And run wild on my own.
I have wasted what you've given me
And reaped what I haven't sown.
And still.....CHORUS

In my hatred I have decided
That there is nothing good in what I see.
I have blamed you for withholding all the things
That I thought my life should be.
It seems there's nothing I haven't done
To numb this pain inside of me.
And still....CHORUS

Friday, August 26, 2005

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Breakthrough

I was thinking this morning on my way into work (seems to be a theme with me.....I tend to have nice chats with the Lord on my way into work) just how much breakthrough you can have when things are going well. I realized that I tend to believe that breakthrough only comes through trial and heartache.

Here's my example: I am heading into new territory in my relationships...both with friends and with men. And, as I am having great gains, I am realizing just how fearful I am, and just how many lies about myself I have been believing. I have realized as I am pushing forward into life-giving relationships, that I am having victory in more ways than I realized.

I think in the past I would have thought breakthrough would come after areas of sin start affecting me in negative ways. I have thought that my own repentance comes after negative consequences to my sin. That is, that I am only capable of repentance after my sin starts to visibly hurt me. However, the Lord in His grace and mercy is allowing me to press forward into breakthrough NOT out of negative consequences, but rather He is showing me my sin through a time of great breakthrough and significance.

I am afraid, and I don't fully believe I am a woman worthy to be loved, BUT my eyes are opened to these lies not through a time of breaking, but a time of healing. How merciful and great our God is to allow me to learn these lessons in such a kind way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The "Disses"

I sometimes wonder why it is so easy for me to fall into the "disses:" Discontentment, Disappointment, and Discouragement. It struck me this morning as I was driving into work that DIS means without. Without contentment, without encouragement, without hope. And so, I know that means that there is a truth deficit there and that I need to be filling up with the truth. My hope is in Jesus. He encourages me. He makes me content. Not in my circumstances, the things I see, the things I think I want that I don't get, but in Him. I sometimes feel so human, like I have to have it in my hand for it to be real. I know I am blessed when I believe what I cannot see, but it seems so hard.

But, a good reminder from my friend Tiffani is this: "Jesus didn't get angry at Thomas for wanting to see his wounds. He simply said, others will believe without seeing and be blessed. He didn't say "you'll see me now but you aren't blessed" - shoot, if you saw Jesus in person after he was murdered, I think you would be pretty blessed!

Don't forget, you ARE human. And Jesus appeared to human Thomas with love and grace. He knew what Thomas thought he needed and he provided it - but at the sight of Jesus and his intimate love Thomas dropped on his knees and said, "My Lord." In reality he didn't need to touch him, he just needed to know Jesus loved him enough to be active in his life, too.

Be at peace dear friend, and fight the disses. Jesus says, "Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged" and he promises that he will be with us. Even when we fall into discouragement, he is still with us. Listen for his voice and you will be healed."

And so, the reality of this all is this: I need to understand and see Jesus' love in a more real and active way today. That is the truth. That I am fully loved, fully pleasing, and fully acceptable to the Lord, no matter what my circumstances say, or how I feel about it. God is good to me at all times and in all ways because He can be nothing else!

Lord, have grace and mercy on me today.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The busiest weekend in history (at least for me)

I have just had quite possibly the busiest weekend in least the busiest one that did not involve ministry.

Friday night started out with a sailing on a tall ship with a group of folks who have been involved with the children's ministry at NewSong. I didn't take any pictures, but I think I might be able to get copies and try to post them later. It was so relaxing and I got to climb up to the top of the crow's nest. Several people jumped off and into the Sound. I had many nice conversations and got to share some of my trip with others. I also had a loooong conversation with a friend Jamie about his trip to Europe last winter.

Saturday, Michelle's going away party. Fantastic food at Gateway to India, and then fellowship at her place.

Sunday, Wild Waves with Cynthia, Jaime, Bethany, Brian and Sean. Church at night. I got home last night exhausted.

I have also had a some more time to process through my trip and I have come to some conclusions. First, I think what was so life changing for me is how effective and significant I felt. For someone who has struggled to feel as though I am making a difference in ministry, I felt for the first time in a long time so ALIVE in my ministry.....there was such fruit from it. I think I also felt like I was walking fully in my calling while there. The Lord has said that I am a visionary, strategist and foundation layer. And that is exactly what I did there. I helped lay the foundations of a ministry, helped to give it vision and strategy. Those terms can seem so vague and general, but I got to visibly see them come to be. Being at the forefront of the ministry was just so rewarding for me. I think the only thing that would have made it more complete would have been to be there with a husband. But nothing was taken away by the fact that he is not here yet.

I have also realized how much I want to work with the youth here in Tacoma. I don't have to go to London to work with youth. I am not sure how that all works out with the fact that I am discipling a couple of women right now too. The Lord will work it out.

Talk to you all later!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Beginnings of Revival

I have heard it said that all major revivals in history started with young people. I have witnessed the beginnings of revival in London!

Tuesday was a fun day watching football and chatting and getting to know kids. In fact about 30 people from that first day came to the church service that night! These are people with little to zero church experience!

What I really admired about those from Christ Church that were at the service that night was how they really loved the kids where they were at. Most of these kids had never been inside a church before and were manifesting their brains out: rebellion, chaos, etc. Getting up in the middle of Andrew's talk, talking while he was talking etc. etc. And people just let them go. It would have completely proved these kids right if we'd come down on them. They just needed to be let go. At the end of the talk, Andrew asked if anyone wanted prayer and 28 of them came forward for it!! The question we were to ask the Lord was: how does the Lord see them and how has He made them! From this question alone, I think three gave their lives to the Lord that night! Most of the others were completely rocked that the God of the Universe knew who they were and loved them! I ended up praying for three girls who left the time really blessed.

Wed. was the same format, but only about 20 kids showed up that night. It was much more peaceful and I got to pray for a girl named Emily who gave her life to the Lord. Definately the highlight of my trip.

Thursday morning's prayer time before football began was neat, because we realized that we had been neglecting our own youth group! So we broke up into teams and prayed for the youth from the church who'd been helping. A guy named James and I got to pray for Sophie and Roseanne. It makes me think maybe I am going to start working with our Jr. High group here at Newsong!

Also Thurs during the football time, a guy named Thomas and I walked into town a little to buy some trainers (tennis shoes). As we were leaving the store, the bobbys (cops) were evacuating our block!! As we hustled away, we could see that they had pulled over a red double decker bus! We asked a bobby and he told us there was a suspicious package on board! It never even made the news over there, so it must have been nothing. But, a good reminder of the territory we were working with!

The Thursday night church service was basically a war zone. We completely got our butts kicked by the enemy. Kids running around everywhere out of control. But, more than that, you could see on the faces of the workers such discouragement, hopelessness, and intimidation. I would describe it like a last ditch effort by the defeated enemy to make us quit and give up. Like he was throwing all he had at us. So, after the service we ended up in some major warfare prayer over the night and all left feeling much more victorious and at peace. One of the youth, a guy at the end collapsed in the shakes and crying. Totally under attack. We ended up warring for him for about fifteen minutes before he ended up feeling better.

Friday was awesome as well. The day before, Andrew had announced without asking us Americans that we would be playing a football match against the young kids there. We are talking 20 on 4! However, we ended up doing pretty well. It was a draw 1-1. I had an assist on our one goal, but managed to kick the ball and hit one of the kids smack in the face! Whoops!
Friday night was also back to being peacable at church again.

Saturday I woke up early and headed over to the church to meet with a group of girls from the church who had asked me to meet them with some questions they had about boys and dating etc. I can honestly say that this is the first time I have ever felt like my testimony about my past relationship with Jon had some real fruit from it. It was great to be able to share with them my story.

Saturday during the day we offered two things for the kids from the camp: for those who had accepted the Lord a class on how to read the Bible, pray, etc. and for those who hadn't another chance to hear the gospel. Not everyone who came on Saturday got saved, but we just trust that seeds were planted and that the Lord's work was done. We also had a BBQ for everyone who wanted to come. Lots of people showed up for that.

Saturday was also the only night I got home before 10:30. We were done by 8, and a bunch of us headed over to the house that Julie and I were staying in (not the vicarage, but Anthony and his wife Cathy's house) to hang out.

Sunday we went to church and after church prayed for a lady who had just broken up with her boyfriend. She was struggling with the lie that she would NEVER get married, and again, felt like for the first time my own struggles with singleness were able to be used to minister to someone.

Then, the four of us Americans and another gal named Bryna went into the city and got to see some of the sights: Trafalger Square, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, National Gallary and Covent Gardens where "My Fair Lady" was filmed. Not a lot of sights, but enough.
Then, headed back to church. After church a bunch of us went out to a proper English pub for drinks. It is so funny, but alcohol in the UK is so much more a part of everyday life, and so unlike the US. I can't imagine a University in the UK even thinking of having a drinking policy, or even it being a big deal at all for anyone. Just one of those cultural differences. I had a glass of wine. It was so funny, because some of the group was literally fighting over who would get to buy Julie and I our drinks. I felt a little bit what it must be like to be a celebrity at that moment.

Woke up Monday to pack and get ready to go, while checking on my flight. Because, British Airways baggage handlers had gone on strike the previous Friday and they had canceled all of their flights out of Heathrow on Friday! I wasn't even sure on Friday whether I'd be able to leave on Monday or not!! It started with the catering service workers going on strike and then the baggage handlers went on "sympathy" strike. By Monday, 95% of the flights were leaving. It took me over two hours to check in and go through security! and we still sat on the tarmac for 45 mintues waiting for passangers to get through all the security etc.

On Monday before I left, we got to pray for two more people and then Jim, and Thomas took me to the airport.

I think I just realized how rewarding it was to literally pour yourself out into a ministry! It was so worth being tired and losing my voice. There was no thought of the cost, I just went for it. And, came back feeling so great and alive! I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
Well, I hope this wasn't too long! Talk to you real soon!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The first half of my trip

So I spent 45 mintues earlier today writing big long entry about my adventures in London, only to have my computer freeze on me and lose everything. I'll try to remember it all. I'll do the first half today and the second half tomorrow.

I arrived in London on Saturday, completely wiped out and exhausted. I was picked up at the airport by the youth pastor, Andrew, and assistant pastor, Bernhard after an unheard of 20 minutes in customs. They were so nice and gracious and even bought me a bottle of water and some gum.

It was about a 45 minute drive from Heathrow into the district we were staying and I was all discombobluated about driving on the left side of the road. It is a good thing I didn't have to worry about it! I loved looking at all the old architecture around the city. Nothing is new there!! You just felt like you were living history while you were there. So very different from the newness of things here. Everything squished and crammed together. I started to understand the love of the US and our wide open spaces.

I arrived at the house I was staying: The vicarage. Julie and I got to stay with the vicar's (pastor) personal assistant, Jess, who was house sitting for the vicar and his family while they were away on "holiday." (vacation). We were to spend five nights at the house. This house is a huge one by London standards (four beds, two bath) with a huge garden/yard.

I took a brief nap before heading off to a BBQ to meet a lot of the team that we would be working with during the week. The BBQ was a lot like US, with tons of food, hamburgers and my first introduction to the love the Brits have with sausage. I met a bunch of neat folks that I just fell in love with immediately. Andrew and his wife Rachel (the BBQ was at their flat), Bernhard and wife Bridgette, Jo and Dave (married couple I was smitten with from the beginning), roommates Thomas and James, Dom, Nikki, Simon and his wife (can't remember her name), Ali (worship leader), and Jane.

Woke up on Sunday morning to go to church, which was right behind the vicarage! And met a bunch more people! After the service I got to go to a couple's house who live in a very "posh" neighborhood in London. They were Tim and Katie and their baby Jonas. Jonas' middle name is Rocket; isn't that a hoot? Tim is very into politics since he works for the BBC, and we spent a LOT of time talking US politics. This would not be the last time this subject came up during the week, as I found that a lot of folks in the UK are interested in US politics. I guess "The West Wing" is a very popular show over there. Kind of ironic to me. People had a lot of opinions on US governement, President Bush in particular.

Tim drove us back to the church in time for the evening service, which reminded me a lot of newsong....younger crowd, slightly faster and newer music, etc. Julie and I got to pray for our first of many people after the service and he was so blessed at the end that he let out a holler that must have made Julie and I jump about five feet into the air. Don't think I have quite had that reaction after a prayer time before. The prayer ministry at this church is still quite young, and many members of the church took advantage of having four of us from Newsong there and available to pray. I think I prayed for more people in one week than I did in the last ten weeks after church at Newsong. Also got to pray for another gal after church and see her set free from some major burdens about her family that she had been carrying with her.

I even got to pray on my last day there for a man who is involved with a pretty significant overseas ministry and I found myself almost mentally saying "I can't believe I am praying for this man! Me!"

Monday morning, woke up and headed back to the church to pray for Andrew and gather the team together to make sure we were clear spiritually to begin our week. Got some last minute "bits and pieces" taken care of, and the four of us from the US and Andrew headed out around the area to invite kids to the camp the next day.

What was really cool about doing this was that Julie, a youth kid named Luke, and myself ran into a couple of kids on a tennis court doing drugs. I remember them very clearly because one of them, Carly, we thought was a boy until she showed up at the camp the next day and we could see that she clearly was NOT a boy. What was neat, is that the two, Carly and David, David ended up accepting the Lord during the week, and Carly was very affected by the week's events and I believe for her salvation soon! Just neat to see how breakthrough in fear in myself and the others was evident. I think even a year ago I would have let the fear that they were doing drugs keep me from approaching them, but I was not at all put off by what they were doing!

What was so brilliant about the week's events is the way that they were set up. We did not outright invite the kids to church. We invited them to come and play football (soccer) with us in the park and got to know them before inviting them to church. My eyes were really opened this week to just how broken, rejected, abandoned, and parentless (not just fatherless, but completely parentless) this generation is. What these kids needed from us was to be there for them day after day. Loving them, caring about their lives, and being there for them. Not just another notch on our church belt, but really showing them that we'd be there for them all week. A lot of kids didn't come to church until later in the week. So many of them will not come on a first time invitation, but will come when you prove yourself to them throughout the week. Just brilliant.

So, the way it worked from Tuesday through Friday is that we would pray in the morning (more on that in a minute), set up and play football in the afternoon getting to know the kids playing, their friends and families, and through our talking with them, invite them to the church service held each night at the church. It was really bringing the church to them.

So that first Tuesday morning we began to pray over the week, and what the Lord really revealed to us was that for anything to be done that week, we really had to be broken over the way we have viewed and treated youth in our own hearts and with our own actions. To really repent over how we have forgotten the youth of today and neglected them ourselves. That we couldn't blame others, we needed to look inside ourselves. VERY powerful prayer time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Thames

Me in London by the River Thames.

I'm back!

Well, I am officially back from my trip to London. There is so much to say about the week, it is hard to know where to begin. Christ Church in Fulham London will never be the same! I will never be the same.

Just a couple of highlights and I'll include some other stories later in the week when I am not so jet lagged: Leading a girl, Emily, to the Lord! Watching about 13 others get saved during the course of the week. Praying on Tuesday morning before the first day of the camp and experiencing repentant hearts over our dismissal of the youth of London! Seeing 30 broken kids come to church that night and hear about how much the Lord loves them, and what He has to say about them. Getting to know some dear, dear friends: Andrew and Rachel, Bridgette and Bernhard, Dom, Thomas, Jo and Dave, James, Jess, Didi, Bobby, Bryna, Tim and Katie, Emma, Clive, Hannah, Sophie, Roseanne, Laura, Luke, Martin, Ibby, and so many more!

I'll try to write more later, but I'll just end with this: I cannot WAIT to get back to London again! Seriously, I am planning a trip out there in my head already!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Hi Ho, Hi Ho It's off to London I Go!

Well, I leave tonight for London! Not going to be able to post for a while. I get back a week from Monday, the 15th of August. I am bummed to be missing out on some fun events while I am gone.....golfing, games night, stuff like that. However, I suspect that I'll be too busy to notice! Talk to you all when I get back!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What to say?

Had a fun night last night. There are four girls in town from DC specifically to be prayed over and it was a privledge to be able to hang out with them and get to know them along with my friends Michelle and Chantel. They had a lot of questions about what the prayer time might be like, what the Lord has done in our lives through similar prayer times, and things like that.

And, you know how I loooove talking. And so, I just found myself talking a lot. After I got home last night, and I was thinking back on the conversation, I just realized how often conversations like that (where there is opportunity to teach someone something I know) are so often about me in reality. Even if I am talking about the Lord, in my heart of hearts, I think I like the attention I get by having a captive audience. Terrible. And so, I just had to confess my own pride and need for approval.

These girls are great, though. We went to The Ram on the waterfront and ate dinner and just talked for like three hours. Very fun. Then, they left, and I stayed behind for another birthday party for a new gal at our church who is just getting to know people. I got home from my loooong night at The Ram at about 10. Boy was I tired, and boy, am I tired today. And, I still have packing to do for my trip, but have a meeting tonight and a class tomorrow night. Hoo boy.
Loves to you all!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Did you ever just think about how beautiful the Lord sees you? I have been thinking about this a lot lately with the reading of the book "Captivating." It talks a lot about how much the Lord delights in us as women! This is such an area that the enemy attacks us women, and it causes us such self-focus instead of focusing on the Lord and others. Any woman who has ever battled body image issues knows what I am talking about. We curse ourselves by declaring how "ugly" or "fat" we are. As though there were some standard of perfection that the Lord had in mind when He created woman. And really, when we say those things about ourselves, or look at other women critically, we are basically calling God a liar! Saying that we know better than He does about the worth of whoever we are talking about.

One of the passages in the book quots a section of Isaiah 62. I think I realized for the first time that when the Lord goes on and on in the word about how much He loves, delights in, rejoices over, and is passionate about Israel---He is really talking about US! It has radically changed how I read many of the Old Testament books.

It inspired me to take the words of the verse and put it into song form:

I am called by a new name
The Lord has bestowed.
A crown of splendor
"My delight is in her"
In the hand of my God

My God, my God has saved me
My, King, my King I praise thee
I will no be quiet
I will not be silent
Of the works of my God

No longer am I deserted
For the Lord delights in me.
A righteousness that shines
As first light from the dawn
He has created within me.

Chorus repeat

He rejoices over me with singing
A pursuit of a groom for His bride.
He lifts me up
Restores my glory
And my reward will be with Him.

Chorus repeat

Monday, August 01, 2005

Monday, Monday

Just as a side note before I begin, it struck me as funny last night how just when I have determined in my head that something is a certain way, the Lord goes and changes things. Not to get into specifics, to protect the innocent, but I had decided in my own heart about something and had even resigned that fact within myself. I had even said "Well, perhaps it is better this way." But just as I did that, and decided to "move on" lo and behold the Lord goes and changes things and shows me that things aren't always the way we see them with our own human eyes. Have you ever had that happen, where you have just absolutley decided something or someone is a certain way, and then been surprised when it turns out exactly the opposite of what you thought. Anyway, just a side note.

The Mariners game on Friday was fun. Not because the game was any good, but just fun to hang out with a bunch of people from church who all have a good time together. The "highlight" of the game came in about the 7th inning. We were getting our tushies kicked all over the field and there were a couple of hit batters and so the other team hit one of our batters. Rather obvious as payback. Benches cleared, the pitchers in the bullpens ran out on to the field. We thought perhaps there would be a fight, but instead they all kind of just mingled around the middle of the field. At one point I actually saw one of our players give a great big bear hug to one of their players and shake his hand as though they were long lost friends. In fact, other than the guy on our team who got hit, and the pitcher who hit him, it was rather like a fraternity reunion out there rather than a fight. Pretty funny. The fans booed when everyone went back to their own dugouts without a punch being thrown. Hilarious.

I also spent the weekend getting ready for my trip. I leave Friday, and with a meeting Wed. night, a class at church Thurs. night, I had a lot to accomplish! It is amazing what needs to be done so that you can be gone for ten days, especially when travelling abroad. Another funny story: I went to Fred Meyers (Kroger for all my midwest friends and family) to get travel sized shampoo and conditioner etc. etc. etc., and when the guy was ringing me up he said, "so, did you just decide to get all the sample sizes and try this stuff out before buying the big stuff?" I think I just kind of looked at him for a moment, because I thought he was kidding (as he scaneed my travel sized toothpaste, and toothbrush container, and soap container, and travel sized contact solution.......). I could hardly believe he was asking me. So I just told him "No, I am actually traveling to London and needed travel sizes to not weigh my suitcase down." He then looked a little startled, looked down at what he was scanning, blushed, and said, "Oh!" Sara (roommate) and I had a good laugh at that one!

Anyway, have a great Monday morning! Love you all!