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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quotes of the Night

I had a few quotes from tonight's reading that I felt worthy of sharing. Please feel free to comment on them or post your own additions. :-)

"How often we wear ourselves out praying for more patience, faith, joy, or peace. All of these are the supernatural response of a Spirit-filled believer! It is not fruits. It is fruit. A more appropriate prayer is, "Lord, purify me and make me a fit vessel for Your presence. Then fill me to overflowing with Your precious Holy Spirit." Beth Moore (A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place)

"Once we place our trust in Christ, we are drafted into a fierce spiritual battle. Often kingdom life is likened to a Caribbean cruise in a luxury liner. People change into their leisure clothes, grab their suntan lotion, and saunter down to the docks. What a shock it is when they find that living in the kingdom is really more like enlisting in the navy and doing battle with a vicious enemy."

"We have been given the keys to the kingdom, the authority and power over the enemy, but if we do not exercise that power, it is of no use. The kingdom of darkness is organized to distract us, to prevent us from doing God's bidding. Through the glitter of materialism and power, sexual immorality, and the promise of self-fulfillment, Satan diverts our attention from the Kingdom of God."

The previous quotes were from John Wimber (Power Evangelism)

"An angel from heaven appeared to Jesus and strengthened him"

How many times have I skimmed over this passage? I knew about the angel who strengthened Jesus after spending 40 days fasting in the desert. How did I miss this angel? I actually went back to my last 3 Bibles to see if I had highlighted the passage and just forgotten it. Nope. Somehow, as many times as I have read this passage, I missed it.

This verse appears between 2 I am very familiar with.

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but yours be done." and

"And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground."

It took an angelic visit to strengthen Jesus enough to go on. And even then, He was in anguish to the point of shedding blood like sweat. For some reason, this verse changes how I look at the passage.

Am I the only one who has overlooked this gem of a verse? Does it impact anyone else strongly?

Luke 22:43

Monday, November 03, 2008

Early Christmas Thoughts from Luke 1

This morning, I felt an odd prompting to read the Christmas story in Luke. I fought the prompting a bit, telling God that I could probably quote the story by now. I then remembered we had a copy of The Message. The following thoughts are a result of my time spend with God and The Message this morning.

The first thing I noticed was the introduction. I am not new to the Bible, but the wording of the introduction cause me to look at Luke differently. Here it is . . .

"Most of us, most of the time, feel left out - misfits. We don't belong. Others seem to be so confident, so sure of themselves, 'insiders' who know the ropes, old hands in a club from which we are excluded. One of the ways we have of responding to this is to form our own club, or join one that will have us." Eungene Pierce goes on to remind us that Luke, himself, was an outsider and made a point to show how Jesus accepted the outsiders to himself. Very cool.

Luke 1:8-12 I got excited when I realized that these people were practicing the earthly version of what Jesus was about to do for us. At the time when one priest (this time it was Zachariah) went into the temple, the congregation was gathered outside praying. I can only imagine how strategic it was to have people praying/interceding while a lowly human walked into the Holy presence of God. It was serious business! Remember the stories of tying a string with bells to the ankle of the priest who went in so they could drag him out in case they were struck dead in the presence of God. (Does anyone else wonder how often that happened?)

We don't do that anymore. Yet we go before God regularly. In fact, we beg God to send down an increased presence. How are we able to do this?! Jesus. He became our intercessor, right? The sprinkling of His blood is what allows us entrance to the Father's throne room, but it is His intercession that keeps us safe while we are there. Those people gathered outside praying while Zachariah went before God was a foreshadow of how Jesus prays for us so that we can go before God. So cool!

"Unannounced, an angel of God appeared just to the right of the altar of incense." I love that Luke specifies that it was unannounced. I guess, since some of the other angelic messages were announced??

1:15-17 I think this offers an answer to the question, "How do we prepare people to meet with God?" Listen to how The Message words this, especially the last part.

"He'll drink neither wine nor beer. He'll be filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment he leaves his mother's womb. He will turn many sons and daughters of Israel back to their God. He will herald God's arrival in the style and strength of Elijah, soften the hearts of parent to children, and kindle devout understanding among hardened skeptics - he'll get the people ready for God."

I guess my next questions is, how do you kindle understanding among skeptics? Or soften the hearts of parents to children? Maybe I should be praying for the strength of Elijah.

1:29-33 "Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you." hehe I had to laugh at that wording. A slight understatement by the angel, perhaps?

1:36-38 "And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God."

I am not sure why it hadn't occurred to me before. Maybe it was because this morning I looked at things from the prospective of inclusion. God made use of those most likely to be written off or ignored. Mary was "young and stupid." Elizabeth was "too old to be of much use." By the standards of this world, these two cousins were among the least likely Israelite people to bring about God's plan for redemption. I love that, with all of the other cool stuff He is doing, God also spans the generations, bringing unity to cousins separated greatly by age. It is just all very, very good.

Political Thoughts

I voted on Saturday and had a few political thoughts to share.

1) How did I vote? Very carefully! The most difficult office for me to vote on was that of President. Honestly, I don't feel that either of the main candidates are ready to lead our country. Then again, who is? The only way anyone should ever approach that position is with fear and trembling!

I listened to a recording from IHOP Atlanta that said no matter who the new president is, he will have a prayer target on them because they will be praying for God to speak and move in his life. And that is what helped me decide how to vote. I asked myself, "Which candidate is most likely to listen when God speaks?" Once I found the answer to that question in my heart, I voted.

Who did I choose? Possibly the same person you did. Maybe someone different. :-) I decided not to tell. Wouldn't want my decision to influence or condemn anyone else's choice.

2) I had a brilliant idea to get people to vote. I did absentee voting at the mall. I think, if they are going to offer voting at the malls, I think the malls should encourage people to vote by offering voting incentives. If you bring your voter receipt, you get 20% off your purchase, or some such thing. It might encourage a whole new demographic to vote!

I guess those are all my political thoughts for the moment. Be sure to cast your vote!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Week of Blessing

About this time last week, I felt God telling me to pull back. I was too busy doing scheduled activities. My schedule was way too planned. I talked to my boss and to my ministry partner at church and told them that I needed to pull back. When I did, I felt this huge burden lift from my shoulders.

This week I have made a point of seeking out what God wants me to do for each day. As I have, I am reminded that, when I look for God, His hand is everywhere. I will comment on my own post with stories of how God has been making Himself known this week. Feel free to jump in with your own stories of what you see God doing.

Night at the Bar

Sauni and I went to go see Mama Mia tonight. Total cheese, but also quite entertaining. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. We had a lot to catch up on, so I suggested we go to a small Karaoke Bar near where I live after the movie. When we arrived, there might have been 4 other people in the bar - and none of them were singing. Anyway, the comedy of the night (and there was plenty!) is another story. Eventually a few more people arrived and we began to sing. I finished my diet coke and sang my song and had some guy buy me a drink. Now, it has been a looooooong time since anyone has bought me a drink (in that fashion), probably 10 years.

It didn't take long for the guy to introduce himself and begin to talk to me. When he finally took a breath, I turned to Sauni and said, "This is what I do, now. Considering the people who tend to be drawn to me, he is probably dealing with a spirit." She chuckled - for a moment. As he began to spill his life story, pain began to shout out of every fiber in his body and the spirit(s) started to stare out of his eyes. Sauni had turned away for a few minutes to watch someone singing and when she glanced back, she noticed the transformation.

I wanted so badly to pray for the guy, but we were in a bar. So I prayed under my breath and pulled out my key chain flask of oil and anointed his cup when he wasn't looking, and later his shoulder. I figured it couldn't hurt. I knew he couldn't really hear what I was saying. He just saw the nodding and smiling, so I began to answer his comments with the same smile and nod, but with a gentle, "Bring your peace, Jesus." or "Heal him, Lord." He didn't know the difference. I suppose God alone knows if it actually made a difference.

There was another lady there that I prayed for, as well. Again, I had to do it from a distance. I asked God to give me some time away from the noise with them, but when I went outside, half the bar followed me out. I didn't get the chance to lay hands and pray for either one, unfortunately. I left, unwillingly, as I wanted to stick around and see if God would yet open a door for prayer. Maybe next time. :-) Something tells me going to a bar will never be the same again . . .

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Charismatic Nazarene?

Earlier, I blogged a bit about our Prayer Retreat (in June) and some of our Ala Moana Park adventures that followed. Somehow, in the midst of all this, Keiger and I have emerged as leader type people. Not that we have been given any power (well, not earthly power, anyway) but at least a few people have decided to come along for the ride.

It still feels a little odd for this Nazarene girl to find people looking to her for charismatic leadership. Why, to watch, one might think I actually knew what I was doing. :-) True, I left the Nazarene church a number of years ago, but in many ways it still has my heart. Many of her ministers and missionaries are good friends of mine.

My heart has always known that I was a mystic. I always related better to them in Church History. Heck, I remember anointing a piece of sidewalk at MNU asking God to set that place aside as Holy - that people who walked across it would feel the presence of God. And the rules bothered me. I just could not buy into the theory that obeying rules made you holy. Obedience is good, but simply following rules is too easy.

When I first began praying in tongues, I emailed one of my old professors. People had started asking me about it, so I went to a source I trusted for scriptural guidance. He gave me great scriptures and told me that tongues were not for the church today and that one should not rely on experience as one's teacher. So I looked up and researched all the scriptures he sent out. And realized that I didn't agree with his assessment. Statements in scripture were not strong enough to support tongues not existing today. In fact, Paul's descriptions seemed very much like what I had experienced. I wonder if the strong church stance against it has more to do with the divisive history of this particular gift than Biblical evidence against it.

Enough on tongues, but that was when I realized that I could probably not return to the Naz church, at least not at this time.

My journey has led me to see people healed (and unfortunately, some not), delivered from spirits and strongholds (called by many different names), witnessed (and delivered a few) prophetic words. Fun stuff. I love it.

But guess what. When I find myself running low on energy, faith, hope - spiritual fruit, I suppose, it is my early Naz teachings that get me back on my feet. Somehow, God used my church to instill in me the importance of obedience and sacrifice. Not to man made rules, but surrender to God. I learned how to choose trust when my humanness can not fall into it naturally. I learned that true power comes through surrender. I learned that everything should be tested against the Word of God. I learned that nights spent in prayer often result in miracles happening before your eyes (or in mission fields far away).

So, while I may no longer fit well into the Naz mold, I am grateful beyond words to my mentors from that tradition. God used you to keep me steady and sure footed. Thank you for being used. :-)

Time to Write

I am going to try and be more purposeful to write over the next few days. I noticed that I am getting a lot of "hey what's up with you lately" emails. Besides, writing helps me process. I will try and separate by topic so that no one has to read them all. :-) I probably should go in to work, but it will all still be there for me in an hour, I am sure.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wholesome Water

I was reading in I Kings this morning. The lives of Elijah and Elisha were filled with miracles and any miracle is awe and faith inspiring, but this morning the following story caught my attention.

"The men of the city said to Elisha, 'Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.'
'Bring me a new bowl,' he said, 'and put salt in it.' So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, 'This is what the LORD says: I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.' And the water has remained wholesome to this day, according the the word Elisha had spoken."

There is something about that last line that stirs my heart. An entire community was effected by this bad water. It caused death and made their land unproductive. From the day Elisha threw salt and blessed it, it brought life. Not just to the people who lived in that area at the time, but for future generations as well. Oh, how I long to see God heal in ways that effect generations.

What are some of the things around us that bring death and stop productivity? Is it to much to ask God to allow us to bless those things so that they change and begin to cause life and productivity - cause them to become "wholesome water?" I would encourage you to wrestle with God a bit about this. Are there people or places that He is ready to bless through us? How?

I would love to hear your thoughts. For those of you no longer in Hawaii, please participate anyway. :-) I believe your input is valuable as well.

Monday, June 09, 2008

24 Hours of Prayer

This has been such an amazing weekend that it is difficult to know where to start! A friend of mine coordinated 24 hours of prayer at Calvary Episcopal in Kaneohe. I always try to participate in things like that because I feel like if we are willing to wait on God, He tends to show up. But my weekend started even before that. Thursday night, a friend of Vern's asked us to bless her bar. The following is from an email I sent out in response to that event.

"Thanks so much, Vern for inviting me to go and pray. I confess that after hearing Cecilia talk about Jordan I was a little intimidated about living up to that reputation, but they were all so gracious. And it was nice to feel the difference in the atmosphere after we prayed. Did you guys get the ghost stories? I didn't realize so many people who worked at the bar had actually died, but it helped me understand why there had been such a strong prompting to pray for hope and safety.

My favorite "chicken skin moment" happened while I was talking to Cecilia's son. I had just finished praying over a corner behind the kitchen and then gone out and felt led to spend time specifically setting aside a spot near the d.j. booth. It was just after that when Dave and his son started talking to me about the deaths. Dave walked off and the son told me about a day when he was completely freaked out because he watched a ghost he didn't recognize (apparently there had been others that looked familiar?) walk from the wall (same place I had prayed over in the kitchen, only the other side of the wall) to the place next to the d.j. booth (the other place I spent extra time praying at.) It reminds me that, while we do not always understand what we sense in the spiritual realm, it is still very real.

I enjoyed our time there very much. I have to laugh at your friend who doesn't believe in God pushing for us to host a Bible study there in the bar. hehe"

At 6pm the next evening, I found myself sitting in a pew waiting for the opening ceremonies for the 24 hours of prayer to begin. People from a variety of different nationalities opened with prayer and worship in their own language. I knew that God was up to something good. I had been able to feel the "juice" all day. I had to leave the building to go do a prayer walk/drive with our human trafficking team around 8:30pm, so I missed a few hours Friday night.

Before I left, a group of friends who have been starting a prayer team at their church came in and we had a few minutes to talk. They were hungry for more of God and were hoping to get prayer to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I knew I had to leave soon, but told them I would be back, with other Nightlifers, as we were supposed to lead worship from 2-4am. If they wanted, we would pray with them then.

When I returned I noticed they had left and was a bit disappointed, I thought it might have been for the best since for a variety of reasons none of the other Nightlife peeps were able to make it. Callie showed up right at 2am and we began to worship. At some point while we were worshiping, I realized that other people had come in. It was my friends from earlier in the evening! We worshiped together for a while and then I put on a CD and asked if we could pray together. Callie and I (later joined by a few others who saw what was happening) began to pray for them. There were 5 of them. The Spirit was so strong! (I am sure the desire for God that drove them out of bed at 2am fueled some of that.) Some of them fell to the ground, others simply enjoyed being filled with more of God's love and purpose, and a couple experienced some deliverance. We spent an awesome few hours together.

The word spread and the next day another of the girls from the team came to be prayed for. She had amazing breakthrough and a cool little adventure with God. Visions of Heaven and all. Neat stuff. Who says God does not still move today? :-)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My head in the sand?

A month or two ago, I emailed some of you a link to Nightlights Bankok. A ministry that works with people (mostly women and children) who are escaping from the human trafficking industry. This is a follow up on that email.

To further flashback: Just before Christmas I watched "Hairspray." One of the songs caught my attention. I have placed a link to it below. It is called, "I Know Where I've Been." I remember thinking, "What are the issues we 'march for' today?" "Have we come to a place where things are relatively just in the world and there are no issues to fight for, or am I one of those who have had my head burried in the sand?" Take a look at the clip, if you haven't already seen it.

A few ladies from our church have been talking to God about human trafficking for quite some time. Recently, they began to share what they have learned and we, as a congregation, have decided to walk forward and do something about it. We will be hosting the first of many social justice conferences this fall on the campus of UH Manoa. The first one will focus on human trafficking. Things are still in the early planning stages, but we are hoping to educate people on the reality of the problem and provide outlets to respond as God leads them.

I confess, my head was burried in the sand. One estimate says that over 300,000 children/young teens are trafficked in the United States. And not only in a couple places like New York or Los Angeles, but throughout the country. And that is such a small piece of this worldwide problem. I will probably be traveling to Thailand this summer to help set the stage to, hopefully, send future missionaries and learn more about setting up safehouses You will probably here more about my journey as things progress, but for now take a look at this video.

Check out this site for a good 3min video on the trafficking of
children. The quotes from the victims are quite moving.


Awesome Song

Possibly better entitled "Awesome CD." I recently downloaded the We Believe CD by Brian and Jenn Johnson. I love the CD, but one of the songs has grabbed ahold of my spirit in a most unique way. I have attached the lyrics. iTunes has it, if you are interested in hearing/downloading it. It is entitled, "A Little Longer."

A little longer

w/m by: Jenn Johnson


What can I do for you


What can I bring to you

Csus C A7

What kind of song would you like me to sing


I’ll dance a dance for you


I’ll pour out my love to you

Csus C A7

What can I do for you beautiful king


Bb Csus C Dm

Cause I can’t thank you enough

Bb Csus C Dm

I can’t thank you enough (repeat)

Csus C

Then I hear you sing to me


You don’t have to do a thing

F/C Bb2 F/A

Just simply be with me and let those things go

Gm7 Csus C

They can wait another minute

F F2/E Dm Dm/C Bb2

Wait this moment is to sweet please stay here with me

F/A Gm7

And love on me a little longer

Csus C F

Cause I’m in love with you

ccli# 4429658

Copyright 2003 We Believe

Your Kingdom Come 2/5/08

God has been prompting me to pray for His Kingdom to Come more regularly, and sometimes unexpectedly. This morning was a cool example.

I was getting ready for work and kept hearing this annoying beeping sound. It went on for like 10 minutes before I looked out the window to see the object of my irritation. I saw a city bus driver jumping on and kicking the handicap access ramp. Apparently, he had been trying - unsuccessfully - to get it to retract back into the bus.

First I chuckled at the situation. Then I was prompted to pray for God's Kingdom to come. I asked God to heal the bus and then to bless the driver and the people waiting outside. I won't bore you with the dialog, but I will tell you that as I was praying I heard the people cheer. The beeping stopped and the ramp had retracted into the bus.

You would have thought that someone regrew an arm with the way I danced across the room. :-) God is cool.

Careful with Me

I was driving today, listening to a CD. I began to worship lightly and found myself in a conversation with God. (Quotes not directly from God's voice - my interpretation only. hehe)

"You trust Me, right?"
"Sure. I am becoming stupidly naive. I believe anything is possible."
"You know I have a plan?"
"You always have a plan. For everything. Everyone."
"I do have a plan. Many of them. But I want to let you in on a secret. I am careful with you."

I sat in my car and pondered that for many minutes. What does it mean that God is careful with me? To me it meant that God does more than have a plan for me. He counts the cost of everything that happens in my life. He weighs which decisions I should make completely on my own and which He is going to speak clearly into - and all of those in between. He knows how each life event will shape me and does not take lightly those that will push me or break me in some way. He is careful with me.

I started to question the pain that some of my friends are going through and just felt peace. I purposefully chose you to share this with. And I pray that God will bless you with that same peace in your journey.

Home Visit Christmas 2007

I trust all is well in Hawaii. Things have been ok in Iowa. Family is family, but no one has been shot or rushed to the hospital with emergency infections. :-)

And I have been blessed to spend time with my nieces and great nieces. I may never see myself reflected in the eyes of my own children, but I do see parts of me reflected in those girls. Holly was a very young mother, but God has been gracious and she and Ryan are raising two wonderful girls. The oldest, McKenzie, doesn't miss a thing. She is in Kindergarten. I told Holly she would end up being a writer or some kind of artist. I am convinced that she sees things that most of us do not. There is something unique about that girl. Riley is a little terror, but that goes with being 2. She has the smile of a heartbreaker.

Anne was always close to me. I went to college when she was 5, but before that she was always at my side. She is the one that I see myself reflected in the most. She even dances around the house like me. :-) She is almost 21 and going to college for human services, surprise, surprise.

Tonight I went to a hockey game and then to the casino with Holly. I lost my allotted amount early on (I decided on my amount before hand), but she came out ahead. It was worth the money to spend quality time talking to my niece, but I am soooo not a casino person. It felt like I was literally buying time.

It snowed some today, but has not yet been bitterly cold. I am thankful for that. I miss you all and will be thinking about you on Sunday.

Deep Thoughts - or Slightly off color Joke

I received an email forward from my roommate, Sauni, this morning. I included the forward at the bottom of this email so that you can reference it at any time. :-)

The forward is a picture which changes, depending on your perspective - and on which side of your brain happens to be in charge at any given moment. It prompted the question, "I wonder what else we don't see?" It is amazing how much our physical bodies determine our perception. For us who are spiritual minded, it might bring up other, similar questions. It was in thinking about perspectives, etc. that reminded me of a thought that had occurred to me earlier this morning.

I had been thinking about the passage in Genesis where Abraham was walking with God and discussing the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. It appears that Abraham bargained with God not to destroy the area if there were even 10 righteous. I have heard many discussions around the question, "Can people change God's mind?" using this passage. This morning, I saw it from a different angle.

Surely God does not solve problems in the same way we do. His thought process is most certainly higher than ours. I think God already knew what His decision would be. But He decided to partner with Abraham. He lowered Himself to be seen in human form. Then, without a lick of pride, walked Abraham through what was about to happen, letting Abraham think and talk through the situation.

I was waxing eloquent (ha-ha) to Sauni (roommate), when I said, "It is amazing that our God, who is so big, would come and let us peon people partner with Him in a way that we could relate to. . . "

Sauni never got past the first part of my sentence. She was doubled over laughing. This is what she heard. "It is amazing that God, who is so big, would come and let us pee on people. . ." It is all about perspective! Scroll down to see what started all of this,. :-) Oh, btw, I saw her turning counter-clockwise.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fall Update 10/07

Well, since my mom and dad have both pointed out in the last week or so that it has been a while since I did a mass emailing, I decided to send out another update. In some ways, not much has changed. Nothing new to tell. And in other ways, so much is happening. I am sure you all know the feeling.

I was glad to catch up with some of you during my California travels this summer. That was good fun. I got to see a lot and talk story with some people that I don't get to do that with often - at least not face to face. :-) I also got to see Mario and Lyndi when they visited Lyndi's dad on Maui. Thank God for $25 inner island flights! It was a great time where I got to catch up a bit in person and see their beautiful new addition.

I am still teaching music at Windward Nazarene Academy and I enjoy it. We hired a person to close, so I don't have too many days when I am working from 7:30am-6pm. At least not days when I am forced to be on the clock all of that time. There have been plenty of long days for other reasons, but at least I don't feel locked into them. I really enjoy the year around schedule. It allows me the variety I so desperately need. I have learned that I get much less productive when placed in a position of doing the same thing for months or years at a time. I need the shake up every few months. During this break, I have worked a little bit and attended a 2 day conference. Mostly, though, I have been using it as a time to follow up on some people that I have been working with in church. More on that later . . .

Church is going well. I feel like we are starting to break new ground. At least for us. We have something called a "Holy Spirit Retreat" 2-3 times a year. It is a time to introduce those who are interested to the "job description" if you will, of the Holy Spirit and at the end of the retreat to spend some time just waiting for God to come. There are usually some pretty cool, and often life changing, things that happen on those retreats. We just had one a couple of weeks ago, but things at church started changing even before that. I can't pin point exactly when it started, but you could see things kick into gear as a burden of prayer began to fall over various parts of our community. We started meeting every other Saturday night to pray together. Our pastor, Jordan, made it very clear in our leadership meetings and in services that he was praying specifically that God would lay on us a spirit of intercession. I would say that has happened. :-)

It was during a worship night that we had after our regular Sunday night service that we first saw God start to break through in a more obvious sort of way. People came to the front of the room and worshiped freely, but there was also a heavy spirit of conviction in the room and even while some celebrated, others were crying out to God. We did have some of those funny manifestations that people get uncomfortable talking about, but it was clear that we were in the presence of God. We have continued to see good things happen in our services.

Earlier I mentioned our Holy Spirit Retreat. Now, this is normally a great time to refocus and then charge up. We study a few scriptures about the Holy Spirit on Friday night, talk about I Corinthians 12-14 on Saturday morning and break for people to meditate, pray, play, socialize, whatever for the afternoon. Saturday night brings us back together for a time of fellowship (dinner), followed by our confessional time (we actually get into groups and practice confessing sin out loud) and then we come back together into the big group for worship and prayer. It is during that time that we ask the Holy Spirit to come and fill. Good times. Well, this time things were a bit different.

I was scheduled to help set up and work the registration table. A young boy (18) who often helps with worship walked in. I could tell that something was very wrong. After speaking with him for a few minutes, I learned that he had visited his doctor earlier in the day and had been told that he needed to do everything that he needed to do this weekend. Both of his lungs were preparing to collapse and even with surgery, there was only a 40% chance that he would live. (It is a long story, but he had just been released from the hospital a few days earlier so we took what the doctor told him seriously.) He was not supposed to do much of anything, particularly he was not supposed to sing. I prayed with him then briefly. When Jordan found out what was happening, he pulled a group of us into a side room to pray for healing for this boy. Talk about an intense time of prayer! There was a large window in the side room where we were praying. As people walking into the Holy Spirit Retreat, they walked into this. Interesting way to start . . . . (By the way, the end of the story is that the boy is living his normal life with no surgery. I haven't heard the official doc report, but since they did not take him into surgery last week, I take that as a good sign! Also, the physical symptoms he was having did disappear.)

You can imagine that the retreat was more intense, even from the beginning. During the Saturday prayer time, we had at least 1 other deliverance. I was personally involved in that one as well and, as it took up much of the night, I didn't spend a lot of time watching what was happening around me. But I heard good stories. :-)

Some of you may think that I am certifiably crazy by now . . . :-) You can see why I don't always jump to share my stories immediately. I don't think that is what people expect to hear when they ask me how things are going. hehe Although, those of you who have been around me for a long time are probably not too surprised. :-)

Looking ahead, I expect to continue to see God work. More than anything, I want to continue seeing people set free from whatever holds them in bondage. I am looking at the possibility of traveling again in 2008. We have a couple of trips planned that deal with organizations that help rescue people from human trafficking/sex trade situations. Both in Asia. One organization is around Thailand, I believe. The other is in Northern Asia, old Soviet Union area. We also partner with a place called, "Home of Love" orphanage in Bangladesh. Two of my close friends are preparing to do DTS and this spring and then move to Bangladesh to work with the orphanage. I am not sure yet where I will go, but I am praying about it. You can pray with me, if you wish. I would also like to do something in our country. One of the ladies at church travels to Delaware every year to do Holy Spirit Retreats at the church where she grew up. I may see about going with her - or just see if any other doors open.

Goodness, are your eyes crossed yet from all of that reading?! I had better sign off. Please don't forget to include me in your updates. I always love to learn what is happening in your part of the world.

Lessons Learned In the Trench 5/2/07

I am currently working on putting out 2 programs for school. One of them is this Friday; the next the following Tuesday. In all practicality, there is no way that I could do them both as I had originally envisioned them. I sort of knew that going in, but figured it was worth a try. :-) In the midst of my being frustrated with myself for forgetting things, not communicating well, or simply letting things fall through the cracks, I am learning a pretty big lesson. And that is what I wanted to share with you.

You see, even as my pride has been injured through this journey by the knowledge that things will not be as smooth and polished as I might have conjured them in my head, I think that I am beginning to see a bit of what God sees as important - His agenda, if you will - in these programs. As I am forced to let go and trust Him, I see His picture beginning to form. And it is a picture that brings tears to my eyes even now. I think God is being gracious in allowing things to come together in a manner that I think will be pleasing if not perfect, but here are a few of the ways I am seeing God's agenda playing out.

In the younger grades:
*Maddie, our kindergartner with Leukemia, has been able to participate in some after school rehearsals and is planning on performing with us. She is an "in-your-face" visual reminder that God will sustain us, even in the Wilderness. To hear her sing the words, "For all You have done Lord, my heart fills with gratitude. And for all that you are, Lord, I give you my praise. Now here in this very place, I have found your redeeming grace. Now I finally see how great Your love is for me." could melt even the hardest heart.

*Through a series of events that was not altogether pleasant for her teacher, God is taking one of our young soloists on a journey of learning submission. Out of respect for her I don't want to say too much, but I don't think the timing is a coincidence.

*Some of our children who have had problems in the past have found success in various little parts of the program. Two of my kindergarten boys have really stepped up to help lead their peers. Daniel and Koanui have had their struggles during the year and I love seeing them take their program responsibilities so seriously. They make great spies!

In the older grades:
*I assigned solos to many children who have never had one before and they have risen to the occasion. Not all of them are perfect, but I am so proud of them for getting up there and giving their best effort! For some, this is waaay outside their comfort zone.

*Some of the students decided to participate in skits. A few of them wrote their own lines and it was fun to watch their creativity ride. One of my girls is doing a monologue that talks about Jesus being our friend, not just our judge. I have enjoyed watching her as the words sink into her heart. The skits have provided more than a few teachable moments.

The older group did a run through of their program today and I saw some changes from when we started preparing this program. I saw students congratulating one another on a job well done and cheering one another on. I heard them laugh together and sing together. And I think these are the reasons God wanted this musical to happen.

All in all, I like what God is doing. Truly, in our weakness, He is strong. :-)

Thanks for letting me share.