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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.