Monday, October 29, 2007

Get the tape

Okay, I don't know what happened but when I got up Sunday morning my cell phone said that it had automatically adjusted itself for daylight savings time. I'm thinking, 'Cool, had no idea that was now.' So I reset the other clocks in my house, do a little prayer time, go for a walk, etc. I realize that I have time to make the noon service so I shower, dress, makeup, the whole nine. I get a text message about doing a delivery after service and I tell them that's great. I hit Starbucks (for the sent-straight-from-heaven green tea frap), run another errand and then mosey over to church. I'm thinking that it's odd that the traffic guys aren't working but, hey, whatever. I walk into church and hear Pastor Dino speaking through the closed door. I ask the woman working the product area why church is going on now. She says, "Oh, do you have one of the phones that said the time changed?" I nod so she continues. "Yeah, that happened with a bunch of people. It's really 12:53."

I walked into the sanctuary just as Chris Caine was taking the stage. I sat down quick and pulled out a notepad. I've heard her speak several times but never like this. She talked about how God had woke her up in the middle of the night with a message for us. It was incredible.

Our Miracle Offering is coming up in a couple of weeks so there's been some buzz about that. Chris talked about giving what we have in our hands; like the widow who was assigned to feed Elijah. The widow didn't have anything but a little bit and a plan. Her plan was to eat the little bit and die. Seriously, that was the whole and die.

I've read that scripture plenty of times and I've even taught from it before. For some reason it never spoke to me like it did on Sunday. I can't do the teaching justice so I urge you to GET THE TAPE. GET THE TAPE. GET THE TAPE.

I love that we're building a new facility to make room for others. I love that after service I got to go with Miss Alliece to deliver leftover roses and ice cream sandwiches to the battered women's shelter. I love that even though I don't have a clue what time it is God makes sure I'm in the right place at the right time; to receive a word from Him. I love my life, I love my church and I love my God. All glory to Him!


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Last day? Not even close!

The Live the Dream women's conference has officially ended, but it really feels more like a beginning to me. As I sat through the sessions and listened to various speakers I felt like God was planting some things. I didn't realize it at the time, but between the laughter and the tears He was moving stuff around, in my heart and in my spirit.

It was birthday yesterday (ha ha devil...I'm still here). I've had plenty of birthdays that were marked by pain and for many years I felt like October 27th simply noted another year served in this life sentence. Yesterday I was standing in the sanctuary, arms raised in worship, and I heard the devil say, 'here you are, 39, single and with nothing to show for your life'. Everything in me wanted to drop my arms, slide out the side door and go home. It took everything in me just to stay there. Then I had a flash of Holly swinging that sword in every direction; fighting fear, fighting financial pressure, fighting for her life. My arms stayed up. I thought of Tammy, standing by the water, gripped by fear, but none the less with a song in her heart. I sang a little louder. I thought of Chris Caine, before she was Chris Caine; when she was abandoned and nameless in a hospital ward. Now I was hot. As the people around me sang I rebuked the fire out of the devil. I reminded him I was a blood-bought, sanctified, child of the God Most High. I told him I was the head and not the tail, above always and never beneath and that he had to get off of me in Jesus' name. I stretched my arms up higher, I sang louder and I thanked God for Who He is. I worshipped.

I didn't go to the conference because I wanted God to set me free from birthday issues. I didn't even know I had birthday issues. I showed up because I wanted to serve my church and support my pastors. Isn't it cool that, when we just show up, God does a mighty work? I believe God did many mighty works this weekend. And I believe that this conference is what the bible refers to as 'small beginnings'. Pastor DeLynn is anointed to lead an army of women into battle. She does it with her smile, her love and her faith. I had no idea how powerful her weapons are, but I thank God for them.

See you on the battlefield. All glory to God!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Day Two: still kickin!

I just got home from Day Two of Live the Dream. I'm not sure what the highlight was; Chris Caine convicting me with a word from God or seeing JP bust a move dressed as a giant bumble bee. I gotta tell ya, brotha got some groove!

The whole day was fantastic. Holly brought another great message, Chris was her amazing herself and Pastor DeLynn made the whole thing incredible. Oh, and Tammy gave us a taste of what tomorrow will bring...great music, dance and more manna from heaven.

I always love the worship at HPC but this weekend it seems to be at a whole other level. Candace and Jason and the crew have made it so easy to press in to God. I want to be able to worship like they do. Don't worry, I have no misconceptions about my vocal talent (or lack thereof), I just want to find that place where they seem to live...that whole 'in spirit and in truth' thing. They're just incredible. I'm so glad they belong to our house.

Gotta go for now. Another big day tomorrow and I don't want to miss a thing. Be blessed in Jesus' name.

Day One: Kickin!!!

Last night Pastor DeLynn and her team launched our first ever women's conference...and it was slammin! The worship was incredible, amazing dance routines and a word straight from God brought through Holly Wagner.

To be honest, I wasn't entirely sure that I would enjoy an evening spent with 1200 women crammed into the HPC sanctuary. I'm not a big fan of crowds and I don't always enjoy a five-hour stretch in heels, but here's what happened: it wasn't about the line-ups or the heels or the unbelievable speakers. It wasn't about the music or the visual effects or even Pastor DeLynn. It was about God. It was about what He is doing in the lives of women, around our city and around the world. It was about Him reaching out and touching hearts, bringing dozens of ladies to the saving knowledge of His grace and mercy.

I love that HPC is always about more souls. I love that our pastors continue to choose sacrifice and risk over safety and ritual. I love being part of a church that is running hard after God.

All glory to Him!

Monday, October 22, 2007

BRDC it up!

Saturday was amazing! We had over 250 volunteers show up to cut, scrub, scour and sort. We moved furniture, landscaped, pressure-washed and generally changed the face of Winbourne. Some of our new friends from the Winbourne Baptist congregation were there and they couldn't believe it. Their entire congregation consists of about 40 people (5 men and 35 widows) and has an average age of seventy. When our volunteers showed up with all of our passion and enthusiasm, even the pastor didn't know what to say. He was grinning ear to ear at the end of the day.

We met briefly before the work started just to thank God and to bring Him praise. It is all His doing that we even got the building, so we never want to forget how or why we're there. At the end of our meeting everyone was dispersed to their assignments. It looked like someone had just hit an ant hill with a lawn mower; a sea of red flowing out in every direction. It was awesome!

Aside from cleaning, we also got to meet some of the people in our neighborhood: a woman who wanted to pay her tithe to us because she watches Pastor Dino every week to television; someone who desperately needed clothes to wear from our new boutique; a woman who has prostituted herself for the past twenty years and wanted prayer. These are our neighbors. What a privilege!

I love that God has entrusted these precious souls to us. What an honor to be able to serve them, to pray for them and to direct them to Him. Father, let us do it well, in Jesus' name.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Getting Closer

It's closing in on midnight and I'm still here at my computer. I've been working on a few (seemingly hundred) last minute details for our big clean-up day at BRDC Winbourne. It absolutely blows my mind the way God works. I know that the Word says His thoughts are higher than my thoughts, but He put this one out of the park!

I was walking through Winbourne again today, simply amazed at the facility. I don't know who built it or for what purpose, but it seems like it was designed specifically for HPC. Every single detail points to us using it to reach our city. From the office space to the barber chair, God thought of everything.

I was unloading a truck as a group of high school students walked right past our door. I overheard the receptionist tell Miss Alliece that 35 of the 40 members of their church are widows. We are surrounded by lost, hurting and dying people...exactly where we want to be!

I love that we get to be a part of reaching God's favorite people. I love that Jesus left His throne in heaven to come down for me and you; to give us a way to get back home. I desperately needed help and He was there. How cool is it that we now get to be the signpost for others, to point them in the direction that leads to hope and freedom?

Oh Father, in Jesus' name let us always only point to You. All glory to God!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Official Invite

I want to officially invite everyone to come to our clean-up day on Saturday Oct 20th at Winbourne Baptist Church. We are launching our fourth Dream Center (yep, 4th...1,2,3,4. Can you even believe it?!?) and on Saturday at 8am we're getting the place ready.

I know what you're thinking: spending a Saturday cleaning up a huge church doesn't sound like a lot of fun. Who wants to spend their day off hauling furniture, cutting grass and mopping floors? Well, here's the deal: we're hauling furniture to set up the room where we'll have bible studies, after-school programs and homeless outreach. We're cutting grass so that the kids that will frequent our Dream Center have a safe environment in which to learn and play. We're mopping floors so that when the people in the community come to see us they feel respected, loved and valued.

It's never about floors; it's always about souls. It's about being a good steward of the things God has entrusted to us. We want to please Him and we want Him to give us more. Understand though, we don't want more buildings for the sake of buildings; it goes back to souls. More buildings means more work, but also more lives touched. We have an opportunity this Saturday to sow into the lives of hundreds of people living in north Baton Rouge. They need to see the love of Christ and they need to know we care.

That being said, y'all are officially invited to come out Saturday morning and make a difference in someone's life. Bring your vacuum or your weed-whacker or both. Bring your spouse, your kids or a date. (Hint: Chicks dig guys who volunteer. Seriously, I'm not just saying that to make you come.)

Saturday 8am corner of Winbourne and Foster. See you there!

Monday, October 15, 2007

One step

I can't shake a line from Pastor Dino's sermon this weekend. He said, 'Faith is one step'. He was talking about Peter stepping out of the boat to walk towards Jesus on the water, but he was also talking about you and I. He was talking about us taking that one step towards whatever it is that God has called us to. For some He's calling for us to get plugged in; to find our place in His house. For others He's calling us to a deeper level of commitment. Maybe He's calling us to to take that step that throws us headlong into completing abandoning our plans, to make His plan our only priority in life. What's your one step?

I thought about Pastor DeLynn too. At HPC Women events I've heard her say, more than once, that she was afraid no one would come to her meeting. In ten days she will be hosting the Live the Dream Conference where 1200 women will show up to experience God's love. That's a big step. I love that our pastors are willing to take those big steps... to host a first-ever women's conference, to build a facility in the middle of a construction-crisis, to open a fourth Dream Center simply because people are hungry. That's what I want to do. I want to be like Peter and Pastors Dino and DeLynn. I want to stand at the foot of the mountain and tell it how big my God is. I want to jump over the side of the boat, even when I'm the only one going, simply because Jesus told me to come.

One step. Am I willing?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Did you wonder where I went?

I haven't posted in over a month, but not due to lack of stories. Quite the contrary, I've been too busy (and overwhelmed) to write. Here's the nutshell version:

- My book officially launches next week and I've been working out the kinks with my publisher. Please pray that the release goes well.
- I did a quick trip to Florida to see my Dad and step-mom. His health is failing and the doctors have provided all the care they can. I think he's going home soon. It will be a blessing for him, but it's difficult for the rest of us.
- Servolution was a slammin' success. Click on the serve blog link (look to the right) to see what we did with the 500+ volunteers that showed up to change the city.
- Ladies Thrive continues to grow and the last Men's BBQ had over 60 guys there. God is doing wild things downtown...come check it out!
- We're working on some new programs that we're going to run through the Dream Center (after-school program and outreaches to street youth) so we're neck-deep in planning all that. If your heart beats for lost kids, you'll want to get involved in this.
- The Live the Dream conference is fast approaching. Sorry guys, it's just for the ladies and it's gonna be kickin!

I'm not sure what else has been going on, but that will give you a glimpse into my life. Thanks for visiting with me... I'll try to be back soon. All glory to God!