Thursday, April 29, 2010

Repent...and Stay Small

We are in the final day of hosting the ARC Conference at Healing Place today. The Association of Related Churches (ARC) is a group that support each other, plant other churches and generally tries to build up the Body of Christ. I don't know a whole lot about it, but I know that right now we have hundreds of pastors visiting Baton Rouge that are on fire for God.

But, this blog isn't about them, it's about what God is doing in me as I try to submit to and follow my King Jesus. This is what I learned last night: I'm still a sinner in need of a Savior. Most of me already knew that, but somewhere deep in my heart I got a clearer vision of that last night while Pastor Dino shared his heart.

The title of the message last night was 'Stay Small'. Pastor Dino talked about how we need to stay small in our own sight and not despise small beginnings. I'm going to list the scriptures he used last night so you can do some further study, but these are the take-aways that I got:

1. Comparison is acid to my soul.
2. Everything that God does starts with something small.
3. You stay small, keep Him BIG.
4. There are no big churches...there is only a big God using small churches in a really big way.

At the end of the message he prayed for us...for all of us struggling not to despise our small. I had to repent. I don't know why God has me where I am right now, but He knows. God sees my struggles and my pain and my boredom. God sees it all and He still allows it. I have to quit asking myself why I'm here and start asking God what He wants me to accomplish while I'm here. I have to quit despising my small.

I asked God to forgive me and I believe He did. His word says that when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I'm so grateful that God gives me grace...even in the midst of my confusion.

If you're struggling with where you are, I challenge you to read these scriptures and ask God to give you revelation. Lemmino what He tells you. All glory to God!

1 Samuel 15:17
Luke 19:17
Micah 5:2
Matthew 15:34
James 3:4
Zechariah 4:10

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mercy and Joy

The streets of North Baton Rouge are typically pretty busy but last Friday night things were quiet. Earlier in the evening three people had been shot between Plank Road and Choctaw so anybody who could stay inside did. As usual, our ICU (Inner City Unit) team thought it was a perfect night for outreach.

Although we didn’t see a lot of people, God gave us some very cool connections. We got to visit with a prostitute who has been sporadically attending Sunday service at Baton Rouge Dream Center. She may not have been quite as excited to see us as we were to see her, but God knows what He’s doing. Although we always intend our roses to bring joy, they occasionally bring conviction. We just trust God to work it out.

At the Top 10 Social Club we handed out roses and chatted with the patrons. For any of you who haven’t been, the Top 10 is an interesting club on Choctaw with some of the biggest bouncers I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure what all goes on in that place, but I suspect the people aren’t there just for the music.

On Sunday morning a woman showed up at Healing Place on Highland Road. Pastor Dino said hello and asked how we could help her. She burst into tears and couldn’t answer. We eventually learned that she had been at the Top 10 Friday night when we handed out roses. She looked at the rose, read the card and told her friend that they had to leave. She said, “If God sent the church up into this club, He’s trying to tell us something.” That’s how she landed in service Sunday morning, listening to Pastor Dino teach on joy.

This woman is not some horrible sinner that spends all of her time drinking in bars. She used to go to church and read her bible, but then something happened that just got her off track…she called it a downward spiral. I understand the downward spiral. I understand how things can get fuzzy; the lines between right and wrong get blurred by pain, circumstance and pressure. Bad decisions pile on top of each other until we forget that there’s a God who loves us jealously. We forget His mercy until He sends an outreach team into the very bar we’re sitting in; they smile, hand us a rose and tell us we’re not forgotten.

I am so grateful for God’s mercy. I’m grateful that His arm is not too short to save nor His ear too dull to hear. I’m grateful that, in the same way He reached into the pit and snatched me out, He is still snatching people into freedom today. And we get to be a part of it.

All glory to God!

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Friday, April 09, 2010

Know your strengths...

Yesterday I finally cut the grass in my front yard. I'm not sure, but I think a family of lions was contemplating moving in. Something had to be done.

So, I'm in the yard, minding my business with grass flying and lawnmower humming. Then I saw it...a snake!!!

For any of you who don't know me well, I would rather lick a bug than see a snake. It's one of those unreasonable fears that defies logic; and no, it doesn't help that they're more afraid of me than I am of them. I'm not sure that's even possible.

I did the only thing I could think of...I tried to run over it with the lawnmower. When that didn't work, I did the next best thing; I started screaming like a little girl. It was not a pretty sight. I was considering climbing up on my roommates car when she came out to see what was going on. I pointed to the snake, now on the sidewalk, and continued screaming. Emily calmly took off her flip flop and bludgeoned the snake (as much as one can bludgeon with a size six flop). It slithered around a little and Emily asked me to throw her my shoe. The size 10 Saucony seemed to do the trick. She left me to guard the carcass while she went to get a bag to dispose of it. When she returned I poked it with a stick...and it moved. Then I stepped on it, several times, to ensures it's deadness. The demonic thing came back to life and tried to slither away!

Emily beat it again while I ran for my machete. (Yes, I have a machete.) After multiple wild slashes at the thing, we finally declared it dead. (Once the head was chopped off it showed very little will to live.)

Emily bravely picked up the pieces and threw them in the trash. I can't even tell you how relieved I was that she was there.

I don't think you could find two people more different than Emily and myself. We are almost polar opposites in everything. But, God brings people into our lives to help fill gaps. If there's a noise in the night, I am the first one to grab a bat and wander around the yard... Emily, not so much. However, if there's a slithering, evil, demon-inspired creature snaking around the yard, Emily is the go-to girl.

I'm very grateful for the people God has put in my life. God knows what I'm good at and what will drive me, shrieking like a child, onto the top of my best friend's Mustang. If you need prayer or a demon cast out, I'm your girl. If you have a snake in your yard, I don't even want to hear the story. We have to know our strengths.

All glory to God, and ever-lasting thanks to my fearless roommate. Be blessed, in Jesus' name.

Monday, April 05, 2010

My new favorite day

It has been an amazing ride since I moved to Baton Rouge and started attending Healing Place Church. I've had lots of great days, lots of memorable experiences and a couple days I'd rather not mention. My new favorite day at HPC, however, happened this weekend.

As part of Servolution we were hosting an Easter egg hunt for families with special needs. Saturday morning was pretty wet and the sideways rain made it an easy decision to move the event inside. As God would have it, our new worship space opened the week before and we were able to hold the entire event in our large foyer. For a lot of reasons, that worked out even better than the original plan. Doesn't that sound like God?

I don't know how many families we hosted but I got to hang out with a young man named Joey. He was there with his mom but I sent her to go and get a manicure while Joey and I painted Easter eggs and got some pizza. He was also a major presence in the bounce house but an early injury forced us back to the food section. Fortunately, Joey was able to walk it off without incident. I should mention, the Chik-fil-a cow wandering around and was a little bothersome to Joey. He pointed out to me that the cow was unnaturally tall, and that cows shouldn't be able to walk on their back feet. Both excellent points, but we reduced the bovine-fear to a workable level.

Joey and I were resting in one of the lounge areas when he told me he wanted to dance. I told him that I thought he should. He was a little concerned about the crowd but I assured him that they would probably love to see him dance. With that, he busted a move...Michael Jackson couldn't have kept up with him! Before we knew it, other kids joined in, the cow was dancing and a circle of enthusiastic onlookers cheered them on. Joey's mom was trying to take a picture of him dancing but she had tears streaming down her face.

That's when Saturday became my new favorite day.

A little while later Joey was laying across the footstool, flat on hs back. He looked up at me and said, "I'm famous, I'm happy and I'm tired."

It was so cool being at an event that was specifically designed to meet the needs of kids who face such tough challenges everyday. I loved the Easter eggs all over the floor, I loved that the Easter Bunny was in a wheelchair, and I loved that so many families got to connect with the church and with each other. I loved that one little boy, if only for a while, felt like he was famous. I hope all of our special guests felt famous.

Resurrection Sunday offers so much hope. We had great services, people got saved and we got to worship our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. Sunday was great....but I'm still smiling about Saturday!

All glory to God!

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