Apr 29, 2008

Lesson Learned

I learned a lesson last night. It was a good lesson but it was also painful. I asked God why things had to happen like this. Why does it hurt so bad when people you love disappoint you or worse look you over?

I think He is teaching me to love unconditionally. To love like I have never been hurt before. The funny thing is that it hurts to learn to love like you have never been hurt before. I don't know if dealing with disappointment will get any easier. Do you think I will get calloused? It seems like a catch 22. If dealing with disappointment gets easier then I will have lost the very thing I am trying to preserve.

I will not always have people there to share in the God moments and I think that is the message He is trying to get across. I am glad that He is easing me into it though, you know a little bit at a time. I know there will be many more sad days ahead, they come with the package, but I have faith that the happy ones will be worth it all, no matter how few and far between.

Apr 23, 2008

Chew on This

I have taken so many notes this week that the sermons and teachings are starting to run together. I can't seem to remember who said what and where we were when we had the class. In order to put things right in my brain I thought I would share one of the lessons I learned this week.

Welcome to Elevate Chapel...

Michelle brought us a great teaching from Matthew 16:24 at this week's chapel service; it goes a little like this:

Matt 16:24 "Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross and follow me." (Red = the words of Jesus)

We are big about studying the scripture in its original context so Michelle gave us a little history lesson before she really got into her teaching.
  • It was about 27AD when Jesus was speaking to his disciples. This was a period in history when your name determined everything about you. It determined your career, your social status, and how far you could get in life.
  • Rabbi - a teacher
  • Talmidim - a follower of a Rabbi, they had to go through sort of an application process in order to be chosen by the Rabbi to follow him. You know the Rabbi would have wanted someone he thought was good enough to be know as his student.
  • The goal of the Talmidim was to become so much like the Rabbi that they weren't recognized by their own name anymore. They were recognized as "students of such and such Rabbi"
So when Jesus was walking along the beach calling out to Peter and the other fisherman to come and follow Him, they knew exactly what He was asking them. Jesus was a respected Rabbi. The disciples jumped at the chance to follow Jesus because it was their ticket out of the life of a fisherman. You see, if they were fishing it was because no one else wanted them as students so they were trained in the profession of their fathers, aka fisherman. Jesus took the leftovers, the ones that weren't worth the effort, and by choosing them in this unconventional way He was saying "I believe in you."

But Jesus had to straighten them out a bit right in the beginning. He was not the conventional Rabbi. He was different from the rest. If you followed Him it wasn't going to be glamorous. So he let them have it in Matt 16:24.

Back to the Verse:
Matt 16:24 "Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross and follow me."
  • The word "Cross" in the scripture above is usually misinterpreted to mean the cross of Jesus, but Jesus hadn't been crucified yet so the disciples wouldn't have been thinking of that cross. They were thinking of the cross a criminal carries to his death. It represented suffering, troubles, pain, loneliness, the price of their sin or the crime they committed which lead ultimately to crucifiction and death.
  • The words "Take Up" in the original Greek mean to elevate or lift up to God.

To sum this up:

cross = troubles
take up = give to God
end result of cross = death by crucifiction

So Jesus was saying in effect: lift up your pain, suffering, troubles, sins to God to they can be crucified and removed from your life and you can follow Him. There is a daily taking up of the crosses in our life when we seek to be followers of Christ.

But Michelle had a good point, this isn't about giving up what you want , it is about shifting to what God wants for your life. God's definition of love is laying down your life, so if you love Him, or anyone else for that matter, you will lay down your life for them ... not in the literal dieing way, but in the shifting what you want to what they want way, the laying down of your selfish desires way.

Chew on that for a while. If you like the flavor you may want to try out the Healing Place School of Ministry, aka Elevate. You get to learn stuff like this all the time...it is way cool. Well, I hope you enjoyed your mini hermeneutics lesson for the day, thanks to Michelle Gros, Dean of Students at Healing Place School of Ministry.

Apr 21, 2008

Catching Up

I feel like I just blinked and the last week shot by while I had my eyes closed! We were blessed with a trip to Birmingham, AL to attend the ARC conference. It was really cool to meet other interns who are involved in programs like Elevate, there were about 170 of them all together.

We were able to serve our Pastors at the conference and attend some really great sessions from people like Pastor Dino, Pastor Brian Houston, Ps. Billy Hornsby...the list goes on and on.

Then as soon as we got back in town we started making preparations for the Men's Conference. There were about 600 guys who came to the 2 day conference at HPC and Elevate got to serve them. It was really cool to see so many families represented. I overheard a statistic as I was serving ribs, sausage, fried chicken, red beans and rice, mashed potatoes and gravy and a brownie (yes all on one plate)..it said that if the mother is the only believer in the house there is only a 12% chance that the children will be believers when they grow up, but if the father is a believer there is a 93% chance that the children will grow up in the faith. Wow!

Then after the Men's Conference I was back at Sunday services at St. Amant to teach Children's Church and answer the question, "where have you been?" to my class of 8 kids. Ha Ha, I missed them too. It is crazy how quickly you build a relationship with children when you see them every week for a hour.

To top off this great week I got to hear from 2 amazing pastors from Hilsong Church. Joel A'Bell is a campus pastor in Sydney, Australia and Zhenya Kasevich pastors Hilsong in Ukraine and Moscow, Russia. My head is spinning from all of the wisdom in the past week!

Well we start the next week off with prayer. We are begining our morning prayer for the mission trips tomorrow morning at 7 am. The time isn't creeping by here...it is actually like warp speed ahead. If I have learned one thing in ministry it is this (thanks Pastor Mike) .. if the Devil can't stop something he will speed it up. I feel like the past 8 months have flown by. I have filled a journal with thoughts, blogged over 100 posts, made tons of phone calls and written countless emails, but I think all this time would have been for nothing if I hadn't taken the time to improve my relationship with God and made lasting relationships with the people I have served with.

If you will join with me in prayer for the next two weeks I think we may be able to make a lasting impression on this world. This morning Zhenya (pronounced Jenya) shared with us one of the biggest revelations he has been given this year as he pastors 2 churches in 2 different countries. He says to pray for 4 things, and I would like you to join with me in praying for them:
  1. That God would change the spiritual atmosphere over Swaziland
  2. That we would be able to change the thoughts of the people we are trying to reach
  3. That we would be able to change the customs of the land (not in a weird Americanizing way - Read Matt chapter 5 and look for when Jesus says, "But I tell you..." he was trying to change the customs)
  4. That we could change the beliefs of the people - the restrictions placed on the church by the people who are set in their ways of what church should look like

I know that this can only happen if it is birthed in prayer. And I know that 10 days in a place is not enough time for that to happen - but I do know that there are committed people there on the ground that will benefit from this prayer long after we come back. My friends, Natalie, Patrick and Ben and Susan Rogers and their family, the volunteers at the Care Points and the countless children they serve will be the ones to benefit from our time sacrificed in prayer.

Please commit to pray with me. Whenever you can. How ever much time you can give. Please pray.

Apr 11, 2008

Crazy Crazy

This has been one of those crazy weeks. The kind where you are doing so much that you think you can't possibly do one more thing...and then you get five more things on your to do list! It has been a very stretching time but I know that I have grown a lot.

Elevate is about to take our first group trip to Birmingham, AL for the ARC Conference. We are so excited to have some time off and go hang out with 120 other interns who are experiencing the same type of stretching we are here in Elevate.

We have been working hard to put together a 10 minute presentation to perform for the other interns. We are gonna represent HPC with a little song, interpretive dance, chorus line and a special outreach to the other interns. It is going to be a blast!

I am going to try and get a video of the whole thing to share with you guys! I can't wait!

Apr 9, 2008


I have been house-sitting for some friends of mine this week. It has been nice to have some time alone (out of the Elevate apartments) to reflect and to just relax. But after the first day I started to realize I wasn't enjoying this as much as I thought I would.

You see, before I started Elevate I lived by myself, just me and my dog, and I loved it! I loved the quiet; I loved the solitude.
So I was looking at this time of house-sitting as a return to that. You know rest, relaxation and some much needed time alone. But something wasn't right. I have been sort of floating through this empty minded.

Then today it hit me.
I think God was showing me that I am not satisfied with that life anymore becasue the call on my life is different now. The year I spent living alone was in preparation for this phase of my life. I think this week he is showing me that I won't be satisfied if I go back to the life I had before Elevate. I won't be satisfied unless I walk in the path He has carved out for me. It would be so simple to slide back into that life.

There was nothing wrong with it...I served God, spent lots of time in prayer and reading my bible, I served at HPC and attended some great life groups. I grew a lot in that year. But God is calling me to move forward not backward. It is so cool that He gave me a glimpse of that life so now I know without a doubt that I won't be satisfied with that right now.

I am so excited about my future with Christ but I am not disillusioned about the sacrifices I will have to make. I count the cost of this life everyday before I get out of bed but I know there is such a satisfaction, a purpose in it, that keeps me going.

Apr 6, 2008


I received a letter today from a friend of mine. A woman I love dearly. I was really a note more than a letter but I just can't shake the feeling I got when I opened it. There probably weren't even 30 words written on the yellow post-it note but I could feel the love from her as I read each one.

This note was attached to a money order that was to go into my Elevate account to help with my tuition or my mission trip, what ever I needed. I just think of all of the sacrifice that went into that envelope. I think of how much she believes in me to sow seed into my future walk with Christ. I know that God has richly blessed her and that he will continue to do so. I pray for her and her family and I thank God for her. She has been used by God to increase my faith on more than one occasion.

I think about my aunt who has supported me faithfully every month. Her letters have shown up in just enough time to buy gas or food or make a tuition payment. I have been sustained by her kindness and her sacrifice. I am so thankful for her obedience and I know that God is taking note of her faithfulness.

I have so many faithful supporters in prayer and finances and I just need to let them know that I am so grateful. Their sacrifices are not going unnoticed by me and most importantly by God.

I look back at all of the sacrifice and I just know that it isn't about me. It's about the others that I will meet, serve and lo
ve. It is about those who have not yet come to know Jesus. This is so much bigger than I am. I hope that God will continue to use me becasue I am willing. I am available. I so desperately want to be obedient.

Apr 3, 2008

A Big Thank You

I wanted to take a minute to thank all of you who love and support me by reading this blog. It means so much to me that you are interested in what God is doing in my life.

I can feel your prayers and I am so grateful for all of you!!

I would love to get a comment from you! Maybe let me know who you are, where you are from and how you are doing! Maybe we can turn this blog around a bit and I can pray for you guys too!