The Unconventional Journey: When Jesus Leads You.

shutterstock_85423609

Have you ever wondered what direction in life to take? I think we all have. We’ve looked at the paths before us and wondered which one to go down. In learning to be led by Jesus, there are two ways that has directed me.

Sometimes He lets you choose. I remember when I started seminary. I started on-line at one seminary, and absolutely loved the experience. But then as God lead me into a denomination, he began to open up doors to attend their seminary. After talking to a friend who attended both, and weighing different options like curriculum and cost, I took a deep breath and made my move. I had peace, because I felt that God was not only opening up doors in this direction, but He had given me peace to move forward. Now several years later, believing that God has lead me out of this denomination for more of what He wants to do with me, I must once again place my hand in his trusting that He has a bigger plan that I can’t fully see. This is where I am learning to trust.

Sometimes He asks you to trust: So as I sat with God this morning, trying to determine the direction that he is leading, I have few answers. Living in the tension of learning to be content with where God has me, and wanting to become all God has called me to be, there are somethings I just can’t make happen. Trying to shut off all the shouting voices that vie for my attention in my head to make my life count, to be perseverant and use the gifts, talents, and desires God has given me, I end up back at His feet; reminding Him of the times that I have followed His voice’s leading. Then I remind myself, how that has always brought me a sense of inner peace, growing my trust as I have taken steps of faith to follow him on this unconventional journey. This is what I need right now- His peace once again to fill me.

The unconventional journey with Jesus is something that I think we as Christians need to start to expect. When we decide to step out and follow Jesus, learning to hear his voice and be lead by his spirit, things won’t go as we think they should. We can see this as we watch the disciples; as they follow Jesus, they begin to get wrecked with fear, insecurity, and doubts along the way; asking questions and getting unconventional answers from their leader. Same is true with many of the stories and characters of the Old Testament. So why do we think it should be any different for us? I even had a pastor friend pretty much prophesy this over me several years ago when he told me to look at my ministry being something that was unconventional; and as I have watched God lead me, this is exactly what He has been doing.

We live in a society that tell us to dream about what you want to be when you grow up; then go to school and become that person. We’re told if you follow steps A,B, and C; you will get to D- your destination. But I can tell you after 20 years of education under my belt, trying to make that formula work, it doesn’t always work that way. Even with my seminary degree, I was so sure it was going to lead me right into the arms of pastoral ministry, and it still might, but it won’t look anything like I thought, because that’s just the way God works. Keeping the twists and turns coming, so that we remain dependent on Him, desperate for Him to show us the road ahead.

So today, as I have thought on these things, and once again surrender to His ways, I was reminded of some Psalms that I am compiling. They are Psalms crying out for God to lead me, that I just might learn to trust Him even more. As you read the prayer below, may it become your prayer as well, into whatever God has waiting for you ahead as you follow him on this unconventional journey. Blessings, Robin

Show me your ways, Lord

Open my eyes that I might see.

Teach me your paths,

That I might have knowledge

and good judgment.

Cause me to understand,and

Guide me in your truth,

Direct my footsteps according to your word

For you have been my help.

I place all my trust in you

because you are good,

And you have good plans for me,

Plans to proser me and to give me a hope and a future.

Search me and know my heart.

Test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Show me the way to go, for to you I entrust my life

And may your good spirit lead me on level ground

To bring you glory, and honor and praise,

For ever and ever. Amen.

Being Filled Up to be Poured Out

     We are such busy people.  Even with the best intentions to be still before the Lord, we all seem to fall short.  We may start off like Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, but we don’t always stay there for very long.  We must get up and get on with the things of the day. But what I am trying to remember this morning, is that as important as it is to have a quiet time with God, we then have to learn to keep our minds engaged in the things of heaven throughout our day, having a heavenly trained perspective, instead of an earthly one.  That doesn’t mean ignoring peoples needs, but being able to meet them where they are with with the ability and desire to bring life, hope and healing into their circumstance.  I haven’t mastered this yet; just like you, I don’t always see heaven in paying the bills, or keeping up with cleaning the house, but I guess it could be seen as being a good steward; we just need to practice thinking that way one task at a time.  As Jeff Goins talks about in much of his writing in helping writers to write, we have to do the hard work of training ourselves to take small stesps to the goal or outcome we want to see.  Setting our goals and then working towards them-because nothing beats doing the hard work of putting the time in,  when we live in a society that tries to get us to find a quick and easy solution to what we want.   Again, easier said than done, but just keep trying and allow the grace and love of God guide you in the process and journey.   I’m really excited for this upcoming week because I will be going to a Graham Cooke conference who is a leader in transformation Christian thinking-exactly what God has been talking to me about this morning.
     So as I was sitting with the Lord this morning, thinking about how my day might unfold, I knew I needed Him to fill me.  Just like we drink coffee to wake up, I needed God to wake up my Spirit, Just like going to the gas station and stopping our cars to fill them up, we need to learn to pause throughout the day, and get filled up.   So that was my prayer this morning; ” God keep filling me up today, and make me aware of what you are doing; keep my eyes fixed on things above and not on earthly things.  Help me to number my days and my moments so that I would be a good steward of what you have given me.”  I read some of Psalm 119, focusing on my need for His help.  “Open my eyes that I may see, cause me to understand, teach me your law, give me discernment and direct my footsteps” (Psalm 119: 18,27,29, 36).  I then spent sometime just sitting at his feet, listening to some instrumental music, allowing Him to draw me to himself and fill me.
     So what are some of the ways that you find that you need God to fill you up?   And how do you engage your mind to the things of heaven throughout the day, cutting out noise to that you can hear and abide in the vine of Christ.  I’d love to hear you share so that we might all be able to learn from one another on our journey’s.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Blessings,Robin

Making and Spending Time with God: Start Soaking

soaking_920x3601
As my alarm went off this morning, I rolled out of bed, made my coffee and was eager to blog; since I didn’t finish another draft that I was working on yesterday.   I kept thinking that I have to keep this going now, it’s all up to me to get some content out.  But as I raced through my evernotes to try and find a piece of inspiration, God tapped me on the shoulder and said “Robin, that’s not the way we do it, remember?, You get your inspiration from spending time with me.”   And there was the problem.  For the past several days I have been pre-occupied with getting my blog  back up and running, reading books on writing, life, and blogging; that I had pushed God out of the process; ouch.  So I took a deep breath, too impatient to read my Bible because I just wanted to write; I asked God to show me what to do.  That’s when he reminded me of how he has been teaching me to spend time with Him through soaking.  Some might call it meditation, but I think soaking goes a little deeper, and it can look different for each person.
When we choose to soak with God, we are super intentional to give him our full attention; something I wasn’t willing to do this morning.  But as I fought him, he reminded me of this very important  practice.
Just like in any relationship, you have to be intentional; taking time to be with, hear and share with another person; to grow that relationship.  You have to want it, and then fight for it.  Yes, in a world full of distractions, we do have to fight for our time with Jesus, and any other relationship or activity we deem important.
So soaking for me, in it’s most natural form is first deciding that time invested in my relationship with Jesus is going to be beneficial to our relationship, and ultimately to my spiritual growth.  Often I will just start by playing some instrumental soaking music without any words to distract me.  Sometimes the words can help, but usually at first I just need to clear my head of noise, or what is waiting to get done, and just show up at the feet of Jesus.  One of my favorite soaking artists is Moses Piano Music. (More on finding soaking music and artists in another post).   It is hear where God begins to rest my head on his shoulder and allows me to just be with Him, nothing else.  I allow the melody of the music to bring me rest in his embrace and allow the conversation to happen very naturally, not even asking for anything, but to begin by remembering who God is as my creator and then who I am as His beloved child.  Gaining this identity as I come before Him is so key to how my time will go.  Just like in any other relationship, when we are around someone we trust deeply and can be real with, we are more relaxed to be ourselves.  However, if we are around those who place expectations on us, we feel anxious and a need to perform.  Soaking helps us to remember that God does not want us to come to Him out of obligation or even habit; but He wants us to come to Him out of our hearts desire; to just be with Him, so he can talk with us,  leading us into His truths about him and ourselves, in His time and and in His way; to teach us and to guide us; but we first must come to Him unhindered of expectations and any looming fear, and lay before Him our hearts desire to just be with Him; nothing more, nothing less.
 This is a practice that we will learn to cultivate more and more as we choose Jesus as our friend and our help.
Distractions:  I know it can be hard to stop what we think is important and sit quietly with God.  This is where it really needs to become a value in your life.  Making space and time is one thing, but then not letting distractions in, is the other part of this.  Turn off your cell phone, or put it on vibrate for emergencies.  Find a comfortable place to sit or lay, (but don’t fall asleep); bring your Bible, some paper and a pen or pencil to write down what the Lord might be saying to you, but only for that reason. I have heard of people in their prayer time, take a notepad to write down distracting things that come to mind, such as not forgetting to pick up that gallon of milk, or mailing a letter at the post office, or other daily things that need to get done.  Don’t do this, that’s what your planner is for, so keep it that way.  How annoying would you find it, if you went out for coffee with a friend and all they did while you were trying to talk was write down what needed to get done.  Or we all know those people who are in a restaurant, and make no eye contact, and have little meaningful conversation with one another because they are buried in their cell phone, checking email and facebook, and responding to a text conversation!   But if we don’t become intentional about seeking to know God (or anyone else for that matter), how authentic is that relationship?  What value is there?  This is where we can look at our relationship with Jesus and see how much desire we have there.  It’s a heart-check that we need to do everyday.  All relationships have their ups and downs; dry spells happen to the best of them, but it doesn’t have to last. Being intentional and wanting it, is the first step.  Nothing just happens because we want it to, we have to make the time and say “this matters to me, so I am going to do what it takes to make it work,”  whether that is a relationship, loosing weight, eating better, etc.  In anything that mattes and where we want to see results we must deem it “time worthy”, where we place a value upon it, and then go after it.
Ok, so enough of my motivational ranting.  We are called into a relationship with Jesus, a deep, abiding, ever growing, non-guilt ridden, love and grace filled relationship.  Soaking for me, is a way to turn off everything else and be with God.  Sometimes it happens at home, as I have talked about above, when I have alone time with God; sometimes it’s in the car, where I can be focused on driving but worship music draws me to Him, and sometimes it when I am out for a walk, taking in nature and trying to take care of my physical body and health. . Whatever it is, it will look different at different times, and that’s OK, because all relationships do, but the key is to carve out intentional time to just be with God, whether sitting, driving, or walking.  To give Him your full attention so that you can, as the image above states, “wait on the Lord to renew our strenth, not growing wearly, but soar on wings like eagles.”  If you are feeling weary today, perhaps you need to cut out some noise, wait on the Lord, so he can renew your strength in Him, and teach you the way to go. That is what he did for me today and I will never be the same because of it.  Thanks Jesus!     Blessings, Robin

The Joy of Writing

As I have been reflecting on my writing, and what it means, the theme of joy came to mind.  I immediately got this image of “The Joy of Cooking” cookbook, and thought how I had struggled to make cooking a joy in my own life-perhaps I need to read that book?  But it is obvious just from that title that the author finds cooking to be a joy; something that excites her and propels her to create with food.  It was a launching pad of thoughts that quickly came racing all over my head.  I thought back to my initial blogging days when I was new to it all; learning where to blog, how to blog and how to get people to visit my site by visiting theirs;  enjoying others writing, and playing with widgets and copying and pasting simple codes that keep me intrigued with blogging.  It was a lot of time online, but it was to some point effortless, and joyful.  I was engaged in it, and time would go fast.  Sometimes it was hard, keeping up with so many changes, trying to get and retain a readership.  Then trying to fit it in while in seminary was getting more challenging, and parenting was never-ending, and at some point I just needed to let it go.  After all, I felt that God had led me to blog in the first place, and had inspired my words to this point, and if it was time to take a break, then maybe I should.
I remember there were times in this “valley of no words” where I would beg God to give me my words back.  I’d remind him of my joy, my gift to the world; to inspire, to encourage, to equip; but nothing came, so I would just have  moments of journaling in private where no one was; and I came to realize that in that season of aloneness in my writing, God was there with me.  He was doing some deep work that I couldn’t appreciate.  He was hiding me and my words away so that I might go slower with them and with Him, and grow with them, and grow closer to Him.  They weren’t words to share with others, but they were words for me and God to converse.  There are a lot of conversations that we have had now, and I have wondered why after all this time He is slowing allowing me to speak again through blogging.  Perhaps he knows how hard I have tried to listen? Perhaps He is going to teach me more in this season of writing?   Whatever it is, I am slowly feeling the joy come back.  After reading some blogs and books on blogging and writing, I know it’s never easy, I know we are alone much of the time behind a white screen, screaming on the inside for someone to hear, to care, to notice,  to see our gift and to open it, and enjoy what it tells them. I know it takes time, time to think, time to edit and edit and edit again. I sometimes hate editing, I know what I want to say, so I  just want to say it, but in my furious typing to unload my brain of thoughts, I misspell, I run-on, I get sloppy because I want to post and be heard, I want someone to say, “Yes, I get that, I get you”.  Just like reading a book and covering it with highlighting because it resonates deeply.  That is what we long for, that is the joy; to write what we are, to be heard and understood, not for fame, but because we are human and we all have a story to tell and we each tell our story in a different way that brings  a gift to others.
So now, once the joy has been re-established, how do we keep it?  It really must be a mindset, a higher way of thinking.  It’s not just feelings, but a deep awareness that this is how you share your gift.  You are a creator, born in the image of God, the creator. He created, so we create.  If you write, you create with words, which become vehicles of transformation in another persons mind and life.  Just like musicians uses notes, or painters, a brush. or a cook who may specialize in a certain area of food,  we all start in our minds eyes, excited about sharing something that no one else can do in quite the same way, bringing our “flavor” to the arena for others to taste and see.
As I was thinking on “Joy” a few scriptures came to mind.  Now I am not trying to take them out of context, but relate them to how we need to look past the hard times in writing and press through to the joy.  The first one is: James 1:2 “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kind, because you know the testing of your faith produced perseverance”  Do we face trials of many kids as writers? YES!  Sometimes we have nothing to say, or life gets in the way of our writing, maybe we get sick and can’t write.  Whatever the trial is, we must keep the thoughts coming and trust God to help us in those times.  This is how we persevere, so when the difficulty let up, we are renewed and strengthened to write even better than before.  The other scripture is Hebrews 12:2 “For the Joy set before Him, he endured the cross” Jesus went through a brutal death to pay for our sins.  He was despised, rejected and killed to set us free.  He looked beyond the pain to the joy; the joy of being in Heaven with His father again, sitting at his right hand, the joy of saving all of us whom he deeply loves, the joy of knowing that one day there will be  new heaven and a new earth that is fully restored to a garden-like purity and purpose. He knew the joy set before Him, and so must we.  We must keep the joy of our goals, our ambitions, our dreams before us; knowing that as we persevere, as we overcome, we will bring joy not only to ourselves a we write but we will bring restoration, rescue and hope to others; talk about being Christ-like!!
So let us take time, look deeply within, find and grab the joy we have and release it.  For that is what gifts are for, to be given away and en-joyed by others.

Why only I can hold myself accountable

As the inspiration comes back to me to blog, I have thought about how I am going to keep myself motivated.  I get that trying to build a platform of readership again is going to take some time, and can be very discouraging, but I also know not to focus on numbers at this point in the process, but to just learn again the joy of public blogging and trust the results to God.  Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t seek out wise counsel, which would be from other bloggers and writers online, but no one is going to make me show up here; I am either going to want to write or not.  And it isn’t even a matter of want, because sometimes our feelings and flesh get in the way, where we tend to make excuses.  We have all had good intentions of starting something and not following through because it was hard, we were tired; pick your reason.  But this I know, for someone who in different seasons has looked for accountability in others in different areas, the bottom line is that people just fail you.  I can think of countless times of trying to make spiritual friendships with others and have nothing come out of it.  I can also recall recently when I tried to get back into walking, that  me and my cousin talked about walking in the mornings, but guess what?  She never called, I got busy with other things, and so it goes.  In all of this, over the many years, I have continued to learn that God is my sole help.  Now, I don’t want to sound like a lone-ranger Christian, because I’m not, I’ve been active in all the churches that I have attended and served at, and I have made intentional efforts to connect with others as best I could, but in the end, people get busy in their own lives, they hold different values than you do, and for that reason things don’t seem to stick.   Values really is the key, and for those who get how to look to what one values is also key.  You can talk about values, but unless you actually believe and implement them, they don’t do much good. Example, I know it’s beneficial to my health to eat right and exercise, but if I don’t find a way to do that, that works for me, it’s not going to produce any results.  I must learn to value at healthy lifestyle by learning first what that means to me, and then find a way to put that plan into action by setting small realistic, achievable goals.  This is why I like using the Franklin Covey planner because it helps me to write my values down, this way, I slowly learn to hold myself accountable for the things that matter to me.  Now I have to admit, I have had a small planning hiatus, which I am getting back into, but when I was not doing it on a daily basis, I was more frustrated and couldn’t figure out why I felt stuck in different areas. It was because I took my focus off what mattered most to me, and started to just to the “day in-day out” thing, which began to drain me in different ways. Another thing that I have had to come to terms with is all the noise around us, especially in social media.  One of the things I am learning in a better way this time blogging is that I cannot listen to every conversation out there that may be beneficial to me.  I really have to evaluate each season that I am in and decide what conversations I want to be a part of.  I’ve done this by un-liking certain facebook pages that perhaps were helpful say in my seminary and ministry season, but right now just don’t provide what I need or even value to a point.  As our seasons shift, so must the tools and information that we use shift as well.  I think of technology and have seen a few posts on how the typewriter is making a comeback, I’ve also seen records make a comeback in some bookstores as well. Great things to own, but are they helpful to me in this season?  Probably not.  I love typing, but doing it on a laptop is much more efficient in many ways then on a typewriter.  Same with records, I had a lot of them growing up, but today, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy them as much as I once did, thanks to the convince, quickness and selection of my music now at my fingertips on my IPhone that goes anywhere with me and fits in my pocket.   Getting back to holding myself accountable, we all have to learn different ways to stay motivated and productive in the different seasons in our lives.  And as  much as I love to learn from others and grow, I also have learned that what works for one person, doesn’t work for everyone.  So as I get back into blogging, and the other areas of my life, I am the CEO of me.  Just like no one else can tell my story the way I do, no one else can live my life the way it needs to be lived.  As I call on God to assist me to be a good steward of my time and talents, he will show me the way, just as He did with this post.  I wasn’t looking to write about accountability, but He brought it to mind, and said it’s a good place to start.

Why I need to blog

I hate to admit it, but it’s been a long time away from the joy of blogging that I once new.  I had a personal/spiritual crisis over the last several years as I attended seminary, and the life journey that God has had me on has been full of twists and turns.  The writing didn’t stop; I guess that’s a good thing, and maybe affirms that it is a sacred gift kept safely inside of me, because I did journal a lot, mostly on my laptop and some on good old fashioned paper.  But this I know, I am a happy person when I am sharing my life with others, especially my spiritual journey through words; which I have done over the years in different written ways, whether that was an email of encouragement to those I served along side with in church, writing a  prayer newsletter for 2 churches I attended, or keeping a personal journal in hopes to publish some type of work someday; Writing has been more than a hobby for me, but a way for me to bring forth my unique contribution in life in a way that no one else can.  That is why we write; to share what God has, is, and is yet to do in all of our lives.  To encourage one another as we visit each others sites and comment on how their journey has touched ours.  It’s the unconventional way of doing relationship that is a sacred sect in a way, because we are creating and sharing our written words with one another, that brings us closer on a spiritual level that other relationships can’t do.  I know it sounds almost weird, but as I type this, I really sense God guiding my understanding in this like never before.  And sometimes that is why my posts aren’t even Facebook worthy.  Not that I don’t want people to read my stuff, but for a piece like this, many just wouldn’t get it, if you don’t have that passion inside of you to write; perhaps they could appreciate it, but maybe not. Sometimes it’s easier being vulnerable in your writing like this, to fellow writers who can relate, than to a friend or family member who doesn’t get it at all. So this is why I need to blog.  I need keep the conversation going outside my head.  Thoughts are great, especially spiritual ones, but spiritual thoughts shared can bring growth, wisdom, insights, pondering and transformation.   Starting again is unknown, how often do I write?  Will God lead me like He did before or will it look different?  Already, I think it is different, but I hope that I can find a rhythm to write here that is freeing.  Please keep me in your prayers and please chime in with any advise or tips to keep flowing in the words here.  Thanks, and God Bless.  Let there be Writing!

My Vent for the day: Why I Read

My Vent for the day: Why I read. Someone said to me the other day when I was talking to them about applying knowledge from what I learned in a book. “Well, that’s just a book..” I know what they meant. They were trying to say you can’t just read a book and try and plug in a formula to make it work. I get that. But let me tell you why I read. I read books of all types to not just gain information, but for transformation; to learn how people have done things, to challenge my thinking, to stretch and to grow. That is why I read. And that is why I also read the Bible, not for information but for true lasting character formation and transformation that looks like Christ. So I will continue to read the books that God leads me to, whether that is leadership of various sorts, or many other subjects I could go into. I read to grow, I read to be challenged and be changed, I read because I vow to be life long learner, and wanting to then ask God where we go from here, and how do I use what I learn for His purposes in my own unique way, passions and gifting. That is why I read. If we cease to grow we will die. Grace and Peace.

Leading Like Jesus with vision, value and risk

As I am reading a book about leadership and how to motivate and influence people, I was reminded of Jesus and how he called the disciples. It has always bugged me when I read the gospels how quickly they left everything and followed him. I get that it’s a picture of radial obedience, but there is something else underneath the surface. They must of known of Jesus or maybe heard him speak before he went public. Something compelled these men to follow him. It wasn’t the money, it wasn’t women, or popularity, but it was a hope that he was going to bring the kingdom, he was going to lead them into a new era of promise, he was going to bring a brighter future from what they knew. Leaving everything was a seemingly small risk to what this man could potentially bring. Leadership is the same way. As we hold to and communicate a brighter future for our families and our churches, we have to show people that it’s worth the risk, it’s worth the blood sweat and tears. In the end, Jesus didn’t bring them the earthly kingdom that they had hoped for. He didn’t bring them the fame and popularity that they thought might be theirs, but what he brought was far greater, worth far more value. It was eternal life. And as church leaders we have to ask ourselves what is the greater kingdom value that we are bringing to people? To those outside the church who don’t know Christ? We have to ask ourselves what we value and why? And do our values line up with the values that Jesus had? That’s just my “Jesus side note” for today as I dive back into my leadership reading.  Grace and peace, Robin

Living the Kingdom Life

Focusing on seminary has kept me far from blogging but today, as it is my reflection day as I will call it, has got me continually thinking about Living the Kingdom life.   One of my first classes in seminary almost 5 years ago, was Biblical Survey of the book of Matthew, which is all about the kingdom of God.  If you read  Matthew, you will see Jesus refer to the Kingdom time and time again.;  “the kingdom is like, the kingdom is like, the kingdom is like…”  He is trying to teach his disciples that living the Kingdom life is so extremely different from the way they think life works; same truth for us today!  But unfortunately this doesn’t always get translated correctly in our churches.   Sadly, many Christians live in bondage who don’t know how to overcome their past hurts, or may not know how to deal with new ones,  and so they fail to thrive as Christians.   I say this because I have been there.  I think every Christian who has learned to truly walk in freedom and who has continually learned to desire and live a kingdom lifestyle  has had to go through some darkness to get their.   What continues to strike me is in my minuscule attempts to keep up with some of the talking heads in our Christian sub-culture is the continual mudslinging that we still partake in.   Why am I drawn to a leadership article that shows up on my facebook feed to only see it’s another pushing down of our “inncorect” behaviors once again.? That was so helpful and encouraging, NOT!  I know people need to vent at times and I know we all wrestle with our faith (I know I’ve done it on this blog) and I know we are all at different places on the journey, but as I continue to get older and see my daughter growing up fast before me,  I wan’t to emulate a Jesus saturated life as much as possible.  No I am not perfect, and no I have no great formula or set schedule to accomplish that.  One of my biggest issues I constantly talk with God about is how to have more structure but not that it would bound me to a “right way” of doing something, but learning each day to surrender to God as I wake, asking him to help me to be patient, kind and loving as I get my 2nd grader ready for school; learning to live in the present moment each day.   I really want to be a  Holy Spirit led, Holy Spirit controlled person.  I know that I can’t do things in my own strength, but as I continue to depend on God at every turn I learn to hear Him, I learn to sense Him guiding me in different things.   So what are a few things that I learned about living the kingdom life?  First one of my biggest and continual life-lessons has been to accept people where they are, period.  Learning to love people where they are especially when they think differently than you, is I believe a huge way that God grows us.   Going back to hurts, to be kingdom people we need to learn to forgive no matter what and let God deal with that other person.  It’s often been said and is very true, that forgiveness is not so much about the person who hurt you but about you gaining freedom from the bondage of unforgiveness in learning to forgive.   Just a quick note, that forgiveness truly is the 70×7 thing Jesus talks to us about.  Even this morning I was having to re-forgive in something I have given over to God many times.  Being able to see that God loves that person so much, and that He created them to walk in freedom and wholeness also is very helpful in our forgiveness and healing journeys.   I recently learned that God has forgiven their lack of certain character qualities that I had expected and I too was now being asked to also forgive those deficiencies.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t want restoration, because I do, but my job is to learn to forgive  on deeper levels and leave the rest up to God.  God forgave us and so we must learn to ask God to teach us to forgive one another.  Again, it’s not something we can do in our own strength, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us.   Another area that has helped me to live the kingdom life of freedom is to accept people where they are on the journey.   This is hard for someone like me who has had a lifetime of learning in school, now studying to be a pastor and wanting to see people thrive in their Christian journey.   Being able to learn to trust God with others and not feel a need or compulsion to fix them or “help” them can be challenging.  But again as I surrender my control and my life over to God he helps me live out my own life in preace and the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5) and as I learn to cultivate and manage my own life I learn to let go of my desire to manage others.   Going back to our journey’s, we are all knit in our mother’s womb from our great creator God and we need to truly learn to honor one another by letting them walk the path God has laid before them, even if we don’t get it.  Now obviously if they are in sin we may be able to assist them back on track, but only as God tells us to do so.  Living the Kingdom life means that I am secure in who I am as a child of God.  I deeply know that God is good, that He is for me and that His unconditional love is the only approval that I really need.  I say deeply because many have a head knowledge of God but the life they live that come out of what’s inside of them is often sadly vastly different from who God is.   Community is also important on our spiritual journey’s but only as God has taught us to keep our eyes focused on Him, and find our identity and security in Him alone, can we truly live to be life-giving kingdom agents to others.   As we learn to live for the audience of One, and seek to depend on Him with our whole mind, body and strength in humility, weakness and child-like faith and trust He will transform us into His likeness  Again, it’s not my job to change you, to get you to see my point of view or agree with me, but it is my divine privilege as a child of the King to live out my freedom in Christ in front of you, to testify of the works of God in my life, to share my struggles and that I don’t have it all figured out, but  I am persevering still by the strength of Christ in me.   When I fall, I get up and I remember who I am in Christ, I remember the promises spoken over my in the Word of God.   I learn to model the kingdom life as God leads me.  I do this by the passions he has placed in me; cultivating a lifestyle of worship where I sing with my voice which fills me up and compels me to move to love others, in genuine love, compassion and mercy.  There is so much more I can say about the kingdom life, and I feel like I just scratched the surface and I hope to write more on it as God leads, but   as I live dependent on God he continually teaches me how to live the kingdom life more and more, and it becomes something that I truly am desperate for.  As with everything, it’s a journey that we walk, so be patient and live surrounded and watch God move in and through you to truly become  someone who lives the kingdom life.  So how bout’ you?  How has God shown you how to live the kingdom life where you are?    Blessings, Robin.

Prayers for our Church

Today as I was preparing for the National Day of Prayer at my own church, God reminded me of a prayer sheet that I created years ago when I was on a church prayer team.  I quickly tweaked it to my context and we spent today praying it.  I then wanted to bless and encourage pastors I new on facebook, so I sent it to them. Then the Lord told me to post it here on my blog for others to use in their church contexts as well. So what followers is a prayer sheet for God’s Church. I truly believe that pray has to start with the local Church.  As someone who desperately longs to see Spiritually strong Children of God walking in their divine calling and full effectiveness, I pray that this will bless you and help you grow in your own pray life and the life of your church.

Praise / Thanksgiving:

 

Psalm 50:23 “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!

v  For allowing us to freely worship and pray.

v  For our salvation and the salvation of others we are believing for

v  For our church and all the work the Lord is having us do for the kingdom.

v  For all our pastors, leaders, and volunteers who put in tireless hours for the sake of others.

v  For what God is going to do through our continued growth, surrender and obedience as a church body.

 Health/ Emotional/Hospitalization:

 James 5:15 “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.  If he has sinned he will be forgiven.” 

 v  We lift up those in our congregation who are sick or hospitalized. We pray for healing; rest and restoration.  Draw them to you Lord as they wait.

v  We pray for physical, emotional, spiritual, healing.  Break any bonds that Satan has used, and bring forth testimonies of praise.

v  We pray for anyone in our church who is dealing with a substance abuse or any other stronghold or addiction.  We ask that those strongholds would be broken and that complete wholeness in Jesus would come to those individuals.

v   Lord, send us out to care and comfort those in our church body.  Help us to send a card or to make a call of encouragement or concern, so that they know they are loved and thought of by the body of Christ.

 Salvation/Spiritual Walk

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things are past away, and behold all things are new.”

v  We lift up all those who are in need of salvation at our church.

v  We pray that they would surrender to a life lived for Christ alone.  Whether this is a surrender either for the first time or on a deeper level, resulting in closer intimacy with God and a manifested change from the inside out.

v  We pray that people would be convicted of the sins in their lives and turn to Jesus for repentance, forgiveness and the newness of life that he offers.

v  May those in need of Salvation see the lights that we shine before them.  May they ask us what the difference is, and may we share with joy, our lives in Jesus.

v  Lord, for those who are struggling in their spiritual walk; bring others alongside them to build them up in your ways.

v   Pray for our youth to come to know the Lord; ignite a passion for Jesus so deep within them.

v  May God arise in this place; let the redeemed of the Lord rise up.  May we truly live the lives that we have been called to.

v  Pray for our church to become prayer filled and praise filled. God, shatter the darkness around us.

 Marriages and Parenting/Family life

 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

v  We lift up all the marriages in our church, that you would draw them to yourself Lord and to each other in Christ-likeness.

v  That you Lord, would bring restoration and healing of every kind into their homes.

v  Break down any walls of communication and let forgiveness and healing come forth.

v  Help parents learn to love their children the way that you love us. Bond families together and bring balance to every area of their lives.

v  Help families to only commit to things that will strengthen them in Christ-likeness;  Let them all come to church together.

v  Help parents to surrender to you Lord so that you can be the one who guides them.

Safety

1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert, your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

v  We pray a spiritual covering over our church.

v  We pray that you keep us out of the snares of Satan

v  We pray that we are always focusing on your will for our church

v  Lord keep our church safe in every way, so that we can reap a harvest for you alone.

 Pastoral Staff/Church Ministires

 Proverbs 29:18Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.”

v  Pray for our church to be dedicated to prayer.  Lord that you would reign in this, that you would burn your heart of prayer on all of ours and allow us to be united in heart of prayer throughout every ministry that we do here.

v  We pray for Pastor ______to have strength, wisdom and boldness in preaching the word of God and that the Holy Spirit is preached.

v  We pray for our pastors and their families; our church board and Childcare administration and staff.

v  Pray for revival.  As the Holy Spirit is preached, Lord we ask that you would do a mighty work in the hearts of everyone who hears; that ears would be opened, that eyes would see the truth of your ways. Lord, come revive our hearts, change us from the inside out, put a new song in us O’God.  Burn so deeply that we are changed

v  Pray for _________ Church of the Nazarene that we would be a light into our community .  Lord we pray that people sense the love that we have in you and for each other and that it would lead them closer to you.

v  Let people see that coming to church is to get strengthened and equipped so we can go out and love the world as Jesus came and love the world; but Lord may our church be a place that is grace-filled, full of love, compassion, and forgiveness.

Pray For Unity as a Church Body

1 Corinthians 1:10 “I appeal to  your brothers in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that  you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

v  That we would learn to love each other as Christ loves us.  That we may live and conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of you.  That we would be mindful of the words that come out of our mouths. That we would seek wisdom and discernment and your will.  That we would hold each other accountable in Christ-like love. That we would be slow to anger and quick to forgiveness; settling our disputes quickly.

v  That we would not hold anything against another; that there would be no division among us, and that we would be united in mind and thought.

v  That we would look to the Word of God on how to live and love one another as Christ’s body. That we would be accepting of each other’s uniqueness and differences.  We are one body with many parts.  May we work together in all things to the Glory of God.

v  That we would surrender to God and our church leadership in the steering of our church and its ministries.  Keep us united; building up each other through your word.

v  Help us to be patient with each other, bearing one another’s burdens.  We pray for repentance and forgiveness as a body.  Forgive us our sins and cleans   us from all unrighteousness. We seek humility in our service to you O Lord.

v  We seek to be taught and led by your Holy Spirit in every way.  May your word dwell richly in us; that we are not murmurers, complainers, walking after our own lusts.