Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Turning Down the Noise

It's so easy for me to be distracted by the many things I need to do, and the more I do, the more there seems that needs done: work, exercise, family obligations, bills, prepare, sleep (what's that???), etc. I can sometimes rise up in the morning with this pressure of "get going", "get DOING!", "RIGHT NOW!!"

And it's not enough, never enough, for all that I MUST do. And putting on my project manager hat, doing 3 Point estimates, I just know it can't be done. What needs to drop off the radar for the day? What needs to be cut out, either temporarily or permanently, so I can keep the main things juggling?

And then there's the "task" of having a quiet time with God, that one-on-one time that I can check off as a magic ward against all the curses and calamities of the day, both those I know about and those to which I'm oblivious.

But when I just rest in His Presence, stop doing and start being, I start to hear Him sing songs over me... songs of love, of joy, of peace... songs to trust in Him. When I stop playing the part of Martha (do, do, do) and act more like Mary (be, be, Be!), I start to live, to relax, to know that He's on my side and He's got the outcome already planned... it's going to be okay! So I relax and realize that some of those previously necessary tasks aren't quite so necessary, some of those formerly desired outcomes are really not so desireable, and that if everything caved in around me, He will shill carry me through, clean me up, and put me back on a path to true success.

So I rest, and reflect and follow His lead to my journal, reviewing what He's taught me the past year, and I read a word He gave me on April 30th:

If My people would just draw into My Presence, I would heal their land. I would give them the peace they desire if they would but let Me wash away their fears. But they choose to watch other things than Me and My ways. So I will bring further discomforts until they are willing to find hope in Me. They have trusted other things, let them find their trust in Me. I AM a God of Hope, of Peace, of Love. Let the man who is called by My Name find Me first, and all other things will be granted unto him. Submit to My rule and you will be made a ruler in this world.

God will bring us victory, either collectively or individually, as we draw into His Presence. My prayer is that it's as a community, and that I'm part of that. So I rest, and I wait, and I listen. Then I do. No magic ward necessary (I was just being sarcastic about that anyway)... just peace in the journey, trusting that He's got my back, and somehow the important things get done.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rise Up and Pray - Rise Up Man of God!


Amos 4:6, 10 (New International Version)
"I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me," declares the LORD.

"I sent plagues among you as I did to Egypt. I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps, yet you have not returned to me," declares the LORD.

Joel 2:11-13, 15-7 (New International Version)

The LORD thunders at the head of his army; His forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey His command. The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it? Rend Your Heart "Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the temple porch and the altar. Let them say, "Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?' "


Where: Hosting Church: House of Prayer 8125 Rawles Avenue Indianapolis , IN 46219
Directions: From I-70 take Post Rd exit, go south on Post Rd , turn right on Rawles and church will be on your left side.
When: Saturday January 30, 2010 8:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.

Prayer meeting is organized by Pastor Yaqub Masih of Abundant Life International Church
For more information call (317) 490-5804 or go to http://www.riseupandpray.org/

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thoughts on Rahab

I was helping out with the Children's Ministry this past weekend, and the lesson focused on the story of Rahab (Book of Joshua 2 & 6). Now, not a whole lot is known about her:
  • she was a prostitute (didn't mention this detail to the kids)
  • lived in the less desirable area of town
  • helped out a couple Israeli spies
  • was spared from the destruction that hit her city of Jericho
  • through the grace of God became the mother of Boaz, who was husband to Ruth and the grandfather of King David, and through David , she was an ancestor of Jesus. (See Matt 1)
Tell me God's grace and love aren't awesomely cool! God knew Rahab's sordid past, but He looked beyond it, into her heart and made her great! He established her, even set her aside from destruction, to become a foundation stone for the Kingdom of Israel and the Messianic throne!!

But as cool as all this is, I've known it for years and can sometimes take it for granted... Pitiful, huh? It hits my head, but not my heart. So this same God, Who showed abundant mercy and grace with Rahab, took me by the hand and taught me some heart knowledge. He hits me with a concept I'd never considered before: what was this story like from Rahab's perspective? So  I go down this "just imagine" path...

Just imagine: Rahab, a woman of no esteem in a society that already looks down women. She's probably looked down upon by her parents and her brothers, yet in the midst of saving a couple spies, she asks for protection, not just for herself, but also for her family. As a result, she's been promised that anyone who takes refuge in her home will be spared by the invading army. Her parents, brothers and their families can find protection from the coming destruction if they stay in her home once the invasion starts. Now this home is built into the wall and is therefore closest to the invading army.

So I wonder: when did she get the courage to invite her family to join her? "Hey, guess what? I just helped those spies escape! So now, they'll protect us if the Israeli army invades... isn't that great??" How did they respond when she first told them? I can't imagine it was with shouts of joy; probably a different type of shout was raised, huh? Was her family tempted to turn her in to the authorities as a traitor? How did they respond when the army finally arrived? Assuming they actually joined her when the army was camped outside, how difficult was it for HER, when the army spent 6 days just walking around the city? "Rahab, they look like they're just trying to decide if they're actually going to attack. I think you were just scared and made up the whole spy story so you wouldn't be alone in your house. Perhaps the Israelis are now realizing how inpenetrable our city walls are as they go on their daily walk. Nice. I'm going home. Let me know when they leave. Stupid *@#$!!"

I can't imagine that it was easy to believe Rahab, and that some of her family abandoned her after a couple days, if they even listened to her at all and if they didn't disown her as a harlot and a traitor. But whether she was alone or with others, she remained faithful, and her faith was rewarded. As the walls around Jericho fell on the seventh day, she was brought into a new kingdom... she was protected from the destruction that devoured her city!

Still, after that, how many of her new country-women looked down upon her former occupation and nationality? How many men in the new kingdom treated her like a harlot? Yet in the end, how did this affect her son, Boaz, as he looked upon Ruth, another foreign woman who joined God's kingdom?

The reality remains: our path as believers is not easy, but it's worth it! Rahab did not have an easy life, but her belief in God's power and her obediance saved her life!! And God has not changed... He promises to do the same for each of us as we dedicate our lives fully to Him.

As I was reviewing my journal, I came across a word the Lord gave me on August 13th of 2008: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength, and He will not forget you in your hour of need! No matter how dark our situation, God is still in control, and we can take comfort in knowing that He is working out a victorious outcome for His people, for each of us that are called by His Name!! (see Rom 8:28)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Email from a friend on imminent terrorist threat

A friend of mine sent an email about an imminent terrorist threat, puportedly sent by a Juval Aviv. My reaction:
  • According to SNOPES, this is a hoax. (http://www.snopes.com/rumors/soapbox/juvalaviv.asp last updated almost a year ago)
  • However, anyone who has ever been involved with security in the military would agree with the assertions attributed to Mr. Aviv.
  • The recent call by the Obama administration to "overhaul" our intelligence community is a signal being sent to all terrorists to act while we're in a state of flux (makes me wonder if the president isn't trying to find a reason to demand sweeping changes since the Christmas day event was NOT actually successful); you don't make quick changes to mission critical systems, but rather, you enhance, test and eventually replace system errors when shortcomings are discovered.
  • The Lord gave me this word: "I am about to destroy a nation tall and strong, a people feared by many nations. And then I shall raise them up again as My people, a nation of towering oaks, trees of righteousness. Never have I released My wrath on so many, and never have so many been redeemed!" (http://mitchellmalloy.blogspot.com/2010/01/call-to-draw-closer-to-god-and-embrace.html) I believe this refers to the US (reference Isa 18)
  • Still, God will provide for His people and He will will reclaim us from our wickedness. The reason we are a target of Islam is because the US is leading the world into wicked ways through our exports of technology and entertainment. If we rise up in holiness and dedication to the Lord and His ways, I believe that He will relent of the wrath that is otherwise surely coming our way. This is a call to believers in this nation to be fully His, not to a nation that doesn't know Him. It starts with us... with renewal... individually and collectively.
Peace in the midst of this storm!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Revolutionary War!

When Jesus told us that the whole world was against us, the Greek word used in Scripture for "world" was cosmos. Now, cosmos is more than just the universe, it's the whole order of the universe. In other words, the way of the world. But we know from Scripture that Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. As counter-intuitive as it may seem to follow The Way, that is exactly what we're called to do.

It's both freeing and scarey to let go of all the things we've been told about taking control of our destiny and handing it all over to Him. He provides the resources and He controls the outcome. All we're responsible for is faithfulness in doing what He's called us to do. Freeing and scarey, huh? But it's only as we let go of the outcome, trusting in Him, regardless of what resources we think are available, that His power is truly demonstrated though us. When we are weak, His strength is revealed!

This means, the whole order of the universe, the moral code, business conduct, even best congregational practices, are suspect. While admittedly, all truth is God's truth, and best practices shouldn't be completely ignored, we need to walk by faith and not by sight. If all we see are the giants and not the Mighty God Who squashes giants, we can let the partial truth immobilize us. Satan knows that the most effective lie is a half truth.

So press in for the full truth, and like Paul I pray we follow the right example:

Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. "No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

-1 Corinthians 9:26-27 - NIV)

Is society dragging you in the opposite direction from where Jesus calls you? Then acknowledge that your life is part of a spiritual war between God and Satan, declare your side, and get on with it. Admit that you are better off 'fighting the good fight' and suffering on earth for the cause of Christ than winning the world but losing your soul for eternity.

Get used to the fact that your life is lived in the context of warfare. Every breath you take is an act of war. To survive and thrive in the midst of the spiritual battle in which you live, seek a faith context and experience that will enhance your capacity to be Christlike. This mission demands single-minded commitment and a disregard for the criticisms of those who lack the same dedication to the cause of Christ. You answer to only one Commander in Chief, and only you will give an explanation for your choices. Do whatever you have to do to prove that you fear God, you love Him, and you serve Him -- yes, that you live only for Him.

That is the commitment of a Revolutionary.
-"Revolution" by George Barna, p. 26-27
 
Originally published 11/17/06 and subsequently modified from http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indy24x7Prayer/message/61

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Planting a Church

We are in the process of planting a Vineyard church in the Fort Ben area of Indianapolis. As the details become clearer, the site will be updated; however, this much is clear: God is definitely the One coordinating the details! As I had prayed about this decision, not wanting to move forward until I heard the Lord's direction, the conversation went something similar to this:

me: So where do You want me to plant a church? Do You want me to plant a church?

God: The harvest is great but the laborers are few.

me: So where do You want me to plant a church?

God: It doesn't matter. Just take Me with you.

me: How about the Fort Ben area? I love the way that it's a dividing ground between different demographics. (Note: yeah, I can talk like that... fortunately, God understands my vocabulary)

God: I will bless it! It is yours to take and I'll open the doors for you.

So with that, having heard the Still / Quiet Voice, I went home to be with my family. The next morning, I felt the Lord nudging me to spend more time with Him, and I started to go off to the Panera Bread by my house to share a bagel and cup of coffee with the Lord... okay, He let's me eat in front of Him, but we enjoy it together. Anyway, as I'm driving to Panera, the Lord suggests I go to the one on 56th Street in the Fort Ben area. I go with a sense of expectation, looking forward to more time with God, and as I walk back to my table with bagel and coffee in hand, a woman asks me if that's a Bible on the table, which led to a question about what church I attend, which led to a statement from the lady: "I've been praying for a Vineyard or Vineyard-like church in this area!"

Well, as you can probably tell by the above, I believe in a highly relational God, Who has the right to direct me however He desires, but I was floored by her statement. As her husband walked back to the table, we started talking, ate breakfast together and eventually prayed with and for each other. It was a divine appoint, and we all seemed to know it. God is good... all the time... and He continues to work all things together for good for us, His people.

More to come...

Orignially published at: http://sites.google.com/site/fortbenvineyard/

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Disclaimer

NOTE: earlier posts originally published on the Indy24x7Prayer Yahoo! Group
 
Peace!