Month: March 2015

March 24 2015

My 1st opportunity to do a group session. Four hours.

I don’t know what happened but whatever it was…it was God. Unexpected topics came about But even through that I feel that God is working in the midst of it. I cannot wait to hear how this will all turn out at the end of the trip. NEA2015

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He reminds me tonight

I felt this rebellious heart of mine wanting to harden itself towards God. Not in the fact that God exists but harden towards His Word and commands.  I started reading and came across this verse

HEB 3:12-13 ESV

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

I really enjoy reading those words “take care”. Its not the “hey..good seeing you! Take care!” It’s a deeper and heavier way of saying keep watch. Look over your heart and the condition of it. Whenever I see those two words in Scriptures it leads me to ask myself

How is your heart doing Judy?

Tonight..it was responding to me with potential signs of bitterness, weariness, laziness, rebellion and hardening. All these signs were in the department of discipline/shepherding.

Everybody loves seeing rewards and results in what they invest or pour their effort in. Setback and detours aren’t fun to witness. That goes the same for me in small group.

I began thinking and measuring the past few conversations I’ve had with my ladies. Many of them unresponsive to any exhortations or encouragement I’ve given them. It’s not necessarily a verbal response I care for..its the heart response that concerns me the most.

Like any human being when you try to speak truth with love for the benefit of their joy to increase and their faith to grow…you hope and pray for a heart response. When that hoped reaction doesn’t come..it does become disheartening and weary at times.

Why do I bother to keep them accountable? Why should I keep encouraging them? I can’t force them to fellowship with You God so then should I continue being that annoying CG leader who checks in and nudges them to keep going?

Then the verse came..

HEB 3:12-13 ESV

…. But exhort one another EVERY DAY, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Every day. Every day. Every day. Every day. Every day. Every day. Every day.

You have got to be kidding me Jesus.
EVERY DAY?!?!?!?!

Sounds so difficult at first and then I realized that the writer is charging us to exhort. Exhort one another every day.

He didn’t say:
Make sure they read the Word
Make sure they say their prayers
Make sure they obey the Word and what God commands.

He said exhort. Strongly encourage.

What I initially thought was difficult was actually quite doable once I read and paid closer attention.

I’m not called to be a successful CG leader. (whatever that looks like) I’m called to be faithful. I don’t want to use the word “simply” and call it “simply be faithful.” because it’s not a simple task. Its hard. Requires endurance..a resolved heart. Perseverance and determination. You pour all that in and if you seek the results..you’ll be disappointed. Bitter and disheartened.  I am called to be faithful. Not successful. Kinds like the famous idiom

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink

I love these ladies. I love their souls even more. I love them to the point where I don’t care if they dislike me or find me annoying.

I do care tremendously if God finds me unfaithful disobedient and lukewarm. My goal in life….no day to day is that when I stand before God in regards to my account I want to hear more than anything:

‘Well done, good and faithful (not successful) servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

His Word tonight has watered the soul of my heart. Every word is God breathed. Tonight’s session was a much much much needed holy CPR. Replenished the dry cracks that were forming. Hallelujah. Praise be to God.

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Life got crazy with Jesus

These past few 48 hours or so has been crazy. I’ve been rewinding the events, conversations and emotions and I can’t seem to come to any strong conclusion as to how and why it happened the way it happened.

I’ve been a believer for quite some time of my life. I’d say since Jr. high or so but I haven’t been a follower of Jesus for the equal amount. It’s less than 10 years for sure and maybe a little over 5..even that I don’t feel confident about.

It’s the 48 hours or so where things happened at unexpected times-places and people. I’m physically in the office working but in between chats or conversations the urges and desires lead me away from the physical environment and train of thought to an eternal one. I’ve probably had more eternal focused conversations with people in the past 48 hours or so than I have in a week. It’s like concentrated. Pure extract and overwhelming to the human mind and soul.

I started wondering,

I wonder if this was how the day to day life was like for the disciples as they followed Jesus.

The New Testament isn’t the full story. Were catching 4 key accounts of what they saw, heard, and experienced. Its not like they had a 24 hour surveillance camera or a GoPro to capture everything. They barely had moments alone with Jesus and even Jesus Himself couldn’t find enough alone time with Himself.

How crazy and chaotic.

But exhilarating at the same time.

It’s been amazing. Where I found myself speaking so boldly to people.

What in the world just happened right now? Did I really say what I just said?!?!?

Today at First Friday Devo I had 5 ladies join and maybe it was the topic of our devo but the ladies were engaged and participating. We shared how we can take small steps of choosing joy when our not-so-good-omg-I-am-stressed moments happen.

James 1:2-4 ESV

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

They asked me, “What do YOU do Judy when life interrupts?”

I shared my current interruption and I saw their eyes open wide like a doe caught in headlights. I didn’t pretend in how my heart has been responding. I told them this is how I feel and this is what I believe of God and who He says He is.

Some responded with surprise and amazement. One lady spoke out and said, “That’s so cool. Like..I want to be that kind of wife and respond to life’s ups and downs like that.”

BAM! Here He came again. Bold and confident.

I’m glad you want to respond to those moments like I just shared. I gotta tell you guys, if you choose to try this change on your own willpower and strength, you won’t get too far. You will fail. Like any alcoholic who thinks they can fully recover 180° change on their own…is deceiving him or herself. They’re lying to themselves. They can’t change on their own. They need a higher power just like AA books mention. Same thing with us, there is nobody else who can change us better than God does. His power can change us. He will change us. But we have to let Him..it’s not gonna happen if we hold back our heart and it won’t be easy and pain free either. If we place our trust in Jesus, He will change us..”

They stared at me with round eyes. All eyes looking and listening. It was a crazy moment where I realized a few seconds later..

Wh..wha..what just happened.???

Whatever it was..it wasn’t me for sure. I haven’t spoken that boldly in FFD for a long time. Conversations would get distracted and people wouldn’t focus at these gatherings but today it was so good. I asked how I could pray for them and they were sharing prayer requests..4 out of 5.

Ok..so I am actually going to pray for them..not just 1 but 4 of them. Nuts. Doesn’t happen ..ever.

Ever.

So I’m here on my bed just rewinding the day’s(s’) conversations, small yet noticeable interactions, the connections and responses…is this how it was when the disciples followed Jesus around? Like constant boom bam bam bam.

I’m not even tired as I would be if it was social gatherings or dinners. I’m hungry. I’m curious what will happen next, to know and experience how Jesus will move next, how the Holy Spirit will work next. Its crazy.

As my good musician brother Steven would sing

Saddle up your horses we’ve got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace
Let’s follow our leader into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other – this is The Great Adventure

Foreals. Its been one great adventure…