WDMultiply

A Love that cannot be contained

It’s been about 2 days of listening to the same song on repeat.

My husband first introduced this song to me last year as he was preparing for missions. I heard him practice in our tiny apartment and listened to the track quite often in our car rides to dinner together. He would share his heart as to why he wanted to sing this over the people of China.  It’s beautiful and simple.

MULTIPLIED by NeedtoBreathe

Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name

God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies And these Hallelujahs
be multiplied

I rediscovered it recently on Spotify Tuesday morning and haven’t stopped. With 40 Days of Community and the project to love others, the lyrics of this song has been beating hard in me.

Last night I was heading over to Starbucks to get some studying done. The area is pretty new in development as it’s by the airport. I passed by the newly built stadium for the Earthquakes and just had this feeling of temporary..vain and worthless. This city I live in..has so much invested in New development. Sometimes it suffocate me. All these buildings and “look at me . look what I have” theme.

I pulled into the small plaza and saw a homeless standing at the end of the driveway. This time it was a woman. Usually I give it a second or two before I say , “Naaaah.” but this night was different. Maybe it’s because I’ve been studying about addictions and biopsych that my heart has softened towards the homeless. As humans, we were made to depend on God but history has shown that humans have chosen other things…one of them being alcohol or drugs. To cope to numb to alleviate to medicate to forget for moments…everything and anything that may be extremely difficult to handle in life. Unfortunately once our bodies get hooked..it’s no longer about avoiding the outside pain..there’s a new internal physical pain that has latched on as an addiction. Helpless and out of control are not great feelings. So my heart has become more compassionate which I am thankful for God revealing these truths to my mind and heart to contemplate on.

I parked and walked back out to where she was at. I sang in my heart…

“God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies And these Hallelujahs
be multiplied”

We made eye contact and though I felt a little nervous I was determined to do what I could in that time and place. I smiled and she smiled back. Front teeth were completely out. She looked tired and worn. Didn’t shower for a few days but looked still cleaner than others. I asked if she wanted anything to eat and immediately I could see in the corner of my eyes that the cars leaving the lot were slowing down to watch and see..

Odd…is it new? Do people think a fight is about to break out? Why does it feel like I’m at a zoo. Folks were rolling down their windows to try to hear what was being discussed…

“Oh.. Sure yeah. A hamburger and a pink lemonade would be great.”

Found out her and a friend were staying on the other side of the freeway.

I walked back to In n Out and the place was packed for dinner. I hope the lady didn’t think I flaked out on her by taking so long. Finally got the food and headed back. She seemed as if she was packed and ready to go. I handed her food and though I bought my cheeseburger to try to sit down and eat with her….maybe keep her company(?) she seemed ready to move on.

” Thank you so much. I’m going to really enjoy this..”

“No problem. I hope you enjoy it. Take care of yourself.”

And at that moment…something came over me. I rarely hug strangers let alone homeless strangers. I’ve hugged new people I’ve met or heard news about through a close friend but a completely homeless stranger is very out of character and judgment for me.

I reached over to give her a hug and surprisingly she met me halfway.

“Thank you. You really made my night. Really”

“Really?? Wow I’m so glad. Take care okay?”

So strange. Not in a bad way. But I felt strange. What I gave her was not much. It wasn’t even all that I had. It was a small meal that would only relieve of any hunger for through the night at most.

I felt free..er? Why? What is this God? What do I make of this odd feeling in my heart?

Is this the freedom that comes through the perfect love that casts out fear? Fear of rejection.. Fear of safety being taken away.. Fear of hurts and disappointments.

If so.. I want to experience more.

The Loneliness of the Christian

Today, I feel lonely. I feel discouraged and weary in the soul. Those three elements can weigh down a heart more than any physical ailment or tragedy can bring. Combine the three with a physical ailment and it’s as if death has come early. I don’t think any person is created to do life alone. Christian or not. We’re all wired to have community. As believers, we’re saved to join a community. Lone Ranger Christian isn’t part of God’s plan…or is it?

The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences he is forced to walk alone.

The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord Himself suffered in the same way.

The man [or woman] who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens.

He searches for friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.

It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else.”- A.Z. Tozer (The Loneliness of the Christian)


Tozer said it right.

But it seems very inevitable for those who are in ministry. There always comes these moments where the soul feel drained or empty from pouring one’s heart out doesn’t it? Once summer passes, you gear up for the busy & distracting season of Fall & Winter. The signs are clear right? Busyness, distractions of the consumer world, the me-me mentality, “others/church” are further pushed down the list of priority, serving the Church must reduce and I must increase… etc etc. Typical signs of the worldly influence this time of the season. Been feeling like I’m running hard. Hard for the Church, hard for discipleship and training, hard for the CG ladies to abide in Christ in Word and Prayer, hard to be available in pouring out myself to others for the sake of the Kingdom..but come 2-3 miles down, I look around and I feel as if nobody is running along side with me.

“Go a few more miles Judy, somebody will come along side with encouragement and reminders.”

You pour out confessions and share struggles but any morsel of encouragement is outweighed by the needs of the body, the news of defeated lives, complaints of how horrible and hard life is, no joy, no hunger, no strength to fight in those around you. The need in the body is overwhelming and great.  I start looking around and wondering, “where are the other mature believers God? Where is the ‘when one body part hurts the rest hurt?”

 

 

Those who care would ask, “How is your time in the Word?” I’d say, “Consistent and good. He’s speaking a new word in me everyday. I’m wrestling with a lot of things He’s telling me recently about ministry and my approach to it.”  But still…

I’ve been asking myself, “Judy, what is it that is bringing you down? What is it that you’re hungry for?”

I’m hungry to see God’s people start living the life they were saved to live. For somebody to say, “I experienced Christ today and it was amazing!!”

 

 

 

Two things remain to be said. One, that the lonely man of whom we speak is not a haughty man, nor is he the holier-than-thou, austere saint so bitterly satirized in popular literature. He is likely to feel that he is the least of all men and is sure to blame himself for his very loneliness. He wants to share his feelings with others and to open his heart to some like-minded soul who will understand him, but the spiritual climate around him does not encourage it, so he remains silent and tells his griefs to God alone.

The second thing is that the lonely saint is not the withdrawn man who hardens himself against human suffering and spends his days contemplating the heavens. Just the opposite is true. His loneliness makes him sympathetic to the approach of the broken-hearted and the fallen and the sin-bruised. Because he is detached from the world he is all the more able to help it. Meister Eckhart taught his followers that if they should find themselves in prayer as it were caught up to the third heavens and happen to remember that a poor widow needed food, they should break off the prayer instantly and go care for the widow. “God will not suffer you to lose anything by it,” he told them. “You can take up again in prayer where you left off and the Lord will make it up to you.” This is typical of the great mystics and masters of the interior life from Paul to the present day.

The weakness of so many modern Christians is that they feel too much at home in the world. In their effort to achieve restful “adjustment” to unregenerate society they have lost their pilgrim character and become an essential part of the very moral order against which they are sent to protest. The world recognizes them and accepts them for what they are. And this is the saddest thing that can be said about them. They are not lonely, but neither are they saints.

 light_in_dark

WEEKEND REVIEW: Pathway’s Fall Retreat

The Retreat I was waiting for..FINALLY came! I loved every moment of it. Anticipation was built from the first day of September. Granted I had to go because of my roles…but my spirit wanted and needed to go.

We always renew our contract with Koinonia Conference Grounds which is located in the lush forest of Watsonville. I must’ve sounded like a broken record when it came to praising this location and the last leg of the drive up there.

All planning and prayer was finally coming alive on Friday the 26th.

Retreat Team 1 was schedule to leave church no later than 2pm. But, you can’t drive to the forest on an empty stomach right? Of course not! =)

PHO with my Queen April

PHO with my Queen April

That is a large Pho Tai. No shame. I am a big girl ^__^

I started emptying my trunk out and found leftover sparklers from our wedding in 2011. WOW I kept those 36″ sparklers under all my junk for 3 + years.

Baby, you're a firework~~

Baby, you’re a firework~~

 

Our team goal was to arrive at the conference site and set up the check in table which included the retreat booklets and the tshirts…both of which were accidentally loaded into a locked uhaul van. Curious as to what we packed in our Uhaul pre-praise equipment?

SNACK & 10 Boxes of Ramen!

SNACK & 10 Boxes of Ramen! (PC Ivan Yee)

BUT thank God it all got worked out and we were able to leave around 2:07pm. WHEW!

Retreat Team 1: We're off!

Retreat Team 1: We’re off! Heidi-Priscilla-April-Me

The drive down the 152 to Watsonville was therapeutic.

April's 1 hour sniff test

April’s 1 hour sniff test

 

The one biggest thing I wanted all these ladies to experience the cold, crisp piney forest air. With multiple attempts, April could NOT smell this gorgeous oxygen unfortunately. She even sniffed her coconut water to sober up her nasal senses…no luck. =(

We stopped by Cafe Ella to grab an early dinner.  This is a must try place IMO (humble non-foodie opinion) Ella caters but also has a cafe filled with delicious menu items.

 

Totally thankful for Ivan & Gideon who arrived early to help set up. We worked out the remaining details on the registration, ate dinner and set out to pray. We were determined to serve the family of Pathway. IE:

Friendly face, beautiful smiles & 90 degree-hands on belly button bows are a must

Friendly face, beautiful smiles & 90 degree-hands on belly button bows are a must!

We broke off into prayer groups to spread out on the conference grounds. The desire was to sow prayers into the cabins, the sanctuary, and the dining hall. We were asking God to show us His glory, to lead us to divine conversations in our small group/W2W M2M sessions and in our cabins. For grace, humility and love to flow among cabin mates -as we know that can be difficult at times. For hearts to be a good and ready soil for the word of God to speak in each session. As we made our way towards the dining hall, a thick fog settled onto the field of the conference site. I wondered, “Is this what we would have seen in the Old Testament God? The presence of God ..”

PC: Ivan Yee

PC: Ivan Yee

And so it began…registrants rolled through and our 1st worship session began. Usually the 1st night people are kinda not all there. They’re tired from work and not able to focus fully on them and God at the retreat but this evening, it was different. There were hearts that were praying the weeks before and even the morning of..Hearts were ready to worship and seek God out together.

 

 

 

The biggest ways God had convicted my heart regarding the authority of Christ was in my marriage. Perhaps it’s one of the hardest areas to submit to the authority and the authority of your husband. God had been nudging every night about my responses, my attitude, my thoughts and overall the condition of my heart. I was resolved to make some changes and surrender as much as I could to God.. (More to come on Thankful Thursday blog)

 

Some of my favorite highlights of taking photos with my phone at the retreat. I’m hoping to create a simple video from all the clips I got during the game portion of the retreat. =)

 

I really enjoyed the time to heard the Word of God be taught, pray with our church family and just get away from the world’s influence and busyness. Sad that this may be our last retreat but thankful for the time we got to spend together. God is good. He is worthy.

 

 

 

THANKFUL THURSDAY: Today, I’m thankful for…

Because of the week’s schedule, I usually end up sharing all my praises and thanksgiving on Thursday about Wednesday’s CG gathering…which is probably how Thankful Thursday worked out so well for me so far. Last night’s study, we focused on the topic of prayer. One of the verses we didn’t get a chance to look at but still left an impression on my heart was Colossians 4:2

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”

I have a constant complaint to God but instead of focusing on the complaint I want to shift my attitude to gratitude. Here’s what I’m thankful for this morning.

MULTIPLICATION of WDMULTIPLY

Our fist night...away

Our fist night…away

Our 1st week of fellowshipping as two CGs. Bittersweet but absolutely in awe of God and how He works. His timing, His purpose. His work in our hearts to trust and obey even if the road is unknown. All the more praises.

 MY JOB

2014 has been an amazing year. It’s my 4th year at this law office and at times I can’t believe what has been happening. I had the opportunity to lead a lunch discussion once a month from April to July. I felt like God was placing it on my heart to invite all my female coworkers and do a “study”. It was for school and a temporary project.  I would offer a free lunch on the first Friday of the month and we’d read a passage, go over a few questions and pray. So amazed at how so many of them came out faithfully. We took a a break in August and came back in September because they wanted to continue meeting and learning about God.

Just this week, my boss approved purchasing personalized bibles for the gathering! Ah so excited. I wondered at times, “Is this what life can look like when we choose to obey (even with reluctant attitudes and delays) God?” I’m sure it’s more than this. Crazier and wilder than this…

 

LOVING FRIENDS:

There are a handful of those in my life that check up on me, ask me “How are you today?”, not just keep connected with me but genuinely care for my wellbeing by asking questions, praying for me, and going beyond the surface level conversations..We all know friends don’t grow on trees.

Everybody wants to be loved and encouraged. I don’t think there’s anybody who was born wanting to be rejected, despised or discouraged.  So grateful for the Kakao voice notes that come through sharing how God is speaking to them, their struggles, prayer requests, and just showing honor/respect/encouragement.

“Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eater to show respect for one another.” Romans 12:10 GNT

 

One area I am working on being thankful or more thankful is my marriage. Marriage is so hard and when you’re in the refinery, boy being thankful is not naturally overflowing from the heart. But I’m learning and being gently reminded by God’s spirit how to become more and more like a 1 peter 3:1 wife. It’s not easy to always do the 1st part of it or..all of it to be honest.

“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,”

But I’m thankful God has been teaching me about becoming a 1 Peter 3:1 wife. I probably fall under the unsuccessful wife than the successful one but I want to continue obeying and not giving up God’s Word and His promise of the Holy Spirit’s power living in me..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THANKFUL THURSDAY: Go and Make…

Thursday was originally meant to be the week of celebration. We were celebrating the completion of Chapter 2 in our study-just like we normally planned on doing after every 5 weeks of study. But God had a different plan for this 6th week.

On August 24 I felt the need to call Jina and FINALLY (mind you this was a long time of hesitation and just waiting) invite her to consider becoming a CG (community group) leader and multiplying our group of 9 (including me). Multiplying a group was always considered a far off idea because finding leaders to lead the new birthed group is really..impossible. But Jesus said in Luke 18:27

He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God

Never thought it was be this possible and quick.

We realized that what God was pressing upon my heart..He was also doing a work and impressing upon Jina’s heart the call to step up and serve. I remember giving a HUGE sigh of relief.

“Why did I hesitate? Why did I doubt so much silly Judy.”

One thing led to another and Denise was on board to support Jina in her role as a CG leader through admin support. DONE.

I felt like pinching myself. The idea of multiplication was always a closed door but to experience it happening so quickly and smoothly. *pinch pinch pinch* Along with anxiety and excitement came my flesh creeping up with doubts, 2nd doubts, 3rd doubts and fears.

2 days before our celebration, God’s word just comforted me so much!

Ezekiel 17:22-24 NLT

“This is what the Sovereign lord says: I will take a branch from the top of a tall cedar, and I will plant it on the top of Israel’s highest mountain. It will become a majestic cedar, sending forth its branches and producing seed. Birds of every sort will nest in it, finding shelter in the shade of its branches. And all the trees will know that it is I, the lord , who cuts the tall tree down and makes the short tree grow tall. It is I who makes the green tree wither and gives the dead tree new life. I, the lord , have spoken, and I will do what I said!”

Although He’s speaking about God’s people and the coming of the Messiah, my heart wanted to pray :

” I pray and hope that likewise how the LORD took a new twig, He will take this new CG twig and plant it where it will flourish and grow. Where many birds will nestle in the tree and those around will confidently be able to say that it is truly God who grew this CG. He took a seed from the first one and it has grown. That God would take glory and praise not only from our lips but from those around. I pray He will fulfill a promise like this for both the CGs.”

Our Celebration evening was not just for committing and finishing a chapter but to also celebrate/announce the final details of our CG multiplying. One last Hoorah together before we begin meeting as two CGs. After sharing who will go to which group, I expected questions and questions but thankfully (?) nobody really asked which I praise God for. What each person is thinking- I am not sure but all I know is …this is happening folks! God be glorified please!

 

I would hope these ladies would experience the power of Jesus more and more in their lives as we continue to study. That Jina would become a disciple who makes other disciple-making disciples….

 

First time going to NRB with a small group. A bunch of closet Karoake Queens here. Wonderful talent both in singing and dancing!

 

 

Man we sang “End of the Road” with all we had left….

 

What an evening…

I can’t wait what’s next.

 

The struggles and interruptions..

It’s only 1:21pm and I feel like many things have happened since the moment God opened my eyes. It’s the feeling of being alive and realizing there’s so much more than just completing another day of 9-5. It’s so much more complicated and complex than that.

This morning He spoke. Clearly into my heart He spoke.

Psalm 143:8 ESV

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

As I got ready for work, the dreaded reminder that today is Wednesday aka CG night came over me. It’s not the gathering itself that gets me groaning in fact meeting together in fellowship brings about the very opposite reaction. It’s knowing that today may be filled with struggles, opposition, distractions. I thought back to tonight’s CG material where it was reminded how important it is to be alert because the enemy is like a lion on the prowl looking for somebody to devour.

1 Peter 5:8

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

It’s been about 24 hours since a new movement and plan for CG was established. Tonight is the night we share what/where/how God is leading and already from the morning, it has begun.
“OH enemy…you try but it will not be easy. You’re clever. Very clever but God is bigger.”

 

satan-quote-Billy-Graham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Determined to move forward while doors are open and the light is still green….

 

These struggles whether to distract or to refine the faith–does not matter to me today. It is fixing my eyes on what God has done and called…

 

 

 

I shall probably need to revisit this again later down the road…

 

 

 

 

A New Journey..

I don’t believe things happen by accident. Everything is known by my sovereign God who has the ability to pull a red light or a green light based on His purposes,…which almost all of them, I do not know. But one thing I do know this morning, is He’s alive. Alive not only in my life but in other’s as well. 

I’m completely behind on blogging this weekend. So much to write about..the trio’s remaining time together, Pathway’s baptism and the things God was just pressing on my heart, and then my interesting afternoon/evening. The day ended with information and confirmations that I was not expecting at all -both good and bad but in the end, God is in control and He’s up to something. 

When you hear about two opportunities to embark on, you would hope both are good. In my scenario, one of fabulous and the other is heartbreaking. Phone calls both one after another….

Fabulous shouts to me:

” I am doing a new work and I’ve confirmed it and worked it both in your hearts. Seek me and trust me with all your hearts Step out of the boat and walk to me. I am with you.” 

Heartbreaking shouts to me: 

“I am doing a new work and I’ve confirmed it and worked it both in your hearts. Seek me and trust me with all your hearts. Step out of the boat and walk to me. I am with you.” 

“I’m glad you’re surprisingly calm about it.” says my friend who broke the heartbreaking news. 

I kept thinking, “Am I in denial of this bad news?” ..no I accept it as a fact. “Am I apathetic towards the situation?” No, I’m sad that this is happening and want to seek God out. All my self-reflection questions led me to one solid truth: 

God is God and I am not. 

We both came to a conclusion that there was absolutely NOTHING we could do other than seek God and ask for His work to be done. Our hands are up and the white flag is waving. If that is the case..do I need to fret and worry? No..He is in control. He is God and I am not. Done deal on the heart issue. Sometimes I forget how relieving it is to trust in our God. How wonderfully light the burden is when we surrender and realize the reality that God is the one who can…not me. Because if it depended on me..oh man would I stress and struggle. 

God’s doing a new work. As I reflect on yesterday’s baptism and the background story to it, I can’t help but trust God even more. As I reflect on yesterday’s fabulous conversation, and how two hearts were in agreement to where God was leading, I can’t help but trust God even more. As I reflect on yesterday’s heartbreaking conversation and see that God is clearly in charge from the moment I wake up until the lay my head to rest, I can’t help but trust God even more. 

 

“It may not be the way I would have chosen. When You lead me through a world that’s not my home. But You never said it would be easy. You only said I’d never go alone.”