Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Fairy Circle



"Truly, I tell you unless a seed of grain falls to the earth and dies, it remains a single seed.  But, if it dies, it creates a great big harvest."  Jesus, John 12:24


Fairy Circle:  a circle of new trees created from the death of a parent tree
Last week our family went to Armstrong Woods to see a vast forest of giant redwood trees. One of the reasons redwoods can become so tall (some 330 feet) is because their roots systems intertwine underground.  I read about fairy circles in the forest, discovering a fairy circle comes from a parent tree which dies.  In the process it sends out redwood shoots in a circle which result in the birth of many new trees.  As I observed these fairy circles, I sensed the Lord say to me, “This is the picture of what is taking place in Missio Lux. The parent tree must die, but in the process the shoots will thrive and continue to significantly impact my kingdom.”
Missio Lux has created a root system that is deep and wide through the foundation of faith reflected in the people of Missio Lux, as well as the transformational ministry taking place through our lives.  You may be reading this blog because in some way, whether big or small, your life and faith has joined in its root system.

It is with deep sadness, and yet a sense of gratefulness and joy over the many shoots created through Missio Lux’ ministry, that Missio Lux as an organization will cease operation.  However, in the death of the organization, we recognize we have been impacted by the relationships and the sense of family created in Missio Lux. 
Just as we gather to grieve the death of a loved one, and in the midst of the grief, we have joy as we recall the stories.  Please take some time to write your reflection in the comments section of how your life has been impacted by Missio Lux. Together we can celebrate the fairy circle of strong, inpenetrable redwoods God has created within his people.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Turning our D's into P's

D’s and P’s.  They keep rolling around my head as the smaller letters: d and p.  When you look at them it’s easy to see that they are direct opposites.  But, when you turn a d around it becomes a p. Why is this important?  It’s not the letters themselves but the words they represent that alert me to a reality of direct opposites, yet when the d is turned around, it becomes a p!

Think about it, the letter d begins the name of our enemy: Devil.  The letter p’s points us to our Savior:  Prince of Peace.  I realize the d’s start words such as doubt, despair, destruction, disabled, discouragement, and depression which lead to death.  The p’s lead me into life:  peace, protection, provision, promise, power and perseverance.  Who is the author of the d words?  Of course, the Devil himself.  Who is the creator of the life giving p words?  Our Prince of Peace, the Son of the Living God.

I’ve been considering the reality of our ability to take a d in our life and to turn and face the Prince of Peace to partner with him to make the d’s our p’s.  Two of the most devastating realities for people in the 21st century is depression and despair.  When the Devil gets us to believe that life will never change, we are chained into a prison of despair, no hope exists for breakthrough, we often find ourselves sinking into depression.  But, when we take our despair and depression and bring it before the Prince of Peace, we are able to experience the d’s becoming p’s of peace and promise.
George Barna has a study out regarding how people progress in their journey with the Prince of Peace in his new book Maximum Faith:  Live a life like Jesus.  He writes: 

The transformation journey has ten stops en route to wholeness and freedom. Most Americans, according to the research, never get beyond stop three (awareness and concern about sin and its effects, but not cooperating with Christ to alleviate that problem). Among those who become “born again Christians,” most never move past stop five (i.e., having invited Christ to be their savior and then engaging in a lot of religious activity). In other words, a majority of the American public never reaches the second half of the stops on the journey to wholeness.

The research actually indicates that only 2% of Jesus followers ever get to stop 9 and 10; the place where people live in peace, productivity and power, rather than doubt, despair and destruction.

How can this be?  I spend a lot of time thinking about it because following Jesus is my life passion and pursuit.  I am also privileged enough to also engage pursuit and passionate work helping others live a life of peace, protection, provision, promise, pleasure, passion, perseverance and power partnering with the Prince of Peace.

The question I wonder is, which life do you want? 

           Doubt, despair, depression, destruction, disablement, discouragement
                                                              or
            Peace, power, perseverance, provision, protection, passion, pleasure and promise.
Missio Lux is committed to equipping people through intentional discipleship to change our d’s into p’s.  We regularly ask ourselves and one another, “What is God saying to you?  How are you responding to his invitation?”  We walk through a Learning Circle (www.weare3dm.com) in huddle; a small group of 6 to 8 people meeting intentionally to discover how to follow the Prince of Peace in the life of p’s.

When we discover that our focus has been on the author of the d’s, or living in a d place of destruction, despair, depression and doubt, we take time to observe, reflect and discuss the root of the d, and the ability to turn it around so that it becomes a p in our life.  This is called “repentance” which only means to turn around and go another direction.  The d becomes a p as we turn it around….it faces another direction.
The good news about the turn of d’s to p’s in Missio Lux is that we don’t do it alone.  We have the power of the Prince of Peace to make it happen and the support of a loving community.  It happens through yet another life giving word: prayer.  Prayer is our communion with the One who loved us so much he couldn’t live without us.  Prayer is the place where our body, our mind and our emotions come into peace.  Prayer is what reminds us we are protected and provided for; prayer brings us passion and pleasure, as we persevere through the challenge of d’s.
The d’s and p’s come with both invitation and challenge.  The invitation comes through the Prince of Peace who came to earth to experience life as a human so we would know he cares about every aspect of our lives.  Hebrews 4:15-16 state:

“This High Priest of ours, the Prince of Peace, understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
The challenge is whether we want the life Jesus came to give us enough to fight for it.  Will we do the work to repent, or change our direction?  Will we seek out a loving community who will walk with us in our journey from the d’s to the p’s?  Will we share what we are experiencing with others, so they can live in freedom too?  Will we pray often, setting aside sacred time with the Prince of Peace, so that our minds become permeated, another p, with his presence and power?
Here’s my challenge to you:
1.      Make an intentional decision to set aside three days to do a mental audit of your thoughts.  Carry around a notebook or a recorder so when a thought pops up, you can decide, “is this a d thought or a life thought?”  when you decide, record it as a d or p.

 2.    At the end of the three days, count up how many d’s and p’s you have.  Are they equal in number, or way out of balance?

3.    Ask yourself if they are equal, Is this the life I want to live, or are too many of my thoughts dominated by the prince of death?  If they are way out of balance on the d side, take immediate action and find a Celebrate Recovery or a Healing Prayer ministry, www.missiolux.org where you can find others who are intentionally facing their d’s head on and partnering with Prince of Peace to turn them into p’s.

4.    Celebrate if you have a disproportion of p’s.  This indicates you are living a life the Prince of Peace invites you to live.  It also means you have the privilege and responsibility to take your life and multiply it into others.  Jesus told us in John 15:7-8:
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
It is when we share our p’s with others, we live as a disciple.  A disciple is one who patterns their life with their leader and multiplies their lifestyle.  In our case, we want to pattern our lives with the Prince of Peace who teaches us how to live in such a way that our fruit spills out wherever we go because we are sharing the life of p’s with a world focused on d’s.

When we intentionally commit ourselves to partner with Prince of Peace to help support, encourage and equip others, the Father is filled with pleasure and in return, releases his pleasure into us.  I dream of a world where the d’s have no more power because the p’s are so filled with life which entices us to live the life Jesus came to give us.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reflections on "The Father's Delight"

I remember when our daughters were younger and full of curiosity.  It pleased me so much to do something special for them because of their joy filled response.  My gifts were simple: an ice cream cone, a stop at the park for 10 minutes of swing time, sitting down to create a treasure out of playdough, hanging their picture on the frig.  My simple “yes” to their desire made parenting them as young children an enjoyable experience.

As I’ve grown in my identity as a beloved child of my Heavenly Father, I’ve begun to realize my interaction with my young children mirrors the interaction I have with my heavenly daddy.  He, too, delights to please me because of the joy it gives me to experience his answer.  It’s cylical too:  the more I express my delight, the more he loves to give me his gifts.  This reality is even in Scripture when Jesus expresses, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:11)

I’ve been praying a Scripture out of 1st Timothy 6 that almost always causes my spirit to leap up, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment!”   There it is in print: our heavenly father richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

Do we believe this?

Do I believe this?  I think for a long time my view of the Heavenly Father was one of withholding.  I thought he would withhold from me because it was good for my character, or I had disappointed him, or someone else deserved it more.  It’s taken me time to move into the mindset where I firmly believe he wants to please me.  He just wants to please me.  Wow, this makes my relationship with my heavenly father a lot more enjoyable.  Just like my time with my young daughters; it was more enjoyable for me when I was telling them “yes, I want to please you,” rather than a “no” or “come back later” or “just a minute.”

I often wonder why it is such a struggle to stay on the side of believing our heavenly father wants to please us.  But, when I take time to explore it, I remember Adam and Eve and their interaction with the serpent in the Garden of Eden.  The serpent so brilliantly planted the seed of doubt in their minds:  “Your God doesn’t want to please you, he’s holding out on you by telling you not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”  He caused Adam and Eve to begin to mistrust God’s good intentions for them.  His strategy worked so well, he’s been using it on the rest of humanity ever since!

So, you may ask, how do we begin to experience our heavenly father showering us with good gifts provided for our enjoyment?

First, experience his love through getting to know him better as your daddy.  Spend time in Psalms 103, Romans 8, 1st John and Psalm 139.  Go to a location where you feel most alive.  If you love to be in nature, take a hike and meditate on one of the passages along the way.  If you are contemplative, put on some soothing music and read the Scriptures slowly, letting God’s love pour over you.  If you are an activist, consider how you can convey God’s character to those around you who need to hear “good news.”

Second, begin to pray.  But, don’t just make it a long laundry list you spout out occasionally at God.  No, begin to be very specific, consistent and unified in your prayers.  These three concepts will literally begin to unfold God’s delight in answering our heart’s desires.

When I pray, I often set timelines for when I’d like God to answer. Some people have commented they think it’s demanding to ask this way, but I disagree.  When we pray specifically with timelines, we can be even more positive it’s God’s answer. When we are in the process of discovering God’s delight in answering, it helps to build our faith and to recognize his work amongst us.

I love this example.  Our house was on the market in preparation for our move to California.  Our new house was set to close on November 17th, so I prayed for a contract in hand by Nov 15th before we closed on our new loan.  The whole week leading up to November 15th, not one person came to look at our house.  I kept telling God, “It’s getting close, don’t you want to bring a new person to look?” I like to say, “God is the God of just in time” because he often likes to wait until the last minute just to make his answer even more tangible and dramatic.

Well, it turns out that we didn’t get just one offer on November 15th, we got 4!  One offer came from traveler in China who got up in the middle of the night to call their realtor. When we signed a contract for purchase of our present home in our kitchen at 3:25 on November 15th and literally walked around the corner to our living room at 3:30 to close the loan on our new house, I was fully aware of God’s smile as he looked at me and said, “See, you didn’t need to worry, the answer was always on its way.”

Pray Specifically!

Pray Consistently.  I continue to encourage those around me to set their alarms to go off at 10:02 a.m. every day. The reason?  Jesus taught his 72 friends to pray for harvesters because the harvest is ready in Luke 10:2. Luke 10:1 tells us Jesus’ strategy was to send his friends out two by two to the places he intended to go.  It’s the same with us.  He sends us out in prayer to prepare the way for where he wants to show up and show off! 

The third aspect to discover God’s delight in answering our prayers is to do it with others in unity and community.  When we make a decision to pray together at the same time, wherever we are, when the alarm goes off, we know we aren’t on this journey alone, but we have fellow travelers who are praying with us for God’s answers!  When we get a spectacular answer like the one we received for the contract on our house, it’s so much to share it with our friends who are praying too!  It’s just like Jesus sending us out two by two to prepare the way for his coming.

Jesus told us “When two or three are gathered together, I am in their midst.” This promise applies to us even if we aren’t literally in the same location. When we are gathered through our commitment to pray at 10:02, Jesus is there, preparing the answers for us. 

Last week my sister came to help me unpack our new home.  When the alarm went off at 10:02 she cried out, “Time to pray for the harvest.” Even though she doesn’t live by me, she knew about the prayer because she had just been with her son who also prays at 10:02.  We stopped our unpacking for a couple of minutes, prayed for a harvest in my new neighborhood, and then went back to work.

The father’s invitation is here for you to know him as a generous and loving Papa who wants to please us.  Put my challenge to pray specifically, consistently and in unity and community to the test! 

Start the challenge through considering what would fulfill your heart’s desire.  Is it a visit to see your grown children?  A trip with your family? A promotion at work? A meaningful conversation with a neighbor?  A medical issue healed?  Nothing is too big for our heavenly father.

Next, set your alarm to go off at 10:02 every day.  When the alarm goes off, pray your specific prayer, every day.  Invite your friends or family to pray with you at 10:02.  If you are with others at 10:02, stop and invite them to pray with you.  If you are in a business meeting or in a place where it isn’t appropriate to stop and pray out loud, take a moment in your mind and pray; then, re-engage what you were doing.

I can’t wait to hear your answers to prayer.  Post them on the blog, or send them to me at tamara@missiolux.org.  We have a heavenly father who can’t wait to hear from us!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Advent Reflections: God with us: the Rest of the Story

One of my favorite Christmas carols is “Emmanuel.”  My family will tell you that I have one version that I blast around the house during the month of December. They are spared this year since we are moving and I haven’t gotten the CD out; I think they are grateful!

Emmanuel means “God with us.”  We sing about this reality, we celebrate it at Christmas, we reflect on what it means.  However, there is so much more to the story . . .it spans all of history as well as pointing us to eternity.  I don’t believe our Heavenly Father wants us to stop with “God with us.”  He has so much more for us; so if you are willing to accept the mission…read on!
God Present to One Person:

Abraham is one who experienced God.  He had several encounters with God; the first being told to go “to an unknown land which I will show you.”  Imagine having to go home to Sarah to tell her the news:  “we are moving….where? ….not sure yet, we have to pack up and start moving and then we will know.”  Probably wasn’t the best conversation in the world!  Abraham’s next encounter involved being told he would have a son in his old age.  When Abraham was 99 years old, the Lord appeared and created a covenant with him; he would become the father of a multitude of nations.  Finally, his last encounter with God came with great sacrifice.  Abraham was to take his long awaited son and put him on the altar.  All together Abraham personally experienced God’s presence four times in his long life. 
In this period of time, out of all humanity, one man experienced God four times in his life. 

God Present to a Nation:
God was present in a cloud and fire to the Israelites after they are delivered from Egypt.  Even so, only Moses and Joshua were able to go up the mountain to meet with God.  When the Tabernacle was built, God’s specific instruction was for one priest to meet him in the Holy of Holies one time per year.  His presence to the whole nation was still limited.

Emmanuel: God with Us:
Almost five hundred years later, Israel’s long awaited Messiah appeared.  Jesus, the baby born in a manger in Bethlehem, came in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy:  “Look!  The virgin will conceive a child!  She will give birth to a son and name him Emmanuel:  God with us.” Is 7:14.

When Jesus was about to be crucified, he told his disciples, “It is best for me to go away because when I do, the counselor, the Holy Spirit will come.” (author’s paraphrase: John 16:7)
Jesus was God in flesh living amongst humanity.

The Rest of the Story:
If the story stopped at this point, we still have much to celebrate.  However, there is much more to God’s story with us.  The heavenly Father sent Jesus to model for us how we live on earth in a human body, but with the realization it is no longer just God with us, but it is now God in us.

God in us is the mystery kept hidden for all history.  At Pentecost, everything changed.  The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, their bodies instantly becoming the Holy of Holies, the place reserved for one priest to enter one time per year.
Imagine this:  throughout the ages, God was present with one man, he was present with a nation, he was even present through his son on earth, but today he is present in us.

We carry the living God with us.  We are tabernacles which brightly reflect the glory of the Lord:  when the angels rejoice in the heavens at Jesus’ birth, they were a prophetic sign for our present reality:  God in us.
We celebrate Jesus birth because he came to show us how to live as God in us.  He taught us how to see and hear the Father’s voice and direction (John 5:19).  He modeled for us the rhythmic pattern of life through moving between abiding and bearing fruit (John 15).  He equipped us to go and do the things he did. He sent us to go and proclaim the kingdom of God is near (Luke 9:1-2).  He taught us the road of sacrifice through his willingness to lay down his life so others, this includes us, could have life through his death (John 12:32).

We have everything we need to live as Jesus did.  He lives in us!  So, this Christmas season as you sing “Emmanuel” and celebrate God with us, remember our true reality is “God in us.”

When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal,  the promised Holy Spirit,  who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:13b-14
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,  who lives in you and was given to you by God?  1 Cor 6:19
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory,  just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:18

Friday, December 9, 2011

Advent Reflections: "Saying Yes to the Unknown"

It happens to all of us.  We go through our daily life, moving in our regular routine, when all of the sudden God breaks through and changes our direction: sometimes so dramatically it leaves us breathless and in great awe as we ponder what God is doing in our midst.

This is called a “Kairos Moment.”  Kairos is the Greek word for when time stands still and God breaks through.  All of our Bible heroes experienced them:  Abraham did when God told him to go to a "land which I will show you."  Moses did when he experienced the burning bush and a call to return to Pharaoh’s palace to set the Israelites free.  David did when he was called out of shepherding sheep into leading a nation as king. The prophet Ezekiel did when the Lord called him to speak to a valley of dead bones which became an army of living people.
Mary, mother of Jesus, also experienced a kairos moment when the angel Gabriel met her in her village of Nazareth.  She was most likely in the barn milking the cows, or tending to the sheep, when Angel Gabriel showed up and said, “Greetings, favored woman!  The Lord is with you.”

Mary was confused and disturbed.  She didn’t consider herself a woman yet; she was most likely 14 or 15 years old.  She had no clue she was favored:  she saw herself as from the lower class of life as she was poor, a woman, and part of the Israelite culture oppressed by the Romans for decades.

But, God isn’t concerned with our viewpoints of ourselves.  He identifies us through the lense as his beloved children with a purpose to help redeem all of creation in the world.  The Angel Gabriel spoke out God’s identity for Mary:  one who was favored to conceive, carry through pregnancy, and birth the Messiah to the world for all time.
Mary was never the same when she entered into the land of the unknown by agreeing to God’s outrageous plan. It didn’t come without a cost.  She had to face shame and rejection by her fiancĂ©, her family and her village.  As a matter of fact, I believe the reason there was no room for Joseph and Mary in the inn was because her reputation as an unwed pregnant woman had preceded their arrival.

So, instead of a birthing room or a hospital, the baby Messiah was born in a smelly stable amidst the animals he had created in the beginning of the world.  It’s a picture of God’s upside down priorities. He takes the least likely situation and makes it extraordinary.
I am currently living in the space of the unknown.  I experienced a kairos moment late this summer when Bill’s company told us we needed to consolidate our two locations of Seattle and San Francisco into one.  They told us we had some time to make the move, however, so when I prayed I expected to hear God say we should move at the end of the ministry year next June.

But, instead, I heard him say, “Go now.”  So, like Mary who responded with  "May it be to you as you have said," so in other words, YES!, I did the same.  I told God, "Yes, I will do what you asked."  When I gave him my yes, I was given great peace and joy and a day where everything in life seemed multiplied with goodness.
The next day we put everything in motion; telling our daughters and Missio Lux, putting our house on the market, and coming to California to discern our new location.
Kairos moments are not usually easy to walk out. They take courage and determination to follow God into the unknown.  Right now, I am sitting in Bill’s apartment in San Francisco, waiting to go up to our new home 50 miles north in Santa Rosa, while we continue to make arrangements to leave our home in Seattle.  I vacillate between feeling great sadness in leaving my middle daughter, our wonderful house, and our friends in Missio Lux and the community, with the anticipation of what God is going to do with us through our new life in California.

Where are you experiencing a kairos moment?  Where are you observing something unexpected happening? Where is God surprising you with a direction you didn’t expect to go?  Where are you being challenged to live into the unknown?

How are you responding?  Is it with a “yes God,” or is it with fear and doubt?  I just returned from the 3dm Learning Community which equips leaders to lead integrated lives of discipleship and mission.  As we invited people into the journey of discovering a lifestyle of integrated discipleship, I saw many present responding with a lot of apprehension about the shift it would involve for their churches and their leadership. As I processed their kairos invitation, I realized once again the cost to following Jesus versus the cost of staying in the familiar.
It’s hard to leave the world of the known.  We are often tempted to stay in the place of the familiar, even when deep down we know it really isn’t working for us, but it seems too hard to move into the land of disequilibrium to change it.

However, if we want to become one of God’s heroes for this particular segment of history, we MUST pay attention when we experience a kairos moment which takes us into the land of the unknown.  We must courageously walk toward the burning bush, observe what is taking place, reflect on what it means and talk to those we trust in relationship about how to respond.
When we do this, we can lead lives like Moses, who had the opportunity to lead an entire nation of millions of people out of slavery.  We can be like David who led a nation into times of peace and prosperity.  We can be like Ezekiel who saw dead bones come to life.  We can become like Mary who received the greatest invitation to partner with God to birth his son Jesus.

I anticipate becoming one of God’s heroes.  I am willing to make the adjustments to God’s kairos moments in my life, so I can live fully aligned with his purposes for me.  I don’t know fully what the next segment of my life will include, but I have confidence that if I follow the Shepherds voice (John 10), I will have the opportunity to discover the abundant life Jesus promises.
I also think God considers the people of Missio Lux Seattle heroes as they follow God into the unknown over and over again, as he continues to surprise us with his unique ways and purposes.  These faith filled people continue the journey of the unknown because they don’t want to miss anything Jesus intends for them to experience.
Please pray for our family as we move to Santa Rosa, CA right after Christmas and for Missio Lux Seattle as we make the faith filled adjustment to living life together in different locations.

My prayer for you is for you to observe your kairos moments and to have the courage to take the next step to discover the invitation God is giving you within it.  In the meantime, consider God’s heroes and how they partnered with God for some of the biggest opportunities throughout the history of the world.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Seek first his Kingdom: a Posture of Thankfulness

It’s fun to see all the facebook postings of “thankfulness messages” this week.  This is the season we are reminded to stop and give thanks for the blessings we experience in life.  It’s good to have this season, but I wonder, what would the world be if everyone of us followed Paul’s admonition to live a life of thanksgiving.? How does a posture of thanksgiving for all things change us, and the atmosphere around us?

1st Thessalonians 5:16: “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Three short phrases. Simple, really:

            Be joyful.
        Pray continually

        Give thanks for everything.
I memorized this Scripture as a child, so I’ve known it for a long time. But, I am only recently learning to live it out.  I am discovering knowing how to recite it and walking it out in daily life are two very different realities! 

The first phrase “be joyfulcan only be done in relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Joy is something we can’t manufacture.  We can create happiness through our circumstances, but joy comes from the inner place of our spirit when all is right with the world.  Do you ever have those moments when you just know that joy is present? I had one a couple of days ago when I was editing my book. As I listened to moving music and  anticipated how God would use the book, I felt my heart burst with joy over the privilege of participating with God in conveying his message of “good news” to his people about our true identity.

The second phrase “pray continually” is a posture of how we live our days.
I used to get so hung up on this thinking “there’s no way I can pray all the time.”  I am realizing, however, it’s more about how we live our days.  Are we relying on ourselves and our own abilities to get things done?  Or, are we committing what we are doing at this moment to the Lord and inviting him into it?  I started to get overwhelmed when I started writing today, and when I realized it, I stopped and invited Jesus into the process.  Once I did this, he joined me and my writing became much more joyful and fulfilling.  It’s no longer something to rush through in order to finish my list on this short work week, it’s a journey with my friend who is delighted with the message

The final phrase “give thanks for everything” ends with a qualifier “for this is God’s will for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
A couple of things here:  the first is I used to think that everything that happens to us is the “God’s will for us”….but that thought doesn’t line up with tragedy, destruction, illness, war, poverty, those things that definitely aren’t found in heaven, so it’s not God’s will for earth. 

What I now understand is the “God’s will for us”  is to live in the posture of thankfulness, which leads us to continual prayer, and results in joy! 
Thankfulness brings us freedom. 

I wrote earlier about the challenges we hit regarding the purchase of our new home.  Despite the impossibility of the situation, when I started thanking God for them, I was freed up emotionally and able to pray in faith, which resulted in God’s tangible presence which brought me joy.  I will never forget the power of that day. When everything fell apart around us, we were given peace and joy.  Romans 14:17 tells us “the kingdom of God is not eating or drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy.”
The eating and drinking represent our earthly needs….paradoxically when we look heavenward, we find peace and joy despite what is taking place around us on earth!

I want to conclude with a story I heard Mike Breen (www.weare3dm.co) tell at a Learning Community.  On a trip to Africa, he found himself very ill in a small village far away from any hospitals.  Mike was so sick the doctor told him he was going to die.  As he laid on a cot two feet too short for him, far away from any family, he heard the Lord tell him to “thank him.”  Mike asked him what to thank God for in his situation.  He heard God say, “Start with the nurse taking care of you.” 
So, Mike began to thank God for the nurse, for the hut, for the short bed, for the village, for anything he could think of in his very sick state.  After about an hour of thanking God, he realized his fever had broken. Within a few hours, they were able to feed him some broth.  Within 24 hours, he was completely well. 

One day he was dying all alone in an African village.  The next day he was totally healed.
How did this happen? 

It came about through the posture of thankfulness, which caused him to pray continually, which brought not just his spirit joy, but his body health.
How about you? 

What are you thankful for? 
It’s a good time to get started in living a posture of thankfulness as we see it all around us.  My next door neighbor, Nancy, is celebrating her birthday with a month of 50 random acts of kindness.  She is learning the posture of thankfulness, which leads to peace and joy!  She is also inspiring those around her to learn the joy of a life shared freely with others.

Take some time this week to make a list of everything you can think of as you thank your loving Heavenly Father.  Repeat the list out loud.  Do it again the following day.  I encourage you to do this for 40 days throughout the entire holiday season.
At the end, ask yourself, “Was I able to live this holiday season with greater joy, peace and connection with my Father?” My guess is that the answer is yes because when we align with the way we were created to live, the outcome is God’s supernatural gifts of peace, joy, hope and love!

I think I will start now….
1. I am thankful for you.  Happy Thanksgiving!




Thursday, November 17, 2011

Raise Up Your Staff: Missio Lux Moves Forward!

In many ways, it feels as if Missio Lux is pressed up against the water's edge, just like the Israelites after they were miraculously delivered from Egypt!  They literally had nowhere to go, but instead of being defeated, they walked through a sea which supernaturally parted for their crossing.

We have a moving date now; we are moving at the end of December!  Watch for my future blog where I describe the miraculous way God has moved to answer our prayers for our home to continue to be a beacon of light, welcome and hospitality for his kingdom!

When I asked the Lord to show me the most important things to do before I move, he was clear to show me we needed to do a process of discernment and prayer.  So, we set two nights to gather, discern and pray. 

Our first was Sunday when we asked the Lord to show an areas where we needed to repent, open entry points where the thief is able to sneak through a door, and sins made against us.  We took communion and prayed for repentance for the areas we discerned through the evening.

Last night many of us gathered to pray specifically for repentence and breakthrough.  It was exciting to me to see how we humbled ourselves, prayed and sought God's face, as we trusted him to hear from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land (2nd Chronicles 7:14).

It was also good for us to gather from our different missio communities to come together to pray. The unity in the room was palpable; the desire for God to do more amongst us increasing as our prayers of faith rose up to believe God to part the waters so we can walk through, and our enemy the thief, is drowned in the sea.

When people hear I am moving to another state, their first question is "What's going to happen to Missio Lux?"  However, instead of distress, we hear the Lord saying, "This is my finest hour.  Watch and see what I do...."

We are expectant.  We are watching, waiting and listening...as we raise up our staff like Moses for the sea to part.