Monthly Archives: August 2013

Set Free to Dance

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December 15th, 2012 My 2012 Testimony

Set free to dance….I awoke from a dream and remembered it. Not something I often do. For some reason it was vividly stuck in my mind. I was held and hugged by a tall, kind, comforting presence and then set down with this thought impressed upon my mind, “I’m you setting free to dance again.” The funny thing was I knew who had been holding me. It was Jason Gray, a musician, with the heart of pastor. You only have to listen to his music and watch his compassionate face during concert to know he understands, feels, and grapples with brokenness. This wasn’t a romantic dream. I feel like God was speaking to me through this dream, but I was hesitant to share this with anyone for fear of the dream sounding strange or inappropriate. But really, I think God was gently showing me that He wanted to hold me and was going to set me free to live again. This was sometime last spring, when I was spiritually very hungry and still broken from quitting teaching and feeling like a failure and desperately seeking community. It’s funny how I didn’t even pray for community and healing, but I think the Holy Spirit was praying that for me.

About three months later, mid-summer, God answered my heart prayer. I made a new friend through a difficult work problem. He invited me to his lifegroup, where I immediately began to find new life! I found people that loved Jesus and loved me just as I was, not for anything I did or didn’t do. Six weeks later, I began attending Oasis Church and God began wrapping me in his love and truth as we studied 1 John. I began to find true, honest fellowship with like-minded believers and was able to minister to younger believers. A new friend and old acquaintance told me, “You were made for this!” He said this in reference to my comment about having been rejected a student leader in college and my joy at being able to minister in the lifegroup now!

So, Jesus, thank you for taking an imperfect broken young woman that was angry with life, with you, with her failure, with the brokenness of life and setting her free to dance again. For breathing life into a desperately dry soul that didn’t even know how to plead for your grace! For providing new brothers and sisters that love me for who I am and pastors that constantly speak your Word and Truth into my life. Thank you that you are in the healing business Abba! Let me share that light and love with others through my life.

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Blessed

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 August 2nd and 4th 2013

Blessed…that means “made holy” and a synonym of blessed : favored means “chosen”  “distinguished: enjoying the advantages of a particular thing”  and “privileged: enjoying advantages or privileges denied to others”. Those words pack of lot of punch if you consider them in scripture. We often think of the word blessed as meaning the good things God has given us: family, friends, home, food, clothing, cards, and beautiful day. Sure those are blessings, but do they really define being blessed by God? I hardly think so.

Ephesians 1

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us[b] for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known[c] to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee[d] of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,[e] to the praise of his glory.

I won’t go into trying to explain how God is blessed, but will try to explain how as believers we are blessed. “In Christ” I am blessed: favored, chosen, enjoying privileges denied to others”.  Those privileges: every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Being blessed means being “chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world” that he picked me to be his child before creating the world! Blessed means he not only chose me, but blessed means “made holy” and blameless but only because of Christ. Blessed means chosen and he planned ahead of time to choose me through adoption through Jesus, because that was his will. I am blessed: favored, chosen, and enjoying advantages or privileges denied to others” because of God’s glorious grace in Jesus! The grace gives me the “privileges” of forgiveness of my sins because of the riches of his grace, which he planned according to his purpose to unite everything through Christ. Because of Christ, I have an inheritance because he chose me ahead of time according to his purpose and will so I might be “for the praise of his glory” and that’s a privilege! Through Christ’s redemptive work as the Truth, the good news that saved me, I was given the privilege to believe in him. Then, I was distinguished and given privileges through the Holy Spirit who is a seal and deposit of my inheritance as God’s child until I receive my full inheritance one day. So, if you’re God’s child just think about what being blessed really means!

Walk Like you Can See

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August  2nd  and 4th 2013

“Walk like you can see, just don’t open your eyes” Doctor Who.

Isn’t that what faith is like sometimes? We have to trust God even though we can’t see the ending? To believe that He is good and His plans are good though the world appears to be crashing down around us.

Hebrews 11:1 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

 

You might say having faith is “walking like you can see” without “opening your eyes”. There are times when we have to do that in life. The “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11 is full of people that kept walking “like they could see” even though their eyes weren’t yet open to the reality of salvation in Jesus. Thankfully, Jesus completed our faith!

Hebrews 11:39-40; 12:1-2

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Galatians 3

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[g] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Because Jesus completed our faith, we now have to live by faith and share that faith in Jesus with the world around us. Which sometimes requires, “walking like you can see” without “opening your eyes” to all the lies of Satan and world and trusting in the ONE who can see the Author and Perfector of our Faith, Jesus!

 

If we’re walking by faith we also won’t be ashamed to share the Gospel, because honestly what do we have to lose? Walking by faith is life and Jesus is the source of that life!

Romans 1:16-17

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,[e] as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”[f]

I Was Once a Stranger

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I Was Once A Stranger by Laura Putney Oasis Church 
I don’t know about all of you but I am so thankful for all the new people coming to life group. It’s so encouraging to meet and reach out to new people coming in. “I was a stranger and you invited me in…” The words of Jesus. Those words remind me of my time in Uganda. I was telling someone else yesterday “I was once a stranger too.” All I meant was that I was a stranger in another country and some girls in that church took me home to their house for Easter, even though I didn’t know them. Just think of the impact inviting a stranger in can have. You may make a lifetime friend, you may learn to serve people better, or you may just be able to be and share Jesus with someone who desperately needs Christian community or even better needs Jesus and wants to know Him! So think when new people come, “I was once a stranger.” We were all once strangers to God and his forgiveness, love, mercy, and grace.
Colossians 1
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—
1 Peter 2
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God;once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Remember how blessed you are this week!

Clay in the Potter’s Hand

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Do you ever feel like you are getting squished or sometimes broken into pieces? That’s what happens to clay. A potter takes a piece of clay to make a pot and if it doesn’t turn out right, he squishes it back into a lump and remakes it. Sometimes the potter finished the pot and fires it so it is finished, but then it can break into a bunch of pieces if it gets dropped. I’ve felt like that many times in my own life. I’m coming to realize that God is my potter and I’m the clay.

I grew up in a Christian home as a pastor’s kid. I accepted Jesus when I was 5 years old and enjoyed learning and growing up in church. As a teenager I began to struggle with my relationship with Christ. I wondered if I really knew him. My last year of high school was really hard. I looked put together, but was scared and running from God in my heart. I finished high school and left for university. I was so excited and hungry for Jesus. After a week of being at school, on August 22nd 2004, I surrendered to Jesus. I realized I wasn’t good girl, that being a pastor’s kid didn’t matter and that Jesus loved me just as I was. There was such a freedom and excitement after that in learning more about Jesus and his Word! I learned and grew a lot through my time in college and knew God was going to send me to Africa someday. He did send me there in 2010. I lost my other job and he provided a teaching job in Uganda a month later. Once I got there, I was so scared and lonely and wanted to go home, but God had other plans. I learned how to love a country that was not my home, how to live in tougher environment, how to share Jesus with grade 5 students, how to ride on a taxi and motorcycle, and that Jesus uses circumstance and people to mold me into His image. I learned that though I argued with him, that he provided for me. Yet, I’ve done what Isaiah condemned:

Isaiah 29:16

How foolish can you be?
He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay!
Should the created thing say of the one who made it,
“He didn’t make me”?
Does a jar ever say,
“The potter who made me is stupid”?

I came home from Uganda so happy to be home and ready to teach here. God provided a teaching job where I was stressed out and unhappy and I quit after 6 weeks.  Once again, I found myself here: Isaiah 45:9

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.
Does a clay pot argue with its maker?
Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,
‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’
Does the pot exclaim,
‘How clumsy can you be?’

I cried and was angry for couple months until God provided a less stressful office job. Fast-forward a year and half later where I was looking for Christian community and went on date with guy I met through work. He invited me to his small group where I quickly felt at home and drew closer to Jesus. Since then I have become a leader in the small group and began attending this church were God has been molding me in His image.

Jeremiah 18

18 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.

This is what God continues to do in my life. I’m clay in His hands. He’s reshaping me so I can be used!

2 Corinthians 4

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

So often times my jar of clay may be cracked and broken, but then Jesus can shine through.

I Corinthians 1

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus,who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[d]

 

 

The Potter’s Hands by Darlene Zschech

Beautiful Lord, wonderful saviour
I know for sure, all of my days are held in Your hands
Crafted into Your perfect plan

You gently call me, into Your presence
Guiding me by, Your Holy Spirit
Teach me dear Lord
To live all of my life through Your eyes

I’m captured by, Your Holy calling
Set me apart
I know You’re drawing me to Yourself
Lead me Lord I pray

Take me, Mold me
Use me, Fill me
I give my life to the Potter’s hands
Call me, Guide me
Lead me, Walk beside me
I give my life to the Potter’s hand!