When I go to the grocery store, I expect to find groceries & when I go to my health club, I expect to find weight machines & workout stuff. So people come to church & expect to find Jesus, but here’s an interesting exception for you to consider:
Because I live in Colorado, swimming in lakes & reservoirs can be an arctic experience. I’m not a polar bear & an igloo is not my residential preference. Nonetheless, last Summer I tried two open water swims & despite being a relatively proficient swimmer, I thought I was going to freeze & drown, until I tried a wetsuit. Then everything changed.
The wetsuit insulated my skin & internal organs from the chilly water, it made me more buoyant & I could actually swim without hyperventilating
Maybe walking w Holy Spirit is kind of like wearing a daily wetsuit that helps us navigate daily living without getting frozen in impossibilities or drowning in fear. Indeed, walking with Holy Spirit everyday helps us to do what is impossible in our natural abilities. Walking with Holy Spirit is comforting & encouraging. And walking with Holy Spirit keeps us moving forward w God’s divine purpose & design in our individual lives!
Let’s wear Holy Spirit like our favorite snuggly hoodie 🙂
Do you like Easter? I thoroughly enjoy celebrating Jesus’ resurrection & His defeat over death! The next big celebration on the church calendar happens with Pentecost, the outpouring of Holy Spirit, & what a massive demonstration that was!!! So what about the middle time between Easter & Pentecost? What should we do in the middle, between these noteworthy events?
It seems to me that there’s a lot of our walk with God that happens in the middle. For example, we pray for something & then there’s often a middle time before we receive an answer. Or think about a time when God led you to start something & maybe you’ve done the beginning but you’re in the middle now, before you see the full culmination of what God has spoken to you.
In between Jesus’ resurrection & Pentecost, Jesus told His disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they’re clothed with power from Holy Spirit. I’m really confident that when Jesus told His disciples this, they didn’t know what to expect – they didn’t know what Pentecost would look like for them. They just knew there was something more on the horizon.
And I would encourage you, in the middle seasons, to anticipate & earnestly desire more of Holy Spirit in your daily living. More Holy Spirit can look lots of different ways for each of us, so let’s be careful not to specifically define what more is. Let’s just be open to having more of Holy Spirit in our lives!
I just finished some really fun snowboarding & although it was cold & windy with some icy patches, the speed was glorious. So there’s some trade off to get the adrenaline rush that comes from going super fast, safely of course.
In contrast, however, our relationship with Jesus can seem to have trade off points, but in reality we always win. So let me encourage you over this weekend to do some trade offs with Jesus:
- Peace for anxiety
- Truth for confusion
- Genuine love for apathy
- Joy for worry
- Forgiveness for unforgiveness
- Trust for independence
Such trades with Jesus are most certainly upgrade trades ,)
I hate this word & I’m learning to appreciate it at the same time. When I hear the word, “recalculating” it’s usually when my phone is giving me driving directions & I’ve missed a turn or I’m lost. More honestly, it means that I wasn’t listening or paying attention to the instructions, which happens more than I want to admit.
This makes me wonder how often Holy Spirit recalculates our journey together. And some questions begin to circulate in my thoughts: Are we walking toward the same goal? Do I want what Holy Spirit wants? Am I walking in step with Holy Spirit? Am I listening to the directions throughout any given day?
Not only do I want Holy Spirit to recalculate my journey so that I stay in step together, but I need Holy Spirit to recalibrate my attention so there’s less recalculating 🙂
Anyone agree with me?
Over the last several months, I’ve experienced some amazing coincidences: meeting people who have common ministry goals, reconnecting w people from my distant past, stumbling into situations where I thrive, receiving unexpected financial support & loads more. With such “coincidences” I can choose to see them as happen chance & accidental or I can see them as divine encounters and appointments.
I choose to see such miraculous coincidences as divine direction & answers to my prayers for God to direct my steps. Indeed, I pray almost everyday that God would direct my steps & that I won’t follow the enemy’s whispers, suggestions or influences.
So I’m celebrating today, that God is directing my steps! I’d invite you to join me in that daily prayer for God to direct your steps as well for divine appointments & direction in your daily living!
I received a text message from a friend this morning with a totally fantastic prayer & this has made me smile almost continuously! I’m smiling because her prayer was very personal to me & deeply encouraging. As I’ve thought about this, it’s brought to mind that her text prayer to me is an expression of genuine love, which makes me think of lots of different ways we can express genuine love today!! Here are a few suggestions:
- Encouraging words – meaningful compliments & heartfelt affirmations are great ways to communicate love!
- Post some kind words in a friends FB wall.
- Run an errand that could free up some time for a friend / family member.
- Send a nice card in the mail to someone who wouldn’t expect it.
- Be friendly & engaging with the check out person at the grocery store.
- Do something meaningful for your mate or a family member that lets them know you love them, unique to their preferences (not just what you would like).
Let’s love well today!!
When do we look for Jesus? And what do we expect to find, when we experience Him? It seems to me that genuine Jesus is irresistible but religious Jesus isn’t nearly as riveting nor attractive. Here’s something short & interesting when you thinking about looking for Jesus:
I recently enjoyed watching the NCAA college basketball championship game & the most common question was, “Who are you cheering for? Which team do you want to win?”
In essence, which side are you on? As we walked into the arena, we were inundated with Michigan fans so I wasn’t too keen to shout out, “GO ‘NOVA!!!!” But I had definitely picked a side & cheered accordingly.
The same holds true for all of us in the narrative between what the enemy says in contrast to Holy Spirit’s narrative.
The enemy accuses, condemns, shames, deceives & is always trying hurt, kill & destroy us.
On the other side, Holy Spirit advocates, convicts, comforts, leads us into truth, makes us alive, confirms our true identity & continuously pours love into our soul.
So pick your side & actively select the narrative to which you’ll listen & entertain / converse with, keeping in mind the respective outcomes that go with each side 🙂
Here’s the honest truth: I’m a college basketball fanatic & in my opinion, the most wonderful time of the year is March Madness when 68 of the best college teams compete in a huge tournament that lasts almost three weeks. I’ve been watching March Madness tournaments for decades & my husband proposed to me during half time of a March Madness game.
Through a miraculous series of “coincidences”, I was able to go to the Final Four & championship game this weekend. And it was nothing less than THOROUGHLY EPIC!!!
What continues to astound me is the extravagant & logic defying love of God to me for getting to go to this event. March Madness has nothing to do with the Bible, nor helping babies whose moms are prostitutes or doing some kind of ministry. I thoroughly enjoy college basketball & getting to attend these games was entirely over the top – a massive expressions of genuine love to me that I didn’t earn, or deserve. And that’s how God loves us, full stop. We don’t deserve nor can we earn this love & yet God loves us with an extravagance & opulence that defies explanation. And all I can say is, “Thank You!”
God loves you w the same quality of extravagance & opulence, full stop 🙂
Once Jesus rose from the dead, I think the disciples maybe had less anxiety for a few reasons. And maybe we could pick up a few pointers that could be helpful, since anxiety could be a challenge for a few of us.
- Jesus raising from the dead changed the game because death didn’t get the final say – and nothing is impossible in our lives!
- Jesus is in the future – this helps me to relax knowing that Jesus is timeless
- Jesus is about the individual & not only the masses – the Prince of Peace was intentional to seek out individual encounters to resolve questions, doubts & reconciliation.
Death is the pre-requisite for resurrection & today is that middle ground. Death happened on Good Friday & resurrection happens tomorrow. But the disciples didn’t know that Jesus would raise tomorrow, no matter how much He told them. And they knew He was dead with lots of uncertainty on the horizon. This is often how the middle feels – uncertain & tenuous.
I don’t think there’s anyone who is reading this now who isn’t in some middle place in life. We can find ourselves in the middle of: schooling, fighting a disease, a financial crisis, a relationship challenge, a difficult decision & heaps more.
So what do we do in the middle? Here are some suggestions that could be helpful:
1 – community: the disciples held together when they found themselves in the middle & waiting for what was next
2 – faith focus: let’s keep our attention on God who works all things together for our good, as we stay in love with Him
3 – purposeful farming: be sure to plant healthy seeds like patience, gratitude, diligence & others since we will reap what we sow 🙂
I always think that Easter is a sunny day, but in Colorado, that’s not always true. Our weather can be quite unpredictable, regardless of the weathermen & their best forecasts.
No matter what the clouds do, we can have light in our hearts because Jesus is the light of the world. And celebrating His resurrection this weekend, is the exclamation point to living in light & love! I can totally appreciate that we go through seasons & struggles that can darken our mindset or discourage our hearts. But let’s remember that Jesus, the light of the world, lives in our hearts & His lights can illuminate any darkness or discouragement in which we may find ourselves. Today can be a sunny day my friend 🙂
Resurrection is just around the corner & I’m SO EXCITED!!!! And the Biblical events of this week all point to Easter, a time of celebrating life triumphing over death. As Jesus walked through this week, He was intentional to facilitate connection, defy religious traditions & ground His disciples in their relationship w Him.
Please take a quick moment to watch & share this video with your friends!
A lot of times, we think of being obedient to God on the pre-condition of guaranteed outcomes. We link our obedience to required outcomes we want from God. And unfortunately, too many times we withhold or change our obedience when we don’t see the outcomes we want. But conditional obedience leaves us immature, shallow & unfruitful. For example, if Paul had obeyed Jesus proportionate to his safety, comfort & health, then likely the early church would have severely faltered & been significantly less effective.
Let’s base our obedience to God on His unchanging, faithful & loving character. Faith in God facilitates internal security for external obedience 🙂
“It’s not supposed to be like that!!” I’ve been reading in Acts about Peter going to Cornelius, a Gentile, ministering to his household & the outpouring of Holy Spirit on these Gentiles. The Jewish believers initially had a difficult time accepting this new reality with the Gentiles. Nonetheless, despite what the Jews expected, God didn’t stay in their confined expectations.
And I would encourage you & me to remember that God defies impossible. And it’s not uncommon for God to do what we don’t expect, answering prayers in often surprising & fun ways. Let’s also keep in mind that God doesn’t often conform to our limits & boxes. We would be wise to follow God’s leadership rather than trying to define or limit God 🙂
I’m making my way back home from speaking at a pastor’s conference in Bangledesh. This has been a “quick trip”, considering that getting to Bangledesh can be a 30hour journey with a 12 hour time change – so no travel to Bangledesh is a in reality a “quick trip.” When I was deciding about this trip, I was weighing the cost of the trip, not only financially, but the cost of time, impact to my family & Spring Break time together – sacrifices.
With all these considerations, I felt in my heart that I needed to join this conference – a very unique opportunity to meet Christian leaders in a Muslim country & hopefully encourage & minister to them. And in light of our new nightcare in Bangledesh, I felt that this opportunity would also be strategic & a great way to begin some important relationships for the future.
Before I left for this trip, most of what I felt was a mix of hope, anticipation & sacrifice. Now that I’m returning home, I recognize the sacrifice to be sure. But getting to team up with Holy Spirit to minister to such incredible leaders has left me astounded. Additionally, I experienced some progress on some questions in my heart. And I sense a significant green light from God about Saving Moses growing in our nightcare work throughout this region of the world. Yes this trip was a sacrifice & I’m physically very tired. I’m also very awestruck with God’s generosity that counteracts the sacrifices that we make. I’m very thankful.
Theoretically, I like to learn. In practicality, sometimes it’s difficult for me to learn. In full disclosure, I struggle to learn to trust God & I have a difficult time learning patience & being steadfast, along with many other things.
But it’s interesting that Jesus’ disciples were called “learners”. So when I follow Jesus, my mindset needs to be that of a learner & to live in a continuous state of learning. I want to encourage you to keep a learning mindset, so that our following Jesus keeps getting better & closer everyday! With the help of Holy Spirit, we learn to be better parents, mates, students, employees & humans. So what are you learning?
In church life, it’s pretty common for people to have great ideas but not much elbow grease to do the great ideas. I wish I had a nickel for every time some has said, “Hey! Y’all should do . . . [insert great idea]”
In the early days of the church, there was a problem related to the food distribution & the apostles’ answer was to tell the congregation to find men who had a good reputation & filled with the Holy Spirit to take over the food distribution.
Rather than take over the problem, the apostles used the challenge as a way to increase the ministry. They continued to pray & preach while adding on a hugely helpful component of humanitarian ministry.
Maybe the things that get you frustrated, angry or upset could possibly be the places where God would have you roll up your sleeves & invest some elbow grease 🙂
It’s something to think about today!
Happy Spring Break! Although it snowed last night in Denver, I know that Spring is soon to overtake Winter so I’m celebrating the conclusion of Winter! Winter seems to be when life hibernates & sometimes ceases. But Spring reminds me that life is always present, even when it seems dormant or unseen.
Spring is also the season for Easter when we celebrate resurrection – life springing from what’s dead. When I think about it, Holy Spirit is an essential for life. Indeed, Romans 8:11 tells us that Holy Spirit was responsible for Jesus’ resurrection & let’s not forget that man became alive when God breathed His Spirit into human shaped clay on Genesis 2. Furthermore, Pentecost happened in the Spring, so let’s be certain to welcome Holy Spirit into our hearts, decisions, outlook, desires & any place on our lives that is dead. With Holy Spirit, resurrection is on the horizon!