Dear People Who Feel God Stirring Your Heart to Some Kind of Ministry,

Where do you put your hope?

ONLY YOU know when God whispers to your soul.

It’s something you’ll not soon forget.

Please pray continually about the ministry He’s nudging you to. Every step needs to be saturated in prayer.

When God puts a dream in your heart HE can be trusted to lead you to everything you will need to do the work.

We’ve listened to many, many people tell us that we need to “do things this way” or “that way” because “that’s just the way ministry works.” There is some good advice out there.

But also I’ve heard of brand new ministries that were born into people’s hearts but were aborted because they gave up when a few said, “That’s not possible” or “No. We won’t fund that.” Some give up when faced with churches who want a “5 Year Plan” and won’t even pray with them toward this work.

I just CAN’T find it in the Bible where Jesus said follow committees, preachers, or churches, family, friends, or other leaders, and when they say “No” then give up.

Where is your Hope? In people? In circumstances? In other Christians? Or in God?

I have read that Jesus says “Follow ME.”

God is the God of the impossible. He’s great at making impossible things possible.

The Holy Spirit is here to lead us.

This stuff is real.

What God has put on my heart is that when people and churches and organizations that do NOT donate, whether prayers or money or other kinds of support, that does NOT mean it’s time to give up!

Perhaps God wasn’t using them for this particular ministry.

And that’s okay!

 

There are many people God does bring you in contact with who believe with you

…BEFORE the physical buildings can be seen,

…BEFORE it “looks official,”

…when it’s still ONLY BY FAITH that you feel compelled to take another step.

We felt God planting in our hearts that He was moving our family from Texas to Alaska to open a homeless teen place. Currently we’re waiting on Him in Washington. He’s training us more every day.

And I still can’t give anyone a 5 year plan. (…probably never will be able to.)

And the funny thing is I can’t find it in The Bible where God says I have to.

As we have stayed in prayer, walking in faith, over the past 4 years, God has led us to people:

with hearts for ministry and specifically for this ministry we feel moved to,

who are counselors,

people on Boards of Directors who are already working with the homeless,

people who have started organizations that help rescue sex-trafficked girls,

maternity ministries,

CEOs with the same hearts for this kind of ministry,

people who know about nonprofits like 501c3,

architects,

builders,

teachers,

camp directors,

musicians,

worship leaders,

preachers,

prayer warriors,

singers,

gardeners,

landscapers,

hunters,

chefs,

janitors,

AND

people who have donated financially (some once, and some a few times) over the past 4 years

EVEN THOUGH

they know we’re not even “there” yet. (Yes, we’re keeping the list for later tax purposes.)

God has sent people to believe with us, in spirit and in action.

And THAT is the most amazing thing.

For God to send support like that is just reassurance time after time that HE’s got this and HE IS listening and leading and providing.

After all, He IS our Provider, so… I’m not surprised but ALWAYS constantly in awe every single step of the way.

If we’d TRIED to plan all this, things couldn’t have ever gone better.

When you see God giving you the next step and the next, you can’t help but want more!

My question is that if we’d “planned” it all on paper (to get a church or organization to donate) then where does being open to the Holy Spirit daily fit in?

I actually don’t even think that’s how it’s supposed to be done “Biblically.” I think that’s taking a dream God gives and trying to make it fit our way.

Perhaps “planning” how we want it to look isn’t such a perfect way after all.

That “plan” would have changed so many times by now already.

My faith and my hope is NOT in an organization

or in a preacher

or in a committee who may pull funding

if we’re not fast enough for them,

or if we don’t baptize enough people in their given amount of time,

or for whatever results they want to see on a graph chart or powerpoint.

My hope is in HIM.

And HE is faithful to complete work He started.

 

SOMEBODY NEEDS YOU.

And God, ALONE, is MORE THAN ENOUGH to lead you to this work He’s prepared in advance for you to do. (You’ll know it when it happens because it’ll include your passion and talents He gave you.)

I can’t tell you it will be easy but it’s very worth it even when others think it’s silly. (And they will. So what? Let them think it’s silly. Perhaps, when they’re ready to surrender to Him, God will move them, too. Your job isn’t to convince them. It’s to follow in faith.)

There are doors that God unlocks through prayer, singing praises to Him, and reading Scripture out loud, that we could never have unlocked ourselves.

God opens doors that NO enemy can shut.

And He closes doors that NO friend can open.

HE IS ABLE.

 

A few years ago when we told someone about this God-sized dream He’s placed in our hearts, they asked skeptically, “You and whose army?! Who is going to do this work with you?!” I said, “Me and whatever army God calls together.”

Watch Him do it.

 

Hear This Truth:

Proverbs 3:5-6

TRUST in THE LORD with ALL your heart

and lean NOT on your OWN understanding;

in ALL your ways SUBMIT TO HIM,

AND HE WILL make your paths straight.

Advertisements

If God planted a ministry in your heart…

God can move the mountains that are in the way.

There are so many ministries that God planted in people – but that haven’t begun – because we (members of church) put our faith for financing, encouragement, prayers, and other support in leaders of a church.

Please read that again.

If God has laid a ministry on your heart and you don’t find the leaders of a certain congregation to be in prayer with you, encouraging your God-given talents, believing with you that God is calling you and that He calls each of us in His timing to do work He’s prepared in advance for each of us to do,

I pray you prayerfully consider that it’s (probably way past) time to look  UP  instead of looking for support all around.

 

Sometimes leaders of a church or organization will not share (and I cannot understand why) the dream God’s given you with the rest of the congregation and a reason I think this is sad is because God only knows who else shares your passion but since the elders, preachers, pastors, teachers, deacons, or select committees won’t share what you’re feeling God doing in you with the rest of the church, others with the same message on their hearts are not even aware of the ministry God’s growing inside your spirit.

 Please don’t let that steal your joy or your faith. You know the opposition wants to kill ministries before they’re even born. What a horrible trick to use churches to extinguish God-ignited passion! We’ve all been tricked.

(Maybe your hope has been in the wrong place.) Stay in prayer.

If God has given you the dream of a ministry, you KNOW that He is MORE than capable to provide everything that is needed to carry that job out; including bringing you to the very contacts He knows you need, providing the money you need, and the land, buildings, and supplies. HE is The God of the impossible and all HIS resources are overflowing! You can have a body of believers praying for you from all over the world!

You can trust God to lead and provide better than anyone else.

Trust HIS timing even when (you or) others seem to think something is not happening fast enough. Trust Him to align your steps, asking Him to guide you every day.

If church leaders tell you that the money is already budgeted for the next year – or ten years… maybe their faith isn’t what it needs to be. It’s possible that the leaders’ lack of faith that God will provide for ANY ministry He plants in someone is something He will make them aware of eventually. Maybe right now they aren’t able to see beyond what they can see. (It is also possible that God is not using a certain group to provide financial support  – but even if they truly believe the money donated at that location is to be used in other ways, the leaders can STILL provide much support including sharing what the ministry is about and actively praying with you and for you.)

Sometimes everyone seems to struggle with having little faith. (God’s been reminding me to be kind about this always no matter who I’m talking with because some days the struggle of little faith is within me.)

God works with us all at different times and in different ways.

 

If God is calling you to begin a certain ministry, keep trusting God, asking Him for confirmation, provision, wisdom, and guidance.

Maybe God wants you looking to HIM for support that ONLY HE can give.

It’s just a thought – and it’s one He’s brought me to after seeking, asking, and knocking for answers.

This letter is to encourage you to look beyond what you can see (and who you can see) and to keep praying for God to lead in ways and open doors that ONLY He can open anyway.

Your friends cannot open doors God has closed and your enemies cannot close doors that God opens for you.

You can know that I’m already praying about the ministry He’s planted in your heart (maybe it was planted a long, long time ago) and it will be exciting to hear what He does in your life! It’s not too late.

It doesn’t have to be a leap of faith. A tiny, baby step of faith is a great beginning.

 

Trust in The LORD with ALL your heart and lean NOT on your OWN understanding; in ALL your ways submit to HIM, and He WILL make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Dear To-Do List, I am breaking up with you.

Dear To Do List

It’s not that it hasn’t been interesting and I know we got a lot done together.

But you are in the way. You are not really my friend.

You tell me what to do every day and when I don’t get it all done, you beat me up at the end of the day telling me that I didn’t do everything I needed to do.

But who are you to tell me what I need to get done today?

I’ve had enough.

It’s probably not even your fault.

It’s mine for believing you and I are the ones who can do the most good with my time.

But God has only given me a certain amount of time and I cannot get any more of it.

So you have to go.

God knitted into me my purpose and you have distracted me and stolen too much.

Until I started asking Him to take my to-do list and show me what HE wants for my days, you were my idol.

Enough.

You are not my god.

I’m not going to worship you anymore.

God is my God and I haven’t been putting Him first most of my life and asking Him what HE wants me to do each day.

See? He says The Holy Spirit is here to guide me and I believe Him.

The days I ask HIM to lead me are the MOST satisfying days in every way (even though usually I didn’t do what you told me to do or even what what I thought I needed to get done.)

The most UNsatisfying days are the ones where I try to do stuff MY WAY and in MY TIMING.

It’s funny. I have found that usually the thing I can’t get out of my mind is the very thing I actually need to be focusing on, but most of the time until now I’ve pushed that stuff out of the way to stay on schedule – for you.

What God has shown me is that I don’t have to try to figure out how the days are going to look.

My friends cannot open doors He’s shut.

And my enemies cannot shut doors He’s opened for me.

I know. You probably don’t think I’m perfect enough for God.

You wonder if He even wants me.

He does.

And the truth is I don’t have to be perfect.

My God is not looking for perfection. He is looking for people willing to give Him their time – giving their lives as a living sacrifice for what HE wants and not just doing what we want or what other people tell us we have to do.

It’s okay if you forget or throw this letter in the trash.

Because if I forget, then tomorrow, I will wake up and break up with you all over again.

Sincerely, Me

 

People keep saying God doesn’t lead today.

Maybe the reason so many people say God doesn’t lead them today is because people keep saying, “He can’t.”

Think about it.

If someone kept saying (or believing) that He doesn’t or won’t or can’t do something today in 2016, then why would He?

He has nothing to prove to anyone.

God says

 My sheep hear My Voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:  – John 10:27

My prayer is that God moves in people’s lives so big that they cannot help but see Him work in their lives (and then share it.)

I get it.

I was 40 something before I ever “felt called” by God to do something. I remember vaguely what life was like before that but life is WAY more satisfying after finally beginning to walk in faith.

The truth is that I have heard about Jesus my whole life but I never realized I wasn’t giving Him my time (which is something I believe He wants from everyone.)

My time was my god and God wants NO OTHER gods before Him.

You know how I know this?

Because He says

You shall have no other gods before Me. – Exodus 20:3

I mostly lived every day -for years- without a thought or prayer asking God what He may want me to do with the time He gifted to me.

 

It’s funny when you tell people you feel God tugging on your heart to do something.

Many will probably tell you it’s not true or it can’t be done.

The thing I can’t figure out is…

Do Christians really not believe God -The Creator of everything- is big enough to put a dream in someone’s heart?

Or is it that He just wouldn’t choose a certain person to give a God-sized dream to?

WE (humans) mostly decide stuff by how someone looks or their credentials or status or bank account or whatever. (By the way, I can’t find it in The Bible where God is actually impressed by all that.)

Something I do read about God says this:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

 

Over the past couple years I’ve learned that when you share that you feel called by God to do something, lots of people are quick to tell you how wrong you’re doing it.

Or they’ll tell you how they would do it.

Or they’ll even be upset that you’re not doing it how they SEE you should be doing it.

Some people tell us “THIS is how it works” and continue on to tell us how they would be doing it. “Do this thing. Then this. Then this. And there you go. That’s gotta work.”

Okay.

Thank you. (Sincerely.)

But

Then

Where is faith in that?

Where does faith come in?

How would faith work into this if I try to accomplish this on my own?

God says

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

 

I’ve heard of people who kick the doors down and don’t wait for God to open them and I’m CERTAIN I do NOT want to do it that way though I’ve tried my way and my timing for many other things in the past. (And it didn’t work out well then, either.)

It’s no secret that I feel April 1st is a very important date and I had felt like God may be moving us April 1, 2014, but maybe the April 1st thing is truly God letting me know He’s calling us to live out our faith even when it looks foolish to others. And we’ll keep on doing it as long as He keeps opening doors and leading us to do this work.

Someone came to tell me (a couple years ago) that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that “God doesn’t work that way anymore.”

But

Hebrews 13:8 says

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

I’m glad that happened (though I wasn’t at the moment) because I realized something important. God didn’t put a year on my heart.

There are a lot of Aprils in the world.

There’s an April every year.

And we can look back more than 15 years ago to see how God was already doing this work in us. (We just didn’t know how or when or where or that it was for homeless people at that time. We did know it was a church camp kinda place and it was for teenagers.)

What I do know is that after God put it on my heart and began opening doors to this move to Alaska to open a homeless teen place, I was pacing, excitedly, back and forth one day in our house in Texas, “God, Okay. Got it! Alaska Homeless Teen Center! Now how can I make this happen? HOW do I do this?”

That’s the day He put it on my heart that HE is the ONE DOING this and our family is just to be obedient to what we feel He’s calling us to do.

Whew! Okay. That sounds a lot easier than me trying to figure all this out!

God says

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27

So if God tells us to help orphans and we feel He’s literally calling us to go do that, don’t you think He’s big enough to provide the way?

People tell us to use our best logic. (Logic is not found in The Bible, by the way. I checked recently.)

But God says

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean NOT on your OWN understanding; in ALL your ways submit to Him, and HE WILL make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

So we’re going to choose to believe Him.

God is The Author of time and if He’s put a dream in your heart, He will be faithful to complete it. He knows what we need to do the work and He is not limited to a budget of people or supplies or money. (Thankfully!)

People may begin to tell you that it’s not possible or other silly things. (The truth is that if we were ALL doing what God is calling us to do then there wouldn’t be time left for people to critique what He’s calling YOU to do.)

 

We don’t have to grow up, get a degree, have a billion in savings, gather a committee, find supporters, or anything like that. If we follow Him, He’s got the rest.

Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I WILL MAKE YOU fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19

 

When you share a dream He’s given you, it may really take you by surprise who is not supportive.

God may ALSO surprise you by giving you peace and confirming that support will come from where HE wants it to come from (and that’s pretty cool.)

All I can figure about that is that He will provide how HE wants to provide. (Perhaps He’s not wanting a certain person’s name or church’s name on it “so that none can boast.”)

Pray for peace confirmation when someone is not supportive. He’s got this. And He’s bigger than people realize.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

People may tell you that you’re not doing it fast enough. (For who? For them?)

So many people want everything faster in 2016.

But what about waiting on The Lord?

Waiting on God in 2016 looks… well, foolish. (April 1st kinda foolish, maybe.)

Some people tell us our family is not doing enough because we’re waiting on Him. Some people think we should be doing MORE as we wait on Him. More what? Planning my way? Saving my way? I couldn’t make this happen His way if I’d known about it my whole life.

Waiting on God is a form of worship in itself.

(God says you’ll be persecuted for your faith so I’m not surprised to be persecuted. It was just a little surprising that it comes mostly from other Christians.)

But

We’re doing what we feel we’re supposed to be doing as we wait on Him, which actually is enough.

We’re not going back and we’re not giving up as long as He keeps opening doors and leading us to this work.

We’re asking, seeking, and knocking, and He WILL open doors in His timing and in His ways.

I can’t find it in The Bible that we’re to figure it out on our own and gather the resources on our own.

Besides, if we did this ourselves, then how would that be giving glory to Him? How would that show His Power and not mine?

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. – Luke 11:9-10

He’s got this.

 

[More about this Alaska homeless teen place here.  Prayers are always welcome here.]

 

Hey, Kids, Let’s Hang Out At The Tire Store

A couple weeks ago I noticed the truck tire was low. A neighbor also noticed and pointed it out to me the next day. By then it was even lower.

A few years ago I would have felt like this – and anything like it – was an inconvenience in MY day.

I mean, it’s not like any regular day I’m going to say, “Hey, family, let’s go to the tire store and just hang out there for a couple hours.”

But what if –?

What if we treated most things WE call interruptions as God redirecting us?

 

Think about this.

How many times (and in how many ways) do we as parents help redirect our children?

How much MORE would God want to redirect HIS children to something He sees that’s better for us or toward someone He wants us to talk to?

 

When God gets my attention by a flat tire (and I’m not saying He MAKES flat tires happen but He IS God and He surely could do anything to redirect me in “MY day” toward HIS Will) then what if I change my perspective to see this as a possible Divine Appointment?

Sometimes we’re so upset about that silly flat tire and we totally miss the new contact God just put right in front of us.

“Okay, God, lead us. Please guide conversations and show us who are we supposed to talk with at the tire store.”

Jesus said He leaves His Spirit, The Holy Spirit, with us. How does He guide us?

What does that look like in 2016?

Maybe, possibly, it COULD be that it looks a whole lot like a screw in the tire and a few hours at a tire store.

It’s not really MY day anyway.  ALL the days are HIS days.  And we belong to Him.

When we start to play OUR part in HIS Design, amazing things begin to happen.

How is He trying to get your attention?

 

God, please guide me today and show me what YOU want for me today.  Please take “my schedule” to show me what YOU want for me.  Please show me who to talk to and who not to talk to and what to say and what not to say and please even show me how to say it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

And some day, when a homeless teenager looks into my eyes

Yesterday I stood on the edge of the Washington pier just looking at the water.

A big boat that said “Alaska Ferry” was just a few feet in front of me.

Every once in a while,

like for one moment every few months,

I experience an “I may throw up now because this is so much bigger than my whole life and what in the world am I doing?” moment.

Yesterday was one of those.

(I’m good now.)

About 7 years ago, God placed these words in my head, “YOU ARE MOVING.”

I’d love to tell you that I listened and obeyed that day…

but… not so much.

The thing is… I think we all have a bigger Calling than we realize and many times we miss it because we’re doing stuff WE want to do instead of waiting on The Lord and asking Him what HIS plans are for our lives.

It’s not that He can’t eventually help His plans work out for His Glory but choosing to really follow Him is a choice we each have to make for ourselves. The whole “die to ourselves thing” and “follow Him” are real, every day choices.

And that includes giving Him our time.

And I’m not talkin’ about just going around doing good things for people. That’s cool and there are many benefits to that but I’m talking about ASKING God to guide us.

If a coach stands on the sidelines and we don’t constantly ask for his help or listen to His coaching… what’s THAT about?!

Pray without ceasing.  Try this.  Pray to God all through the day and at night any time you wake up.  Prayer unlocks things that no other key can open.  (I know this because there were many weeks and years of my life that I didn’t pray much at ALL.)

The Alaska Ferry is HUGE.

I don’t even know what is across that water waiting for me.

But God put this fire in my heart and the pull is so strong that I am lookin’ like a fool, following Him – a thousand miles away from my comfort zone.

As I stood there, I wondered about people talked about in The Bible and when God showed them something bigger than themselves.

I thought about how a person felt when nobody else knew yet what God’s plan was.

I thought about the people watching Noah build that ark.

I thought about Mary who knew Jesus was in her belly but how silly did she sound when she told anyone else?

I thought about Joseph and that he didn’t believe her.  He didn’t believe so much that he was going to quietly divorce her.

Can you IMAGINE the loneliness Mary must have felt just then?

I thought about David going to face Goliath.

Was he afraid?

The very Power of God was in those rocks as David took down Goliath.

And THAT Power is with us today.

Jesus said The Holy Spirit is with us to guide us.

What does that look like today in 2016?  How does God “Call” us?

When someone tells you he or she feels called by God, who is to say it’s not truth?

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

I know that until God did this work in me, while I did believe He COULD do this kind of thing, I had never experienced it for myself before.

So I can understand why some people would wonder if He really does still work in our lives like that.

He does.

Following Him is lonely.  But it’s worth it.

The Alaska Ferry costs $8,000 to $9,000 for our family of 4, the truck, and our camper trailer to go from Washington to Alaska.

God does not need money to accomplish what He wants to do.

WE may feel limited by money or other resources but God is not limited.

I cannot limit Him.

And it’s not even that.

I mean, it’s not even just the ferry getting us TO Alaska.  It’s after we’re there, then what?  God is MORE than capable of leading and providing land, help, money, people, and everything needed to do this work He’s put on our hearts.

The actual homeless camp or whatever it will be probably will cost millions of dollars.

And THAT reality makes the ferry tickets seem insignificant in comparison.

I don’t know HOW He’s doing this.

If I could SEE how, would that be called faith?

I cannot SEE how this homeless teen place can happen but He’s given me assurance that He’s doing this work with our family so we will keep praying and keep walking in faith as He leads.

And some day, when a homeless teenager looks into my eyes asking for some reason to live, and wondering if anyone loves her, I will read this blog post to her and tell her God put her in my heart before I ever met her.  And somehow He will make it all enough.

And I will tell her I almost threw up yesterday standing by the water wondering how God will finish this work He’s started in me.

I will tell her how God moved mountains and turned our lives upside down just to move our family to celebrate her life.

I will tell her I’m sorry I wasted time not understanding that SHE was why God’s message of “YOU ARE MOVING” was so important to listen to.

She needed a safe place to stay and people who would care what happens to her.

I will pray with her and hold her hand while we ask for God to lead her life and show her His plans for her.

And I will praise Him there, living more than a thousand miles away from my comfort zone (maybe almost throwing up.)

 

So I am letting go of my pride and asking for help.

Tony wrote:

I have not really wanted to ask for money because I guess I have not seen myself as being on a mission but just moving.

At first I guess I thought I could do this (well, the move part) with my little, tiny job, but God has shown me that none of this is me.

So I am letting go of my pride and asking for help.

I have come to the realization I am on a mission.

This whole trip has been a mission and I can’t do this on my own.

Kerri has asked for and gotten support from a few people and my brother-in-law set up a GoFundMe account and donations were brought that way.

We are very thankful for all the support we have received including prayer support because that’s where my help comes from.

I am not sure why but it seems God does not want us driving through Canada. We have been in three times, and each time we have been stopped for different reasons. It seems we are supposed to take a ferry or ship everything.

Any way I look at it it’s going to cost between 8 and 9 thousand dollars. I have spent every dime I had saved, every dime we made selling our stuff, and all the donations to get us to this point.

We are fine with the everyday living expenses because this great job God blessed me with where I can work from home (wherever home may be at the moment) takes care of that. And we can save some money, but it would take me a long time to save 8 to 9 thousand dollars.

The homeless place itself will cost way more than that but one step at a time is good.

I think my pride is the reason we have not made it there so far.

The more people we talk to from that area the more confirmation that there is a big need for what we are going to do. We are moving there to set up a shelter for homeless teens.

So I’m begging for help.

Please share this with your church and friends.

People can donate on this blog if they would like. (PayPal only takes a 3% fee but it looks like the GoFundMe people take out a fee closer to 10%.)

And more about what God’s been doing with our family is on this blog on the Alaska Homeless Teen Center Stuff page here.

Thank you. Tony Stites

And more of our walk of faith is here.

Donate via PayPal here.

Homelessness is really REALLY not fun.

It’s a whole bunch of loss.

Homelessness is lost shoes, lost computer cords, misplaced kitchen bowls, ruined papers, and broken pieces all over the place.

For a moment I missed the regular life I’d known where I (thought I) knew what tomorrow would look like but…

The thing is that we often fool ourselves into thinking we know and have some kind of security or some kind of “familiar” because it feels good to think this but the truth is that nobody knows what tomorrow holds.

Even when we try to plan our days and months, it’s a façade and we spend energy where really we have very little control.

Following Jesus means me giving up control.

I had a moment a few weeks ago where I broke down and let go of all the tears that needed to be set free.

When I pack to move, I pack as efficiently as possible and mark the boxes so that people who may help carry boxes later when moving in can easily take them to the closest room. It only took several years of moving before I started doing this but it helps so much and I’m glad to have finally learned this moving tip.

When I was a little girl, my room was clean. I like it clean. I like things in the best places they go and to be organized.

For the past 3 months (2 years, rather, since we began praying for God to take control and show us His Plans for us) our world has been rocked and we’ve been led through tests (some we pass easily and some not so much) and loss of friendships, found out that support isn’t always in the places we’d think it would be, and that homelessness is REALLY not fun.

It feels like my life is upside down and yet we all have peace.

As a mom and wife I want to make my space “home” for my family but it’s hard to do that when our belongings are scattered for so long.

Today I’m asking for prayers. We have a few more boxes to go through to get moved into this 3rd RV. The rest of our things are in a tent beside us and the weather guys say it’s going to storm this weekend. (It’s been about 3 months since the trailer tires were in a ditch and a towing company pulled us out.)

The first RV was totaled by that towing company. (Let that sink in.)

Then we were homeless for a month.

A friend I met online , Kathy Thompson Ellis, wrote, “Looking at your situation from the outside, from the planning and work involved in just leaving and getting on the road to having faith that God is leading you to this ministry for the homeless, to you and your family becoming homeless… I am thinking Wow! and… almost Why didn’t you expect this? Jesus became human and experienced existing on this earth as a human before He could become the perfect savior. He said, leave it all to follow Me. My heart is breaking for you all but also rejoicing because if God is allowing this in your journey, He must have some incredible and wonderful mighty plans for you. Your current circumstance is no surprise to Him. It is part of His plan. He is holding you and will never let go. What an adventure! I don’t mean to sound condescending. In a way, I am almost envious because it is so obvious that God is doing a great work in you and through you. Keep on trusting. Keeping you in my prayers. He does His best work when we come to the end of our own strength and resources and have no one and nothing to rely on but Him.” (Check out Kathy’s blogs here and here .)

 

It was a comfort she said this and she’s right. Doesn’t it make sense that God would lead us this way so that we can be better equipped to help and love on people He’s leading us to serve?

When any good father gives his child a job he will provide what is needed to do the job (or help him find out how.) How much MORE will God equip us to do the jobs He’s planned for us when we ask for His help?

We stayed in hotels about 10 days with insurance money then I prayed, “God, if there’s a family we can stay with please let us know. Please provide?”

Of course I prayed this while standing safely in a hotel room and felt like a fool asking God to provide when He was CLEARLY ALREADY providing (including the first RV and truck to pull it.)

He protected us from a storm during those days that, if we’d been driving, could have blown us off the road.

That storm had knocked down trees and taken electricity from houses miles around for several days.

We had not even heard the storm because we were safely in a hotel room away from the danger.

And I was asking God to provide.

I can just imagine the way He was probably looking at me. “My sweet child… you’re so cute.”

I went on, “Thank You for providing. I do see that You’re providing. I’m just asking because we had stayed in many parking lots for free and then several times for less than $30 a night and now every night is about $130. So if there’s a family who needs a house sitter or has room for us please show us.” (Currently, He’s led us to a place for $16 a night and a neighbor who doesn’t want to talk about Jesus. That’s okay. God’s got us right where He wants us and saying nothing is an option sometimes. He still works through us even by just using our presence – and even sometimes, our absence – for Him.)

It was that moment God put it on my heart and reminded me that He is God and He does not need money to get things done. And that He’s leading us to people and the relationships are what it’s all about.

The next day was Sunday and we’ve prayed about where to go to church since way before we began this move from Texas to Alaska to open a homeless teen place.

He led us to a Chinese church.

There are a lot of things people say to each other at church.

“Want some gum?” “How’s life?” “Do you guys want to go to lunch?”

We’d shared a tiny bit with a few people about the towing company and the RV tires had been stuck in a ditch but had not shared at all what I’d prayed in the hotel.

A sweet Chinese man walked out of a sea of people and suddenly was right in front of my face. “Do you need a place to stay?”

(In my head I was like, “Yes, Jesus, thank You for answering. That was cool.”)

But out loud I said, “Yes, please. We do.”

We stayed with this wonderful family for 3 weeks.

[ Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ]

 

We’d been homeless for 2 weeks before we knew for certain that the RV camper trailer was a “total loss.” The auto repair shop was busy and finally looked at it with us.

The insurance woman said, “We’ll just write this off and you can go home.”

“We don’t have home. This was our home.”

“What now, God?”

We hadn’t had credit for about 12 years but before we left Texas a banker had gone through months of our bills and we had been pre-approved for a house loan in Alaska. We called several places and prayed for days and then called this banker again and said something like, “I’m not even sure if you guys give loans for RVs but we’re just asking, seeking, and knocking, and wanted to know if this is an option.”

He told us to call a woman and when she pulled our credit she said, “I’ve never seen someone approved so quickly!”

We went from zero credit to perfect credit in about 5 months. In today’s world and how credit works that’s a miracle.

(The first RV loan was from a dealership in Texas who gives loans on campers from their lot only so when this was written off we were without a loan and without a place to stay. While there were 5 months of truck payments, the first RV loan had never been turned into the credit place because their office had been flooded so it didn’t count as far as credit bureaus go.)

We moved into the 2nd RV for 2 weeks. The shower was never hooked up underneath and I felt like my stomach was inside out and that was another loss.

I prayed for 3 days. “God, please give me words. Please help me face this giant. They are a big company and I am just me. Please move this mountain.”

He did.

I talked again with the people who had sold us the 2nd trailer. They said they wanted to fix it but the more I’d prayed the more I knew it wasn’t something that can be fixed. It had to be replaced. Water damage is serious and there was no easy way to fix it.

They replaced the whole thing.

Another miracle. (We pray God helps us write the details down some time because God’s Hand has been in this in a billion different ways.)

We get that some choose homelessness for many different reasons I cannot even know, but many do not.

A sweet new friend and I were talking. She felt moved to donate to this mission and during our conversation (while we were homeless) she told me how she’s struggling with, “Homeless people should get a job.”

I smiled at her.

She knew that my husband’s job of almost 18 years is traveling with us because he works from home (wherever home may be at the moment.) She realized it’s not always so simple and the conversation was a good thing for both of us.

I like to be organized. Not only were pairs of shoes in different boxes but they were in different countries!

When we ask God to reveal His Plans for our lives He (I can pretty much guarantee it) will lead us through test after test and chisel away the parts of our lives that are offensive to Him.

It’s actually quite painful but somehow VERY worth it at the same time.

He leads us to places and situations we’re uncomfortable and HAVE to trust Him to provide (not just physically, either.)

Even though today we may face a storm and more loss if the tent does not hold, we would not go back to life as we knew it.

This is more adventure than I’d ever asked for (and more than I ever wanted, to be honest) but following Jesus and walking in faith with The Holy Spirit with us is adventure worth living.

Today I’m asking for prayers for me and also I guess for you and that God opens eyes and ears to His Plans for your life and even when He leads you through something uncomfortable (and He will) He is Enough.

 

 

 

I remember a sweet teenage boy once asking me, “Are you JUST a mom or do you DO something?”

The camp showers were 3 minutes for 25 cents.

Mommy bk k blog shower coins 1

My daughters were each in a shower and I would hand them shampoo, soap, or put another quarter in when the water shut off. Probably nobody likes to run out of hot water with foamy soap still all over.

Suddenly my heart completely ached for kids I don’t even know who don’t have a mother to help them through life.

I was moved to tears for them again in that moment.

The Holy Spirit overwhelmed my heart.

When I was a little girl and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up all I really wanted was to be a mommy and a wife.

Most of the time when I answered that question I was met with disapproving looks as if that’s not enough of an answer.

But it is.

It is enough.

As it turns out it looks like I will be a mother figure to many homeless teens in Alaska. Who would care for them? Here I am, Lord. Send me.

THAT is pretty amazing and I’m honored that God is doing this with my life. I don’t have to know HOW He’s doing this but I will keep following this dream He’s put in my heart as He keeps opening doors. (You can read more about this in the Alaska Homeless Teen Stuff here.)

I remember a sweet teenage boy once asking me, “Are you JUST a mom or do you DO something?”

SUCH a cutie boy, right?!

I smiled and gently explained that being a mommy and leading, training, and loving children is a very big job and is very something. He smiled back and I could tell he was believing this was truth (and it probably wasn’t meant in a disrespectful way at all.)

There is NO “just” in being a mommy or wife. (I believe that if it was a paid job, either of those would be on the highest scale ever. I know we’re all willing to do these jobs without pay but it’s just something I think about when it comes to the money and finance world and how it would blow the executives, presidents of companies, doctors, and lawyers away if they could all SEE a mommy or wife’s worth written in dollar amounts.)

But EVEN IF I was “just” a mommy and wife, that is absolutely “enough.” Whether people feel Called to adopt or are naturally Called to be a parent, it’s enough.

When did the world turn into such an

I-need-to-be-entertained,

everything’s-a-competition,

if-I-like-cheese-and-you-don’t-I-will-be-offended,

it’s-all-about-me-selfish

kinda place?

(It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus.)

And life is NOT a competition. Your race is your race. Period. And wherever you are is just right for God to use you and your story.

Whatever God put in your heart to “be” when you grow up, I believe it’s enough.  And if people laugh when you tell them you want to be a dancer or singer or whatever, let them laugh.  (The way someone treats you is usually much more about his or her heart condition than it is about you.)

I believe in you and God believes in you.  He created you and knows your most intimate dreams. Sometimes we let the world tell us what we “should” be doing instead of following the dreams God wrote into us.

I heard someone say he wanted to be sure and use up all his talents and gifts so that there was nothing left by the time he meets God face to face. That’s pretty cool.

The job the world says you “should” have and the job God’s put on your heart to do may be 2 different things. (For some people it’s a blessing to have already discovered this and to shake off the world’s opinions.)

Believe in you.

People can go a long way just hearing someone believes in them. We are to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (even when we’re thinking about ourselves.)

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

[Note:  I can’t leave this without adding that physical needs being met aren’t the only needs that desperately need met. Emotionally being there and believing in them, modeling integrity in all things and sharing Jesus with the kids in our care are also VERY important. Some kids have physical needs met but are starving for a deeper love that God intended for a mother to provide.]

[More:

Something we do at our house is called, “You are my favorite kid.”

I used to be a nanny and care for many kids. 2s and 3s are my favorite ages (and now, teenagers, too.) At one preschool job the most difficult child in a class of 24 3 year olds I taught was my favorite kid. Actually none of the other teachers enjoyed his company but he just had something special about him and I tried to be sure he knew I valued him.

We lived in Texas before this move to Alaska to open a homeless teen place. When my kids’ friends used to come over and they’d set the table or help in some way I’d say, “You’re my favorite kid.” (And it may only last 5 minutes til the next kid swept the floor or said, “I’m sorry” while looking into someone’s eyes and then that kid was the favorite kid.)

We’ve said this for years now and the other day my oldest daughter and I were talking. Everyone likes to hear that he or she is a favorite and many people never hear this in a whole lifetime. We are excited to get to take this favorite kid thing with us to the homeless teen place. Everyone there will get to hear “You’re my favorite kid.” (Sometimes my kids even say this to me. I love it!)]

What many SAY vs. What many actually seem to believe about God.

Many in Church: Lord, lead us.

Many Preachers: Go where God calls you.

Many Pastors: Walk in faith. Die to self. LIVE for Him.

Many Teachers: The Bible says to go into all the world and make disciples. Care for the orphans and widows.

Many Song Leaders: Lord, let us hear Your Voice. Speak to us.

 

Our Family: Hey, the coolest thing happened! We started praying a couple years ago and asking God where He wants to use us and He’s revealed something to us. We feel called to Alaska to open a homeless teen place! Isn’t that amazing that He really leads like we talk about and sing about and read about in The Bible?!

 

Church: I’m not sure about that.

Many Preachers: My advice is that you go check Alaska out first to be sure you like it. (Me: I’m VERY sure that is NOT how God calls anyone.)

Many Pastors: God doesn’t do that anymore.

Many Teachers: No He didn’t.

Many Song Leaders: We don’t really think we’ll “hear” His Voice. We just sing that.

Parents/Family: That’s nice.

Many Acquaintances: That’s weird.

Many Friends: That’s interesting.

 

Many Atheists and Agnostics:

THAT’S the coolest thing I’ve EVER heard! Tell me more.

 

Make no mistake.

God is alive and well.

He uses people and stories to touch hearts and lives all the time. And He does this in a billion different ways and it doesn’t matter what our past looks like.

He’s using this story He’s writing with us to restore people’s faith in Him.

We are going in faith that God is leading and is providing and He will go before us and make a way where we can’t SEE a way just like The Bible says He does. We’re going to make disciples and care for orphans. This is a dream He’s put on our hearts and it aligns very much with Scripture. We’ve witnessed miracles along this journey already; stuff beyond our power or income or capability or explanation.

It’s called living out our faith.

We’re laying down our lives and what WE want to do (dying to self like The Bible says to do) and asking God what HE wants us to do. We’re LIVING for HIM.

If we could SEE how He’s doing this homeless teen place thing in Alaska or if WE could do it on our own with our own resources that wouldn’t be called faith. It’s all about His Power and our obedience to what He’s put on our hearts. It’s way bigger than we are and our income and God knows this. If we worshiped money or put our faith in money instead of God we’d have quit before we started. And if we’d known our whole lives that this was His plan for us or saved our whole lives for this we STILL couldn’t make it happen at all like He can.

And we pray everyone chooses to experience this real life most fulfilling way to live.

Some doors can ONLY be unlocked with prayer.

God doesn’t say use good judgment without ceasing.

Or make intelligent choices without ceasing.

Or use wisdom without ceasing. (He does say to pray for wisdom and He will give it.)

He doesn’t say to read The Bible without ceasing.

 

He says to PRAY without ceasing. Try this.

 

He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He led before The Bible was written or else The Bible couldn’t be God-led (which it is,) and He led during Bible times, and He still leads and works in our lives every day still now even in 2015.

Immanuel = God with us. He means it. He REALLY is with us and provides and leads.

Pray without ceasing. Try it. Give Him your TIME and just watch what He can do!

All eyes are on You, Lord.  Do what only You can do.

[Note: A common daily prayer in our home goes something like this. (Try it.)

God, please lead us today. Please show us who You want us to talk to and what to say and who not to talk to and what not to say. Please guide our day and let us not take control back. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.]

 

The one day a year the neighborhood comes TO your door is not the time to keep it shut.

It’s Halloween.

Open your door.

3T7B7619 1.jpg

 

Toss some Jesus candy to people.

Start a conversation.

3T7B7646 (1) 1.jpg

 

Bless them.

Invite them to church.

Pray over the candy before you hand it out.

For real.  Not even joking.

Like a prayer walk

only pray blessings for the people

who will blow bubbles with the bubble gum you give out.

Print a scripture and tape it

to each piece of candy.

We are to go all over the world

to make disciples

and that is hard to do

when the door is locked.

3T7B7660 1.jpg

 

People know that many Christians are famous for

sharing everything we’re AGAINST

but we’re not as famous for sharing Jesus the way we should.

3t7b7617-1

 

It’s like this.

Sometimes we throw stones

at the adulteress

instead of being aware of

our own secret sin.

If we show her love, REAL TRUE love,

the kind of love she’s longing for

with all her heart,

then maybe,

just maybe she’ll want more of that

instead of the counterfeit romance that people offer her.

There is ONE night out

of the whole entire long year

that people flood the streets,

MAKE EYE CONTACT,

and say “Hello”

without thinking it’s awkward.

3t7b7675-1

 

THIS evening is NOT the time to close the door.

The neighbors you pray about knowing Christ

all year long

God is bringing TO you

but the opportunity to invite them to know

more about Jesus

is missed because you don’t want

anyone to think you’re “celebrating” Halloween.

Opening your door and handing out candy on Halloween

does not mean you’re celebrating evil spirits

any more than going to a funeral

at a graveside service does.

This year my Mad Hattress, my Dear Fawn, my husband and I

will be loving on people however God leads us,

with lights on, doors open,

and some Jesus candy to share.

3t7b7664-1-1

 

Be “that guy” and hand out Bibles if you want to

because you never know who needs one

but please don’t miss this opportunity

to love on and bless your neighbors.

Start a conversation.

Share Jesus with people

especially on Halloween

when sidewalks are covered with people

who are dying to know Him.

Be safe. Be blessed and Happy Halloween.

[Note: Do not send me hate mail

because I see a great outreach opportunity

and feel led to share about it.

I get it.

Some will be upset.

Some are always upset.

But someone may get to know Christ

because of open doors on Halloween

and I don’t want anyone

to miss any opportunity to share Him.]

People tell us, “It doesn’t work that way!”

God put on our hearts to build a homeless teen place in Alaska and we’re just going in faith that He’s really doing this.

People have told us, “It doesn’t work that way!”  (And more stuff like that.)

Us: In what way does “it” work?

Skeptics: “Well you have to have a church supporting you.”

Us: Who told you that?

The world says you have to have a church backing you or a committee or a degree in ministry or this or that to get ministry work done.

The world lies about LOTS of things.

Us to the Skeptics: So you’re limiting God?

God is NOT limited.

God is not limited to what a church or committee can do. God is not limited to what we think. And He certainly is not limited by the world’s understanding.

Look at what He did with some fishermen in The Bible.

In fact, time after time in The Bible God didn’t choose the wealthiest or most educated or famous or “most likely” people to do His important work.

Don’t you think He is MORE than capable of providing and leading today just like He did then?

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He still leads today. The problem is that we’ve listened and believed what the world says for so very long that it drowned out His Voice.

He promises He will take care of us and provide and He does.

When our family stopped asking other church leaders and preachers and pastors about how we can serve, and started asking God instead through prayer, He began opening doors that ONLY God can unlock.

We knew we were supposed to be serving somehow but time after time we were invited to just sit in the pew.

We were ALL made for more than that and when we don’t get the opportunity to serve somehow, a part of us begins to die.

In my opinion, churches (actually more groups and people and leaders, but ESPECIALLY churches) should be doing MORE praying over people to find their unique talents and gifts and LESS stopping people from serving but maybe that’s just me. (It’s not. But to prevent arguments, let’s say maybe it is.)

Prayer is where this happened for us and we pray the whole world starts to pray without ceasing and everyone gets to serve in the ways He’s planned for them since before they were born. He will show you. This, I know.

People know WE don’t have enough money or people or land or buildings to build this homeless place in Alaska.

But GOD’S resources are unlimited.

This is about HIS Power and our obedience to what we feel called to do.

It’s called walking by faith.

We are not walking by what money or provision we can SEE because if we did, we’d have given up WAY before we ever started.

God made us. When He knitted us together He knitted within us what our purpose is but we got so lost in the world that we lost focus of what He Calls us to do.

People listen to the world say, “That dream is too big!” or “That’s too impossible.” Or, “It has to look THIS way.” “That won’t work.”

With this Calling we feel, people have said, “Have you done your research?” “How many homeless teens are there?” Our answer, “If God’s Calling us there like we believe He is, we’re sure there is at least one and isn’t one enough?”

God talks about helping the orphans and widows.

God puts dreams in our hearts all the time.

The world is the place we hear something “can’t” happen or it’s a dumb idea.

Sweet Friend, the world is WRONG.

And if someone tells you about a dream on his or her heart, the answer is, “Let’s pray for more confirmation.”

God opens doors that no man can shut and He shuts doors that no man can open.

You’ll know because He’ll show you.

Don’t worry about opposition or people who can’t see your vision.

That’s okay.

If they were doing the work God has prepared for them to do then they wouldn’t have time to critique His work with you.

And do not even tell me that you’re too old or it’s too late to begin a ministry. God had work for people when they were 500 years old and now, in 2015, when we’re 60, we’re whining for retirement.

We are made to serve and work and why do we hear so many people who “retire” wanting more and going back to some kind of work?

We’re unfulfilled when we don’t have a purpose or work to do.

Your ministry could be right in your neighborhood or home or job.

The work for pay that you’re doing right now may not have been God-led. If you’re miserable at your job this may be the case because even during tough times, He gives peace when we’re doing the work He has for us.  If your job IS God-led and you’re miserable, maybe He’s used you there as long as He needed to and now is wanting to move you.  Ask Him.

He may Call you across the world.

Ask Him to lead and let Him show you His plans for you. To wake up every day and know your purpose is a most wonderful way to live.

God will ALWAYS have work for us to be doing and we can ALWAYS make a difference in this world for Him.

You have to believe.

“Here am I, Lord. Send me.”

She looked like life had been pretty rough.

She looked like life had been pretty rough and that drugs had her locked in a prison she probably didn’t build by herself.

She was standing by the gas station and I was still sitting in the truck.  I just looked at her for a moment and saw a hurting soul and wanted her to know her worth because somehow I could tell she wasn’t aware that she mattered.  Maybe nobody had told her or treated her as if she meant something.

She didn’t ask me for any money or anything.  I felt a tug on my heart and reached into my purse.  There were 5 Canadian coins and I felt compelled to give them to her, of course, not even certain if she’d be offended that I offered them.

She took them and thanked me.

All I said was, “You’re so welcome.”  Immediately as I took a step I wished I’d told her it wasn’t really me who moved my heart, but Jesus.  I regretted that the second I had I didn’t say this in words to her because He’s the One she needed to hear from; not me.

Within about 3 minutes she walked through the aisles to me and thanked me again.  I was so grateful to get to say, “Jesus is the One who moved me.  It’s not actually from me.  He loves you.”

She thanked me again and smiled.

Then a few minutes later, she walked back over where I was filling coffee cups for my now not homeless anymore family.  She said beautiful, real words that are worth MUCH more than 5 dollars (loonies, as Canadians call them.)

She said, “I’ve been struggling with my faith.”

I said something like, “Prayer is where doors open that no other key can unlock.  Please start praying and God will move in ways you know He’s there.”

She kept walking back to me several times to talk more about Jesus before I left and I thought to myself, “If I hadn’t paid attention to God nudging my heart to give and had only looked at her with my own human eyes and judged that she may spend the money on more drugs, I’d have missed the moment to share Jesus with her but because I listened and obeyed better I did not miss the moment.  (I did a little happy dance prayer in my head right then; just me and God.)

I did see that she used the money to buy breakfast but even if I hadn’t, it’s okay.

I am responsible for how God shows me to give and she is responsible for how she uses the money; for how she receives.

It’s that simple.

When we feel moved to give, give.  When we don’t, don’t.

But please always ALWAYS treat someone as if she matters because she does and you may be the first or only person she’s heard that from in a very long time.

In those moments a quick prayer can open a closed or hurting heart and invite communication to restore faith in The One who loves us most.

Mommy bk k blog 5 coins with blog

Today is moving day and I am not afraid.

(Check out what we’ve shared since June here

https://www.facebook.com/itisallaboutfaithblog )

 

Today (tonight) we begin a drive from Texas to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center.

God is not in a hurry and He’s been patient with me as I finally accepted what He’s doing with our family.  I will praise Him.

HE has made me brave.

For probably 35 years I was afraid and hid my talents because of childhood sexual abuse and being raped 4 times later in life.

Ministry is NOT a pretty thing because it involves real life and in real life we have been given free will and when we have free will, we make a lot of not so great choices and the choices we make every day affect others around us.  I forgive the people who have hurt me and God is using that pain and turning it into something altogether beautiful and has given me a passion for people and to be able to see deeper than the surface.

Genesis 50:20 is my life verse.  It says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

 

YOU matter.

Period.

Just because God made you, you matter.

 

Tonight we move out of a house we’ve lived in for eight years ~ and I am not afraid.

THIS is God working in me and not me by myself.  There is a peace covering my family that can ONLY come from Him.

We don’t know what The Home Place looks like yet (or if that’s the name for certain) but we DO know that God is doing this and so far it’s like He’s shown us that no church or organization will have its name on this work.  It’s God’s work and His Name is to be praised for all of it.

At first we were a little sad when church after church turned us down saying they want no part of this but very soon God showed me that it is okay and He will keep providing through individuals He calls to give.

For The Home Place we are praying God provides jobs for each person He leads to us so that people may earn money to make a living while God reveals each person’s talents He’s given.  We will love on people and celebrate people who may not have felt much like celebrating lately.  We will be Jesus’ Hands and Feet to hurting people.  We will give people a safe place to stay for a while, teach interview and job skills, and just live life with them, reminding them Jesus is very real and God moved mountains to move our family from Texas to Alaska in 2015.

I didn’t choose this ministry.  God revealed this to us over time.  When you follow Him, He directs your steps.  This stuff is real.  And hard.  And fun.  And exciting.  And exhausting.  And He provides all the tools needed to do the job He’s prepared in advance for us to do.

First, I needed my confidence back because mine had been stolen along with my innocence when I was a little girl.

I did not know to even ASK Him to restore what had been stolen because I did not know it was missing.   I just lived life without my confidence.

ONLY God can give the gift of confidence.

Then, He pushed me online.

Online is a strange place where people seem to think that they can hide behind a screen and mock and be unkind in more ways than imaginable.  But it’s a lie.  We have ONE life and we are to find this life in Jesus Christ.  The things people do and say to others and about others matters.  Always.

I can’t even begin to list the ways spiritual warfare happens when we follow Jesus.  It’s exhausting and the Bible talks about Christians being persecuted.  It’s been interesting to see that many other Christians have been the ones doing the persecuting.  I would never have believed it if you’d have told me this would happen.

When you tell someone you’re feeling called by God to do a job, MANY begin to tell you how “You’re doing it wrong.”

But the truth God revealed to me is that if we were ALL doing the jobs He’s planned in advance for us to do, then there would be NO time to hate on each other.  (Heaven is gonna be so wonderful!)

We didn’t know for a year and a half if He was moving us by airplane or ground and this past April He provided a truck (which made us know He would provide a camper to pull behind it.)

The very day after He provided this truck, my pinky toe went numb, my ear started to have trouble hearing and both eyes began to have more vision trouble.

God sent a prayer warrior to my house to pray with me.  She said something that blew my mind and I had not thought of yet, “No, satan, will NOT stop this woman’s steps!”

It had not occurred to me that the spiritual warfare was beginning to take on a physical form.

After she prayed over me I could see, hear, and walk easier again.  Then God sent another friend to pray the very next day.

He is just so good.

We will keep walking in faith as God keeps opening doors.

He will keep providing all the tools we need to do the job He’s calling us to do and right now the main tool needed is money.  We know He will provide through His people.

If you feel called to help with this ministry He’s doing with our family, please check out this donation site.  Contact email for donations is itisallaboutfaithdonate@gmail.com

What little we offer to God matters. He can do MORE than enough with our little offering. We just have to bring it to Him and ask Him to bless it.

Not sure how much is enough to give?  Check out John 6:5-13 and see what He did with a few loaves of bread and fish.

Donate Button

 

Laundry Mat Ministry (Journey from Texas to Alaska)

I’m about 2 weeks away from not owning a washer or dryer or a dishwasher…

And I am SO excited about it.

Our family is moving out of a 2,100 square foot house into a 33×8 foot camper (and truck.)

God has called us to move to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center (not yet in existence.) Our prayers are to drive away from the house we live in on June 1st (Of course everything is in His timing and all that.) Prayers are always welcome and needed here.

Sometimes when we have jobs to do we focus more on the actual job and forget that there’s a bigger picture and God is in all the details of all our lives and the people you see through your days may not ever be the same people I see. We are Called to make a difference for Christ in the lives of others. Please do this. People NEED YOU.  You are the very right person for this job.

Doing laundry may not seem like much fun, but many things can be turned into ministries and I think unfortunately we miss moments to share our faith every day with people who cross our path.

If someone would have told me that I’d be excited about NOT having a washer and dryer I’m not sure I’d have believed.

We are going to have a Laundry Mat Ministry (a mini ministry along with the Alaska Homeless Teen Center ministry God has shown us.)

We are going to paint faces, speak life, and share Jesus with people He leads us to along this journey from Texas to Alaska. We will give the girls crowns of flowers because they are princesses of The King and we will give the boys necklaces with “EPH 6:16” on them and teach them about having a shield of faith and that we are all warriors for Christ.

Ephesians 6:16 says  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

And we also are praying to have extra money with us at each laundry mat we visit for when we feel God moving us to give to people who may need a little financial help.

We are going to celebrate people who may not have felt much reason to celebrate lately.

A friend I met online said it well when she said this. Stephanie said, “What if changing the world was as easy as loving somebody that has never been loved before?!?”

It IS this easy.

My oldest daughter was giggling and said we should make t-shirts that say “Jesus Makes You Clean” on them. (We may just do that.)

~

If you feel called to give to any of this mission, please do. Your support of any kind is very appreciated. May God take your donations, break them and multiply them just like He did with the fish and the loaves. May He make the donations more than enough for this ministry.

May He use each of our lives in such a way that everyone watching cannot help but see Him!

Donations are accepted via PayPal and more of our story is found here.

https://itisallaboutfaithblog.wordpress.com/alaska-homeless-teen-center-stuff/

Laundry Mat Ministry

 

“Unplanned Pregnancy” is not in God’s vocabulary.

Psalm 139:13  For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Parenthood is a Calling.

Some people turn it down.

Some people turn it down many times. Please stop.

God can and does forgive. He’s very good at it. Talk to Him. He’s listening right now. He takes all the broken pieces of our lives and creates something altogether beautiful. It’s what He does. Stop hiding and start living again. HE ADORES YOU. You cannot confess ANYTHING that would make Him love you less.

I was moved to write this because I’ve seen how abortion does more than kill ONE life. It ALWAYS kills more than one life. Being alive but walking through life ~> dead <~ is not living how God intended us to live. Life is a gift from God. EVERY life is a gift from God. God wants every person to have an exuberant life.

John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

We have a desire to be with God. Because of this, when we do something sinful, it makes us want to hide just like Adam and Eve hid in the Garden of Eden.

But somebody needs YOU. Get up. Get up. Please get up.

Somebody else may be going through the very same decisions and thoughts you went through and you may be the very right person God wants to use to help them. Ask Him for courage. He’s got you. He’ll show you when to share your story.

When we talk about stuff that’s happened in our lives sometimes people get defensive.

WHY?

It’s NOT about YOU. Well, wait. Kind of, it IS about you because satan is AFRAID of what YOU can become. But it’s NOT about you because sin is designed to trick you, steal from you, and keep you isolated; sometimes just isolated in your own mind because you never talk about things you need to talk about so that you can be free. (And this applies in ALL areas of our lives; not just about abortion.)

Make NO mistake.

Holding secrets makes you grouchy. (Any secrets. Again, this applies to WAY more than abortion.)

Like, every day grouchy and even if people don’t know WHY you’re grouchy they still sense something is very broken. We CRAVE freedom from the prisons we get trapped in. When we’re stuck in hell on Earth, we don’t have peace.

Please hear this now.

It’s about what satan did TO YOU. That enemy is so very clever and custom designs traps to enslave us FOREVER. Whether you chose to kill your baby or someone talked you into it, it’s a lie and is not “an easy way out” AT ALL. And sometimes people take a sin and never bring it to light SO THAT it can be forgiven and redeemed. There is freedom in confession. There is freedom when the chains that hold us are broken by Jesus’ Blood.

Yes. We have choices we make every day and we are to be held accountable for everything; even the words we speak. BUT what satan wants, and unfortunately many times he gets, is to knock us down and KEEP US DOWN.

Sometimes people need to find a better way to talk with others about sin and I find it’s best to confess our sins to someone else before trying to help someone else with theirs. That whole take the plank out of our own eyes before pointing out the splinter in someone else’s… Yeah THAT one.

BE KIND when dealing with other humans or they tend to shut you out!

Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

When you feel loved by someone and have a relationship with them it’s easier to be heard and we MUST speak in love and not in condemnation to each other.

When we talk about this sin specifically, people often say, “You’re making me feel guilty.” (Actually I can’t MAKE you feel ANY way. But I get what this is saying.)

Good.

Guilt is a GOOD thing. Guilt shows your conscience is working and the Holy Spirit is tugging at your heart to bring you back where you belong.

Guilt is not bad.

ABSENCE of guilt is bad.

God loves you so very much. He forgives. He saw that we would mess up in this life and He loves us SO MUCH that He sent His ONLY Son to redeem us and bring us back to Him.

Now, please, YOU forgive you and ask Him what He wants you to do with your life because He had a plan for you when He knit YOU together in YOUR mother’s womb.

READ THIS AGAIN: God already loves you so very much. He ALWAYS has. Talk to Him.

I’m very sorry when well-meaning people take murder and make it into a sin worse than other sins. Sometimes people may not articulate well that we are all sinners.

ALL sins nailed Jesus to the Cross. We EACH held a hammer.

And Jesus didn’t set us free so that we can keep doing the same sins over and over again. He paid the Ultimate Price SO THAT we can be free from the sins that try to keep us from living.

God takes our broken stuff and makes it into a ministry. Ask Him what He will do with you. He has a plan for YOU and when He “knitted you together” He knitted His plans for you into you and many times, the very thing that held us down is the VERY thing that God uses to pick us up and help others.

 

Automatically we were signed up for war.

We were born into a battle. It’s not like we had a choice to sign up for war or anything but the moment we were conceived we were in this broken world and automatically we were signed up for war. It doesn’t matter if we consent to it or not. There is a war going on all around us every day between good and evil.

But before we were even conceived in our mothers’ wombs, God ALREADY had a plan for EACH of us. It’s like… impossible to even wrap my head around this but that doesn’t make it any less true.

When someone signs up for military in this world, we EXPECT he or she will go through tests, training, pain, and we KNOW to expect all of this. When military people complain and cry or whine, it’s kinda like people lose respect for them.

But the training is really hard and it’s okay to be sad and to cry. It’s not weak to cry. It’s healing.

In life, we sometimes have forgotten that we are automatically entered into a battle and God wants to train us, He will test our faith, and use the pain we go through for something bigger than ourselves. And OH how we do go through pain!

The training is really hard and it’s okay to be sad and to cry and to grieve and there is no rhyme or reason to it. It’s chaos. Know why?

There is an enemy. And this enemy is satan. Sin is real and satan designs custom-made traps for each of us. It’s not like we mean to fall into them but it’s seductive and we are human.

Traps look different for everyone. It’s nothing to laugh about and we all need help breaking the chains that hold us in prison. It could be that we fell into a sin like pornography or drugs or chasing money or even we could have faced the death of a child or a divorce and these can knock you down like for what feels like an eternity.

You matter. Your story matters. All of it. How you feel about it matters and the most important thing is what you do with it. You can hide it or let the enemy keep you down – and he’s GOOD at it because that’s what satan does – or you can stand back up and ask God to cover you and send the Holy Spirit with you everywhere you go and keep giving you His strength and leading you to know what He wants to do with your story.

We each have a choice to follow Him or not. Nobody can make this choice for you EXCEPT FOR YOU. Nobody.

And we will each stand before God on Judgment Day – by ourselves – and we are accountable for how we lived.

God did not expect perfection from us.

If He did there would have been no reason for Jesus to die taking our sins on the cross. But Jesus did die and Jesus did get down off that cross and that tomb could not hold him!  God sent Jesus to redeem us which if you think about it, if He expected us to be perfect, there would be no need for this.  We’re not perfect and that’s okay.  This is why Jesus is perfect.

I know stuff happened. I know someone has hurt you. I know people betrayed you. I know you have faced unbearable pain that nobody can fully understand because every situation is different. Get up anyway. Don’t let the enemy win. Please, please get up. God has such plans for your life and when you keep asking Him what He wants you to do every day, He will keep leading you and ALL the experiences you’ve been through in life will make more sense and all your talents and gifts will make sense and life becomes better (not necessarily easier but better.)

God loves you SO very much.  Talk with Him.  He’s listening.

You want to make this a fight of flesh and blood. But it’s not. It’s spiritual with the powers of darkness.
The enemy is AFRAID of what YOU can truly become. – the movie King’s Faith

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

God has moved mountains and turned our lives upside down.

Can you even IMAGINE the love kids will know when we finally are able to look into their eyes and tell them God has moved mountains and turned our lives upside down just for us to get to them?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

This stuff is real.

Very recently I yelled at God. It was something like, “God, YOU are the One who gave me this dream! Show me how and when! We are willing to follow You and obey. You know this. Please just show us HOW!” The ache to help people who need love is so great and we are so ready to go serve how God has called us to serve.

About 5 years ago God put a thought into my head, “YOU ARE MOVING.”

I didn’t want to hear that. So I didn’t listen.

Instead I told an elder at church that, “I could never move because I love this church too much.” I believe God took that church (building) out of our path because I was disobedient.  (And I lived to tell about it. God does not stop loving us or using us when we’re disobedient contrary to what so many people tell you. God uses ALL of your story for His Glory.)

But this was so strong that I could not ignore it.

It’s April. God put it on my heart that April 1st would be the time He moved us to Alaska to begin work on the homeless teen center dream. I was like, “God, You KNOW what April 1st is.  I don’t want to tell people that!”

Many people know that we thought it was last April. The thing is; there are a lot of Aprils in our lifetime. There is one every year.

If God’s shown you a time or season for something just keep trusting Him no matter what other people tell you because He knows what He’s doing.

We’ve looked like fools for Him kinda “building an ark” in our yard for the past year and a half since we started telling people about what He’s doing in our lives.

And we’ll KEEP ON looking like fools for Him until the day He takes our breath away.

My God is real. My God can do more than you ever ask or imagine. Follow Him. Talk to Him. (You can talk to Him right now. This story isn’t going anywhere. I’ll wait right here.)

Before He gave me this dream:

1. I never dreamed of going to live in Alaska. But apparently it’s been something my husband wanted to do since he was a little boy. (I didn’t know that til last year.)

2. I didn’t even LIKE teenagers until one of my own kids was a teenager.  My favorite ages have always been the 2s and 3s.  I love to listen to the stuff they talk about!

The world tells you that teenagers are… well, the world says lots of negative things about teenagers.  The truth about teenagers is that teenagers need respect just like adults and younger kids do and when we show them respect, they are quick to give respect back. Listen to their crazy dreams and stuff they think about, pray over them, and help them find their talents and what God wants to do with them. And how God uses them may or may not look like we think it “should” look regarding culture and school, career, and life. And that’s OKAY!

Even when nobody really (other than my 2 daughters who have always believed in me) believed what God had shown me, I still knew He was doing this work in my life and what He’s calling us to go do.

~~>  Walking by faith is SO very LONELY but SO very worth it.  <~~

Okay so check this out.

April 1st.  I yelled at God to show me HOW.

April 2nd.  We were led to a car dealership.

Wait. First we were led to a camper/RV place.

Wait. First before that my husband’s friend asked him to hang out for the day and they drove by the camper dealership so later he asked me to go see them with him.

But before that my husband worked over 50 hours in 3 days.

Okay. There’s not even a way to begin this story and explain how we got here unless God shows me how to share the details.

When you follow Jesus, be ready to let go of stuff you keep trying to control.

This is a God thing. If you’ve read this blog much it’s not new to hear that we have been waiting on God’s timing and a miracle. We are in the middle of another one right now.

God can do anything with anybody.

This truck thing happened with no credit for several years, a payment that meets our income, all the details we prayed about, strong enough to pull a trailer, and it was at the dealership for just a week (not even put in the front to sell yet.)  The guy said they rarely have this kind of truck for this price and right now they had TWO.

After we were home for the night, we all went to bed praying if this is God’s provision then great and if not, that’s great too. We asked Him to show us the next steps and to give us peace either way.

God showed me one time last year in a dream that we had a big white vehicle. When I woke up, I knew it wasn’t a bus or a van. At that time it didn’t occur to me that it could be a camper.

We revisited a used camper lot and the woman asked what we were looking for. All the campers there had only 1 bed in them. (All except one.) We need 3 or 4 beds for our family.  She showed us a camper with SEVEN beds and now we have a truck to pull it and to carry the art supplies, photography equipment, decorations, sewing patterns, hair and make-up supplies, and most importantly those mismatched tea party pieces.

~~>  You read that right.  We are moving to Alaska to celebrate people who haven’t been very celebrated.  <~~

The story God’s leading us through has touched so many lives already and we haven’t even begun the actual work IN Alaska yet.  Praise Him!  (When God shows you WHY you’re here it will blow your mind! Ask Him to show you. There’s nothing like this in the whole world.)

The other 2 pieces that go with the truck are the camper and an enclosed truck bed cover to store boxes in for the drive to Alaska (as tall as possible and we’re looking at junk yards to find one in case anyone knows of any good places.)

We need $20,000 more to pay for the camper and for gas to move there. And I hear there’s a ferry we need to pay for to move the truck and camper across water so probably more than this and I KNOW God will provide this somehow.

If a father asks his son to mow the yard, he’ll give him (or show him how to get) a lawn mower, gas (or an extension cord and electricity,) and a lawn to mow.  How much MORE will God supply for His children when we listen and follow what He’s calling us to do?!  He will supply everything ~ INCLUDING leading us to the very people He’s calling us to help!

If you know anyone with a heart for this ministry or who just wants to help this mission get started, please share our story.

We have hearts for homeless people and we are able to physically go there to serve them.  We know there are many more people who ALSO have hearts for this ministry and who cannot go physically but DO have resources to help do this work for Him.

We are going to give people a safe place to stay for a while, teach interview and job skills, budgeting, celebrate people who maybe haven’t felt a reason to celebrate lately, and MOST importantly lead people to a closer relationship with Jesus.

When you feel called to give, then give.  When you don’t, then don’t.   It’s really that simple.

I’ll say it again.

Can you even IMAGINE the love kids will know when we finally are able to look into their eyes and tell them God has moved mountains and turned our lives upside down just for us to get to them?

miracle truck

All eyes are on You, Lord.  We give all the glory to You.

Donate Button

Dear Daughters, I’ve noticed.

An Open Letter to My Daughters.

I hear the way you pray over your days, friends, enemies, and choices. I see how you love others and want good things for them. I see when someone hurts your feelings and hear you pray for blessings for them and for God to heal you and use your pain.

I just want you to know that I’ve noticed.

You know where your strength comes from and you keep sharing that it’s from Jesus when anyone asks what is different about you and sometimes even when they don’t ask. You are warriors for Christ and with the Holy Spirit’s Power, you are doing great things every day.

I’ve noticed.

It’s absolutely beautiful to see how you face trials and adversity and you don’t retaliate. You could be angry. You could try to get even. You could wish bad things on people who have hurt you.

But you just don’t.

You can know for certain that I notice.

I see you forgive but not necessarily forget because as God uses experiences He’s brought you through, He reminds you of the passion behind your drive to love others.  You have understanding beyond your years.

God has taught me a lot through allowing me to be your mom. Being a kid in 2015 is tough (probably way tougher than when I was a kid.) You are learning to walk in grace and beauty that can only come from Jesus. I see His peace covering you.

You are world changers.

I’ve prayed over your whole lives, marriage, school, work, friends, enemies, and faith. I don’t have all the answers (and that’s okay.) Together we will always ask the Guy who does. Please come talk to me and Daddy when you make mistakes. (We were kids too and we made plenty of mistakes too.)  It’s okay to cry. God made tears and crying helps people heal.

I just wanted to be sure you hear that I notice you girls developing your own faith in Jesus and it’s beautiful to have a front row seat to this work He’s doing in your lives.

You are surely storing up treasures in Heaven and THAT means everything. These are the treasures that will last forever.

I love you.  Love, Mommy

~

Here is a prayer I wrote when you were little. I think it was around 2a.m. once as you slept while I was unpacking at a new house. I wrote it under your art desk. Whether the desk stays with you or not, the prayer and blessings will follow you no matter what.

Dear God,
Bless my children this night and from now on as they sit at this desk and help me always see their individual talents and encourage them for You. This night as I carefully set up all their art things in our new house keep them safe always.

Let me always remember the goal is Heaven no matter what comes in their lives and use me to help them see You. Through friendships and boyfriends and broken hearts let them look to You.

Let them have peace that You have a plan for each of their lives and not get sidetracked by the world.

Protect their minds and eyes and ears and bodies. Please keep them from harm.

Let me listen to them and remember that this time is for a season and not a lifetime. The dishes can always be done later. Lord, help me just learn to enjoy play time with my children and not organize anything. Just play!

I pray again this night for their husbands and their Christianity that they always look to You and are gentlemen to my girls You gave me. I cannot imagine anyone ever loving them like You and I do. Will they wipe their tears? Will they listen when my babies speak?

Oh, God, take care of my precious children in Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

You are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile!

What if, instead of a one night stand, we call it what it really is?

Instead of a pick up line what if someone had to ask the “real” questions to the person he was hoping to hook up with?

Would this change anything?

“Hey, you’re cute. I’m feeling selfish. I know God gave you a beautiful gift and it’s not really for me but I’d like to take some of what He wants you to save for your husband (or wife, if a girl is asking a guy.)

Would you please lower your standards and let me tear off a piece of your beautiful wrapping paper? You could just lie to your future husband or act like nothing ever happened with me.

I’m lonely tonight and you don’t even know your husband yet so how about you give some of HIS treasure to ME?”

OR maybe it goes like this:

“Heeyy. What’s up? I’d like to give you some of what is supposed to be my wife’s some day.

I know you’re not my wife but since she’s not here yet, she probably won’t care. I’ll tell her she’s so special later, “blah blah blah…” but I’ll make it sound more meaningful than that, of course. (Honestly, you don’t mean enough to me to mention you to my future wife anyway.)

Right now, today, you’re the only one I want. But tomorrow, who knows?!

I’d like to steal from your husband and one day you’ll wish we didn’t do this (and I will too.)  So whatdaya think? Want to?!”

There is not enough cologne or make-up to make this be anything other than what it is.

What if we did think about this for what it really is?

I did NOT know I had value. I honestly did not understand that even though my innocence was stolen when I was 9, I STILL had value. Throughout my life, some stole from me and some I gave away; truly not having any understanding that I mattered. That old devil is clever and designs custom-made traps for each of us.

But I wouldn’t change my past because everything in my life has brought me to this place where I will spend the rest of my time telling you that YOU MATTER.

~~~> If people stole some of your beautiful gift OR even if you voluntarily gave it away, you are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile! <~~~

Check this out.

Recently we replaced the broken face on my husband’s phone. About 2 weeks later we noticed it was cracked again! We took it and paid for a new protective cover for the broken phone.

When the guy walked to the counter with the phone, it went like this, “We have never put a cover on an already cracked phone before.”

Just because the phone has a broken part does not mean we want to trash the rest of it.

~~> We want to cover it with protection so that it does not get more broken. <~~

Just like when we mess up, we don’t want to keep messing up and making bad choices.  We want to “cover” our lives in prayer and protection.

When we are in a car wreck and the bumper is crushed and the tire busted, we don’t smash out the windows and slash the other tires.

We don’t hope for another wreck.

We try to avoid more damage to the car.

Purity is beautiful. YOU are beautiful. All of your story matters. And God will take all the broken pieces and make them into something worth sharing. It’s called your testimony. And it’s important.

When you see people giving themselves away, it’s very possible they do not know their worth in Christ yet. Saying a prayer for God to show them their worth in Him can help change the world.

[Note: I wrote this as if a guy is speaking to a girl (or a girl to a guy) but if you’re having a sexual relationship with someone of the same gender, I’m here to tell you that you matter and you STILL are giving away (or people are stealing) something that does NOT belong to them. You don’t have to prove something.

Please don’t let people treat you as if you are less than the beautiful person you are.]

[Note 2: This story can be read as a woman speaking or a man speaking pick up lines.

The value is the same. It does not change. We ALL matter. And we are not supposed to be using each other because God has a better plan.

When we understand the reasons WHY to (or not to) do something, it makes a whole lot more sense than just telling someone to (or not to) do it.]

[Important: THIS is not FOR or AGAINST political stuff.

A sin is a sin. I’m not going to argue with people about what sin is. Our conscience shows us that. Usually when we are healthy we realize something is a sin and we hide it (like Adam and Eve hid in the Garden of Eden) or we may even become belligerent about it, trying to justify it to people. The Holy Spirit will convict our hearts to show us what is better for us and when He does this, we want Him to lead us more. When we know better, we do better.

God made sex. And He made it to be a beautiful part of a relationship. We messed it up.

But just because it’s been messed up, doesn’t mean to KEEP messing it up.

Purity is beautiful.]

You are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile!

You are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile!

Maybe having a job is actually more than just selling stuff and making money.

Instead of stressing out about whatever I’m working on, I’ve learned to give it to God. (Well, most of the time I do that. I’m still trying to remember to do this more often.) THAT (only) took just over 40 years to learn…

When I send a note, write on the blog, write to a company, or answer an email, with my hands on the keyboard I say, “God, please let this be whatever You will make of it.”

If I’m building something, I can put my hands on the shelves or whatever I’m building and say a prayer over all the people who will use the shelves.

Parenting is a most important job!  Our kids are placed in our care by God and they are His. He’s given us the honor of parenting. (Some people desire to be parents with all their hearts and never get the opportunity. Please let your parenting honor God.)

When we pray over our children, we often place our hands on their head or shoulders and say something like, “God, please send the Holy Spirit with our children today and let them shine for You. Please send Your Angels to protect them and give them the strength to be the people You are calling them to be.” (Our kids have told us the days we do this are more peaceful and powerful than the days we don’t.)

Here are some other practical ways to do this every day:

If you work in a store, pray over the merchandise before you open that day, for God to bless the lives of people buying the products.

If your work honors God, then you’re on the right track.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

~~> Maybe having a job is actually more than just selling stuff and making money. <~~

If you mostly do phone work, you can pray over your phone before work or all through the day just asking God to send healing to the customers you’ll connect with that day.

You get the idea. It may sound simple. (And it is.) But when you put this into action, amazing things begin to happen.

The truth is: We don’t have to work SO hard to make something look how WE think it “should” look or to make it “successful.” WE can do our best and leave the results up to God without so much stress we sometimes put on ourselves.

What I mean is that we sometimes let stress take over something that could be a fun or great thing (like opening a new business) and not all stress is bad. Even good stress is still stressful.

It’s the same thing with whatever you do, whether it’s school, home, or wherever you are. And it doesn’t have to be some big spectacle! You can say a silent prayer in your head as you walk.

At the store you can pray over the people who drive the cars as you walk past them in the parking lot.

Or if you’re jogging you can pray over the people who live in the houses as you run past them.

The people you see or talk with every day are not the same people I see every day. They are crossing your path for a reason and you may be the ONLY Light for Jesus they see all year. Let them see Him in you.

Recently I shared that we were praying about moving to Alaska to open the homeless teen place God’s put on our hearts.

A teenage employee looked right into my eyes as if asking for something but not exactly sure WHAT that is, “I’m still learning HOW to pray.”

I said, “Just talk to Him.”

~> “THAT” moment mattered. If I’d said nothing then I’d have missed an important minute to share Jesus with someone who may be looking for Him. <~

I am confident that when God hears someone pray for the first time, He listens and is pleased no matter how we think it sounds.

 

He’s not mad at you.

People know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

God led people before the Bible was written to write the Bible (which is actually proof that He led people before the Bible was written because how can we believe that the Bible is God-led unless God led them to write it?)

He led people during Bible times which is clear in the Bible.

And since His Word is a Living Word and He is a Living God, He still leads people today.

The same people who profess that God is the same yesterday, today and forever are some of the same people who will adamantly tell you that God does not really lead us today in 2015.

How can that be?  If He is the same always and He led yesterday, then it is obvious that He still leads today.

The Bible is not just a history book. It is a book showing us God’s Love, Redemption, and Grace for mankind. And just because we can read how God saved (or wiped out) people in the Bible does not mean He could only do that work ONE time. He can and DOES STILL save (and wipe out people.)

People will argue.  And the sad thing is that so much of the church seems to be so busy arguing like Pharisees that people who don’t know Jesus yet may wonder if He’s a good thing or not.

He is.  He is good.  Jesus is The ONLY Way to Heaven.  And I apologize for how we Christians sometimes mess things up by making stuff sound too complicated.  Because it’s really not.

~~>  Jesus loves you.  <~~

You are here on purpose and for a purpose.

But God is a jealous God and we’ve made idols that come before Him, we’ve turned the beautiful sex that He made into pornography under the disguise of “entertainment,” put sports games before worshipping Him, plastered our walls with posters of movie stars and musicians, and pretend that WE are to be praised for how well our career is going instead of praising Him for the job AND for the talents to do the jobs.

Praise Him – in good AND bad times.  Amazing things happen when we do this.  It’s not about me or you.  Life is about God.  We are made by Him and to bring Him glory.  He created us with the very talents needed to do the jobs He’s planned for us since before we were born.

Have you heard the Good News?

Jesus is not still on the cross. He is RISEN!

Let’s celebrate that He is risen when we share communion.

Many times the atmosphere during communion (at least in most church buildings where I’ve attended) feels much more like a funeral than a celebration.

~~~>  REJOICE! HE IS RISEN!  <~~~

Ask God what He wants you to do today and follow the tugs on your heart.  Then ask Him again tomorrow what He wants you to do tomorrow.  He wants to hear from you every day.  He will lead you.  This, I know.

Don’t know if God can use you or your story?  He can.  He will.  And many times I’ve witnessed the very things that threaten to hold us down are the very things God uses to lift us up to help and save others through and from the same experiences.

God knows we mess up.  He knew our best and our not so wise choices BEFORE we were made.

We hide sin from other people and from Him because deep down we know it’s sin;  just like Adam and Eve knew and hid in the Garden of Eden.  There is nothing new and nothing you do or think will surprise Him.  He sent Jesus to die on the cross and take YOUR sins with Him SO THAT you can receive the gift of Heaven for all eternity after this life.  You can’t be “good” enough for Heaven or “bad” enough for Hell.  You are forgiven enough when you receive Him and are baptized under water.

Heaven is a GIFT.  You are redeemed!  Heaven will be filled with forgiven sinners.  Hell will be filled with people who denied Christ as their Savior and who walked away from God.  God doesn’t leave you.  You have to leave Him if you don’t want Him.

~~>  And in case nobody has ever told you,

THIS is THE most important decision of your whole life.  <~~

He sent the Holy Spirit here to live INSIDE you and guide you.  This stuff is real and Heaven and Hell are real.

The greatest words ever will be to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21

He’s not mad at you.

He’s madly IN LOVE WITH YOU and He has a great plan for your life.

How will you know what that looks like unless you keep asking Him to keep leading you?

 

God, teach Your people to stop the fighting and start uniting.  P.S. And please could You teach us what that looks like because as soon as we try, we start arguing (like the children we are.)  Just please keep leading us.  Please forgive us when we mess up and always remind us how much You love us.  Thank You for never giving up on us.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Missed Birthdays and Broken Holidays (Faith)

Some kids don’t get birthday parties.  Some kids get forgotten.

Some families don’t feel the “Holiday Spirit” and don’t have hope that anything will ever get any better than it looks right now.

Our family is going to go bring hope and Light to some kids and families.

We know this isn’t just with our power (and we also know God is calling more people to do this work with us.)  God renews us every day.  We trust that He will keep doing this so that we can help others and then they can help others, too (and so on.)

When God first put it on my heart that He was using our family in this way, of course I wanted to know more.  Who wouldn’t?!  This is the most amazing experience of my life; knowing He’s working in us and through us.

God has always led people and since He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever, we can know He still leads people today.

Think about this.  How do you “know” something?  I mean, some women “know” they’ll have 2 kids.  Some “know” they’ll have 10.  Some people “know” they’ll never be married and some “know” they will be.  I’ve heard some people, after a young person died, say, “He always ‘knew’ he was going to die young.”  How did he “know?”

Sometimes we take our knowledge, gifts, and talents for granted.  We just “know” how to draw or how to invent things.  Sometimes we don’t even give credit to God because we have the ability to easily remember things or to do math in our heads, and we forget or don’t think about where this comes from.

Sometimes you just “know” stuff.  God put that in us.

We “know” He’s moving our family to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center (not yet in existence.)

~~~~>  The funny thing is that when we started packing boxes last year, waiting on His timing to move, the very first box I packed was full of mismatched tea party pieces.

I was blessed to have a roommate from college helping me pack.  I asked out loud, “WHY am I packing a tea set to move to Alaska?!  What a SILLY thing to pack!”

She looked right into my eyes and smiled, “I can’t WAIT to see how God manifests this tea set!”  <~~

Some kids are forgotten and some never had a birthday party.  Some got a black eye instead of a present.

Since that time after packing the tea party stuff, we’ve collected many sewing patterns (new and on sale.)  I wondered “WHY?”  “WHY am I collecting this many patterns and different kinds, too?  I mean, I do like to sew but haven’t really taken the time to so why would I be gathering this many patterns?”

Then God put this on my heart.

Some kids are homeless and have only the clothes they are wearing.

Oh, wow.  I hadn’t thought of that.  Not only will WE sew, but we will teach teens how to sew their own clothes and teach them job skills and share Jesus’ Love with them.

Then there’s this:  20 years ago I started collecting art supplies.  WHY?  I never really got time to paint, stamp, sew, or create like I wanted to so WHY have I had these supplies?

WHY did we pack decorations, hair cutting supplies, make up, and photography equipment?

It’s simple.

Homeless people aren’t trying to decorate for parties (or even go to any,) or visit the salon, or get family portraits done.

We are going to do this for them.

We believe God is moving us to Alaska to bring hope and Light and to celebrate missed birthdays and broken holidays with teens and families who haven’t had much light or hope in their lives.

We’re going to paint fingernails, cut hair, and donate our photography skills to people who otherwise would not have these luxuries.

At first I was like, “God, this may sound kinda silly to people.”

So I didn’t tell anyone that I believed He was doing this with us.

But it’s really not so silly when you think about it.

Celebrating someone’s birth and existence is a pretty routine thing for many people.  I know I was blessed to celebrate many birthdays with parties and friends.  You probably were, too.  Getting hair cuts, nails painted, family pictures, and going to the salon are things many people take for granted.

But when you have been neglected or overlooked or forgotten, moving our family to give hope and just to love on people is actually not such a silly mission at all.

So…  I said it.  Finally.  We’re going to Alaska to celebrate people who haven’t been celebrated much in their lives and who haven’t seen reasons to celebrate.

Prayers, donations, and support are always welcome here.

It’s all about God’s Power.

It’s up to us to obey His Calling (even if it looks silly to some.)

Cool fact to think about:  We don’t have to have all the answers right now or know how God’s doing this with us.  We will just have faith that He can and He is.

God opens doors that no man can shut and shuts doors that no man can open.  We have faith and will keep asking, seeking, and knocking since He’s put this dream in our hearts.  Your prayers, good thoughts, well wishes, support, and donations are welcome as we step out in faith to do this work in His Name.

 

[Note:  There are many stories about how God led people – and it looked kinda silly to others when you think about it.

– There was a guy, Naaman, and God showed him he was to go dip in the Jordan river 7 times and his leprosy would be healed.  Silly?  He was even mad that there wasn’t some amazing, grand thing that would cure his skin.

But it was simple.

Obedience.

Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.  2 Kings 5:10-14

– And what about that whole “March around Jericho and the walls will fall down” thing?!  Um, okay.  That would have been something to see!  (And God spared a prostitute and her family.)  What?!  But it happened.  Joshua 6:3-17

– And Noah?!  Are you kidding?  There had never been rain and He built a what?  A boat?  Um… yeah… right.  Can you imagine the jokes he endured?  What did the neighbors say?  Certainly he was mocked for his faith.  Genesis 6:9-22

We know.  We know.  It may sound silly to some.  Take this mismatched tea party set and have parties with people.  We are okay if it sounds silly.  We will still follow as God opens doors.

We expect that some people will mock us for believing God is doing this but the thing I didn’t expect was for so many who call themselves Christians to be among the ones laughing.

Maybe if we all focused on the jobs God’s planned for each of us we wouldn’t have time to make fun of each other.

~~>  Got courage?  Aren’t you a little bit curious to know God’s amazing plan for your life?  He has one.  Ask God what He wants you to do.  And KEEP doing this every day.  Follow the tugs on your heart and He will reveal to you what it is that He wants for your life.  <~~

By faith…  Check out Hebrews 11.

Check out the last 2 verses in Hebrews 11.  (I’ve thought about this verse and how it may relate to my life, too. ~~>)  39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

So….. IF I get to the end of my life on Earth and the Alaska homeless teen center does not exist yet, then He can STILL bring it to happen and I will STILL know and have peace that my life meant something as I walked in faith, trusting Him to lead my family.

I will share my faith in God and I will share what He’s doing in us and through us.

By faith, I will follow Him.

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.  Joshua 24:15]

The Right Way To Eat Pizza (not just about pizza)

Everybody knows the right way to eat pizza.

pizza

Pepperoni with parmesan.

The first bite is out of the side by the crust, right?

No.  The first bite is the pointed part, of course.

Why do we think this?  Because it’s how it’s “supposed” to look?

Or is it better as a supreme pizza with meats and vegetables?

Extra cheese.

Only cheese.

Two pieces together.

Or just folded in half.

With ranch dressing?

Or pizza with ham and pineapple.

Or what about an all vegetable pizza?

What about 3 day old pizza on the desk in your dorm room?  Perfect!  Right?

Pizza is a serious thing and people get kinda passionate about the right way to enjoy it.

Maybe NOT having pizza is the right answer.

The thing is – none of these are wrong and none are right.

They are just different.

Mission work is the same way.

When we do work for the Lord, haters, skeptics, and critics come out of nowhere.

When we start telling people we feel God is calling us to do a specific work, we hear more, “You’re doing it wrong,” than anything else.

Maybe it’s not wrong at all.  Maybe just different than someone else thinks it “should” look.

When we ask God what HE wants us to do instead of doing what WE would like to do every day, life begins to look different, WE begin to live differently, and spiritual warfare happens more than usual yet peace is more apparent at the same time.

When you stop looking around at other people, and you start looking UP to God and asking His direction, that’s when most amazing things start happening.

I pray for peace for people reading this and for all people to find God’s plan for their lives because He has one for each of us.

~~~>  When people are focused on what God’s planned for their own lives, there won’t be time to be upset about the jobs God’s got others doing or upset about the way He’s showing them to do the jobs.  <~~~

Some people believe you must do mighty things to actually get visible results. But God’s got this. He once had people march around a city and the walls fell down. Can you imagine the things that were said to them and about them and the way people mocked their faith? March around a city? Blow horns? What?! Such nonsense, right?

But the walls fell all the same.

Obedience matters.

~~~>  Sometimes God said things that really seem strange. “Cast your nets on the other side.”

What??

Does God not realize how completely silly that sounds to human ears? (I’m sure He does.)

I mean, when you think about it, the water underneath the boat was all the same water, right?  <~~~

But He said to obey and when they did, the nets were full of fish.

It is about obedience to His Calling even when it looks silly to other people.

For our family, we believe God is calling our family to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center.  Unless you have walked in our shoes, you wouldn’t understand how this fits every experience and test God’s put us through.

Some say, “God doesn’t lead us like that today.”

No?

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, right?
So since He’s the same…
He led people before the Bible was written, right?
And we know He led people during Bible times.
And He leads us now.

And how does that look for each of us?  I believe it may look just as different as each example in the Bible.  It looks as different as each “right” way to eat pizza.  What if all the ways are right enough?  When we look at the Bible examples, there are so many ways God led and so many different jobs He gave people.

God leads our steps when we ask Him to – and I’ve noticed over time that He was leading me EVEN when I wasn’t paying as much attention to my life. That’s pretty cool to think about.  My past is messy (just like many others’ lives are messy.)  And IF my life and past did nothing but bring me to spend the rest of it speaking blessings over people and telling you that YOU MATTER, all the junk I’ve been through was worth it to get to this place.

You are SO valuable. And if you forget, ask me and I will remind you a thousand more times. You are worth something. Maybe someone didn’t notice this about you. That’s unfortunate. Your life matters and your story matters.

It is so great that we each have different ways of learning, living, speaking, listening, different talents, and different ideas. What a boring world it could be if we were all exactly the same.

Sometimes when we do work for God, I have to wonder if He sees it as we do when our children do jobs we ask them to do.

Example:  Your young child washes a window.  She’s proud of the work she did.  You see the effort and also the places of the window she missed.  You’re still proud of her for trying.  You (hopefully) do not tell her what an awful job she did but instead, praise her and also help teach her gently how to do a better job as she tries next time and the next.

When we do work for God, we are proud of the work we did (sometimes a bit TOO proud and forget to thank and honor Him for the talents to do the jobs in the first place) and I’m sure God sees all the spots we missed.

He’s STILL proud of us for trying.

Ask God what HE wants you to do.  Try this for a month.  Follow the tugs on your heart and see how He will show you His plan for you.

[Note:  Our family would love to hear how God’s using your life and story.]

[Another Important note:  We would love to hear about the right way to order and eat pizza, too.]

 

 

 

 

What Does it Mean to Walk by Faith? ~Guest Post by Dena Johnson

[This article first appeared on crosswalk.com here: http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/what-does-it-mean-to-walk-by-faith.html August 14, 2014. Guest Post by Dena Johnson.]
 –

For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Those words seem simple enough.

However, I am learning that fleshing out those words, that simple concept, can be a much tougher assignment. It requires tremendous courage and strength. You must be willing to be misunderstood and even abandoned. You must be willing to give up any semblance of control of your life that you thought you might have. You must be willing to look like a complete fool.

But, it is a journey of tremendous blessing and reward. It is a journey that is exciting, life-altering, and mind-boggling. It is a journey that will allow you to see and experience God as he was meant to be: in all his fullness and grace.

Walking by faith and not by sight requires you to go to a place you do not know, one that God will reveal as you walk in obedience. Just look to Abraham as an example (Genesis 12:1).

Walking by faith means that you continue to cling to the dreams God has planted in your heart, even when you’ve been thrown away, taken to prison for crimes you didn’t commit. Just look at all Joseph endured (Genesis 37-50).

Walking by faith requires a strong determination to follow God’s plan regardless what life throws your way. Look to Daniel to discover how to have the resolve not to sin (Daniel 1:8).

Walking by faith means you have the courage to stand up for the hurting, broken, and down-trodden, to face death yourself for the good of others. Look at Esther and how she risked the death penalty to save the Jews (Esther).

You just may have to play the part of a fool. Think about Noah building an ark for a flood when it had never even rained on earth. Think about Abraham clinging to the promise that he would be the father of many nations even though he was childless at the age of 100. Think about Moses standing before the Israelites in the wilderness telling them they would eat meat until it disgusted them but having no idea where that meat would come from. Think about Joshua marching around the walls of Jericho as God had told him to and wondering what good it was going to do.

If you choose this path, you must be willing to get out of your comfort zone, to run from the Americanized brand of Christianity that so many of us have known our entire lives. You must be willing to let God take your world and turn it upside down, shake it up, and start all over again. You must be willing to let God out of the neat little box that you have put him in, to let him show up as he sees fit.

Maybe it will be a calling to do something you never dreamed before: foster or adopt children, leave your job and become a missionary, trade in the worldly comforts for heavenly treasures.

Maybe it won’t be that clean and neat and socially acceptable. Maybe, like me, your world will be turned upside down by the pain of adultery and divorce. Or, maybe you will be faced with infertility or addiction. Maybe you will have a prodigal child that completely changes the direction of your life. Or, maybe you’ve experienced the loss of a child—a hurt like no other.

I don’t know what your shake up might look like, but I know that if you will give it to God—throw up your arms in surrender and ask him to use it to change your life—he will honor your request. He will take you on a journey, teach you to walk by faith, entrust you with some of life’s most treasured moments.

He will build a faith in you—faith that moves mountains and moves God’s hands. He will teach you to live this life with abandonment, giving you a freedom to walk in all his fullness and grace. He will prepare you to be used mightily in this life for his glory.

Perhaps you’ve already experienced your life being turned upside down, toppled without any control. Perhaps, like me, you’ve found yourself wandering in the wilderness, watching his fire direct your every step by night, a cloud lead you by day. Perhaps you sense you are on the edge of the Promised Land, just waiting for him to give the command to take possession.

And yet, you are tired and weary. You’ve lost friends who don’t understand how you can continue to cling to a promise that is so obviously dead and gone. You are so close and yet feel so far away. You are struggling with temptations to just settle, even though you know it is less than God’s best. You simply don’t know how much longer you can stand.

You are not alone. I see God raising up a remnant of believers, those he knows will be obedient. He is looking for those with clean hands and a pure heart, those who will choose obedience even if it costs them everything this world has to offer. He is looking for those who will throw caution to the wind, believe that he has an abundant life (John 10:10) waiting if we will follow his ways. He is looking for those whose hearts have been purified, whose faith has been strengthened by the trials of this life (James 1:2). He is looking for those who will cling to his promises even when it seems there is no hope.

Be strong and courageous, my friends!

God has specifically chosen you to be a part of this remnant, those who will allow him to take their lives and mold them into what he wants. He has chosen you to have your faith tested and tried, and he promises that the fire will only purify you—not burn you. He has promised that he will be with you every single step, walking with you, carrying you, supporting you. He promises that he is still in control even when life seems to be spiraling wildly out of control.

He is teaching you to trust him so he can do something bigger and better than you ever dreamed possible (Ephesians 3:20-22). He is teaching you to let go and trust him with your heart, your soul, your life (Proverbs 3:5-6). He is teaching you to walk every single day in the spirit so that he can do even greater works in you and through you (John 14:12). He is preparing you to be a beacon of light and hope to a world which desperately needs to see Jesus.

I don’t know where you are on this journey of walking by faith, but I encourage you—beg you, plead with you—to wave the white flag of surrender. Let God take your life, your pain, your loss and use it for his glory. Ask him to do an amazing work in you so he can do an amazing work through you.

Get out of that boat and step onto the water…and never take your eyes off him. It is a decision you will never regret!

Thank you, Dena Johnson, for these incredible and powerful words.  Thank you for your permission to share this encouragement.  You know I needed it.  May this bless thousands of lives!

Stayin’ Alive

I’m stuck.  I mean I’m not really stuck.  We’re just waiting on God.  Actively waiting on Him – but we’re waiting on His timing all the same.

We know waiting goes against life in 2015;  GET it NOW.  DO it NOW.  BE it NOW.  We COULD try to MAKE it happen but we’ve lived and walked with Jesus long enough to know that when we try to make something happen on our own, especially something like this, things just don’t go well.  And we could fail.  That’s okay.  We’re not afraid of failing.  If we fail, then at least we tried to do what we feel led to do to help kids.  (What is worse?  Failing?  Or not trying at all?)  Our goal is to help homeless teens by giving them a safe place to live for a while, teaching job and life skills, and leading them to have closer relationships with Jesus.  If we are trying to do God’s Will, He will go before us and make a way when we can’t see a way.

Some people are laughing at our faith. (That’s okay.  If people laughing at us was gonna stop us, we’d have had to stop as soon as we started telling people about all this that God’s put on our hearts.)

Some know this is for real and are praying with us. (Thank you!  This means SO much to us. Thank you!)

Some HOPE all this is real. (Guess people will have to watch and see what God’s doing. Fly or fall, we’re in this and there’s no going back.  God opens doors no man can shut and He shuts doors that no man can open.  We’ll keep walking in faith toward this homeless teen shelter work He’s been leading us to unless He shuts the doors and steers us another direction.)

We know it’s real.

I keep thinking about people wandering in the desert for 40 years and can’t help but think, “Isn’t that what so many of us do all our lives? We wander.”

I mean, sure we make plans and do stuff. We go to school and to work. We’re part of a church. We have a family – or not. Some stay single. Some get married (some, a few times.)

 

But we wander.

 

I wonder if our wandering isn’t so far from the stories about people wandering in the Bible:

“Hey, believe God is doing this.”

“Nope.”

“Okay, then. Have a good life – or at least as good as YOU think YOU can make it as you wander around aimlessly.”

Then – after all the doubters are gone from this generation, God will do great works that you’ll always wish you’d have gotten to see.

Today I prayed something like, “God, I’m feeling afraid; a little discouraged and intimidated by this homeless teen center quest You’ve got us on. I mean, we can’t quit and don’t even want to because this is the most amazing work You’ve ever done with our lives, but at the same time, the magnitude of this work seems so far beyond us and our abilities – and it is, FOR SURE – and the heartaches we’ll hear about are already breaking our hearts. Would you please send some encouragement?”

I was walking through a thrift store looking for fleece shirts for my family while I prayed this when I hear a song I’ve never heard before in my life.

Not joking. The song sings, “Baby, you got what it takes.”

That made me smile.

Then I was on an aisle all by myself when a woman walked just 2 steps past me and we spoke a moment about finding the right sizes. I said something about colors I hoped to find. She said colors don’t really matter as much. I agreed and said I know warmth is what matters most and told her that we’re moving to Alaska. She told me she goes fishing there sometimes. I said we feel God’s moving us there to take care of homeless teens.

THEN she told me they’ve made friends with a family in Alaska who also felt called by God to do work there (and have been now for a couple years) and they have 2 sons who homeschool and she’d like me to call her to have another family to talk with.  ((Thinking out loud about grammar stuff… Yes, I end sentences with prepositions sometimes.  I don’t even mean to.  The important thing is that it won’t keep me out of Heaven.))

(Coincidence? I think not.)

Ummm… so this brought another smile.  And some much needed comfort to my heart.

A little while later I’m thinking of dangerous situations we may encounter with people and animals in Alaska.

Not even joking.  The song Stayin’ Alive played over the speakers.

This made me laugh!

God is good and He hears our prayers. (And the even cooler part is that He answers.)

 

~~~

We are asking for prayers for finances, houses, buildings, donations (including desks, beds, clothes, money, vehicles, food, books, and everything else I’m not thinking to mention,) volunteers, and for God to keep leading us as we keep walking through the doors He opens.

Thank you and may God bless you so big that you can’t help but see Him.

 

Those Hypocrites At Church

Church people mess up. Christians mess up. We mess up JUST LIKE anyone else. Being a Christian does not make someone perfect.

I’m not even sure why anyone ever started thinking that way.

If we were perfect, then there wouldn’t be any need for Jesus’ Blood to cover us or for Him to have died for us.

Jesus is The One who is perfect; not Christians.

People are people.

People sometimes say, “Well, I don’t go to church because there are hypocrites at church.”

Yes. There are.

AND there are hypocrites at the grocery store, school, the gym, the office, the bar, and everywhere else you go.

The enemy WANTS you to give up on church and the whole idea of “church.”

You still go to these other places even though there are hypocrites there.

So please, please don’t let a church building be THE one place you stop going because of this.

YOU may have something to share with people that nobody else has shared.

YOUR presence in a church building could be the VERY thing in which satan is MOST afraid! He’s the great deceiver. If you don’t think this could be true, then why would he work so hard to keep you out?

 

A Different Kind Of Prison (Abortion)

When I was a kid we didn’t talk about abortion or what that really was. People didn’t talk about smoking or drugs or drinking or sex before marriage or lots of other things very much either.

I know I’m a little naïve and I know that many would call me a “late bloomer” because I matured slower than some other people. But I know that if I didn’t understand what abortion meant and the full weight of the sin that it is, then others probably didn’t either.

I praise God that I was never faced with this decision and I think it’s probably a true Hell on Earth.

I’m very sorry if you’re living in this Hell and I want you to know I love you and that you’re not alone even though you have probably felt alone for a while.

This Hell is not just for girls. (Other than Mary, Jesus’ Mother, there are not girls who experienced immaculate conception.) There is always a guy involved. I know there are guys who have helped decide abortion was an “answer” and who carry this guilt and live in this Hell also.

I believe this kind of “solution” left you trapped and not quite as free as it seemed like you’d be.

There are things people may not want to think about (even if you’re the only one who knows your secret sin.) Just as you wouldn’t want someone who sexually used a child to hold your child, there are people who wouldn’t want someone who killed a child to hold theirs. I know this is understandable and I believe it should be honored. That being said, please read to the end. There is healing and hope.

Well-meaning Christians may tell you that you’re going to Hell – BUT the Bible says a sin is a sin. There are not big and small sins.

{He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:7-8}

And as far as I understand, there’s only ONE sin the Bible says is not forgivable; Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

{“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. [The Unpardonable Sin] Matthew 12:31-32}

~~~~~~> To those who would point fingers or throw stones at someone who has had an abortion, (or for whatever sin)

Do you really think that sins we THINK are “smaller” drove the nails into Jesus’ Hands any more gently?

They did not. <~~~~~~

~
Dear mom and dad who have been grieving over your child and this sin that maybe nobody else knows about,

I know you’ve been thinking about it probably every day since “that” day.

Your child has a NEW body now. Your child is in Heaven. I believe this 100%.

Write a letter to your child. Writing can bring healing sometimes even when you cannot deliver the letter.

God’s got work for you to do. Ask Him how to honor your baby here and now in ways that may help others.

DO something to honor your child. This could be a scholarship in his or her name or if you never named your baby, choose a name for the scholarship in his or her honor.

What satan wants you to do is to keep your secret buried forever and he wants to keep you down SO THAT you cannot do good in this life for others. It’s what he does.

The truth is that you’ve been carrying this heavy weight around with you all this time. No wonder you’re grouchy. If I was keeping a secret sin like this I’d probably feel the same way.

God says to cast your burdens on Him because He cares for you. The Bible does NOT say cast your burdens on Him – unless your sins include abortion – for He cares for you.

I was led to write this because I recently watched a movie about abortion and I realize that people need to talk about this secret and know they have a safe place to pour out their hearts and that there is this MOST WONDERFUL and AMAZING GOD Who loves and forgives them when they repent. Repenting is not something everyone else can judge about you. Only God and you know if you’ve truly repented. If you haven’t, here’s a way to start. “Dear God, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. I don’t even know what to say…”

{In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26}

God forgives you.  Now, YOU forgive you.
~
I have met some who chose abortion and seem like they are not sorry for it. That’s unfortunate because you have to answer to God for the sin and for the nonchalant attitude about it. I believe deep inside your soul, though, there is a place you’re grieving even if you never tell anyone else. God knows about that place. Talk to Him. Not sure He’s real? Talk to Him about that, too. He’s big enough to hear your worries and He loves you.

~
[NOTE: Do not send me hate mail. I do NOT believe abortion is okay in any circumstance. Abortion is NOT about a mom’s body. It is a child’s body inside the mom’s body that we’re talking about. I am PRO life and also PRO forgiveness.

If someone DOES have encouraging words to share, I know for a fact that there are many people who would heal a little bit from them.]

I’ve fallen in love

I just can’t explain it! I’ve fallen in love!

You know when you feel warm and secure all inside and out?

You know what I’m talking about!

He’s all you can think about and he takes up all the places in your mind.

You spend all day long daydreaming about him.

People almost get tired of hearing you talk about how great he is.

I’m telling you ~ when you fall in love with Jesus you just cannot shut up about Him!

I’ve heard other Jesus Freaks talking about this kind of life. I’m SO glad I listened now!

I have to be honest. I didn’t understand for many years what they were talking about but now I get it. You’ve heard all that stuff about, “I was blind but now I see.”

It’s real.

He just does something to you and you cannot get enough of this amazing relationship!

Sometimes I wonder what our lives would look like if we STARTED with Jesus instead of searching through everything else under the sun first… because there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

What if we started our kids on this path when they are young instead of the fickle, wobbly, unsafe, insecure, flimsy path many of us walked on through the years?

I’m not just saying to learn ABOUT Jesus. I’m talking about KNOWING Jesus.

When God gives a gift He really gives a gift! His Son is a gift. You cannot earn Him. You cannot buy Him. You just accept Him. That’s what a gift is. A gift is freely given. You can reject Him because you think He’s not the right whatever but I can honestly say you are missing out on some Heaven on Earth if you choose “Return to Sender” on this gift.  For certain you would be missing out after this life is over and getting to spend an eternity in Heaven with Him.  Can you imagine it?!  Forever with the One you love?!

Instead of looking to a teacher, pastor, preacher, a church, state leader, national leader, or even our mentors, what if WE search for Jesus? We have access to Jesus. God gave this to us.

Just talk to Him. Ask Him to be with you.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

OH what a difference, God, You have made in me! Holy Spirit, stay with me and guide me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Hurting from the Inside Out (Quantity vs. Quality -especially in churches)

Recently I visited a church and…

There is nothing wrong with wanting a church, business, school, family, or club to grow.

There IS a problem when the focus is mainly on “the numbers” if the group’s members are hurting from the inside out and they are not being cared for in a healthy way.

Especially talking about churches; If the members are starving for healing, purpose, and love yet the focus is on growing the numbers, there is a problem.

It does NOT matter if you rave about having 300 or 3,000 attendees when so many of the current members are poor in spirit and are not being fed.  Where are the leaders when the people who attend there every week are feeling left empty?

That being said; If the members go to church on Sunday or whenever and then don’t live like Jesus the rest of the week; helping and loving on people God leads them to help and love on, there is something missing. [And of course many people DO help. You know that I know this.]

If we were all doing our jobs then how can there be members in any congregation who have everyday needs not met when they are the very SAME needs they’ve had for years?

And I’m not talking about people who take advantage of others and expect others to take care of their lives for them.

I’m talking about yards needing raked or fences falling down when the family is busy just trying to survive. Physical needs are everywhere. Please help meet them.

I’m talking about people who cannot leave their houses and this may be for physical reasons or emotional ones. Both are valid and people just need to know they matter and that someone misses them.

Yes. Members need to take responsibility to let a true need be known and then we need to help where we are called to help.

And we need to realize there are some people who just cannot ask for help for whatever reasons. We should be looking for those who need help ~ and ask them how we can help.

We don’t need a committee meeting. We need to listen. We need action. God will lead us to the very people He wants us to serve. That tug on your heart is there for a reason.

WHAT IF instead of displaying on the overhead screen how many “bodies” are present, the leadership ministered to the current hurting members in SUCH a healthy way that more and more Christians could keep reaching out to the cities around them?

And I’m not saying preachers, pastors, elders, deacons, or teachers can meet every need. They cannot. But I’ve just about never been part of a church where the elder assigned to us actually takes the time to get to know me and my family; not even over one meal.

HOW can they be shepherds if they don’t know their sheep?

Stop. PLEASE stop counting the bodies and help speak life into the people who are already there!

There is not just ONE group where this fault lies. Members need to be living the way Christ called us to live and help serve when the Holy Spirit moves us to and so do the leaders of the church.

The leaders need to do more than just wear the title. Serve the members so that the members can serve others.

What if we all helped each other find the talents and gifts God has gifted to each of us?

Sometimes stuff in the Bible seems to be far away or not very relevant but the truth is; it IS relevant and it IS a Living Word.

I may not know how to help all churches, clubs, or whatever to be the best they can be but what I DO know (because I have been in this place before) and find comfort in ~ is this:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.  Matthew 5:3

 

I don’t have all the answers but I know we all need to be part of the solution. I was moved to write this because sometimes we get sidetracked with quantity instead of working toward quality.

 

She bought an extra ticket on faith that God would show her who to take to the next conference.

He led her to me.

Her name is Jennifer Drake Johnston.

We met because a mutual friend, Dalana Squires, invited me to join Ten For Him. I’ve just got to tell you about this real quick. Ten women get together 10 times; once a month over a period of 10 months. We each bring $10 each time and we draw a name of someone in the group. This person takes the $100 and gives it as God leads her for that month. Then we meet again and she gives her testimony about how God led her to give. Check out Ten For Him here. http://tenforhim.com/about/ [Note: I do not own or have rights to this video in any way.]  Praise God for Sara Atchley Wierman, the Founder of Ten for Him! God is working in powerful ways with this great ministry.

Jennifer told me she bought an extra ticket in faith a year ago that God would show her the right person to take to a conference. She asked a few people. Then she asked me if I’d like to go with her for the weekend.  I couldn’t have known how great this pink conference would impact my life.

Prayer is powerful.

I almost never go out of town (and I’m really fine with that.) I love being home with my family. I told her I’d pray about it. I remember wondering how my kids and husband would be while I’m gone for a couple days. Would they miss me? Would they notice I was gone? Would they like a break from me? (More about this later.)

I went with her to the Pink Impact conference at a church building. WOW! The energy, smiling faces, lights, beautiful food and Frappuccinos were all wonderful. The speakers spoke God’s message to me in a way I hadn’t heard before. I’ve been raised in church and it’s been a long time since I heard scriptures in a new way.

At lunch she led me to a room that had been prepared just for her church group and I was invited since I was her guest. This was a kids’ worship area that had been transformed into a girlified, fun, ladies’ luncheon room complete with flowers, dim lighting, pretty centerpieces, gum, tissues, perfumes, chocolates, and more.

I couldn’t help but think about how Jesus has gone to prepare a place – just for us – and how amazing that will be! We are ALL invited.

It was such a blessing to hear from these great speakers; Lisa Bevere, Elaine Fisher, Charlotte Gambill, Blynda Lane, Debbie Morris, Tim Ross, and Lindsay Huckins was the Emcee for the weekend.

Thank you ALL for God’s message through you guys! Please DO tell me if I’ve missed anyone because every one of you matters and I thank each of you for the messages you shared!

EVERY speaker brought the Bible scriptures to life in a way I’d never heard them. I’ve been in church for 45 years. I haven’t heard scriptures brought to life in this practical way in many years.

We got to hear a message from Christine Caine (via video.) She founded the A21 Campaign, an anti-human trafficking organization that fights slavery around the globe, doing amazing work rescuing girls who have been trapped in the dark world of sex trafficking. This work is especially dear to my heart for many reasons and I believe God will be using my family to help with this same type of work in Wasilla, Alaska, as God leads us to open and care for a homeless teen place. So knowing the work God is leading us to start, it was absolutely incredible to get to hear from someone God’s already put in place doing this same healing work. I needed to mention this because it reminds me how God is a detail God and this was the first time I’d ever heard about Christine Caine.

We heard from Roma Downey (via video.) We listened to Patricia Heaton (via video) and worshipped with Gateway Worship and Kari Jobe. There were many talented musicians and singers (and if I knew all the names I’d be glad to add them here.) You guys made the weekend even more powerful. Thank you so much!

We got to see performances by Dance Revolution, Founded by Michelle Brogan. (OH how I’d LOVE to dance with them some time! Probably Hip Hop would be my preference!) And we were blessed to listen to Amick and Cassie Byram and their beautifully blended voices.

~If I have left out names, please email me and I’m glad to add them. This was a life-touching, relaxing, lovely weekend and I was honored to get to be a part of it. I know there are hundreds more who invested time, money, sweat, tears, and prayers to put this weekend together. Thank you to ALL of you!~

We were lifted, empowered, prayed over, loved on, and had time to just breathe and enjoy being women.

Jennifer had reserved a room at a nearby hotel for us. Cozy beds, great food, fun conversation, and getting to learn more about each other’s pasts just added to this amazing weekend. There were many other Pink Impact ladies staying in the hotel also.

When we had checked in when we first arrived at the church building we had been given a folder with a fun ice breaker game and the instructions said to get a signature from a woman who matched the description and she was to sign next to it.  There were many hundreds of women so we had to talk and meet new people a lot to get all 50 thousand (not really) questions answered.  There would be prizes for the first several people who turned these papers in.  Fun!

The game said things like:

Find someone who has a dog with a human name. _____

You’ve attended 3 or more Pink Impact conferences. _____

You can wiggle your ears. ____

Find someone who has taken tap or ballet dance lessons. ____

(…and so on…)

On the 2nd morning of the conference one young lady and I were the only two people in the hotel elevator. The elevator conversation was quick and unusual. I broke the silence, “I can wiggle my ears. Can you tap dance?” She replied, “No.” This totally broke the never-speak-in-elevators-to-people-you-don’t-know-because-it’s-awkward rule. (It may remain my favorite elevator conversation ever.)  [I always wondered why I could wiggle my ears.  Question answered.]

At the end of the conference they announced they were giving each woman a gift. This beautiful gift was a white, soft, cozy, thick, terry cloth robe.

A detail I didn’t mention yet: My oldest daughter had been asking for a terry cloth robe for a few months. (I kept not putting this in the budget for whatever reasons so I hadn’t bought her one yet.) We don’t try to make things “even” at our house (i.e. if one child gets a gift, the other child usually does too, but we decide based upon their individual desires and not on money amounts) but I secretly and deeply wished I could get a second robe for my youngest daughter.

THIS is another way that God shows me He is a detail God.

Jennifer and I had each received a Frappuccino the night before and she really enjoyed hers. I still had mine and I didn’t want to waste it and somehow a natural conversation led to me saying I really didn’t care for Frappuccinos that much and she was delighted to take mine! She admitted while the white robe was very beautiful she probably wouldn’t wear it and she gave it to me for my youngest daughter!

Talk about God being in the details! He just IS!

 

God uses people to connect with others every day on purpose and for a purpose. Someone may be praying a prayer over you today and you may not even know it for a year.

Maybe all you need to do today is pray about life, get up, and show up.

~

Thank you, Jennifer Drake Johnston, for leading our Ten For Him group, for praying about me when you didn’t even know me yet, and thank you for the life-changing weekend at a conference I knew nothing about before I went. I pray God’s blessings follow you and that you are blessed many times more for blessing others the way you do! MUCH love in Him, Kerri

Thank you, Jennifer, for inviting me to this:  https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KIo9gEgyhUX2AA.oT7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTB2aXRwZjhkBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDVjE3NgRncG9zAzM-?p=pink+impact+2014+gateway+church&vid=d655647c910acc9e5d3c8e11d78b04b4&l=1%3A37&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts4.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.608020644744004799%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fvimeo.com%2F96726986&tit=%3Cb%3EPink+Impact+2014+%3C%2Fb%3E-+Conference+B+Highlights&c=2&sigr=10p9137pd&sigt=11hlpbrnb&age=0&fr=mcafee&tt=b [Note: I do not own or have rights to this video in any way.]

~

Want to hear about the icing (as if the weekend, itself, wasn’t sweet enough already?)

When I returned home I was the blessed mom and wife of 3 love notes. SWEET!! They DID miss me! (That is, they missed me until it was back to regular life the next week. lol. Oh, well. I have some notes so I can read them again and remember they actually DO like my help as a mom and wife.) They gave me permission to share these great notes. It is easy to look past spelling errors. (I’d much rather have love notes from their hearts than for them not to want to write to me because I correct their grammar and spelling when they give me sweet notes.)  [Too sweet and amazing NOT to mention;  Today I found out the love notes were actually my husband’s idea!  How cool is that?  God is surely alive and prayer is powerful!]

Letter 1 2 Letter 3 2 Letter 2 2Letter 2 b 2 2

God bless you and thank you for reading.

 

 

[Please Note: We don’t try to make things “even” at our house when it comes to gifts (and that’s okay.  We love our girls and they both feel loved by us.)  Every family has different opinions on gift giving. Please do not send me yucky notes about it. This is how OUR family gives gifts. This doesn’t mean if you do things a different way that it’s wrong or right. I’d love to talk about it but I won’t read or respond to hate mail. I’d love to hear how your family chooses the gift giving process and what that looks like at your house.]

 

 

 

“It’s the thought that counts” is MESSED UP!

We hear people say, “Well, it’s the thought that counts.”

Um… What?

Maybe those are not the best words to live out.

For example:

I saw her drowning and I THOUGHT about helping but I don’t run very fast and by the time I got there it’d probably be too late sooo…

“Yes it’s our anniversary and I THOUGHT about saying something or getting flowers but you know, Honey, it’s the thought that counts!” (Yeah. How did that work out?)

I heard you were grieving the loss of your child and THOUGHT about checking on you but it’s probably not my business.

The teacher said this homework was due today but I’m sure she knows it’s the THOUGHT that counts so it’s an easy “A.”

I thought about Jesus and I think He is real and I THOUGHT about Heaven and Hell, THOUGHT about accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior and THOUGHT about being baptized under water… but my friends may laugh at me so…  (By the way, He is real and we only have so much time to accept Him.  We each have an earthly expiration date.)

Perhaps “It’s the thought that counts” is MESSED UP!!  It is nothing more than a sad attempt at an apology, in my opinion.

Please do not misunderstand.

EVERY thought counts, for sure. The Bible says so. But action NEEDS to be taken.

DO something to help someone.

Listen for that tug at your heart to call or write to somebody.

Sometimes sitting quietly with someone who is hurting is enough. Sometimes there are NO words that will help a situation. And that’s okay.  Sometimes just being there says more than words ever could.

 

Maybe the very thing that is taking up all your mind and energy today is actually the very thing you need to be focused on and it isn’t a distraction.

It’s what matters most today.

 

It’s what you do today that counts.  Maybe you need healing.  Then please do keep working on healing.  This is okay and necessary for you and for people around you.

All I’m asking is that when the Holy Spirit nudges you and puts someone on your heart, please listen and do something.

In case nobody told you today, YOU MATTER.  (I thought about telling you that today and now I did.)

 

The devil is afraid of YOU!

This is SO on my mind. It helps me remember where the battle really is.

You want to make this a fight of flesh and blood. But it’s not. It’s spiritual with the powers of darkness.

The enemy is AFRAID of what YOU can truly become. -the movie King’s Faith

Check that out!

The devil is AFRAID of ME!

And he’s afraid of YOU!

 

Get that through your beautiful head today. The devil is AFRAID of you!

 

WHAT would your today look like if you lived today in this confidence?

Stand up and look up.  Ask the Holy Spirit to cover you, ask God what He wants you to do today, and go do it.

I remember being a kid we had tarantulas all around our yard. Scary! But I remember hearing that they were more afraid of ME than I was of THEM. Hard to imagine!  But I kinda believe it’s the truth.

Knowing satan is AFRAID of YOU and what YOU can BECOME… just think of it!  This is why he works tirelessly year after year to keep you down.  YOU are important.

We have strength knowing that God is on our side and fighting battles for us ~ and some battles we probably don’t even know about.

We have so much power we don’t seem to use often enough.

There is power in the Word God gives us.  God SPOKE and created the world and everything in it.  SPEAK what the Bible says.

 

Check it out!

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder. James 2:19

Read this – out loud – because the enemy trembles at the sound of the name of Jesus.

 

~The Armor of God~

Ephesians 6:10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

~Helmet of Salvation~

Ephesians 6:17  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Isaiah 59:17  He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

1 Thessalonians 5:8  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

~Breastplate of Righteousness~

Ephesians 6:14  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

Isaiah 59:17  He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

Philippians 3:9  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

1 Thessalonians 5:8  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

~Sword of the Spirit

Word of God~

Ephesians 6:17  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

John 6:63  The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.

~Shoes of the Gospel of Peace~

Ephesians 6:17  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Isaiah 52:7  How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

Galatians 5:15  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

~Belt of Truth~

Ephesians 6:17  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

John 14:8  Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

~Shield of Faith~

Ephesians 6:16  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

1 John 5:4  for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Are You Target Practice?

When people are unkind a lot of times it does NOT have anything at all to do with YOU.

Many times it’s unresolved stuff in someone’s life and you are the closest ~or safest~ target.

It’s hard to be happy when someone is hurting us but we CAN have some peace through the storm anyway.

Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds.

James 1:2-4  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Ummm…

Okay I will try BECAUSE God says to. I may have to look up the words “pure” and “joy” and start off with “watered-down joy.”

But revenge and thoughts about revenge – don’t even go there.

Romans 12:17-19  Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

You say, “But she’s really being mean. Like, REALLY!”

I know.

Be kinder anyway.

Pray for your enemies.  (Have you tried it?  It’s cleansing.)

Matthew 5:43-45  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

I know.

It’s hard.

Ask God for help. Because ultimately, He is the ONLY One with this kind of help. He can change a heart and He can open people’s eyes to the damage they’re causing.

Proverbs 25:21-22  If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

(Be genuine. Sarcasm and petty motives are beneath you.)

Good thought:  At least if they are focused on me, they are leaving someone else alone.

What am I learning?

He must be hurting very much to treat me this way. Even though the pain may not show on the outside there must be some stuff inside that is tearing up his heart.

Good news?

Yes.

All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.

Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Do you hear that? ALL things.

Here’s a good way to start.

“Dear God, I really don’t FEEL like praying for _________ but I will trust You when You say to pray for our enemies. Please touch the heart of this person because I’m not feelin’ so loving toward him today….”

Romans 8:26-27  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Hey YOU. You got this!

Important Stuff

I’ve been thinking a lot about “education,” intelligence, experience, and even God-given talents and how sometimes we seem to feel like someone is “smarter” than someone else… when maybe our view cannot see the big picture.

When we get to Heaven, God may not be all that impressed with how many diplomas we have, how much is in our 401k, where we went to college, or if our kids went to public school, private school, homeschool, or whatever.

I do know God is going to ask each of us what we did with the talents He gave us. I hope we hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

And I know some people aren’t sure God is real or if Heaven or Hell is real. I hope we don’t wait and find out it’s too late to ask Him. If you’re not sure, ask God to show you who He is. He does this. He’s okay with us asking Him questions.

Has anyone told you today that you are important?

Has anyone told you today that you are important?


You are important.

 

YOU MATTER.

 

You should get to hear it.

 

And if you forget,

or if you keep forgetting,

I’m here to keep reminding you that YOU ROCK.

 

 

Nothing.

IMG_2798 iiaafb nothing

See this picture?

It’s a bunch of “nothing.”

It’s a bunch of dead autumn leaves soaked by rain.

They may LOOK like nothing but when the leaves break down they become part of something bigger and help other things grow.

I may have felt like “nothing” but I have a Jesus Who says I’m VERY SOMETHING (even when I’m broken down.)

https://www.facebook.com/itisallaboutfaithblog

YOU don’t HAVE to be perfect.

People tell you… culture tells you… you have to be good enough; great enough; perfect enough; BEST enough.

But why?

Jesus says lean on Him and HE will make you enough.

I don’t HAVE to be strong enough.

And I cannot be.

If I could be all that is needed, then WHY would He have DIED for me?  It’s not just all about having fun and happy times.  It’s about serving others and about doing the jobs we were created to do.

If I had to be broken so that Jesus could shine through me to show His Glory, I think I’m okay with that.  ❤
~
Check it out.  Jesus heals a blind guy.
John 9:1-5

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

If I were doing things MY way…

I would NOT be online. Period.

I was afraid. It’s as simple as that. I was afraid because now the rapists, molester, and others who have hurt me can now find me easier.

It was not a mistake that I wasn’t online. It wasn’t like I didn’t know HOW to use the internet or computer.

Of course I knew how.

I didn’t want to be online with pictures, video, writing, on social media, or anything else.

EVER.

If I were doing things MY way I would not have put myself “out there” in the great, wide space of the internet suddenly deciding at age 44 to be ridiculed and mocked for my faith in doing what we know God is calling us to do; opening and caring for a homeless teen center in Alaska.

I certainly wouldn’t have intentionally invited hate mail or wanted to hear the poisonous passive aggressive voices from people who do not see why we are doing what we are doing and at the same time do not have courage to ask us “Why?” personally.

If I were doing things MY way, I wouldn’t advertise that we were selling, giving, packing, and now waiting on the Lord to provide what He’s shown us He will provide if we do this work He’s given us to do.

No. I could have been a little more secretive about it… IF I were doing things MY way.

But I’m not. I am listening to the Holy Spirit as He leads our family to do amazing things.

I could have said, “No, God, that’s too uncomfortable. You KNOW me. And I just CAN’T be online. I love You but that is just too far out of my comfort zone. Maybe You have the wrong person for this job.”

RIGHT. I COULD have said that.

UMMM, NO.

One day I will be face to face with God and I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” So… we will do what He’s calling us to do ~ EVEN though we face people laughing at our faith in Him.

God says He has a job for us and has given me the main tool I need to do this job.

Confidence.

Not just confidence in myself but confidence in Him AND that He’s got this and will show His Power through our work if we obey this calling and follow Him.

The Holy Spirit leads.

Have YOU been called?

Are you listening to what He’s called you to do?

Somebody needs YOU and YOUR life’s story. Have courage and do not be afraid.

Will some laugh? Probably.

Will some support? Hopefully.

Will some walk away from your life. Yes.

But with God’s Power and Support you cannot go wrong.

Step up into your position God’s calling you to.

I believe in you.

Listen to Him.

Matthew 25:21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Was God not showing us He has this plan for our lives?

We have a mission.

We are a family of 4 and God’s pulling us to Alaska. The pull is so strong and we are living day to day asking Him what He wants us to do today. We’ve lived this way almost 7 months now. We know what we are going to do and can look back over our whole lives to see how God’s been preparing us for this very thing.

We are moving to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen place. We don’t know everything about how to do this but He does and we will keep following.  We know He’s preparing the way even when we can’t see all of it yet. We are excited to see who else He’s calling to this mission work.

We have sold almost all our things and have a small room full of things to move. The funny thing is that it’s not regular stuff people would usually move. We don’t have dressers, washer and dryer, car, (selling all those things) or even beds (just have mattresses that roll up.) We have art supplies, tools to build with, hair and nail stuff and photography equipment to move.

We know we are going to open and care for a homeless teen place and we knew we would be working with teens for many years now but have been turned away by every church we’ve gone to because of our past.

My husband is a preacher’s kid and was helping everyone in his younger years. Then the enemy worked on his heart and it made him wonder why nobody was ever there for him when he needed help. And he committed armed robbery and went to prison for about 8 years.

When we tell churches about this they are interested at first then turn us away. We understand that. And they don’t know him.

Tony has the eye and heart for the kid who isolates himself and isn’t involved. His story can reach lives that many cannot reach BEFORE it’s too late and kids make some of the same not so wise choices he made.

He’s also shared his struggle with pornography and has been porn free (yes, even soft porn) for about 4 years now. But when he speaks about this, churches and many people are not comfortable with the conversation (as can be expected.) This conversation makes people uncomfortable.

Honestly, the world has become WAY TOO comfortable with all the pornography everywhere.

So… we asked God if we were hearing wrong. Was He not showing us He has this plan for our lives?

Actually He does have this plan for us. And we are willing to do it but this is SO much bigger than our family and even if we had known when we were first born that THIS would be our calling we could not have done it all ourselves. We couldn’t have gotten the buildings, people, resources, and everything together even if we’d worked at this our whole lives.

But we serve and worship The God of The Impossible.

So we are packing and waiting on the Lord to give us the right timing to go. We are here, waiting (sometimes patiently and sometimes not so much…)

We know we are going to use our photography company called PhotoSentimental to honor people in need who cannot afford pictures of themselves. They get to see how beautiful they are and we’ll give them the pictures to keep.

Like the Help-Portrait thing that Jeremy Cowart is doing; Founded by Jeremy in 2008, Help-Portrait is a global community of photographers coming together across the world to use photography to give back to people in need.

Please share our story.

If you don’t feel led to give to this ministry, please still share? What we have found is that the very next person you share this with may have the same strong pull on his or her heart as we do on ours. This will take teachers, chefs, coaches, counselors, leaders, helpers, prayers, money, and more.

WE are just 4 of the people to help with this. We’d love to hear from you if you feel this same tug at your heart. It will be exciting to get to meet everyone God’s calling to this mission. Thank you and God bless.

Alaska Homeless Teen Center Fundraiser https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/itisallaboutfaithblog-alaska/x/7009583
blog
https://itisallaboutfaithblog.wordpress.com/
blog on facebook
https://www.facebook.com/itisallaboutfaithblog
blog on twitter
https://twitter.com/GodMakeMeEnough

Live Like It.

Stuff every single day will try to make you lose faith and stop believing that God is real, that He is at work in our lives, and that there is a reason for everything.

Don’t let anything or anyone steal your faith and make you doubt.

God is very real.

Your life has important purpose and everyone who crosses your path is for a reason.

Everything you go through has a purpose.

And the way you respond to it matters.

People are looking for you to be influential and to give them hope. My prayers tonight are for you. God is very much alive. Live like it.

 

Alaska Homeless Teen Center Fundraiser

To donate please click the link below

Donate Button

Please share?

This is bigger than just our family.  This is more than 4 people moving to Alaska.

This is huge!  This will take much more than money.  This will need volunteers, paid employees, land, buildings, donations, beds, food, chairs, computers, desks, clothing, sewing machines, counselors, police, lawyers, cooks, janitors, financial guys, etc.

Prayers please?

The same God Who gave Power to David’s sling and stones is able to lift us to do His Work when we obey & look to Him & give Him the Glory.

 

 

No Limit ~Guest Post by Tony Stites (Homeless Kids)

I once thought about becoming a youth minister, and asked my dad what he thought.

Without even taking time to think about it he said, “No.”

After a few days went by, it started eating at me as to why he said no so fast. So I called him up and asked why he’d said no.

He then told me he thought I would make a great youth minister, but if I had to ask, it was not the job for me.

My dad told me if I was going to be a preacher or missionary of any kind it has to be such a strong passion that there is no way my mind can be changed, or it will not succeed.

I have been good at lots of things.

In my younger days I never found anyone I could not beat in a mile race.

I have never found anything I can’t fix.

But those are not passions; they are just things I’m good at.

I have such a strong pull to go help people in Wasilla that even if it is just one person I reach, it is worth it.

God has put it on my heart to go.

I have talked to the girls and my wife many times about this. And I asked them the same thing Jesus asked in Luke 14:25-30.

I told them that we may be sleeping on the floor for a few months before we can get a bed. I told them it was going to be a hard road.

Everyone has agreed it does not matter. The pull is too great. Not going would just make us miserable. We would rather go sleep on the ground, sit on the floor, and eat from the pot we cook in than sit here with all our stuff.

Wasilla is just a small part in what is going on.

When Noah built, God brought the animals to the ark.

Wasilla is the location God is telling us to build a teen center, and He will bring the people we are supposed to minister to.

I know most people don’t get it. No we don’t hear voices but God keeps opening doors and I keep walking through and this is the place He has led me.

Our whole family has a peace and joy about it.  And my girls and wife are amazed at the things they are able to give up without a second thought.

It’s not about how many people we may help. It may be 100. But if it’s just ONE person it still matters 100%. This is what we know we are supposed to do.

God turned 5 loaves and 2 fish into enough to feed 5 thousand.

There’s no limit to what He can do with 20 homeless kids.

I’ve Been Burned

I won't hide it. This will be my ministry. Genesis 50:20

I won’t hide it. This will be my ministry. Genesis 50:20

When I started asking God what HE wants ME to do every day instead of showing HIM that MY stuff was so important and my “to do list” was more important than whatever He had in mind, do you know what He did?

He has been giving me everything I need to do the job He’s asking me to do. He’s been leading me and equipping me every day.

One thing He’s done is that He gave me confidence.

WHO can give the gift of confidence? I can’t. You can’t. I mean, we can help lift each other but to actually GIVE the GIFT of confidence? Who can do this?

I can only think of ONE.

I haven’t had confidence since it was stolen from me. I have not had confidence since I was 9 years old and playing Hide and Seek with my cousins then my uncle decided to lift the sleeping bag and tell me, “Hide under here!”

WHAT a great hiding place!  They’d never think to look under here!  Thanks uncle.

Or maybe not.

I didn’t move. I knew if I moved then they’d find me and then I’d lose the game of Hide and Seek.

That’s how innocent I was.

That was the beginning of many years of satan convincing me I was nothing. That little devil was busy at work to make me believe his lies. I must have been quite a threat for him to work so long on me. Maybe you are a threat to him, too?

God allows bad things to happen to people. I don’t blame God. We all have free choice to eat the fruit the same way Adam and Eve ate it.

And we all have the same free choice every day NOT to eat it.

I have even forgiven my uncle and I am still not going to have my children around him. That would not be wise. (I’m not arguing this point with anyone.) This is my choice because I am my children’s mom and God does expect us to use the discernment He gives us.

See this picture of our table? There are many names on it. (Maybe I’ll write about why we let people sign our kitchen table in another post.) This can represent my heart and people who have come and gone through my life. Some have faded and some are bold, still.

They ALL are written there for a reason.

Now let’s talk about that big, black, burn mark in the middle of the table.

That burn mark is something that everyone sees or senses… but many of us don’t speak about it in our lives.

If I don’t talk about it because that’s uncomfortable or it would make someone else feel uncomfortable (especially at church because unfortunately that’s usually frowned upon and people are often gossiped about when we DO have courage to share our stories) then quite possibly the pain, and the wisdom I’ve gained through this pain, isn’t being used to help others.

I’ve been burned, right? God takes those very ashes and makes them into something beautiful that He will turn back around to glorify Him. He will use my pain and not waste it. I have peace in this.

You can have peace in your pain, too.

What God has been leading me to do (well, part of it) is to be online (which is more than a few zip codes out of my comfort zone) and speak blessings over people, challenge them to ask themselves “WHY” they believe and do what they believe and do, and then the bigger one of moving to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen place.

I could not do this on my own. Ever. Period.  Any of it.

For the past 6 months every morning before my feet touch the floor, I pray, (sometimes silently and sometimes out loud) “God, what do YOU want me to do today?”

One day a couple days ago when I woke up, (or rather when God allowed me to wake up ~ and we may all do well to remember this about life when we open our eyes in the mornings) I thought to myself, “What if I STOPPED asking God, ‘Hey, God, what do YOU want me to do today?'”

UM, THAT’D BE A QUICK, “NOPE. I’m not going there!”  There’s no going back.

Submission to God’s will and plan for our lives can actually be a fun thing. It’s very exhausting and trying at times and sometimes it’s lonely. But this is so worth it. It’s fulfilling my soul in a way that’s never happened before.

God will use YOUR pain for His glory.  Your pain will not go to waste.

I hope you choose to try this.  It’s simple. (I didn’t say it’s easy though.)

Ask God, the Creator of YOU, the Creator of all your talents, of all your likes and dislikes, what HIS plan is for you today.  He KNOWS you.  He LOVES you.  He’s got wonderful plans for your life.  Do you have the courage to just ask Him to show you those plans?

I know you do.  He will make beauty from your ashes.

“Daddy, what do YOU want me to do today?”

What if your child woke up one day and said, “Daddy, what do YOU want me to do today?”

And then did this every day.

HOW much does that open up possibilities for a life when the child asks this one, simple question… and then obeys it?

Let that sink in to your beautiful head.

And as a parent, you would equip your child with everything needed for each specific job, right? Or at least you’d guide your child find the tools and stuff needed, correct?

I wonder how many people understand much about “dying to self and living through Christ’s death.” I’m telling you that no church I’ve gone to taught me to do what I’m doing now ~ but I believe they really all should be teaching (and living) this part of the Bible. It’s pretty important.

I’m exhausted physically and emotionally but spiritually am very much awake and alive.

Do you have the courage to ask God every morning, “God, what do YOU want me to do today?”

Every day?

Can you do this?

I KNOW you can.

I don’t know how they got homeless.

Guest post by Chloe Liv.
Written on her 14th birthday.

~
“This is going to be the BEST Christmas ever! I actually have soap to shower!”

Her words stopped me in my tracks, as a tear ran down my cheek. Her clothes were torn and dirty. Her hair looked like it hadn’t been brushed or washed in a week. She was missing some of her teeth and the ones she still had needed a toothbrush badly. I don’t know where she slept last night, and she probably doesn’t know where she’ll sleep tonight.

And to think I was upset about not getting an ipod for Christmas this year…

I recently went with a church on a mission trip and was homeless for 3 days and nights.

Now I feel guilty that I just got done throwing my fit about not getting a big Christmas, and this woman was crying tears of joy over getting… soap.

My hair is clean. I showered today in a clean shower with hot water. My teeth are brushed. And when I go home I have a nice, soft, cozy bed to sleep in.

I ate dinner tonight. I knew when I woke up this morning that I would eat dinner tonight. And I might have leftovers that would get thrown away.

For my birthday this year and maybe next year and the next, I am collecting things from anyone who will give stuff for all these people we met.

I don’t know how they got homeless, and I don’t know how to get them a home, but I’m going to do what I can to love on them because maybe they just need to know somebody cares.

To Move A Mountain

Prayers?

If we’re not on your prayer list and you have room for us, please add us to your list?

The reality of HOW extremely big this Alaska homeless teen place is can be kinda overwhelming.

We’re asking the same God who spoke and created the world to move us to Alaska, provide the money, show us where, and help us physically prepare the building and licenses for residential and non profit and to help us with everything else we don’t know how to do.

We’re asking Him to make sure we have all we need to care for the kids He is planning to bring our way.

We’re asking Him to help us teach these kids the skills they need to survive and to teach them faith and that Jesus is real and loves them very much.

We’re asking for Him to provide money to pay all the people needed to serve in this place.

If we had known about this and had tried our WHOLE lives to get all this stuff in order and take care of it all, I don’t think we could do it on our own ever.

This is bigger than my family, bigger than maybe 10 families… maybe even 20 families and several churches.

But it’s not bigger than God.

We don’t know exactly how to do what God is calling us to do but we can look back and see how God has been preparing us for this for over 35 years.

He knows how and we will trust Him.

God is bigger.

Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith.

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

We’re asking Him to move a mountain.

Thank you for your prayers.

The only part we are playing in this homeless teen center
is obedience to do what He’s calling us to do.

Period.

This is ALL about God’s Power.

I can’t wait to see what He does next.

Get HIGHer!

When God shows you what HE wants you to do and HIS plan for your life, it’s exhausting.

And exciting, and fun, and scary.  I think it’s probably the ultimate thrill!

People are searching for a high and for something to fill the voids in their lives.

This is it.

I know the secret to make your life happy and whole.  His name is Jesus.  I’m not saying everything is happy all the time.  In fact, the Bible says it won’t be.  But the peace that covers us is divine and supernatural even in times when life is tough.

Try this.

Every morning before you get out of bed, ask God, “God, what do YOU want me to do today?  Please show me.”

He SO does this!

You will be happier and filled with passion because the VERY things HE wants for your life are aligned with YOUR talents that He’s given you.

What’s close to your heart?  Working with special needs kids?  Helping at nursing homes?  Building houses?  Caring for animals?  What about food passions?

There are so many great passions we have that we let rest because we don’t simply ASK GOD to show us what He wants us to do.

Just try it.

What do you have to lose?

You may very well be exhausted while doing it though because think about this:  When a child fiiinally asks his mom, “Hey, mom, what do YOU want me to do today instead of the stuff I want to do?”

OH, YES!!  Put him to work!  Am I right?!

When we give up our “To Do” lists (and our lists ARE important) of what WE want to do every day, God blesses it so big that we are finally getting to use the talents He gave us in the ways He knows will be most fulfilling to us.

Right now, whatever time it is, even if it’s just in your own head, say, “God, please show me what YOU want me to do today.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”  (And then do it again tomorrow.  It’s amazing!)

Your life matters.  Are you living out your passion?  Or is something missing?

Time to get to work… and LOVE it.

It’s Not About Me

God’s led me back to a book I’ve been reading for a while.

The book is called It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado and it’s great.

It’s just NOT about me.  It’s about God and I need to never step in the way.  I even hate the way the blog and Twitter say “Follow” because do not follow me.  Follow Him.  He does NOT NEED me to help Him.  He allows me to help.

And so He’s worked on my attitude and reminded me who I am to Him.  I’ll do the job He’s leading me to do…  Alaska homeless teen place and writing online (NOT comfortable in ANY way) and encouraging people daily while also challenging them to ask WHY they do the stuff and believe the stuff they believe.

Know how I know it’s God?  Over 2,000 people have been to the blog.  I could not make 2,000 people do anything.  That’s how I know Who’s in charge.  And I can rest and have comfort in that.  He’s led an Australian newspaper to find the blog and they’re sharing some stories.  That is how I know He’s got this.  I just need to be His hands and feet and ask Him what He wants me to do every day. http://www.informedchristiannewspaper.com./

Sometimes I don’t feel like doing what He’s putting on my heart to do that day.

My youngest daughter was bullied in 5th grade.

I just found out yesterday how bad the bullying got in 5th grade and some teachers added to the problem.  (NOT all the teachers.)  And three boys and one girl specifically bullied my daughter to the point of her wanting to leave this world.  I did not know it got that bad.

I don’t wish for them to NOT find Jesus but I just don’t care to be the one God may use to show Himself through.  Ya know?

I’m human.  I have regular feelings and all that.

I live “real.”  My family lives “real.”  And we like it that way.  We will keep asking God what He wants us to do every day and for Him to use us to show His Light.

~Even on days we don’t really feel like it.~

Because

it’s just not about me.

The Ark In My Front Yard by Tony Stites

The Ark In My Front Yard by Tony Stites

Here’s the short version:

God is calling our family to move to Wasilla, Alaska.  We will be helping to take care of teens at a homeless teen center that is not even in existence yet and I need financial, prayer, and other support in completing the mission.  Please share our story.

The long and interesting version is below:

The Journey.

I started on a journey and never knew it.  If it was not for my wife I don’t know if I would have opened my eyes to see it.

Growing up I wanted to live off the land. I saw a movie about a kid who moved out in to the wild and lived off the land with a hawk. As time went by and life wore me down, I forgot about that dream.

Prison.

I was 21. I got myself in trouble for armed robbery and spent eight years in prison in Oklahoma. Toward the end of my time there I was at a work release job. That’s where I met a man who helped change my life. He started studying the bible with me and after a while he arranged it so I could go to church with him on Sundays. Right before I was getting out they were having a youth rally close by and he asked me if I would speak.  I don’t know if the speech was any good, but it inspired me to want to keep speaking.

From that point on I knew I was to work with teens.

My Wife.

I made parole and part of my parole was to get out of Oklahoma. This is the part of my life where I met my old crush from Oklahoma and got married. Between then and now we went to church in McKinney, Texas, much of the time. Different things happened here and there that led us to different churches.

Looking back on all of it I can see God’s hand guiding us, and growing us for this specific thing.

Youth Group.

When my oldest daughter got to the age of being in the church youth group I tried to get involved.  But it seemed that my prison background and openness about struggling and overcoming pornography addiction kept me from being able to be involved.

At least that’s what I thought the problem was at the time.

There came a point I decided, “Well maybe God does not want me working with a youth group.” So I started asking God what He DOES want me to do.

Giving It All Over To God.

After praying and searching I talked to Kerri and we decided the first step was to find out if God wanted me still working where I’ve worked for over 16 years. So we prayed and then wrote a letter asking for a raise.  If the raise was this amount or higher we knew to stay and if it was this or lower, we would take this as a sign that God has something else for us to do.

Guess what? No raise.

For a while I thought this is where the journey began but I can now see that the journey started the day I saw that movie and probably even before that.

Everything in my life has directed me to this point.

I don’t know if God removed my dreams from my mind so He could take me through other things, or if it was satan trying to destroy God’s plan for my life.

Working From Home.

The company I had been working with for over 16 years had just moved to another building. Up to this point they would never let me work from home. Well I could every now and then but for a regular thing is was out of the question. There was a mess up with the ethernet connection and the PRI. We still had everything connected at the old building but we had to be out, so the company asked us to work from home for the next week or two. Well three or four weeks went by and my boss asked me when was I coming back IN to the office to work. I told him, “I’m not. Unless you make me.” From that point on I have been working from home.  That was 2 years ago.

Alaska.

I wrote to my boss and said, “Hey we are moving to Alaska. Can I work from home in Alaska?” About fifteen minutes later he calls me up and asks if we’re serious and I say yes. Then he tells me that it would be great and it would really help him out. It would leave Tech Support open for an extra three hours because of the time difference.

I know what you are thinking. I thought the same thing but hey, God works His own way. So I am moving to Alaska but with the same job I thought God was moving me away from.

The Mission.

So now Kerri tells me, “Well don’t just get excited. You need to pray and ask God what he wants you to do.” So I start praying. And start looking at how much it’s going to cost to move.

A few years ago if God would have said, “Move to Alaska,” I’d have had the money. I spent our entire savings on opening our photography business, PhotoSentimental. So we cannot make this move on our own.

His Power.

We believe the timing was because God wants to show His power and show me and everyone else that it’s not up to us to do His will on our own. He is in control.

Advice About Alaska.

Kerri sent emails to several churches asking about advice on moving to Alaska. She got several emails back. One of the preachers and I talked about why I thought I was being called to move to Alaska. I told him I had been doing research and I had found that a lot of the small villages did not have churches. My idea was to pick a village and go help them with doing every day chores on the weekend and to tell them about Jesus.

The preacher explained not only had this been tried before but that they had not had success with it.

Well I believe that’s why God is sending me.

I know.

What an idiot.

Like God needs me there to do something He could have done with all the other people who tried.

The preacher told me if I was really set on doing this he could get me in contact with a pilot when I got there and it will cost us a lot of money for the pilot to fly me out and back.

God Leads.

God led us back one Sunday to a church we’ve been part of on and off for 15 years. To our surprise they were talking about having a Harvest Sunday the next week. They said this amount was how much money they needed for the ministries they already decided to support. And then they said if they go over they will just have to find new ministries to fund.

Kerri turned to me after church and said, “Follow me.”  She felt we were supposed to talk with two of the church leaders and told them that we were moving to Alaska to minister there. They told us to write up our plan and give it to them.  We said that if more money came in than their budget would they pray about our ministry we’re doing and help move our family to Alaska.

The Plan.

I did not have a plan.

We did not know what to write.

We just felt God was calling us to move to Alaska and to minister to the native Alaskans but we had no idea what the ministry looked like so I sent a message to my new preacher friend in Alaska and said I might be able to get funding for my ministry but I really don’t know what it looks like and I asked if he could help me figure it out.

He said it was so strange that I asked when I did. He had just opened an email about this year’s Alaska lectureship and it’s going to be about evangelism.

He said there are three preachers who sent this message and that I should contact them. So I sent a letter to all three.

After a few days I decided to call.

The Same Old Story.

This preacher told me the same thing the other one did. Working with the villages takes like 15 years just to gain trust.

And he told me his church was full of military families and other people who moved there to climb the corporate ladder and after they got their next promotion they would be out of there.

He told me he would love to have me at his church and that he could use someone who would help make a strong backbone for the church.

I told him that sounded great but I did not feel God was moving me there just to be a part of a local church.

The Next Guy.

The next guy I called started to give me the same story, but then he started telling me ways they were trying to get into the villages, like through prison ministry and working with an adoption agency.

He said there were more kids than families.

He then said something like, “What we really need is a homeless teen shelter.”

We’re your guys. (And now we believe God has shown us a bookkeeper, a gardener, a physical education coach, a history teacher, and a home school teacher.  All of these have been in our thoughts and prayers.  And we believe God’s shown us who they all are.  So we’ll be moving to Alaska with our army of servants ready to help.)

The Empty Church Building.

This preacher said they are trying to build a new church building but had to stop until they could sell the old building. It is a big building and is on eight acres of land.  They thought it was sold before but it fell through and maybe this is the reason why.

My Dad.

My dad’s a preacher.

I called my dad up and was telling him how building the Ark was going.

It was funny because his first words were something I had forgotten about. He said, “Wow! That is exactly what you and Kerri said you wanted to do when you first got married.”

The Ark.

This is the ark that is in my yard.

Why is the ark there?

Well I believe God put the ark there.  Not so I would have something to write about but so God can show people He does work in our lives.

Open your eyes and trust Him and he will send you on great adventures. Some will be sad, some scary, some wild and some will leave you asking “Why?” like in Habakkuk.

But one thing’s for sure. If you have faith in God and trust in Him, He will get you through all of it.

He will turn your pain in to a healing tool.

He will turn your scary moment into comforting.

And He will take your wild adventures and turn it in to an ark in your yard.

His Money.

I was not always broke financially.

I think God designed it this way for His story and to show His power.

I have no clue how any of this is going to happen. What I am doing is what I feel God leading me to do.

I hate asking for help. That is one reason I went to prison in the first place. But like with all God’s adventures, they are designed to make you grow.

Financial Help.

If you want to donate, please email itisallaboutfaithdonate@gmail.com

We are also in the process of making a donate button online and we’ll be glad to send the link when we get this part figured out.  If you know you are to be part of making this happen, email us and we’ll figure out how to get you a receipt for your donation.  The name of the teen place is in the process as is the non profit work we need to do.  He leads. It’s been a long journey. And we haven’t even really started the work yet.

Please Share Our Story.

If you do not feel called to help financially or have no idea how to help please just share this story.

I know God has other people who are supposed to be a part of this because I know nothing about building a homeless teen center and I know I am not capable of doing everything it takes to make it happen.

Why A Teen Center?

I know this has been long but for those who are interested this is why a teen center.

Back in the 1800s when people first started moving to this area, different religions decided to divide Alaska up into sections.

Instead of bringing the Native Alaskans to God they made them not trust people.

Our first goal will be to get the teens to a safe place and make sure they are healthy.

The next thing is to help educate them in skills that will help them survive on their own and make a living.

The most important thing is to let our light shine so that they can see God and are led to Jesus.

There are state run places. The state can house them and feed them, but what they are not doing is showing them God.

Where does an Alaska teen go after he is given the tools to survive and has been given the Light?

He goes where we have had no luck.

He goes where we are not trusted.

He goes back and shows his village how well he is doing, and he shows His Light.

 

~

One of the preachers in Alaska responded quickly after our Ark letter.  He has given us permission to share this.

Great story! Has the church in Texas offered any help? Even if they could do a one-time offer just to help 5you make the move to Alaska there are always employment opportunities here for those who are willing to work. So keep that option in the back of your mind. There is also a tremendous need in Alaska for foster care especially in the Anchorage area. They simply can’t find enough families who are willing to take on that responsibility. So that’s another option to consider. If our congregation were more financially stable we could consider helping families like yours who want to move here to do the Lord’s work. But we’re like so many other congregations in the area. We are plagued with what churches in Alaska typically call “transfer growth” – where families transfer in but stay briefly before leaving again. We have a very transient membership of Air Force and Army families who are here for only three years at most. They’re here just long enough for us to get to know and really love them and then they’re reassigned elsewhere. Then there are others who move to Alaska thinking this is the land of opportunity only to face a harsh winter or two before deciding they can’t handle the cold dark winters. I get really frustrated by all this but it’s just a fact of life about trying to do the Lord’s work in Alaska. But every now and then there are those who move to Alaska and never leave. But they are a rare breed. If you can find the support you need to make the move I think you would never lack for opportunities to fulfill your dreams of making your dreams a reality. Please keep me posted about your progress.