Tag Archives: Jesus

Dominican Republic Mission Trip Recap

After much waiting and anticipation, I am finally blogging about my mission trip to the Dominican Republic. From here on out, I will most likely shorten Dominican Republic to DR. You with me so far? I hope so.

From July 2 until July 14th, I was on a mission trip in the Dominican Republic with 22 other young adults from my church. We are part of the Frontline Ministry at New Song Christian Fellowship. Our trip was unique in that we were all involved with Frontline and we are all very similar in age. Chalk one point up on the side of unity for that. We also stayed in the same house (on varying floors and in gender-specific rooms). We were together constantly. Make that two points in the unity category. And as a final and glue-like third point, we were all walking obediently in the Holy Spirit. Consequently, we were later told that we were the best mission team to come from our church in over 10 years. The unity that we experienced was phenomenal! The Holy Spirit gave us unity and we worked together to sustain it. That was one of our greatest team testimonies.

New Song is a network of churches all over the world. We have several campuses in the Nashville area (we’re hoping to have 9 in Nashville by the end of 2009). We also have congregations in Mexico, India, Nepal, Africa and of course the Dominican Republic. All of the congregations in our network have the same values and teachings. It’s very cohesive and very nice.

A few brief, interesting things about our trip…

We could not flush the toilets very often. The plumbing was not very good so we had a motto: If it’s yellow let it mellow; if it’s brown flush it down. Simply put, if we peed, we didn’t flush. If we pooped, we did. Also, we didn’t flush the toilet paper also because of the plumbing. We used the toilet paper to wipe and then put it in a trash can “sunny side down.” In other words, we turned it over so no one could see the yellow or brown on the paper. Toilet paper was not provided in every bathroom, either. While we were traveling around, many bathrooms didn’t have toilet paper. So, we carried our own with us most of the time. Also, the water there is contaminated so we drank special purified water the whole time. We were not to ingest any of the tap water. Thirdly, we didn’t always have electricity. In fact, every day, the city of Santo Domingo cut the power in a grid form around the city. So, between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. every day we lost power. They cycled the power cutoffs around the city.

While we were in the DR, we spent the majority of our time in the capital city of Santo Domingo. However, we did spend three days in Pedernales, which is a town on the border of Haiti. Pedernales is only six minutes from the Haitian border. Two United Nations officers were staying in the same hotel that we stayed while we were in Pedernales. They chose to stay in the DR because it’s safer than Haiti.

We arrived in Santo Domingo on time and very tired on July 2nd. Our call time that morning was 3:45. I can’t sleep effectively on an airplane so I was especially tired. After we landed in the DR, we made the hour-long trip to the house where we were staying. The owners of the house were the national directors of Youth With a Mission (YWAM). They were on furlough (a mandatory visit back to their home country to maintain proper missionary residency requirements). Basically, every missionary in a foreign country has to leave the country they are visiting (missioning in) for a specified amount of time.

We were supposed to stay on the YWAM base, but it was full of other mission groups. Instead, we were blessed to stay in the director’s house. It was three floors, had at least three bathrooms, numerous rooms, a glorious view and a nice patio. It was truly a gift from the Lord to be able to stay in La Casa de Norell.

The second, third and fourth day of our trip, we were in the city of Pedernales on the Haitian border. We made a six hour drive to get there. We drove from one coast of the DR to the other. On the way, we saw glorious beaches! While in Pedernales, we planted a church, which happens to be the first international church multiplication in the New Song network. We loved our time with the children in Pedernales. Many of the people on our team wanted to stay in Pedernales with all of the kids. The first night in Pedernales, we showed the movie ‘Facing the Giants’ in Spanish with English subtitles in a neighborhood where the church members lived. The second day there, we had a kids’ ministry day/construction day. Most of us worked with the kids and a few people went to build a patio roofesque wooden structure on the pastor’s house so vines could grow on it and create shade. The second night, the pastor spoke, we led worship and also presented two of our dramas. The third day was a Sunday. We went to the Pedernales church, which met in a meeting room of the local hospital. We led the service there and presented a dance. The girls of the Pedernales Bible School also presented a drama and dance for us.

One of my favorite things about the Pedernales section of the trip is my experience with a girl named Kenifer. I met her my fist day there and asked her every question in Spanish that I could think of. i.e. What’s your name? How old are you? Where do you live? Where are your parents? Do you have any brothers and sisters? After I ran out of questions, she moved on to talk to others.

As the weekend progressed, Kenifer kept approaching me. She introduced me to her mom, aunt and uncle. (Her aunt and uncle were the first people to convert to Christianity at the Pedernales church.) She came up to me and gave me a hug during one of our ministry times. During that particular moment, we were praying for people. As she stood there hugging me, I prayed for her and prophesied over her life. I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to pray that she would know God as her Father and would find a husband that honored her and that she could stand alongside in ministry with. I also saw that she was a leader among her peers so I pray that she’d be an influencer for good and not for bad and also that she’d pursue God wholeheartedly.

After I’d prayed all those things, I felt led to tell her the things I prayed for. I was praying in English, so she didn’t understand me. I asked one of my Spanish speaking friends from the trip to translate for me. She gladly agreed. So, the last day in Pedernales my friend translated everything I’d prayed. Soon after that, I approached Kenifer’s mom to tell her everything I’d prayed for her daughter. Her mom said that Kenifer’s dad is gone a lot (I prayed that she’d know God as her Father…that turned out to be important since her earthly father was often gone.) Her mom also said she was one of the top students at Bible School. I’d prayed that she’d be an influencer for good and would grow in the knowledge of the Bible. It was great to see such an immediate clarity for the things I’d prayed for.

After Sunday church, we headed back to Santo Domingo. The next two days of the trip were work days. I worked on the house that the student interns would be staying/learning in. It was hard work. Lots of manual labor. I left the first work day with two blisters on my right hand. I was working with a crowbar and breaking up cement so we could put in underground plumbing. A combination of water, my leather work glove and the repetitive concrete breaking led to the blisters.

The fourth day of that week was a tourism day. We toured Santo Domingo and did a little barter shopping. I was very sick this day. I felt like sleeping the entire time and I had no appetite. Perhaps some of the bad water got into my system. I’m not sure. I started taking medicine that day to make me feel better. That night we hosted one a church service at one of the network churches.

The next day we relaxed a little/rehearsed/set up for the Alabaster Heart conference. Pastor Dale Evrist, the lead pastor for New Song Nashville was the key speaker for this event. He shared a series of messages about growing in deeper intimacy with Jesus. Writers from New Song wrote original songs for this for our original Alabaster Heart Conference in Nashville. The songs were translated to Spanish so we could sing them in the DR. We had four of the top singers from the country singing those songs and those of us that were not in the band or doing tech arts sang in the choir.

The Alabaster Heart Conference was very successful! Many people received prayer and were healed. Everyone was definitely ministered to. I learned new things from Pastor Dale’s message that I’d not learned while in America. He brought new perspective and a refreshing viewpoint on the series.

After the Alabaster Heart Conference, we made our way to a resort for a few days of relaxation, reflection and rejuvenation. The majority of the trip, we didn’t have air conditioning, beds or even enough water for a full-length shower. It was also wonderful to share a bathroom with just one person and not five other people. The endless buffet was a real treat too. The beaches on the resort were beautiful. The water was very warm as well.

This is a lengthly blog, but there are so many things that I didn’t even mention. For example, what exactly I got out of the trip. I’ll post this as is and come back later with my personal thoughts on the trip and what it meant to me.

The Audience Responds

Did I mention that I’m back from the Dominican Republic? Ha! Well, I am.

I do need to blog about that. I realize this. I will work on it eventually. It will be a lengthy, process and I do not have enough energy to devote to that particular activity at this time. In short, the trip was amazing! We moved in wonderful unity. God is great!

Forging ahead…

I don’t know if you are avid comment readers, but I received a few rousing comments on my post ‘Captive Audience.’ I do not know if the people who commented on that post will read any of my future posts–or even the comment I left them after their comments. Whether they do or don’t return to my blog again, I still want to respond. Plus, for any future readers, this may apply as well.

In the blog ‘Captive Audience,’ I talked about testifying to the truth. Some people find that offensive, binding, and annoyingly religious. I tell you honestly that it is not. I am not in a religion about God. I am in a relationship with Jesus. I realize that phrase may be considered over-used to some, but it’s true. I’m not in a hollow, repetitive activity that involves worshiping an unknown Being known as “The Man upstairs.” No, I’m in a dynamic, epic, deeply transforming relationship with a real, very much alive, redeeming man. His name is Jesus.

My relationship with God is not a set of strict rules and wrath. It’s a grace-filled, love-driven, tender, powerfully refining relationship. It’s not a freeloading, do-whatever-I-want-and-still-go-to-heaven sort of thing. God does instruct very specific things in the Bible. And I obey them. I follow Christ and obey God because I want to. Not because someone is forcing me into a relationless religion.

When I go to the Murfreesboro Writers’ Group, I testify to the truth in my life. That truth is Jesus. That truth is that I’m single and want to get married. That truth is that I am a song writer and am learning to play the piano.

When other people speak and read their work, they are also testifying to the truth in their lives. Their brother died. They are writing a novel. They are working on a short story. Everyone who ever says any opinion is just testifying to what they believe as truth.

I’m not a narrow-minded religious zealot. I am, however, a person who reads the Bible, conforms my mind to what it teaches and grows in my relationship with Jesus. I don’t see Christianity as a list of things that I cannot do. I am free in Christ. I walk in liberty and victory. I like it that I love Jesus.

I know that not every person in the world is going to agree with me, what I believe, or how I live my life. I also know that the name of Jesus offends people. I expect that. The Bible even says it will happen so I’m totally ok with it.

I don’t want to be irrelevant to this world. I don’t want my faith in God to cause people to instantly shut themselves off to me. But I will not compromise what I believe just to appease someone else.

I will write that DR blog sometime. I will. I will.

Off to the DR

So, it’s finally here!

Tomorrow at 3:45 a.m., I leave for the Dominican Republic! I’m excited! I know God will do a marvelous work in me and through me while I’m away. Please pray for me/our team while we’re gone. i.e. team unity, safety, protection, etc., etc.

Also, for updates while we’re in the DR, read our team blog at http://newsongdrteam.wordpress.com.

I’ll post when we get back with lots of pics, stories, testimonies…

Captive Audience

Tonight I went to my second Murfreesboro Writers’ Group meeting. The first time I went, I read a song I recently wrote while on a plane ride. It was called “Fragmented Patches.” Maybe I’ll post it later. I don’t know. Do you want to read it?

I joined the writers’ group for a few reasons. I want to meet new people. I work at home so I have a limited workplace sphere of influence. Through this group, I can influence people. I haven’t been writing very much and I wanted motivation to start again. I have nothing else to do on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. I used to have Life Group that night, but ours now meets on the second and fourth Sundays of the month.

This writers’ group is a HUGE witnessing opportunity. Huge. Huge. As you’re surely aware, writing is a deeply personal activity. Writers write what they feel. And, if they claim to have no feelings, they make up characters who have the feelings the writer is denying.

What you may or may not know about writers is that they generally value each other’s work highly. For example, this particular writers’ group is for constructive criticism only. There is no tearing down of work, thought or concepts. There are many compliments. Several people are impressed by other people. A lot of the attendees in this group are writing novels and short stories. I am mostly focusing on poetry. When I read a poem, some of the writers have no concept of how to construct a poem. They are in awe of the entire poetry genre. To them, it’s a terribly interesting thing that they like but don’t know how to do.

As I was casually seated in my oversized Barnes and Noble chair, I quickly realized how crucial this opportunity is for me. I can write about whatever I want and they have to sit there and listen to me. The same goes for them. I have to sit there and listen to whatever they say too.

I am a Christian. My life is Christ. Naturally, I write about Jesus/God/the Holy Spirit/worship. Some of these folks “aren’t religious.” Those are their words, not mine. But they are intrigued by the things I’ve written and shared. They find what I say interesting and eloquent.

That’s good, because I prayed they would. I asked God to soften their hearts and make them receptive to the Truth that I’ll deliver. I also asked Him to protect me from any harmful subject matter that the other writers detail.

My first week, I read the part of a flirty, vampire girl. That’s so not my life. But this lady was writing a play and she needed people to read the lines. That was the part I was given.

I’ve heard stories of other-worldly mutant dogs; vampires; back-from-the-dead brothers; a pre-meditated, adultery-headed man; sword-chasing, sci-fi fantasy characters and a seriously demented mortician. Oh the imagination writers have!

And to that spattering of ideas and fantasies, it’s my task to bring Jesus.

I must be intentional with the stuff I present. I have a captive audience. Literally. In two ways. One, they are captive and must pay attention to what I say. Two, they are captives, bound in the lies of the enemy. With the truth that I share through my poems/songs/potential novels, I will hope they see freedom. And, in turn, desire to grasp that freedom.

So, if you’re reading this and you believe in Jesus, please pray for me. I have a unique and powerful opportunity. I’m very excited. I like being spurred to write again, too. It’s such a catharsis for me. I get a little giddy thinking about the possibilities of the words that will come out.

Ending Is Beginning

My blog title is a shout out to Downhere. I’m listening to them play live right now at a GMA showcase. I wanted to go, but had other plans. So I’m watching/listening to a live stream of their set isntead. Their latest CD is called Ending Is Beginning. It’s very good. You should purchase it.

Though I love the band Downhere and their music. This blog is not about them.

It’s about BarlowGirl.

Depending on how well you know me, you know/or you don’t know/or are slightly aware of/or are overly aware of how much I love this band. I do not love them in a fanish, obsessive way. On the contrary. I love them like they are family.

Allow me to explain myself. Whether you take me seriously about my “love them like they are family” comment or not, I’m still going to continue. Be skeptical if you wish. But trust me and know that I am speaking in the utmost pure sincerity about this.

For the last four years of my life, I have faithfully served on the leadership team of BarlowGirl’s message board. It’s called SoundPost. The name is further shortened to SP. Hope you can keep up with all the names/references.

For pretty much every single day of the last four years, I have spent at least an hour (an hour was required) working on that message board, reading posts, answering questions, telling other leaders about problem areas/posts/people and doing other things. Most days, I was on there for well more than an hour. I was assigned to The Band and The Concerts section. I read and answered all sorts of questions about them every day. I’ve garnered ridiculous amounts of trivial BarlowGirl knowlege. Their height, their hair color, their eye color and their many middle names, just to mention a few. I’ve told little 12 year olds not to idolize them. I’ve told creepy middle-aged men to stop objectifying them. I’ve defended them. I’ve helped solve many an internet crisis over issues such as copyright infringement. I’ve laughed at their podcasts and prayed for their needs. I even sang on their Christmas album Home For Christmas because I’m in the choir that they use everytime they record an album. I’ve waited after concerts to talk to them, check in on them encourage them and give them a hug. I’ve done a lot. All in joyful service and all for the advancement of the Kingdom.

And now, as of tomorrow moring at approximately 7 a.m. Central Standard Time, that season of my life is officially over because the message board is closing down. Why is it closed down? In short, because God told them to close it down. God told them that the season of SP is over. 

I agree with His Will for that. I’m in total submission and understanding of His directive to close the message board. I know that God is moving every person on SP into a new season. He’s going to do great things for all of us if/when we allow Him to. I’m excited and expectant for what He’ll do.

When I sign out of SP for the final time tonight, I know I’ll be sad. A four-year-span of service is a long time. When something that impactful is gone and no longer, it will affect people. It will affect me deeply.  I’m emotionally, physically and devotedly invested in this band and their ministry. I’m part of it. I’m not saying that in a prideful way. However, I am saying it just to say it. I took part in something amazing. I’m so honored God allowed me to do that.

I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of this post is. So I can get my feelings out. So I can say a final goodbye to SoundPost. So I can tell you all to check out BarlowGirl. So I can tell you to trust God when He speaks to you and tells you to move on to the next season. The Barlow family and everyone that serves on their ministry team are truly and sincerely and genuinely amazing people. I’m not saying that shallowly. I’m saying it because I know from experience.

*deep sigh* I could say a lot more about a lot of different things. Maybe I will another day. Or maybe I won’t.

Thank you SP and Barlow family for your ministry. God has done so much through you. Your humility and obedienceto God have allowed Him to shine through you so clearly. Who you are and what you do have impacted me in so many ways. I can stand strong in my singleness beause of you. I can stand as a person free from a terrible addiction because of you. I have met so many people through your ministry. I’ve realized a lifelong dream of singing on a CD. 

I cannot thank you enough for your contribution to my life. 

Now…on to the next, exciting season. *lighter sigh*

I’m ready, Lord. Lead me as I walk in Your ways…

Money Matters

Guess what!?! Another blog about money.

I can understand why God said what He said about serving two masters–God and money. They really do compete with each other.

Allow me to explain. I’m currently in the fundraising stage for my trip to the Dominican Republic. I’ve received one check thus far. Although I am thankful for that, I also realize I’ve got a long way to go.

I used to live in Nebraska. Now I live in Tennessee. Many of my support letters were sent to folks in Nebraska. I understand the United States Postal Service takes awhile. Things take a week to get where they’re going rather than a few days. So I understand there is a delay due to the mail and the distance. I’m trying to roll with that.

My roommate, who is also going on this trip, has lived in Tennessee all her life. Just last week, she went to her old church and her brothers’ church to fundraise. She came home with about $700. I am thrilled for her that her fundraising trip went well! However, meanwhile, I am battling thoughts of comparison. I keep thinking to myself, “I wish I could go back to the church I went to as a kid and ask for money. I bet I’d get a lot. And all in one day. I wouldn’t have to wait for letters to come in either.”

One of my greatest mental battles is comparison. If I’m not careful, I constantly compare myself to others. I size them up. Put them down. Lift them up. Over and over and over again. Though that’s a normal thing to do for most people, it is not a biblical thing to do.

In the Bible, God says that we need to compare ourselves to His standard and not compare ourselves to other people. So I should not compare my fundraising results with those of my roommate. But wow! I am oh-s0-tempted to do that all the time. I’m am currently enduring a mental barrage from Satan with that particular issue.

I am also enduring a mental attack of fear and worry. Fear that I won’t receive the money I need to go. Fear that I’ll miss fundraising deadlines. Fear that I didn’t put enough effort in to my fundraising. 

God says that perfect love casts out fear. He also says that worrying does not add even an hour to my life, so I don’t need to worry. Yet that is what I’m dealing with now. Last night, for example, I was attacked by the enemy in that area. My sleep was interrupted and delayed because of thoughts of worry.

James chapter 1 says that we need to be doers of the Word and not just hearers. So though I know I’m not supposed to worry and fear, that’s not enough. I also need to stop doing those things. It’s not enough to just realize that fear and worry are bad. I, instead, need to be a person of faith and peace.

Last week, I heard a sermon on unbelief. That’s a big issue under hot contention within my mind right now. 

Unbelief is thinking I won’t receive all the funds. Unbelief is worrying. Unbelief is spending my days in fear.

Belief is knowing that God will provide. Belief is living full of faith. Belief is enjoying days and nights in peace.

Unbelief is a passive destruction of faith.

Belief is an active war for faith. 

It’s annoying how alluring and easy unbelief is. It’s so easy to hide in a dark corner of our mind in an effort of self preservation. We think it’s not harmful to be full of doubt and be surprised when something works out for us. That right there is deceptive thinking.

Here’s the truth. The God that created the world out of nothing–FROM NOTHING–lives inside of me. The Holy Spirit was present when the world was created. And now the Holy Spirit is inside of me. It’s at work inside of me. The same God that raised Jesus from the dead…that Holy Spirit is inside of me. And, it’s not just a portion of the Holy Spirit. God is infinite. Infinity cannot be reduced. The infinite God and His power lives inside of me.

And yet, I have the worried fear to doubt Him and His ability?!? Does that even make sense? It does not. Yet it seems safer to doubt Him.

If God can create the world out of nothing (and He can; He did), then He can provide me $1400. He can spur His people to send me a check. He can protect me. He can give me sleep-filled, peaceful nights. 

It is not safe to live in unbelief. God disciplines people who live in unbelief. God rewards people who believe. Although I’m glad God disciplines His children, I don’t want to enter into a time of discipline because of my unbelief.

So here I am writing this blog. As an active measure of faith. To say, “Yes, God. I believe you will provide. Help my unbelief.”

Topical Depression

Nope.  I’m not depressed.  I’m just sad that I can’t come up with one topic to blog on so that’s where the name came from.  I’m having a topical depression. 

1) I’m going to the Dominican Republic (a.k.a. the DR) in July on a mission trip. I think I’ve said that before. We had our first meeting for the trip last Friday. I’m happy to finally have more information about the trip. I need to send out support letters…like…yesterday.

2) I led worship for the first time yesterday at our Sunday service. It was really fun. It went well, too. I didn’t make any big mistakes. Well, I did start singing the wrong notes in rehearsal. But rehearsal doesn’t count, right? And I also–according to my roommate–make my hand singnals to0 big and for too long. I sort of agree with her. I’ll have to work on that for next time. The reason I make them for so long is because I’m afraid the other people on the worship team won’t see them. *shrug* Again, I said I’ll work on it.

3) I went to my first piano lesson last Tuesday. I have another one tomorrow. I purchased a keyboard. It’s a Kawai. Apparently it’s a quality brand. I’d never heard of it before, but I don’t really know what/who makes a good piano/keyboard. I read reviews online and people said good things. Besides, it was the only decent one I could get that offered financing. I can’t just drop $800+ dollars in one day. I neeeeeed financing! I enjoy my piano teacher. I think she’ll teach me a lot. I don’t, however, enjoy the parking situation at the school. It’s actually a house in Franklin, TN. We park behind the house and there’s just not much room back there. Six cars have to squish in there. It makes me uncomfortable. I am a bad car parking person. It’s my unfavorite thing to do. Probably because I once backed into a grain cart and also side swiped (at 1 mph) a column in a parking garage…twice. :O Martina, if you read this, I’m talking about the parking garage for Salem when the office was located on Woodmont.

4) I just had to scroll up to see which number I was on.

5) I’m going to a women’s conference in Atlanta this weekend. It’s the national Foursquare Women’s Gathering. I’m excited to see how the Foursquare denomination behaves at a national level. I have never experienced that before.

6) I purchased a handheld GPS. It’s a Delorme Earthmate PN-40. I like it a lot. It’s quite accurate and comes with great mapping software. I use it for geocaching. It’s a fun activity that my roommate and I (and other friends) do on occasion. Since the weather is warming up we will start to do it more often. I’m excited to use the Delorme more often too.  I need to give it a name so I don’t have to keep calling it Delorme. My car GPS is called Maggie. My roommate’s car GPS is called Rico. Her handheld GPS is called Grim. Her car is called Ibe. My car is called Torrie. So…I just need a name for it. Maybe I’ll name it Dominic. Dominic Delorme.  I like that!

7) My February CD reviews have been published for the online magazine that I write for. You can find them here:

VOTA

Julianna Zobrist

8) I think that’s it for now. Nothing all that profound written here today. I do have things to say that mean a lot to me and are quite important. Perhaps on another day I will write about them.

Ms. Piano Lady

Hear ye! Hear ye! Starting next Tuesday, Lindsay is going to the School of Worship in Franklin, TN, to learn to play piano and become a better, more versatile worship leader!! She is so excited!

For years, I’ve wanted to play the piano. In recent months, I’ve really been desiring to learn an instrument to enhance my worship experience and skill. Last Tuesday at New Song’s Worship Arts gathering, Nate Sallie announced that he created a worship school. It really piqued my interest so I called him and left a message Wednesday inquiring about that.

I also prayed for confirming words from God about this. I received specific scripture last night in my time with the Lord. And two of my friends affirmed the piano thing before I even mentioned to them what instrument I was thinking about. Last night, I prayed that Nate would contact me today and that would be my confirmation further. Well, he just called and we determined I’ll start next Tuesday. One of Rebecca St James’ piano players will be my instructor. She’s apparently a great teacher and I’ll learn a lot from her. I’m so excited!

Please pray for me as I enter into this time. Each class lasts a month and I can take as many as necessary. Woot!

Here and There

Where’ve I been? I’ve been thinking and growing and learning and reading and Twittering and Facebooking and YouTubing and Googling and living. I’m online all the time.  I’m probably online more than I’m offline.  However, I must confess that WordPress.com is not my most frequented site.  I often think about how I should blog and then I don’t.  Same old story.  You’ve all heard it before.

If you ever wonder what I’m doing, check out my YouTube or Twitter.  I update Twitter A LOT.  It’s so easy and simple. And, since it limits me to a small number of characters, it’s quick.

Anyway, what’s new with me?  Last year, I read the Bible in its entirety.  My church really encourages that.  And for good reason. You learn a lot and grow a lot when you read the Bible. This year, I’m reading the Bible again.  I plan to read it all the way through every year for a long time. I’ve come across a few really great biblical resources and that’s enhanced my learning further. Check out the New Spirit Filled Life Bible, the Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible, The Truth War by John MacArthur and The Beatitudes: The Pursuit of Happiness by Spiros Zodhiates.

I am most likely going to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip in July.  I’ve never been out of the country before so it should be interesting.  I’m also a superbly picky eater so I’ll need God’s grace to eat food that I’m not used to eating.  I try and expand my food vocabularly as often as I can, but I’m still stubborn nevertheless.

I’m writing for A Time To Love Magazine once again.  I do CD reviews and feature stories for them.  It’s a great online magazine.  You should check it out!  I plan on posting here on WordPress to direct everyone to the articles/reviews I write there.  For the February issue, I reviewed VOTA by VOTA and The Tree by newcomer Julianna Zobrist, for example.

Right now I’m listening to Andrew Petersen.  I received his CD in the mail today.  For the March issue of A Time To Love (ATTL), I’ll review Anberlin’s New Surrender and downhere’s Ending Is Beginning.

Soon ATTL will publish my articles about fiercely focused parenting, Darlene Zschech and Plumb.

And, since I’m bouncing around randomly anyway, I have one other thing to share.  If I can sum it up, anyway.  It could be a whole blog in and of itself.  

Christians have three stages: Blessed, Broken, Multiplied.

Blessed
We are blessed to be a blessing.  God wants us to bless others with what He gives us.  We also have to allow Him to put His hand of blessing on what we’re doing.  In order to get that blessing, we obey what He commands us to do.

Broken
This whole concept comes from Matthew 14 and 15, by the way.  Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and mulitplied it.   We are all given seeds in the Kingdom.  We need to sow them, water and nourish the seeds others have planted, harvest seeds and sow.  We cannot eat the seeds we are given, either.  We cannot selfishly just think about ourselves and therefore eat our seed.  We need to share what we’ve been given (the breaking of the bread).  Take seeds for example: Something has to die to lead to growth.  The seed dies.  We, as Christians, have to die to our flesh to see growth in the Spirit.

For reference later, I believe I’m in the broken time.  I’ll explain more in a bit.

Multiplied 
If you know even a little about Jesus, you’d know He performed miracles.  Two of them involved loaves and fish.  One miracle fed 5,000 and another fed 4,000.  Jesus was with his 12 disciples at the times of these miracles.  They started out with just a few loaves and fish.  The disciples took the loaves/fish to the groups of people (broken into packs of 50.) Then each person took the bread they were given, broke it in half and then gave it to the next person.  If even one person would’ve eaten the bread they were given out of fear that they wouldn’t get enough, then the whole rest of the group wouldn’t have eaten.  We cannot eat our seed, we have to sow it.  When we share what God’s given and blessed, He multiplies it.

On to me and how this applies to my life….

I’ve been in a time of financial brokenness for a realllly long time.  It started in May of 2008 after I was laid off from my job.  It lasted all summer.  It even continues into now and I’ve got a high-paying job.  (I haven’t gotten paid in over a month.  Long story there…)

Anyhow, on Sunday when I was at church hearing this message on blessing, brokenness and multiplication, God told me that I was in the broken stage.  Awhile back, God revealed that He wanted me to be a sacrificial giver.  I have a strong desire to support those in the ministry financially.  God gives us money so we can filter it through to His Kingdom and what He wants accomplished.  I grasp that and agree with that.  I don’t hoard the money I’m given all for myself.  I give it away to what God tells me to give it away to.

Now that I’ve got that heart attitude, I’ve experienced strong financial resistance against the giving.  However, if giving financially was easy, then it wouldn’t be sacrificial, would it?  No.  So I’m really learning about sacrifice right now as I find it difficult to even pay my own bills because of extenuating circumstances beyond my control.  *cough*not being paid in six weeks when I should’ve been paid in two weeks*cough* 

So God showed me I’m in the broken period.  I’m being broken financially.  I’m walking in a higher level of humility and dependence on Him than I’ve ever been before.  I know that God will bless me and I will prosper financially in the future.  Not so I can be rich and comfortable.  But so I can fund His Kingdom and the work He’s doing.

I believe this time of financial brokenness will end soon.  I believe my giving will be multiplied.

Thanks for reading.  Pursue God’s best!

Fulfillment

As promised, I shall write about something God was speaking to me on Sunday.  Honestly, as I wracked my brain trying to remember that specific thing to write this blog, I couldn’t remember.  Every time that I read the Bible, God reveals something new to me.  So each day, there’s a new revelation.  It’s wonderful.  My church really promotes reading the Bible every day and reading the whole Bible in its entirety every year.  I’m a firm believer in that, as well.  If you’ve never read the whole Bible, I recommend it.  And no, don’t give me that, “The Old Testament is boring and I don’t get it,” junk.  There is SO much in the Old Testament!  It is so interesting!  Everything in the Old Testament points to Jesus and the coming of the Messiah.  It’s amazing.  Ask God to reveal things to you when you read the Bible and He will.  Simple.

On to what I learned on Sunday!  My pastor was talking about how often the words fulfill and fulfillment are used in Matthew.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament (OT).  Jesus fulfilled God’s wrath.  Jesus fulfills everything we need. 

Hold up!  Stop right there.  Jesus fulfills everything we need.  That sentence stops me.  It stopped me Sunday and it stops me now.  I’ve been asking myself, “Does Jesus really fulfill me?  Am I content with Him?  Or am I fruitlessly pursuing other, empty, never satisfying things?”

Sadly, the answer for that query is that Jesus often doesn’t fulfill me.  He’s more than able to do that, but I don’t let Him.  I’m so busy chasing after things I think will fulfill that He doesn’t even get the opportunity.  Take food, for example.  Tons of people eat to try and fill a void.  I used to do that.  If I’m not careful, I still do that.  People hunger for attention and affection, so they eat food.  Does that make sense?  No.  Not at all. 

Another area of fulfillment is lust.  Lust is a product of the flesh.  The flesh always wants something.  Bigger, better, more expensive, more sleek, more interesting stuff.  The flesh, in the biblical standpoint, is the opposite of the Spirit.  Spirit is of God.  Flesh is of fallen man.   The flesh never stops lusting.  So, how would I stop lusting?  I’d have to live in the Spirit and let God be my fulfillment.

I often lust for candy or pop or new, expensive gadgets.  And now, instead of relentlessly pursuing those things until I get them, I’m going to seek God first.  Lust is only a quest for fulfillment.  Jesus fulfills everything I’ll ever need.  So, instead of chasing the object, I’m going to chase God.  Chasing lust is empty.  

It’s natural to hunger for fulfillment.  But it’s not healthy to hunger for material things.  I need to take my natural hunger and turn it toward something fulfilling: Jesus.

Here’s how I’m going to apply this:  The next time I’m really lusting after something, I’m going to immediately start praying and read the Bible.  I’m going to fill myself with things that satisfy.  I know I’ll feel full after a time of intimacy with Jesus.  

Well, that’s it.  That was my giant revelation.    May seem simplistic but I think it’s profound.