Thursday, February 23, 2017

2017 Theme

October 2016 rolled around and I began, with excitement, to pray for my 2017 theme.
November arrived, and I was confident it would come soon.  I kept my ears peeled for anything inspiring that might sound like a theme.
December blew in with a chill and I started to wonder if I was going to just have to pull words out of the air for my beloved theme.

I thought I had my theme early in the year.  I thought it would be one of victory.  Of expectancy.  I wanted a theme that would make my dreams come true.  You see, every year the events of that year oddly enough correspond with the theme; further cementing the truth/idea/lesson that God spoke to my heart.

The Way Up is Down, was for 2016 - this was a tough year.  Full of humility, laying down of desires, giving up of dreams, heartache, longing and learning to seek Jesus in the day-to-day.
I wanted something very different for 2017.

Nothing was coming.  I wanted to have something for Jan. 1st.  I already knew that this year wasn't going to be the kind of year that I was hoping for... My heart was leaning towards Deeper, Live in Love, something similar.

January 1st found me in the car singing along with Meredith Andrews' Deeper, thinking maybe that was it - then I was in church, praying that God would give me something, anything.  The band began to lead us in Good, Good, Father.

As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

And there it was, my new theme for 2017;

Deeper Into Love

Pressing into humility, into the love of Jesus.  Plunging headfirst into what it means to know God.
Soaking in His love, and then finding out what it means to love those in my life.
Not just the kind of love that's easy.  But the Biblical, Jesus, gospel-changing kind of love.

What does that even look like?

I think it's more than just giving a hug, paying it forward in the drive-through line, and showing up for small group.  I'm not sure I understand it completely, but I have the One who defines it, lives it and IS it directing my life.

So here's to a new year...

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I Was Sick of Being Single

"I'm sick of being single.  I'm tired of feeling like I'm in the middle."

My thoughts were brutally honest as I shared my heart with Jesus on a Sunday afternoon drive.  It wasn't that I wanted a relationship, or that I was longing for a guy in my life.  I am content in my single state, enjoy the freedom that I have and am grateful for this season of my life (be it however long).
This restlessness came from a lack of purpose, or shall I say impact.  Now, hear me out... this will hopefully make sense.

In Titus 2 Paul gives household order - Older men, older women, younger men and younger women. The older men lead, the older women teach the younger, young men have their families to lead and younger women are instructed to work their homes, submit to their husbands and raise children. Fabulous.  But what about me?  I realize these verses aren't meant to span the entire field of life stages, but I can't deny that I was a little frustrated - because my mind wanders and creates all sorts of questions.

Oh I know, I know there are verses to the single person (1 Cor. 7), but what about the single girls?  I know I'm supposed to pursue Jesus, to be single-minded.  But I wanted a specific purpose, a task, a tangible way to make an impact.

As I was wrestling these thoughts, a couple tears began to pool and I struggled to sort through my feelings.  Then all of a sudden, in my heart, I felt Jesus say to me;
"I love you."
I stopped thinking and let my heart soak that in for a bit.  And then I felt Him say,
"You reflect My beauty."
Once again I thought about that for a moment.  And my life became less about me and my desires and more about Jesus.  I was overwhelmed, and began to ask God "make me more like You! And then I got this;
"I am.  You're single."

It hit me. I began to cry in earnest.  I want to be like Jesus, and pray frequently that He would have His way, and do whatever it takes to reflect His beauty in me.

What if He is using my singleness to make me more like Himself?
What if not having a spelled out "purpose" forces me to seek Him on a daily basis - thus conforming my life to Him?
What if feeling insignificant teaches me that it's not about me, it's only Jesus in me that brings forth anything significant?
What if feeling in the middle brings me to my knees in prayer?
What if not having children allows me to pour into girls around me?
What if not having a husband gives me a special season of intimacy with Christ?

What if these feelings/doubts, this stage of life, are what Jesus is using to make me more like Himself?

Suddenly singleness doesn't feel so purposeless, or less impactful, or less significant.  But rather a special time that God has given me to refine, shape and make me like Him - reflecting His beauty more purely and with greater intensity.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

See Beauty

The beautiful country of Haiti was quickly disappearing beneath us. Those hot sweaty days full of praise and encouragement were in the past.  I began writing down memories and special moments during my time with the Haitian people.  Quickly I began to realize that after each paragraph I would write the simple statement - "It was beautiful."

Jesus was teaching my heart throughout this trip - to see beauty.

After checking into our accommodations the first day, a couple of us went down to look at the ocean.  A palm tree arched across the sky framing the blue ocean tones and casting shadows over a small row boat.  My heart delighted in the beauty of what was in front of me. 

Then I heard voices by my side.  
“Look at all the trash!” 
I brought my gaze closer to shore and realized, to my surprise, that the beach was completely littered with garbage.  It was piled in heaps and scattered across the shore.  A stark contrast, one that I would continually encounter - beauty next to brokeness.

At first glance I hadn't noticed, I was too enraptured with the beauty of the ocean.

I felt Jesus was asking me to look for the beauty, notice beauty, focus on beauty.  He created this land and called it good, He designed these people and loves them.  Of course sin has come into the world, perverting and masking what God originally created, but it doesn’t change the fact that there is beauty in everything God has made.

As I walked through neighborhoods, drove through the crowded cities full of poverty and mess, I couldn't help but see each person differently.  Not a single person was an accident.  Clearly, each human being God creates has value, potential and ability to use their life to glorify God. 

Will I choose to see the beauty that inhabits all of God's creation, or the brokenness that threatens to overcome it?

What will you choose to see?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Church Planting, say what?

Church planting.  It was a phrase I heard throughout the years, but to be completely honest, I didn't think much of it - I was after the kind of missions where you helped people, served people and shared the gospel.  I wanted to change lives, show people overseas that Jesus could heal and bring peace and joy.  And, to my very ignorant mind, this wasn't done through church planting, this was done through "missions" - individuals going overseas, starting organizations and building relationships.

And then I took a class on the book of Acts (through my church, using Bild International).

My life changed, my perspective on missions was wrecked.

What if God instigated the Church to change lives, bring healing, peace and joy?  What if people in the Church were well established in their faith, discipled and trained - actually grounded in their relationship with God and His word? What if said people (the Church) took it upon themselves to seek the good of their local community, to meet needs and live the love of Jesus in practical ways. Here in America, and around the globe.

What would happen if instead of individuals trying to live out the Great Commission, it was the Church living out the Great Commission?

Open up your Bible to the book of Acts and you'll see what happens.

I'll spare you a sermon, but this whole notion of Church planting took on a whole new meaning for me.  Think about the impact well-established churches could have on a village, city, country...

Insert my trip to Haiti.

For the last several years my church, Harvest Bible Chapel, has been very involved in Haiti.  And it all began with meeting a Haitian Pastor, and a desire to see the gospel spread throughout Haiti.

His name is Pastor Charles.

The leaders of my church met Pastor Charles, in Haiti, and quickly discovered his tenacity and passion for Jesus, the gospel and the church.  Having a network of churches he planted and currently oversees, Pastor Charles knows full well the joys and frustrations of planting churches in a third world country.  Yet, it wasn't financial support he was after - but rather, physical support.

Friendship, leadership, training.

Harvest Lancaster partnered with Pastor Charles to provide what was so desperately needed in these new churches. Pastor Charles first came to Lancaster and received a week of equipping/training, and of course lots of love and a warm family welcome.  Men from Harvest then made several trips to Haiti to meet with the local leaders. These dynamic leaders were trained on how to teach, equip and disciple current members in deepening their relationship with God, and also how to establish new believers in a Biblical way.

This relationship has only continued to deepen as the Bild curriculum was translated into Creole, thus expanding the impact even further - allowing pastors to extend this discipleship material with their congregations.

When the idea of our recent Worship Team Outreach Trip was presented, our church excitedly went all in. The groundwork was laid, now it was time to encourage the church, help to further open their doors and bring people inside.

I saw, in action, what happens when a church serves the community.  When the church recognizes the need and mobilizes the people to meet those needs.  When the church, comprised of individuals, but operating as a whole,  is an extension of Jesus - loving people, serving them, and ultimately bringing them to Himself.

I hope to give you a glimpse of what I saw and experienced.  This is only the beginning...

(Bild International exists to train networks of leaders, grassroots to national in the way of Christ and His Apostles - providing philosophy, curriculum and a network) 

Sunday, March 27, 2016


He is risen.  Enough said.

Let this truth resonate through your soul this Easter season.

Monday, March 14, 2016

6 years ago I applied for my passport...

...and I was convinced that Haiti was going to be the very first stamp.

but no Haiti.

I was eighteen when the earthquake of 2010 wrecked havoc on the destitute country of Haiti. Everything within me wanted to come to their aid, to help, comfort, do something.  It soon became clear, however, that then was not the time. Fast forward six years and the time has now presented itself.

Come June, my passport will contain the Haitian stamp.

I am thrilled to be apart of a Worship Outreach Missions trip throughout Haiti, with my local church (Harvest Bible Chapel Lancaster).

We will work with a number of churches in Haiti, including two Harvest churches, doing evangelistic music outreach events across the country.  The gospel will go forth to the people as we sing and serve alongside the Haitian church.

Launching our trip in Miami, FL, we will serve alongside Harvest Miami to do our first outreach event on American soil before flying to Haiti.  I will be traveling, ministering and singing alongside 21 people from my church AND 20-25 people from Harvest St. Louis.

The entirety of this trip is committed to God and it is my heart to see His high and lifted up.  I covet your prayers before and during this trip.  In order for this outreach to be successful we need God to do His work, and I firmly believe this will happen if His people pray!

Prayer Requests
- Team unity
- Strength to minister in a spiritually dark place like Haiti
- Clear communication between St. Louis and Lancaster teams
- Prepare people's hearts in Haiti to hear the gospel
- Funds for the team to go

A couple specifics:
Trip Date: June 9th-18th
Cost: $1,500
Outreach Location: Miami, Cabaret, Port-au-Prince, Maplat, Jacmel

Also, if you would like to make a tax-deductible financial contribution click HERE and select "Haiti" from the drop-down menu.

Stay tuned for updates and more info!!

Happy New Year!

It's March already... so yeah, that happened.

But let's pretend it's still January.  

A fresh new year, with resolutions being made, lists assembled and oodles of good intentions.  Contrary to some people, I love this time of year.  I like to make goals, dream big and then start with gusto.  Even if the goals accidentally get thrown away - literally - or the dreams seem to die faster then they grow, it still seems right to begin the new year with an exciting outlook.

Every year I pray for a theme for my entire year, so in late October/November of 2015 I began to intentionally pray for my 2016 theme.  I had no clue as to what God would put on my heart, but I was trusting that He would give me a phrase, quote, verse, something to kind of base my goals and dreams on for the coming year.

He did not disappoint. 

Whew.  And now we're in March and it's been a doozy of a start to 2016.  God gave me a phrase and a verse and He didn't waste any time in making it a part of my daily life.  No joke.

{I really want to roll it out and share it with you all, but blogging was not on my 2016 list of to-dos... but then I really don't remember because the list was thrown away (by accident). But I'm hoping it'll still happen one of these weeks.}

Last year I realized in a new way that intentional living requires intentional work. 
(nope, not my theme, although it would be a good one) 
I want to be intentional. To accomplish things this year, both small and great.  And that takes work, and focus.  I have also found that I get very distracted and overwhelmed when ideas float in my head and keep piling up.  
Hence my brilliant idea for 2016 - the Goal Board.

I pitched the idea to one of my roommates and she fell for it - hook, line and sinker.  
We started immediately (because I have to act in the now or in the never).

Three categories are on our board: Physical, Spiritual and then Creative/Fun.
Each month we select two or three goals for each category and pin them up in a fun and creative way.
The Goal Board hangs in our kitchen so it's constantly in our thoughts and eyesight.

It's been fabulous, simple and challenging, not to mention rewarding.  Of course we fail on some of our goals, but then a new month begins and we start afresh.