Today’s SOAP

Psalm 85:11-13
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
The LORD will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.

Observation
The beginning of the Psalm is a cry for God to help. A plea that God would move and restore. I loved the hope in these three verses. It is about our action and the faithfulness of the Lord. As the people are faithful to seek after God and seek his will and purpose, He looks down from heaven. He gives what is good (everything good is from God) and the land will yield harvest. Over and over in the Bible it is promised that if we seek after God, he moves. My favorite example of this 2 Chronicles 7:14. God has so much he wants to give us and show us, we just need to seek him.

Application
I will continue to be faithful that God will answer my prayers. I will continue to seek God for all things in my life: work, family, ministry, home, etc. I need to seek with great faith and believe that God is bigger than my worries, problems, bills, or anything. I believe my faithfulness will be answered.

Prayer
Lord,
Thank you for your faithfulness. Increase my faith as I content for things in my life that I perceive as large. I am thankful that to you they are not large! Provide for our family in a mighty way. Give us favor.

Bless Grace Church, Generation Grace, and those who are coming to the church for the first time this Sunday. I pray that our young people would come to know you in a mighty way this Sunday.

I pray for a complete healing for Marc Wymore. I know that you are hearing the prayers of many this week and that as we fast and pray you will respond. I ask for the same thing for my uncle. Heal him do a miracle in his body.
Amen

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The Vacationed Mind

We had an amazing time in Disneyland/California Adventure. Matt hijacked my camera already so it may take me a little longer to get pictures up. This vacation we decided would be fun.. relaxing can wait. We really haven’t had FUN together in awhile. So we went on rides from park open to close, saw shows, walked, ate and oddly enough talked a lot about when we would bring our kids there. So yes, despite a 5 yr old boy trying to lick the ice cream sundae out of my hands, we may have kid(s). Matt mastered his fear of the Tower of Terror, although the look on his face was pretty priceless. We went on it twice. I am working him up to bigger and badder rides. However, Disneyland will always have a soft spot in my heart. First I have always loved it from my first trip in 5th grade. Second as I get older – I see the excellence, detail, service, creativity and fearlessness of Disney. People have laughed at EuroDisney but this is a corporation that dreams and risks. They are excellent storytellers and use technology to the fullest to get a story across.

My friend Katie once told me not to sit near our executive pastor if you went to a movie with his family or as a church staff. Apparently he sees sermon illustrations left and right and points them out. I think I am getting like that. All through our vacation I would notice ways that Disney tells a story and it breaks my heart that so often the local church (at large- not nescessarily my church), outreaches and Christians can be so boring when we have an AMAZING “story” to tell. I want to work more on the experience someone has. How do we communicate the gospel (the saving, unconditional, redeeming love of Christ) from the community to the parking lot to the front door to the hallways to the actual ride. Disney tells their story all through your experience from web to Space Mountain. Jesus was not boring when he told a story, he used words and language and metaphors the people he spoke to so they would understand. If Jesus was telling the story today with technology at his fingertips and a fantastic tech guy at his right hand.. how would he tell the story? What language would he use? How many Christians aka religious leaders would he offend? Who would he allow into his church? It gets me kind of excited.

The other part of our experience that really spoke to me was going to the Blue Sky Cellar and seeing the upcoming projects for the Disney Resort. The first part is their creative process is that the sky is the limit. They have faith that if they can imagine it – it can be innovated. First – why is my faith so small? Second – imagine having that kind of creative process with teams/churches/etc. So often we fail before we even start because of the limits we place on things. As an organized (trytobe) person.. I see details in everything but I am learning operate more in the big picture (the beauty of being in a new place). The folks at Disney don’t even see technology as a boundary. It is amazing.

With the stakes so high, isn’t it worth it to ask these questions? I love coming back from vacation and although I am tired today, I am ready to dream. I’m pulling out the whiteboard and mindmap and getting on my knees having the faith that God will provide and all I need to do is ask.

Word for the Year…

Oh how I love this time of year! Self evaluation time… not from work or anything. This year it is a personal task. At Puyallup Foursquare, we would yearly go over this personal evaluation/goal setting/spiritual evaluation sheet. We would fill it out and then share with everyone. For many of us it got very personal. Crying and praying and sometimes hugging. I know not my favorite things (except prayer) but it is healthy. Evaluation and goal setting is imperative to grow and to keep us works in progress rather than dead on the vine. So for three years I did this under the direction of the leaders at Puyallup. This year I am doing this on my own, which felt a little nerdy, but I like being nerdy. It feels good.

The timing is right. Yesterday I caught much of the The Nines conference and heard some AMAZING church leaders give 6 minutes of encouragement, teaching, advice, personal stories and so much more. The Nines is an online conference and FREE! Grace purchased a package so we could have the program and access to the videos for future reference. Next year you should do it too (The Nines). It was so encouraging. So I am pretty fired up. There is so much to be done. Camas and Clark County desperately needs Grace to be the local church in ACTION. Loving, moving, encouraging, helping, building, dreaming, bringing hope, and so much more. Hear that.. fire. Fire got tempered with wisdom and teaching too..

With that my word for 2011 is “Develop discipline and balance to leave margin for faith and dreams.” I also analyzed my spiritual tensions (where will I grow/what will die/where have I coasted?) and made physical, spiritual and financial goals for 2011. I have some tall orders ahead of me but I am up for the challenge.

Today’s devotions confirmed that for me. I serve an amazing God. He is faithful. He loves us so much and because of this we are not consumed by by worry, despair, our situations or fear. He never fails us and his love for us is new every morning. When we think we are alone, God is there. When others are cruel, He is there. When we feel lost – He guides us. (Lamentations 3:22-24) With God I am prepared for the challenge.