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I was on Facebook this morning and saw that a friend was visiting Colorado Springs and got to hit-up the Garden of the Gods. If you’ve never been there you need to go, it’s beautiful. Check it out:

Photo courtesy of peterwoz

I clicked through this friend’s page and stumbled on a blog and the bloggers profile picture was of a beautiful mountain scene in Colorado. I never tire of pictures like this. I could look at mountain scenes over and over again. My number one choice for a vacation is anywhere there are mountains. To say my heart longs for them is pretty much an understatement. And living in the flatlands of the Midwest doesn’t help this heart…

I’ve asked the Lord in prayers every once in awhile, sometimes randomly out loud if I know no one is in ear shot, and often in my thoughts like now as I type this—will I ever have the privilege of living in the mountains? Could You possibly have a ministry for me to serve in in such a setting?

I wonder, is it the mountains I crave or the adventure that I associate with them? Either way I love them and see God in His majesty in them every time I see them. Perhaps if I lived in the mountains I’d get used to seeing Him, but somehow I just don’t think that’s possible. His majesty is just too intense. Whether covered in snow, or full of foliage, to me they are one of the most incredible things God created. And I have a peace when I am there, in His presence in His creation with His majestic nature gently yet loudly whispering from these incredible masses of land.

Today I choose joy because I know He’ll do something with this mountainous desire, either quench it and refocus me or grow it and lead me there one day. Either way, I choose joy because He created them and I get to enjoy them, even if only through pictures.

my photo :-) whislter, BC

Psalm 36:5-7

5 Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.

6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.

7 How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

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Take your post. Those are the wise words delivered to me by a wonderful woman of God. I learned a lot in my conversation with her. I was honest, brutally honest with her about how I was feeling: the inadequacy, the jealousy, the uncertainty, the fogginess, the lack of trust, lack of belief. And she just looked at me with eyes that said, “I know, its okay. I’ve been there too. You’re not a bad person―you’re human.”

She reminded me of the truth I had lost sight of, the truth I tried to put in front of my face and hoped would drop from my head to my heart. But alas, I needed to hear it from a loving, caring and encouraging woman of faith. I’ve said it 100+ times before and I will say it 100+ times again, He knows what we need and how we need it so we’ll receive it.

So, the truth she reminded me of, the post (aka where I find myself serving in the Kingdom) where God has called me, is just that, the post where HE has called me. No one else has placed me there. He has. He has gifted me for certain things and somehow in some way they help the Kingdom move forward. He’s opened my eyes to how each post in Kingdom work is significant because God made it that way, not because of the people He assigned to it.

I’ve taken my post with pride―a pride in the Lord that He would allow me to serve Him even at all. No matter what it looks like. It’s not about me, it’s about Jesus.

I left lunch that day knowing the knowledge had made the journey from head to heart. Now it’s my job to cultivate it in the heart.

Psalm 84:10 – Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

i’ve been a huge advocate for titus 2 ministry (let the older women teach the younger women) yet i never really found myself in a place where i’ve seen it in full motion like i did this past weekend. it began friday when i met with a wise and wonderful woman from my church for lunch. she spoke into my life in such a way that only God could make happen. she didn’t judge me or my situation, she just listened, smiled at me as i talked – i could see it in her eyes, that “i know exactly where you are kiddo” look. and she did. she’s been there, done that, has lived to talk about it and is ready to equip me so i don’t have to make mistakes i might have if i were to “go it alone.” the peace and comfort i felt by the time our lunch ended was totally something that can only come from a God-ordained and anointed conversation.

it also encouraged me to see that one day, Lord willing, i will sit where she was and counsel a younger woman in my shoes. for now though, i am more than happy no, delighted really, to be on the receiving end. oh Lord, bring wisdom and courage my way :-)

then on saturday we had a women’s event at my church, the first of its kind we’ve ever done and it was powerful! we began with powerful worship and then my pastor’s wife brought a word and then gave her testimony. both were incredible! afterwards there was a time for women to pray with each other and for each other. i know God moved that day in many, many lives. we then had a time of Q&A with a panel of women in various seasons of life: single, married, single mom. there were so many questions and so much wisdom offered. it truly was a massive titus 2 event.

i am so grateful for the body of Christ, so grateful to be surrounded by such strong and courageous women of faith.

That’s me. I’m an elf. I look around me and I see GIANTS. Massive, strong, solid GIANTS. And I’m an elf. Small, tiny, squeaky. This is how I feel most days. And it’s because I’ve been blessed with this incredible church that is filled with the super godly. I know we are all human and we all fall short of the glory of God. But I kid you not; I haven’t been many places in my short life as a Jesus-lover where there has been such a concentrated group of on-fire-for-Christ people.

This is a blessing. But my flesh and the enemy would have me believe it is a curse.

I’ve been battling this insecurity since the day I came to my church, which coincidentally is where I’ve met most of my amazingly godly girls. But the most recent battle showed me much of what I still need to learn and accept. We’re all different but created for a purpose and this will never be rooted in my heart until I understand just how much the Lord loves me. Jealousy rears its ugly head when I take my eyes off the Savior. Insecurity penetrates deep to my bones when I don’t dress in the armor of God, “forget” to hold my sword high and run instead of just stand.

I’m doing a study (by Beth Moore of course!) on love right now and learned something fascinating. 1 John 4:18 says: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”

From the study: “Perfect love refers to love which is mature, not lacking boldness or confidence and therefore, not hampered by insecurity or anxiety which is characteristic of immature love.”

You see, I’m the administrative type (ooh, how I hate to even admit that). My brain operates in one mode most of the time, efficient. I know in and of itself it’s not a bad thing. I think of a list of places I need to go to run errands and immediately my brain puts it all in the proper order of how to get it done the fastest based on where I am currently located and where I would like to end up. It’s this weird gift/curse I’ve had since I was little. (Being the oldest of four girls might have a little something to do with it.)

So, often when it comes to ministry things I’m asked to help in areas where administration is needed. And I love to serve in that capacity but I also feel like, “is this it? Is this all I have to offer?” Because in my head administration is so not spiritual. For example, you need a woman to pray over you or with you, I’ve got a friend for that. You need a woman who will open the heavens with the way she leads worship, I’ve got a friend for that too. You need someone to love on you with the love of Christ, I have another friend for that. I could keep going but you get the point, Apple’s got an app, I’ve got friends :-)

Me. I’m practical (not spiritual) to a fault. Visionary (spiritual) I am not. But the Lord is trying to show me something, and if I would just get out of the way, I just might see it. He made me this way for His purposes and loves me just as I am. The visionary needs someone like me to figure out the logistics behind making the vision a reality. I don’t consider myself a prayer warrior, a worshipper or all that compassionate (all things I desire to become). My giftings are much more administrative and communication-oriented. I do have faith and usually it isn’t too hard for me to believe God for the impossible. But my flesh and the enemy would love for me to minimize all that I am and look at my sisters with eyes of envy, allow myself to remain in a state of immature love, living in insecurity.

So I am fighting these days to stay in the Spirit and out of the flesh; to not let that punk we call the enemy steal my love and respect for all the amazing and godly women He’s put in my life; and to truly grasp God’s love for me. This sounds utterly crazy to me, but I even made a list of all the things I am and have it taped to my bathroom mirror. It even includes things I don’t think I am quite yet, but that I know with the Lord’s power I will be. It’s actually really powerful (seriously, I feel like I should be that guy from SNL who looks in the mirror and says to himself, “I’m smart enough, I’m good enough and dog gonnit people like me!”).

Okay, so I will conclude my random ramblings with this truth from God’s Word:

Psalm 139

1 O LORD, you have searched me

and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue

you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;

you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me

were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand.

When I awake,

I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!

Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;

your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,

and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;

I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.

Why is it that the majority of bios of women of faith start out at as follows:

Susie Q is a wife of 17 years, a mother of two young women, a talented speaker and author…

Now to be fair, there are some who start their bios as follows: Betty, a nationally recognized speaker and award winning writer travels to various churches and organizations across the country delivering messages of freedom to women. (sorry that’s not very creative, I didn’t want to “rip off” someone’s actual bio…)

My question is, if one of the greatest struggles for women of faith is finding their identity in Christ and not the roles they play, the mistakes of their past, etc., shouldn’t the female leaders of this time pave the way in identifying themselves as such? It might seem like a nitpicky thing, but I wonder, what if I showed up at a conference, read an author’s bio or heard a woman introduced as: Lindsey is a woman of faith that loves her God above all else and is grateful to be counted as a chosen child. She has been blessed with… (you decide if you want your work credentials, personal credentials, athletic accomplishments, etc. to follow that)? What if that is how we began to identify ourselves? I think that might make a difference…

For all of you who read this blog please accept my apology for how long it has been since I updated it… life around me has been changing quite a bit and last week I was in the mountains of Wyoming with no access to Internet or cell phones (it was a HUGE blessing and I’ll blog about that soon).

But now I am back and I am watching this life of mine move forward in many unanticipated directions. Well, let me rephrase that, I am watching various circumstances of this life of mine change quite dramatically but I know all this change is moving me forward on the path the Lord has chosen for me.

I know vagueness is no fun, but I’m not at liberty to discuss some of this change, but it’s basically on all fronts―personal, professional and ministry-related.  And how I am going to manage all this I’m not quite sure. I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord would not lead me into this season if He wasn’t going to lead me out – and lead me out victoriously.

So as I rest in His peace and seek Him during this season I ask anyone who reads this blog to please keep me in your prayers. The Lord’s purposes are greater than my understanding and I am eager to see what He is doing. I know full well that He will reveal His purposes in His perfect timing and I have nothing to be anxious about. Praise God for His loving hand and gentle leading. I am blessed to know my God.

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.

illuminate

we had our very first women’s ministry illuminate summer challenge meeting this past weekend and it was wonderful! what is illuminate you might ask?

this summer the women’s ministry of my church is challenging each woman to be a part of a team that will memorize portions of psalm 119 together. we are gathering in homes memorizing the Word of God, sharing what the Lord is teaching us through memorizing and building some life-changing relationships.

to say that i am excited to see what the Lord is going to do in us and through us is an understatement!

this past week i prepared and shared a small devotional with the women to kick-off our meetings and in a sense lay the foundation. here’s the short version:

in january 2008 we had an unexpected loss in my family. my uncle, who was in his 60s passed away from a massive heart attack. it was one of those incidents in life that left you with your jaw down, almost emotionless because it just couldn’t be true. but unfortunately it was. it was in this time that through a rather supernatural occurrence, psalm 119:89 came to surface in the midst of our mourning.

the scripture reads: Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

the first time i read and heard this verse i figured if God’s Word is eternal and stands firm in the heavens, then what the Bible tells us about heaven is true. and if what the Bible tells us about heaven is true, i should be jealous of my uncle as he would be in the presence of glory, rejoicing, singing and dancing at the feet of our Savior, never to experience any kind of pain again.

and while i think that is true, while preparing for our first illuminate meeting, the Lord revealed a few more things.

psalm 119 is all about God’s Word, His law, His precepts, His statutes. virtually every verse refers back to God’s Word, declaring what it does – it purifies, it testifies, it stands firm in the heavens, it directs – i could go on…

when we look at john 1:1-5 we see:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

many of us know, the Word became flesh and it was Jesus! this is the beauty of psalm 119, it is such a reflection of our Lord. He ws there before creation, He is eternal. we learn so much about our Savior and His character and who He is from reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on His Word, for He is the Word.

oh how powerful that is! so this summer we are challenged to revere this Holy Word in such a way that we never have before. to soak it in, to believe it with an unwavering faith, to anticipate a purification like we’ve never known, to have an understanding of our God that only comes from knowing His Word.

this will be a powerful summer and none of us will end it as we started.

i think this is one of the very rare times when i happen to be at my computer and the desire to blog has crept up on me…

so i’m sitting in my kitchen, at the breakfast bar right now. on sunday we will have a meeting with the leaders of our women’s ministry summer challenge. to say i am excited for this endeavor is an understatement, this is my heart beat, women’s ministry that is.

the crazy thing is, i’m going to cast the vision at this meeting. i’ve never been a vision caster and i never really understood (still kinda don’t) what people really meant when they would say things like, “we have to get the people on board and cast the vision.” granted, when i first heard statements like this i was the grunt worker (paying my dues as every entry-level professional should) at a rather large PR agency (a fabulous agency might i add) and it was always the guy with the ideas but who had NO IDEA how to execute them that would cast this “vision.”

so you can imagine when i began following after God and serving Him in ministry and people brought up vision i rolled my eyes in true drama queen fashion. now i’m the person i would roll my eyes at, God has a sense of humor!

but i kinda get it now. part of vision casting is communicating the overall goal to people. to help show them how each piece fits into the much larger picture. who knew my PR background would come in so handy – oh right, God did! and that’s just the thing, as i sit here in my kitchen, reading over the vision He gave us leaders, i am in awe that i am a part of this.

who am i that i get to serve my God in this way? truly, without my Savior, i am nothing, my heart is ugly, i’m detestable. and yet, He calls me His child. i am a daughter of the Most High God. so i pray, that the Almighty God will be pleased with the vision and desire we have for His women’s ministry (i know, it’s kinda strange to write that considering He birthed the vision in us). i am in awe of Him and that He could use a wretch like me. may we be hidden behind His cross this summer as He draws His women unto Him!

Women are beautiful, and God intentionally made us that way. But there is something that happens to a woman when she is finally set free. When she relinquishes control to her Savior, her Abba Father, her King, she glows in such a way that only He can make her glow. She has a peace and grace that leave you wanting what she has. It spurs you on to seek your God to know Him intimately, to desire to be like Him. You wonder, what does she have that I don’t have?What she has is the assurance that she is loved, she is delighted in and she was created for a purpose. Most likely she has fought the battle and fought hard, knowing the war was won on the Cross. She has cried, prayed and begged her way through the valley, clutching at every Word her Father gave her along the way. Even when she didn’t feel His presence she trusted He was there. She learned how to take her thoughts captive and how to cling to what was true no matter how she was feeling, no matter how dark and lonely the valley may have seemed. She fell in love with her Lord more and more as she trusted His Word and He came through every time.

No matter how she felt at any given moment, she went back to the Truth and it did indeed set her free. And now, she stands in the victory that was hers along. She walks with grace and dignity and has put shame and despair behind her. And she will comfort those who need comfort in the same way she has been comforted by her Father. She will use her victory to bring her sister to victory. She will not be ashamed of her past, or the scars she may bear because of it, but rather walk alongside others, bringing them to their victory. And one day she will see, even her scars have been healed.

That is why I love women’s ministry. To come alongside and watch a woman as she goes through this experience is one of the greatest joys on this earth. Women are beautiful, but when they meet with the Loving God, when they fight the battle that has been won for them, and they don’t give up, there is an unexplainable beauty and grace that comes upon them.

I’m finding myself in a season where I’m serving in capacities I never dreamed of. And the reason I never dreamed of them is because they were never on my radar. I just never considered them as areas in which I wanted to serve and never considered them as they require traits that I do not possess.

Like most people, I like to strive for excellence in each job or task I am given, but especially if it is in ministry. Well, in my current areas of service I’ve never felt so inadequate or incapable of reaching excellence. These ministries require someone with a softer heart than mine, a patience level much greater than the one I possess and a humbleness that I although I thought I possessed it, I’ve realized I don’t! Talk about a Holy TKO (total knock out for those of you that don’t know, and might I admit that I had no idea what that meant until a dear friend informed me).

And yet, today I heard the most wonderful quote, “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.”

AMEN!

tonight was the last night of our six (technically seven) week bible study, “discerning the voice of God” by priscilla shirer. it was a wonderful evening with beautiful worship, fellowship and heartfelt sharing. i can’t believe how fast these six weeks went, it just flew by. there was this one woman in particular who came every monday night. when we began the study she was pretty shy and quiet and really intimidated. so much so, she almost stopped coming after the first night. but she pushed through that first week and kept coming. she even got to church almost an hour early every monday so she wouldn’t get stuck in traffic! all i can say about her is that last night you could see the joy of the Lord on her face. she persevered and God blessed her with joy and peace. she shared with me that even her family has been noticing the change in her. stories like hers are the reason we serve as the Lord commands. i am so humbled, overwhelmed and blessed all at once that the Lord would allow me to be part of such a beautiful story.

this is a pic of mandy and shelly preparing for worship. these ladies have been so faithful! every week they would lead us into the presence of the Lord. it was wonderful!

afterwards a few of us headed to noli’s for pizza. we were all super hungry! noli’s has pretty much the only good ny style pizza in the city. still not quite ny, but definitely super close! that pie was on the table for maybe two seconds when the ladies dug in – hilarious, women and pizza, don’t mess!

tonight was the most incredible night! it was the first evening of the women’s bible study at my church, chicago tabernacle. last fall i presented a proposal to my senior pastor’s wife about conducting a bible study for the women of our church. the Lord had laid out a plan in my head and i put it on paper. i met with her again earlier this year and we agreed the time to start it would be after the easter season. this was also the meeting in which i discovered i would be leading this adventure (not the actual teachings, i know my limits! that’s why we are doing priscilla shirer’s study, discerning the voice of God).

so i got to work praying for the study, planning the evenings in my head, and asking for God to show me the facilitators He would like to use. it seemed like out of nowhere, today was here!

i thought for sure i was believing God for big things by planning to have 40 chairs set-up in the fellowship hall (we are not a very big church), but sure enough, our God who loves to show-off brought close to 50 women! hallelujah!

all these women are so excited and hungry to hear God’s voice and learn more about him. one woman came up to me and said:

“you know that part in the DVD when Priscilla said she likes to study and learn more about God when she has a quiet moment? well that just spoke so loudly to me. whenever i have a down moment i like to put my feet up, it never occurred to me to spend that time with the Lord. and that’s what i want, a more intimate relationship with God!”

praise the Lord! i am so excited for this study and how God is going to move among the the women of our church. the Lord’s timing truly is perfect and the women are so ready for this. they are hungry for God’s Word, eager to learn and eager to hear the voice of the Lord. i am so humbled that God would let me witness this adventure. all i can do is sing His praises!

easter-2008-blog-1.jpg

i heart stage crew! these are the awesome team members i spent the past two weekends serving with. they all deserve some serious blessings for living with my voice in their ears for two weekends in a row!

easter-2008-blog-2.jpg

after this weekend, pia is thinking, “seriously, i’m going to summit what with this girl?”

this is where i will be this weekend, at my church serving in the backstage crew. i’ll try to get a pic of the crew in all black with our headsets and all. we might be a small church but man, God doesn’t care. He always seems to move in mighty ways and i am so blessed to be a part of it! there really is no better way to honor Easter weekend then to serve our Savior’s kingdom

sol2.jpg

hoping to get a climb in before i have to be at church – haha!

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