FaceTime

pray-first-then-work.jpg

Jesus had face time with His Father before He faced the storm.

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.

Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.

Matthew 14:22-25

He stood on the shore alone. Jesus didn’t look for a boat or wait until He found one. He just walked right into the storm by doing the impossible and walked on the water.

You may feel like you are facing an impossible situation.

Good news: your Savior knows how to do impossible things.

Jesus knows where you are and what you are facing.

When things get overwhelming, lean in and hear His voice: “Before you face the day, get face to face with Me. I will bring you through it. I know the way”.

“If God brings you to it, he will bring you through it”.
– Unknown

Unexpected Storms

4b231381186e09c4bae49567d9223ab6-2

“Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.”  Matthew‬ ‭8‬:‭24‬ NIV

Since living in Southern Florida for the past couple of years, I have a healthy respect for storms that come on quickly and are ferocious. Almost every morning in the summer, the fluffy white clouds that fill the blue expanse of the sky turn to churning dark thunderclouds by the afternoon.  Some afternoon storms are gentle showers and over quickly. Often they rip the sky open with the crack of lightning, heart-pounding thunderclaps and vicious wind.

The verse above describes a storm on the Sea of Galilee that came on so suddenly and was so ferocious that seasoned fisherman (the disciples) feared for their lives.

And what was Jesus doing? He was sleeping. He was resting.

He didn’t get in the boat at the beginning of the voyage and quiet the winds and calm the waves before he fell asleep, Jesus rested right in the middle of it.

The storm did not disturb him.

How did Jesus rest in the midst of an unexpected storm?

Jesus knew before He got into the boat:

  1.  That God, His Father determined His time on earth, not a storm- even the most ferocious of ones.
  2.  Who and whose He was: the Son of God, on a mission from God, filled with the power of God.
  3. He knew that His mission was not over yet.

The best thing for you to do in a storm is to trust God and rest. 

Rest in God’s sovereignty.  He knows the moment you will cross into eternity.  This storm will not be the end of your story and God does not have half a plan.

Rest in knowing who and whose you are: a cherished child of God, redeemed by the cross of Christ to live life loved and drenched in God’s grace.

Rest in the knowledge that if you are here, God’s mission for you is not done yet.

At the beginning of this year, I felt the Lord press me to learn how to rest better. How to lean on Him more, how to trust Him to meet me more in my everyday challenges and allow His power to flow.

So instead of saying, “what do I need to work on today?”,

I replaced it with “what do I need to rest in today?”

It completely changed my perspective and set my heart to rest in His love and work from that truth.

If God has asked you to do it, He will give you what you need to get through it.

What do you need to rest in today?

FaceTime​

52939db359273dd6de9d871fece45d5b--pastor-quotes-jesus-quotes

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.

Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.

Matthew 14:22-25

Jesus had face time with His Father before He faced the storm.

He stood on the shore alone. Jesus didn’t look for a boat or wait until He found one. He just walked right into the storm by doing the impossible and walked on the water.

You may feel like you are facing an impossible situation.

Good news: your Savior knows how to do impossible things.

Jesus knows where you are at and what you are facing.

When things get overwhelming, lean in and hear His voice: “Before you face the day, get face to face with Me. I will bring you through it. I know the way”.

“We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all-all but the sin.

So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help”. Hebrews 4:15, 16 MSG

“If God brings you to it, he will bring you through it”.
– Unknown

Keep Your Courage

IMG_0122.JPG

But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. (‭Acts‬ ‭27‬:‭22‬ NIV)

Paul was in a horrible storm and on a prison ship on it’s way to Rome. He had tried to warn them that the journey was a bad idea. Now after fourteen days of being in a storm that seemed intent on destroying them, Paul tells them to hold on to their courage.

Why?

Because he had heard from God. He received a message from God through an angel that Paul would make it to Rome.

He looked to God when the winds screamed and whipped. When the waves surged and overwhelmed. He heard God speak over the storm and believed him. When Paul’s courage waned as he looked at the dark shy- he looked beyond it to God.

Keep your courage.
God didn’t promise the journey would be easy, He only said that it wouldn’t kill him. But even more- God saved all those with Paul. Even though they didn’t listen, even though they stubbornly went ahead anyway. Even though they made mistakes, even though they didn’t deserve it.

Paul told those men to keep their courage and they did. They survived the shipwreck and Paul made it Rome.

Keep your courage. Hold onto it. Look past the dark sky of the storm to God. You will get to where God wants you to. There is no promise that it will be easy, only that it will be possible. You might even be in the storm because someone else decided to not heed the warning.

Paul knew that it didn’t really matter why he was in the storm anymore. He was in it. Now all that mattered to looking to God to help him keep his courage and survive it.

Keep your courage.

Sometimes God quiets the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and quiets his child. Either way- He is with you.

I’ve Got Nothing

serving-hands

The wind was howling when the alarm went off yesterday morning. It wasn’t my alarm, it was Bobby’s – he leaves for the church by 7am every Sunday. The rain beat against the window and trees shook. We came home from a mostly sunny vacation in So. Cal. to cloud covered Nor. Cal. storm. I rolled over when he turned on the bathroom light and the next time I opened my eyes, he was kissing me goodbye. I mumbled “drive safe, it sounds crazy out there” or something like that.

My own alarm went off the second Bobby stepped out the door. That would be my cocker spaniel, Toby. The second Bobby leaves, Toby begins to howl. Annoying as it is, it gets me up. The wind was giving the dog a run for his money as it whipped around the house.

When I got the boys up, Kyle said, “Look mom, the bedroom window looks like we are in a car wash “, as water was just pouring down it.

Justin didn’t say anything, he just groaned and rolled over. It took forever to get that boy up, in the shower and dressed. Kyle was up and ready in about 10 minutes (donuts are a top motivator). I thought I was going to lose my mind trying to get Justing going. I was scheduled to do prayer and communion in the first service and I really didn’t want to be late for it. I used up all my patience as the minutes ticked by. I finally got the boys bundled warmly into the car only to be faced with slow traffic and flooded streets.

By the time I pulled into the church parking lot, I was frustrated, tired and cutting it close. I knew that in a few minutes I would get up in front of the congregation to pray and then present a few words to prepare the them to receive Communion. As I sloshed through the mini rivers in the parking lot, I whispered a prayer:

“I’ve got nothing, Lord”

Then the verse I’ve been stewing over since last week returned to me with a sweet assuring sense of peace attached:”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3 NIV)

I’ve got nothing– so I’m totally open to God’s everything.
Oh, yes.

I felt the frustration wash away and the worry lines in my forehead soften. I’ve got nothing but because of the Cross, I have access to everything. I am covered by grace. I am blessed. It isn’t about how much I have or how much I can do. Ministry life is about being honest with what I have (nothing) and be an open vessel to allow God to pour in all He is in.

I am so glad I don’t have to pretend to perfect. I would fail miserably, daily. I am also glad that the more I embrace my own weakness, I am given the key to walk confidently in God’s strength, power, and peace. Not by willing myself to be strong but by laying down the illusion I have strength. Not by working for God’s approval but by resting in His love. Not by memorizing words but by allowing the grace of God to permeate every fiber of my soul.

And by walking in the light of the forgiveness bought for me by Christ’s shed blood, I can find my son after I am done with Communion and ask him for forgiveness. Ask him to forgive me for getting frustrated and saying things I regret. When he gave me a hug, I was so thankful for the realization that “I’ve got nothing” because it lead me to the truth that in Christ I truly have everything.

My prayer for you, dear friend, is that you let go of trying to be strong enough and embrace the grace available to those who know they have nothing.

Water Walkers, Lion Chasers

“Right away Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “Your faith is so small!” he said. “Why did you doubt me?”
(Matthew 14:31 NIRV)

I’m sorry, I feel this is a “duh” moment.
Why did he doubt? The waves, the wind, standing on water – duh.

Peter was doing something that defied logic, the laws of physics, and had never been done before by a human being. Mesmerized by the sight of the Savior a few yards away walking calmly through the storm, his faith rose up and sailed past any human wonderings of “How is Jesus doing that?” ,”What is He doing?” “Why is He doing that?”. He bypassed all those because it was one of those moments where I think Peter saw Jesus- really saw Him for who He was: the divine all powerful God wrapped in humanity, humility, grace and power. In that moment of truth Peter stepped boldly out of the boat and onto the water.

It is when we catch a glimpse of who God really is that we bypass human questions and just step out. The supernatural becomes natural and there is no question in our hearts that we can, with Jesus, do impossible things.

Like walk on water.
Reconcile a broken relationship.
Forgive our abuser.
Love ourselves.
Reach out to a lost soul.
Share our faith.
Use our gifts.

When we catch a glimpse of what the all powerful God doing we want to join Him. We attempt things beyond our ability because we know the One who calls, equips. The One who leads, loves. The One who IS, shatters logic to break the chains holding humanity prisoner.

I see Jesus smiling a bit out there as he sees Peter’s eyes drift from His own to the storm around him. Immediately, He caught Peter then asked the rhetorical question, “Why did you doubt me?” Peter might have thought (if thought was possible) “You?? I was doubting me.” I suppose that when it comes to stepping out in faith, doubting yourself is the same thing as doubting God. Especially after taking those first few steps on the water. You are already out there- fill your mind and heart so full of God that there is no room to think about yourself and keep on walking.

The following is the Lion Chasers Manifesto from the book “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day” by Mark Batterson. It is one of the ways that I nourish my courage and refocus myself to go after of kind of life God calls me to. The kind that walks on water with Him, the kind doesn’t run from lions but chases them.

“Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life.
Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don’t try to be who you’re not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Don’t let fear dictate your decisions.Take a flying leap of faith. Chase the lion!”

Be a water walker today my friend. Be a lion chaser. Fill your soul with God and walk strong to your purpose. And don’t worry if you sink, here and there. The One who walks with you will catch you, pull you up and keep walking on water with you.

What part of the manifesto hits you right between the eyes and challenges to more?