Monday, November 29, 2010

Mon 11.29 Christe en Moi

Auch Day 3 Vision
Christe en moi
L'esperance de la gloire

Colossians 1:24-29
24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

The church's motto for the year is
Christ in me
The hope of Glory

That's just makes my heart sing. I saw it Sunday and it was reaffirmed in meetings today with the Pastor Jean-Marc and several other members of the Pastoral staff including Jeff Kim the missionary from United World Missions. We explored the vision for this team's work in church planting and what my participation would look like.
The Church called L'Espace Bethesda is essentially a tight-knit family of French believers who meet in the center of a region of small towns. Some drive almost an hour to attend the only church accessible to them. The team's vision is to plant new church's in each of those villages and for them to grow naturally as God himself nurtures them naturally.

Romans 8:25-28
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Phillipe, one of the lay leaders, spoke with Jeff and with me first to explain a little what it's like when lay people join the ministry. He spoke about the period of waiting for relationships to develop naturally over the first year before diving into action. He counseled learning the culture of the church before attempting to serve it. Most importantly he addressed and expanded my understanding of the balance and family spirit of the church as I observed it Sunday. He was easy to talk to , and to listen to!

Phillipe quoted and prayed the passage from Romans cited above. He also spoke of fruit which is a sign of where God has called and is leading. It was a powerful moment as he affirmed almost prophetically that God already knows where I'll end up and that he believes I will know it as well by the time I head home because the SPIRIT IS ALREADY PRAYING FOR ME IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS WILL!

Over lunch we met with the Lead Pastor Jean-Marc. He was also so at peace as he shared in depth about the landscape of the ministry as it was before a recent re-birth and where it is headed. The picture he painted includes foreign missions, small groups and a network of church plants in the region where so far there is only this church and it's first fledgling plant in Comminge, one of the not so near villages. I had so much peace as I listened to him qualify things often with the warning that they are planning but trying to always follow the Spirit's lead and timing naturally without pushing. I was suddenly moved when he echoed a sentiment a was on the verge of expressing aloud...that whatever was done I the future would proceed so that god would get the credit and glory instead of man.

The Kims had some errands so I have spent the rest of the afternoon touring Auch on foot. I spent quite a bit of that time in the Cathedral Saint Marie. I have included pics on Facebook which are accessible if you click on the photo in this post. At the end of my time in the cathedral I knelt in a chapel filled with candles lit with the light of prayers of the faithful in Auch and added my voice to theirs.
I have such a peace that I have seen a sincere view of the picture here. And I feel absolutely welcome. Everyone made sure there was no pressure to influence but a clear invitation and welcome if God leads me here.

I'm still processing but thank you for your prayers during the most important day in the first half of this trip!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sun 11.28 Auch, France

Auch, France
(pronounced USH as in usher)
45 minute drive west of Toulouse
population 28,000

I slept remarkably well. In my quiet time I continued meditating on the same verses from yesterday about God knowing His plans but for us but in a way that draws us closer to Him whether we see the details. Victor continues to be an always positive advanced 5 yr old bundle of energy. He was up and playing when I woke up right before my alarm refreshed and excited.
The work in Auch is a little unique. The Kims have joined an established church to aid that church in Planting new churches. L'Espace Bethesda, as it is called, is the only church of it kind in the area in a 45 minute radius. Some folks drive even longer than that to come!
The goal is to plant churches in each of the surrounding villages. One in Comminge has already been planted. It meets twice monthly. The rest of the time they all meet together here in Auch.
Today was a Comminge day so instead of almost 100 we were about 70 or 80.
I am a musician and have an open heart when it comes to worship. I didn't know what to expect. I have experienced anointed worship in other countries but not always. And not always in France. Sometimes the music is stilted and archaic. Or very 70's sounding. Or just plain bad in it's execution but beautiful in it's heart towards God.
The service at L'Espace Bethesda was just beautiful! They do all the worship up front, have communion during the next to the last song, offering during the last song, and end with the message. One song was a translation of "My Reedemer Lives" Hillsong or Vineyard NOT Nicole C. Mullen. All songs were very scriptural and easy to follow. The band was multicultural, led by Benjamin, a young black man from Guadaloupe. They were anointed and excellent.
But the message hit home like a two-by-four to the forehead. Joel used to be more involved as a teactor until some extreme health issues kept him bed-ridden for years. he only returned to church 6 months ago and just preached today for the first time. I didn't know all this until after his message. This makes the following message even sweeter because he never once mentioned his continuing health problems!
In short Joel Benoit spoke from Gen 15. Abraham has already been called, and has gone where God sent him. God is re-iterating the promise of progeny and blessing thru offspring. Abraham in a rare moment of verbal doubt challenges God's promise by reminding Him that at that moment his only heir was a non-relative member of his household. God tells him to make the first sacrifice of an animal, tells him to go out and look at the stars and puts him in a dep sleep to prophecy in more detail about way he will bless and shape the family/nation over the next 400 years.
Only God ratifies the COVENANT with Abraham by passing thru the two split pieces of the bloody sacrifice. Usually both parties, being equal, would pas thru together to signify the acceptance of the agreement and it's terms. The sacrifice itself was a symbol that said " may either of us end up like the sacrifice if we break our end of the deal." Only God ratified the covenant because only He could be faithful to its terms. And His faithfulness NEVER DEPENDS ON US. Abe had to wait a long to time to see the beginning of the promise and NEVER in life saw the nation his progeny would become, as promised. But his trust was counted to him as righteousness.
Joel pushed us, me to ask "What's the attitude of your heart while you wait for God to fulfill His promises to and purposes in you?" I was floored that I had come thousands of miles to hear a pastor preach a message that is the heart of my walk for a few years now, almost as if it was only for me! Joel walked us thru the scriptures and challenged us with "counting the stars." Remember that's how God told Abraham to remind himself of the promise. Like counting our blessings reminds us how faithful God has ALREADY BEEN! I'll be chewing on this one for a long time!
We came home to another fabulous French meal over a great conversation and discussion of the service, the church leaders and purpose and more of our personal stories. And Victor's continuous joy! We even braved the uncharacteristic rain and cold to take a late afternoon stroll in the town's riverside parc. It's been cold and rainy both days but warm inside as God links heart to heart and helps us become unified. Even if I end up in Paris we are team mates in the same country, winning the French for Christ!
I'll end with this. Even if the trip ended now it has been so illuminating about the work going on here down south in Auch. And their exciting longterm vision is to saturate the entire southwest with churches in every town and village! Isn't that the goal of the Gospel with feet on it?

Sat 11.27 with your whole heart

It may seem trite but I have not been able to get Jer 29 out of my head.
"For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope."

But as always I am thinking more about what follows:
"THEN you will come and pray to me and I will listen to You. You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with your whole heart."

On the way to Frankfurt I thought the Italian guy was gonna be the talker but then German Richard Schitzer showed up at the last last second. He was hurried and nervous at first. Then he talked until we landed 6hrs later. Richard is a few years younger than me. Can you believe when he married his wife he changed HIS name because of his stepdaughter? He was here on vacation: he had gone to Chattanooga and ended up in the factory there that buys parts he made in the factory where he works in Germany!?!
Stranger still, he met his friend's boss here. All of them are native Germans and it's the twin of his boss back home!!! This was his first trip abroad ever!
He was a friendly but lost father of 2 stepfather of 1. Youngest of 6 himself and was talking about euthanasia for his 83 yr-old mom. He talked a lot about feeling unfulfilled at work in his last 3 jobs. All I could think was how great he would be as a believer!
We didn't exchange info but he told me he's on Facebook a lot. Guess who was convicted to learn some German.

Jeff Kim met me at the Airport in Toulouse to drive to Auch 45 mins away where I'm staying with him and his wife Veronique and their 5 yr old Victor. The Pyrenees were visible in the distance as we drove. Cold and beautiful! Victor was so excited. While I recovered he chatted away and asked questions and invited me to play blocks with him. Veronique is originally from Lyon. She and Jeff met briefly in France when she was 17 and he 26 then reconnected years later in St. Louis and eventually married. It took them as long to build their team to move back to France as missionaries as it is taking me!

We spent the afternoon and evening getting to know each other and sharing our journeys up to this point. And eating. I am doing well with keeping small portions but I forgot how many more courses there always are. Victor has sort of adopted me as a big brother and explains everything to me in English in case I don't understand the French, lol.

I am grateful and encouraged immediately by how easy the KIMs are to talk to and befriend.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful for God's Moving-Your Next Step Institute

*ALL words in Bold=Ricardo, the rest YNSI

Each day this week I will GRATEFULLY highlight the ministries of other friends who have heard God's call to join Him in work HE is doing. They not only listened to God's voice but obeyed His call to action and are leading God's people in His work here and around the world.
Today's ministry is special because Monday's post was about a ministry that came as a direct result of today's ministry!


Turning Disciples into Disciple Makers

Dr. L. Douglas Dorman, President
Your Next Step Institute
PO Box 70519
Myrtle Beach, SC 29572

"1 Thessalonians 2:7-8'But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.'
If you are ready to take Your Next Step in being a disciple maker, we’d be delighted to have you as a student."

Those words ring true especially now as I approach a major move to another country to continue making disciple-makers for the Kingdom, for His glory and for His smile and for simple pure love of the French.
YNSI has given order and meaning to what I know and remember about the Old Testament while highlighting God's overall purpose to reconcile ALL PEOPLE to Himself. I am eager to grow even more in the New Testament course!

1. Twice in One Year
On Monday, January 3, 2011, YNSI is making a huge leap forward that we are ecstatic about. 2011 will be the first year that we offer YNSI twice in one year, YAY! We are looking to cover the New Testament during the first 9 weeks (This enables those who started the class in the Fall 2010 to finish the Bible). Then the new class will jump into the OT and finish by May 23rd. Wow, the whole Bible in one semester. It is really fun, informative and life transforming. Don't take my word for it, talk with one of our students. Then sign up as a student. Or just take my word for it and sign up today to become a student.

2. No Tuition
Each year I wrestle with how to include folks who want to come to YNSI but can't afford to. In 2011 we are going to experiment with a crazy idea....We are asking all incoming students to pledge monthly support to YNSI at any amount. That's right, any amount for 12 months. This way each student is contributing to the ministry but at a level that they are able.

3. Mondays and Wednesdays 6:30 to 8:00 AM
The new class will meet twice a week. We will meet in the classroom on Monday mornings from 6:30 - 8:00 AM. AND we will meet in my living room on Wednesday mornings from 6:30 - 8:00 AM. This combination of class room and living room is a nice dance that teaches the head and touches the heart. Good times.

I am so sure it will change you irrevocably that I am willing to Sponsor someone for the entire course in 2011. First 2 respond!

Doug produces a Daily Devotion available by email. Subscribe at the YNSI WEBSITE ABOVE
Here is today's devotional which JUST HAPPENS to tackle a subject and city very close to our hearts!

Photo by John Michael Dorman

2 Samuel 22:50 NAS
"Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD,
among the nations,
And I will sing praises to Your name."

Yesterday, I mentioned that in 1982 I first visited England. That summer also marked my first visit to Paris. This so-called "City of Lights" was, to me, a dark place. My years of French proved unhelpful and the sense of lostness I felt was palpable. I left France with no desire to return. Years passed before I passed through the city again. On the fourth pass through, I was with my oldest son, John Michael. We were returning from Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where we trained a group of pastors. Ironically, the Dark Continent, Africa, was shining bright with the hope of Christ. At the urging of a friend, John Michael and I decided to spend a couple of days in Paris and take a bike ride touring the city. During this bike ride, my view of Paris changed forever.

We began the tour at the Cath├ędrale Notre Dame de. Our first stop was the old Jewish wall. There we heard about the persecution of the Jews in Paris' past and it is there that my bike ride turned into a mission. I began praying for forgiveness for the city and for revival for Paris and for France. This secular city is becoming a very religious city. It's rejection of Christianity in favor of secular humanism is backfiring as it becomes increasingly a Muslim state.

Where light is rejected, darkness floods. Where light is received more light is given. Join me in praying for the cities of Europe. Join me in praying for the cities and towns and villages of America. We are in desperate need of a global revival. I'm thankful today that on two wheels I began to see a dark city in a different light. I began to see a glimmer of hope. I began to see that I have a responsibility to pray and thus shine the Light of Christ in dark places. Let's increase the wattage of our light. After all, God saw the darkness in us but did not give up on us after just one pass through.

Father, Thank You for not giving up on me. Thank You for delivering me from darkness and bringing me into the light of Your Son Jesus Christ. Thank You that the very Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives within me. Amen.

Take Your Next Step

Redemption Art-Thankful for God's Moving

Each day this week I will gratefully highlight the ministries of other friends who have heard God's call to join Him in work HE is doing. They not only listened to God's voice but obeyed His call to action and are leading God's people in His work here and around the world.

Today I thank God for Redemption Art founded by Caitlin Beidler and affiliate Camp Hope Haiti. Thru these ministries Caitlin connects believers in the US with opportunity in Haiti and connects Haitians to the Love of God in the flesh and blood of caring brothers and sisters!

Redemption Art Mission

The mission of Redemption Art is to restore people, relationships, and communities through art. If something is in need of restoration, the implication is that it has been broken. Redemption Art's foundational belief is that people are broken and in great need of restoration. Once there is restoration, transformation of people, relationships, and communities can occur.

Redemption Art aims to be an effective tool in the restoration process by first creating trusting relationships through art, regardless of race, age, culture, or socioeconomic status. From these relationships, Redemption Art seeks to help bring about restoration and then transformation.

Redemption Art fulfills its mission by functioning as a "Business as Mission." Business as Mission is a term to describe the use of business as a tool for holistic transformation in people and in communities by addressing needs of the mind, body, spirit, specifically for the advancement of The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Thus far, Redemption Art ministers to the whole person in these ways:

To physical needs through vocational opportunities (Real-life example: A Haitian living below poverty level helps complete a mural project. He is paid for his help, and therefore he is able to provide for some of his most basic needs.)

To mental needs through empowerment of a person's gifts (Real-life example: A Haitian man who believes he will never amount to anything because of where he lives is given the opportunity to use his skills to build a ladder for a mural project, and he is therefore empowered within himself and his community.)

To spiritual needs through sustainable, caring relationship (Real-life example: Talking weekly, praying with, and caring for a Haitian youth who has no family care or support.)

Redemption Art Conception

Redemption Art began in 2006. The artist, Caitlin Beidler, studied at the University of Ulster art school in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2001 during her college studies at University of Richmond, which began her pursuit of art. She graduated from University of Richmond in 2002 with a BA in Psychology and Studio Art. She now lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and travels extensively doing live painting, custom artwork, workshops, and international murals.

Redemption Art Artwork

Each piece of artwork created by Redemption Art is different because each person, relationship, and community is different. Redemption Art aims to translate onto canvas each unique story. There are some common threads throughout the artwork. First, in each piece, light is somehow portrayed. The artwork is most often created from a black or dark-colored canvas. This is a symbolic and subtractive method, meaning light is brought from the darkness.

Second, most often there is writing incorporated into the artwork. The writing is often motivated by Scripture.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful for God's Moving-Project James

Each day this week I will gratefully highlight the ministries of other friends who have heard God's call to join Him in work HE is doing. They not only listened to God's voice but obeyed His call to action and are leading God's people in His work here and around the world.

Today I thank God for Project James Founded by my dear friends Jeff and Rhonda Cole
Jeff is in Haiti as we speak leading a short-term team in ministry and construction as we speak!

Project James is a christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, widows, families and their communities to bring them into a living relationship with Jesus Christ through tackling the causes of poverty and injustice in their community.

We would like you to meet JJ. He is a three year old orphan from Haiti at Christian Light School. JJ came to the Christian Light School as a badly burned and starving little boy. He is one of the many beautiful children in the “Little Angles” pre-K program at his school. With his infectious smile and laughter, he is one of the many many reasons we do what we do to help in Haiti and other areas of the world.

Overview:Project James is a 501(c)(3) that seeks to make people aware of the plight of people who are suffering around the world and do something about it. Our organization name comes from James 1:27 "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this; to visit widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world."

Mission:Project James is raising money through monthly child sponsorships from the community of folks who believe in helping those who need a helping hand. Project James also leads teams on mission trips to the areas we are financially supporting so you may see where and how the funds are allocated.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

11.19+11.20 Dreaming While Awake

11.19+11.20 Dreaming While Awake

Is 62:6-7
I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem;
they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the LORD,
give yourselves no rest,
and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem
and makes her the praise of the earth.

Lyrics from the song I perform and identify with most in the show
"Make Them Hear You."
Doesn't it sound like a call to arms for the church or an anthem for missionaries. So that's our post for yesterday and today. Counting down the days. By the way thanx for your prayers, God let me sweat until I remembered to depend and trust and then He worked out the stressful stuff as only He can!








Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thu 11.18 Jesus

Thu 11.18 Jesus

Acts 3:6
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
Acts 3:16
By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.
Acts 4:30
Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.
1 John 3:23
And this is His command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

Song:Your Great Name

Lost are saved; find their way;
at the sound of Your Great Name
All condemned; feel no shame,
at the sound of Your Great Name
Every fear; has no place;
at the sound of Your Great Name
The enemy; he has to FLEE;
at the sound of Your Great Name

Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb
that was slain for us
Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up;
That all the world will praise Your Great Name

All the weak; find their strength;
at the sound of Your Great Name
Hungry souls; receive grace;
at the sound of Your Great Name
The fatherless; they find their rest;
at the sound of Your Great Name
Sick are healed; and the dead are raised;
at the sound of Your Great Name

Redeemer, My Healer, Almighty
My Savior, Defender, You are My King

This song is the one I'm most looking forward to Sunday. I won't be leading it and I only gave you an excerpt but it is a powerful testimony written by a woman after a long struggle with chronic illness was healed IN JESUS NAME. And it is
Rapture Practice!

A week from now, Fri 11.26 I'll be heading to France to meet Team Auch and Team Paris. Please be praying for a sincere connection with both teams and direction towards one or the other by the Holy Spirit.
Also pray for finances as I have been laid off but unemployment is approved but waiting on my employer to give go ahead. No income and a little anxiety here. Please pray for peace and for me to TRUST HIM.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Take Me To The Cross Again

Wed 11.18 Take Me To The Cross Again

2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who said,
“Let light shine out of darkness,”
made His light shine
in our hearts
to give us the light
of the knowledge of God’s glory
displayed in the face of Christ.

My endless efforts
They will never be enough
To impress You and earn Your love
There’s only one way
It wasn’t possible for me
Till You spent Your blood on me

So take me to the cross again
Remind me where I should have been
And where I belong now,
Where I belong now
Take me to the cross again
Remind me where I should have been
And where I belong now
Where I belong now

My deepest longing
Is to join You where You are
To behold You and never part

There’s just one way
It wasn’t possible for me
Till You spent Your blood on me

Cause I’ve been crucified
But I’m alive because You died
I’ve been crucified
But I’m alive because You live
I’ve been crucified
But I’m alive

Enough said.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


11.14-11.16 Refuge

Psalm 18

1 I love you, LORD, my strength.

2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

6 In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From His temple He heard my voice;
my cry came before Him, into His ears

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
He drew me out
of deep waters.

17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.

18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the LORD was my support.

19 ...He rescued me because He delighted in me.

28 You, LORD, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
30 As for God, His way is perfect:
The LORD’s word is flawless;
He shields all who take refuge in Him.

31 For who is God besides the LORD?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
49 Therefore I will praise You, LORD, among the nations;
I will sing the praises of Your name.

Busy. Remembering to find my Refuge in Him above all the time-consuming activities. Joyful but tired. This will the busiest week then a breather before travelling 11.26-12.6.

Still praying for opportunities to come share with your family at home or with your church family.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Black & Gold

11.12+11.13 Ps 33:4-6
For the word of the LORD is right and true;He is faithful in all he does.
The LORD loves righteousness and justice;the earth is full of his unfailing love.

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
their starry host by the breath of His mouth.

Song: Black & Gold

Long week, especially the last few days. My joy is still exceptionally high but I have been so busy I am tired. And it seems a lot of folks are just needin prayer and us to walk thru difficult circumstances with them. So here's the rest of the Psalm 33. It sings for itself as the original Psalm that inspired todays (and yesterday's) song.

1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise Him.
2 Praise the LORD with the harp;
make music to Him on the ten-stringed lyre.
3 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy...
7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars;
He puts the deep into storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD;
let all the people of the world revere Him.
9 For He spoke, and it came to be;
He commanded, and it stood firm.
10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations;
He thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever,
the purposes of His heart through all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people He chose for His inheritance
13 From heaven the LORD looks down
and sees all mankind;
14 from His dwelling place he watches
who live on earth—
15 He who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do
16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in His unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.

20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.
21 In Him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in His holy name.

22 May YOUR unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in YOU.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

11.10+11.11 Praise You in The Storm

Praise You in The Storm
Psalm 27:13-14 I remain confident of this:I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Job 13:15 Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him

I was sure by now,God,
You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

And I will praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone
how can I carry on
If I can't find You

I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tue 11.9 Light The Fire

Tue 11.9 Light The Fire

1 Peter 1:6-8
"In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Though you have not seen him, you love Him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy"

This song is from a decade ago when I first met the the JC's Coffeehouse (now Refuge) crew. They were young college students and single adults serving God with passion and havin the most fun I had ever seen...both at the same time.I date the arrival of lasting joy in my life from this time...from their example that allowed me to lean on Jesus for joy.
A few years later one of those guys challenged me to use my language skills and love of teaching and mentoring for God. I date my call to Missions from that conversation.
I leave for France the day after Thanksgiving to meet the 2 United World Mission Teams! I'll have 10 days there on this VISION TRIP to get to know them and see where God is leading us together.
I think it's fitting to say how grateful I am to the folks God used to lead me to His will. They didn't just sing this song...they lived it and taught me to, by their example!
May God "light the FIRE in YOUR Soul" and lead you directly in His will!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mon 11.8 Significance

Mon 11.8 Significance

Job 10:8-9
“Your hands shaped me and made me...
Remember that you molded me like clay.

As I LISTEN to God these last few weeks, more, but still not as well as I wish, He keeps reminding me NOT to value my significance in worldly affections or where I am of service...even to Him.

A friend recommended a book called The Search for Significance about that very same subject years ago. I haven't been able to borrow it/read it but I have recommended it to others based on the summary and their need similar to mine.

I think of the Bible often as a shiny PERFECT mirror that when we hold it close enough reveals
who God is
who we are
and how far we have left
to get to who God wants us to be.

I mean like holding a mirror right up to your nose. The mirror is the perfection of God's plan and of His Son who lives in and thru us but we can still see the imperfections of the person we were before Christ just as u can see pimples and blemishes at close range.

God sees His son first, and the covering of righteousness imparted by His Blood.
Then He sees HIS OWN Craftsmanship and the potential in us to be all

Like an artist He sees HIS FINGERPRINTS.

STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN sang a song called The Fingerprints of God that says this well.
I pray you and I would be brave enough to draw near to God thru His word so that His word can become a mirror for us to see HIM, ourselves and others rightly,
from His Perspective. And be able to say TO GOD like the Psalmist in 139:12-14

"You created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sun 11.7 Listen

The need to Listen more than we speak is so strong I'm only posting the words of the one to whom we should listen instead of a video.
Hear God speak thru scripture.
In the following passage from Luke we find Jesus in the first recorded public actions after his birth. His parents lose him and return to Jerusalem to find him.
Listen to what he is doing:

Luke 2:46-47
Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.
And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

I've been marinating on today's sermon passage for a few weeks.

James 1:19b Everyone must be
quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger

Look what God promises us about His plans and HIS LISTENING!...

Jeremiah 29:11-13
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord , ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope. ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

The God of the Universe will Listen to US?
Makes me wanna make sure I listen to Him so that I have something worthwhile to say when I get His attention. Then it'll be easier to listen sincerely to others.

Here's to open ears and open hearts!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sat 11.6 Light Up The Sky

Sat 11.6 Light Up The Sky

Nehemiah 8:10b The joy of the LORD is your strength.”

So I finished the song but know I'll have to give it another go. it's rough in execution but I believe all of the joy of this Modern Psalm made it into the recording,lol!

When I'm feeling all alone
With so far to go
The signs that know we're on this road
Are guiding me home
When the night is closing in
Is falling on my skin
Oh God, will you come close

You light, light, light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me that you are with me
And I, I, I can't deny
No I can't deny that you and right here with me
You've opened my eyes
So I can see you all around me
You light, light, light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me that you are with me

When stars are hiding in the clouds
I don't feel them shining
When I can't see beyond my doubt
The silver lining
When I've almost reached the end
Like a flood you're rushing in
Your love is rushing in (your love is rushing in)

So I'll run straight to your arms
You're the bright and morning sun
To show your love there's nothing you won't do

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thu+Fri 11.4-5 Light Up The Sky

Thu+Fri 11.4-5 Light Up The Sky Excerpt

Psalm 34:8
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.

Very simply I fell in love with a snippet of this song last week but didn't catch the name again until tonight. I was so excited to find the title again tonite. I only got to listen for about 20 minutes before I recorded just about half of the song.

So like God only reveals Himself little by little to us, I have revealed just enough of this song for you to come back for the rest.. tomorrow.

So come back for the rest of the song tomorrow...but my prayer is that you would Hear/See God inviting you deeper into Himself!

In France News:
New supporters every week now! Pray for clear communication with all supporters.

Vision trip is set. I purchased the ticket this week for
November 26th-December 6th!!!
I'll meet both teams and we'll pray about where I fit best and see where God leads us!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wed 11.3 You Never Let Go

Wed 11.3 You Never Let Go
Request:For Kara Gowan

Job 1:20-22
Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.
Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised.”
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Job 13:15
Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him

Psalm 27:13-14
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

Luke 5:12-13
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

2 Cor 12:7-10
...I was given a thorn in my flesh,...Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But HE said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for MY power is made perfect in weakness.
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Ricardo 39:1 When I am weak...HE IS Strong. For HIS GLORY!
God doesn't always heal. But He still does. God allows suffering on a small scale sometimes and even tragedy sometimes and sometimes rescues us from it.
Your prescription is not the same as mine and is often not what you want but it is always what will keep you close to and dependent on Him.

Pray for Vivien, Mike and Julie Clardy's precious baby who I believe God wants to heal and make a testament to Life...which is what her name means!
Pray for folks like Kara who live thru illness with more JOY than some who live joylesly in perfect health.
Pray for my friend Jess Sagun who has endured physical pain and anguish longer than most of us could.
May Jesus be peace, strength and healing.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tue 11.2 My Jesus I Love Thee

“We love Him because He first loved us.”
1 John 4:19

The lives of most people are not captured in the history books.
Memories are left to the hearts and minds of family and friends,
and then all too soon fade into the tapestry of times past.
And so it was with William Ralph Featherson.
He was born without fanfare on July 24, 1846, in Montreal Canada, and he died in the same city, just before his 27th birthday.
Little else is known of his short life except for the fact that some time during his 16th year of life William put pen to paper to record a love poem.
The love he expressed was deep and true.
The words of that poem have lasted more than a century beyond Featherson's life and death.

In 1876, three years after Featherson's passing, Adoniram Gordon put music to this love poem and added it to a hymnal which was published that same year.

My Jesus, I Love Thee

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus 'tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me
And purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus 'tis now.

In Mansions of glory and endless delight,
I'll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I'll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mon 11.1 Shout To The Lord

Isaiah 44:23
Sing for joy, you heavens,...
shout aloud, you earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
you forests and all your trees,

Song:Shout to the Lord

The modern Psalmist literally lifted some of the lyrics for this song from the Scriptures. Isn't it profound to glimpse the fringe of the truth that all of creation is testifying to God's Glory and literally...LITERALLY singing His praises!

And YET we have more reason to sing, than even the angels who bask in His presence day and night...

God orchestrated a master plan
to redeem us from Death and Hell
because of His great love for US!

When every moment is anchored by gratitude and awe
at the kind of love that God embodies
then transformation occurs in hearts, lives, communities...
Yes Cities! And even Nations!