Intermission: The New Season

Sunday, January 16, 2011

So, that's that. January 2011 marks the beginning of a new season.

Perhaps August 21 - December 21, 2010 were given to me to ease out of the old and into the new. I do not know.

So far, all I know about right now is that I am finishing up my studies and teaching my siblings. On the side I'm keeping a house, cooking meals, and washing clothes. As I have time I get to fellowship with a dear friend. That alone keeps my time very occupied.

May the Lord continue to establish me in Himself. May I continue to find my greatest joy in knowing Him. May this season and any that follow continue to flow out of that relationship I have with Him. May my life shout that it is not my own.

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24 ESV)

After all, this is my journey for Him. It is THROUGH * FOR* BY Him. For my determined purpose is that I may know God. That I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving, recognizing, and understanding the wonders of His person more strongly and more clearly. That I may be continually transformed into His likeness...

Intermission: The Old Season pt. 3

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Written On 01/12/11


Right before I left in August of 2010, we had spent the last two months together. I was indeed at her house every week day. I think she knew the season was going to change for us and she wasn't ready to say goodbye to it any more than I was. We had come to the place where it seemed as though we'd never not known each other and to be honest I don't think either of us could imagine our lives without the other.

So, I went away. We wrote letters, sent cards, and talked on the phone.

On December 23, 2010, the day finally came. I was home and she had invited my family to come over and hear her tell the Christmas Story from the Bible on the day before Christmas Eve. Just as we have done since Christmas 2008. There were seven of us there that night, but it felt like only two. We all walked in and I hung back while she greeted everyone. Then, it was my turn. We hugged and cried. We didn't want to let go. We just stood there speechless. We did not need words, we could not find words, to express our love. It was good.

Before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye. We did. We came home. We each celebrated Christmas and then New Years with our families. Then, life in my small town began. The hours of my days began to fill. I would be starting back up my college classes, schooling my siblings, and running the house while my mom filled in at my dad's office. I got a call to fill in at the old coffee shop for a few days. Everyday I thought of Alice but couldn't get over all the things that I needed to do. I was overwhelmed.

As I said, yesterday I met with God and realized "I can, simply because I know I AM and this is the work He has for me right now." A peace washed over me. A peace that makes me an effective minister of the Gospel that is continually working to prepare me for heaven. Last night I went to bed telling myself that I needed to see her soon. I woke up thinking about arranging to go over after dinner. Well, she must have thought the same thing. I had been home and we'd only seen each other once. So, she called and we arranged to get together.

I just returned from several hours visiting with Alice. Sweet hours. Reflecting on life, our times together, laughing, nearly crying, just enjoying the company we have, the fellowship we share with our God. We have come to recognize the new season God has for us. Rather than getting together in afternoons to work as we have before, our times together will look different. We have decided to plan an evening each week to get together. Eventually the Lord may have something else in store for us, but for now, that is what He has given us and we are going to enjoy it!

I thank God for that season. I praise Him for all that He has taught me. I'm ready now to face each new day of this new season.

Intermission: The Old Season pt. 2

Friday, January 14, 2011

Written On 01/12/2011


Beginning around February of 2008 I began filling in for my dad's receptionist on Fridays. Now, since I had already spent much time there especially on Fridays for years before and I live in a small town I saw many familiar faces. I got right back into the swing of how his office worked and who I would see each week. It was through working there that I met a dear friend. The woman who has made up much of this last season of my life.

Her name is Alice. One Friday she came by and mentioned some leaves she had out back. Spring was coming and she wanted to get her garden cleaned up. Unfortunately, she was getting older and it was going to be quite a chore. She was not asking for help. But, God led me to ask if I could help.

Now, I had known of Alice since I was five years old. Every week I would file her folder and for some reason I just knew she was a special lady. We never really talked but I knew who she was and she knew who I was. Our lives had intersected when I was five because my family rented a house from her son and his wife. They were very kind to us.

Back to that day....She was surprised at my offer. We arranged some afternoon the next week for me to come over and help. I got right to work and the two of us had the leaves all cleaned out in no time. I do not know exactly what happened after that, all I know is that I ended up going to her house about one afternoon a week. At first we worked outside together. Before I knew it, fall was there and we had moved inside. Winter came and we were still inside, cooking, cleaning, organizing, if you can think of it, we've probably done it together! That spring day turned into many more days like it and now I can say we are getting ready to begin the fourth year of our friendship. By the summer of 2009 I was over at her house nearly everyday. Sometimes I'd go to work, sometimes I'd go to visit. We'd always find something to do. We have kept that up.


Intermission: The Old Season pt. 1

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Written 01/12/2011

So, what was the old season?

It lasted just over three years.

Beginning in August of 2007 I began saying a very slow good-bye to the old season. God had made clear the plans He had for my college education and the time I would continue to have to prepare for the rest of my life. After receiving my acceptance letter, I began making arrangements. I gave notice that I would no longer be able to continue working at the coffee shop I had been working at. Around that same time, the opportunity came up for my family to move to a new house that would allow us to have the kind of life my parents desired.

So, I spent the final months of 2007 helping to train several new employees at the coffee shop who would be taking up where I left off and helping to get my family moved out of one house and into another. Those were hard months, but sweet months. Much time was spent cleaning, packing, unpacking, and getting used to a new way of doing things.

January 15, 2008 was the very first day of my journey into correspondence college. That's right. I would be working toward a BA in Christian Education from the comfort of my parents' home. This is not an easy task. It requires planning and discipline. The first few days I spent over 7 hours a day figuring out the formating, how much work I actually needed to do, and so on. Needless to say I was very glad that I had quit my job at the coffee shop because between school, my responsibilities at home, and the work I did at my dad's office and babysitting my days were more than full. Within the next month or so, I had a more balanced schedule. There were still days that I took a lot of time on school but most days took only about 5 hours.

The season was not done changing. I began having to limit the amount of babysitting I was doing. For the six years prior to that I almost never said no to a babysitting job. I looked at babysitting as a form of ministry so unless I was sick or had a previous commitment to my family or another job I always said yes. It was during those first few months of college that I said no simply because I didn't "feel" up to taking the job. Little by little, people realized that I just couldn't be there for them as much as before and that my season was changing. Over the course of 2008 I went from babysitting for many hours each week to putting in a few hours each month. Over the course of the last few years that has turned into a few hours every couple of months.

It took a lot for me to come to grips with that. I wanted to be able to say yes, but really, I simply couldn't anymore. That was part of God's plan.



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I have been home for three short weeks this very evening. In that time my life has gotten right back to normal. Well, a new normal. In my small community I can always expect to be extremely busy.

With every season of my life I begin by being overwhelmed. I look at all the new opportunities the Lord gives with excitement but I refuse to let go of the old opportunities I had been enjoying in the previous season. In those instances I am overwhelmed because I take my life into my own hands.

Eventually I seek God long enough to finally get it drilled into myself to take a step back and let go of that which lies behind and grab hold of what lies ahead. That is to say that I let go of the old season and begin to enjoy the new season. With each new season, I never do forget the old. I look back on them regularly rejoicing over what God taught me during those times. I fondly recall the memories of days gone by. Embracing the new season simply enables me to live in God's will and there I find peace. There I can truly say "I can simply because I know I AM".

Coming home began a new season. I still do not know what all this season holds. What I do know is that yesterday was the breaking point. It was in the hours of yesterday that I realized "I can simply because I know I AM and He has given me this work to do."

Amazingly enough He finds a way of bringing all the elements of my life into balance. Those people who occupied so much of my time during the old season slowly but surely begin new seasons of their own. The things I did for them get done by someone else. Everything works out in God's perfect timing.

So, here I am. A new season a new beginning. I've embraced the goodbye of the last season and can finally say that I am ready to enjoy this one.

Please pray for me. Pray that I would continue to be kept by God. Kept seeking Him, being drawn closer to Him, being sought by Him, and glorifying Him. Pray that this season would bring forth the fruit meant for it, fruit that will proclaim the Name of our Great God!

Use Me

Living on mission is not a result of anything IN us. It is only by the grace of God that we can or will live on mission and continue to go. Pray that God would use you.

On this track, Tedashii shares some of the wisdom and passion God has given him.

The whole song is basically a prayer that God would use Him WHEREVER He sees fit. Tedashii does address people along the way with their need for the Gospel that God has sent him out with. He says, "What you need is a Savior to save you...and to set you free from the sin that's within. I've got that hope; Washed by His blood and shining bright...Saved by His grace and that by God alone. All so I could enter mission...trusting Him to get it done, I'll overcome every obstacle."

He then calls us to join him, "Let's enter mission with feeling. No time for sitting, let's get it..."

And the prayer begins, "Use me like you never have before. Give me passion beyond passive. Father, let me be Your voice, crying out in the wilderness, of peace. On a pilgrimage to feast on the Your Scripture then start spilling it with willingness...Submission to Your Spirit's hand, make it clear to men who are lost...the fact that they're mortal and they can't escape the fate...Sin keeps on adding up, how long before you've had enough? Surrender to the Master!"

"Use me however, Lord. I'll give it whatever, my talent, my time, my treasure. It's all for You, no exceptions. I want to give You every part of me. You deserve the heart of me, more than just my artistry. To some this is the hardest thing, but You came down, took the former man and pardoned me. Bore my load and saved me soul, for that, Lord, You get all of me! And this I mean it truthfully, because of what You do for me, You can find me enter mission, on duty! Everything I am, Lord, You can get it! Please sanctify me to live it as we walk on this mission. Trusting in Your only Son to tell them Your the only One that saves men, raises men, and now we live forever..."

May we join him in this prayer that exalts the name of the Lord. The One who was on mission before time began. The One whose mission has changed us. The One who has given us the mission to enter into! Use me, all of me, Lord! I'm willing because you made me willing and will keep me willing!

Show Off

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

So, if our mission is to make Christ known in our everyday lives, how do we go about doing that? Simply put, Show Off. Show Off Christ. Show Off the work He has done and is doing in your life!

On this track, Lecrae and Flame come together under DJ Official.

Summaries of Lecrae's key lines:

This is the new me, the old me I had to throw off.

Let people know that Christ is still in control.

I'm going to sure enough show what He did in my soul.

Everyday is another mission, send me, I'll go!

Yes, you got me. Yes, I'm a show off. Shirt to the shoes, everything for Jehovah!

Like the moon, I reflect what the Son does. I don't want to get the glory, I want the Son to!

We share that Gospel. We aren't talking about walking up to the altar. We are talking heart change where your life gets altered!

Summaries of Flame's lines:

I've got the world on my heart...all seven continents. I move smooth with all of heaven's confidence.

Good news, good news, I'm showing off the Gospel!

Enter the Mission

Monday, January 10, 2011

The intro to the entire album is called "Enter the Mission". Featuring Dr. Eric Mason, DJ Official, and R-Swift, this introduction ties all that follows together.

It begins with Dr. Eric Mason speaking these words that I think of almost every day, "The Christian by identity is a missionary. We don't just 'do' missions. That's the most important thing we have to understand; that missions is not a trip you go on. Missions is who you are. The call of God for His people to go into the world based on the Great Commission is His call and His command to mission."

Wow....Christian, missions is who you are.

DJ Official also has a few words to share. He speaks for those artists who worked with him on the album who share one mission with God, each other, and all His saints. "That mission is to make Christ known to others in our everyday lives."

Christian, missions, that is to make Christ known to others in your everyday life, is who you are.

R-Swift then addresses everyone imaginable with a sort of battle cry for the missional journey that lays ahead.

Some of his key lines:

"They told me shoot for the stars, but my aim is Christ."

"Our hearts beat for the streets with no vitals in them...We're praying to see revival in them!"

"This is just the enter mission, as we enter the mission!"


Sunday, January 09, 2011

I may have already talked about this. But it doesn't matter, I'm bound to have fresh insights! God is doing so much in me right now. I'm bursting at the seams. I have been overwhelmed by His goodness in all areas of my life. I have visited nearly every place I have ever wanted to visit in life. I have seen one of my little brothers get baptized. I have seen my little sister meet with God in a way that leaves her changed. I have had the chance to be a part of a Christian body learning from some serious saints. The list really goes on. In short, I have seen God's grace in my life, in the lives of those around me, and in the lives of those far off.

Seeing God's grace is exciting, amazing, and absolutely unfathomable.

So, what's this post about anyway?

DJ Official's album: Entermission.

This this album, a Reach Records DJ gathered the lyrics, voices, talents, and styles of artists from around the world to share a passion for God and His mission.

That's right, they gave their time, their talents, and their knowledge to share with anyone who will listen some of God's riches!!! Riches that have become their own. Riches that have them writing songs, producing beats, planting Churches, loving wives, raising children, and traveling the world with the Gospel of Christ.

That album continues to bless me. It has been blessing me more than usual in this time of gathering with my family to look at God's mission for His people. The mission, the vision He intends for every one of His people to catch and live their lives for.

Developing a Mission

Friday, January 07, 2011

Through advent this year the opportunity came up for me to request that our family seek God and labor together to develop His mission statement for our family.

I believe that such a focused declaration will help us use all of our todays for the sake of the Gospel. So often, we are living lives that reveal hearts of people who totally disregard God.

So, what does developing that mission look like?

I am going to request that we go through CJ Mahaney's book "Living the Cross Centered Life Together".

I listened to Francis Chan's talk at Passion 2011 in Atlanta and was challenged by this summary of his message: Make your life make sense in light of the Gospel.

I am challenged by what God showed us the other night in Bible study: You are alive, you are saved to become worshipers of God who help those around you become worshipers of God who help those around them become worshipers of God.

Worshipers of God know God, love God, and obey God. That is to say that they have a relationship with God. They seek Him daily. They hold Him in highest esteem, above all else. Finally, they do His will. They put off their sinful tendencies and put on the holiness they see in Christ.

Drinking From the Fountain of Living Water

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

First thing this morning, my little sister bundled up and headed for the barn to take care of her horses. While this can take a while, it took her longer than usual this morning. She finally came inside. When she did, she had a smile on her face, a smile that I could hear in her voice before I even saw her face! As she began talking, I looked up from the work I was doing. She told me that she had met with the Lord. Growing up in a Christian family often means that your faith becoming your own is unique. She has had a heart for the Lord and prayer for quite a while. Many people would have said that she has been a Christian for a long time. Maybe she has. But, in her mind, this morning will be a day she remembers for hte rest of her life.

This morning she met the Lord. She praised Him in song. She was led to kneel before Him in prayer. She literally felt Him work in her heart and mind. I praise God for being able to hear of the work He has done in her life. I praise God for being able to be a part of the work He will do in and through her life.

This evening, at her request I gathered with her and my little brother for a Bible study. We were reading about how we were created by God to be worshipers. The ultimate worship we were created to enjoy is worship of our Holy God, the very One who Created us. The One who is our Redeemer, Justifier, and Sanctifier. The One who walked with Adam and Eve, Abraham, David, and Paul. The One who crafted beauty from the bitter life Ruth and Naomi faced. The One who walked with Spurgeon, Edwards, Owen, Whitefield, and Mueller. The One who walks with the likes of John Piper, Lecrae Moore, Matt Chandler, Mark Dever, Francis Chan, and all the saints who are risking their lives to enjoy God forever. Yes, He is working in our lives. Lives that no one outside of our direct acquaintance may know. Yet, He works in us. He saves us.

He has made us to be worshipers of Him.

Last year the fact that we were made to know God and make Him known became very real to me. I am alive, I am saved to know God and make Him known.

This evening something else became real to me. We are alive, we are saved to become worshipers of God. Each day that we wake up, wether we are young and have our lives ahead of us or find ourselves in a nursing home wishing we would just die already, we can face each day saying, "This day has been given to me to become a worshiper of God!"

May we become worshipers of God, today. May we use today to become worshipers of God who help those around us become worshipers of God who help those around them become worshipers of God.

By God's grace we can and we will and it will be very good, indeed!