A 21 Day Spiritual Journey: Day 11

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

This afternoon before I left church I closed myself in my office and prayed through all the items on my thought web. Throughout the last eleven days I have continued to add things to the web. It’s getting quite large. Some of the requests require nothing short of a miracle; Others simply need my time and attention.  As I prayed through my list, though, I realized that the real miracle I need is for God to prioritize and organize my schedule to fit all the dreams He has given me into it in their proper order.

I have been amazed at how quickly God has touched some of the circled requests while it seems HE is waiting on others. As I prayed I felt that God is going to give me action plans for each request in its proper order. My job is to keep praying into them. I also have to be ready to receive vision and then to release that vision into the hands of others whom God will equip for the tasks at hand.

I am at the point of realizing I will need to call forth help and entrust myself to godly men and women to help me accomplish much of my call. I need to pray about what I am to release into the hands of others.

What do you need to ask for help with in order to fulfill your dreams?

 

A 21 Day Spiritual Journey: Day 10

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” ― C.S. Lewis

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
― C.S. Lewis

At the beginning of this spiritual journey I made a thought web of all the things I would be praying for. I’ve been circling around the need for forward advance in our pastoral care and prayer ministries for the last 10 days . Today at our department head meeting we were asked to move into groups of two and I just happened to get paired with our director of prayer ministries. A list of questions was handed to us from which we were to draw four. We got stuck on the first one which was “what do you plan to accomplish in the next 12 months.” But in the hour given us we were able to hammer out a vision for both ministries that I think will dove-tail beautifully. The meeting was unplanned by us but certainly planned and ordained in time by God. I love how He answers our prayer for guidance.

My take away from the day is that the work  which lies ahead is going to take careful preparation in order to execute. I am not going to be able to waltz into God’s next level of ministry by accident. I am back to the words God gave me a year ago….SLOW- CONSTANT- INTENTIONAL!

“He who is best prepared can best serve his moment of inspiration.” 
―    Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“Unfortunately, there seems to be far more opportunity out there than ability…. We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.” 
―    Thomas A. Edison

“Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.” 
―    Alan Armstrong

A 21 Day Spiritual Journey: Day 9

Today God has been speaking to me about opportunities and closed doors. More specifically that every opportunity opens one door and closes another.

A friend of mine teaches in many of his courses “Everything you say yes to means saying no to something else.”

Since I cannot be omnipresent this just makes sense. I can’t do everything. But again, walking through one door means I have to  leave behind a lot of what I had in the last place I found myself. The hoarder inside of me says this is bad, but God tells me “everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.” MA 19:29

So I am changing, giving up what I must in order to attain the promises God has put deep inside of my heart. I know any pain I may experience in the closing of doors will be swallowed up in the great joy of knowing Christ.

What doors must you close to pursue the burning yes God has given you?

A 21 Day Spiritual Journey: Day 8

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

God always gives us exactly what we need, even if we don’t think we need it. Our acceptance or rebellion against God’s plans take nothing from God. Such decisions only make pleasant or painful our journey through the adventure of life.

Yesterday Winter Storm Helen kept our office closed and this wrinkly pastor working from home. I had lots of time to catch up on the prayer I had missed from the day before (in between shoveling ops of course).

God knew I needed time to catch my breath. I’m sure he giggled (if God giggles) as he saw me use my breath-catching-time to plan out today to the minute. “Man plans God laughs” Liza Minnelli said. I think He has good reason. He truly knows what’s coming and how many of our plans are going to come to be.

Now I’m not against planning. I shudder to think what would happen to me if I didn’t plan.

my life with no agenda

my life with no agenda

But I am learning that my planning is not  God’s planning even when I ask God to guide me in my planning. He refuses for His own reasons to show me everything that is coming. Maybe He just likes me to be surprised. More than likely it’s the only way He can build my faith. Whatever the reason, I am learning to make my plans and be ready to chuck them in favor of his.

Today I arrived with my lists in tow. A man was waiting in our lobby. He wanted to meet with a pastor. After I stowed my snow boots, my 16 bean soup, and my agenda I sat down with him. I missed a planned prayer meeting  a writing session and two scheduled phone calls. The man gave his heart to Jesus. HALLELUJAH THE JOURNEY IS DOING ITS JOB!

I think I’m going to be praying for more divine interruptions and the heart to recognize them when they come.

Now I’m off to do the things on my list in the timing God apparently intended all along.

A 21 Day Spiritual Journey: Day 7

It’s amazing what a difference a day makes.

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

What is your Jericho? What walls do you need God to knock down?

Today I met with one of our C.cada artists for a music rehearsal. This brother’s first CD will hit the stands in about a week. His debut album marks the culmination of a year-long Jericho march.

As we chatted over tea before practicing our special music for Sunday I listened to his heart about the process: the commitment it called for, the road blocks, the frustrations, the waiting, but most of all the promise! My friend has held fast to the promise God put inside of him over a year ago. He has never let go of it no matter what the road looked like. In fact we were talking about one of the very last difficulties he faced in the journey. A problem in production sent him and his partner back to the audio drawing board to remix and remaster the whole project from scratch. Instead of bemoaning his luck this musician praised God for the valuable intel he gathered in the process of having to personally remaster his own CD.

This visit coupled with the study God has me doing have revealed a very wrong mindset in me. You see, I look at my Jerichos and I see  problems. They strike fear into my heart. My friend looks at his Jerichos and he sees promises. They give him faith.

I’m changing the way I think here. I am coming to see that problems become possibilities in the light of God’s promises. My Jerichos are not issues they are opportunities God is going to use to fulfill the passions of my heart!

Here are some quotes I reviewed from the first part of  THE CIRCLE MAKER  by Mark Batterson:

“The greatest moments in life are the miraculous moments when human impotence and divine omnipotence intersect.” Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker

” It is absolutely imperative at the outset that you come to terms with the simple yet life changing truth: God is for you.” Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker.

“God is not a genie in a bottle, and your wish is not His command. His command had better be your wish. If it’s not you won’t be drawing prayer circles; you’ll end up walking in circles.” Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker

And here is a simple song I need to meditate on in light of all this.

 

 

A 21 Day Spiritual Journey: Day 6

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

Today I am having some trouble quieting my soul.

The words to the third verse of “Just As I Am” keep coming to mind:

Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. – Just As I Am, William Bradbury

The world is not falling apart around me. I am not in crisis but I am beset by a plethora of things to do that keep calling me away from the place of quiet prayer. It seems I just get settled in and whamo! Something else comes up to pull me away from the secret place.

I’m beginning to think God’s as much in these distractions as HE is in the devotion. Somehow I am being challenged to walk in contentment and peace even in the place of constant disturbance.

Today’s quotes:

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” 
― Dale Carnegie,

 

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” 
― Martha Washington

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.” 
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So here I am Jesus. Praying in bits and pieces today…fits and starts. Just as I am I come and if you want something different Lord then form it in me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21 Day Spiritual Journey: Day 5

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” ― C.S. Lewis

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
― C.S. Lewis

Well here are the questions I have asked so far on this Spiritual journey:

1.What is your Jericho? What walls do you need the Lord to knock down?  I made a long list of Jerichos in my life…things I needed God’s help with. I drew them into a thought web and put it on my office wall and have been praying over it every day.

Testimony: One of those items involved a phone call I was dreading having to make. It meant giving a friend some bad news as part of a larger work. I prayed into it for two days and made the phone call last night. Praise God He went before me as I asked and met the need and turned the bad news into OK news! I’ll take it!

2.What has to happen for you to face your Jerichos…your life circumstances with greater boldness? I still don’t know the answer to this question. I think maybe a deeper faith has to be birthed in me and an understanding of this quote in my life

The question is not am I qualified but am I called- Pastor Brad Hackett

The question is not am I qualified but am I called- Pastor Brad Hackett

 

3. What will your dreams cost? Are you ready to pay the price?  I started answering this in yesterday’s post. I think a  big portion of this spiritual journey is going to be about overcoming my fear of man and my fear of failure in the eyes of man.

4. What do you have to say “no” to today in order to say “yes” to God?

I started this list during our all day of prayer. I have three items on it and I know God is going to have me look deeper into this.

Who in your life is your “Sanballat and Tobiah”. Who intimidates you? What can you do about it?  This item definitely needs more prayer I think and action plan is in the making

Here are some quotes from service today:

“Don’t let your budget determine your dream” Pastor Brad Hackett

“To often we say ‘What if God doesn’t?’  but what if He does?” Pastor Brad Hackett

“If we seek answers we may never find them but if we seek God the answers will find us.” Pastor Brad Hackett

“Sometimes the problem is we are not willing to let God perplex us.”

Which of these quotes speaks most to you?

21 Day Spiritual Journey: Day 4

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. - C. S. Lewis

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
– C. S. Lewis

I asked yesterday what your dream was going to cost.  I realize that one of the costs for me is accepting the displeasure of some people because I cannot do what they want me to do.

I don’t like to say “NO” and when people suggest that I might be going in the wrong direction because it doesn’t fit their agenda I generally take them seriously.

This hit home when someone close to me began discouraging me about the things I am fasting this month even though I wasn’t complaining.

I took it to the Lord and He said “Sanballat and Tobiah”.

“Remember, O my God, all the evil things that Tobiah and Sanballat have done. And remember Noadiah the prophet and all the prophets like her who have tried to intimidate me.” Neh. 6:14

As the church walks into the future…the dreams God has planned for us we are going to have many who rise up to discourage us.  We are going to face many who will try to distract us from the “good work God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph 2:10. They will want us to follow their lead rather than God’s. We will have to say “No” to them.

Today I am making a list of all the things I am going to have to say “NO” to in order to say “YES” to the dream God has given me.

What do you have to say “no” to today in order to say “yes” to God?

Who in your life is your “Sanballat and Tobiah”. Who intimidates you? What can you do about it?

Quote of the Day:  The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes. Tony Blair

21 Day Spiritual Journey: Day 3

One of our leadership training specialists sent this out to a bunch of us the other day.

Dear Jay,

What dream have you long since given up on?
  Take some time today to look back on the dreams you have had and what stopped you from pursuing those dreams.  Take 1 step this week towards fulfilling those dreams.
Out of this question I have made a thought web of dreams and goals. In prayer I am realizing I haven’t given up on my dreams. I am just afraid to pay the price and wind up failing anyway.
So today I am taking authority over my fear of failure and am casting my cares on the Lord.
I am asking Jesus to help me to count the cost for my dreams and  to pay it.
What will your dreams cost? Are you ready to pay the price?

A 21 Day Spiritual Journey: Day 2

The Christ, By Thomas Eakins

The Christ, By Thomas Eakins

What is your Jericho? What walls do you need God to knock down?

That question has been raging in my head all day. I awoke at 1 A.M. out of a sound sleep with it pounding in my brain; That is  not because I am having trouble finding a Jericho for God to knock down. Maybe a better question would be,  What’s not a Jericho?  

And there it is. As I meditated on the question in this morning’s devotion I suddenly realized I was viewing all my situations as Jerichos. I was viewing all my situations as overwhelming, not because they were but because I viewed them that way.

I need God to transform my mind in this area. The tapes that play over and over in my head are “You are too busy.” “This is too hard.” “You need to hurry up and finish!” “You can’t do this!”

Instead I should be hearing my quote of the day:

“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ,  who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:12, 13

This morning in prayer I was led to pray for our national budget deficit and for our congress to be able to come to an agreement about the spending cuts and the tax hikes that are a certain part of our future. I do not look forward to these cuts or these hikes but there is no benefit in holding back the inevitable. We can never heal if we keep refusing to operate on the cancer because we’re afraid the surgery will be too painful.

I was also led to pray for Holy Ghost fire in our local pulpits and pastors.

These are the days when we will all be called to rise up not in fear but in faith.

What has to happen for you to face your Jerichos…your life circumstances with greater boldness?