The Waiting Game

Posted: July 16, 2011 in Kate's thoughts

This picture describes how I feel at this stage of pregnancy. Impatient! Our baby Samuel is due tomorrow (July 17th) but I was really hoping he’d be here by now! Let’s suffice to say that God’s reminding me a thing or 2 (with or without my permission) about waiting. :) I seem to have forgotten how agonizing & miserable pregnancy can be at the end! I’m sure it’s not by accident that my memories of the hardship of 3rd trimester pregnancy & the agony of child-birth were immediately replaced with the pure excitement & elation that greeted my heart by the precious new family member we welcomed to our family the last time I went through this process (our amazing 2 year old daughter, Reyah).

I have been “encouraging myself” with various Scriptures on waiting & realize that it’s a very normal & purposeful part of life. I read some things this morning that challenged my comfort & convenience.  To follow in the footsteps of Jesus, I must be willing to lay down my life & self-fulfillment in order to be faithful to the eternal purpose & process God has created in bringing a new life into the world. It’s a rather beautiful thing, really.

This season of feeling uncomfortable, out of control, having my body invaded, lacking sleep, feeling fat, nauseated & insecure is a temporary one (thank God!). When I think of the love I will soon have for my new baby boy, the years of joy & blessing that he will bring to our lives & the future plans & purposes that God has for his life – it makes the “temporary loan” of my body & it’s dis-comforts all worth it in the end.

So, with God’s grace – I will try to do a few things while I wait. And I’m sure I will re-visit this post in the future when I’m tempted to throw in the towel & scream at the top of my lungs with impatience in other areas of life:

1. Choose to surrender & yield my rights to God – knowing that He knows best & has only good in store for me.

2. Choose to trust & hope in the Lord by worshiping God with my thoughts, attitudes, words & actions.

3. Choose joy & positivity.  I may be miserable – but broadcasting & spewing complaints, bad attitudes, a short temper & demands upon my friends & family doesn’t really make me feel better or do anyone else any good.

Here are some verses I am holding onto! If you are in a season of waiting – may they strengthen & comfort you as well!

Isaiah 40:31 - “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings as eagles. They will run & not grow weary, they will walk & not be faint.”

Habakkuk 2:3 - “The vision is for an appointed time. Tho it tarry, wait for it. It will surely come.”

Isaiah 64:4 - “Since ancient times, no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God beside You who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.”

Psalm 33:20 - “We wait in hope for the Lord for He is our help & shield.”

Psalm 37:7 - “Be still before the Lord & wait patiently for Him.”

Psalm 104:27 - “All creatures look to You to give them their food at the proper time.”

Proverbs 14:29 –  “Whoever is patient has great understanding but one who is quick tempered displays folly.”

Phillippians 1:6 -  “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in me will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

The Book of Acts

The Book of Acts

Since I’m really into the idea of 24-7 Prayer, I see it every where when I study the Bible. Maybe I’m a little prejudiced? But it’s kind of like when you own a certain type of vehicle and you notice that kind of car every time you are out on the road.

Either way, today I noticed in the first four chapters of Acts how the apostles had a commitment to prayer that was an everyday experience for them.

Acts 1:14 They all joined together constantly in prayer

In the Upper Room, the believers were gathered [with an initial motivation of fear] for what was probably their own 24/7 Prayer season for the 40 Days leading up to Pentecost. This season of 24/7 Prayer birthed the Church and the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I would have loved to witness the [assumed] transition from fear on Day 1 [they probably locked the doors] to FAITH and expectation on the Eve of Pentecost and God filling them with His Spirit.

Acts 2:42 [The Fellowship of the Believers] they devoted themselves… to prayer.

What stands out to me here is that after they experienced the Outpouring of the Spirit [which was the Answer to their 40 Days of Prayer] they didn’t stop praying, but they kept on praying. One translation says they “continued steadfastly.”

Acts 3:1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer-at three in the afternoon…

Peter and John had their own “prayer hour” of three in the afternoon. Very similar to how many 24/7 Prayer Rooms all over the world function. I’m sure there were times that these two men didn’t feel like going, had other things they could do. But a discipline and habit for prayer will bring signs, wonders & miracles to your life and others’ lives.

Acts 4:31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

In the face of adversity / “threats” [v29] they kept their commitment to prayer and saw God move on their behalf.

Trust me – Night and Day Prayer can be found ALL throughout Scripture. God honors a praying church.

To sign up for a Prayer Hour at Allison Park Church [in our 24/7 Prayer Room] check out this webpage.

Seven New Year’s Declarations

Posted: December 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

These prayers were originally written by Dianne Bundt, but I tweeked them a little bit to be declarations.

Physical health: I declare that my family and I will remain strong in body and free from disease. Those who suffer from injury or illness will be healed and recover quickly and completely. (3 John 1:2; Deuteronomy 7:15; Psalm 41:3)

Peace of mind: I confess my mind and heart will always be at rest. Gratitude and peace will replace every anxious, fearful thought. (2 Thessalonians 3:16; Philippians 4:6)

Good relationships: I proclaim that I will be surrounded by loving, faithful, and supportive friends. Where relationships have been broken, I will find reconciliation and forgiveness. (Proverbs 17:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Matthew 5:23-24)

Sufficient resources: I declare that I will have exactly what I need for each day. By God’s grace, I will become rich in every way so that I will share generously with others. (Proverbs 30:8-9; Luke 11:3; 2 Corinthians 9:11)

New opportunities: I confess that I will constantly be presented with new and profitable ventures. I will have foresight to recognize and take advantage of each opportunity. (Ecclesiastes 11:1-6; Ephesians 5:16)

Good decisions: I proclaim that I have wisdom in Christ to determine the best course of action in every situation. I will receive sound advice from those I ask for counsel. (Ecclesiastes 8:5-6; Proverbs 15:22)

Safety: I declare that my family and I will be kept from violence, calamity, and loss. Those who seek to hurt us physically, mentally, or emotionally will fail so that we will live securely, without the fear of harm. (Psalm 12:5,7; Job 11:18; Proverbs 1:33)

In His Time

Posted: December 17, 2010 in Chris' thoughts, Prayer+Intercession

God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose. — Hebrews 2:4

waiting

waiting

I pray for certain things over and over… so many times… I pray for myself, my family, friends at church and sometimes prayer requests of people who I have never met before. I do my best to pray in FAITH and believe in God’s Word for a miracle.

But this verse in Hebrews chapter 2 has eighteen words that are filled with POWER and MIRACLES…

and then three words that carry WISDOM.
whenever… he… chose… wow

An answer to prayer usually follows the specific sequence listed in this verse.

- God’s Word or Message spoken
– a gift of the Holy Spirit expressed
– the confirming sign, wonder or miracle

But the answer to prayer will only come at the TIME that God CHOOSES. This is very LIBERATING for me! The timing is up to GOD & the CHOICE is up to God. But the question then becomes “What do I do in the meantime?” The answer God has been speaking to me is found in having FAITH like a child. [Matt 18:3, Mark 10:15, Luke 18:17]

Jack Black

Jack Black

The one thing that my 2yr old daughter knows how to do very well is to ask and ask and ask and keep on asking.. until she gets what she is after. Reyah is PERSISTENT. Right now, there are two specific shows on our DVR that she watches over and over again — an episode of Winnie the Pooh where the gang surprises Darby by re-painting her room… and a certain episode of Yo Gabba Gabba with special guest Jack Black.

When she asks for the show, or when she watches the show, it’s almost like she forgets the last 1000 times before. It’s as if her experience is happening all over again for the very first time. She asks me as if she is asking for the very first time in her life. This is the way of CHILD-LIKE PRAYER. When I grab the remote and put on her show, she celebrates like we just won the lottery.

What BREAKTHROUGH do you need in your prayer life? What have you asked God for 999 times? What are you waiting for Him to do? Ask and ask again. Today might be the day that you experience the “whenever He chose” moment of ANSWERED PRAYER. Don’t get discouraged. Keep asking, knocking and seeking.

First of all, let me say that I have a fabulous worship team. We are not perfect, but we have come a long way & God is doing great things among us at Allison Park Church where I lead worship.

These are just some of my reflections from a worship leader’s perspective of(in my opinion) of the top 10 things that make a phenomenal worship team member:

1. Have a humble, teachable, positive attitude. You will be a joy to all you work with.

2. Be prompt & prepared. Show up 5 minutes early with everything you need & know your music & parts ahead of time.

3. Defer to the leader. Be a good follower. Don’t sabotage the monitors or draw attention to yourself & how awesome you are.

4. Be sensitive to others & aware of yourself. Don’t get lost in your own world. Don’t close your eyes the entire worship service. Step back, look up & do your best to support whatever is happening at that moment (during a rehearsal or service). Don’t be a distraction or draw attention to yourself.

5. Know your role & fill it (Be a team player). Don’t solo on your instrument or ad lib every second of every song. Mature musicians know their place & sync with the rest of the band & vocalists. Be aware of the overall mix & arrangement & wait to be asked to sing out or play a solo – don’t just make assumptions & do it on your own.

6. Be a passionate lover of Jesus & let it show. Worship visually. Show energy, emotion & intensity with your face & body movements. Loosen up, don’t be a statue. Sing out loud. Smile. Clap. Lift up your hands & be an active participant in worship. Have fun! It’s contagious!

7. Be a person of integrity & prayer. Worship & pray more aggressively in your living room on Friday morning than you do under the lights on a platform in front of people. Be a good husband, wife, father, mother, sister, brother, employee & friend. Be a Christian every day of your life, not just on Sunday for the opening worship set. Read your Bible, give generously to others, open the door for strangers & be true to your word Monday-Saturday. Don’t just sing about loving God, live it by your actions & lifestyle.

8. Be an encourager. Don’t complain about how bad the monitor mix is, how the tone or EQ on your instrument is out of balance or how song #2 isn’t your personal favorite. Only let wholesome talk come out of your mouth – that which is useful for building others up – strengthening & encouraging them. A timely encouraging word is like a drink of fresh, cold water to a dry & parched person. It is so effective & refreshing, even to your leader.

9. Continue to steward your gift. Fight complacency & mediocrity. Never stop practicing, listening & perfecting your craft. Be a life-long learner of your instrument. Give yourself new musical challenges & goals. Try new styles. Ask God to help you stay innovative, creative & fresh.

10. Be disciplined. Work hard. Don’t make excuses. Take care of the details. Respond to your emails & phone calls. Listen to your rehearsal CD’s. Keep in step with your leaders vision. Be where you need to be when you need to be there. Release your personal agenda & submit to whoever is in charge. Dress nicely. Go the extra mile. Do these things with joy & a smile on your face.

Do you agree? What would you add to the list?

I love how the Bible describes the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12. Paul gives the analogy that we, the people of God, work together like a physical body does. We each have one body, composed of many parts. But no body part functions on it’s own apart from the body as a whole.

The Message states in 1 Corinthians 12:14-24: “A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If the Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.

But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own.”

It’s so healthy to understand how God has uniquely crafted you with a personality, gift-set, history of experiences, DNA & inward dreams & desires that are as individual & specialized as your fingerprint. It’s so helpful to learn about yourself & others. What is your personality? What are your strengths & weaknesses? What fuels your energy tank? What drains you? How do you function best? What type of a team are you a part of & what is your role? What has God called you to do that only you can fulfill?

Chances are, whatever job, team, organization or ministry you are a part of; you are one of many, working together with others to fulfill a common goal. Understanding & fulfilling your role by using the unique giftings & passions God has given you will help whatever team you are a part of function most effectively. Know your place & fill it well.

How He Loves

Posted: November 27, 2010 in Devotional, Kate's thoughts

I would have to say that “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillan is my favorite worship song of 2010. I like it not because of the melody, the instrumentation, the music video, the popularity or the congregational response it conjures up when we sing it in front of a crowd of worshipers (although those things are great)…but because it’s message has personally spoken to me all year & hit me close to home.

Each January, it’s our tradition at Allison Park Church to name our upcoming year with a theme. God spoke to me back in January that 2010’s  theme for my life would be: Unconditional Love. It’s cool to reflect back upon how that idea has influenced & affected me these last 11 months.  The thought that God loves me no matter what (not for what I do or don’t do but for who I am because He has chosen to love me & there’s nothing I can do about it) has changed me. I have realized a transformation in my own heart & mind regarding my security, my confidence, my peace, my joy level, my perspective & my approach to each day.

Embracing the identity & inheritance that has been made possible to us through the work of Jesus Christ changes everything!  It affects the way we think, speak & act. It affects our personality, confidence & emotions. It affects the way we approach every day life & the way that we interact with others. Knowing that we can shed all fears, pride, selfishness, past mistakes, weaknesses, insecurities & mediocrity & put on God’s righteousness, power, confidence, authority, maturity & wisdom – is an explosive truth!

I have already begun praying for God to reveal the perfect theme for my life in 2011. It’s like our little intimate conversation or inside joke regarding what He wants to do in my heart & our relationship together in this upcoming year.  Knowing & living with Jesus is the best life ever!

How He Loves

He is jealous for me – love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree bending beneath the weight of His wind & mercy. When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by Glory & I realize just how beautiful You are & how great Your affections are for me.

We are His portion & He is our prize – (we are) drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes. If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. And heaven meets earth like an unforseen kiss & my heart beats violently inside of my chest…

I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way – He loves us.