thoughts + ramblings

Life Changes

My last two posts were on “taking action”.

As I wrote about taking action I was also realizing that in my life i do not take action many times like I should. It’s like those moments before you finally get out of bed in the morning. You think “I cannot get out from under these blankets…” and then you start to think “But, I have to do __________ and __________ today.” You then realize unless you get up you will be behind and something may go unaccomplished. So, you TAKE ACTION and get up!

Over the past 16 months, my life has continually been a roller coaster. Basically, a roller coaster for my whole family. 21 years, 4 months, and 1 day ago my family joined with a few other families and planted a church in our home town. It has been quite the journey, to say the least. A LOT of high points and a few low points as well. As the seasons changed over these past 16 months our church decided to move into a different location, cut some things back, and transition our pastors to bi-vocational (these changes being best for Harvest Church). Through all of the changes my father resigned and moved on back in September. I stayed around, knowing that my season wasn’t quite over. But, I knew it was time to “buckle up” and start praying more, fasting, and seeking the Lord like never before. In the midst of my seeking He continued to tell me to stay for a bit… then a couple of weeks ago it became clear the Lord was telling me that this season was over for me [one day I will share the questions God told me to ask myself in making this decision]. It was difficult, exciting, scary, and sad. My whole life (well 21/26 years of it) has been wrapped up in the ministry of Harvest Church/LOHBC*. Every minute of it, was worth it. My family loved ministering at Harvest Church. It brought much joy to our lives, but at times brought great sorrow as well… such is the life of good worthwhile seasons of life.

I say all of that to say, I do not know what God has planned next. But, I know it is good. He has given me some glimpses, and I am thankful for that. But, nevertheless, we follow! I continue to seek the Lord, to ask Him to search my heart, to fast and pray, to love and serve others, and to care for the forgotten. I know that this next season is going to be one for the history books [I know the saying goes “one for the record books”… I changed it :)], just as this past season was.

I have 2 more weeks at Harvest Church as the worship & creative arts pastor and cannot wait to see how those weeks unfold. I can’t wait to see how the future of Harvest Church unfolds after the transition in January. God is working in great ways. Some times (maybe many times) it is through storms, trials, and a little discomfort. But, through it all, we grow, our character is matured, and we are able to persevere all the more.

I am thankful for my past 4 1/2 years on staff at HC and for the 21 years my life was wrapped up in that beautiful faith family. I am also thankful for what is next. God is good. He is good through the steady, through the tumultuous, and through our many changing seasons. He is ALWAYS good!

{see my resignation letter HERE}

______________

FOOTNOTES:

* “LOHBC”- former name of Harvest Church, Lord of the Harvest Baptist Church

Take Action [part two]

You’ve been here before.

You know you must make the move. You know it is time for the change.

You think the change is inevitable but you also know the change might take some getting use to- change always does.

You start to think, it can wait. Maybe things will be different and the major change will not have to happen.

Thinking about the change makes you anxious and nervous. You can only find peace when you get your mind off of the change.

You take your mind off of the inevitable change and act like it doesn’t have to happen.

You find false hope to make your anxiety over the change go away.

You let a few months or a year go by and you haven’t had to take action to make the change. You are feeling like it’s all okay.

And just like THAT it shows back up… you once again know the change HAS TO HAPPEN.

Too often we wait around too long to make change that we know needs to happen. This cycle (above) continues to happen until one day we have waited too late and it all falls out from under us.

There comes a day when the cycle above is broken. You can either break the cycle (make the changes needed) or the inevitable change will break the cycle and break you at the same time. Don’t let it take you, TAKE IT.

TAKE ACTION.

Make the change.

Decide on a way to go and GO!

Follow The Lord’s guide. He has been guiding since you first knew that the change had to happen, but you just were not willing to listen. Listen NOW, See where He is leading, and TAKE ACTION.

Take Action [part one]

Life happens. Changes happen. Ordeals come into our life. Challenges come at us from all directions.

DECISIONS must be made.

We all have so many things come at us every single day of our lives. Every day we make hundreds of small decisions and most days we also have to make some big decisions as well. Some seasons in life we have really hard and important decisions to make. But, I believe every day we must be moving forward. We have to make decisions to continue to move forward, whether that is in our personal lives, in our work environment, or in our churches.

Too often we have things come our way and instead of making a decision and taking action we just sit on it for a while. We just think it will go away. I would say the majority of the time it doesn’t go away. TAKE ACTION.

When something comes your way and you know you need to do something about it, go ahead and do something about it. Take some action. Make sure you are taking rational action but do what needs to be done. Don’t put it off.

TAKE ACTION.

Leaders make moves. Leaders shake things up for the betterment of whatever is at hand. Leaders TAKE ACTION.

Don’t just sit today when you know there is something to be done to better your life or the lives of those around you. TAKE ACTION.

Don’t look away

{it’s been a while…}
On July 1st I set out on my fifth journey into the NW zone of Haiti. It was my longest trip yet and to be honest I was just a little excited because I really felt like there was too much at home going on and that I didn’t need to leave; I had the misconception that I needed to stay here to be Mr. Fix-it. Since I was the leader and money had been put toward the trip there was no turning back. Thankfully! The few days before the trip my excitement grew strong and we set out with great anticipation.

I learned a lot in our 11 days away from home. I learned, once again, that it won’t be what you expect. I learned that that is a good thing- God’s exceeds our expectations but doing immeasurably more (Eph. 3:20). I learned that people want love more than they want stuff. We built a home for a family but that wasn’t the greatest thing we gave them; the greatest was love. I learned that life has tried to sell me the idea that I need Jesus AND the world, and too often I had bought into this lousy idea. I learned that Jesus works on you as He works through you. I learned that God will show up in the craziest of places and reveal exactly what He wants you to see. I learned to not look away…

I look away a lot. I look away from His calling on my life. I look away from the work He is doing around me. I look away from the work He wants to do in me. I look away from people who need to be loved. I look away from His truth as the world’s lies seep in. I look away. Sometimes I look away for just a brief moment. Other times I look away for whole seasons of life. Tragically, too often I look away for years. Whether looking away for a brief moment, a season, or years of our lives we are missing way too much. Jesus said, “follow me.” I can’t look away and still follow. Because the moment I look away I am looking at things other than what He would have me to look at. I cannot look away and still follow.

So, DON’T LOOK AWAY. He is working right now. He has worked in and through you before; He is now; and He will continue in the future. He is at work. He is to be our focus and everything simply falls into place as He would have it to fall into place. Some things will seem to fall apart as they are falling into place, but trust His sovereignty as you follow Him. So, go, FOLLOW.

Seasons of Goodbye + Hello

Last night I was driving down a back road late at night headed to a friend’s house (they offered ice cream, so I showed up… and ended up not eating ice cream… but that’s a story for another time). I’ve discovered lately that back roads through the woods are my favorite roads to drive. I can think a lot on those roads as I also really appreciate God’s creation.

So, last night (now, to the point) as I was driving down the road a thought hit me:

There will be seasons of goodbyes in your life as well as seasons of hellos. Don’t let a season of goodbyes scare you from letting a season of hellos happen.

Meaning, there will be times where people leave. It always happens. Friends move, people get married and life changes, circumstances divide people for a time, etc. There are simply, seasons of goodbye. These seasons usually aren’t fun but can be very necessary at times. 

There are also seasons in your life when people are moving into your life. Someone new moves into town and becomes a part of your church small group, an old friend introduces a new friend into your group, or an old friend comes back around. There are great times of hellos. 

So, the point. Goodbyes don’t feel good and sometime a goodbye makes us scared to let people into our lives because we just know that they will one day say “goodbye” and walk out. Well, we will all say “goodbye” at some point unless the rapture takes us all together. Even so, we must still let others in to our lives during seasons of hello. It’s best that way. Take chances, make new friends, let people come into your life, and let some go out of your life. It’s how it works. Don’t let that ugly “goodbye” scare you from saying “hello” to a new friendship, relationship, or acquaintance. These goodbyes and hellos are no mistake, it’s life, so just live and let it be as God wants it to be.

I Don’t Know Why, but I DO Know This…

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I don’t know why {this} happened.

I don’t know why {this} didn’t happen.

I simply don’t know.

I don’t understand.

In a few moments of pure honesty over the past week these types of comments have come up with me and my friends.

In those moments of honesty we spoke about heartache, uncertainty, loss, love, the then, the now, and the to be.

And we followed that with this,

I know that our GOD is faithful.

I know that our GOD is sovereign.

I know that He will take care of us.

I know that He alone brings me joy and therefore, strength.

I know His Word and promises are true.

I KNOW THAT HE LOVES ME, ALWAYS!

Life is GREAT sometimes. So great that maybe it seems perfect. And other times life is not so great, apparently nowhere near perfect, and flat out broken. BUT OUR GOD HAS NOT CHANGED AND NEVER WILL. HIS LOVE REMAINS.

HE IS STEADFAST WHEN EVERYTHING ELSE IS CHANGING FAST.

HE IS GOD + GOD IS GOOD.

On Time & Happiness

“Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.” – Haruki Murakami

“They” have always said that the older you get the quitter time passes by. I don’t know about you but for some reason this seems so true. I love the quote above. May we always remember our time here on earth is limited. Take today and live it to it’s fullest.

As time races by and our past becomes larger and our future smaller, SLOW DOWN, enjoy what is around you. When you find yourself in a place of happiness, allow yourself to be happy and slow yourself down so you can enjoy this happy time in your life. And simply say “thank You” to God as you absorb the greatness of life. As time races by, you may be in a season of uncertainty, sadness, depression, or worse, or a little better; in these times find yourself simply thankful for life and that there are happier times to come and that have past. We all go through the rough patches and in those times maybe we look for the days to pass a little faster. 

Final thought: Let yourself enjoy the day. Find the beauty in today. When you find yourself happy slow down a bit and let yourself enjoy that time.

Tell Yourself the Truth

I have to share something with you that makes me feel a little bit vulnerable, but here it is…

Yesterday morning I woke up and immediately I had this feeling that consumed me. It was a feeling that was accompanied by thoughts that could have started my day in a spiral. I woke up feeling as though I was completely alone, no one anywhere that was FOR me, WITH me, no one who cared. I remember quickly, as I laid there in the bed telling myself this:

You are not alone. Think of all the people in your life who care about you. All the people who want you to be in their life. Think about it, it doesn’t take long to have those faces in your mind. Ok, got it? Now, get up, get ready and GO, GO DO LIFE… You’re not alone; you’re ok; you’re good to go so, GO!

See, I share that with you because the enemy wanted me to be defeated before I even left my bed… He spoke lies over me. The only way I was able to shut down those lies were with the truth. So, when the enemy speaks lies over you just remind yourself of the truth that GOD says about you and the truth that you know. When you have the truth, GET UP AND GO. GO LIVE YOUR LIFE. Once you get going you will notice that the truth is true.

Hold On… Wait just a little bit longer

In the midst of our journeys we find many times of waiting. There are times when we feel like there is definitely something about to happen and we continue to look forward to it, constantly asking ourselves, “ok, when is it going to happen?”. We find ourselves looking into the future so much that maybe, just maybe, we are completely missing the “RIGHT NOW.”

In your time of waiting (if it is to have kids, find the person of your dreams, for the dream job, or maybe even to collect on that promise God has given you) HOLD ON, WAIT A LONGER LONGER, DON’T GIVE UP because, GOD has something GREAT in store for those who love Him and are called according to His will! And MOST IMPORTANTLY, don’t waste right now and miss out on the great things in your life now because you are so focused on the future that you want. 

NOW is important. NOW holds treasures that tomorrow doesn’t hold and yesterday didn’t hold . NOW is your time to embrace life.

 

Prepping

Preparation is so important.

I look back to a day, of which I can clearly recall the details of, when I found myself just completely disturbed. “Disturbed” is really the only word I know to use for what was going on within me. Let me explain. It was one morning here at the office and I went to the piano to play and sing a bit as I usually do and as I was playing through a song I so clearly heard God say, “quit playing…” Now, let me note here, that that was weird in the first place because it was a worship song and why would God want that to stop, right?!… but God said “STOP. Go turn on a song and get in the altar before Me. Bow below the control that you are trying to hold on to so tightly.” So, with that I went, turned on a song, and got in the altar. It was a time where I didn’t know if I was suppose to pray, or what, but as I knelt down, my spirit poured out. I cried like I hadn’t in years, and spoke not a word. My spirit cried out for me… it was truly an experience of the Holy Spirit interceding on my behalf as I had no idea what to say. But, I knew something was going on.

That day I cried, called out, and worshipped. I knew something just wasn’t right and I knew God had the answer. That day He started to prepare me for what was to come in the following months. As relationships were strained, dreams shifted, and what I thought I knew became unknown I started to realize that the prep was now going to pay off. On that morning that I found myself facedown in the altar letting it all out I had no idea what was to come but I am so thankful (looking back) that God had given me a discerning spirit that said “prep yourself” because, in the end the revelations that were given to me that day helped make what was to come a little more bearable. It doesn’t make it easy, it just makes it more bearable.

I share this to say that we don’t know what is to come in our lives. But what we do know is that we better be prepared. We also know that the only thing that will get us through the most trying times in our lives is The Lord, Himself. So the only way to prepare is be one with Him; to be in communication with Him; to let the Holy Spirit guide you; to know His Word and to know that it is TRUTH. He is what will get you through. When the hard times come you better be prepared. If we are not prepared we will more easily be defeated. When we are prepared with the Lord on our side, we will conquer and claim the victory.

PREP LEADS TO VICTORY.

PREP TODAY, EVEN THOUGH YOU MAY NOT REALIZE WHAT YOU’RE PREPPING FOR UNTIL THE PREP PAYS OFF.

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