Been thinking a lot about prayer recently (thanks to some great leadership).

So basically prayer is talking with God. It’s not just talking TO God. The “with” is important – it indicates that some talking happens on BOTH sides, from BOTH parties. That would be YOU & GOD.

Now you may be thinking, “How is God going to talk to me? And if He does, will I hear it or hear it correctly?” Well, I can flat out tell you that I have no idea “how” He does, just THAT He does. And you will likely not hear much apart from His Word.  God does speak through other people, your circumstances, and nature, to name a few – but primarily He speaks through scripture.

Prayer and scripture go together like a flashlight and batteries. One is not fully functional without the other. A flashlight without batteries will not help you find your way in the dark. Of course you could use it to hammer a nail, knock someone in the head, or throw it at an animal that may be attacking you, but it will NOT function as it is meant to without the batteries. And likewise batteries alone without the flashlight are not good for much. Now they can also be hurled in an attack or maybe you persuade your little brother to stick his tongue to the tip of the battery for a chuckle moment (does that really work, by the way? – I never tried it…). But batteries by themselves, without a device, are an energy source not connected. They just sit there. Doing absolutely NOTHING.

But if you put the batteries in the flashlight everything functions as it was meant to. You press the on button and viola…there’s light! You can see your way in the dark and perhaps avoid disaster.

I could take the metaphor even further, but I’ll let you talk to God about that.

Come back and tell me what He says…

Guatemala Mind Dump…

A blog post feels like a very inadequate way to try to share this experience. But it’s the best tool I have at the moment.

WARNING! If you choose to continue reading just know you are entering a seriously “Messy Mind Zone”. The following is just a list of random thoughts as I attempt sift through what’s going on in my head and heart.

*There is NO way to describe the “aroma” here. Or my personal aroma after hauling lumber and working construction all day yesterday.

*I have no idea how these people keep their bodies, hair, and clothes clean living in these conditions, but they do.

*The families we have met and visited their homes are very gracious and welcoming.

*Guatemalans are small, strong and hard working. I wish you could have seen the children so happy to haul the lumber for their brand new home! I think my heart exploded a hundred times yesterday.

*I was surprised at the number of signs I was able to read in English. (If you didn’t know, this is my very first time outside the US.)

*I need someone to teach me conversational Spanish. Not how to conjugate a verb!

*I LOVE the 18 other people on our team. They are everyone AMAZING, hardworking and so compassionate. I don’t think I’ve ever been with so many super encouraging people at one time.

*Maybe I’m naive but I have not felt afraid even one time. I have a peace about being here that I know is from God.

*These children are very patient with my gringo self. (Did I mention I need to learn Spanish?)

*I now know what a “rainy season” is. Wow.

*Jose and Erin Armas have a fantastic vision and ministry to the families in Zone 18. God’s hand is so in everything they do.

*There is no vehicle emissions testing in Guatemala. Traffic is crazy. Motorcycle helmets are optional. Jose is an exceptional bus driver.

*I have seen 78 dogs but only 1 cat. (Is there significance in that?)

*True relationship is highly underrated. We should do something about that.

That is enough mind dumping for the moment. It’s time to go help serve lunch to the kids and see how the morning activities are going.

We have 2 dentists here (one from our team and one local) and for the first time the kids are getting dental care. There is so much to be thankful for.

Thank you for your prayers. Keep it up.

I’m heading out to see God…Adios. (I hope I spelled it correctly, if not – I’ll catch you later.)

Someone PLEASE find me a Spanish teacher!!!

Hope for Guatemala…We’re Here!

Just wanted to let everyone know we arrived safely! It was an amazing flight. Jose is a fantastic bus driver (but you can still pray). We spent the afternoon at the market and I realized I need to get some haggling lessons from my dad. I pretty much stink at it (I stink in other ways too after serving breakfast, cleaning up and unloading groceries.

At this time we are waiting on a truck to take us to the house we are building for one of the families from the center. Got to go. Hope to update you again soon.

Pray. Pray. And pray some more.

if you comment and don’t see it, keep checking back…

Also having trouble uploading pictures. I’ll try again through Facebook later.

This is a Test…

My super sweet family has blessed me with a wonderful birthday gift. I now have an iPad to travel with me on my trip to Guatemala. This post is a testing of my aptitude with this new technical device as well as the WordPress app. I want to make sure that I have sense enough to work this thing and use it to keep you in the loop while we are serving the kids at Hope for Guatemala.

I also want to remind you one more time how much We need your prayers as we prepare to leave and for the time we are there. We fly out Monday morning and will be returning on Saturday. So thank you for remembering us and the people we will meet next week.

God is faithful and we are all very excited!

So now I’m going to tap the Publish button and see what happens. You can start praying now…

Beautiful Outlaw: An Evening With John Eldredge

Stonecreek Church will host Beautiful Outlaw: An Evening with John Eldredge, Tuesday, October 11, 7 p.m. in the main auditorium. The event is the first stop in Eldredge’s four-city tour to celebrate the release of his new book.

Eldredge shares, “Beautiful Outlaw is a book I’ve just written about the personality of Jesus–His playful, disruptive, scandalous, dangerous, beautiful personality. There is nothing more that matters than Jesus; to have His life, His joy, His friendship, His love. To know Him is to have the greatest treasure in all worlds.”

Seating is limited and this event will sell out quickly. Tickets are $5 each. There is no childcare for this event.

Tickets for Stonecreek Church leaders and attendees may be purchased, here.

Tickets for the General Public may be purchased, here.

For more on Beautiful Outlaw, visit Ransomed Heart’s Web site, here.

Top Priority? NOT Comfort…

I made someone uncomfortable last week. It was unintentional, I assure you. I simply extended an invitation but it was clear the individual was uncomfortable.

Maybe it was the fact the invitation was unexpected. Or it could be that the invitation was unwelcomed. Maybe they were offended by the way I extended the invitation or they didn’t like my hairstyle that day. Maybe it was my coffee-breath (note to self – remember to grab a mint the next time). At any rate the object of the invitation was most definitely uncomfortable.

I don’t like to make people uncomfortable. The strong hospitality gene in my DNA seeks to make EVERYONE as comfortable as possible. But if there is one thing that God has proven to me over and over again, it’s that our comfort is not His top priority – our holiness (or our likeness to Him) is. If comfort is not at the top of God’s list, then it shouldn’t be on ours either.

I’m not saying we need to intentionally place ourselves or others in uncomfortable situations. That’s just plain crazy. But the idea of comfort or lack of discomfort should not be our main objective or focus. Sometimes the absence of comfort is God’s way of moving us from where we are to where we need to be. Sometimes it’s God’s way of showing us what we need to turn loose in order to accept what He wants to give us. And sometimes it’s His way of blessing us with a different perspective to be able to relate on a soulful level to another human being.

Whatever the reason, I’m learning to accept the uncomfortable circumstances with an open mind and heart, ready to receive the teaching from my Father that will draw me closer to Him. To understand that apart from resting in Him, there is no comfort to be found.

I’m also going to keep extending that invitation – because God is telling me not to give up. My hope and prayer is that by my diligence (however uncomfortable it is for both of us) this person will realize how much they are valued and how precious they are to God. They need to know they have a place in the Big Story.

Is there an ASK you need to make, and invitation you need to extend?

Will it be uncomfortable? Maybe.

But if God is leading you to take that risk, I guarantee it will be more uncomfortable for you not to ask than to obey.

HOPE – Revisited…

As I anticipate and contemplate my upcoming trip to Guatemala with our Mission Team from Stonecreek Church it really isn’t surprising that I’m already “seeing God” show up on this journey.

Recently I was reading an article about Compassion International (who I LOVE, by the way) and there was a quote that jumped right out at me:

“If we only look at poverty in the U.S., we’ll never quite understand how the poorest of the poor really live.”

Here’s the link if you want to read it for yourself.

There is no doubt poverty exists  in the U.S. but apparently there is quite a difference between the scales we use to determine who is poor and the scales the rest of the world uses. This idea is a large part of what has fueled my passion for the trip so far. I want to understand the difference and I expect to find it’s about more than just total monthly income or the lack there of. I believe it runs much deeper than that.

I once heard a man who knows first-hand what growing up in poverty means. He was born in Uganda and through the efforts of Compassion International and a personal sponsor he no longer trapped in the problem, he is a huge part of the solution.

He made a statement that has stuck with me for years now (I first wrote about it here):

“Poverty and being poor isn’t about lack of money or shoes or food. Being poor is a lack of hope.” 

HOPE – one of the most precious commodities we have. More valuable than gold or silver. An essential element of a life filled to the brim.  Some of my favorite verses from scripture speak to the theme of HOPE:

Job 5:16; Psalm 39:7; Psalm 147:11; Proverbs 23:18; Jeremiah 29:11; Matthew 12:21; Romans 15:13; Ephesians 1:18; Hebrews 11:1; 1 Peter 3:15

While there is no way to argue against the existence of physical needs in this world and our responsibility to meet those needs as the Body of Christ, we also have a responsibility to share the HOPE we have with those to whom this treasure is still unknown. A HOPE that should be evident in the way we live. A HOPE about which we cannot keep silent. A HOPE we are always ready to give reason for.

This trip is a test for me. I want to discover if my HOPE is truly built on “nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness” or if, just maybe, I’ve allowed the “American Dream” to slip into the place of my safety net. And now that I’ve actually typed those words, my heart is pounding and my fingers are numb clear up to my shoulders.

Apparently this journey is not only about seeing life outside my own little world. It’s about seeing God work here, there and perhaps most of all, discovering His work inside the walls of my own idolatrous heart. (Now there’s some Old Testament terminology for you.) But honestly, how is my trusting in the Land of Opportunity and its deceptive promises of security any different than the way the Israelites trusted in gods made by their own hands or the strength of their armies instead of trusting in the great I AM? Yes, it’s much easier to see the sinful actions of a nation thousands of years ago than to identify the same fault and call it what it is in my own life today.

God help me!


So what are your favorite verses about HOPE? Share them in the comment section.