Thursday, April 22, 2010

I love my job.

I'm very excited today as I work toward bringing a prison ministry conference to Georgetown. Last fall I met a wonderful group of ministry workers with Restorative Justice Ministries. I told them I would love to work with them on having a conference more centrally located to include many of the Austin area after care programs. They were more than responsive.

We have a date set that I'm trying to coordinate with a local host church willing to give us the space needed for this event. Those calls are all made and I await a return call sometime this afternoon.

This is something I feel very prepared to do. I'm excited about the work and organizing an event. In an old life I did a lot of regional and national conferences; spoke at several of them and worked in bringing a national conference to the Austin area in 2001. It was an exciting time and connected me with many folks in the community technology arena. Today, as I work bringing together fellow ministry workers for a day of collaboration and strengthening our work I know I am working on something pleasing to the Lord and encouraging for each of us involved.

I am reminded that God is all about relationship; with Him first and one another as He has commanded. We are strengthened and encouraged by our relationship with God and that strength and encouragement moves through our relationships with one another. So many times we are quick to devalue interaction with others working in our same industry or job but we should be reminded that there is little work that doesn't involve other people in some way. Even those most solitary of work either impacts another or provides another with a service or tool for their life; there is little we can do that doesn't have a relational aspect to it.

In ministry, the very definition of the word is relational. Websters defines ministry as "an act or instance of ministering; ministration; service. the service, functions, or profession of a minister of religion." Notice how the word "service" is in both definitional parts. I challenge you to perform the verb "service" without some relational aspect. And in this I am reminded about the very core of what we do!

Whether we are serving the women coming out of prison or working with other ministry workers toward a common goal, we are in an act of service to God, to our clients, to our community and toward one another. I am strengthened by relationship and I strengthen relationships through service; through ministry. What a better way to celebrate and increase my impact for Him than through this upcoming conference and the work that goes into it. I love my job!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Nation in Prayer

This was shared with me from a dear friend. I had to pass this along. While I don't normally post from other's emails or commonly forwarded material, I felt this worth sharing.

Evening Prayer

Someone has said that if Christians really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.

Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America . If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have. Please forward this to your praying friends.

Cleaning my desk

Do you ever feel like you can't start a new project or even finish a half done one up before you get organized, cleaning all around your work space and then settle in for the creative stuff? For me that struck this week as I've quarantined myself at home for several health issues that just need time to pass and heal.

Yet God is tugging at my heart to finish my story, update my blog and work on putting together the stories that glorify Him. But today, even after moving my lap top back onto my desk (which took some clearing off itself!) I couldn't sit down and get a thing done until I had some room around me. The remnants of a recent retreat were still piled next to my desk; bags that hadn't been unpacked and stacks of paperwork, filing and just "stuff" abounding around me.

I see progress now though. My desk is taking some shape, yes a big pile remains that I know I have to go through but I am working through the details bit by bit.

Its far from perfect, but then again, so am I. We work well together, this little desk and I but I need some room!

God is working with me on many things right now; organization. Procrastination. Patience. Vision. Direction. I'm hearing the organization messages loud and clear and I become more discontent with the chaos around me. I think that's how God works with us too. He puts little things in our heart that say "I don't like this anymore." and we can start to see how changing that one little thing changes us inside. When I listen to that heart message, and act upon it, I am obedient. When I hear the message and ignore it, several things happen. I shut God out of my life, even unintentionally and I miss out on the blessing of His teaching.

I was taught that in Exodus as God gave Moses the ten commandments He said "I give you these commandments so things may go well for you," and I reflect on this even now. When I listen to God's commandments or direction in my life, things usually seem to go well for me. When I ignore that voice in the quiet, go my own way or orchestrate my own actions, I often find things get pretty mucked up in a hurry.

God has purpose and plan for each of us. He has direction He knows is in our best interest. He needs to refine each of us in order that we carry out His plan and purpose and I think He does this through a long series of events and choices and options. The more I listen and follow directions, the closer I am to seeing and understanding God's plan for my life. I am starting that with simply learning to hear His voice and acting upon what I hear. As silly as it may sound, today I really think God wanted me to get some things cleared away and cleaned up so I could focus on some tasks that need my attention.

I have taken time to get through surgery and recover from bronchitis, asthma and now ear infections. I am ready to work again and though I still need some quiet time to let the doctor prescribed medications take full hold, I have much I can do right here at my desk. But first, God said it clearly, you have to be able to find that desk.

Tomorrow I plan on study and prayer time. God has much for me to do and I need to hear what that is. I know no other way than to give the day to Him. I'll let Him take it from there.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Praying on Our Knees - In Touch Ministries - Dr. Charles Stanley 2010

Praying on Our Knees - In Touch Ministries - Dr. Charles Stanley 2010

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Always pray.

Mark and I have been talking a great deal lately about the ministry; it's growth track and it's future. It's been 7 mos. now since we made the step out in faith and started Spirit House Ministries. We did so we knew at the direct calling of our Lord and we felt confident in it's success. We have seen some wonderful successes to be sure.

But lately we've felt a sense of discontent with its progress and our vision. I have to admit I've even felt like chucking it all and finding some secular job so Mark and I could maybe buy our own home and have a few extra things! But I know these desires are not from God and that such a direction could seriously derail our spiritual growth as well.

Mark and I have never questioned that God brought us together for His special purpose. Our lives, so complex and filled with challenges, came together at a time when we both so needed the strength and comfort of another person. God knew our needs and saw to them in a special and unique way that only He can orchestrate. From our first date we talked about our faith, our love of Jesus and our desire to devote our lives to His purposes.

So these new aching challenges of direction and next steps has us truly in a crisis of the heart. Where does God want us to take His work? What are the next steps?

Our answer? Prayer. What else can we do but take our confusion and blurred vision to the maker of all, our Lord and Savior. For this ministry and our lives are His masterpiece, His work and His plan. We are not immune to the spiritual warfare that Satan would deceive us by. But we are armed with the strength that cannot be challenged.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,

for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Eph. 6:13-20 NLT)

Therefore, return to scripture, where truth lies and His desires for our life are mapped out. It is incumbent upon us all that our lives should be armed with God and our direction in any warfare should be at His leading. Our work, that of a battle against this world and our desires, and all that God would have us do must be grounded in scripture and grounded in His word. Nothing replaces a personal relationship with God, our father and His Son, Jesus Christ. If we are to remain in His will, then, nothing can replace our study of His word and deep, spiritfilled prayer.

Our ministry is nothing with our own efforts. We can work and work and go nowhere if we leave out the power of Christ in our lives. This ministry and this blog are but tools of God to use to increase His Kingdom and care for His children.

Mark and I agree, God is center first in our lives and this ministry is where He has placed us for His purposes. Our job is to listen and when directed, act. In those times when we have no specific direction, our task it to ask...ask and it will be given to you. It is time, Lord, Mark and I ask for your divine direction in our lives and the resources to carry them out. We are your servants.

I share all this with you today to show that all, even those whose lives are drenched in ministry, have times in which we feel lost and without direction, confused by the world and tugged at by things that might not be of His choosing for our lives. Being honest with you is my greatest gift. I believe we are in this together and learning from one another, even in times of turmoil, strengthen us in the long run for the battle of this fallen world in which we operate.

I promised this blog would be honest and the stories and writing would be true and accurate. I hope this too meets that standard as we move through the moments of our lives that are not always smooth and perfect. I pray that our lives and our struggles become comfort for others who wonder at their destiny and their purpose. And I pray. Always pray.

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