HOW TO DO SOMETHING DRASTIC FOR CHANGE

A fast can defeat you before you even begin. I wrestled with the idea of not having pasta and bread three nights a week, what it would feel like to not have my morning caffeine and all the other reasons I just couldn’t for months before I committed to it. God would prompt me, I would say, “Yes, LORD!” But then every time I would think about what I had to sacrifice or what “events” were going to “get in the way.” I would talk myself out of it. I just couldn’t do it.

My commitment to fast was strictly out of obedience. Jesus fasted. If Jesus did it, we are not above it. I also was in a place where the pain of my circumstances outweighed the fear of the sacrifice, or the change that would become of it.

BREAKTHROUGH CAN HAPPEN WHEN PAIN OUTWEIGHS FEAR

I needed something different and I needed more of Jesus because I was just too much. Even for myself to deal with. And when you can’t even deal with yourself, friend, you better do something drastic. I still stand with an abandoned heart needing Jesus to seep into certain areas of my life.

Do you need Jesus to seep?

Into your marriage?

Into your husband’s heart?

Into your child’s life, so they can be free from that addiction?

Into your bank account?

Into your daily self-doubts?

Into your health?

I implore you–do something drastic with me. Commit to fasting with me –and dozens of others–on

July 1, July 2 and July 3.

As you begin to prepare, here are some things that are true about fasting:

  1. You can always talk yourself out of a fast or doing anything that requires any level of self-discipline.
  2. Events, holidays, birthdays are always right there. You might have to forge through.
  3. You can’t think about what you have to sacrifice, you must focus on what you will gain
  4. You really can’t do it. If you can give that food up on your own, you need to consider sacrificing something more difficult.
  5. Fasting is about sacrificing FOOD.
  6. FASTING is a form of deep prayer. If you give up food and don’t pray you are simply starving yourself.
  7. Fasting is NOT a diet or a means to lose weight.
  8. Your dietary sacrifice can be anything that is challenging to you. You don’t have to go all out and not eat at all. (Especially if you haven’t been cleared by a doctor.)
  9. You must begin praying NOW about what your fasting commitment should be.
  10. You must be specific in what you are going to pray for.

Can you do it?

Yes

Because…

We don’t do anything alone.

We do life together.

Jesus commits to being there, to helping, to loving, to listening, to bringing freedom.

 

Let me know if you are IN by commenting. And then share this and challenge 3 friends to fast with us!

To our lives changing, because they will, my friend, they will.

Tiff

Yes, the News is True

After coming back to Florida from a long drive filled with fast food, disgusting gas stations and introspective wisdom we settled in once again only to be uprooted. A few months ago I committed to recklessly follow Jesus and quit a paying ministry job to step out of the boat. Now, five months later we find ourselves in a predicament. Forced to make a quick decision as the storms rage and the boat rocks, we woke Jesus in our fear and He answered.

He has called us to continue a reckless Jesus-life but not in Florida. So with a sad heart, yet a hope found in the one who calms the seas, me and the fam are packing up and moving back to Texas. And we are doing it quickly.  Our bus suburban rolls out of the Sunshine State next Friday!

I feel a bit like Jonah. I have my own ideas of what God has called me to. Yet he’s asking me to go some place my heart does not truly want to go. Luckily my Jonah story is filled with singing vegetables and pirates and I call those people family.   I have the privilege of just being there for my grieving nieces and nephews, hoping to throw a few handfuls of sand in the large hole in their heart from tragically losing their grandparents. I have no idea what God has in store for me or for my kids but I am guaranteed it is only goodness and love that has marinated in His grace and mercy.

I will miss my life in Florida. I will grieve not seeing my students every week. I will be envious of the work happening at Motion without me. But I will be confident in the work that God is completing in me.

You are loved.

Find A New Church: YOUR MISSION IF YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

 “I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
 I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”

 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him…  Genesis 12:1-4

My exit from our last church wasn’t quite as dramatic as the event that took place between Abram and God.  Not knowing where he was going, but following God’s instruction, Abram packed up and did what he was told.  God told me the same:  to pack up and move my ministry and family to an undisclosed location.  Very espinoge, very CSI, very James Patterson.  I wish it were as exciting.  All God told me was to find a church body closer to home.  Thanks, that narrows it down.

So over the last two months my family has visited two churches.  I know, we could be moving through it much quicker, but we have a plan.  Well, sort of.  Well, not really. But here are some things I’m learning as we go:

I’m HORRIBLE, absolutely HORRIBLE at being a part of a congregation.  It is IMPOSSIBLE, absolutely IMPOSSIBLE, for me to turn off the church-planter mind. (More on that tomorrow).  I analyze every aspect from the moment our wheels hit the driveway of our church experiences. It is a blessing AND a curse.

My kids don’t have a huge say so in what we decide to do.  I value all of their opinions, but unless I see some real spiritual change in them and trust that what they are hearing is from God and not from their own child-like selfish desires, Dad and I get the final say so on everything, all of it, 100%.

There are some “really good” churches doing some “really good” things.  But God has given me a specific vision, and purpose, and I’m doing my best to drown out the “really good” stuff so that I can “really” hear his voice.

I’ve enjoyed visiting a church that has it’s own building.  Never did I think this really made a difference, but it’s refreshing to not be in a make-shift environment.  It reminds me of my childhood where we had a church, and a Sunday School building and a place for the constant dwelling of God.  Where memories were built beyond Sunday morning, and people could linger because there was nothing to tear down.

Our family needs church!  No matter how many good sermons are online, or how convenient it is for us to sleep in on Sunday, my family needs to be part of a community that will challenge our thinking and our spiritual growth. With that said…

I’m looking for a church that makes me uncomfortable.  So many people look for churches where they can be comfortable.  People want to go to church to check it off of their To-Do List, feel good about going to heaven, and then get about their business.  People want a church where no one really challenges their faith so they can continue in their sin and selfishness without full surrender or total commitment to Christ.  People want the church to meet their needs in a consumer-istic way so they can have the perfect preacher and the perfect programs all meeting at times that don’t require sacrifice.

Looking for a church is not a shopping experience, it is a mission.

Flo-and-SnapshotToo many Americans want a Church-Mart, or worse a Progressive, where Flo greets you and you can pick and choose whatever policy works for your family.  But like God asked Abram, go from all things comfortable.  Get out of your “world” and seek after mine.  In order for us to have real faith, a deep relationship with Jesus, a total surrender of whatever it is we hold so tightly to, as a family, we have to treat this church-search like a time-sensitive, top secret assignment that the King Himself has called us to.

It is only then that we will find the blessing…that we will receive it and that we can be it to a fallen and broken community.  Regardless of what the world tells you, church should not be comfortable.  If it is, perhaps you are called to a mission of your own.

Thoughts?

Walking a New Road with Rainbow Dots and Unicorns

He looked up at me with his big brown eyes, “Mom, will you color with me?”  Who can say no to a sick kid with brown eyes?  Not this mom. So we spread out the crayons and self-containing paint brushes and smelly makers.  (Score!  Remember when smelly markers were the coolest thing ever?  And only the coolest teachers had them?  Well, now WE have them, so if that makes me cool, then so be it.)

After drawing a few hearts and flowers I started this project.  Dots.  Small dots.  Lots of dots.  Dots that take forever.

mom dots

 

By the 11th red dot, I was over it.  As I was entering into my time machine, transporting myself back to the days of rainbow bright and unicorns, these dots reminded me of how much I HATE hate hate process.  Before I even started this little piece of art, I envisioned the finished project.  But actually doing the work is a whole other cup of tea.

I hate process.  There. I confess.  But I made myself finish.  And the whole time, I felt the pain of Jesus trying to turn that switch on my heart. And it’s not a flip switch.  It’s a turn-one (and yes, that’s the official and proper name for it).  By the time I picked up the yellow (lemon) marker I was pushing myself to the finish line.  Trying to enjoy every dot, every size, every moment of creativity.  In order for me to learn to love the journey, I have to take myself on the journey, over and over, I have to walk that road.

So today I forced myself down another road, to teach me to enjoy the process.  And I hated almost every minute of it.

mom table before

I loved the finish product but by the time I sanded the first plank, I had to remind myself of the beauty of the journey.  That there are moments of frustration, and moments you have to force yourself through.   Even when you don’t feel like it, you have to take one more step.  And each “one more step” brings you closer to the end.

mom table after

I’ve decided that I will regularly push myself to learn how to enjoy the journey. Even if it’s forcing myself to make colored dots on a piece of paper, I will force myself out of my comfortable, and sometimes unproductive bubble.  If I want God to teach me something new, I have to do things differently than I’ve done before.  Are you willing to do the same ?

You Are Loved,

signature for blog

A Lion Is Roaring, Can You Hear It Now?

 “The LORD roars from Zion…” Amos 1:2 

When I was a single mom, I yelled lots. My poor babies had to deal with an emotionally charged, utterly exhausted parent who had no idea what she was doing.  Somehow I thought if I shouted my requests they would be heard and my requests would be granted. There are times still I don’t feel heard and my voice reaches an octave I’m pretty much embarrassed to admit. The reality was, the more I yelled the more I was ignored.

Almost like the story of the little boy who cried wolf.  He cried so often about nothing in particular, just to gain attention, that eventually everyone disregarded his real need.

Amos announces from who the prophecy came, the LORD.  And the LORD comes roaring.  The irony in this is that Amos was a shepherd.  He was most likely a man of few words, a man mild in mannerism.  He also understood the importance of the lions roar.

When a lion enters, he announces it’s presence. With a deep sound, repeating several times and traveling up to 5 miles, this animal shows everyone he is certainly king.  Similarly, God roars from Zion, making his presence known, showing his authority.

roaring lion

Ironically, most kids struggle with the idea of authority.  Weekly I see disrespect, dishonor and inability to submit to adults a common problem with too many kids.  As much as I hate to say it, and you hate to admit it, authority problems start in the home.  Our roars are too soft, if at all.   We parent in fear instead of teaching children to have a healthy fear of our authority, and then ultimately God’s authority over their lives.

Yelling isn’t the answer, I learned the hard way.  A roar is not a yell, it is simply an announcement.  It is a way to say to your children I am the adult, you are the child.  Knowing that someone else has wisdom over us provides a sense of safety.  It helps us to operate within boundaries and problem solve.  It is no mistake that Amos begins his entire warning to the people of Israel stating how God delivered His message—as a roaring lion.

Are you are roaring lion, establishing your authority? 

How can you change this if you need to re-establish yourself as the Lion over your children?