Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Life and Death

“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”
Proverbs 18:21

This is a subject God started talking to me about last March. One day I was laying in my bed just letting my mind wander and the Holy Spirit just dropped a life-changing revelation in my lap. But I need to give some back-story to help explain:

There have been a few times when I’ll meet a guy and we’ll just be able to build a friendship right away; there’s just an instant connection that’s not really explainable…to me anyway. But other people will notice and they’ll come up to me and say, “Hey! I saw you and Travis the other day! Do you guys like each other?” Then they’ll wink at me and nudge my arm. “No,” I’d reply, “we’re just friends.” There’s one occasion where I called my family, talked about how I was doing and then mentioned a guy that I just met and how he and I connected right away. Oh man, you should have heard the response. “Oh! Is he cute?? What’s he look like? What does he do? Do you like him? You go Becca!” I just turned red in embarrassment. But what’s interesting is that in this case, I didn’t let myself think about liking him until they went off on that tangent. What they said planted a thought in my mind, “Do I like him?” Then I started talking to people about it. I wasn’t really attracted to the guy in that way, but because that looming question was in my head, I got caught in more situations where people we telling me, “Yea, you two were totally flirting!” Or…“I don’t know what it was, but you two definitely had an instant connection. Who knows where it might lead!” And in a blink of an eye, I was swooning over some guy.

A couple months later, God told me to cut off all connection with him. I didn’t understand…I thought he could be the one! Nope. What God wanted from the relationship was just a friendship. It took months to change how I felt towards this guy so that I was back in the place where I just wanted to be friends. I ended up being distracted by a guy who was supposed to just be a friend for 3 months. And who knows if I ruined the friendship with my girly clinginess and flirting? As of right now, we don’t talk.

So how did it go so wrong? How did I go from just wanting a friendship, to wanting a relationship?

“Life and death are in the power of the tongue…”

What the Holy Spirit dropped on my heart that day was, “Our words can breathe life into obstacles, distractions and enemies that want to take us out.” He went on to show me, that with that guy, the enemy tried to get me to focus on wanting a relationship with that guy by planting the thought in my mind. But I had conquered that thought and chose to only want to be his friend. That is, until my family breathed life into a distraction with their words and I fed it as I talk about it to other people. My family, friends and I talked about it and continued to give strength to this distraction until finally it had control over me! Scary!

Then the Holy Spirit reminded me how God gave life to all creation with just His words! God just spoke and it formed, created and breathed life into everything we see. (see Genesis 1:1-24) He continued to show me, that God first thought of what He was to create. But His thoughts did not create the universe; His words did. Now, as God’s creation, created in His image, with His Spirit alive in us, WE can create and breath life into anything with just our words! We can create enemies for ourselves just by talking about it. We can give our enemies strength with just our words! I don’t know about you, but I never knew that I had this much power. I’ve been breathing life into obstacles and enemies for my own life since I came into this world! I’ve had to fight battles and conquer enemies that I created with MY OWN WORDS!

The Holy Spirit continued to show me that when I’m battling something in my thought life, it is MUCH easier to defeat because it’s that, just a thought. But the moment I confess my battle or struggle it instantly breathes life into an enemy for myself. Words have more life than your thoughts. But thoughts can also be powerful because if we think about something enough, we WILL eventually speak about it or act on it. That’s why it says in Ephesians 4:23, “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”

Just by keeping a battle you’re struggling with in your thought life, you are holding back an enemy! But here’s where it gets REAL good: you can breathe life into God and into yourself without breathing life into your enemy. You can make God’s power more alive and active in your life just with your words!

For example: the devil could plant the thought, “you are useless” in my mind. How I could counteract that is by saying out loud, “I am beautifully and wonderfully made! God has a plan for my life. I am chosen and called by God to do His will. I am treasured, cherished and loved by the Most High God!” I don’t know about you, but for me, I just see that lie the devil planted getting smaller and smaller until I stomp it out just by giving life to God’s truth in my life by using my words!

My devotion this morning talked about this very thing. Rick Renner (a very respected theologian) wrote, “I know it’s hard to control your mouth sometimes, but when you start to ‘run at the mouth’ and say any ‘ol thing the devil puts in your head, you’re playing with fire! It is a scientific fact that when you speak something out loud, those words are verified and empowered in your mind. That’s why the devil wants you to repeat every stupid thing he puts in your mind. By repeating it out loud, you are helping him build a stronghold in the realm of your mind and imagination.”

So let’s take every thought captive. I don’t want to give life to ANYTHING that wants to take me out. NO!! I want to give life to God’s POWER alive inside of me! Let us make the decision to use our words as a weapon against the enemy. If you feel like you don’t know what to say when the devil has planted a lie in your head, go to the Bible. The best thing you can confess is God’s Word and there’s something in there for EVERY attack and lie.

Love you all! Hope this challenges you and changes you as much as it has changed me.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Immeasurably More (part 2)

So I know this is the second post in less than a 24 hr period, but I HAVE to tell you what's happening right now!!

What I shared in the last post is just the story that leads up to this one. This post, this is what I REALLY wanted to share. But God had other plans. :) Anyway, as you already read in the last post, God has been speaking to me through Ephesians 3:20, "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work in us." Well, if you've also read my other posts, you also know that I have set "targets" on people. Setting a target on someone just means I am praying for and believing they will come to believe and know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Seeing that young teen get saved last week got me so excited and pumped for what God is going (and is doing) to do, cause I know it's HUGE. But seeing that girl get saved made me bolder too.

So I have set a target on a third person's back. (we'll call her Kim) Until now, I haven't been putting a whole lot of focus and energy into believing for her to be saved. What's weird/cool is that since December, I've known by the Holy Spirit, that God would get a hold of Kim's life through REC.

Two weeks ago we exchanged numbers and have been chatting every now and then...mostly about wanting to meet in person and hangout. Recently, we've also been talking more at work. I know she believes Jesus is real. But I don't know anything else other than that. So after becoming bold, I invited Kim to church this next Sunday. She said she's definitely going to try but she wants to check us out on our website first.

The same night I invited her, I went home and was playing worship songs trying to figure out the last song I wanted to do for the weekend. I started to play, "At Your Cross" and like usual, I just started worshipping God. Oh man, it's hard to explain or remember how it began, but I felt a big pull from God in that moment to pray in tongues. Somewhere in the middle of praying, I thought about Kim. Then something happened that I've never experienced before, I was weeping over her. Such a strong compassion was just overwhelmed me. The reality that she is lost and desperately needs Jesus sunk into my heart. I strongly believe that God was sharing with me a taste of how He feels for her; His deep love for her. I've never prayed so passionately for someone I know to be saved before.

I looked over at Ephesians's 3:20 taped to my front door and I started praying out loud for Kim and that she'll come to church. "God she's yours! You have your sights on her. Bring her to You, God. Show her Your amazing love and how desperately she needs You. God, she WILL come to church this weekend. All excuses will run out." My faith got so stirred as I repeated "To Him who is able to do IMMEASURABLY more than all we ask or imagine" over and over in my mind. So I said, "God, You can do immeasurably more than I ask or imagine. Well, I ask that Kim come to church this weekend. but not only that, I ask that she gets saved this weekend. I believe it. I believe it will happen because I know what You're capable of. It's up to You to do immeasurably more than what I'm imagining."

I started visualizing where my faith was at and pictured her being in the church after service, crying; just broken because God's love broke through to her. Oh just imagining that brought me so so much joy!!

The story isn't over yet cause of course there's immeasurably more! Haha. After I was done praying for Kim, another of my targets became heavy on my heart. (let's call her Susan) Susan is my Mormon friend. She has had (and still has) a tough life. You can tell that she's constantly weighed down by worry and burned out. Well, we've become friends over the last few months. She and I are trusting each other more and more. She gives me rides home usually a couple times a week and almost always we talk about something serious during the car ride. Recently she lost a baby nephew and the grief that she's going through is SO painful to see. Needless to say, I started crying over her as well. I already have compassion for Susan, but oh man! I felt it so much more in that moment. I prayed saying, "God she's Yours! You want HER! God call her to You. Show her that You love her and want her. Call her by name and draw her close to You. She needs You."

I sang the chorus to "Consume Me Now" which says, "From the depths of my soul, I need You. My heart it calls, I love You. I lift up my heart and I say, consume me now. Consume me now." So I worshipped to that for a little bit, keeping Kim and Susan on my heart while I sang it.

What was weird was that I thought about my other target that I've had for a while and the same strong compassion didn't come up. Don't get me wrong! I have compassion on her, but no crying or deep pain for her. I DID have a realization though...the key to this particular target's heart is through her daughter. And my compassion for her teenage daughter is gradually growing and growing.

So here's the immeasurably more part! Last night Susan gave me a ride home and on the way home I asked her if she would come to church this weekend. She told me that waking up her kids that early can be a challenge when she's doing it all by herself. (she has a baby boy and a three-year-old girl) "But," she said, "I definitely will make an effort." I handed her one of our sermon cards (has the current series on one side and the church info on the other) and told her what it would mean to me if she came. As I was getting outside the car I told her, "Don't feel bad if you can't make it. I understand." She responded, "No, I am going to try and come. In fact, for now, count on me being there." Oh I got the biggest smile on my face!! I told her, "Oh it would mean so much if you came!"

I walked to my door and just before I closed it, I looked back at her. The car light was still on and she was reading the card I gave her with extreme interest. AHHH!!!! I closed the door and started thanking God!!

Do you realize what this means!?! TWO!! TWO of my targets are coming this weekend!! And I'm putting my faith out there and calling them both saved this next Sunday!! God is going to move this next weekend. He won't disappoint because there are (at least) TWO women that will be there who He's going to forever change their lives! AHH!!! Praise God!

Okay, so a switch in gears. A little bit ago, I posted this on Facebook, "When leading worship, someone's soul is more important than another's approval. And fear cannot be present in the presence of God." I posted this right after I got done praying for Kim and Susan. What brought it up was I struggle during worship sometimes because my focus becomes, "I need to prove I'm a good worship leader." Whether that be because last week I messed up or because there's a friend visiting for the first time or because I'm in front of a new crowd of people, that thought always creeps in and threatens to take my focus off following God's Spirit and onto making a moving worship time because I want approval. One of my favorite verses is Galations 1:10, "Am I now trying to win the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, then I would not be a servant of Christ." This verse always keeps my motives in check. Another things that creeps in at times is the fear that I will mess up or do something wrong and ruin worship. So whenever I'm afraid, I remind myself, "Perfect love drives out fear." (1 John 4:18)

When I was praying for Kim and Susan, my love for them grew SO much!! Their souls became more important than someone else's approval. Then it suddenly sank in...why would I worry about approval when someone's soul is at stake? Why would I get my focus onto myself and be so selfish? There are people in the crowd that need Jesus!! THAT is more important than ANYTHING else. I cannot afford to get my focus off God during worship as He's leading me and telling me where to go and what to do just because I'm afraid of what people will think if I go for it. "Perfect love drives out fear." My love for people needs to be perfect as God's love is perfect so that I can confidently lead them into the presence of God without a hint of fear!! It's the same for anyone who is ministering. Your heart for who you're ministering to MUST be of love for them or fear and doubt will creep in and you will be rendered ineffective in that moment because your focus changed from them to you. If you have a problem with being afraid, ask God to either show His perfect love for you or for His people. If you're afraid to trust God, you need to realize that His love for you is perfect. If you're afraid to serve God, you need to ask God to show you His heart for His people and the lost so that His love will be made perfect in you. Then their NEED will be WAY more important than your "need" for approval.

Amen! I think I'll end on that. Love you all! Be bold and be blessed.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Immeasurably More (part 1)

About a week ago, I went for a walk to the store about 10 minutes away from my place. Usually every time I go on walks, it turns into prayer time. This time, however, I was silent for the first part of the walk even though I KNEW I needed to say something.

Have you ever had that happen to you? You KNOW you need to say something to God, but you either don’t have the words or you’re in such pain, you can’t speak out loud? I sure have…it sucks. From experience, I know that the longer I’m silent, the less likely I am to say anything at all. Then the moment for me to bear my heart to God leaves.

Anyway, I decided to just tell God how I feel. I told Him how I know I’m close to Him and that I love Him, but that the pursuit of His heart is no longer in existence. The desire was there, but no action came with it. I also shared my feelings of inadequacy for leading a worship team on my own. In addition, I felt like everything I was doing was mediocre. And I KNOW that I KNOW I’m called to a life FAR above mediocre. So I told God how desperately I wanted to see Him move in a bigger way and how I want to pursue Him again.

For me that was a breakthrough moment. I’ve been reading my Bible more lately. (Usually my flesh wants to pray and worship but avoid my Bible) Because I’ve been studying my Bible more, God has been showing me some crazy stuff that eventually I need to share with you because it’s so heavy on my heart for the people I’m close to and love. But since I’ve prayed that prayer when I was on my walk, I’ve already seen God begin to answer it.

Last Sunday, before the team prayed before service, Pastor Jason told us that God has been telling Him, pressing him to dream bigger for the church. He shared with us Ephesians 3:20 which says, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us.” PJ challenged us all to meditate on that verse and raise our expectations and make the things we ask God to do to be BIGGER.

The whole team was stirred, excited and motivated to believe and expect bigger things for us to do. That service, God was in the room. During the sermon, something was different about how PJ was preaching. You could see that God had something specific to say through him. As a result of God moving, we had our first salvation. AHHH!!!! Some of us were in tears because we know it’s just the beginning and we’re so overjoyed.

I told a friend about how we had our first salvation and he responded, “many more to come.” He’s right! There are MANY more to come! “Immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine.”

I can feel us gaining momentum every week. It has started out real slow and to the team, we are all itching for God to do SOMETHING through us. We all know God is going to do great things through us and want it to happen now! It can be disheartening putting in so much work every week, since September, and not see much movement. But now we know, we know, we’re gaining momentum and God is going to start to do crazy stuff through REC.

The next day, I wrote out Ephesians 3:20 on a piece of paper and taped it to my front door. I spent time just reading it and saying it out loud and letting the meaning and power of that scripture sink in. Imagine if that’s where our faith is at everyday!! That God do “immeasurably MORE than we ask or imagine!!”

So what are you asking God to do? Where are your goals set? How high are they? Are you living a mediocre life? Or a life that is at a lower standard than you KNOW you are to live?

I know, oh believe me I know how scary it can be to put your complete trust in God. I know that you have seen disappointment; that you’ve been let down. I know it can be painful to even ask God to do something big for you. I know people may have told you that you can’t do it. Oh how I know how hard the road can be to walk out the extraordinary life God has asked you to live.

But pain is NOT a “no.”
Disappointment is not a “no.”
Falling on your face is not a “no.”
Failure is not a “no.”
Loss is not a “no!”
Sacrifice is not a “no!”
Obstacles in your way are not “no’s!”
Unmet expectations are not “no’s!”
Persecution is not a “no!”

Pain, disappointment, falling on your face, failure, loss, sacrifice, obstacles, unmet expectations and persecution are where God comes through for you and shows you His POWER; That NOTHING is impossible for Him! All those places are where He shows His great love for you and rescues you again and again.

I do not understand why sometimes it takes a while for God to move. But I know His timing is perfect.

I do not understand why sometimes doors that we thought should’ve been open and closed. But I know His ways are perfect.

I do not understand why sometimes it seems where God is leading us seems to be going backwards. But I know His wisdom is incomprehendable.

I do not understand why sometimes when we need God the most, He feels so far away. But I know His love for us is stronger than anything you will ever encounter or fathom.

When it comes to doors being closed, even when we prayed and believed for them to be open, God cannot be told to do something and how to do it. I know for me, I knew I was to be a worship leader since I was a young teenager. I thought I was supposed to go to Hillsong and learn to be a worship leader there. No. The door was shut. I thought I was supposed to go to the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. No. The door was shut. I thought I was supposed to go to YWAM in Hawaii. No. Another door shut. I thought I HAD to go to some school to learn how to lead people in worship. I searched and searched for one but every single one had its door closed to me. The only door that was open was to intern at Life Christian Center under Pastor Jason and serve the church. Then I was unexpectedly made the worship leader for the youth services. There God was training me and showing me what it takes to lead a team. Next I learned Pastor Jason and his family was moving to Boise. Why God had held me back and said, “no” all those times made sense now. I didn’t need to go to a worship school…because God was training me up on how to worship Him and lead people into His presence right where I was. Suddenly my dream was sitting on my lap and all those closed doors made sense. The road God wanted me to take to become a worship leader was COMPLETELY different than I expected or could even come up with.

That may also be the case with you. You’re asking God, “God!! I thought you wanted me to be an actor (as an example)!!?? But You just shut the door in my face!” and God is saying, “Yes, I know. I don’t want you to go that way. Follow me, I’ll show you the way.”

So trust Him and follow Him. Stop expecting God to do things a specific way. Just expect God to move.

One last thing before I end this entry: If you’re afraid to believe God will do “immeasurable more than we ask or imagine,” then remember this verse, 1 John 4:18, “Perfect love drives out fear.” When you realize how deeply God loves you and what you mean to Him, your confidence that God is ABLE and WILL come through for you will be unwavering.

Love you all,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Creative God = Creative People

Today I decided to write letters to those who have written letters to me. (Yes, I'm aware that some of these letters are WAY past due) I could only find five stamps. Two of them go to my sister cause out letters are usually four or five pages long. (I love that girl!) So I wrote letters to my Grandma Roake, my high school worship teacher (there was a praise and worship class at my school) and my high school art teacher.

I wrote to my Grandma first. Lately I've gotten to witness what an amazing woman of God she is. :) Second, I wrote to my worship teacher. She has been a great support to me. Plus, she just had her first baby! (congrats!) Thirdly, I wrote to my art teacher, Mrs. Butt. (yes that's her real name) She's quite the character and has a lovely sense of humor. (I would too if my name were Patricia Butt!) For the sake of order in the class, all her students called her, Mrs. B.

For Mrs. B's letter, I started off just sharing a general overview of what I've done since graduating high school, focusing more on my art accomplishments and growth. Half way through the letter, I told her how I'm the graphic artist at River's Edge Church but how I don't want that position for long. I don't enjoy graphic art as much as I thought I would. I'd rather use my hands to create art, not a computer.

What I wrote in the letter next is what I really want to share with you. As I was writing this, I found myself SO passionate about what I was saying!! So here's what I wrote to Mrs. B:
"I do, however, want to create art to hang in the church. :) I want to be able to minister to people though my art. But I do not want it to be like the traditional Christian art you see today. Lately, I've been exploring and creating abstract art. What I really want is to create art that is creative, excellent, glorifies God and appeals to the saved and unsaved.
"The church used to be the place where everyone would come to because churches had the most beautiful buildings, artwork, music, plays and education. The church used to be copied by the world because what the church did was so beautiful, creative and excellent. But now, the church is either trying to copy the world, or the church creates and produces things that will only appeal to Christians. Yes, there are exceptions, but overall, this is what I have observed.
"Imagine, if once again, people of all backgrounds flooded to the church just to see what we have produced or created. We are sons and daughters of God and His Spirit lives inside of us! The God who created the universe, who formed the earth, who crafted mankind, lives inside of us! We have no excuses to neglect that God-given creativity inside of us. We as Christians should be making the most beautiful, majestic, excellent and creative works or art, not the world!
"So I'm praying and believing that the church I'm helping pioneer, River's Edge Church, will be just like this and that God will use me and what talent He has given me to help start it. Not only start it, but to inspire other artists to do the same. (okay, warning: about to be brutally honest. Realize I mean no damage or harm, I'm just speaking the truth in love) I've been to many churches where the drawers, the painters, the potters, the actors, the dancers, the song writers and many other artists were neglected. They had no place or purpose in the church when it comes to their gift. (I'm talking about overall, cause there were a few exceptions) As I have been asking God what He wants me to do through my artistic ability, I've come to realize that many, many other artists in the church are wondering and asking the same thing.
"So, that's what's been on my heart lately. Haha. Hope you're doing well.
Matthew 25:14-28 tells the story about the three servants that received talents to manage while their Master was away. Two of them doubled the amount given to them. One buried his in the ground where no one could get to it. When the Master returned, He was greatly pleased with the two servants that doubled the amount given to them. The Master, however, was furious with the servant who returned the talent he was given in the same state and the same amount as was originally given to him.

I know talents back then was a measurement of money and not talent like we use talent normally. But I KNOW that there are Christian artists whose talents are being neglected. For musicians and singers, they have a place to use their talent in the church. But what about all the other artists? I would hate if all those other artists in the church did nothing with their talent and just hid it away. Or if the only place artists felt they could use their talent was outside the church, in the world.

There's a song called, Same Power. The lyrics say, "The Same Power that conquered the grave lives in me." Well, it's also true that the same power that created every natural thing you see and don't see, lives in you as well. "We have the mind of Christ." Which means we have His creative ability.

If you are an artist or you know an artist, realize that ALL of us have a God-given purpose and God-given creativity that can be used inside and outside the church. We as artists need to seek God and ask how we can use our talent to glorify Him and to minister to both Christians and the lost in a beautifully excellent and creative way.

For me, I'm going to create God-inspired art that can be hung in the church. But I'm also going to go out in the community and show my art there as well. Last week I got accepted to show my art in a popular, local bar for an art show. Unfortunately, after I got accepted I didn't feel peace about it because I don't have enough pieces and it's just not the right time. Yet, I know now that my art is good enough for the community to want to show it off. (Who cares if it's in a bar or strip club or where ever!!?? Those people need Jesus!)

I've also prayed and made drawing and paintings that were meant for individuals to minister to them. I know as I do that more, I'll become better and better about ministering, encouraging, loving, and telling the truth in love to people through a picture instead of words.

If the pastor at your church isn't open to having different forms of art used to minister to people, then pray for God to help him become aware of the artists in the church and be patient. As you wait, you can still minister to people one on one through your talent.

If you know an artist in the church, I encourage you to share with them the heart of this message and let them know that God sees them and their gift and He wants to USE them. They have a place in the body of Christ! Gifts, talents and all!

Love you all! Thanks for letting me share my heart.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Have A Laugh...At My Expense

Since my past few blogs have been heavy levy, I decided to post some fun stories of rather humorous events that have taken place since I've moved. Realize though, I'm famous for my lame sense of humor. So if these stories don't make you laugh, then I'm not hurt by that. I'm very aware I'm not called to be a comedian.

So...this is the first time that I'm living on my own. With that territory, comes lessons that you just have to live to learn. I have two stories in mind where I definitely....maybe, learned my lesson. :)

One morning I was wanting to eat oatmeal. I put the pan on the stove with the right amount of water to boil. While the water was heating up, I got a phone call. The person on the other line was asking me questions, forcing me to put more attention to their questions than what I was doing at the stove. So, without thinking, I added the oatmeal before the water came to a boil. I realized my mistake fairly quickly but decided it should be okay. Shortly after, I was off the phone and was able to focus more on what I was doing. However, what I didn't notice was that smoke was coming out from the pan. Suddenly this loud, sharp beeping started blaring through my apartment! You should have seen my face! I wish that I had seen my OWN face!! I jumped, my heart in my throat, beating a million miles an hour and my eyes were wide open in panic. I must have stood there for half a minute in fear and panic before I realized the source...my fire/smoke alarm. I was scrambling through my apartment trying to find it. I found it on my ceiling in my "hallway." So I scrambled on top of my short table by my couch and was desperately trying to turn it off ASAP!! My fingers searched and search but could not find an off button. Nothing on the face of the alarm was turning off the source of my wild panic. So I tried the sides, pulling and twisting. Then POP! The whole unit fell out of the ceiling into my hands. The beeping stopped and I stared at the alarm dumbfounded. I didn't know what to do about the now gaping hole in my ceiling, so I just threw it on my couch. If I had my way, I would've taken my pink-handled hammer to it to destroy the thing that almost gave me a panic attack. So...I went back to my oatmeal. It was seemed done, so I plopped down (my heart rate was about back to normal now) and started eating it. GAG!! The texture was a thick paste...and what it felt like was what it tasted like. It was like eating edible glue. Yet, I ate it all. (so I didn't feel bad for waisting)

I'm a little more careful and attentive when I cook oatmeal now. :) My alarm however, stayed on the couch for almost a week before I put it back in the ceiling...where it threatened to go off at my slightest cooking mistake. (Which it has...sadly, often)

The second story still makes me laugh. After a night out with the REC team, I had leftovers. (Salmon and corn) The next day, I was eager to eat my leftovers. I preheated my oven to 300 and planned on just heating it up for five minutes. Well, I thought the take-home box was made of plastic. I thought to myself, "Plastic can last five minutes!" So I stuck the whole box in, lid and all, into the oven. Two minutes later, I decided to check on it. My heart did a back flip in my chest when I saw what had happened. The lid had melted on the rack and was drooping down between the metal and threatening to drip onto the oven floor. The sides of the box were warping and melting, on it's way to becoming a big, black pancake. I FREAKED OUT!! I immediately called PJ. As I was explaining what I had done, I was using a steak knife to peel the lid off the rack. He was freaking out a little too..."Becca! That's not plastic! That's Styrofoam!! You are NEVER to heat Styrofoam in the oven or microwave!"

I managed to get the whole box out in one piece. The food...was perfectly heated. My thinking was, "Well, it didn't melt into the food. Why not? I'm gonna have my salmon and eat it too!" So I did. Later PJ freaked out again saying that the toxins from Styrofoam can be poisonous. Opps...

But no worries. :) Nothing happened. Even my oven didn't get damaged or ruined. Needless to say, though, I learned my lesson. Eat your leftovers on a plate, even though that means more dishes.

Hope you at least smiled at my stories. :) Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

God Doesn't Call Us To Be Alone

"The Lord God said, "It is not good that man is alone..." Genesis 2:18

I've been finding out how true this verse is in that last few months. At first, I never wanted to be alone because I didn't want to dwell on what I gave up to be here...like my family and friends. So I hung out with different team members a lot. But even then, I could not escape being alone in my apartment.

A few years ago I started reading Joyce Meyer's book, "Battlefield of the Mind." As I was reading through it, my attitude was, "I'm not reading the next chapter until I start applying the one I just read." When I read the chapter on being a positive person, I let it forever change my life and determined to be a positive person. When something goes wrong, I usually say something like, "Well, at least (enter text here)." At least we tried, at least I still have X, at least I still have God. So during the first month, I took the opportunity to get closer to God. There's something about giving away almost everything to obey Him that takes your relationship to the next level.

Side note: persecution and sacrifice is never meant to pull us away from God, but instead to bring us even closer to Him.

When the realization that I was the only single person on the team hit me, even though that truth stung, I decided to have the attitude, "I can't believe God called ME to be on this team! Thank you God."

When the reality that the only friends I had in my life at this time were older, married, had their own family and all together at a different stage of life than me hit me, I told myself, "At least I have friends that I love hanging out with."

Of course there would be days where I was tired of being positive and would break down. But God was there every time to pick me up and strengthen me so I could keep going. And if I stayed in my apartment for a day, I made a conscious effort to get out and be with human company because if I didn't, I'd get in a weird funky mood.

So this is where God starts doing awesome stuff. :)

Through my work, when they hired seasonal help, I met Jenn. It didn't take long for her find out about REC and she started asking questions about it. She ended up coming with us when we did "Rake Up Boise", an organization that gets volunteers to rake up yards for the elderly and disabled. Our whole team loved her. She ended up coming to our Christmas party too.

I cant exactly remember why, but I was feeling like it was going to be a while before Jenn and I clicked. Around that time, during group prayer on Sunday, PJ felt led to pray for friends for me and encouraged the team to pray for me in their own prayer time.

I knew then, that God had something amazing planned for me.

Fast forward to January. One of my targets (we'll call her target A)asked to go out with me for coffee, and turns out she invited my other target. :) That same day, target A called me her friend. yay! The next week, Ashley, another CP employee my age, had  long conversation with PJ about God. I already had Ashley's number for work, so I invited Ashley and PJ out for coffee. We talked for 2 hours about what God had been doing for us since we moved and what God has put on our hearts for what the church is going to be like. She was so so excited and decided to start coming to REC. Ashley and I got to hang out one on one and I learned more about her background and her personality. When I got home,  I was so excited for what God was now doing for me, I felt bold enough to ask Jen out for coffee the same week. When we met, we got to have the heart to heart both of us had been wanting. Out coffee outing turned into a coffee and lunch on Table Rock (the plateau with the big cross that lights up every night) and we went to a couple other places. Immediately I knew this was a God thing. I connected with her so so well. The next day, my work let me off early and I was having a hard time finding someone to give me a ride home. So I called Jenn and asked for a ride. After she picked me up, we ended up job hunting at two different stores. On the way to my apartment, we were talking about how hungry we were. Right as we pulled up to my place, she asked if I wanted to get Thai food with her. "Heck ya!!" (we both love Thai) So we got some AMAZING Thai food. Then went to another place to get ice cream. During this outing, both of us said how the other was an answer to their prayers. She had moved to Boise the same time I did and didn't have any friends that were a good influence on her. It's amazing how God orchestrated our meeting. She wasn't sure why she ended up at Children's Place at first, but now she understands, God was setting her up to find a church and good friends. (I'm not puffing us up, she told me all of this) She came to our first service and really enjoyed it.

I know that was the long version of that story, but It was just so amazing how God had it all planned out. Two young girls who knew nothing of each other prayed the same prayer at the same time and God brought us together. My God is so so faithful. :)

God doesn't call us to be alone. Adam was alone with God for some time, then God decided he needed someone just like him, to be with and have a relationship with. God can sustain us in our times of loneliness, but it won't stay that way...we need human company. We need friends to get strength from and give strength to. We need people to live life with. Remember to stay positive though. I believe it was my choice to be positive even in a tough situation that helped me not go insane. lol. I was still thriving despite my struggle thanks to God and trusting that He knows what He's doing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

When God Destroys...

One very large challenge that many of the leaders on the River's Edge team has dealt with has been self perception. When I moved to Boise, after God corrected me on unwillingness to make disciples, He put a mirror in front of MY very flawed mirror that I saw myself in. I knew how God saw me; a beautiful woman full of talent, love and very worth pursuing. I saw myself as ugly, stupid, flawed and that nobody truly wanted me in a romantic way. (I'm being very real and transparent with you because I want you to see the HUGE change God has done in me.) When I received a complement, I would either use it for my confidence to stand on, needing more and more complements without end, or I would write them off as liars. This cancerous mindset was so strong in me, that even when God confronted me about it before, I would not let him past the fortress that guarded my self perception. Every hint of rejection confirmed my thinking and built the fortress higher. I told myself over and over again, "I am not of any value to anyone." In Jr High I started comparing myself to girls around me and always found myself not worth pursuing in comparison to them. So then I started eating to medicate my pain. When the pain was very great, I would verbally and physically abuse myself. I would say out loud to myself, "You're not worth it. Nobody wants you. Look at you...you're ugly compared to them." The guilt that followed was so great, I would medicate with food, or confirming I was right by comparison...the deadly cycle of pain and addiction continued. The Holy Spirit would speak to my heart and counter the lies that I believed about myself but I would throw it back in His face saying, "Life experience rings more true to me than your Word."

My heart desperately longed for a life experience that would prove that things have changed saying, "NOW I'm found wanted." However, God would not have it. He would not relent until He PROVED to me that HIS WORD rings more true than any experience I have had.

When I moved to Boise, I had a lot more alone time in my apartment. At first, I clung to God because I needed His strength while I transitioned from almost constant company, to days alone at a time. My relationship with Him deepened so so much. However, as I got more comfortable in my new life style, being alone became hard in another way. It was suddenly easier to get deeper into any and all addictions I had. (since they were all linked together) After falling on my face...again, I begged God to free me. "Tear out the things that tear me apart. Uproot the things that strangle my heart. Put on mute the things that silence your Spirit. Make me new until all I am pleases You."

Several weeks passed, then I had an encounter with a young man of God where, by first impressions of how I looked and how I acted, he sought to get to know me. I haven't seen him since, but the whole encounter threw me off balance. It countered what I believed of myself. I thought someone would have to spend quite some time with me to see past my many flaws, to find me worth pursuing. I found every excuse in the book to try and counter it. It wrecked me so much...I fell apart. The love of God shone through so strongly through this man that it took me off guard and God was finally able to completely obliterate the fortress I had built. I was in such panic, I was trying to rebuild my fortress as quickly as I could...but once God destroys something, it cannot be put back together.

I remember being on the floor crying with no end for quite some time. After I had seen that it was hopeless to put my old self perception back together again, I opened my heart as wide as I could open it and let God do what He had been so very patiently waiting to do in my heart for almost 10 years. He was uprooting every lie I had told myself and He told me over and over again how amazing and marvelously made I am...how beautiful I am...and how I'm wanted above all, by Him. He also reassured me, that with patience, He will bring me to the man He has picked out for me; and that man will want and love me deeply.

I am very aware of how transparent this entry is, but if I am not transparent with people, then they cannot see God alive in me. And He IS!! He's ALIVE in my heart and my heart is His home. He may do WHATEVER He wants to do with it. :) Because I trust and love Him so....

Since God has radically wrecked my heart, (in a good way) OH WHAT A CHANGE!! What a FREEDOM I feel!! I see myself SO much better and I'm completely trusting in God for my future. The way God sees me, is becoming more and more of how I see myself everyday. I feel like a blindfold has been taken off and like a huge bag of bricks has been dropped from my back. Joy...oh sweet joy, is more and more evident in my life. And because I can love myself more, I can love people more deeply than I could ever before. My focus is off my faults and I am able to focus more on what God wants me to do each day. :)

My encouragement to you is if you know you see yourself in an unhealthy way, (and you will know because God's Spirit will or already has shown you.) ask God to completely destroy that negative way you see yourself ; to the point where even if you tried, you could not go back because the truth of HIS WORD in undeniable.

"Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a NEW thing in you!!" Isaiah 43:18-19a (emphasis added)

Forget what people have told you, what you have told yourself or your past experiences, God is doing a NEW thing in your life!! So let Him!! You will not be able to recognize your old self by the time He is done. :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

#1 Calling

I am SOOO excited for this new year. Today the staff got together and spent a lot of time in prayer. I could feel the anticipation from everyone. God is about to move! He already is! AHH!! I love my God. So I'm meeting with on of the people I put a target on for coffee. I know that I know I will pray the sinner's prayer with her soon. I can feel it! And I want her to know Jesus so badly...Also, my Mormon friend came into my house long enough to see my art. As a result, she asked for me to commission a piece for her. She's willing to pay me $100 for a small piece and for a larger one, I set the price. I'm hoping there's a way to minister to her through this opportunity. I know God wants her. I know she desperately needs Him. I'm praying for them like crazy. Feel free to add your faith to mine. :) I'm determined for these women to become God's.

I really really encourage you, if you don't have anyone in your life that you have put a target on for you to pour God's love on and pray over until they pray the sinner's prayer, FIND SOMEONE!! It's such a thrill to see God move and change people's lives right before your eyes. :) Making disciples is your #1 calling. Any other calling God has put on your life is so that you can make disciples more effectively!! Amen! So if you're a hairdresser, a lawyer, a teacher, an artist...whatever you are, God has positioned you so you can be a witness for Him!

I think I'm going to make this a priority and constantly encourage it to my worship team. One reason why Christians hearts get calloused or stagnant is because they aren't going out and making disciples. I KNOW that if my team is constantly going out and getting people saved, their heart and effort in worship will be so GREAT!! I know that suddenly compassion will flow out of them and their instrument on stage. Then, it will be SO much easier for their hearts to be in the right place and they will worship fearlessly because PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT ALL FEAR!!! Amen!! Amen!!

I'm SOOO excited for this year and what God is going to do!! I feel like nothing is out of reach or impossible. God IS and WILL move in Boise because River's Edge Church is here and every single team member wants this church to be what GOD wants it. because of that heart, we will be successful.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Green means "Go"

Maybe my perception is wrong, but when I think of starting a blog, I consider myself so so selfish! Who wants to read about me talking about MY life and what I am doing and MY thoughts on life and other random things. However, I understand that there are a few people who want to know what my life in Boise is like and how I'm doing. I've also realized that people seem to be encouraged by what God has done and is doing in me. It's a little difficult jumping in to a story that's already started. I feel like I need to play a lot of catch up. So I'll either put a lot into one post, or post very often until I feel anyone who reads my stories can understand and appreciate what's going on here in Boise.

I had a hard time trying to pick a name for my blog, but I chose "Living Fearless" because that's what God told me to do in high school and ever since then, my life has never been the same. Moving to Boise hasn't been the most life changing decision I've made; chosing to live fearlessly for God has been. Moving to Boise is just a result of that decision. However, moving to Boise HAS changed my life...dramatically. I can't wait to see what God does through my obedience. :)

So I have story I always tell first when talking about what has happened since I've moved. I guess I'll just keep with the tradition and share that one first:

God gave me a really big kick in the pants during my first few weeks in Boise. It was hard to admit to myself, and most of all to people, that even though I've grown up in church my whole life, at the age of 20, I had never prayed the sinner's prayer over anyone before. I'd never put a target on someones back for me to try to win for Christ. I'd rarely even prayed for someone I knew to be saved. My mentality was, "I serve in the church. There are people who minister to Christians and there are people who minister to the lost. I'm not called to witness outside the church."

One night I was reading in John and read the Great Commission, "Go into all the world and make disciples." God took the opportunity to let me know, "I didn't exclude anyone from that order. EVERYONE is to go and make disciples....that means you too." I wanted to ignore it or find an argument, but God had confronted me about it so strongly, there was no getting around it. I had to admit to God and myself that I had ignored and ran in fear from the biggest thing God called me to do...make disciples. Whether a person is a leader in the church or not, they are called to go make disciples. Whether a person is shy or out-going, they are called to go make disciples. There is no excuse or exception, EVERY Christian is call to GO MAKE DISCIPLES.

Sadly, as soon as I decided to change, I had to ask, "How do I get someone saved?" I was SOO embarrassed I even had to ask that question. I didn't get a direct, straight answer. I think it's because there's more than one way to catch a fish and different bait attracts different fish. But the scripture and song, "they will know we are Christians by our love" came to mind. Also the scripture talking about us overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony came to mind as well. So I had to find some "fish."

I transferred from the Portland Children's Place clothing store to the one in Boise. Which was nice because one; I didn't have to find another job. Two; I had a small pond to fish in. What was really cool was that it didn't take long for people to find out I was a Christian because they all asked why I had moved to Boise. (since it wasn't to go to the college) It became obvious when I told them, "I moved here to help start a new church." For some of my co-workers, the conversation died there. Others however were intrigued and asked more about my story. For one girl in particular, just in telling her my story, she told me, "Wow, you are so strong. I have such a high respect for you now." Her and a few others became very curious with my lifestyle and curious about the church. Keep in mind that none of these people are Christians. Matter of fact, one is Mormon. I LOVE that just in my obeying God, that that witnesses to people. They see the sacrifice I've made and what I've left behind and are so curious why I would do that.. :) I love it!

I want everyone at my work to be saved, but there are a few that are particularly heavy on my heart. One has become a friend to me. She's in her 40's, has kids and happened to be the best at "winning at the wrap." (gets the highest percentage in emails, phone numbers, and credit card apps) She's a great people person and has a lot of influence in the work area even though she's not a manager. But one day she comes up to me and says, "So Becca, I normally wouldn't like you and would be very jealous of you, but you are so NICE, it's impossible to not like you!" haha. Just try and imagine my awkward response to THAT one. Another day, I had just won a PSP Go in a drawing from work (your name gets put in every time you get someone to apply for a children's Place credit card) and the same girl comes up to me and says, "Normally I'd be really jealous and hate your guts right now, but I'm glad that out of everyone here, you are the one who won it." She's also told me several times that she goes home and talks about me to her husband. She even brought in her husband and little boy to work just to meet me.

One day, I walked into the beak room and caught her crying. This girl NEVER cries so it was a big deal. Found out a customer was a complete jerk to her and hurt her so much, she had to take an early break. Well, I was going to get a gift for the company's gift exchange anyway, so I went out and found a "bad work day recovery kit." It has self-motivational cards, band aids, a bad work day handbook, a charm and a few other funny items in there. When I gave it to her, she was so moved that she almost cried again.

I'm not telling you this to puff myself up AT ALL. It's just me sharing my excitement about how God is using me to show people His love. I LOVE seeing God's love have an impact on someones life.

There's another girl at work that I'm praying over and pouring on the love. She's in her late twenties, has two small kids and is a Mormon. I'm not sure how much I hope I really have in making her a disciple, but I'm determined to show her the truth in love. I haven't preached to her at all and neither has she. I catch her watching me though. Not in a creepy way, but in a deeply curious way. I can almost see the wheels physically spin in her head. One day she threw out a comment about how broke she was at the time. Her favorite pretzel place in  the mall happened to be having a mall employee special where you could get a pretzel for a buck. I asked if she was gonna get one and she told me no. She didn't have the money. So I pulled out the dollar I had in my pocket (it was my bus money I ended up not using that day) and handed it out to her, saying, "Here. Go and get a pretzel." She shook her head and told me, "No. no I can't take that from you." I assured her that I was planning on not having that dollar at the end of my day anyway and told her to just take it. The moment she grabbed it, she started crying. It threw me off....I didn't expect her to cry. Luckily there weren't customers around. I figured out that it meant so much because one, she didn't have a great lunch that day, two, she has no friends outside work, and three, she felt unloved at the time. It's amazing what a small act of kindness will do. Since then, she's asked me questions about the church and I just see a strong fondness towards me from her. I'm at a loss of what else to do for her other than love her. I know it's especially hard for a Mormon to convert to Christianity, but we'll see what God does.

I can't wait til I get to the day where I'll get to pray the sinners prayer over one of my co-workers. I want to overcome this obstacle of never leading someone to Christ. I know it'll be exhilarating and addicting the moment it happens. :)